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Posts Made By: Greg Nowell

July 23, 2007 02:29 PM Forum: Eyepieces

eviscerating eyepieces (warning)

Posted By Greg Nowell

Most modern eyepieces are designed so that if you remove the barrel to clean the lower lens element, everything stays put together. There are a few who will disgorge their innards into your hand.

One is the 22mm (old) Pan Optic.

Another, I discovered a few days ago, is the 28mm Edmund RKE. I'm not sure if the other RKEs are "disgorgers" but they might be.

If there are other eyepiece brands that disgorge their innards when you remove the barrel I'd like to know about it.

Greg N

August 24, 2007 07:55 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

maximum fov of MN56?

Posted By Greg Nowell

I got the specs off the Intes site on the MN 56 and am wondering about its maximum fov. This is a 5 inch Mak Newt and it has a two inch crayford. Now maybe that's there for eyepieces like the Nagler 17 but I'm wondering whether in fact you get a fully illuminated field of view with a 40mm 70 degree eyepiece as you would with a refractor of the same size. The secondary at 30mm would not, in a regular Newt design, be large enough to illuminate fully a two inch eyepiece.

Greg N

ps. You know, I know there's lots of different folks in the biz, but I get a little squirrely inside thinking about buying from a telescope company that spells "aperture" as "aperature." Call me old fashioned....

Tube diameter: 162 mm
Tube length: 720 mm
Clear aperature: 127 mm (5 inches)
Focal length: 762 mm
Focal ratio: f/6
Diameter of secondary mirror: 30 mm
Central obstruction (diameter basis): 23.6%
Tube construction: seamless aluminium with 7 internal tube baffles
Focuser size: 2" Low Profile Crayford Focuser with draw tube and 1.25"/2" eyepiece adaptor
Mirror coatings: 96% reflection on mirrors
optical quality: ~ 1/8 wave p.t.v. or better
Corrector substrate: Russian BK7 glass
7X35mm finder
A carry case is included

September 1, 2007 02:24 PM Forum: Astro-Physics

At last AP is really cookin'

Posted By Greg Nowell

Smoke your own salmon, don't pay $20 lb


1 or 2 lbs thick salmon, thick boned fillet preferred (not the thin part near the tail)
3/4 cup sea salt (or Kosher salt)
3/4 cup sugar
bottle "liquid smoke"
Astro-Physics 18lb counterweight
2 plates, or a pan, or something
Saran wrap

Mix salt and sugar together. Stir in liquid smoke till the salt and sugar combine to form a thick slurry, akin to a cake mix before pouring.

Remove any skin from the salmon.

Put down a thick layer of salt/sugar/smoke slurry, put the salmon down on top, then coat the top side with another thick layer of salt/sugar/smoke slurry. Tightly wrap in saran wrap.

Put the salmon between two plates, or between two pie tins, or something that will allow you to store with the salmon under pressure. The salmon needs to be weighted down during this process.

Put the Astro-Physics counterweight on top.

Leave it in the fridge for three days. Remove Astro-Physics counterweight. Remove saran wrap and rinse off all sugar/salt/smoke slurry. Pat the salmon dry.

Put AP counterweight back with astronomical equipment and enjoy your smoked salmon which I guess is more akin to lox.

Greg N

September 3, 2007 09:31 PM Forum: Astro-Physics

bunch o' glass

Posted By Greg Nowell

I'm reading King's History of the Telescope with great interest.

It would seem that suitable blanks of reliable quality, in sufficient quantity, is integral to the history of the refractor, in the same way that the struggle for a durable reflective coating is integral to the history of the reflector. And it is a problem that for refractors apparently has never had as satisfactory a resolution as for reflectors, to judge from comments from some of the pros here and elsewhere.

I find it amazing that Yuri or Roland can't be 100% confident of getting good glass to whatever specs at say no more than a 2% or 5% rejection rate.

I guess in the early days they didn't know *how* to do it. These days the *production scales* don't permit it...?

Greg N

September 12, 2007 12:13 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

SCT disassembly - Child's play

Posted By Greg Nowell

Detailed instructions on how to clean and what do with a stuck corrector plate, etc., are available on Yahoo! C14 in the files section, "How to Clean Your Corrector Plate."

There is a sequence of ten photos currently posted with explanatory captions.

My seven year old son did everything except as indicated in picture captions (hope they come out).

September 17, 2007 12:02 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

binocular case needed

Posted By Greg Nowell

If you do a google on binoculars you get sixty zillion hits, so I've got a minor problem. Would like to get an inexpensive nylon binocular case for some 8x30 roof prism Sweveranski (I don't know, swovokski--wuzzat Alan? Oh yea Swarovski--something, Austrian binoculars, velly good). These were rather casually handed to me when my siblings and I were going through my parent's estate, a friend (and denizen of these groups) tells me they're worth $1k new. Hmmm. Maybe it wasn't a good idea to let my son play with them these past two years. (He's now seven, but pretty good at disassembling a c8. Not to mention Swarovski binoculars...).

I know nothing about binoculars so my getting these was literally like handing a Tak FSQ 106 to someone and saying "Oh yeah you like astronomy here's this telescope we found in the closet." And you take it home and give it to the kid....

I got quite a bit of ribbing about this from two of my club buddies the other night.

These are small, I don't have any protective case, I'd rather not have a "hard case" like binoculars used to have (hard leather), not quite sure what the vogue is. Anyhow it will be promoted to a place with my astro-gear and it needs a small collapsible case tough enough to keep things from scratching the optics. The lens caps have been torn off, the major casualty of my son's custody.

I've got an ebay bid going for a cheap pair of "knock around" binoculars.

greg n

September 23, 2007 08:36 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

The REAL Losmandy

Posted By Greg Nowell

I think we all know that Losmandy does camera related mounts for Hollywood applications but I found this on ebay and thought it of interest.

The counterweight looks kinda familiar....

regards Greg N

November 3, 2007 11:11 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Swarovski binoculars - place to send them?

Posted By Greg Nowell

My Swarovski binoculars could stand a trip to well reputed place for collimation and cleaning. They weren't treated entirely right.

Suggestions and links welcome. I can't tell you where they were bought because they were bought my deceased parents; they came to me via the estate.

I'm very ignorant about binoculars. The Swarovskis were handed to me while we were dividing stuff up someone just said "Here you like stargazing why not take these, found them in the closet." So I did and I left them around the house, didn't know what they were, let my 7 year old play with them well before he was 7.

(kinda like, here kid, go play "pirate captain" with this Tak 80mm)

Anyhow much to the hilarity of my fellow club members I've been educated that these binoculars need to be treated better and they could use some "rest and rehabilitation." But I don't know where to send them.

Greg N

November 9, 2007 01:22 PM Forum: Refractors

Why is lead "faster"?

Posted By Greg Nowell

Vixen actually came in ahead of the wave in the fast, not hugely expensive apo class with the ED102SS f/6.5, which was discontinued because the manufacturing process involved lead.

This little scope is dear to my heart because I own one. It's an ED doublet to be exact. In any case, after only a few years Vixen had to discontinue the line due to environmental factors that were apparently related to lead. They then moved to f/7.7, f/8, around there. Given that "the market" continues to abound in f/7-point-O's, they undoubtedly had a reason for this choice.

My question is: why does "getting the lead out" make for a somewhat slower scope?

In all the many learned debates about fluorites and FPLs and such I never see hide nor hair of lead. Personally I think of lead as kinda-not-very transparent, you know, Superman can't see through it, and stuff.

Greg N

November 14, 2007 08:53 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Advertising what you got

Posted By Greg Nowell

I've indicated in the past that I don't think it's a good idea to list all in one place (like at the end of your posts) everything you own of value whether astronomical or not. I thought this WSJ article is apropos. regards Greg N

Wave of Home Invasions
Puts the Wealthy on Alert
Lax Security Often Opens Door
To Increasingly Brazen Crimes;
The Buffetts' Uninvited Guest
November 15, 2007

In the past year, billionaire investors Warren Buffett and Ernest Rady, socialite Anne Bass and professional basketball players Eddy Curry and Antoine Walker all have joined a group to which they would rather not belong: victims of home invasion.

In affluent enclaves across the country, from Beverly Hills, Calif., to Scarsdale, N.Y., these high-profile cases and others -- many of them unsolved -- have set nerves on edge amid what law-enforcement officials and security experts say is becoming an alarming trend. One particularly gruesome case in July underscored the dangers for many, when a home invasion in Cheshire, Conn., ended in the deaths of a doctor's wife and his two daughters. Two men have been arrested and charged in the case.

In home-invasion robberies -- unlike burglaries -- thieves hope to confront the occupants, often intending to force victims to open a safe or divulge bank-card PIN numbers. Home invasions aren't separately tallied by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or by most state and local police. According to the most recent FBI data, residential robberies, which include home invasions, rose nearly 13% in 2006 from 2002, even as violent crime overall decreased 0.4%. Last year, 64,000 residential robberies were reported.

Experts believe home invasions are underreported. Security experts who serve high-profile clients say their clients often don't report attempted robberies to the police because of privacy concerns. And local law-enforcement agencies only keep track of incidents within their jurisdictions, making it difficult to establish a national picture for these crimes.

The Connecticut State Police handled two high-profile home invasions recently, including the Cheshire case. Police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance says, "It hasn't reached epidemic levels, but certainly we are very aware of this type of criminal activity and behavior."

The impact on victims is profound. When Mr. Rady, the 70-year-old Wachovia Co. director and principal shareholder, his wife Evelyn, 66, and their housekeeper were assaulted by a Taser-wielding intruder in their La Jolla, Calif., home in February, "it was a life-changing event for the family," says their attorney, Robert L. Grimes. Since the robbery, members of the extended Rady family have hired personal armed bodyguards and installed elaborate home-security systems, the attorney says.

According to San Diego police, Mr. Rady was stunned with the Taser, bound with duct tape, and cut with a sharp object as the intruder tried to force the couple to produce cash and valuables. The robber, who is still at large, escaped with less than $100, police and Mr. Grimes say.

One reason for the rise in home invasions is demographic: The numbers of rich people with homes to plunder has risen fast in recent years. But police and security experts say robbers are hitting homes more because their traditional targets -- banks, stores and offices -- have been hardened with closed-circuit video surveillance, alarms and guards. By comparison, security at many private homes remains lax, they say.

Indeed, in several high-profile crimes, assailants gained access through unlocked doors. In other cases, home-alarm systems apparently weren't turned on. Security and alarm experts say this is a surprisingly common mistake: Many homeowners lock their doors and set alarms only when they are away.
[Home Invasions]

Increasingly, wealthy and high-profile individuals must step up security at home and be vigilant in their cars to avoid becoming victims, security experts and police say. They may also need to reduce the amount of information they reveal about themselves on the Internet in places like Facebook, and in the media. And perhaps most importantly, they should thoroughly investigate the background of anyone who has access to their home, because many robberies are inside jobs.

"I have gone out to estates that are absolutely magnificent and have been shocked that they have the same level of security as for a rowhouse in Queens," says Paul Michael Viollis Sr., chief executive of Risk Control Strategies of New York. The firm does complimentary "personal risk assessments" for high-net-worth clients of the Chubb Group of Insurance Cos.

In some areas, that is beginning to change. Around the stately homes of Greenwich, Conn., many of the low, meandering stone borders typical of New England are being replaced with thick, shoulder-high walls and densely packed treelines to block any view from the street. Local real-estate agents say they've also seen an upswing in the number of people putting in driveway entrance gates with touchpad security systems, even for relatively modest homes.

Gideon Fountain, vice president of Cleveland, Duble & Arnold, a Greenwich real-estate firm, says investor Edward Lampert's kidnapping there in 2003 was a watershed event. Mr. Lampert was held at gunpoint for two days and talked his captors into letting him go. "People think what are the odds it could happen to them? Not good, but possible," Mr. Fountain says.

Inadequate security may have played a part in what happened to Anne Bass, the 65-year-old ex-wife of Texas oil magnate Sam Bass, and her friend, painter Julian Lethbridge, 60, in April, when several robbers entered her 1,000-acre estate in rural Litchfield County, Conn. Bass's preschool-age grandson also was home at the time.

The robbers put a gun to Mr. Lethbridge's head and held the two captive, their eyes blindfolded and their mouths taped shut. At one point, Ms. Bass and Mr. Lethbridge were injected with a blue liquid the men claimed held a lethal virus, hoping to scare the captives into handing over millions in cash for an antidote. They left about 10 hours later, apparently convinced there wasn't a lot of cash in the house.

A case containing a gun, knife and syringes, including one with a blue fluid, washed ashore days later about 90 miles away in Queens, N.Y. A Jeep stolen from the property also was recovered in New York City, but no arrests have been made, according to Connecticut State Police.

Several security and alarm experts say crimes like these can be prevented with a perimeter motion-detection system that sounds whenever someone drives or walks onto a property. Many alarm systems wire only the doors and windows of a home; the problem with that, security experts say, is that by the time someone trips the alarm, it can be too late. Moreover, any alarm system has to be armed to work, and often, they aren't.

Home-invasion robbers also pick their victims by staking them out in public and following them home. That is what may have happened to Messrs. Walker and Curry of the National Basketball Association in separate incidents in July. Police believe the men were trailed to their multimillion-dollar homes in Chicago, where they were surprised by armed masked men. In each case, the robbers stole thousands of dollars in cash and jewelry, as well as the victims' cars, police say. Four men, alleged gang members, have been charged in connection with those robberies.

Police and security experts say that to avoid this type of robbery, people should be alert to whether they are being followed before driving onto their property, and if they are, to call the police or drive to a police station. Houses should be well-lighted with automatic exterior lights. Additionally, security experts advise clients to avoid drawing attention to money and possessions while they're out and about. They also recommend reducing the amount of detailed personal information that can be found on the Web.

While at home, it is a mistake to open the door without verifying the identity of a visitor first and to accept unscheduled deliveries. Security experts say homes should be equipped with a voice-video intercom system with cameras trained on the doors and the grounds, and deliveries should be sent to a post-office box or family office instead of to the residence.

On Sept. 5, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett's wife, Astrid, accompanied by a security guard, answered the doorbell at the couple's Omaha, Neb., home, according to police there. They encountered a man dressed in black with camouflage paint on his face who tried to force his way in. The guard managed to wrestle a gun away from the intruder while Mrs. Buffett called 911. The intruder fled, and the gun turned out to be fake, according to Omaha police. No arrests have been made. Mr. Buffett wouldn't comment for this story.

Security experts emphasize that preventive steps can be taken without resorting to extreme measures, such as obtaining firearms without proper licensing and training. Such actions can raise legal problems for people wanting to protect their homes and families, as with Harry Maxwell Rady, the son of banker Ernest Rady.

The younger Mr. Rady, 40, pleaded guilty to illegally receiving AK-47s and other semi-automatic firearms after the robbery to defend his family from potential kidnappers, his attorney, Mr. Grimes, says. Mr. Rady was sentenced on Nov. 2 to 10 months of home confinement and three years' probation. He also was fined $75,000 for violating federal gun laws.