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NGC7000 (the North America Nebula)

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Posts Made By: Mike Ratcliff

February 26, 2010 09:41 PM Forum: AstroMart FAQ

Disappearing Account question

Posted By Mike Ratcliff

Hi, Herb and friends,

I know you get this question a lot, and usually the account holder had a good reason for being removed.

In this case, it doesn't seem so obvious. An acquaintence has had an active account here and has even submitted reviews. However, he has not been recently able to log in. I cannot see his name in the user profiles either. He has posted on another forum wondering what happened. There were no warnings according to him and no replies to his emails.

I don't need or want to know the details, but if you could confirm whether it was a technical glitch or that he was removed for cause, it would be appreciated. He has been a long standing good guy and I would hate to see him leave Astromart by some simple mistake.

I tried sending a private message to ~ AstroMart LLC~ but got error messages as recipient unknown. I can give the person's name by private message.


Mike Ratcliff
[I've supported several times but I'm a bit overdue.]

November 12, 2010 05:52 AM Forum: Off Topic Discussions

This guy must have been late to work

Posted By Mike Ratcliff

8O 8O shocked shocked 8O 8O

Safe to say he didn't need coffee.


December 6, 2011 12:46 AM Forum: AstroMart FAQ

Paypal payment to support Astromart?

Posted By Mike Ratcliff

I'm pretty sure I've done this before but have forgotten the procedure.

Tried paypal payment to "[email protected]" but got a message they were not able to respond at this time (or similar wording). I vaguely remember someone on Astromart's end had to do a manual transactions every few days.

Any suggestions?

Mike Ratcliff

February 19, 2004 01:16 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Telrad Poll

Posted By Mike Ratcliff

Telrad only

1.3 deg TFOV maximum field with my 6" f/8 and 1.25" focuser

Sky at home is 4 to 4.5 magnitude, 6 - 7 at dark sky star parties.

Most of the time Telrad only is fine. But at times I struggle and wished I had a good finder or a wider FOV eyepiece for finding.

I'd keep the finder for a while.


March 5, 2004 05:33 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

What does it weigh?

Posted By Mike Ratcliff

My Telrad weighs in at about 12 ozs plus or minus 2 oz (not the best scale handy), definitely less than a pound.

Mike R

March 8, 2004 03:29 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Any low power Barlows out there?

Posted By Mike Ratcliff


Rick Blakely designed the Uranoport 1.5x barlow. See It advertises as a high quality unit, and he has a good reputation as an optician here. I haven't used it myself.

Mike Ratcliff

March 22, 2004 06:08 PM Forum: Telescope Making

Truss Dob Shroud

Posted By Mike Ratcliff


Kriege and Berry's book "The Dobsonian Telescope" Practical Manual for Building Large Aperature Telescopes, has many details. It's basically sewn to fit, one end being larger around than the other. They actually recommend getting an experienced seamstress, say someone who does wedding dresses: "The best money you ever spent" was a quote from them. So it doesn't sound like a fun job. I haven't done it myself.


March 26, 2004 07:57 PM Forum: Telescope Making

Secondary Mirror Sizes

Posted By Mike Ratcliff

Gary Seronik has a good article in the August 2000 Sky and Telescope. You can download it for $3. Basically, no more than 20% for planetary use (2 inches for your scope). Larger secondaries give greater illumination along the edge of the view. Larger secondaries don't rely on the quality of the edge of the secondary where there may be turned edges. Smaller secondaries lose illumination on the edges, but improve diffraction effects of the central obstruction which is good for planetary. For general purpose I would say about 20-24% depending on the sizes available. Sky and Telescope has a free download program "sec" to show the illumination vs secondary size for various scope design inputs.

April 1, 2004 08:10 PM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

M51 vs. M82

Posted By Mike Ratcliff

Galaxy sizes can be misleading if only the long axis size is quoted. The SEDS Messier website lists M82 as 9x4 arc-minutes and M51 as 11x7, both at magnitude 8.4. So for the cigar-shaped M82, the total area is about half that of the rounder-shaped M51. Thus more surface brightness for M82.

All of these galaxies were challenging for me when I was a beginner. A darker sky makes a big difference for galaxies.


April 15, 2004 07:06 PM Forum: Equipment Talk


Posted By Mike Ratcliff

You could join the ATM list group or search their archives. Web site is
One gentleman in that group familiar with silvering is Bill Kelley.