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Posts Made By: Ron Oehlert

April 11, 2013 12:57 PM Forum: ASTRONOMY


Posted By Ron Oehlert

The 1st of March I placed an order for flocking & a diagonal support/holder. The flocking arrived within days but the enclosed invoice said the spider was supposed to ship in aprox 2 weeks. Over a month later, no spider yet. So I've tried phoning & emailing Protostar multiple times but so far zero contact or responce; they do not answer their phone or return email. Their website is up, but no mention of vacation or funeral or calamity or whatever else that might limit communication. Anyone know what is the situation with them?

April 24, 2013 07:42 PM Forum: Antique/Classic/Vintage Optical Instruments

Re: finding vintage parts

Posted By Ron Oehlert

You might make your own, or at least an adaptor for today's illuminators. Wood & plastic are easily worked by hand for such a project. A flashlight bulb with a Volume-control reostat for brightness control works great as a reticle illuminator (connect with wires to a remote battery holder).

May 7, 2013 05:35 PM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

Re: very good low cost planetary scope

Posted By Ron Oehlert

I'm 68 & have been viewing & making telescopes since 1956 & in the past I was a contributing member of the Association of Lunar & Planetary Observers(ALPO). There is simply no significant planetary detail visible with less than 6" aperture and 8" improves on what may be seen. True, long-focus large-aperture reflectors (most planetary bang for the buck) are no longer mass-market scopes, but they are still commercially available (Discovery for instance offers an 8" f/7 reflector & highy portable 6" f/8 reflectors (which trumps any 4" aperture refractor in capability & cost) are still available while an 8" f/6 is also a fine planetary instrument for not much more cost or portability sacrifice than a 6" f/8 reflector. Driven equatorial mounts or platforms are also necessary, because wide-angle eyepieces are not the best choice for viewing subtle planetary detail due to their many glass elements, nor is a moving target ideal; plus driven mounts permit comfortably waiting for those moments of good Seeing & while the target is centered. Cats are also not great planetary instruments owing to their large central obstruction at any aperture. Simple reflective optical systems & large aperture, long-focus is King for the planets plus is lowest cost of all. Atmospheric disturbances aside, what use is any view if no fine detail can ever be observed because of limited aperture? At age eleven I was impressed with the view thru a small refractor, but soon realized that all I could see was a crisp outline devoid of any surface detail beyond indistinct shadings; it takes much greater aperture to reveal low-contrast fine detail on planetary globes or within Saturn's rings or to show Jupiter's moons as more than points of light. A 6" f/8 reflector is minimum per instrument size in this regard while a Konig-type eyepiece & Barlow provides a wider field than an Ortho for good planetary performance even without a driven mount (That is bang for the buck & easily portable, too).

August 9, 2013 11:13 PM Forum: Pictures of Me and My Telescope and........

Re: How many is too many!

Posted By Ron Oehlert

Depends on what they are, and weather or not you can do without any of them. My primary scope is a Cave Deluxe Astrola 8" f/7 reflector which I'd be satisfied with if it were my only scope, but I also have a Criterion RV-8 (also 8" f/7) which I suppose I could do without, but its' mounting is so very steady in the wind yet it's light weight
& easily portable (more so than the Cave). And a Criterion Dynamax 8 Cat (very easily portable vs the longer & heavier 8" reflectors), plus my DIY 6" f/8 reflector that I've had since the early 1970's (I've used it for real scientific research in years past). And a Jaegers 3.25" f/12 achromat for Grab-n-Go sky checks plus a Jaegers 5" f/5 16X RFT. These last two refractors are both Alt-Az mounted with Slo-Mo controls on both axes making them intuitive & fun to use for youths & adult newbies. Then my 1st scope, a 2.4" f/8 air-spaced achromat received for Xmas in 1956 when I was 11 years of age. Is that too many? Somehow an even larger reflector (perhaps a 16" f/4 that needs no ladder) for DSO's seems neccessary yet, don't you agree?

September 6, 2013 02:42 PM Forum: Home Observatories

Yard/Garden shed observatory

Posted By Ron Oehlert

My thought is to use such a small shed as scope shelter with a connected & walled *patio*. Rather than roll-off a roof, I'd instead roll-out the scope into the *patio* where the privacy fence surrounding it will afford wind protection & neighborhood light buffering as with conventional backyard roll-off roof observatories. Construction should be much simpler than a conventional roll-off roof observatory, especially if a ready-made garden shed is used. Currently I'm sheltering the scope in my garage & rolling it out onto the driveway for use, but this is not ideal due to wind & light intrusion & the huge expanse of pavement affecting local Seeing. Anyone tried this? Thoughts as to worth or caveats to consider? Perhaps pave a sidewalk scope pathway & with the rest of the *patio* area planted to Creeping Thyme or other ground cover (no mowing & can be tread upon) to mitigate local heat retention/release within the observing area. Ivy growing on the Sunny side of shelter walls & shed would also reduce heat retention/release plus blends the observatory into it's yard/garden surroundings. Sockets in the paved scope pathway would provide for consistant polar alignment (adjust initially, then just place leg lifting rods back in sockets each successive observing session); inverted pipe caps could do as sockets. Yet the scope remains as ready to use & readily portable for use elsewhere as my present garage set-up and does not occupy garage space.

October 11, 2013 07:44 PM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

Re: what started it for me

Posted By Ron Oehlert

At age eleven, on a Saturday morning in 1956 while looking at a comic book rack I spied a Fawcett *How-To* book on Astronomy including how to make a telescope. This was shortly after my father had pointed out the Big Dipper & North Star to me during a family camp-out. Halley's Comet, Saturn & star clouds adorned the How-To book's cover while Polomar 200-inch Hale telescope photos graced the pages inside; I was entralled. It was 35 cents, ten cents more than my weekly allowance so I got no comic that day, but it was still there the following Saturday & I was soon learning the constellations in my backyard. Next Xmas I received a real 40X60mm terrestial telescope & saw the craters on the Moon Xmas night. In the early 1970's I made a 6" f/8 Newt inspired by that Fawcett book. I went on to join the ALPO (Association of Lunar & Planetary Observers) & helped finish mapping the Moon's South Pole in the 1980's. I observe today with a Cave Astrola 8" F/7.

May 2, 2014 04:13 PM Forum: Religion

Re: Day of Prayer

Posted By Ron Oehlert

I hope those that like to call themselves Christians would attempt to practice some of the compassion & forgiveness Jesus Christ taught, lived by, and died for. No man can call himself Christian and promote hate at the same time.

June 1, 2014 06:19 PM Forum: Solar System Observing

Re: sky full

Posted By Ron Oehlert

Visit Sky & Telescope magazine on-line to find a Red Spot locator; input any date & time for results. Realize that you can view it for several hours before & after it crosses Jupiter's meridian.

June 2, 2014 07:57 AM Forum: ASTRONOMY

Re: Deerlick Astronomy Village in Georgia

Posted By Ron Oehlert

Having a telescope or belonging to a club does not automatically make someone a nice person. I have lost eyepieces while participating in two different local clubs during private club observing sessions where only club members were present. That ended my interest in astro clubs. I continued hosting star parties in public parks, with school, church and boy & girl scout groups without incident, wrote a local newspaper observing column and participated in the ALPO observing program, having some of my work selected for publish. The recent discussions here per observing at Mt Pinos in CA illustrate that not all telescope users are nice people. Today I continue to thrill the neighborhood children and passers-by with views thru my scopes, but stay away from clubs.

June 3, 2014 10:47 PM Forum: LUNATICS

Destination Moon

Posted By Ron Oehlert

Turner Classic Movies is currently showing the Oscar-winning 1950 Sci-fi flick Destination Moon.