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The Eagle Nebula from the Copernicus Observatory in SW Utah

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Posts Made By: Paul Atkinson

April 2, 2004 04:17 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Here's How to Properly Insure Your Equipment

Posted By Paul Atkinson

In addition to AstroPro Products, I own an independent insurance agency representing companies like Hartford, CNA, Hanover, Travelers, etc... I have seen some posts recently on this subject. In addition, at star parties or elsewhere many people ask me how best for them to cover their equipment.

The first thing to remember is that in each state the way coverage is afforded on a homeowners policy can be a little different. However, generally, the meat and potatoes of the policy and how they work will remain the same. The best way to cover your equipment is on what is called an "Inland Marine" schedule. Some call them "Property Floaters." This is an addendum coverage to your homeowners policy and is very specific in nature. Each item you want covered must be individually listed with value and where possible a serial number provided. Most companies don't have a "telescope" schedule so they will likely place it as Camera Equipment. The way the coverage is afforded is the same regardless of what they call it and you can schedule anything that pertains such as mounts, eyepieces, filters, electronics, etc. A floater will cover things like "mysterious disappearance" or "breakage" and (if you let them know that you travel with it) "property in transit." That's right. If your 4 year old knocks over your $5000 refractor and tripod (breakage), it's covered. If you have your telescope out on your driveway and go in the house to use the bathroom and come back 10 minutes later and it's gone (mysterious disappearance), it's covered. If it includes transit coverage and you get in a car wreck and your telescope is broken, or if it is broken or disappears at a star party, it's covered. In most cases Floaters are not subject to a deductible if there is a loss.

If you are relying on your homeowners policy to cover your equipment that is probably a mistake. A lot of companies will not consider "high value" telescope equipment as standard contents. In other words, they may not look at it the same way they look at your furniture, clothes, television. Most homeowners policies have a set limit for specialized property (or in this case, telescopes). The average in FL is $2500. You would be subject to your policy deductible. A homeowners policy will not TYPICALLY cover breakage or mysterious disappearance. If you go to star parties the coverage might be even more restrictive since it would be considered property in transit and is off your covered premise. Typical property in transit coverage is a very minimal amount as they don't expect people to be driving around with all their homeowners possessions in their car.

In the end you need to talk to your agent and make sure they know exactly what you have and what you do with it. Discuss the options on your policy and how best to cover every contingent loss scenario.

Paul Atkinson

May 10, 2004 02:00 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

How do other AM users post their ads?

Posted By Paul Atkinson

I am just curious how other AM users place their "For Sale" and "Wanted" ads. Usually, when I need something, (before I post a wanted ad) I do a search and see if what I want is already posted. If not, I will place an ad for the item I am looking for. When I am selling something, I also do a search to see if anyone is looking for what I have to offer. If there is, I will email them and see if they are interested. I have posted several wanted ads over the last few weeks (years actually) only to see the item I needed posted the next day. However, 99% of the time it is already sold when I contact the person. Am I the only person that takes time to check first? I know this is nothing new but sometimes it just baffles me. As a vendor I pay for every ad I run, even personal. It seems like such a waste when it appears very few people take the time to look at what's already posted before they just jump on and place their "For Sale" or "Wanted" ads.

Paul Atkinson

May 14, 2004 12:28 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Ughhh... Talk about FRUSTRATING....

Posted By Paul Atkinson

Okay... I know I posted on this already a few days ago. However, I can only start to laugh. I clearly have an ad marked in the Diagonal section "Wanted - 2" Williams Optics New Gen Diagonal...." So what happens. Somebody posts one for sale about 10 ads above mine. It had to be after 10 EST as I checked AM right before bed. Come in this morning and it is posted and sold already. I know it sounds like moaning and groaning... but the fact that people don't search for things they want or to see if there is someone who needs their item before posting is frustrating. This happens ALL the time in every category. I know I am not the only one who has faced this debacle. Ah, such is life... another $4 come and gone. I think I will just buy one at full price from Anacortes. So now I have spent $16 in wanted ads and no diagonal. After all my $4 ad's it will be cheaper then posting 10 more wanted ads and waiting to be in the right place at the right time.

May 15, 2004 11:44 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

WO Synta Replament Focuser

Posted By Paul Atkinson

Does anyone know if this focuser will fit the Orion ST120 or Skyview F/8 120mm models? Is any sort of adapter needed?

Paul Atkinson

May 21, 2004 05:56 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Instructions for Burgess 500:1 Focuser??

Posted By Paul Atkinson

Does anyone know if there are detailed instructions with photo's available on this focuser?

Paul Atkinson

June 1, 2004 03:15 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

New Celestrron 80mm ED ?? Seen one??

Posted By Paul Atkinson

Has anyone compared the new Celestron 80mm ED Refractor to the Orion 80mm ED model? Before anyone starts saying they are the same, they aren't. It is very evident from the photos on each website that they are not made by the same company. The Celestron model looks really, really good. Way better than the Orion model in my opinion. It also cost less. Anacortes has it listed at $409 vs. Orion at $499. According to the Celestron site it also comes with 25mm EP, erect image diagonal, and 6x30 finder (although Anacortes makes no mention of this). So has anyone seen or used it?

Paul Atkinson

June 4, 2004 08:22 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Hubble Telescope Update

Posted By Paul Atkinson

The New York Times, among other papers, recently published a new Hubble photograph of distant galaxies colliding. Of course, astronomers have had pictures of colliding galaxies for quite some time now, but with the vastly improved resolution provided by the Hubble Space Telescope, you can actually see lawyers rushing to the scene... grin

June 8, 2004 12:48 PM Forum: Solar System Observing

Venus Start of 3rd Contact From Sanibel, Florida

Posted By Paul Atkinson

I didn't intend to take pictures. Conditions were very hazy. However I decided to point a digital camera into my 20mm Nagler T2 EP and ST120 and got some amazing shots. Not bad considering the sun is only about 9 degrees above the horizon.

June 8, 2004 05:36 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Venus Transit - See What Even Low Cost Can Do?

Posted By Paul Atkinson

I am lucky enough to live in beautiful SW Florida where I was able to view the last hour of the transit. 8) I used a modified ST120 f/6, Nagler 20mm Type II, and an Orion Solar Filter. On a whim I took my digital camera and held it up to the EP and took some surprisingly good shots. I have attached a photo of 3rd contact and the "black drop" effect in natural unprocessed light. Considering this is nothing but a 2MP digital camera held up the EP I am quite pleased. Just goes to show you that even low cost equipment can still provide wonderful astronomy. wink

Paul Atkinson

June 22, 2004 04:36 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Help with Mount - Binocular Adapter

Posted By Paul Atkinson

I recently came upon a very nice pair of 25x100 binoculars. 8) Obviously, they need something to hold them and they have the 1/4" 20 thread adapter. My question is this; I have a Orion Astroview deluxe mount, is there some sort of adapter or aftermarket add on that would allow me to use that mount with the bino's?

Paul Atkinson