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Posts Made By: Tom Hole

December 31, 2003 10:03 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

New Observing Chair Finished

Posted By Tom Hole

This is somewhat on topic in that everyone should have an observing chair. Adds 2" of aperture and it sure makes viewing a lot more enjoyable.

My first chair was already becoming vertically challenged with my XT10 sitting on an eq platform which was on wheels. When I got the Starmaster, it was woefully inadequate. So, I started searching for a suitable replacement. A guy in my club had one of Jim Fly's Catsperch chairs (not the Pro version) and it looked to be just the ticket. I was gonna build the Catsperch Pro version from gouge I found on the internet, but I decided to support Jim and ordered his plans and hardware package:

http://home.earthlink.net/~flyj/cperch1.html

It arrived Xmas eve, but I was on holiday, so I just started building it yesterday. Finished it except for the urethane today. A fantastic chair. Here are some pics (my first chair is there for reference):

http://www.tomhole.com/Observing%20Chair.htm

As you can see, it is considerably taller. It holds my 220lbs frame with no issues. This is a perfect solution for me.

The plans with hardware cost $49 with shipping. This made the job incredibly easy. Although certainly not required, the hardware package saved me 10 trips to the dreaded pit of despair that is called Lowes. The cut and trace patterns were a God send and saved me more trips to Lowes for replacement lumber. The lumber is all red oak and cost $70 at the aforemention Hades of Hardware (can you tell I love Lowes?).

This is an easy kit to build and requires no special tools. I used a cheapo Skil jigsaw to cut out everything. Made for some interesting shapes wink I used a cheapo belt sander to fix the zig zags in the cuts. The only other tool required is a drill. Good thing, too, as that's all the tools I have.

So far, I've put in 10 hours on it. All that's left is to put the finish on, but that will have to wait until some clouds roll in. I am very pleased with this chair and Jim Fly. A very nice fellow and a great American. My first chair cost about $30 in materials and took about the same amount of time. But this Catsperch is a lot nicer. I highly recommend it to anyone considering an observing chair.

CLear skies and seated observing wink

Tom

January 5, 2004 10:53 PM Forum: Binoviewers

Burgess Binoviewers

Posted By Tom Hole

Just got off the phone with Bill. He is a wild man! If you ever need the equivalent of a six pack of Red Bull, just call Bill. Hide your credit card, though.

Here's the skinny on the binoviewers. 1st prototype was evaluated, mods made and sent back to the factory. Second prototype is due back this week. Then the fatory awaits a go from Bill. These are all machined at the factory and show up as full up rounds. Bill does nothing to them. 24.5mm BK4 prisms (clear aperture?) broadband dielectric coated. Dual diopter ep holders. Ep's are held in with a set screw (not sure I'm a big fan of that but Bill said it worked fine). User collimatable with a normal laser collimator. You get 3 (yup three) sets of Bill's ep's. They do come with a barlow type corrector, but Bill wasn't a big fan of it, so he is designing a low power corrector. He thinks the threads on the nose match up with the Denk and Siebert OCS/A's. Cost is $199 + shipping. Oh yeah, they come with a custom case as well.

I just gotta try a pair of these wink

Clear skies,

Tom

January 10, 2004 03:39 AM Forum: Binoviewers

A new reason that long eye relief is desirable

Posted By Tom Hole

I was out just now in the 4 deg F (with wind chill) weather and discovered a reason why 7mm orthos might not be the best ep. Frostbite. I store all my stuff in the garage, including the ep cases. I went out to have a look at Saturn expecting a terrible view and initially, it was. I had the 12.5 orthos in the TV binovues and 2x corrector for 244x. But then I noticed things would settle down for 1 or 2 seconds and then get terrible. So, I tried the 9 Naglers for 339x. Very nice. It is quite windy, so the scope shook from time to time, but when things were settled, it was a good view. Not great, but certainly worth the cold.

Then I put in the 7mm orthos for a look at 426x. I put my eyes up to the ep's and my right eyelid almost stuck to the ep. I viewed for a short while until my eyelids were frozen and then went back to the 9 Naglers. So, lesson learned, keep the ep cases inside or use longer eye relief ep's.

I'm inside warming up and waiting for the moon to clear the trees. Should be a treat.

Clear skies,

Tom

January 10, 2004 06:35 AM Forum: Binoviewers

Get out and look at Jupiter

Posted By Tom Hole

If you're on the east coast and have some long johns, get out and have a peek at Jupiter. It is very good and the GRS is just starting to transit. Man it's cold.

Clear skies,

Tom

January 10, 2004 09:20 PM Forum: Binoviewers

Stiff Televues

Posted By Tom Hole

I remember this being discussed a long time ago (last winter) but I can't find the info.

This morning it was very cold. I could not adjust the interpupillary distance of my TV's. I normally don't have to but my wife actually came out at 0200 to have a look at Jupiter and I needed to squish them together and they would not move without a great deal of force. I'll give Al a call on Monday, but I seem to remember someone having the same issue on one of the groups. Any info would be appreciated.

Clear skies,

Tom

January 11, 2004 11:19 PM Forum: Binoviewers

15mm Pans for binoviewing, any good?

Posted By Tom Hole

I need a 15mm ep that can fill a widefield and planetary role. It has to be 15mm to fill the perfect hole for my Starmaster. I think the 15 Pans are about it for premium glass in that focal length, but I wanted to see if anyone had tried something else. Eye relief is tight on the 15 Pans at 10mm as well. Not a show stopper, but I would like more.

I might get a pair of 15mm Ultimas and then find a non premium wide field ep for DSO only work at 142x to compliment the 24 Pans. I considered the 16 Nagler type 5's, but 16mm just misses the hole I need to fill for planetary work (18 mm orthos = 212x, 12.5 orthos are 305x). 16mm would give me 239x which is just a tad low. Unless I see a great deal pop up on Astromart wink

Anyway, all opinions welcome. Might start with a pair of 15mm Expanse and 15mm Antares ultimas just to fill the hole while I'm deciding.

Clear skies,

Tom

January 19, 2004 10:23 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

You know you need to buy more astro gear when

Posted By Tom Hole

You run out of little boxes to ship stuff in. Gotta replace the supply somehow.

Clear skies,

Tom

January 20, 2004 01:55 AM Forum: Eyepieces

2" premium ep

Posted By Tom Hole

I am in the market for a nice 2" widefield ocular. I will use it as a vista ep to provide me with a max TFOV (or close) for my 11" f/5.4 Starmaster. I don't wear glasses. Not young, not old (I guess they call that middle-aged wink. Heavy is actually good in my case as I have the Starmaster balanced for about 2.2 lbs of binoviewer and ep's. I can get away with .5 lbs either side of that without having to rebalance, which is preferred. Cost is a consideration in the bang for the buck sense. If it costs $600, I want $600 in performance. If I can get 95% at 1/2 that price, then I'm happy. Used is my primary target.

I am a binoviewer nut, so the best I can do right now is .75 deg TFOV with the 24 Pans in the binoviewers.

So, here's my list and I'm open for more suggestions:

EP: mag, TFOV, exit pupil, weight, price

41mm Pan: 37x 1.74 deg, 7.5mm, 2.1 lbs, $495
35mm Pan: 44x, 1.5deg, 6.4mm, 1.6 lbs, $365
31mm Nagler: 49x, 1.6 deg, 5.7mm, 2.2 lbs, $620
32mm UO MK80: 48x, 1.6 deg, 5.9mm, 1.2lbs ish, $295

Anything else? A guy in my club has the 32mm UO MK80 and our club has a 31 Nagler, so as soon as the weather breaks I plan to make a comparison between them. The UO is half the price and my man reports good performance in his f/5 Portaball. But until then, I want to see if the list needs to get bigger.

All inputs are encouraged and welcome.

Clear skies,

Tom


January 20, 2004 02:09 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Premium 2" ep

Posted By Tom Hole

I posted this on the ep forum as well, but I wanted to poll the larger crowd that hangs out over here.

I am in the market for a nice 2" widefield ocular. I will use it as a vista ep to provide me with a max TFOV (or close) for my 11" f/5.4 Starmaster. I don't wear glasses. Not young, not old (I guess they call that middle-aged wink. Heavy is actually good in my case as I have the Starmaster balanced for about 2.2 lbs of binoviewer and ep's. I can get away with .5 lbs either side of that without having to rebalance, which is preferred. Cost is a consideration in the bang for the buck sense. If it costs $600, I want $600 in performance. If I can get 95% at 1/2 that price, then I'm happy. Used is my primary target.

I am a binoviewer nut, so the best I can do right now is .75 deg TFOV with the 24 Pans in the binoviewers.

So, here's my list and I'm open for more suggestions:

EP: mag, TFOV, exit pupil, weight, price

41mm Pan: 37x 1.74 deg, 7.5mm, 2.1 lbs, $495
35mm Pan: 44x, 1.5deg, 6.4mm, 1.6 lbs, $365
31mm Nagler: 49x, 1.6 deg, 5.7mm, 2.2 lbs, $620
32mm UO MK80: 48x, 1.6 deg, 5.9mm, 1.2lbs ish, $295

Anything else? A guy in my club has the 32mm UO MK80 and our club has a 31 Nagler, so as soon as the weather breaks I plan to make a comparison between them. The UO is half the price and my man reports good performance in his f/5 Portaball. But until then, I want to see if the list needs to get bigger.

All inputs are encouraged and welcome.

Clear skies,

Tom

January 24, 2004 08:46 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Catseye Collimation System

Posted By Tom Hole

Hello,

A while back, I ordered the new 2" Black Cat and Infinity Autocollimator from Jim Fly:

http://home.earthlink.net/~flyj/ceyeflr1.html

I'm a huge fan of the balrowed laser but had read a few recommendations that the Catseye and Autocollimator are a great way to align a newt.

Got a note today that my order was ready to ship. I had forgotten that I ordered these.

Anyone using this system? Any thoughts?

Clear skies,

Tom