Image of the day

Captured by
Arthur DuBois

nice warm sun

My Account

New to Astromart?

Register an account...

Need Help?

Posts Made By: Bob Young

May 17, 2002 09:50 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Meade Coatings

Posted By Bob Young

Looking for information on Meade Optical coatings. They used to have 'EMC' coatings on their classic Lx200's, ETX's, LX90, etc. Now it's either 'Standard' coatings or 'UHTC' coatings. Were the EMC coatings discontinued or were they renamed as 'Standard' or 'UHTC'? If discontinued, where did EMC stand relative to the current offerings? Is a year old LX90 or LX200 with EMC coatings equivalent to a new model with Standard coatings, or to one with UHTC coatings, or is it somewhere in between? How do Celestron 'Starbright' coatings compare to Meade's offerings?

The coatings thing looks like a gimmick to get their prices up. However, I'm somewhat sympathetic as their products appear to offer tremendous value for the current asking price...if they work. To date Meade has done well by me.
Bob Young

May 27, 2002 06:30 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

2" diagonal in FS-78??

Posted By Bob Young

Looking hard at a TAK FS-78 OTA. A question came up about whether it would accomodate a 2" diagonal. The details on this scope were vague in this regard at both Anacortes and Astronomics. Todd Gross mentioned the need for additional hardware. Don't want to go buy a premium 1.25" diagonal when there's a 2" MaxBright and a great 40mm Pentax XL waiting to go in.

Have heard this scope is somewhat limited in in-focus travel. If additional hardware IS required, I don't imagine it will improve the in-focus situation any. Does anyone have any experience using 2" diagonals in the FS-78?

June 22, 2002 08:01 PM Forum: Refractors

Question for the Optical Police: Am I nuts?

Posted By Bob Young

I own 2 refractors; a TV102 and a Stellarvue 80/f9.4 I recently realized that when viewing the moon I could almost always pick out a thin line of color on the limb with the TV102. It's not objectionable but it's there if I look for it. With the SV80 I normally don't see any color at all. In one instance I let the limb drift up against the field stop of a 20mm Sirius plossl and did see a bright band of color (green) where the limb touched the stop. Other than that the SV80 has been color free ON THE MOON. I might add that I usually use a 20mm Sirius plossl in the SV and a 20mm TV plossl in the TV102 and have not experimented using the Sirius plossl in the 102.

Now everyone knows the SV80 is an achromat and the TV102 an APO. On bright stellar objects the SV80/f9.4 will show color; sometimes a lot. I can recall trying to view Rigel in the SV80 and seeing nearly the whole FOV light up with an obnoxious bright blue and red chromatic effect regardless of the eyepiece chosen. However on stellar targets fainter than 1st magnitude it seems chromatically well behaved. The TV102 is well behaved on everything with only traces of color being seen when seen at all; but as I recall some color can always be seen on the limb of the moon.

Much is made of Vic Maris' ability as an optical tweaker/tuner at Stellarvue. Vic himself stated that he took a lot of time & effort to get the 80/f9.4 "right" before delivering a batch of them early this year. Is it possible he's using moonbeams to tune these things? Is it possible in an achromat to optimize the optical perfomance on reflected light from the moon/planets to where it's comparable/superior to an APO? Has anyone else noticed this? Is my TV102 broken? Or am I nuts?
Bob Young

July 17, 2002 09:12 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Backpacker's Telescope

Posted By Bob Young

A recent backpacking trip up Mt. Marcy in the Adirondacks has got me thinking about assembling a compact, lightweight observing outfit for these trips. Intended targets would be open clusters, bright doubles, the moon & planets as well as terrestrial wildlife & flora. For starters I felt the whole package must weigh less than 10lbs.

The first scopes that came to mind were the short tube refractors of 80mm or less. The TV Ranger would probably be the best in terms of size & weight (3lbs), but the Orion ST80, with its lower cost, would probably cause less heartache in the event of a mishap. Then I began to wonder about the new 90mm Chinese Maks, such as Orion's Apex. Would it be rugged enough?

As for a mount, Orion's compact TravelTech photo tripod at a little over 2lbs. seems made for the backpack, but will it support the ST80 or Apex 90?

At the ocular end of the scope I would probably try to include both a 1.25" star diagonal and an erect image amici diagonal. A single 24-8mm zoom eyepiece would probably be adequate for the Short Tube refractors, while an additional long f.l. eyepiece might be needed for a Mak.

A red dot finder, some type of padded case and a dew shield would round out the package.

Was wondering if anyone, who has tried to mix astronomy with backpacking, would care to relate their experiences or describe their equipment. Are these equipment choices logical or am I overlooking something? Can anyone comment on their suitability (or lack thereof) in the backpacking environment? Are there better choices? The Bushnell 10x50's I took on this trip didn't quite cut it for me.

When not on a trip this package might find use at the rifle range looking for .22cal bullet holes in targets at 100 to 200 yds.

Simple, small, light and rugged seem to be the criteria that overwhelm all others in backpacking. At age 57 I'm not about to try to lug a 6" Tak and a bunch of Naglers up the hill.

Bob Young

July 21, 2002 07:22 AM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

Satellites Crossing Face of Moon

Posted By Bob Young

While observing the moon last night (7/20) with my TV102 at 88x, I noticed a tiny black object scooting across the illuminated face of the moon. It was across the FOV in a second, maybe less. The silhouette was sharply defined and appeared to have the shape of an inverted letter "L". It crossed the FOV from upper left to lower right. Time was between 9:25 and 9:35 PM EDT. Viewing location: Central NY.

From its size and the rate of transit, I assume it was a satellite. Was surprised at the well defined shape. Would've expected penumbral effects to effectively wash out shape details, if not render the object invisible. It was too tiny to be a Cessna and didn't look like a balloon.

Was going to ask if anyone else had ever seen anything like this when I noticed the Solar transit thread started by Alan a few days ago. Will check out the heavens-above link to try to determine what it was.

Bob Young

August 4, 2002 06:25 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Re: good planetary eyepiece

Posted By Bob Young

I have both the 5mm TAK LE and a 5mm UO Ortho. The Ortho is noticeably brighter than the TAK with better contrast but, due to its very short eye-relief, is fatiguing to use. I bought the TAK LE as it appeared to strike a good compromise between eye-relief and weight at a decent price. Was trying to avoid another expensive 'glass grenade'. The TAK has been quite satisfactory. The small loss in brightness is easily tolerated on most planetary targets and the more comfortable eye-relief permits the object to be studied in a liesurely manner. The detail I've seen with one ep, I've seen with the other. As pointed out above the TAK barlows well, making it useful for splitting tight doubles. Have not noticed any color in the TAK, but wasn't specifically looking for it. As to drawbacks, its 10mm eye-relief is probably not sufficient for someone who wears eyeglasses.

I've used both eyepieces in a SV80/f9.4, a TV102 and an ETX125. Unable to offer a comparison with the Radian.
Bob Young

August 12, 2002 06:27 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

GM8 Upgrade?

Posted By Bob Young

I use a GM8 mount for visual observing only and am looking for something that will upgrade its max slew rate capability to something near the 4.5*/sec rate delivered by the Meade LXD55-EC series mounts. I realize that this would probably entail new drive motors and a new controller but am hoping the cost wouldn't be much more than a new LXD55. The Gemini GoTo system reportedly slews at a decent rate as does an aftermarket servo based system I read about; however they are both expensive and I don't need GoTo.

Through using an ETX125, I've found that my observing sessions are much more pleasant and productive if I keep my clumsy mitts off the scope. Certainly the OOPS factor is greatly diminished. The slew rates available with my ETX125EC hand controller (8x, 32x, 180x and 5*/sec) are perfectly adequate for my purposes. The ability to fine-adjust the polar tracking rate on the ETX is icing on the cake.

My GM8 alternately carries a C9.25 and a TV102. Would hate to have to replace such a fine mount with a Chinese mount from Meade....even if it is a bargain.

Does anyone know if such an upgrade exists?
Bob Young

August 24, 2002 08:23 PM Forum: TeleVue

Re: Televue 102 Eyepiece Suggestions...

Posted By Bob Young

Low power: Pentax 40mm SMC XL gives 3deg. True FOV in TV102 with sharp image almost to edge. Very impressive on Pleiades and other open clusters.

Have no experience with your other choices. My High Power is a TAK 5mm LE. It's a gem and much cheaper than the zoom Nagler, but not nearly as versatile. I'd like to try the zoom Nagler someday myself.

My 22mm Panoptic doesn't see a lot of use. My 12mm UO Ortho does. UO Orthos below 9mm have very short eye relief and are tiring to use. But they are sharp, bright and cheap.
Bob Young

August 26, 2002 09:37 AM Forum: TeleVue

Re: Finder bracket Q

Posted By Bob Young

I've got the exact finder setup that Tom described; and it DOES work nice. Returns to Zero even when the finder is removed and replaced.
Bob Young

September 8, 2002 05:10 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Re: TeleVue 102/101 how great?

Posted By Bob Young

The TV102/GM8 combination offers something totally missing from the LX200....a "growth path". If the TV102 should prove wanting, as mine did on DSO's, you can buy a Mak-Newt, Mak-Cass or SCT Optical Tube Assembly (OTA) only and mount that on the GM8. Most OTA's that are in the GM8's weight bearing range can be had for less than $2000 new. Used, they are an even a bigger bargain. I ended up with a used C9.25 SCT that is very nice. (I like that scope more every time I use it. It only cost $900 as an OTA.) Then it's your choice; retain the TV102 for those things it does well or sell it and get your money out of it. I kept mine for its great wide field views and because I love the double star images it gives me.

Think of it this way Rob; the attractions of astronomy are broad and diverse and your interests are likely to change over time. Not only are there several different types of astro objects to view (planets, DSO's, clusters, moon, doubles) there are also several approaches to seeing them (refractor, reflector, SCT, Mak-Cass, Mak-Newt)...each with its peculiar advantages. The GM8 would make a fine platform for accomodating this diversity while developing experience with a meaningful cross-section of available optical equipment.

As to comparing the TV102 to a Mak; I've found my TV102 to about equal my ETX125 ON PLANETS. I have no experience with larger Maks or Mak-Newts. I prefer the ETX over the TV102 on planets as its long focal length makes it easier to reach high magnification with common eyepieces. The TV's wide FOV capability (due to relatively short focal length) is wasted on planets.

Hope this helps.
Bob Young