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Posts Made By: Mark Rice

June 5, 2003 05:26 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Wanted: Reviews on Celestron X-Cel Eyepieces

Posted By Mark Rice

Hi Peter,
After trying the Epic ED-2 ep's from Orion, I got a couple of the XCEL's and they appear to be optically identical. I suspect that the barrels might be a different material as the XCEL's seem to be a bit lighter in weight.
I disassembled one and found it to be fully multicoated, edge blackened elements, well made, though not in the same league as TV (the 18mm had a loose barlow).
I've been using the 18 and 12.5 on my 8" SCT for about a month and I'm pretty impressed. Color is neutral and contrast is high. Minor ghosting on Jupiter but very sharp. Great on DSO's (lots of detail). I just got a 5mm but haven't used it yet.

July 15, 2003 03:09 PM Forum: Celestron

Best Balance System For Celestron C8 (Help)

Posted By Mark Rice

Howdy, John.
That looks like a tricky rig to balance. You might think about adding some weights to the bottom of the right fork arm as well to balance that finder scope. It'll save your gears and clutches and might improve tracking. sells a number of balance accessories and kits for SCT's.

Good hunting

August 5, 2003 09:07 PM Forum: Eyepieces

Experience with Orion Epic ED-2?

Posted By Mark Rice

Don't know if this will help, but I've been using the Epics and the XCEL's (they do appear to be identical) from 25mm to 5mm for several months on a 8"/f10 SCT. The only trouble I had with blackouts was when I barlowed. Sold the barlow and finished out the set. No ghosting, great contrast, sharp. On really bright planets you will see a reflection of your own eye/pupil due to the size and curvature of the lens ( it's eliminated when I center the object). I tried the Expanse set and returned it due field curvature and radial distortion. I think they may be intended for much faster scopes.

April 2, 2004 02:40 AM Forum: Pictures of Me and My Telescope and........

First light

Posted By Mark Rice

Fine lookin' scope you got there, Greg!
My solution to the seating issue is a pneumatic drummer's throne. It's got about 9" of stroke which seems to be plenty

May 27, 2004 06:34 PM Forum: Eyepieces

GSO 50mm 2inch Super View

Posted By Mark Rice

I've just purchased the 42mm version (Arcturis brand) and got some great views at TSP last week with a SCT f10 and f6 refractor. The 50mm had a "tunnel effect" similar to a 40mm plossl so I opted for the wider field of the 42. Very nice eyepiece.

June 30, 2004 09:29 PM Forum: Eyepieces

Older EP Designs

Posted By Mark Rice

Kirk, have you considered the Orion Epic ED-2 (or Celestron XCEL) design? 20mm uniform eye relief and darn near parfocal. They're cheaper than premium plossl's and perform very well in all my scopes. I've also got a nice pair of Seibert 24 Ultras for my binoviewer that are pretty nice, too. The limiting factor in FOV is that pesky 1.25" barrel. That's why the 40mm Plossl ep's have a narrow fov than the 32's. The relief on a 32mm plossl is pretty generous and your f6.3 reduce will let you get a pretty good chunk of sky. To really get a wide angle view with your 8", you'll need to go to 2" optics. With a 42mm GSO eyepiece and a 6.3 reducer I can get my 8" f10 SCT down to about 30x(!) and that's with around 70 deg fov.

July 23, 2004 01:24 PM Forum: Equipment Talk


Posted By Mark Rice

Check out McMaster-Carr in Chicago. They sell aluminum sheet and flat bar retail for hobbyist and prototype applications.

August 19, 2004 06:39 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Antares/ScopeStuff Laser Collimator Opinions

Posted By Mark Rice

Hey Allen - I've got one from Scopestuff. It does just what it's supposed to. One consideration, though - the target is perpendicular to the beam which makes it hard to use by yourself. The units with the 45 deg tilted target are probably easier (unless somebody knows a trick) wink

September 1, 2004 04:04 PM Forum: Binoviewers

Hesitant to ask, but here goes....

Posted By Mark Rice

Joe, like you I've been hanging out here and just enjoying the fireworks wink I got into binoviewing to minimize artifacts from lens implants. It works, too. Sounds like you'll need the individual focusers whichever way you elect to go. I've got a Black Knight with a pair of 24mm eyepieces from Harry S. that I use with a Celestron Ultima SCT.
The views are impressive.

February 12, 2005 04:50 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Does anyone re-coat lenses?

Posted By Mark Rice

Bill, try Edmund Industrial Optics.