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Posts Made By: Jeff Blazey

October 3, 2006 05:52 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

I got slugged & slimed in the same night!

Posted By Jeff Blazey

Well, there I was the proud owner of a brand new Intes MN55 from Mike in Florida. Of course I had to wait about 2 weeks after its arrival for the bad weather & clouds, which arrived 5 minutes after the scope, to clear out before I could use it. So two nights ago things were perfect, a day after 1st quarter moon, calm, clear skies and seeing averaging about 7 with moments of 8+. Excellent. Out it came sitting on top of my GM-8. Along side of it were my Intes 503 (sitting on a Super Polaris) and my newly Chromacor'd AR5 (sitting on a fold out lawn chair, waiting for its ride on the GM-8).

The MN is a great little package and, to be honest, I was taken completely by surprise. This instrument is stunning! The subjective performance was every bit as good as any 5" APO I've seen. Cratlets on Plato's floor? Sure, no problem. Perfect collimation & stellar images? Yup. After making comparisons between the scopes (the subject of future postings) I bagged & tagged both Intes on their mounts and went inside vowing to get up early and check out Saturn and other morning stuff.

In the morning, with a cup of coffee in my hand and wondering why I DO stuff like this, I de-bagged both instruments and started "observing". First up was the Intes 503 (which will get its own thread later). Excellent. Saturn though low was crisp, M42 beautiful and the seven sisters ravishing. I then moved over to the MN55, inserted the barlow with 12 MM Clave and looked up at Saturn. Hmmmm, it looks good ....but not as good as I had expected compared to the 503, which was ever sooooo softer on the moon the evening before. I pulled in M42. Same result. Then the Pleiades again with the same result. All good but the 503 was giving a better view. I did a star test at higher magnification on the MN55. Well the out of focus image revealed a couple of small shadows next to the shadow of the secondary. Crap, I thought, dirt on the inside of the barlow again. Oh well, it's time to bring the OTAs inside and go to work.

I don't know about you guys, but I always check the dew patterns that form on my scopes when I bring them into the warmer house. First the 503...a nice even coating. Then the MN55...HOLY MOTHER OF CRAP!!!! 8O

There they were, in all of their slinky slimy-ness, two, one half-inch long "garden" slugs, taking a breather after completely exploring every inch of the corrector. Their slime tracks were everywhere on the meniscus. Apparently, over the course of the evening, the little bastards had made their way up the tripod, up the tube and onto the meniscus of my BRAND NEW SCOPE. cwy

Oh well, live and learn I guess. Their snot came off easily with Windex so everything is fine. Kinda ironic though. I suppose it's God's way of saying "Boogah Boogah!!"

Slimed in Cincinnati


October 17, 2006 09:56 PM Forum: Refractors

Re: 5" Achro Optical Test

Posted By Jeff Blazey


I too would choose a less bright, more yellow star. Regardless, it sounds as if the optical system (including primary, diagonal & eyepiece) may be under-corrected. What you describe is exactly what I saw with my AR5. The real trick is judging just how under-corrected it is. Then is it really a "problem"? Try for 4 rings inside and outside of focus. Are the inside of focus rings a whole lot sharper than the outside ones? If it's fairly subtle (and you have to look past or ignore the color distortions as much as you can) youre scope is only mildly undercorrected.

Of course, if it gives nice sharp images of the moon and planets, who cares as that's what really matters.

Also, you might be able to snag a used Chromacor O1. With carefull set up, it will reduce the under-correction (which will sharpen up the image even more)and greatly reduce the secondary color as well. Of course it will cost you ~3 times what you paid for the AR5 8O , but IMHO, it's worth it.


November 7, 2006 12:33 AM Forum: Telescope Making


Posted By Jeff Blazey


Now that I'm back in the hobby, I'm considering making my own refractor tube assemblies again. In years gone by, I used anywhere from 3 to 7 baffles depending on the F ratio, difference between the objective diameter and tube I.D. and the chosen fully illuminated spot at the focal surface.

My specific question is based upon my past practice of using just the center baffle to set the illuminated field, while just using the others (which were slightly oversized relative to the light cone) to reduce stray light. This seemed to work quite well, but I'd like the world's collective wisdom on this approach as the internet was not around the last time I did this. 8)


November 8, 2006 03:27 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Re: one scope only!!!!!

Posted By Jeff Blazey

A good old fashioned 8", F 7-8 Newtonian with a 1.5 -1.83" secondary on a Losmandy G-11 mount. And you'll have money left over to take the S.O. out for a really NICE dinner & show. wink

The other OTA alternative would be a 6-7" Mac/Newt.

You get high contrast views, big light grasp, high resolution, wide eyepiece selection due to the reasonnable F ratio and "portability".

December 31, 2006 02:08 AM Forum: Maksutovs

Cats on parade

Posted By Jeff Blazey


My Cats have been breeding. Just can't help themselves smile


February 22, 2007 02:05 AM Forum: Pictures of Me and My Telescope and........

Cute "little" original AP130 F6

Posted By Jeff Blazey


I sold one of these about 25 years ago and I've regretted it ever since then. Finally snagged one back. Very sharp images. Yes, there is a little bit of color but its much less than my AR5. I posted this under classics as well.


April 14, 2007 09:06 PM Forum: Ask rating questions here

Need to get copy of deleted ad!

Posted By Jeff Blazey

I had a deal go bad on me. I finally got the instrument (a CR-6) but it was in terrible shape. Fortunately, I was able to refurbish it.

However, then the seller double billed my charge card thru his business. Despite repeated assurances that the charge would be reversed, it never did happen. I'm now disputing the charges. I'd like to include a copy of the ad along with the e-mail trail in my response to the credit card company but the ad has been deleted.

Is there a way of getting a copy of ad no. 481823?

Jeff Blazey

April 21, 2007 01:03 PM Forum: Pictures of Me and My Telescope and........

Refurbished CR-6

Posted By Jeff Blazey

Here's a "refurbished" CR-6. I got this scope as part of a deal that went bad. It took me almost a month to get it after payment (for which I was billed twice, but that's another story.). What attracted me to this particular instrument was the owners claim that it had been "hand selected by Markus for a Chormacor O1", which I happened to have.

When I finally did get it, the scope was in terrible shape. First the tube has some sort of sticky material all over the dew shield and lens cell and the tube was badly scratched up. More importantly, the lens looked like it had been thru Katrina. There were water marks on ALL surfaces, including the interior surfaces. And they were not spots...there was puddling & pooling.

Well, I've been around the block in this hobby and have disassembled and cleaned many an objective up to my 8" Brandt. It's not that difficult for an achromat but this was something else. I honestly felt the lens was toast. How could the coatings have possibly survived and the glass not be etched!

Well, when I took the lens out of its cell. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the opticians had marked the lens for proper alignment of the elements. Inspection of the lens surfaces showed residue and deposited material. Ugh. I then completely immersed each element into a cleaning solution of warm distilled water and a few drops of detergent. Using cotton swabs I gently swabbed each surface. The deposits came quickly off. Next they were rinsed in a distilled water and denatured alcohol solution then rinsed again with a 90% denatured alcohol solution and air dried. Except for some smudges, they looked really very good. I next cleaned them up with cotton swabs and the moisture from my breath.

Careful examination under bright light and various viewing angles showed there was some minor sleeking of the coatings but they were intact. There were also some minor cleaning swirl marks that I left alone as experience has shown they don't matter at all and disappear when viewed at anything but high angles to the surface.

I carefully reassembled the lens and lowered the cell over it. I took the opportunity to shim the lens against the cell with paper as it seemed a bit too loose. Finally I fitted the "O" ring and screwed in the retainer while gently tapping the cell to center the elements.

Done! And it looked very good, still some sleeks but that's ok.

I cleaned up the sticky tube with acetone, but I've yet to refinish it.

I've reassembled it but have not done a collimation yet.

Performance wise, it's very good. Indeed it is slightly under-corrected with a smooth figure and no obvious zones. False color...oh my yes. It is after all a "fast" achromat. But it was really very sharp.

Inserting the Chromacor really brought the assembly to a fine state. Without any tweaking of the set up, false color was reduced considerably. Yes it was still there but subjectively about 1/4th the amount and similar to my old AP 130 F6. However, the image was noticeably sharper and fully the equal (except for color) of the TEC 6 in the picture's background.

But more tweaking is necessary. The image shows the classic signs of a slightly mis-adjusted Chromacor, like off axis color and unequal color around bright objects (red on one side and blue on the other side of Jupiter for example.)

But that just means things will get better!

Hope I have not bored you guys but this has been an interesting experience.


May 8, 2007 12:54 PM Forum: After Dark

I saw a UFO..actually, it WAS a weather balloon

Posted By Jeff Blazey

At least I think it was. 8O

Last night about 15 minutes after sunset, I was getting ready to track down Saturn when I noticed a very bright "star" to the southwest, about 60-70 degrees up. It was bright, easily as bright as Venus and not moving to my unaided eye.

"What the heck is that?" I pointed it out to my wife who was messing around in the garden. She was considerably less interested than me.

I thought it might be a Geo satellite that the sun was hitting just right. It was NOT a solar panel "flare" as it was steady.

So I pointed my Intes MN-55 at it (5.5", F5) thinking I might be able to see an image of a satellite. Cool, I thought. I was using a 12 MM UO HD ortho with AP 1.7X barlow to look at Venus before that so everything was in focus.

I centered the "star" in the finder and looked in the eyepiece. I saw a white line with a smaller "star" at its end gliding out of the field of view. "What's that?" I thought as I grabbed the LDX75 hand paddle and slewed the image back into view.

"Oh my God!" I shouted. I now got my wife's attention back. Slowly drifting thru the field was a round, bright luminous ball with a long "tail" and a "star" on the tail's end. The ball was rocking around, wagging the tail. As it rocked I also noticed a bright red light at the base of the globe where the tail came out. The ball looked like it was being illuminated from within, glowing in fact.

I shouted to my wife to come over and look at this. She too was amazed and stood there staring into the eyepiece. I recentered the ball and kept watching it. Amazing! The image was tack sharp (the MN55 has exceptional optics) with the ball intensely outlined against the dark gray background of the twilight. Its surface color was white but it also had structure and banding, in particular, a darker "equatorial" band. The "tail" was white and tack sharp as well. I continue to observe this "UFO" for about 10 minutes, using the hand paddle to recenter the image as it drifted around a bit. Background stars were starting to appear in the field as the globe drifted on. MAJOR SPOOKY! 8O . I started to notice a few more things. The "tail" would flex a bit as it wagged about and there was a knob of some kind where the tail and red light came out of the base of the globe.

Then it "popped". There was a star shower of tiny pieces radiating suddenly outward from where the globe used to be. The knob with the tail and light suddenly went slack, slithering like a snake and there was what looked like an open flower twisting about.


Before it popped I was coming to the conclusion that I was watching a weather balloon. It just made sense. But man it was thrilling!! In my 45 years of watching the skies, I'd never seen anything as dramatic and unexpected as this!

I then settled down to look at "plain old Saturn". While it was giving up some spectacular images as the atmosphere was excellent, it seemed just a bit anti-climatic.


October 1, 2007 03:44 AM Forum: Refractors

Interesting AP 152's

Posted By Jeff Blazey

I picked these up after losing an auction here for one. The owners contacted me privately and I couldn't resist. I guess I just won't eat for a couple of years. smile

They are from 1992 and are airspaced instead of oil spaced. There is NO color on ANYthing that I can detect visually and the images are sharp (!). Note the differences in the cells. I'm a happy guy right now.