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Posts Made By: Steve Hollenbach

December 13, 2007 10:29 AM Forum: Meade

7 inch MAK

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Does anyone have experience removing the internal counterweight from a Meade 7" MAK?
I have three reasons to remove it; better cooling, lighter weight of the OTA on a German Equitorial mount, and to make room for a dampener to try and eliminate image shift. I'll have to invent that.

I also have a healthy reluctance to open a perfectly good OTA without a really good reason.


January 18, 2008 10:51 AM Forum: Maksutovs

Barlow or Focal reducer

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

I've run into a lot of people who think I'm nuts. Well, that may be, However...

Why is it those with short focal length scopes think using a focal reducer is some sort of taboo on a long MAK to gain wide field? These are the same people who have a collection of Barlows to gain magnification.

I have a Meade 7" MAK and use an Anteres .7 reducer with a 27mm Panoptic to get about 1.27 degrees TFOV. Not bad really. The same can be done with a Meade or Celestron reducer at the visual back. Using spacers, I've pushed the limits out to about 1.61 degrees, but at that there's some edge and obstruction shadow. It's a matter of finding the sweet spot in the setup.

The scope is able to see all of the double cluster with ease. In fact there are less than a handful of celestial objects this setup can't handle. At about 1.5 degrees I got the whole Pleiades, but it wasn't well framed. For that I do have my piggyback achromat.

Has anyone else sought to test the lower limits? 8)

March 20, 2008 07:17 AM Forum: Meade

7" MAK coatings

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Does anyone really know?

I have a used 7" MAK OTA in good shape. Is there an easy way to tell if it has UHTC coatings? Is it somethng as obvious as an engraved UHTC on the name plate, or a color seen in reflection when looking into the OTA? It's ot the counterweight inside, so most likely came off a fork mount, but I don't know if it was an LX50 or LX200.


June 5, 2008 12:13 PM Forum: Maksutovs

Removing the internal counterweight from a Meade M

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

I posted the article for removing the counterweight from the Meade 7" MAK, if anyone is interested.

It was a very educational experience. The insides of the MAK are very SCT-ish. I do like the design of the locking brake. I found out it had been apart before, and a few baffles were scraped up. The OTA sat about four inches back on the IC-700 G-E mount when I was done. It had been sitting right on the back edge. It also improved the mount's ability to handle a piggyback. Not that a 60mm guidescope is really all that heavy.

More news on the cool-down time later. In my part of Arizona the days are 110 in summer and nights about 80, so taking the OTA out of the air conditioned house is more of a warm up period. Same effect.

Thanks again,

December 22, 2008 01:35 PM Forum: Maksutovs

Meade 7 inch mods

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Hi all,
For those interested I have revised the counterweight removal article, and added a few things. For those not interested you may yawn at your convenience.


December 22, 2008 01:38 PM Forum: Meade

Meade 7 inch MAK revised

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Hi all,
For those interested I have revised the counterweight removal article, and added a few things. For those not interested you may yawn at your convenience.


June 8, 2009 04:20 PM Forum: Eyepieces

At the high end

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

I've always used what worked best even if it's a fraction of the cost of the popular high end EP's. However, as my EP collection evolved TeleVue became the mainstay.

Here's what I use in the Meade 7" MAK with a 2670mm focal length:

Widest TFOV focal reducer=
Anteres .7 & TeleVue 27mm Panoptic

Widest TFOV native=
Meade 56mm type 4000

Everyday observing=
TeleVue 27mm Panoptic
It's clearly my most useful EP

Modest Magnification (222x)=
TeleVue 12mm Nagler type 2

Heavy Magnification (333x)=
TeleVue 8mm Radian

Once a year Magnification (534x)=
Baader 5mm Orthoscopic

The Baader is used once a year at best, and the 8mm Radian is has been in on rare occasions.

So my real topic thinking out loud is; would a 10mm Ethos be a worthwhile move to replace the 12mm Nagler, 8mm Radian, and 5mm Baader?

I can sell those off to make up for the high cost of the Ethos, but it would have to be truely useful and take their place. For magnification in that scope I think it's practical. I like my little Baader ortho, but it has only really shown what it can do once under an absolutely perfect sky. A little more often with the Radian, and only a few times a week with the Nagler.

Another point is the technology of the 12mm Nagler type 2 has been eclipsed by the type 4 and Ethos, but buy how much?

DEEEEEEP Thoughts!

July 13, 2009 11:13 AM Forum: Eyepieces

The Ethoi and the future!

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

The Ethoi lived on the surface, and were a kind and helpful people.

Anyway, for the "Big MAK" I've got the wide field and mid range covered. For moderate magnification, the 13mm Ethos did in fact edge its way past my old 12mm type 2 Nagler. I'd like to thank those on this forum who gave their helpful advice. I should listen more often.

Now for the high magnification work. Here in Arizona we might lack humidity (well we have some NOW) but usually our hot days result in some serious convection currents at night. So, bad seeing is more common this time of year, and I can't find time to observe.

My 8mm Radian (at 333x) only shows me a good view five or six nights a year, so I dove into the bank account for a nice used 9mm Nagler (298x) and should start comparing to two when weather permits.

Have any of you done this comparison? If so (and under clear skies) please share.

I can say the 8mm Radian is no slouch. There was only one oddity. I noticed on two that I've had a chance to use the barrels were loose. They were easy to tighten up again. A minor problem, but it might put people off a bit.

Good to hear the 13 Ethos performs well with a Barlow, but I'd like to stick to less glass if possible. Haven't had a chance to look through a Tak 7.5 LE either.


September 2, 2009 01:26 PM Forum: Eyepieces

Sell off an Ethos?

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

I was wondering, and it has been mentioned here, why would people sell off an Ethos Eyepiece?

Well, I may have one answer. I bought my Ethos 13mm in June after some good advice from members on this forum. Here's an interesting observation. At a comfortable eye position, a significant part of that amazing TFOV is not in view. I have to get my eyeball down on the eye lens and look around.

It reminded me of my 9mm Nagler which has a less pronounced effect like this. So, here's an EP worth lots of money when compaired to what other equipment could be bought for that same amount, and its biggest sales point is not readily seen in casual use; at least by me.

Now my experience with the Ethos is limited to the 13mm and only in a long focal length scope, but certainly other people have noticed this. Some, perhaps to the point where they replaced it.

My first night with it was the second Saturday at the Grand Canyon Star Party. It worked so well, the visiting public had no problem at all using it. However, I slipped in the 12mm Nagler type 2 and got the same wow out of nearly everyone. Yes, I know they might be impressed with anything, but the unbiassed reaction was about the same.

At home the following Monday I held a little shoot out and the Ethos did edge out over the Nagler, but an older Nagler and it was close. What sold me was the view of faint nebulea and on star clusters. On Saturn & Jupiter I couldn't see a difference! Now that's on a mount that tracks automatically. The extra field of view may prove quite valuable to a Newtonian owner.

So the eyepieces I haven't tried yet are the newer 12mm Nagler type 4 and the newer smaller 13mm Nagler. I haven't tried Meade's 14mm Nagler knock-off either, but have never even seen one. I'd love to have a look through those and see if the improvements made over the years are comparable to the performance of the Ethos, taking into account 18* less field.

Deeeeeeep thoughts...

September 3, 2009 12:00 PM Forum: Religion

Church of Astronomy

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

No set gathering place as yet. No rituals apart from the usual cleaning and adjusting the instruments. The music could be Holst's Planets, but again not mandatory. No vaulted cathedral ceiling, just an open sky. No hard oak bench, just an old lawnchair.

More than the depths of the ocean I am awe struck by the expanse of incredible distance. In poor seeing the stars dance. The upper level turbulence plays gasoline alley on our view of the moon. Not a night lost, but enjoyed.

And what prayer could I offer? Only: