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Posts Made By: Theodore Smith

May 1, 2003 09:58 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Re: Head for my N.E.T.

Posted By Theodore Smith

Check out the Bogen 410 Mini Geared Head. It has slow motion control knobs for 3 axis control or you can release the clutches to slew the scope to where you want to look. This item is robust enough to support a Celestron C5 OTA without the jiggles.

June 19, 2003 01:06 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Vehicle Recommendations

Posted By Theodore Smith

Have had 2 Escort wagons and one Caravan since I got into this hobby. I could get everything I wanted to carry into the Escorts, but the Caravan does it with more room left over, and I can even sleep in it if I need to. I vote for the minivan.

September 9, 2003 11:39 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Best telescope ever?

Posted By Theodore Smith

From your experience, what would you say is (or was) the best telescope ever made?

From "my (own) experience," meaning that which I have actually experienced, it would have to be the Criterion RV6 I have owned for the last 2 years: the optics are truly amazing. It absolutely kills refractors costing many times as much. My second choice would be a Celestron C5 which IMHO is a tour de force package of portability, optical competence and versatility.

September 10, 2003 12:22 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Most disappointing telescope purchase.

Posted By Theodore Smith

An Orion 80mm f/5; at the time I bought this I was a newbie so I had inflated expectations of what it should do. I couldn't push it over 80X or so because it "fuzzed out"; couldn't sell it fast enough, and then I did some poking around and wound up with a Criterion RV6, which had a very small and hard for me to use finderscope. Guess what works really well as a finderscope: an 80mm f/5 refractor operating at about 12X. Of course now I've figured out that I can run that up to about 50X and get some nice wide views, then let the longer focal length newt take over.....

September 14, 2003 12:41 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Astonished & Disappointed - Please Comment

Posted By Theodore Smith

My first "real" telescope was an Orion 80 mm refractor with a focal length of 400 mm; not very large or capable of taking high magnifications, but boy did I have some high expectations for it. I was gonna see galazxies in all their splendor and colorful planetary nebulae etc.....So one night I went hunting for the Ring Nebula. It's that smoke ring that according to all the photographs is large and bright and just FULL of color. And I found it. I could barely see it: a very small gray very faint fuzzy patch that I really had to work hard to see. But the point is, that I found it, without help from a computer or from someone else pushing the scope around, and that gives me a great deal of satisfaction. I now have a six inch scope which makes the Ring Nebule looks slightly more significant: a faint grey smoke ring. Nothing like the photographs. But there are other pursuits that fall under the heading of Amateur Astronomy. Take multiple stars, for instance. You can do double stars with a rather modest scope; just a few hundred bucks for 6 inch reflector or 4 inch f10 achromat or an 8 inch dob, and you're in business: point your scope at Epsilon Lyrae, which to the naked eye looks like one star, and if you push the magnification up to 100X or so your reward is 4 stars. Or split Alberio: you get a beautiful gold and blue pair of stars. Or Mizar: 3 stars for the price of one.

September 14, 2003 12:59 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Astronomy Sages Thankyou for your replys!

Posted By Theodore Smith

Gary: your proposed scope sounds like a real nice item. But please just stop a minute and think about this: it might be real fun to set up the first time. Or the second. Or the 8th. But what about the 25th time? I am not the originator of this statement: the best scope is the one that gets used the most. For me, the thought of getting 125 pounds of metal, electronics and glass out the door and onto the driveway is more than I would want to do at this point. For me it's a lot of running back and forth and up and down stairs and squeezing through narrow doors and maneuvering around tricky corners, and getting 125 pounds of scope plus eyepieces outside probably wouldn't happen very often. A C5 on a photo tripod is just about right; I do the 6 inch reflector on the eq mount when I am going to make a night of it. Maybe you're one of those fortunate people who have a secure garage to park your scope in so you can just wheel it out onto the driveway. Just a thought.

October 7, 2003 01:51 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

The SKY POCKET Vs DSC Computer

Posted By Theodore Smith

Go for the Pocket PC version of The Sky. It does lots more than a DSC system will: browse through DSO's on cloudy nights, shows moon phases, identifies DSO's and stars, etc etc.....oh yeah, if you have the right interface it will also steer your scope, just like a DSC system. Clear skies, Ted

June 20, 2004 12:20 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Stupid Question

Posted By Theodore Smith

Not a stupid question; the answer is that the 114EQ is a Newtonian reflector design in which the light enters the tube, is reflected off a parabolic mirror at the bottom of the tube, diverted off to the side with a diagonal mirror at the top of the tube and focused on the eyepiece. The Nexstar 114 does essentially the same thing in a shorter tube but the focal length is increased by a Barlow lens built into the optical path where the light hits the secondary mirror. Because there are fewer glass surfaces in the light path and light is not refracted through lenses in the 114EQ optical tube you will get clearer and more finely focused and detailed images with the 114EQ. There are also fewer optical elements to get out of alignment. The size of the primary mirror is the same so the resolution (or the separation you can see between 2 close objects) should be the same.

June 26, 2004 12:27 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Digital Camera Question????

Posted By Theodore Smith


Go to (Digital Photography reviews) and browse around....Besides the Canon Digital Rebel you might look at the Nikon D70; for more money check out the Nikon D100 and the Canon D10; for cameras that you can't change the lenses and must be hooked up to the scope with a lens adaptor look at the Nikon Coolpix 5700, 8700, 5400 and the Olympus C8080WZ; this site has a lot of good information. I am doing the same research. The pick of the litter IMHO, if there was a T-ring available, would be the Olympus E-1 DSLR, which I might get anyway because of the build quality (magnesium alloy body, body and lenses are sealed so as to be proof against moisture and dust; none of the others are) and the quality of the pictures right out of the camera without messing around with them in Photoshop (lots of grousing about the Canons in this regards). Good luck. Ted

October 15, 2004 04:48 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Collimators - one more time

Posted By Theodore Smith

I have the Tectron set; it even comes with a booklet describing the collimation process in detail; I think the set is worth the price and yes, you can get the pieces separately.