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Posts Made By: David Vandervelde

November 4, 2004 10:34 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Dobs Dobs Dobs!

Posted By David Vandervelde

Alright, I know I want a Dobsonian telescope in the 14.5" to 16" range, and now I need some advice. I often just throw out new threads because I get tired of searching through hundreds of previous threads, and I value the opinions of experienced observers. So here goes...

Yes I have the money to buy a Starmaster 14.5", but it would seriously deplete my savings account. Sometimes I feel that I should just got for it, and get the most expernsive (which I assume is then the best!) Dob I can find... I have never heard a bad thing about a Starmaster. However, is it truly worth $4900? (Here we go with opinions again...) Yes, it's a great scope, but seriously, how different are the views between a Starmaster 14.5" and Discovery 15"? Is a bunch of that extra cost just going to woodworking and making the scope look pretty? I've heard Discovery Dobs aren't as smooth... that doesn't seem like a big deal to me. Yes, I want the best optics possible, but I won't be doing any astrophotography, so for purely visual enjoyment the Discovery optics aren't bad, are they? If I were to look at a typical galaxy (let's take M51), would I see spiral structure in the Starmaster and not in the Discovery? What kind of mirrors do Discovery use anyway? Are collimation issues similar between tehse scopes or do Starmasters remain in collomation better? How about cold weather preformance? I'm a Canadian and will be observing in -25C weather from time to time... I'm assuming I should get a Pyrex mirror (which Discovery doesn't have)? Another reason I'm considering foregoing Starmaster is because of the wait time. I guess 1-1 months isn't that bad, but that's their listed price, and despite an email to them earlier this week I haven't heard back from them.

Well, there I go, rambling again... any opinions on anything I've rambled about would be appreciated!

Got to love Astormart grin

Dave

November 5, 2004 10:02 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Canadians purchasing from the States

Posted By David Vandervelde

I have been looking at buying a Dob (as the regulars in here may know from my last posts), and have seen a couple used scopes on Astromart that are very tempting. So here's my question...

If we (Canucks) purchase equipment from an individual in the United States (i.e. Not a business), do we still have to pay taxes and duty fees? In the past, I have purchased small items such as eyepieces and filters from the States, and if the seller marks "gift", I haven't paid any additional fees. Is this legal? If I buy a big Dob for $4000, couldn't I save several hundred dollars because I'm not buying it from a business? If it is marked as a gift, would I have to worry more about the security of the package? I'd hate to ask the seller to mark "gift" to save me some money and then have either of us get in trouble with customs, or have the package lost or damaged.

Thanks again!

Dave

November 5, 2004 10:06 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Tscopes in Canada

Posted By David Vandervelde

Hello... Canadian here again.

Anyone know if Tscopes ship to Canada? Their prices seem great, but their site says they don't ship overseas. I've emailed them, but haven't heard back yet.

Thanks!

Dave


November 16, 2004 08:20 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Cooling fans? Heaters? Help!

Posted By David Vandervelde

Hello all! I am the proud owner of a new (well, used) Starmaster 14.5" (and I don't actually have it yet... but soon). I have a question about the use of cooling fans or heaters.

Keep in mind here that I'll have to store the scope inside and will be transporting out to my observing site. Also, I'm from Canada and in the summer I'll be observing in rapily-cooling evenings of 10C, and in the winter I'll have observing temps of -25C.

I have been told I should install a couple cooling fans for the primary, but is this more a necessity for observers in desert-like climates? Would a cooling fan do anything in cold winter temperatures? If I install fans, should they be beneath the primary and pull air in or blow it out, should they blow across the mirror or pull air out from the mirror surface? Or a combination of all of these? I've also heard that Dob primaries aren't very succeptable to dew, so I'm curious if a heating pad for the primary would help at all. Would having a heater on the primary help in reducing cool-down time or would it just cause more currents above the mirror? Can the primary frost up without a heater? How succeptable is the secondary to dew?

Wow... I didn't realize I had so many questions until I started to ramble! Any advice on any of the above topics would be greatly appreciated!

Dave

December 5, 2004 10:13 PM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

Recording Observations in Cold Weather

Posted By David Vandervelde

Hello all... I live in Canada and occasionally observe in temperatures below -20C (below 0F), and am curious if others who observe in these conditions still record their observations. I find it such a pain to record and sketch what I see in those temperatures, as I don't have the dexterity to hold a pencil accurately enough to sketch fine details while wearing gloves. I love recording my sessions, but I have struggled to be diligent when it's so cold... I've thought about getting a mini-tape recorder to record what I see, then write it down later once inside. Anyone have any suggestions?

December 6, 2004 03:46 PM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

Dew Point?

Posted By David Vandervelde

I have a question about the dew point... if the temperature doesn't fall below the dew point, will optics not dew up? For example, if the forecast low is -14 and the dew point is -16, will dew not form because the dew point temperature isn't reached? Am I interpereting dew point correctly? Any meteorologists out there?

Thanks!

December 8, 2004 03:26 PM Forum: Eyepieces

UO MK-80 32mm... anyone?

Posted By David Vandervelde

Hello, I currently have the 40mm MK-70 and love it as a wide field eyepiece. Unfortunately, I just bought an f/4.3 scope, and the MK-70 has an exit pupil of 8.1mm (with the Paracorr), so I'm looking for a new wide field eyepiece. I am, of course, considering the Nagler 31, as everything I've heard about it is amazing, but I'm curious if anyone has tried the new University Optics 32mm MK-80? I love my MK-70 so thought this might be a good bargain when compared to the Nagler. Thanks for any advice!

Dave

June 25, 2005 05:43 PM Forum: Reflectors

Zambuto Strehl Ratio?

Posted By David Vandervelde

Hello! I bought a used Starmaster a while back, and am curious about the Strehl ratio of my Zambuto mirror. I have the certificate for the mirror from Zambuto Optics, but there are no specs on there. Am I missing something? Can I call Zambuto with the Serial Number to find out the Strehl ratio?

Thanks!


June 25, 2005 09:01 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Zambuto Strehl Ratio?

Posted By David Vandervelde

Hello! I bought a used Starmaster a while back, and am curious about the Strehl ratio of my Zambuto mirror. I have the certificate for the mirror from Zambuto Optics, but there are no specs on there. Am I missing something? Can I call Zambuto with the Serial Number to find out the Strehl ratio?

Thanks!

November 17, 2005 08:10 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Travel scope for a trip to Africa...

Posted By David Vandervelde

Hello all,

I know there are a lot of forum topics out there regarding "Grab and Go" scopes, but I'm not sure I feel like sifting through all of them, so am hoping I get a few replies on my own post smile

I'm travelling down to Namibia (southern Africa... southern skies!) for a volunteer teaching placement this coming summer and am looking to bring a small scope with me. I'll be there for close to three months, so the "grab and go" aspect isn't as important as simply getting the thing on a plane and then not having it constitute 90% of my luggage.

I currently have a C8 (much too big) and a Stellarvue AT1010. I'm assuming that the Stellarvue would be a good choice? One problem is that my only mount is the old GP I have for my C8, which does not seem very transpotable. Should I look into a 4" refractor, or perhaps a small SCT or rich-field Newtonian? If my AT1010 would do the job, are there any suggestions for a light mount I could use with this scope?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated... thanks!

Dave