Image of the day

Captured by
Richard Strouse

2024 Indianapolis Total Solar Eclipse

My Account

New to Astromart?

Register an account...

Need Help?

Posts Made By: Paul Leuba

April 5, 2004 03:42 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

TAK Tube ring on a Vixen GP?

Posted By Paul Leuba


Is anyone mounting a Takahashi tube ring on a Vixen Great Polaris mount? If so, how are you doing it?

The bolt pattern on the Tak tube ring matches the Vixen dovetail, but the dovetail is not threaded and takes a different sized bolt then that of the Tak Tube ring.


Paul Leuba

February 15, 2005 05:09 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Machine Shop

Posted By Paul Leuba


I need to have a part machined for one of my telescopes. Does anyone know of a machinist or have any experience with a machine shop that is willing to do this sort of custom work?

The complexity is rather low, in that its only a triangular plate 3/16 inches thick, each side being the same length, with three holes tapped
into it.

I seem to have struck out locally.

I was looking at AstroMart last evening before bedtime -
like every good equipment junkie should. I saw Precise Parts are a sponsor and fired off an email with a picture of the part I need to duplicate. I am waiting to hear form them.

Anyone else know of any other shop that would do this sort of thing?



July 17, 2007 04:04 AM Forum: Refractors

Vixen Fluorite - Newton's Rings

Posted By Paul Leuba

I have just acquired a cosmetically excellent condition Celestron branded Vixen Fluorite. And I noticed what appears to be Newton Rings in the Objective. See the photo below.

I have owned several of these telescopes over the years but do not recall seeing such a strong Newton Ring pattern. This pattern is visible even in low light conditions. Can anyone tell me what causes this; and is it detrimental to the view? This is an airspaced doublet with the Fluorite element uncoated and on the inside.

August 1, 2007 03:56 PM Forum: Refractors

Cleaning a Fluorite Doublet

Posted By Paul Leuba

I have a couple of Celestron C102F's that am doing head-to-head A/B comparisons. One sample of is especially dirty and I woud like to clean the outer two surfaces of the doublet objective that are exposed to the air. I am not taking the lens apart, only unscrewing the entire lens cell assembly from the tube and then cleaning the the outer two surfaces. I use the Astro-Physics optical cleaning kit:

Am I o.k. with lightly cleaning the Fluorite element? It is uncoated. Surely this had to have been cleaned when the scope was initially assembled.


August 7, 2007 05:49 PM Forum: Pictures of Me and My Telescope and........

StarMaster Oak Classic

Posted By Paul Leuba

Here is a picture of a fully restored StarMaster Oak Classic. Insome ways this one is better then new. I purchased this off of Astromart in December of 2005 and spent most of 2006 rehabbing/reworking almost everything on the telescope.

It's got a new OTA, new primary from CZ, quartz secondary, and new focuser. I completely disassembled the dob base, replaced some wood and refinished it in its entirety. I also reworked the altitide bearings adding teflon and Ebony Star. I am really happy with the final product.

Its was my first ever ATM project. And, I will say that telescopes make poor investment vehicles as I have sunk much more money into this project then I could recoup if I ever wanted to sell it.


August 15, 2007 03:40 AM Forum: Refractors

C102F - Restored

Posted By Paul Leuba

I have a fondness for these 4" Fluorite refractors imported from Vixen by Celestron and then later Orion. Twenty-one years ago an older Celestron branded version gave me some fantastic views of Saturn. At that time - 1986 - I was a senior in high school and had a a couple of 4" Newtonian's of modest quality nevertheless I thoroughly enjoyed the views. My interest in Astronomy was waning because, well, I was just out of high school and had other priorities. But the view of Saturn in that little 4" APO was spectacular and I have never forgotten it even today when my planetary scopes of choice are a restored 7" StarMaster Oak Classic and a 14.5 goto/track StarMaster dob.

In an effort to recapture those past glorious views through the 4" Vixen Fluorite, I ran a WTB ad here several weeks ago. I ended up with a couple of these blacktubed Celestron C102F's. One was in excellent condition and the other was cosmetically challenged. Optically both were really quite good with one showing a slight more SA when testing outdoors and inside using a collimated light source as an artificial star.

Looking for a project, I decided to restore, as best as I could, the scope that had the poorest cosmetics... Attached is a picture of the OTA before the rehab; all kinds of scratches,chips and faded decals etc.

September 5, 2007 03:05 AM Forum: Reflectors

My most used scopes...

Posted By Paul Leuba

I really enjoy using smaller, high quality Newtonian's. I recently finished restoring the SM Oak Classic. It's got a new tube, new focuser, new primary from CZ,and both boundary layer and cooling fans. The Portaball-8 always brings it's "A" game.

I have been comparing the views through each - both are F/5.6; The PB is an 8" scope, the oak Classic is 7.1"... Honestly, not much difference between the two.

The Tom O. platforms are highly recommended.

August 18, 2008 02:32 PM Forum: Takahashi

FS 152 - New Focuser

Posted By Paul Leuba

Here is a picture of my FS152 with new 3" FeatherTouch focuser. Its a huge improvement over stock focuser even with the the FT micro unit.

My scope is a later "NSV" model which has a shorter OTA but uses an extension tube so the scope will focus visually. In the stock configuration TAK threads a ~4" extension tube onto the back of the focuser drawtube. I wanted to do away with extension tubes so the tube adapter - the piece of plumbing needed between the focuser and OTA - was made longer.

This sample of the FS152 performs quite well. A friend and I were comparing it his AP155 on Jupiter and some double stars Saturday evening. Other then the slight difference in color correction, you really could not see much worth arguing about when comparing the views. These Fluorite doublets really do not give up much visually to modern oiled triplets.

October 8, 2008 07:10 PM Forum: Refractors

Re: cleaning a flourite doublet

Posted By Paul Leuba

Give Texas Nautical a call and ask to Fred Garcia. Texas Nautical, AKA Takahashi America is the importer for all things Takahashi into the USA. Fred is the in-house optical technician. He has loads of experience with Fluorite doublets.

The C102F is very close in design to the FS102 with two exceptions, the mating elements are different and on the FS102, the Fluorite lens is coated and in front.

March 29, 2010 01:48 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

12V Power out in the field

Posted By Paul Leuba

Last Fall, I grew tired of always being underpowered when out in the field observing. The power requirements of dew mitigation for the objective, eyepiece and finder as well as juice to run the G11 forced me to bring several of these jump-start type of batteries with me. And occasionally even these would not go all night. If I was at a multi-day star party, fahgetaboutit.

I knew I had to come up with a way to get more power to my setup. I looked at the commercially made units from Kendrick. But, these seemed underpowered and overpriced. Finally I decided to make my own. I looked at several different websites that detailed out DIY PowerTanks. And this is what I came up with.