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Posts Made By: Jim Nelson

December 1, 2004 09:43 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

"control handle" and alt-az mounts

Posted By Jim Nelson

Most of the better alt-az mounts out there seem to have a "control handle" or "panning handle" either included or as an option.

"Allows you to easily move the telescope about the sky with excellent control" says one representative blurb.

What is the advantage of using such a handle instead of just moving the scope? As a dob-pusher, I just don't see the point.

February 2, 2005 07:44 PM Forum: Eyepieces

Re: Filters - Screw onto Diagonal or Eyepiece?

Posted By Jim Nelson

The diagonal is tempting if you want to use the same filter with different eyepieces. It saves fumbling...BUT, there's a catch. Any optical imperfections in the filter will have greater influence the further up the filter is in the light path.

I don't know how much real world impact this has at low to medium powers, but the TeleVue website 'Filters' page has test photos showing the effects of filters placed at the front of a diagonal on the image of a star (an artificial test star actually).

February 10, 2005 11:15 PM Forum: Eyepieces

Re: 102 f/10 refractor

Posted By Jim Nelson

If my math is right, you'll get about 32x, 50 degree apparent field of view, 1.6 degrees or so of true field. Not quite a "huge" field, but perfectly nice as a low power sweeper and more sky than I can currently see at one time with my scope. The double cluster ought to look great!

If you can spring for a 24mm Panoptic or something similar, the view will be a little nicer, but a TV 32mm Plossl is a darn nice eyepiece by all accounts.

February 11, 2005 03:29 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Re: tele-vue or konig

Posted By Jim Nelson

While lots of people seem to have used the shorter focal length Konigs (including me), or the 2 inch versions, I can't recall many comments on the 32mm 1.25 Konig. This is the only on-line discussion I know of off-hand:

The short focal length Konigs are good performers, but are short on eye relief and edge performance may suffer on short focal ratio scopes. The 32mm should have plenty of eye relief, though, and is not a "wide field" eyepiece so edge performance will be less of an issue.

The TV will probably win out in performance if you ever change to a short focal ratio scope, but with your f/9 scope they'll probably be very similar in performance. The Celestron Ultima/Orion Ultrascopics (either 30mm or 35mm) are other good choices for this eyepiece "niche" as well, in case you're interested in other choices.

February 11, 2005 08:24 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Ed Ting's Scopereviews...retired?

Posted By Jim Nelson

I was happy to see new material added to Ed Ting's Scopereviews site...but sad to see a note from Ed saying that Scopereviews is now officially "on hiatus", citing he wanted to do more observing for pleasure, and less for reviewing.

Can't blame him, and it's been on unofficial hiatus for some time so this isn't a big suprise, but Ed's site is arguably the best of its kind, certianly the most enjoyable to read, and a great resource. I'll miss it. Who knows, maybe he'll come back to it again after a good rest.

March 6, 2005 07:41 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Re: filters

Posted By Jim Nelson

Cloudy Nights has a couple of good articles. The first is an overview, the second a record of observations of various objects with various filter types.

March 6, 2005 08:51 PM Forum: Solar System Observing

Galileo's moon sketches...Where to get good qualit

Posted By Jim Nelson

Does anyone know of posters or prints of Galileo's lunar sketches/engravings that are available for purchase? Or failing that unlikely scenario, where very good quality images are available? I've found the following, for example:

But I'd like to be able to print out decent size versions of 1 or more of the individual engravings, so the bigger/higher resolution, the better.

May 27, 2005 09:48 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Travel with a starblast?

Posted By Jim Nelson

So I picked up an Orion Starblast a little while ago. Neat little scope. I plan on taking it on a plane trip, but I'm thinking over some practical issues. While it's a good travel scope in that the tube is small enough for carry on and I can take apart the little mount, this is a "table top" scope...and I can't count on having a nice sturdy table top.

I've been putting it on a weighted bucket for use around here, but that isn't a very practical travel solution.

Anyone travel with a Starblast, or have ideas? I bought this as a bargain, so I'm really hoping for a clever, on-the-cheap solution rather than a commercial mount, but I'll certainly accept some economical travel mount solutions.

I should also mention I don't personally have access to woodworking space or equipment, although I'd see about seeking out someone who does if there are some good ideas.

July 10, 2005 10:53 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

Recent Tempel Observations?

Posted By Jim Nelson

I failed to find Tempel last night, using the Sky and Telescope finder chart. A 9th or 10th magnitude comet shouldn't be that difficult to find, and I otherwise managed to track down tons of stuff, including small faint planetaries (the Bug in Scorpius, NGC 6781 in Aquila), so conditions must have been sufficient.

Was this just a momentary lapse of observing skill, or is it actually more difficult than I thought? Using a 6inch f/8 dob, 50x.

September 10, 2005 10:06 AM Forum: Pictures of Me and My Telescope and........

Jim, Travel Scope, New Mexico

Posted By Jim Nelson

Here I am with my travel scope set up (Starblast OTA, Helix Hercules Alt-az mount, Bogen tripod). My wife and I stayed for 5 nights near Gila, New Mexico, before driving around Arizona for the next 5 days. On the right is essentially the other direction, what I was looking at in the picture on the left. It was a beautiful, peaceful break, and after a couple of nights of fighting some clouds I had a few nights of marvelous observing. That little Starblast, dark skies, and the Summer Milky Way are a very, very good combination.