Image of the day

Captured by
Herb Bubert

Sun on June 20th

My Account

New to Astromart?

Register an account...

Need Help?

Posts Made By: Steve Hollenbach

April 21, 2011 12:31 PM Forum: No Holds Barred

NUT JOB

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

OK, I'm looking for all your coments as we obviously have both sides of the house and a wide spectrum of religious beliefs repersented here. Let's set all Political and Christian references off to one side or the other for a moment. Just simple answers for our our sense of clarity please...

First, I've always considered a protest to include writing to Congress or sitting in a lawn chair holding a sign that says something sucks. I thought an activist is someone who says; "Let's all go down to Central Park and do this protest together." I've never considered a "protest" to include riots, or burning anything, much less our flag.

Some questions:
In spite of what the courts have said; do you guys consider disrupting the funeral of anyone, much less a United States Marine, a protest or a severe breach of common decency? Anything in between?

In incidents like those at Servicemen's funerals, do you consider the media coverage to be irresponsible; working in favor of the Phelps's of the world?

As the courts have failed to stop this, how could we work within the law to solve this one particular problem and still grant the media freedom of the press, and the average citizen freedom to protest?

I hate to see anyone beat up, but it is very likely I too would have looked the other way in Mississippi. That's why I'm asking for some constructive method.

Thanks,
Steve
8)



May 27, 2011 12:58 PM Forum: Religion

Memorial Day

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

When I was a little kid... on this weekend after mass, we'd stop by a huge cemetary in St. Louis. We'd look at these little flat stones and say a quiet prayer. I noticed a lot of other families doing the same thing. Just within that little stand of shade trees, there were dozens, with things like Pfc, Sgt, LT, or Sm1st behind the name.

Sometimes we'd go to the Jefferson Barracks Cemetary where there were white crosses. It was just like you see on TV with row after row, a few had Stars of David, but there were thousands upon thousands. Far more than I could hope to count. My Dad said; "This is where they bury the soldiers who's bodies are sent home. Your uncles aren't here, but we are."

They were "the guys", very much like those I knew and those of more recent generations. It's not hard to imagine the same friendships, comerodery, discomfort, frustrations and conversations I had, occuring among my uncles and their friends.

Part of "We are here" is due to "They aren't here."

Thanks Guys,
Steve
wink

June 10, 2011 06:01 PM Forum: Eyepieces

What's between 6 and 6.5?

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Hi All,
My scope is a 10" Maksutov, with a focal length of 2540mm. The Takahashi 5mm LE was a little too much to be really useful. It calculated out to 508x. Even on the most still nights with the optics cooled to perfection, 508x was a lot to ask. My next longer EP is the venerable Takahashi 7.5mm LE. It's very useful at 338x. However, there are three of four nights a year when I could really push it.

So, on those nights, and without using a Barlow, what's available? I'm thinking between 6 and 6.5mm for an attempt at or near 400x. I have some experience with TeleVue EPs like Panoptics, Naglers and the Ethos. All are great, but the wide view is not my goal here. I've also looked through a Baader Orthoscopic with a big grin on my face. One of the best little EPs I've seen if your eyelashes don't rub the lens. A bit hard to use at a star party, but this one's just for the rare night.

There are two great reviews on Siebert's Star-Splitter, and if memory serves, it comes in a 6.4mm. I do look for minimal glass to air surfaces. Any other suggestions?

Thanks,
Steve
8)

July 18, 2011 04:27 PM Forum: Religion

Compromise

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Hi All,
Here's one for you.

If we are a people composed of multiple religions and of course many agnostics and atheists, how then do we set up our values for the society we live in? Is it not a double standard to try and maintain our beliefs, yet accept the law of the land even though it may not match our beliefs?

I said a little about compromise regarding the cold war and knowing the use of even a single nuclear weapon could lead to the end life on earth. However there are far less dire consequences to consider in most of our lives.

These are not lines easily drawn. The two major political parties work very hard to press us into one mold or the other. Yet we are a diverse people.

We live in a society that, at least for the most part, protects our freedom to worship or not, to speak as we choose and to fall flat on our face if we fail. Is the protection of such a society an enabling factor in practicing our various faiths, and if so is it a reasonable compromise?

Thanks,
Steve
8)

August 17, 2011 09:52 AM Forum: Eyepieces

Zoom

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Hi All,
I've owned the Pentax XF 6.5mm-19.5mm zoom EP for some time now and had a chance to really ring it out at the Grand Canyon in June. This is no formal review, but here's what I found.

First as Zooms go, this is a good one. It doesn't remain perfectly parafocal, but the others I have owned didn't either. The Celestron 8mm-24mm was useful, but had bad kidney bean effect. The TeleVue and Vixen (I've owned both) are much better, but still had some kidney bean to deal with. The Pentax has none and is quite clear, up to a point.

That point is when I have brilliant seeing like the first Sunday night at GCSP, and could compare it to some high quality fixed focal length EPs. The types compared were Takahashi LEs in 7.5mm, 10mm and 12.5mm focal lengths, and a Baader Orthoscopic in 6mm focal length. The scope used was an Alter M10/10 Maksutov (Intes Micro) with a focal length of 2540mm (10 inch/f10).

Reading a report like this one only goes so far. You have to see the results with your own eyes to know how you perceive what's being observed.

The results against the Takahashi's were good but not better. When compared to a Celestron or Vixen fixed fl EP the Pentax was much better, but against those mentioned some graininess started showing. It didn't before. Hmmm... Against the Baader, same thing, but the Orthoscopic is much more sensitive to eye position as most are.

OK, does that mean the zoom is no good? Not at all, it just didn't come accross as "crisp" compared to known high quality EPs. At that point it becomes moot to compare to fixed focal length EPs of even higher quality. Yet it did beat the TeleVue 8-24 zoom in previous observation. This comparison was only against the fixed EPs. OK, so it only proves this one EP shows a hint less clarity than some really good EPs under near perfect conditions.

Let's back up to the phrase "Star Party". Using the zoom on Saturn, cloud bands were clear, Cassini division was detectable, but not clear (same as in the fixed EPs) and the rings and moons seemed tack sharp. Well the rings are just now opening up. So I tried a few clusters. Internal reflections might be to blame, but the contrast on the lagoon was better in the TAKs. I got a bit of haze, but no grain in the Zoom. Details and light gathering in the Swan were about the same in zoom or fixed.

As a crowd pleaser able to negate the need to change EPs for most of the evening, it worked out very well indeed.

I have not observed through any other top end zooms, but would certainly recommend this one.

Thanks,
Steve
8)




July 9, 2012 07:42 AM Forum: Maksutovs

Intes Micro

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Hi All,
For the past two years I've been the proud owner of a ten inch Maksutov. It's an Intes Micro M1010 Delux with a fused quartz mirror and LK7 meniscus. As far as I know LK7 glass is simply Russian BK7. Suffice to say expensive, over an inch thick, and as most correctors are; matched to the mirror.

I'm the third owner of this OTA, and bought it knowing there was a chip on the side of the meniscus. Hence the former owner gave me a hefty discount. The chip has never interfered with optical performance. I must say this scope has stood up and delivered arguably better planetary views next to competitors who know how. I've never had the chance to do a ten inch MAK shoot-out with an AP 10", but that would be a delight even to come in second.

Trouble in paradise... Just before the Grand Canyon Star Party, I noticed a second chip in the meniscus. Again no harm to optical performance. However there is some cause for concern. I removed the front ring to take a better look at this problem, and saw that both chips were stress related. They occur right under the hold-down screw; which acts as a small clamp. There are two chips now, none under the third hold-down screw. No more star parties for a while.

I'm no stranger to taking appart an instrument and experimenting. Next weekend I'll do some careful measurements and start building a carbon fiber cell, able to support the meniscus evenly around its circumfrence. At this point I can't see how to do that without increasing the distance between mirror and corrector. It already has very little back-focus. So a new tube is also in the works.

I'll keep you posted, but if anyone's been down this road before, don't hesitate to chime in.
Thanks,
Steve
8)

August 19, 2012 12:33 AM Forum: Eyepieces

Re: Blackened lens edges question

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

As a rule of thumb anything we do to improve an existing EP only shows a visible difference under extremely good seeing, or in the case of black edges on optics, very bright objects. Even then it's only a slight improvement.

However, if we look at what the black paint is trying to prevent, internal scatter, it really does that job. A well designed EP won't have a glass edge in the light path, but even the finest glass has some microscopic internal defect. As such defects can scatter light, the area of exposed edge and non-reflective characteristics of the black paint will have some affect on the output. To see that difference visually might be like noticing I've lost one more hair from the top of my head.

Steve
8)

November 5, 2012 11:52 AM Forum: Maksutovs

New Tube

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Of the commercially available aftermarket products we occasionaly seek to improve or repair our telescopes, the Carbon Fiber tube replacement offers strength, light weight and thermal stability. Besides that they look really cool!

Trouble is, if you happen to own an Intes Micro Alter M10/10 (their 10 inch MAK), you're out of luck. The tube for a C-11 is too wide and too short. Making a custom one is nearly three times the price. I do want to re-design the meniscus carrier at the head end, and replacing the whole tube is not much more work. Hmmm...

I have assisted several people in their home-built airplane projects, and over the years became familiar with laying up materials like Kevlar and Carbon-Fiber. Out in the shop I have plenty of left-overs, and have recently found a source for Nomex/Kevlar honeycomb panels. Great for creating rounded shapes, not just stiff aircraft floors. OK, materials are in hand, and the stock OTA has been measured six ways to Sunday. The next "Great Experiment" is about to begin.

I'll keep you posted on this Forum. If there are other owners of this very fine instrument, who are interested, I'll let you know how it goes. The end product will resemble a Planewave 12.5 Dall Kirkham, but with filtered vents just ahead of the mirror and just behind the meniscus. I'll see what I can do about progress photos.
Thanks,
Steve
8)




November 14, 2012 06:22 PM Forum: Telescope Making

Re: dew sheild lining

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Felt can absorb moisture, and it sheds little hairs, but these problems are so slight and so unusual as not to worry. Just keep the mousture in mind and you should do just fine. If you're looking for an alternate material, I found black silk used in some appolstry applications is as flat and non-reflecting as ever. Take a bright flashlight to a fabric store and buy the material that most emulates a black hole!

Steve
8)

billy moss said:

Hi
I live in a subdivision, sometimes my neighbors outside lights seem to reflect into my objective. I have the flexible dew
sheilds, not metal, which are painted a flat black on the inside. I found some black self adhesive felt, which I cut to size and placed on the inside of the dew wheild, and it has cut down the reflections greatly. But I read somewhere that the felt would cause other problems, can't remember where I saw it. Can any one tell me what problems the felt may cause. It is very thin, flexible, and it seems that it should also help keep the objetive from dewing longer than just the sheild alone.
Thanks

January 8, 2013 06:35 PM Forum: Politics

Guns or madness?

Posted By Steve Hollenbach

Hi All,
I'm a moderate with far more fear and far less respect for the Republicans' sacred cows than the Democrats' sacred cows. However... To use the tragedies of the recent events as platforms for pre-existing political posturing is never a good idea. We end up with useless laws that won't work when subjected to even minor scrutiny. I just don't like knee-jerk reactions. Before you conservatives cheer, remember how easily the Patriot act can be abused.

Registering firearms provides a data base any thinking enemy can make use of. Be they criminal or an invading army. Background checks sound great, but would not have stopped the Sandy Hook shooter, and did not stop the Aurora shooter.

We have a rudimentary system in Arizona. It's a questionnaire followed by a phone call to see if the county has any adverse record on you. They get their information from a state wide database. I don't know if that has input from other states or not.

In short, the use of regulatory law to stop violent crime is ineffective and subjects us to yet another divisive debate. It does not pose much of an obstacle to premeditated crime nor to spontaneous crime. How can it prevent a crime of obsession were details are a fun puzzle to solve to "show'm" how smart the suicidal shooter is.

OK, what if we say no assault weapons? Police are usually very professional here, but their power can be abused as can our own military. (Kent State) So I argue for my assault weapons and big magazines. The second amendment is not for hunting ducks, it's for armed conflict, and we're not up against muskets anymore.

I've had this debate recently with close family members. I was asked; "Aren't you interested in a way to stop this madness?" Yes, let's focus on madness.

If a law against ownership of assault weapons is passed, I know how to bury a rifle in a way that it can be fired safely a hundred years from now. Then go back to work like a good boy. If we focus on the motivations these freaks cling to, we at least are not missing the point.

Thanks,
Steve
8)