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Posts Made By: Jim Nelson

January 8, 2006 03:31 PM Forum: Eyepieces

Siebert modified-Orthos

Posted By Jim Nelson

Anyone have experience with these? I guess they're relatively new models.

I was looking for some relatively modestly-priced eyepieces at short focal lengths with decent eye relief, and had almost decided on the Orion Expanse 6 & 9mm, but these look like intriguing alternatives.

January 11, 2006 08:36 AM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

NH/VT observing locations?

Posted By Jim Nelson

I'll be moving to Hanover, NH, shortly. Looks like there should be some pretty good dark sites nearby

(the cross is on West Lebanon, just a few minutes from Hanover.)

I'm hopeful that my home site will be reasonably usable, but I'm sure I'll want to find a good dark site, too. Any suggestions for good observing-friendly locations not far from the central NH/VT border area?

June 28, 2006 05:08 AM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

Re: Philosophical Issue: On the Spirit of the Star

Posted By Jim Nelson

" I don't think people will be ditching their fast apos any time soon, but it's probably the most economical wide field option I can think of.... "

And travel scope...4.5inches of aperture that you can take on an airplane. Not bad at all! I can't even explain how much fun a Starblast is under dark New Mexico skies, rambling through the Milky Way.

And I use a Panoptic and...gasp!...Naglers with it!

July 12, 2006 07:28 PM Forum: Eyepieces

Re: Ye old Pan 24mm

Posted By Jim Nelson

Pincushion? Doesn't really bother me. I don't observe the moon at low power near the edge of the field too often.

I do understand how some people can be turned off by the effect you get while panning, but I habituated to it very quickly.

More than very slight field curvature, on the other hand, is unbearable in my book.

I don't know who said it first, but you gotta "choose your defect".

July 28, 2006 05:07 PM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

The worst question we ask of beginners...

Posted By Jim Nelson

I'm not sure if the "Beginner's Forum" is the best place for this or not, but here goes:

There's a question I regularly see asked of beginners looking to buy their first scope. It's some variation of this:

"What kind of observing do you want to do?"
"What are you most interested in?"

Now, the question has merit. I see where it's coming from.

But who among us, as beginners, had well-informed and decisive ideas about what kind of observing we would like best, BEFORE we've put in observing time? Even if we've looked through a few scopes a few times?

Most of the time I see this question asked, I'm pretty sure some newbie on the other end of the internet is sitting there with a deer-in-headlights look in their eyes.

While we should ask Who is using the scope (how old? especially), and Where they'll be using it (at home in the country; local park; city balcony?), shouldn't we assume that any newbie should be getting a good all-around scope, instead of something specialized for a type of viewing that they may well change their minds about after a few times under the stars?

October 5, 2006 06:40 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

Re: Uranus last night

Posted By Jim Nelson

Cool! Shows what you can do with a "can do" attitude.

February 26, 2003 08:04 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

UO Super-Erfles

Posted By Jim Nelson

OK, I'm gonna go for it...first wide-field ocular that I can call my own. An important moment in a young man's life.

April 11, 2003 08:07 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

Another Jovian transit

Posted By Jim Nelson

I had the same experience - I hadn't seen Callisto transit before; you couldn't have convinced me at the eyepiece that I wasn't seeing a shadow! I only confirmed this later. By the time I left the eyepiece Callisto and Io's shadow looked like two beady eyes peeking out between the equatorial belts.

I was able to see Io during (very) occasional moments of very good seeing (although I only got what I was seeing sorted out later). Busy night on Jupiter.

April 20, 2003 01:40 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Reflector or Refractor?

Posted By Jim Nelson

There is no "best", only good fits between scopes and owners.

However, if $300 is your budget, I'd be looking at reflectors, as they're more cost effective. You can get a 6 inch dobsonian mounted reflector for somewhat more than $300; for only about $200 (plus shipping) you can get Orion's 4.5 inch dobsonian which is a nice little package.

But, make sure you're informed *before* you buy, not after. One of my favorite "Beginner's Information" pages can be found at, Ed Ting's review website. Look for the Beginner's Advice page link on the front page.

My essential advice: start with books and binoculars before thinking about a 'scope. If you can't find anything with binoculars, you won't find anything with a 'scope.

April 22, 2003 08:30 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Series 500 plossl?

Posted By Jim Nelson

I bought a Series 500 10mm plossl from Gary Hand at Hands On Optics; his "GTO" Plossls are no longer labeled "series 500", it seems, but were at one time.

I don't really know, but I'd bet they were sourced from the same place as the Meade "series 500" Gary Davis is referring to.

They're a pretty ordinary generic plossl, but mine was well worth the super-cheap asking price. I bought one as an upgrade from cheap Meade MA/MH eyepieces, and it was big improvement there. The FOV is slightly narrower than other inexpensive plossls, but it's otherwise decent. I've "retired" mine since then in light of later purchases.