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Posts Made By: Herbert Kraus

August 4, 2009 12:09 PM Forum: Eyepieces

Eyepiece starters for a 8" SCT

Posted By Herbert Kraus

John Basham said:I'm looking at getting a 8" CPC or SE Celestron. Can someone point me towards some affordable eyepieces and sizes.
One word of caution: Some have advised you to go for 2" eyepieces. Before you do that, make sure the SCT you are getting can handle a 2" diagonal without smashing the eyepiece into the telescope's base every time you try to look at something that is closer to the zenith than about 60ยบ altitude.

January 5, 2010 05:03 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Advice on Quesar Telescope Wanted

Posted By Herbert Kraus

I own several telescopes, none of them the "high end" commercial models that people spend several thousand dollars for. My 40-year old Questar is far and away the best made telescope I have, with superlative mechanical and optical qualities, and is superior in several respects to the expensive refractors I've seen. Its only limitation is an aperture of only 3.5 inches.
Questar also makes a 7-inch model. Check to see if that's the one you have. Its resale value should be correspondigly greater.
If your old Questar is a 3.5-inch model that has been maintained in reasonable working order, it can be sent to the Questar factory in New Hope, PA, for a full reconditioning that costs about $600. A flawless old 3.5-inch Questar should fetch at least $2,000 in the resale market.

January 12, 2010 08:03 AM Forum: ASTRONOMY

Identifying Constellations & 1st Magnitude stars

Posted By Herbert Kraus

Ron Oehlert said:In these nights of GOTO 'scopes, I was wondering if anyone still could, from a glance at the sky & without the aid of a chart, identify the Constellations & 1st Magnitude stars visible tonight or on any given night.
Where I live the problem isn't identifying the constellations and all the 1st magnitude stars -- which I too have known for many decades -- but, even on clear moonless nights, seeing any stars other than 1st magnitude or any but the brightest constellations. Under the light-polluted skies where most Americans now live, the GO-TO scopes are very helpful.
I notice that at my club's public star parties, where most of my non-GO-TO colleagues show Jupiter or Saturn or Mars or Venus or the moon, plus an occasional glance at one of the brighter doubles, while I can also show open or globular clusters, etc.

May 21, 2010 08:23 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

What's it called?

Posted By Herbert Kraus

Thomas Holst said:What is the correct name for the flip-lever screw that allows you to tighten a TeleVue clamshell?
A similar device on another company's clamshell ring, which is a knob without the lever, is referred to as the "adjustment knob."

July 18, 2010 05:24 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

"C14 is a Small Scope" (The Movie)

Posted By Herbert Kraus

Gteg Nowell: I enjoyed watching your film and commend you for the effort you put into it to make your point for our community of amateur stargazers.
But I remain unconvinced: Celestron indicates that the C-14 OTA weighs 45 lbs. which a reasonably healthy adult male, not yet in his dotage, may be able to manipulate with some effort, as your film proved, but not all of us fit within that category. And once you have transported the OTA to your observing site you wouldn't expect to find one or more mounts awaiting you, as in your film; you must bring your mount with you. It won't also fit in your sedan's passenger seat on which you placed the OTA. And some significant effort will be required to set it up, before you even get to the OTA. The Celestron CGE Pro computerized mount weighs 154 lbs., and some such weight would be expected of any German equatorial mount capable of handling a 45 lb. OTA and related equipment (including counterweights).
I'll stick with more modestly sized telescopes. Good luck and clear skies to you.

August 5, 2010 09:10 AM Forum: ASTRONOMY

Bad Astronomy?

Posted By Herbert Kraus

Steve: I think Phil Platt's response to you is correct. If you wanted to "chase the moon's shadow" across the earth to prolong the time of the total solar eclipse, you would have to take into account not just the moon's orbit, but also the earth's rotation and the earth's orbit.
Imagine that the moon is in a perfectly synchronous orbit, like some artificial satellites are, and is permanently positioned above a specific location on the earth's surface. Then imagine that the earth's rotation and its orbit bring that location to where the sun slides precisely behind the moon, causing a total solar eclipse at that location. The earth's rotation, and to a much lesser extent its orbit, would quickly end that eclipse. And the next day when the earth's rotation again brings the sun to the geographical longitude of that location, the earth's orbital motion will have brought the sun somewhat above or below that latitude; you would have to wait a year before the next total solar eclipse at this location even though the moon remains constantly directly above that longitude and latitude.

August 9, 2010 08:32 AM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

bright NGC this month??

Posted By Herbert Kraus

John Meiners said:Any ideas for viewing some interesting NGC objects
Dave Mitsky no longer posts his monthly lists, but you will find his list of deep-sky objects for August in his Astromart message # 672460 posted on August 1, 2009. It contains lots and lots of NGC objects that are currently in our skies!

September 4, 2010 09:26 AM Forum: Eyepieces

9 Mil Shootout at Dusk

Posted By Herbert Kraus

Rod Kaufman said:Tonight's gunfight:Target: Jupiter
You're going to lose your "Shootout at Dusk," because dusk occurs at or shortly after sunset and your "target" will be below the eastern horizon and won't be within range until about 2 hours later. Sorry. smile

December 7, 2010 08:47 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Request for Advice on Questar 3.5

Posted By Herbert Kraus

Crystal: I would not presume to tell you what the "value" of your Questar might be, but I still have and use the 3.5-inch 1969 Questar that I bought when it was new, and the following information might he helpful:
1. Your serial number indicates that yours is a 1971 model, but it does not have the broad-band coatings and its mirror is not of the higher grade quality of glass that some Questars have.
2. Two years ago, I sold a 1971 3.5-inch Questar on Astromart, and I received the asking price. For details, see ad #579645 posted on August 12, 2008.
3. I am skeptical about the $1,900 upgrade you mention, but the standard Questar servicing that you are apparently obtaining is advisable for the older models, even though not inexpensive.
4. Astromart has a separate forum for "Questar and Quantum" telescopes where your inquiry might receive more knowledgeable attention.
Herbert Kraus

December 10, 2010 08:56 AM Forum: Mounts

Equatorial mounts

Posted By Herbert Kraus

James: You made it clear at the outset that yours is an equatorial, not an alt-az mount. But it might help obtain the specific directions you asked for if you identified the make and model of your mount.
For example, I have a German Equatorial Mount for which one can obtain an optional accessory that makes an adjustment for the fact that Polaris is very slightly away from the celestial north pole (about 42 arcminutes) when using Polaris for polar alignment.
For greater precision in polar alignment, it may also be desirable to make sure your telescope's optical tube is mounted to sit absolutely parallel to the mount's right ascension axis, as nearly as possible, and some manufacturers have instructions about steps you can take to achieve that.