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Posts Made By: James McSheehy

December 4, 2010 07:36 AM Forum: Refractors

Nice, but can it do 1200X like the one at W-M?

Posted By James McSheehy

December 16, 2010 07:33 PM Forum: Ask rating questions here

Auction Ratings?

Posted By James McSheehy

I'm trying to leave a rating for a seller on a recently completed auction, but nothing shows in the "unused ratings" window in my account menu.

January 5, 2011 04:02 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

Unbelievable Jupiter movie

Posted By James McSheehy

For those who haven't seen it, this is a link to Damian Peach's latest images of Jupiter:

Who needs HST? 8)

April 24, 2011 08:23 AM Forum: No Holds Barred

The Business Side of Amateur Astronomy

Posted By James McSheehy

We're coming out (supposedly) of the economic funk that started in 2008, and there are lots of mergers and acquisitions changing the landscape in many business categories. What changes might we expect for the current crop of companies, large and small, that make the stuff we buy and enjoy? Here's my take on 2011:

ASA -- EU company, direct drive mounts, the future of GEMs?

Astro-Physics -- Are they becoming a mounts-n-accessories business? Candidate for sale or merger?

Celestron -- new products, tried to raise retail prices, will they hold? Inflation is raging and rumor has it the Chinese currency will be revalued upward 20% versus the dollar.

Dobs-R-Us -- the dozen or so makers of Dobsonian scopes, expanding or shrinking?

Galt's Gulch -- a crop of astro-enclaves or dark-sky communities have sprung up like dandelions in the U.S. Are these sustainable?

iOptron -- Chinese GEM dynasty in the making?

Meade -- still losing money and consolidating facilities. Is the company up for sale?

OGS -- mostly sales to pros and government now?

Officina Stellare -- EU company with high-end products.

QSI -- new products, fast growth

Questar -- same as OGS?

SBIG -- new owners, new focus?

SkyShed -- an unheralded success story?

Software Bisque -- new products, can they maintain or expand their customer base?

Takahashi -- new products, increased prices

TEC -- adjusted their product offerings, but appear stable

Televue -- new products, they appear stable

May 3, 2011 12:50 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Fast new astrograph, Huh? pricing

Posted By James McSheehy

Officina Stellare, the Italian company that makes several types of high-end scopes, has introduced a new, smaller version of their f/3 Riccardi-Honders astrograph. The price for the 200 mm RH is $10K, but that includes a $2500 FLI Atlas focuser.

Considering they now want over $45K for the 300 mm RH (up from only $28K), this new 200 mm RH seems to be a relative bargain.

May 9, 2011 10:27 PM Forum: No Holds Barred

Made in USA, once again?

Posted By James McSheehy

Wages are increasing rapidly in China and its currency continues to appreciate against the dollar. A new study predicts Chinese workers will reach wage parity with their U.S. counterparts in only five years:

They go on to predict a renaissance of American manufacturing as our traditionally higher productivity attracts companies to repatriate their overseas operations.

June 12, 2011 10:58 AM Forum: No Holds Barred

Fred Reed: "You cannot re-program a door knob."

Posted By James McSheehy

Fred Reed goes after Evolutionistas again. Makes a compelling case that atheists, fundamentalists of all stripes, and militant evolutionists are all in the same boat intellectually.

July 2, 2011 03:54 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

About those black plastic enclosures

Posted By James McSheehy

Like many people, I have astro gadgets that are packaged in plastic enclosures, many of them are black plastic. Vendors do this to save a few bucks, and this type of construction can be seen even in gear that costs $500-$1000. I was doing some work in the observatory yesterday. The roof was rolled back and the sun lit up the table where a couple of these gadgets were laying. After just a few minutes, the covers of both plastic boxes warped and separated from the other half. It wasn't particularly hot, about 92F, but the sunlight managed to heat the black plastic almost to its melting point.

I was appalled by what I saw, but when I checked them out, both units still operate normally. What does the vendor say? They will sell me replacement covers for $60. sad

August 30, 2011 09:29 PM Forum: Refractors

Apo - D?

Posted By James McSheehy

A buzz on the other big astro forum centers around a new apo refractor design from Aries using some advanced type of diffractive/holographic element. The two element objective uses common glasses (no ED) and achieves f/6.5 with an aperture of 8". No photos of the lens itself, but there is a picture that is claimed to be the prototype apo-D OTA.

September 5, 2011 08:52 AM Forum: Digital SLR AstroPhotography

Lacerta off axis guider - any users?

Posted By James McSheehy

I came across this interesting OAG designed for use with Canon EOS cameras:

It's pricey, but the 48 mm aperture allows use with full frame cameras like the 5D, and the 11 mm depth is Newt friendly.

None of the U.S. retailers seem to be carrying it. Has anyone on AMart used this OAG?