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Posts Made By: Steve Hollenbach

May 23, 2012 07:19 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Re: manual mount for heavier scopes?

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

john raymond said:

A C11 has such a long focal length that tracking is almost mandatory for astro use.

I reccomend a Losmandy G11. You can use it without power and have it balanced so well, push the scope with your finger.

A Discmount DM6 is a good alt-az mount, simple and elegant. Will hold a C11 easy, and easy to track when balanced.

A classic Meade 10 or 12" LX200 will have a good fork mount and slo-mo controls. Does not need power to operate. Add a wedge for equatorial use. Easy to find good deals on these.

There you go.
John

Hi all,
I use a G-11 for a 10" MAK. Similar weight to a C11. An undriven totally manual mount will get real old real fast. For a good bargain mount, the minimum I'd try on that OTA is a CI-700. You can dress them up or stay simple. Very similar to the Losmandy. I used one on a 7" MAK for years.

If you're only doing visual observing it would work. If power is the problem, buy a car battery booster at any popular car parts place. That's what I use on the G-11 mount. One did burn out on me, but at $78 each, it didn't break the bank either.
8)
Steve

June 7, 2012 11:21 AM Forum: Eyepieces

Is it just me?

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Floyd Blue said:

Seems very slow around here lately. So, is it just the weather sucks or what? wink
I know that it is just the beginning of the new observing year for many, but what is going on with everyone as far as new eyepieces and experiences lately? grin

Hi Floyd,
You're not alone. If it's good seeing, I'm at work out of town. When there aren't clouds there's a brush fire nearby. I've owned a Siebert Planesphere 6.4mm EP for over a year and it hasn't seen first light yet cwy
Steve


July 17, 2012 06:42 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Optics and cushion foam

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Jonathan Lingel said:

I am building a 6" long focus refractor and have made a carrying/storage case
for it. I would like to cushion the inside with foam rubber (like what is
inside cheap cushions). I seem to recall that the out-gassing may cause a
film to form on the lens. Is there any chance of that happening?
thanks,
-Jon

Hi Jon,
The high density gray foam should be pretty stable. It can break down, but there's a cure. Trouble is I don't recall the name of the product. It looks like sulyfane, but is far less sticky, and soft as can be. You keep caps on the optics and cover either the scope or the foam with the soft plastic. Model railroad guys use it for fine brass locomotives.

What lets off gas is inexpensive silicon caulk. Don't seal a case with it. As it cures, it smells like vinegar. That's a mild acid at work on everything inside. Use urethane.
Hope that helped a little,
Steve
smile

July 17, 2012 06:56 PM Forum: Home Observatories

Solar Power

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Louis Busby said:

Has anyone tried solar power for their observatories? I just goy mine built, but haven't run electric to it yet. Seems to me that solar power would be ideal for an application like this.

Here's my observatory

Hi Louis, Hi All,
OK, I'd like to make two points here.

First, my observatory is solar/battery powered and it works. I only operate a Losmandy G-11 digital drive, but have more than enough capacity, and it cost under $300. If you have reasonable sunshine (very like the day before evening observation) I'd highly recommend solar power.

Second, my observatory is located in the desert. It's an itchy, scratchy place with critters that have fangs and poison or drag off your house-cat. During the day buzzards circle my house. Not something out on the road... My house. The few times a year we get rain, it comes down by the bucket. Then we're back to itchy & scratchy, put your head in the oven to cool off type of heat. So, under these conditions, solar power is bound to work.

As for those of you with gorgeous photos of observatories in cloudy places surrounded by green forests, well I'm not too sure solar is going to work.

Steve
wink

July 26, 2012 12:02 AM Forum: Home Observatories

Environmental Control

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Louis Busby said:

I intend on either running a small electric fan or getting one of those small room portable air conditioner/de-humidifiers. I'm thinking a small fan would keep air moving on cool humid nights to reduce or eliminate dew issues. The AC/De-humidifier would be used for limited environmental control inside the observatory when its sealed up during the day. Any thoughts on these accessories and their intended use?

Also, what should my real concern be regarding lightening strikes/grounding of my system? I live in N. VA and I get some pretty strong late afternoon T-storms with lightening through here in the summer months. Potential exists for a strike.

Hi Louis,
The humidity can be partly controlled by a small AC unit. Find one with a thermostat that can be set to the expected observing temp. If you seal up your observatory without it, expect mildew. Otherwise a fan is a lower cost method.

As to lightning... Judging by the photos you're at a lower elevation than the house and nearby trees. The most likely scenario is a near miss, which can ruin lots of equipment. Drive a ground rod and give everything a decent ground. This would include metal conduit, pull boxes, outlet boxes, the metal parts of the building and of course the ground plug of each outlet. Feed all electronics from a protected power supply, and remember, a dangling wire is an antenna waiting to receive.

This time of year Phoenix gets rain; usually in the form of a storm. My solar setup is as shielded as possible and the building's corrugated skin is grounded.

Thanks,
Steve
8)

August 2, 2012 06:32 PM Forum: Home Observatories

Finally got the Scope in It!!!

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

What a great setup. Nice work Louis!
Steve
8)

August 17, 2012 11:28 AM Forum: Home Observatories

Dewed Telescope

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

If you cover the scope with the dew still on it, you reduce the rate of evaporation a great deal. Letting some air get to it would be good. Although dew seems quite clean, it contains minerals, dust and a miriad of microbes.

My cleaning solution is nothing unique. Mix up a quart of 50/50 distilled water and isopropyl alcohol, then add exactly one smallish drop of dawn dishwashing liquid. Wet a fresh cottom ball with it and wipe very gently. never wipe twice with the same cotton ball. On a ten inch scope I'll easily go through half a bag of cotton balls in ten minutes. The idea is to remove microscopic debris from the corrector without scrubbing it in or otherwise damaging the protective coatings.
Thanks,
Steve
8)

September 23, 2012 01:02 AM Forum: Religion

Christianity and Organ Donation

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

When I was a kid, the only thing our family would consider was burial. Cremation was not customary in the Catholic realm. Burial at sea was OK. I left the church in 1977, so a number of years have passed. Donating blood was never in question, at least in my lifetime. Now donating organs or one's body to science is perfectly acceptable.

Considering the difference my own organs could make to someone in need, I marked the back of my license. I'm considering one of two options. Burial at sea feeds the fish. Donating to science helps a med student learn.

As for needing a body in the afterlife, our bodies fall into a pretty bad state before we even leave. I doubt if they'd be of much use in a thousand years. It would be no more difficult to gather our atoms back together, but other people might be using them by then.

Deeeeep thoughts...
Steve
8)

October 9, 2012 07:00 PM Forum: Religion

Religion Tax

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

When a State has official ties to a religion, it should come as no surprise that a tax is levied.

I found it rather odd in 1975 when a Catholic Priest insisted from the pulpit, we donate 10% of our income to the church. To hear this from a man sworn to poverty, chastity and obedience, didn't bother me. To see catherdrals in Europe built and decorated as if the entire gross national product went into them, didn't bother me. It did bother me that he drove a donated Mercedes, played golf a lot, ate like a king and attended all the big social events. I still don't do all that and I work my butt off. It further bothers me that not only the Catholic church but many denominations buy up real estate with their not-for-profit gains.

On a lighter note, Catholic Charities is one of the most efficient of all charitable organizations, and truly helps those in need.

I disagree with taxing individuals and passing along all, or worse, part of the money to XYZ church. Should churches be taxed?

Hmmmm....
Steve
8)

October 9, 2012 07:00 PM Forum: Religion

Religion Tax

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

When a State has official ties to a religion, it should come as no surprise that a tax is levied.

I found it rather odd in 1975 when a Catholic Priest insisted from the pulpit, we donate 10% of our income to the church. To hear this from a man sworn to poverty, chastity and obedience, didn't bother me. To see catherdrals in Europe built and decorated as if the entire gross national product went into them, didn't bother me. It did bother me that he drove a donated Mercedes, played golf a lot, ate like a king and attended all the big social events. I still don't do all that and I work my butt off. It further bothers me that not only the Catholic church but many denominations buy up real estate with their not-for-profit gains.

On a lighter note, Catholic Charities is one of the most efficient of all charitable organizations, and truly helps those in need.

I disagree with taxing individuals and passing along all, or worse, part of the money to XYZ church. Should churches be taxed?

Hmmmm....
Steve
8)