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Posts Made By: Ed Ashton

July 2, 2003 10:04 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Re: Why is it?

Posted By Ed Ashton

Some things command high prices simply because they are scarce, not because they are better. Put a side-by-side comparison of a 4" Takahashi, AP, Vixen Fluorite and Televue refractor together, and I doubt if most people could tell the difference in image quality, but the AP will cost the most, the TV the least. The differences may be superficial, but AP's command "prestige", because you can't buy one off-the-shelf.

August 22, 2003 10:19 AM Forum: Eyepieces

Eyepiece rec's for a F/5 Portaball?

Posted By Ed Ashton

I'm expecting delivery soon of a 10" Portaball, and I need eyepiece recommendations to fill a gap in my collection. I currently own a Televue 32mm plossl, a 20mm TV plossl, and a 3-6mm Nagler Zoom, so I need something in the 10-12 mm range. Because of balance and weight issues, I don't want a 2" eyepiece. It should be able to handle the F/5 light cone with aplomb. A wide field of view would be nice but not necessary, since the Portaball will be on an equatorial platform. My inclination would be to get a 10 or 12mm Radian, but I was hoping to spend $150 or less. The TV 11mm plossl is a possibility, but it has only 6mm of eye relief, kinda short even for someone who doesn't need to use glasses. Would a UO 9mm or 12.5mm Ortho fit the bill? Is the Radian worth the extra money? Any other suggestions?

October 21, 2003 10:12 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Re: Should I consider this for my husband?

Posted By Ed Ashton

You might want to consider buying this scope new, instead of used. While they make fine telescopes, Meade has a reputation for inconsistent quality control, and buying it new from a dealer gives you the option of returning it for replacement if you should be unlucky enough to get a bad sample. It may cost you more, but the extra money buys you peace of mind. Or perhaps ebay has a policy that covers defective merchandise? I've never used it, so I wouldn't know...

November 19, 2003 01:45 PM Forum: Binoviewers

Which would you choose?

Posted By Ed Ashton

The Denkmeier Standard with the refractor package or the Black Knight package that includes the set of 24mm Ultra eyepieces? I own a TV 102 and I'm mostly interested in lunar and planetary viewing, but will eventually add a premium 10 or 11" dob for deep-sky. I currently own a Nagler 3-6mm zoom eyepiece and plan on adding another for my high-power viewing, but I would have to buy a low-power set for deep sky. I wear glasses with a mild prescription, but have always taken them off for single-eyed viewing. The difference between my left and right eye is not great, so I don't think I need extra-cost diopter adjustments, because both bino's already allow some small amount of diopter adjustments, right?

Pros and cons: I like the lower-power OCA of the Denk's, the wider clear aperture that allows lower-power eyepieces, and the very attractive 0% financing deal. The Black Knights are a great value, are lighter, and the package saves me from having to buy a low-power eyepiece set. Both are comparable in price. I can afford to spend more than what these two packages cost, but I'm wondering if I need to.

So back to my question....for planetary viewing, do you feel that either has an optical advantage? Are the Siebert 24mm Ultra eyepieces good? Has anyone directly compared these two binos? Would I be happier with the Denk when I get the dob?

And the premium Denk II with it's 1/8-wave optics noticably better for lunar and planetary viewing, enough to justify the higher price?


January 7, 2004 01:02 PM Forum: Binoviewers

Nagler 3-6mm zoom for binoviewer?

Posted By Ed Ashton

I already own a Nagler 3-6 zoom eyepiece, and I'm planning on buying a Denk binoviewer for use with my TV 102 and 10" Portaball (mostly with the former, since the latter has weight/balance issues). I was wondering if buying another Nagler zoom for high-power use in the Denk would be wise, given that the OCS will be boosting the magnification? Most of the advice I've read seems to say that longer focal length eyepieces work best in binoviewers. But the simplicity and convenience of using two Nagler zooms is appealing. My only other high-power eyepiece is a Meade 4.7 UWA, which I don't especially want to find a duplicate for, but I'd also rather not be forced to buy several new sets of eyepieces if the ones I have will do. Any advice? BTW, my other eyepieces are a TV 32mm plossl and a 12.3mm Orion Epic.

February 17, 2004 09:35 AM Forum: Binoviewers

Portaballs and binoviewers?

Posted By Ed Ashton

Has anyone tried using their Portaballs with binoviewers, or does their sensitivity to balance issues make it out of the question? If reasonably-priced binoviews had been available at the time, I would have ordered a Starmaster instead!

February 18, 2004 10:42 AM Forum: Binoviewers

Sirius 32mm plossl for binoviewer?

Posted By Ed Ashton

Orion is having a sale at the moment on their Sirius plossl eyepieces. Does anyone have any thoughts on using the 32mm's for low-power binoviewing? The Excelsis web site gives them fairly high marks. At $37.40 each, they're a steal.

March 4, 2005 09:22 AM Forum: Binoviewers

Eyepiece recommendations

Posted By Ed Ashton

I plan to buy a Denkmeier II binoviewer with a dual-arm Powerswitch. I want to use it with two telescopes: a Takahashi FS 128 refractor and an 11" F/5.4 Starmaster. I'd like to acquire two or three sets of eyepieces to use with both instruments, that will give a range of magnfications with the Powerswitch. What eyepieces would you recommend with these instruments if price was no object? What would you recommend if price was a concern? I'm mostly interested in lunar and planetary viewing, with occasional deep-sky. Sorry if this has been covered in other threads, but there's so much information to wade through I was hoping to get right to the point!

November 7, 2005 09:57 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Changing collimation

Posted By Ed Ashton

Is it normal for collimation to change on a dob slightly as the telescope orientation changes? I have an 11" Starmaster ELT. I can get the collimation spot-on with the laser, but as I move the truss assembly in altitude from zenith to the horizon, I can't keep the red dot within the center-spot ring on the primary without tweaking the secondary some more. I tried tightening the spider assembly screws to make sure nothing is sagging, but this doesn't help. Suggestions?

November 30, 2005 01:00 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Eyepieces won't come to focus

Posted By Ed Ashton

I picked up a used Starmaster 11" ELT F/5.4 a while ago, but never got around to using it until recently. My problem is that none of my eyepieces will come to focus....not one! I don't have any 2" eyepieces, so I used my Televue 1.25" adapter, which raises the eyepices maybe a quarter of an inch, but I cannot get enough in-focus travel to bring even short eyepieces to focus. Is there any simple fix for this? Would a binoviewer OCS do the trick? Any other suggestions?