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Posts Made By: Linton Rohr

July 25, 2006 07:17 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

New companion scope.

Posted By Linton Rohr

Hi folks.
My Starmaster and I like to have a small refractor
along, to keep us company when observing.
I've been happy using a TV-60 for this purpose.
Just grabbed a TV-85 off Astromart, though. Woo-hoo!
I tried it out briefly, the previous week end, with good results.
But I added a 2" Everbrite during the week, and got out to dark skies (Mono Lake) last week end and,
able to use all the 2" Naglers, was really impressed with some of the wide field views. 8O
M24, M8, M81/82, the double cluster, and the Milky Way star fields in general, come to mind at the moment.
But the 31 Nagler, with O-III firmly in place, rendering a full frame view of the Veil, had to take the cake!
Not nearly the detail of the 14.5", of course, but just being able to take it all in, in one big eyeful was a real joy. grin
I think I'll keep it. wink

July 27, 2006 10:49 PM Forum: Ask rating questions here

Inspect thoroughly before rating!

Posted By Linton Rohr

A cautionary tale for my Astromart friends...
In an effort to be punctual with my feedback for others, I often take a quick glance at an eyepiece and post feedback. I recently acquired a 20mm T2 Nagler, at a good price, with "pristine" optics, and "a little wear on the barrel, but nothing major". Fair enough, I thought.
When the eyepiece arrived I made a quick, but careful (I thought) inspection. The glass looked to be in good shape, but in addition to the aforementioned wear, I spotted one spot where it looked like the upper edge of the barrel had hit concrete pavement. I know what that looks like, unfortunately, having dropped a 41 Panoptic once. (I later sold that EP, at a discount, with full discloser, and extensive detailed photos.) I immediately double-checked the optics, fearing subtle, hard-to-see cracks or who knows what.
My mistake was jumping right into the feedback department, where I deducted one star for understated damage. The seller had shipped promptly, packaged well, and otherwise performed as expected.
Not until taking the EP out on the week end though, did I discover the full extent of the damage. I was unable to thread a 2" Lumicon filter onto the Nagler, and upon closer inspection later, I saw that the threads had been badly mangled. On the outside edge, the unmistakable imprint in pliers marred the chrome finish. The barrel was still tweaked inward slightly. And sure enough, the mashed threads inside aligned perfectly with the plier tracks. Argh! Looking back up to the top, black section of the barrel, the damaged spot there was aligned. Of course. So, clearly, the bottom edge took the first full impact on the pavement, and as it bounced upward, the upper barrel made contact. shocked
When I diplomatically brought this up to the seller, he said that his filters fit fine. I must have an off brand. Right. I gave him another chance to clarify the situation, to no avail. Now, if he bought the Nagler in this condition, and never tried to use a filter, I could understand. But if he dropped it, attempted repair, and then failed to disclose, I have a real problem with that. :C
But...I digress. I was at fault for rushing to feedback. And THAT is the moral of my story. We are a pretty trusting group, for good reason. But there's plenty of time to do feedback, later. Make sure you really go over your purchase, first.
...and to all, a good night. grin

August 16, 2006 09:03 PM Forum: Star Parties

CalStar 2006

Posted By Linton Rohr

CalStar has not been posted on the calender yet,
but it's coming up next month.
I had one really exceptional night there last year
and look forward to going again. grin

August 20, 2006 05:58 PM Forum: Reflectors

Zambuto-equipped Astro Sky

Posted By Linton Rohr

Hi folks.
I recently had the extremely good fortune to acquire a 10" f/6 Zambuto mirror from a good friend of mine. grin Having seen this coming, I had already purchased Floyd's original Astro Sky structure. (Thanks, Floyd!) After acquainting myself with the sling style mirror cell, I successfully got the mirror installed last week end. I took it out for some first light in the back yard, but with the big bright moon last week end, I only got a rough idea of what the mirror could do.
The last couple nights though, were a different story. I got out to two different sites, one nearby and one near Mt. Pinos.
The first night had better seeing, at least for Jupiter. I was able to make out 9 bands and zones on the planet, as well as the GRS, and some festoon detail in the equatorial zone. Very nice.
Both nights provided crisp star field views, as I cruised around the Milky Way. Stars were nice pinpoint images, from edge to edge. I will not be needing the Paracorr in this baby, unlike my 14.5" ZOC Starmaster.
Star clusters were beautiful, with several globulars (M5, M3, M22, M13) resolving quite well. 8O
I looked at a few planetaries last night, and though they looked nice, it was the emission nebulae that really surprised me. The images were not quite as bright as in the 14.5" Starmaster (Floyd was there with his), but the difference was not what I had expected, given the difference in aperture. M8 and M17 looked really good, though M20 did not reveal as much detail. The Veil though, was amazing. Many of the wispy tendrils that I love, were plainly visible, as were some of the other areas of nebulosity in between the eastern and western arcs.
I only viewed a couple of galaxies, M31 and M33. They were not bad at all, but now we're probably suffering a bit more from the smaller aperture.
I did a couple star tests, and while I'm no expert on interpreting those, the rings looked nice, tight, symmetrical, round, and evenly spaced. I think that's the idea, right? I viewed a few double stars too, and they all split nice and cleanly.
All in all, I am quite impressed with the mirror, and am very lucky to have acquired it. Carl is no longer offering these on the ZOC Y-group, since the 10" f/6 Starmasters started production.
The Astro Sky structure is quite nice too, due to the combined talents of James Grigar and Floyd Blue. I have a couple little changes to make but nothing major at all. I will be enjoying this scope for a long, long time. grin

September 6, 2006 06:42 PM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

Pre-dawn preview session

Posted By Linton Rohr

Hello folks.
Over the week end, I happened to wake up an hour or two before dawn
and decided to get up and take a look through the 10" ZOC AstroSky,
which was already out in the back yard after some lunar use the night before.
I got my first look at M42, since last winter. Very nice, as always.
Scanned through the star fields in Orion and then up through Auriga,
finding all the bright clusters there, M35, M37, M36, and M38.
I found M1 in Taurus, just to see if I could see it.
There is a big tree in the way, or I would have viewed Saturn,
which I've been spying on lately, during my early morning commute.
Anyway, it was a nice little preview of the coming season.
And I was back in bed in less than 30 minutes, for some extended dreaming. grin
Which is always welcome.

September 29, 2006 07:29 PM Forum: After Dark

Turning off the lights

Posted By Linton Rohr

"Iceland's capital and several towns plunged into darkness on Thursday as street lights
were turned off for people to get a better view of the night sky."

Great idea. But for only half an hour? :S
They need to get the whole community involved,
and do it for a whole night. Still, it's a start...

October 7, 2006 12:42 PM Forum: Solar System Observing

Nice looping solar prom

Posted By Linton Rohr

Check it out. Right up at the top of the sun.
One of the nicer prominences I've seen for a while.
I wish I could take a picture to post!
Linton grin

November 18, 2006 08:32 PM Forum: Eyepieces

special message to moderator

Posted By Linton Rohr


Hope your next 60 years are even better!

Best wishes from all of us eyepiece aficionados. 8)


November 20, 2006 06:43 PM Forum: Solar System Observing

"Saturn - As you've never seen it." - Nat. Geo.

Posted By Linton Rohr

Hello folks.
There's a very interesting feature article on Saturn and her moons in the new (December) issue of National Geographic.
It features some outstanding Cassini photography, as you would expect.
If you don't get the magazine, try to borrow a copy from a friend.
Linton grin

November 23, 2006 12:27 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

ServoCat arrived

Posted By Linton Rohr

Yippee! My ServoCat Jr. arrived today (oops, make that yesterday). Quite a package of parts.
It took me a while to decide on getting it, but I'm pretty excited about it now.
I can't imagine having time to get it installed before Christmas, though.
The Starmaster will have to be hand driven a little while longer.
Damn the bad luck! 8)