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Posts Made By: Jerry Mason

January 31, 2007 09:04 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Laser Collimator Dot Shape

Posted By Jerry Mason

Hello All,

Well, my LaserMate came back today and I took a look to see what was wrong. Right after sending off a refund I popped the thing into my 8" f6 Newtonian and took a few shots.

Attached are some quick images. What's the consensus? Is this a working tool? I kinda feel it is. I certainly do not see "3-4 points of light making a tight circle" when the laser is pointed at a wall 5' away.

Thanks for all your input so far.


February 20, 2007 09:21 AM Forum: Landscape Photography

Death Valley -- Presidents Day weekend

Posted By Jerry Mason

But on Sunday night it snowed in the mountains and rained in the valley. Here's a shot of the dunes after a flash flood.


March 14, 2007 09:57 PM Forum: Refractors

Collimating a Meade 102 Ed refractor

Posted By Jerry Mason


Rolondo is right, you do need to be very careful and probably shouldn't even attempt this.

When my 102ED came from the Meade factory it was perfectly collimated however my first trip taking it on a washboard road to a dark sky site bounced it out of alignment.

I experimented, slowly and carefully, with the push pull screws on the front of the lens cell and that helped a bit but eventually the concentric rings seemed to just migrate around without ever centering perfectly.

I found that there are three additional holes on the side of the lens cell. Each hole has two allen screws nested inside (6 screws total). These screws actually center one of the two elements in front of the other. Now I suggest you not do this... but I removed the outer screws and made a few tiny turns on the inside screws while viewing a focused star at very high power. I'm talking "tiny" fractions of turns. I made sure to loosen an opposite screw so not to bind and accidentally crack a lens. As I remember one of these inner screws had worked its way out quite a bit and it turned easily for quite a ways before meeting any resistance.

It took about a half an hour but I did get my nice tight airy disks back. I replaced the outer allen screws (I think these function to retain the position of the inner screws) and haven't had an alignment problem since. This was more than a year ago and lots of desert washboard roads.


April 28, 2007 06:22 PM Forum: Landscape Photography

Big Trees -- Sequoia National Park -- Doggy Parad

Posted By Jerry Mason

Here's a shot looking back down the trail that takes you past Crescent Meadow.


May 2, 2007 10:07 AM Forum: Eyepieces

EPs, you got to love em!

Posted By Jerry Mason


Mine are kept in a Pelican 1700 case with their caps on.

I cut spaces in the foam for mine.

I clean sparingly (only when really necessary) and keep the caps in place. If I walk away from my Mak or refractor, even for a few minutes, I cover the objective and cap the field lens of any inserted eyepiece. Funny though, I leave my Newts open all night unless it is dewy or dusty. I guess I am super comfortable cleaning my mirrors but less so a meniscus corrector or refractor lens (even though the latter may actually be more durable).

When cleaning I use a blast of air first then a fine brush. To get off eyelash oil I will use a puff of hot breath (i'm full of it) and a lens cleaning tissue. If that doesn't work I have a small spray bottle of camera lens cleaner which I apply to the tissue.

When observing during the night I take out and uncap only the eyepiece(s) in use. If not in use they are capped and back in the case.

Security? I keep pretty close to them at all times. If I call it a night then the eyepieces go back in the case and the case goes back in the truck.


May 4, 2007 07:23 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Deep Sky

Photoshop question

Posted By Jerry Mason

I've gotta run out this morning but wanted to add two more checks for you before I left.

I work on a Mac so things might be a little different but try checking:

1. Advanced color settings. Do you have your monitor desaturated check box checked? Or some unusual color profile selected?

2. This is more likely. Under your "View" pull down you will have a "Proof Setup". make sure it is set up to a standard RGB or CMYK setting. You may have mistakenly selected a pantone, spot or custom color space.


May 10, 2007 04:50 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Defective Meade

Posted By Jerry Mason

Hi John,

I have the same scope and just love it so I'm really sorry to hear your story. I don't think you were dumb for buying a Meade (especially this particular refractor -- they generally are a solid value) and you certainly weren't dumb for buying from a fellow Astromarter (we have a great group of people here). However what wasn't smart, and I know you know this, was waiting so long to determine you had bought a defective telescope. It's up to us all to inspect anything we buy here right away and to be as candid with each other as possible when we do find something substantial that is not right.

As sad as this is it is a good lesson to us all.

I'm actually amazed Meade agreed to service it. Especially since they have sold off all their inventory and might not even employ the same technicians that originally assembled this line of scope. And I doubt you can have a master optician repair it for a reasonable cost. I cringe to think of Roland's response if you asked him (he's so busy with all those expensive APOs people are lining up waiting for).

It's very unlikely but you could post an ad here and perhaps someone has trashed their tube and might sell you their optics. Or someone may want to buy your scope for the parts. I guess if the flairing is bad enough you could do what Jon Isaacs did and replace the objective with a 102 mm f9 achromat.

Again, I'm very sorry to hear about the bad news.


May 29, 2007 06:59 AM Forum: Off Topic Discussions

Alligators & Stupid People

Posted By Jerry Mason

What was that word again? Oh yeah, "KRIKEY!"

Isn't that all I need to say before jumping into a swamp and wrestling an aligator just to get a closer look? Or is my red neck showing again? grin

August 13, 2007 08:17 AM Forum: Eyepieces

Good widefield eyepiece for 8" f/5

Posted By Jerry Mason


I finally had a chance to spend the night scanning Sagittarius through Cygnus with my DS-16 (f4.5) and a 31mm Nagler T5 this weekend and was blown away with the combination. The view was absolutely full of tiny points of light with light and dark nebula and globular cluster, seemingly, superimposed above them. A very 3 dimensional effect. I remember the stars looking like salt spilled on black marble and being surprised they were little points right out to the edge. There was no impulse to try to refocus for them.

I've used this eyepiece over the last 6 months with an 8" f6 and have been very pleased with its edge correction but I expected coma to be a problem in the 16" f4.5 -- it wasn't.

Since the 31 is really large (not as heavy as my 20mm T2 tho) how about the 26mm T5?


August 16, 2007 09:46 AM Forum: After Dark

Night encounters?

Posted By Jerry Mason

Ken Edwards said:
So… have you ever been doing a observing session, at a relatively isolated location, and “heard “ things?

Almost every time I go out it's to a remote location and I'm usually visited by coyotes, raccoons, bats ants and worse... mosquitos.

A few years back my wife and I wanted a quick astronomy night out, someplace closer to home than my usual desert/mountain locations. So, we did something I hardly ever do -- we went to a campground. We back up to the Cleveland National Forest and on top of our little Saddleback Mountain is BlueJay campground. BlueJay straddles the border of Orange County and Riverside County here in Southern California.

The campground was less than 1/4 full so we thought it wouldn't be so bad but sometime after 10pm some idiots thought it would be fun to drive at high speeds around the windy campground roads and throw beer bottles and shout obscenities out their window. Of course they eventually spun out one too many times and slammed their rear end into some rocks on the curve next to us. Angry at everyone in the campsite for their error they jumped out yelling into the dark that we should all shut up or they were going to "F-ing Kill Us". I looked at my wife then got up to load a .22 auto trail gun we keep for camping emergencies. Loaded weapons, even such little things, were not permitted in this campground. We sat in the dark for two hours listening to them banging on their car and cussing until finally they put it back into driving condition and limped away on a wobbly rim. It was impossible not to laugh.

20 minutes later the police arrived. They saw us in the dark and pulled over to chat with us. As soon as they drove up I went to put the gun away but they called out that they wanted to talk so I turned around to meet them. There I stood in the middle of a clearing on a hot summer night with no place to hide the little plinker. The best I could do was to hold it in the same hand as my six cell MagLite. After a pleasant 10 minute chat they drove away to look for the idiots in the car. I'm sure that even in the dark they saw what I was holding and I know I was lucky that I did not get arrested.

Needless to say, we're back to the wilderness. I much prefer the company of coyotes and mountain lions. And if I ever go back to campground camping I'm bringing the .45.