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Posts Made By: Jerry Mason

January 28, 2004 08:43 AM Forum: Celestron

Celestron Tech Support is MIA in 2004

Posted By Jerry Mason

I must be doing something Very wrong. Since January 9th, 2004 I've sent Celestron numerous requests for technical help regarding my Nextstar hand controller unit. Three detailed e-mails were sent and four messages have been left on their tech support line.

It's now January 28, 2004 (nineteen days have passed since my first tech help request) and I have yet to speak to a live person or to even get an e-mail confirmation that any of my correspondence has been received.

Does anybody know if this is typical of Celestron service? Is this possibly due to their recent corporate restructuring? This is my first experience with their customer service departments. Right now I'm thinking it may be my last.

February 6, 2004 08:18 PM Forum: Lost Contacts and Personal Messages

Disapearing AD

Posted By Jerry Mason

Hello, I was wondering if I could find some advice here.

Today I responded to an ad for a Meade 8.8 Ultra Wide eyepiece. The ad's number was #247324 and was placed by an astromart user name Mike Obrien. He had a five star rating. Anyway Mike called me tonight and we agreed that I would send a money order his way for the eyepiece tomorrow. A few minutes ago I went back to find his ad and now I can find no trace of it except in my browsers cache. Doing a search for ad #247324 comes up empty as does a search for the User name "Mike Obrien". It's as if the ad and the user never existed. I don't have a lot of experience buying used equipment so am not sure what to think of this. Should I be concerned?

Any advice you can give is greatly appreciated!

Thank you!

Jerry Mason

March 9, 2004 08:05 PM Forum: Eyepieces

Meade 8.8 Ultra Wide set screw

Posted By Jerry Mason

Does anybody know what the purpose of the set screw on a Meade 8.8 Ultrawide eyepiece is?

Is this a really silly question?

It seems to me that if you remove the set screw and unscrew the 1 1/4" barrell you also remove a lens group and the field stop.

Why would Meade make this easily removable? What am I missing?

Thanks for your help!


February 1, 2005 04:44 PM Forum: Digital SLR AstroPhotography

D100 and M42

Posted By Jerry Mason

Hello all,

Just wanted to post a super short exposure of M42 taken with a Nikon D100 through my venerable Meade 8" 826c reflector (25+ years old).

This shot was taken at prime focus (f/6 - 1200mm). The exposure was 30 seconds at ISO 640. And the image has been reduced 33% to make it quicker to download.

It's great that these new cameras can breathe new life into old equipment!

Clear skies!


July 20, 2005 11:29 AM Forum: After Dark

Re: Green Laser Pointers

Posted By Jerry Mason

Greetings all!

I've been following this thread intently and before a few weeks ago I really had no opinion regarding GLP's but after my last outing, and all the stories I have read here, I'm compelled to tell you about my recent experience with them.

On the big comet Tempel 1 crash weekend I had made arrangements to meet another Astromarter in Barstow so that I could buy a large equatorial mount from him. While I was there anyway I thought I would stay in the area and observe from a local BLM park name Rainbow Basin.

On Saturday, July 2nd, I spent the night alone with the coyotes and Joshua trees and except for the skyglow from Barstow (7 miles away) and my weak red penlight it was a fairly dark site.

On Sunday my friend joined me and as we waited for twighlight to end about 8 vehicles from an astronomy club in San Bernardino drove in. Apparently I had set up in their secondary observing site.

Once it got dark I pointed my little 8" newt over at comet Tempel 1 and began observing. Unfortunately it wasn't an easy target to find and I soon had people lining up to catch a look and get their bearings. I was taken aback when one fellah pulled out his green laser and actually pointed it into my eyepiece and through my optical train. "Well, that's an interesting way to do it" I thought. Once I had regained my scope I went right back to observing the comet only to see these bright streaks of light glancing in and out of the field of view. My first thought was meteor or maybe I had gotten too close to Spica and was seeing some internal reflections. Confused, I asked my friend if he had seen them too. He sighed, and said "it's those lasers". I looked up to see three or more green laser beams from the field of scopes to my left -- all flashing and pointing to the middle of Virgo. Back at the eyepiece and closer to impact time some of these flashes were thin and bright, some were thick and faint, yes, all were brief, lasting only a fraction of a second or two but boy did they make it hard to concentrate on this very faint object.

After impact time I stepped away from the eyepiece to look at the sky above and behind me and remember making the observation "My gosh, it looks like a friggin Star Wars movie" as the GLPs were now freely roaming the sky and their owners were on to new object to observe.

To cap off the night, after all but one San Bernardino club member had packed up and left, my buddy noticed one of those bright, slow moving objects. He asked me what I thought it was and I suggested a high flying plane. At that very moment the last remaining club member walked over, switched on his laser, pointed it up at the object and said "d'ya see that?!"

Yeah, I realize he could never have brought it down with his tiny beam but "man!". What goes through a persons mind sometimes is just beyond me.

Again, this is all just my 2 cents.

Clear and dark skies!!!


August 3, 2005 09:21 PM Forum: Astro Binoculars

New Oberwerk 15x70s HELP!

Posted By Jerry Mason

Hello everybody!

I unpacked a brand new pair of Oberwerk 15x70s today and took them outside tonight. I'm a little disappointed as I've just came back in after trying to get a clean focus on Jupiter. I can tell I'm seeing a disk but it just never comes to a clean focus.

If I put the lens cap on the right objective and focus for only the left side I get a disk with coma flaring to the top right. At 2 o'clock I see a red tail and at five o'clock there is a blue tail. When I cover the left objective and focus for the right side the flares go off to the upper left. When both objectives are open with flares going left and right it's just not what I was hoping to get.

What I am wondering is; am I expecting too much from a pair of $150 binoculars? Is this level of coma in the center of the field of view typical and if I had bought another brand in the same price range would I see the same results?

For the last 20 years I've used a pair of hand held 10x50s and this is my first pair of tripod mounted "biggish" binos (so I'm not sure what I should expect).

I hope some of you can help me with an opinion or two before I decide to pack these up and send them back.

Clear skies!


February 25, 2006 05:52 PM Forum: Landscape Photography

Monet meets the Badlands.

Posted By Jerry Mason

I spent Friday night observing from Fonts Point at the top of the Anza Borrego Badlands and had wonderfully clear skies. In the morning I turned the camera down below to shoot what I expected to be the typical blazing orange and violet rilles but was surprised to find a subdued and muted vista instead. So much "atmosphere" had built up just before dawn that it reminded me of something Claude Monet may have painted.

Hope everyone is enjoying this minimal moon weekend!


May 11, 2006 04:20 PM Forum: Eyepieces

Re: What are your 3 most used eyepieces?

Posted By Jerry Mason

Like many it really depends on what I am planning to look at but since I live in the Southern California suburbs I usually pull a scope out of the garage to look at the planets. New moon weekends with good weather will get me out to dark skies but at best this is only once a month or less.

So on an average night I'll be very happy sitting and watching Jupiter, Saturn or Mars with my 8" f6 Newt:
1. Meade 4000 8.8mm and 2x barlow
2. 4.8mm Nagler
3. 3.7 Orion Epic ED (Recently sold it and now am looking for a 3mm Radian)

Under dark skies with my 16" f4.5 Newt I use mostly:
1. 20mm Nagler T2
2. Meade 4000 14mm
3. Meade 4000 8.8mm


July 2, 2006 12:09 PM Forum: Telescope Making

16" Tube/Truss Advice Needed

Posted By Jerry Mason

I have a feasability/weight question that I bet someone here might have some insight on.

I spent last night evaluating a brand spanking new Meade UHTC 7" Mak against my ancient 8" 826 and have come to the conclusion that Newtonian optics are just hard to beat. Extrapolating on this experience I'm thinking about abandoning my plans of replacing my big DS-16 equatorial with a 12" or 14" LX200R -- and instead converting it to a tube/truss hybrid.

The 16" really packs up my Tahoe when I want to take my girls out camping and it is impossible for me to rotate alone once my fellow campers (my poor wife) have gone to sleep.

I don't know and so am asking here; would I be saving much weight if I cut away the top half of my 66" long, 19" diameter, thick walled, sonotube and replaced it with a dob upper cage and short truss tubes? Or is this a pipe dream? (Pun intended.) I know It would be much easier for me to rotate alone as I would be able to grab both the bottom of the scope and lip of the shortened tube and of course it would fit much easier in my truck once cut down.

Would I be adding weight to gain portability or reducing it?

Any insight anyone could provide would be appreciated.

Thank you!!!


p.s. Totally converting this to a truss dob on an alt az mount is out of the question (I just prefer EQ's).

July 10, 2006 04:13 PM Forum: AstroMart FAQ

A little worried about my transaction.

Posted By Jerry Mason

I have a question regarding ad posting dates and if they can change once they are submitted.

On July 6th I saw an ad for Starry Night Pro 5.0 NIB software and responded right away. I was the 5th hit on ad #439145. I contacted the seller immediately and he sent me an e-mail address to send a PayPal payment to. I did so and he wrote me back that he had received payment and would be sending the software out the next day (Friday, July 7).

Today I did a search for that ad but there is no record of it on Astromart. Instead there is an identical ad with a posting date of 7/8/2006 (2 days later) and a different classified number #439572.

I'm wondering why this would happen and wondering if I should be worried or maybe I should relax as the time stamps on ads and Astromart ad numbers commonly change.

If you are interested in seeing the original ad, which no longer can be found on Astromart, I have posted it on my website at

I guess it's possible that this Astromarter has multiple NIB versions of the software, ya think?