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Posts Made By: Mike Curnutt

June 30, 2004 09:18 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Time for all of us to do our part in supporting AstroMart

Posted By Mike Curnutt

I'm posting this on Equipment Talk since this is the biggest and most popular thread on AstroMart and maybe the most eyeball's will see it. As many of us, especially those of us who play the stock market know, we've watched literally thousands of websites have to shut down due to operating costs. Operating a site like AstroMart has to be costing Herb and Anacortes Telescope & Wild Bird ( whole bunch of money on a monthly basis.

Everyone who uses AstroMart needs to stop and think of what it would be like to not have AstroMart as a place to buy, sell & trade astro products, not to mention all the new friends we've met here. I urge everyone of us to, at the very least, start off as a Purple Supporter to help keep this site going for years to come. That is a very small price to pay considering what we all get by using this site. It is the least we can all do to show our appreciation to Herb and his fine group of employees for taking the time to keep this place running so smoothly. I just hope this doesn't embarrass Herb and that he doesn't delete this message. It is important enough to get out to the masses. I don't think any of us want to wake up one morning and find out there is no more Astromart. Think about it and do what you can to support AstroMart.

July 18, 2004 12:16 PM Forum: Home Observatories

History Channel: Observatories Tuesday 7-20-04

Posted By Mike Curnutt

For those interested, on The History Channel this Tuesday, July 20th, is an hour long feature: Observatories. It is on @ 8am CST & 2pm CST so if interested check your local TV guide. Looks like there are other space-astronomy related shows on that day as well. There was a program on Discovery or The History Channel or one of them about a year ago that visited the great observatories of the world. I think this one is the same show and if so it is good. There was another one years ago that took the viewer into observatories in America like Palomar, Wilson, Yerkes, US Naval Observatory, Kitt Peak, McDonald's, etc. If anyone ever sees this one going to be aired please post a notification was really good and I would like to tape it.

The History Channel: Observatories

[COLOR="Blue"]Mankind has always been a race of stargazers even before the invention of the wheel, primitive cultures built great stone monuments to record the movements of the heavens. But in just the last century, a handful of pioneers have learned more about the wonders of the universe than all of the dreamers before them could have ever imagined.

Join some of the world's most renowned scientists for the complete story of observatories from Stonehenge to the Hubble telescope. Meet the men and women who battled public ridicule in the quest to unlock the secrets of the cosmos. And astronomers reveal the discoveries that may finally offer a glimpse at the very dawn of creation itself.

It's a space voyage more incredible than science fiction![/COLOR]

If one misses the show, it can be purchased on VHS for $19.95 from The History Channel

September 15, 2004 08:14 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

What can I say? AWSOME!!!

Posted By Mike Curnutt

If only we could each get to spend some time with the Hubble.....and get to view this through a Nagler, a Radian or a Panoptic...WOW!

You can click on a photo to get a larger view and click again for an even larger view.

June 5, 2004 06:06 AM Forum: Telescope Making

Grinding the seam!

Posted By Mike Curnutt

[COLOR="Maroon"]David, another thing you can do is look in your Portland Yellow pages under Welders/Welding and also Motocycle/Hot Rod Builder/Auto Restorer as well as Machine Shops. These guys are Professionals at working with all kinds of metals including Aluminum. It may cost you $25/plus but, at least it will be ground down smooth as a baby's bottom without grinding all the way through. And if by chance they ended up with a pin hole or two they will re-fill/weld so it is like an Extruded tube. These guys work on Hot Rod and Chopper Custom frames and know what they are doing. Trying to do it yourself could cost you twice as much as having a pro do it in short order. Like another poster mentioned, do NOT grind aluminum yourself. Especially if you have hot water heater, lawn mower, chain saw, trimmer, etc. laying around.

Another thing is did the seller tell you about the excess weld on the seam? A welded tube versus an extruded tube can and may cause you collimating problems if this is going to be a Refractor unless your objective lens is in a collimatable cell and the focuser can be aligned as well. If this is the case, Mark @ ClearVue (an AstroMart Sponser) sells 2" Collimatable Diagonals to help correct this problem.

Good Luck with your project.[/COLOR]

June 16, 2004 10:19 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

In praise of Orion's customer service.

Posted By Mike Curnutt

I have never had to use Orion's Technical Service but, I find their Order Dept. First Rate. Very professional and I get the shipment within 4 days of ordering. All orders have gone out the same day of the order and they follow up with emailed invoice and UPS/FedEx shipping info/date. They have always been very courteous on the phone. I do know a couple people who had slight problems on an item and their report is Orion took care of the problem, even sending one of them a brand new Eq. Mnt. to replace the old one. You can't beat that.

July 14, 2004 01:31 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Rats! Drat! I am a moron!

Posted By Mike Curnutt

I feel your pain, Tom. Not to the extent you had wit the mirror but, with a couple of expensive TeleVue Naglers meeting up with the concrete below due to the eyepiece weight flipping over. Now I use the MSS Compression Ring Visual Back to hold things in place as opposed to a single set screw.

July 22, 2004 11:36 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Mercury Support Systems New York?

Posted By Mike Curnutt

Floyd, I have had excellent dealings with Joe and his company Mercury Support Systems. His products are excellent and he ships as fast as Mark of Clear Vue Optics does. I think both send their products to me via Rocket ship. I no more send an email order and their shipment is at my door. The Quality of Joe's work is second to is First Class!

I've noticed other AstroMart Sponsors not listed, like Stellarvue and Alpine Astro are not listed and 2 months ago, Scope Stuff was not listed.

Joe also has a Group where he updates new products and you can ask questions.

August 15, 2004 03:49 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Celestron CG Advanced Mount

Posted By Mike Curnutt

I own both the CG Advanced and LXD55 w/GoTo for use with my smaller refractors. Both have been Hypertuned which is a must with these China made mounts. You'll need to remove that thicker than frozen molasses grease and replace it with Marine Lithium grease (like you use for the Buddy Bearings on your boat trailer) and then clean the gears and other metal parts with a solvent and file/smooth the teeth of the gears so they mesh smoothly. I don't know why all of the companies that get their mounts from China don't insist on this being done at the factory...after all the Marine grease would weather the salt air/water better when shipped to America. In this category, the Vixen line of Polaris mounts are good to go right out of the box. They have very good Quality Control and dollar for dollar are hard to beat in the under $1200.00 range.

Once you Hypertune the mount it becomes a very nice mount BUT, ONLY for the smaller scopes and short exposures on say, the Moon or Jupiter and Saturn and sometimes on bright and fairly large or close by DSO's as long as your scope has very good and well colimated optics. If you're talking about something in the 6-8" category you'll be much happier going with the likes of a Losmondy GM-8 or even better, the GM-11 for longterm astrophotography. They are an Astromart Sponsor.

As to a source for a Pier for either the CG & LXD's Kens' Rings (another Astromart Sponsor sells them at a very reasonable price). Go about 1/3 to 1/2 way down on this link to Ken's Rings.

August 15, 2004 09:42 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

How to insert pics on Astromart ?

Posted By Mike Curnutt

You'll need to know where you Saved your photos to, i.e., My Photos, My Documents, Desktop, ???Folder??? and then when you click on the 'Browse' button your 'Choose File' box will pop up. From that select the photo from where you saved it and when you Click it the link to the photo shows up in the 'Attach Image' box on the AstroMart page and then click 'Post'.

The only other thing I can suggest is many times I've experienced that photos sent via email come through as some alien code from people using AOL.

September 4, 2004 10:29 PM Forum: Home Observatories

new roof

Posted By Mike Curnutt

Alan, your observatory looks pretty good compared to this one. 8)