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Posts Made By: Lee Spain

June 2, 2006 05:20 PM Forum: Telescope Making

Testing a kit-bashed refractor

Posted By Lee Spain

I've just rebuilt my cheap-arse 40mm refractor and it seems to be working o.k. (And, judging from the weather, it must now be an excellent scope. We've got clouds, rain, and thunder! grin)

But, before I tighten things down semi-permanently, are there any tests that would be good to do to see if I've got the lense properly aligned with the focuser? Also, it comes to focus with a 25mm very close to the beginning of the tube. Should I shorten the tube a tad (1/2 - 3/4 inch)? wink


June 24, 2006 09:46 AM Forum: Meade

Is the ETX-80 made in USA?

Posted By Lee Spain

Do you guys know if the Meade ETX-80 is made in the U.S.? smile

June 27, 2006 05:00 AM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

Basic Dobsonian questions

Posted By Lee Spain

I'm considering getting a 6 or 8 inch Dobsonian. They seem to offer a lot of aperture for the money. But, I've got a few questions:
1) What kind of "cool down" time can I expect from a 6-inch and an 8-inch scope going from a warm apartment (72-degrees) to 30-degree winter weather? What about summer viewing going from a 74-degree apartment to 85+ degree summer heat?

2) How often do you have to collimate the scope?

3) How long does it take to set up your dob at an observing site?

4) How much bulkier is an 8-inch scope than a 6-inch scope?

Thanks. I'm going to go to work and I'm gonna try not to look for answers until I get home. I'm gonna be good. wink

June 27, 2006 06:29 PM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

Re: Philosophical Issue: On the Spirit of the Star

Posted By Lee Spain

Nope. There's nothing wrong with hotrodding a cheap scope. Maybe MTV will even put you on "Pimp My Scope?" But, if you add a wet bar, tail fin, and crazy loud subwoofer that's pushing it... wink

June 28, 2006 08:18 PM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

Supposin' I bought me one of 'dem Dobs...

Posted By Lee Spain

...and it was one of 'dem dere 8-inch Orion Intelliscope XTs...and I didn't have nuthin' but a moon filter and a bunch of 1.25 inch eyepieces from 5mm through 35mm...and suppose I was gonna use this Dob in an urban/suburban environment and possibly in the country a couple of times a year...and suppose I didn't want anybody (includin' me) to spend more than about $70. wink

What (if any) kind of accessories would I be puttin' on my wishlist? 8)

June 30, 2006 11:29 AM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

Re: Not so sure aperture is the way to go...

Posted By Lee Spain

You may well be right. Soon, I'll be able to answer the question for sure. It'll be interesting to see if a 400 lb man can sneak out of the apartment in the dead of night carrying an 8-inch Dob and make it to the car without waking the neighbors. wink I suspect my Explorer 70 will continue to see a decent amount of use simply from the convenience perspective.

I think the key is to direct beginners towards instruments that will be free of the most annoying design and manufacturing defects and to be honest about what they can expect to see. I think there are sweet spots in every size and price range. 8)

$150 - Observer 70
$180 - Astroblast
$229 - Orion SpaceProbe 130
$259 - Orion 6-inch Dob

June 30, 2006 02:23 PM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

The problem with this hobby....

Posted By Lee Spain that another $50 to $100 gets your 20% to 35% more light. wink I'm sure that NASA administrators were originally planning for the Hubble to be a Tasco 60mm scope on a Sputnik-sized satellite.

And . . .then . . . somehow the Orion catalog got into their bathroom! shocked

July 1, 2006 08:29 PM Forum: Sports

I'm surprised by the lack of NASCAR talk here...

Posted By Lee Spain

IMO it's definitely the most scientifically interesting of all sports. wink

July 2, 2006 07:39 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Using Observer 70 as a telephoto lense?

Posted By Lee Spain

I just got a batch of film photos back that I took using my "new to me" Canon EOS Elan 7 camera with your basic Sigma 70-200 zoom lense. (Thanks to the dorks at the drugstore I didn't get a photo CD so I can't share. :S ) The camera does great taking pictures of flowers and dragonflies and bumblebees. But, from my limited testing in a city park, I can see that the 70-200 lense zoom isn't nearly "zoomy" enough to get good wildlife photos. Is there a way to use my Observer 70 as a telephoto lense where I hold the camera, the tripod holds the telescope, and I shoot straight through? wink

July 23, 2006 05:23 PM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

Measuring refractor focal length...

Posted By Lee Spain

While I'm waiting for my big telescope to come, I'm keeping busy with little projects. As you know, there is nothing more dangerous than a beginner with a box of objective lenses from the Surplus Shed. shocked Here's my really basic question. shocked

If a refractor objective has a focal length of say 350mm, does that mean that the length from the objective to the mirror in the diagonal us 350mm? Or is the total length from the objective to the eyepiece supposed to be 350mm?
And how does this measurement relate to the focal lengths of my eyepieces? I've had troubles where I get something set up just fine for 25mm eyepiece, but I have to totally readjust for a 10mm eyepiece. Thanks!