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Posts Made By: Doug Walton

May 31, 2003 09:00 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

10" f/6 Zambuto vs. 16" f/5 Intermountain

Posted By Doug Walton

Joe, what are your priorities for observing? DSOs? Planetary and lunar? Binaries?

In this case, I would be careful not to just accept the simple axiom that "more aperture = better views". That axiom assumes a lot! The 16" may deliver more light for DSO viewing, but that doesn't automatically mean that planetary, lunar, and binaries will be better. Not all mirrors are equal in terms of accuracy or smoothness.

If Intermountain mirrors were as highly-regarded as Zambuto, then Intermountain would have the same reputation of excellence as Zambuto. But they don't.

Find someone who has actually compared, side by side, comparably-sized and mounted Intermountain and Zambuto mirrors, and listen to their opinions. Otherwise, rely on Zambuto's excellent reputation, which wouldn't exist if the difference wasn't obvious to so many people.

Maybe you should stick with the 10" Zambuto, and down the road, see if you can somehow aquire a 16" Zambuto. A 10" Zambuto, with a good secondary and scope structure, could be a wonderful scope. I do know that Zambuto mirrors have completely changed my expectations of what "quality mirrors" are all about, and this came after comparing them with other mirrors.

And if you decide to go the 16" route, sign me up as the first person interested in buying your 10" Z mirror.


June 5, 2003 08:17 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Planetary views, collimation, sample (me again)

Posted By Doug Walton

I've seen this level of detail through both a 12.5" Starmaster (Zambuto mirror) and a 20" Starmaster (Pegasus), on different nights, in different states. The view with the 20" was fleeting though, since I was viewing in the state of Colorado, the bastion of crappy seeing.

And, I've seen a view of Jupiter through my 14.5" Starmaster (Zambuto) that was sharper and more detailed than the lower image you showed. All of these were through the eyepiece, and not via imaging.

I expect that the Florida folks get this kind of result quite often with good optics in the 8"-20" range.


June 26, 2003 05:27 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Meade LX200 12

Posted By Doug Walton

You're always rolling the dice with Meade (and Celestron too). Here are a few things you can do to alleviate your concerns:

1. Buy from Oceanside Photo and Telescope, and pay for their additional warranty. Their website has the details. (I don't work for them.)

2. Buy the LX200 scope, and then have the dealer send it directly to Clay Sherrod to have him "supercharge" it. He'll turn up most problems and be able to fix many of them right away. (If you buy a used scope, you can do this too.)

3. Get the UHTC option, if for no other reason than resale. Most people think it is slightly better than the standard coating option.

4. Strongly consider the upgrades that many LX200 owners end up with: high-end 2" diagonal (TV, AP, etc.), dewshield, counterweight setup, etc. etc.. These will make the scope more usable and allow it to deliver better results.

I think you'll make yourself crazy trying to determine of Meade is better than Celestron. They're both mass-produced scope makers, and both can produce excellent scopes and optics, and both can produce dogs.

A 12" LX200 with excellent optics and reliable mechanicals and electricals can be a lot of fun to use. And having said all of this, I've owned 3 LX200s in the past, never had them supercharged, and never had a problem with any of them. I think I was kind of lucky.


June 28, 2003 06:05 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

4" TV-102 kicked 8" Discovery Dobs

Posted By Doug Walton

Ron, your comparison has one huge inconsistency - the optics in the two scopes are not equal.

An accurately-collimated, cooled-down 8" dob with, say, a Zambuto, Royce, or other high-quality mirror will just flat out beat a 4" APO in every category - DSO, planetary, splitting tight binaries. It will easily beat the 4" APO in mediocre seeing and in good seeing. It will give you those aesthetically-pleasing "APO-like" views with no problem at all. This is just a fact.

Ron, comparing your 4" APO to a mass-produced 8" dob is comparing small apples to big oranges - and the results are predictable. You observed exactly what one would have expected. Your results will be different if you compare your 4" APO to a smooth-operating, well-collimated dob with a high-quality mirror.


July 12, 2003 03:27 PM Forum: Telescope Making

Re: RE: Glass flow

Posted By Doug Walton

Too funny.... ;-))

July 25, 2003 08:50 AM Forum: Telescope Making

DOB total weight

Posted By Doug Walton

It may be that I'm in the minority here, but I don't know exactly what the weight of my 14.5" Starmaster is, and I really don't care. I wheel the whole thing out of my garage most nights, and when I take it apart to go to a remote site, none of the components are heavy or cumbersome. I used to own a 20" SM and the same applied - none of the components were that heavy.

That's not to say that ultra-light dobs aren't cool. And I definitely appreciate how ultra-light designers are examining the "standard" design that's popular today and figuring out ways to simplify them and improve the functionality.

August 28, 2003 06:23 AM Forum: A Day in the Life of the Administrator

I tried a bogus email address and......

Posted By Doug Walton

The original e-mail sent to Herb should be titled "When Hillbillies Go Bad".

September 3, 2003 05:54 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Opinions on Meade LX200 10"

Posted By Doug Walton

Jon, check these out:


That will get ya going.


September 3, 2003 11:44 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Telrad coming

Posted By Doug Walton

You probably already know this, but...

There really isn't any need to have a collimatible base plate for the Feathertouch (or any other focuser). Unless the focuser mounting board is really misaligned, the focuser can simply be shimmed with small stainless steel washers. Once it's set, collimation fine-tuning can be easily and accurately accomplished via the secondary.


September 6, 2003 02:59 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

NGC 281 in H-alpha

Posted By Doug Walton

Lovely! The h-alpha images I've been seeing here lately have got me thinking that maybe I should be getting into imaging. ;-)