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Posts Made By: Steve Hollenbach

August 13, 2010 11:40 AM Forum: Eyepieces

Going wide

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

I have an Intes Micro 10 inch MAK at f10, so the focal length is right at 2540mm. Did have a similar length Meade 7 inch MAK.

OK, for a very wide field in the Meade, a focal reducer with a 27mm Panoptic works wonders.

However, the same set-up in the Intes Scope won't work. Not enough back focus. So I use a Meade 56mm Super Plossl (series 4000). It is a great EP, but has its limits. So does the scope. In it I'm just short of the the whole Pleiades and showing some vinnetting.

Does anyone have experience with a 41mm Panoptic in a scope like this? I'm bouncing off the theoretical limits with the 56mm now, but a slightly shorter EP with just enough back focus might work.


August 26, 2010 04:03 PM Forum: No Holds Barred

They're running at Rockingham!

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Here on the "No Holds Barred" forum, it's obviously a return of the previously out of control religion forum. Funny, the same people are arguing the same points. I'll keep score if you like, but without names:

A/As; running strong and leading by half a length going into the first turn

Real Christians; also running strong and coming up second on the outside

Rational Visitors; an unexpected close third and haven't used the whip

Radical Christians; running a distant fourth but think they're doing well

Phoolish Philosopher; running a good pace but pressed against the rail by Radical Christains

Taliban Totalitarian disqualified for cruelty

Rational Visitors now about neck and neck with Real Christians

Wait folks; Radical Christains took a look at Taliban Totalitarian and Phoolish Philosopher saw a break and took it; no longer in the jamm!

It's a fast pace race at "No Holds Barred"


September 13, 2010 11:07 AM Forum: Home Observatories

Cast in stone

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Hi All,
My new observatory is a step closer to its first light. Good thing I made everything adjustable.

I'm using a steam pipe as a main pier and had it spot-on level. I mean I took some time to get that sucker exact from every angle and every kind of level I could get my hands on. It was sweet! That was four months ago. It's bolted to studs that run two feet deep into a full cubic yard of concrete that filled a cavity hammered out of a shale ridge. Even something cast in stone is not imune to rain weather and whatever other forces push and pull things out of alighnement.

I'll have to dig away about three inches of sand, but the lower bolts are accessible. As for the top end. I drilled out a patern of holes in a blind flange and bolted the Losmandy pier adapter to it. That assembly trammed out as flat as can be. The problem appeared when I tried it on my pier. However, washers and a little adjusting brought it to level for an interum check of all other aspects.

Here's the weird part. I eyeballed north for the concrete and for the pier. I eyeballed the adapter in what phase I thought would be right once it mounted to the pier. I had the scope out at an East Valley Star Party Friday, and adjusted the head assembly for my latitude at that point.

When I bolted it all together and leveled it. Polaris came up in the "true-north" scope right on the money first time out. That never ever happens in construction much less on my tripod.

Now all that's needed is to remove the equitorial mount and level out the pier once again. Re-fill the pier with varying grades of sand and chipped tire rubber. Remount and level the head unit and check for north again. After all that, I'll need a lock on the door, because it will be ready for first light.

Getting closer, but not cast in stone!


September 22, 2010 02:41 PM Forum: Mounts

Go To for Losmandy G-11 mount

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

I've done a bit of reading up on the Gemini system for the G-11 mount and the only drawback seems to be power requirements. As it will be used in an observatory most of the time, I've got power available.

I have seen very little on the SkyProbe 1000. It's a few years old and I'm sure no longer in production. However, I have found very little written about it.

Does anyone have any info?

October 4, 2010 07:47 AM Forum: Home Observatories

Pack sand?

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Hi All,
For a pier, I use an old steam pipe with huge flanges bolted to a concrete foundation burried deep under the floor of my dome and isolated from it. I've gone to great lengths to reduce any vibration on the scope.

The pipe had been filled with sand, but this didn't damped vibration very quickly. If you slap the side of an empty pipe (and who doesn't from time to time) you get a nice musical note like a bell ringing. That's certainly not what you need for a mount for a telescope. Without sand the ring or echo would go on till it was undetectable at about six seconds. With the pipe filled with sand it dampened out after two seconds. I'm trying to beat that.

The sand was a mix of course sand off the ground with fine sand form the nearby Home Depot. I've decided to try a mix of sand, vermiculite and shredded rubber. First I must get all the sand out of the pipe.

Did you know using a Shop-Vac to remove sand causes a really exciting static electric buildup?! Wow... There's still about two feet of sand in the pipe, but I'll get there.

Anyway I will keep you all posted on the unofficial vibration dampening properties of the new mix.

October 20, 2010 06:59 AM Forum: Home Observatories

Progress in Apache Junction

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Yes another story... wink
The new observatory is about 200 feet from the house. If any of you have had to dig a trench in the Phoenix area (short of hiring somebody with a backhoe) you know how hard the caliche can be. For those of you in other parts of the country, imagine sand and clay mixed with softball sized river rock. It's as hard as concrete.

Needless to say I'm reluctant to start a trench for an electric line. So it's a choice between 110 AC or producing my own power on site. The solar kits commonly available are meant to charge a 12 volt battery. Since that's what I'd need for the drive system at the occasional star party, it makes sense.

I just purchased a SkyProbe Goto system that runs on 110 AC. It's an older system for converting a Losmandy drive to Goto but it does work. The laptop can run on 12 volts DC input and has an internal battery, so no problem there. The motor driver runs on 110 AC but on the inside converts that to 12 volts DC for the electronics. It also has a 12 volt output. It should work as an input for 12 volts off a battery, so substituting solar for grid power is possible. If necessary an inverter could be used, but that adds another component and a bit more drain on the batteries.

All that's left is picking out a solar system. OK, bad pun. I figue 60 watts ought to do it. That's 12 volts at 5 amps all day. More than enough to charge batteries for the system and for the little bit of light I intend to install. In this part of Arizona there will be lots of daylight.

The wiring was installed last night. The pier was filled with sand, rocks, shredded rubber and vermiculite. I still need to compact it and re-grout the base of the pier. Tell you more about vibration dampenning after that.

I was hoping for first light for the observatory sooner, but might wait till after the All Arizona Star Party.

That's it for now,

October 21, 2010 03:33 PM Forum: Eyepieces

long story about 12mm EPs

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Why on earth would I want to replace a 12mm Nagler type 4? And if so what would I get to replace it? First another story. OK stop reading then, but if you are bored here it is... wink

A little history: I had a 12mm type 2 Nagler, and it was great. At that point in time I also had a 6mm Baader Orthoscopic. It had so little eye relief that my eyelashes touched the glass. I can only describe the views it offered as crisp, contrasty, good color and so on. They really are anazing, but hard to use.

I knew the 12mm Nagler would not beat the view, but would provide a really wide field. So I bought it, and used it for two years. It was easy to use, crisp, and a real work-horse.

Wide field fever set in. In a long focal length scope that's no surprise. The 13mm Ethos came out and called my name for about a year before I caved in.

For the Grand Canyon Star Party in June 2009, I had the 12mm Nagler the first half of the party and the 13mm Ethos the second half of the party. Having both I did a little shootout. It was almost too close to call on all fronts, but the Ethos won out with TFOV.

A year went by... No more wide field fever. To get that amazing field you have to get in the EP and swim around anyway. So, I got a good deal on the newer 12mm Nagler (type 4) and sold off the Ethos.

Even the Nagler's FOV is more than I need for planetary use, but not a drawback by any means. What surprised me was the kidney bean effect that the old 13mm Naglers had. I participate in some star parties and that didn't work well with the general public.

So I'm considering a replacement. The following are options but I'm open to suggestions:

TeleVue 12mm Nagler type 2
Takahashi 12.5mm LE
Pentax 12mm XF
Baader 12.5mm Orthoscopic
TeleVue 13mm Nagler type 6

I'll have to look and see what Siebert has available. Haven't checked in a while.

The scope is an Intes Micro 10" Maksutov at f10, 2540mm focal length. It magnifies and has a wide field like its focal length, but for EPs acts a bit longer. So, any suggestions?

October 29, 2010 04:34 PM Forum: Politics

Liberal or Conservative

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Funny how the word "Liberal" is demonized by the far right wing. Equally funny how "Conservative" means nothing of the kind.

Both sides seek only to polarize and so paralize the country. The politicians of both sides cater to special interest groups more than to their voting constituents. Moderation and reason seem to have no voice. There have been some touting such a voice, but they too are caterers.

In this election, let's get rid of as many old criminals as possible and elect some new criminals. It's really the only way to wash out the corruption in Washington. Keep them back on their heels.

January 27, 2011 10:45 AM Forum: Religion

Strange insults

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Hi All,
Just had a chance to read up on the recent exchanges following Science in the Bible.

What I found was rather uninteligent so I didn't join in. This forum, being on Astromart, one would think at least some intelect would be involved. Perhaps those who's opinions I do respect are silent because of this.

If this is a "Religion Forum" anyone should be able to openly describe the teachings of their religion without a barage of childish quips and insults. Dissagreement is healthy. In fact I like it, however it quickly degrads into chaos.

It never ceases to amaze me how much hypocracy and predjudice are labled as "faith". It would seem that to some people the only thing "Faith" means is firmly held
loonacy. Those who actively practice (rather than blindly claim) Christianity are too often downed out by the noise.

Sorry Refet, so many here don't bother to think or even care about others. Hidden in the shadows of a future time, they might learn to treat others as they would be treated.


April 15, 2011 10:59 AM Forum: Religion

A poem

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

I started writing this one about five years ago, and wanted to include a wide variety of things. Mostly parts of our universe as if they spoke to us. Enjoy... or not... wink

I am the land
The place where you live
Providing all you may have -
In proportion to your efforts
From me you may learn -
… of work, pain and pleasure
And with great effort… abundance

I am the sea
In perpetual motion
Prone to rage
Yet for the moment at peace
Upon my shores you will stand at the threshold of change
I give clouds to the sky
From my rivers drink deep this life I yield

I am the sky
The boundless blue
Just above you and in all directions
Float lightly through my expanse
Do so with awe, with respect
You would not survive my anger
Hold fast…and feel my wind embrace you

I am the sun
Bright and burning
Feel my warmth upon your skin and in the beat of your heart
I bristle with power beyond your imagination
Yet … greet you in the morning
And bid you fond farewell in the evening
Bask in my glory

I am the moon
At home in the darkness
Alone, old and gray
Survivor of cataclysm
In silence I sleep
Rest beneath my cool glow
And dream

I am the distant stars
Bright yet hard to see
Scattered on a scale of enormity
I invite you to pause and consider
Beauty in the simplest of things
I dance upon your heartstrings
And float in the sea of eternity

I am the particle
The smallest imaginable
Not even a chip of a fragment of a grain
Energetic but not even a mumble
Impossible to see
Yet all of creation is made of me
As are you

I am the time that passes
Ageless yet the measure of an age
For all things in a state of change
Past, present and future are mine
I mark the pace
And measure the span of lives
Revel in your time

I am the people around you
Some caring, some indifferent
Individuals, yet a group
Searching for fortune or destiny
Seeking you out
To learn with
And share this life

I am the universe that surrounds you
From infinitesimal to intergalactic
Fluxuating ad infinitum
With power incalculable
Presented to you so personally
With warm sunlight upon green fields -
Providing in abundance… all that is known

A man upon the earth …I am
Beneath the sun and the sky
What I experience is through this body
What I think or feel, through this mind
Battling only the tempest within me
Often lost, I seek something beyond myself
Searching in vain as many do… for a golden age

I am… all that is…
We are…a part of each other
Work hard with honesty
Learn with diligence
Dream without limit
Share without measure
Seek with curiosity… in time find… gold is nothing…
but the dust beneath you