Posts Made By: Ralph Junius

February 23, 2003 05:38 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Attention all CG-5 tinkerers & experts

Posted By Ralph Junius

I had my 6" Chinese refractor out last nite on its CG-5 mount. It was reasonably well balanced on the mount. The dual axis slow motion controls worked ok but the mount would not track no matter how hard I turned on the R.A. gear's friction knob (and the mount's R.A. friction lever).

Can anybody tell me what the problem is and what do I need to do to fix it?

Ralph Junius

March 1, 2003 05:12 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Re: Priced out of the hobby

Posted By Ralph Junius

In the late 1970's I bought my first scope: a 60mm Jason refractor on a shakey alt-az mount with crummy .965" eyepieces for $200! I'm no economist but $200 then is probably worth around at least $500 now.

I'd say that we are priced into the hobby now much more than ever before. Of course a lot of the super premium stuff wasn't even invented then but it wasn't missed or needed then and really are only luxuries now.

When Nagler came around with his super premium $55 TV plossls in 1980 I didn't think it could get any better! In certain ways it really hasn't; its just gotten a whole lot cheaper for the stuff then available and plus there is a lot more super premium stuff to indulge in. Clear skies!

March 25, 2004 02:27 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

18mm UO HD & C14

Posted By Ralph Junius

Hoppin' thru the maze of galaxies near the North Celestial Pole on Saturday nite at the Kisatchie Star Party I happend upon NGC 4565 by accident with the 31mm Terminagler thru my well worn C14. I upped the power to the 21mm Pentax XL and immediately noticed that more power was in order. In went the 14mm Pentax XL but it was immediately apparent that the image had dimmed to the point where substantial detail was lost. Thereupon I launched an eyepiece testing marthon to find out at what point detail was maximized before too much image brightness was lost.

For general information, NGC 4565 is a showpiece, long, very narrow edge on spiral with a bright round core and a rather conspicuous dark lane running nearly the length of the galaxy.

Tested eyepieces included of course the 21mm and 14mm Pentax XL's; 26mm, 21mm, 20mm, 17mm, 15mm and 13mm TeleVue Plossls; 19mm TeleVue Panoptic, 24mm, and 16mm Brandons; 20mm and 16mm Clave' Plossls and also of course an 18mm UO HD Ortho.

As indicated, it was easy to bracket the best eyepiece somewhere between 21mm and 14mm. I have been testing the UO HD's for a while on planets and had really decided that they were very bright but also tended to wash ou planetary detail and especially coloring as compared with the regular UO orthos, Brandons and RKE's. Filters are probably especially in order for planetary viewing with the UO HD's.

Being almost halfway between 21mm and 14mm and also being very bright made the 18mm UO HD a natural to try and it did not disappoint. It was the clear winner. To my eyes, it exhibited a much brighter galaxy core, revealed a substantially longer galaxy and exhibited substantially more dark lane detail than any other eyepiece tested. The 17mm TeleVue Plossl was in a solid 2nd place followed by the 16mm Clave' Plossl tightly bunched with a host of others to my judgement. Many of the tested eyepieces, to my surprise and disappointment showed no core brightening at all and no trace of a dark lane. The 18mm UO HD has earned a place in my No. 1 eyepiece case to fill the hole in my Pentax XL's for viewing small, faint fuzzies. I suspect that it will work well with most SCT's.

I'd be curious to know if anyone has had similar or different experiences. Clear skies!

November 1, 2005 12:07 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Maksutov-Newtonian opinions??

Posted By Ralph Junius

Anybody have any opinions regarding 6" to 8" Mak-Newts? Does a 7" compare favorably to a 6" apo refractor?? The 7" model appears to be at a good price point.

My C-14 got flooded in Katrina and until I rebuild it or buy another one the 7" Mak-Newt has my interest as an ultimate image quality scope maybe in lieu of the 6" AP that I have been on a waiting list for over 5 years. Would it be a big mistake?

Ralph Junius

April 30, 2002 01:09 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Eyepiece Help

Posted By Ralph Junius

1. Top of the line: 30mm Widescan II, 14mm & 5.25mm Pentax XL's. Note, at f/5.6 the Widescan is good enough and will not upset the balance of your scope like the 31mm Terminagler will.

2. Hi end Modest: 32mm, & 15mm TeleVue Plossls & 5mm Radian. Note, plossls don't have enough eye relief below 10mm.

3. Bargain Modest: 28mm, 15mm and 8mm Edmund RKE's. Note, $120 for all three. The 8mm has good eye relief and is comfortable, unlike plossls. Clear skies!

May 6, 2002 08:27 PM Forum: Equipment Talk


Posted By Ralph Junius


Brandons are a lot better than Ed Ting says they are. I have a set and have spent many hours comparing them directly to the 60 or so other eyepieces that I have.

Brandons are exceptionally sharp in the center of the field. This sharpness applies to planets, the hearts of globulars and anything else you can think of. They resolve more tiny points of light inside globulars than any other eyepieces I have. The 2.4x Brandon Dakin barlow is outstanding.

Brandons weaknesses are small FOV and soft at the edge of the field. The 8mm generally has inadequate eye relief but is ok for planets.

I currently use a set of Pentax XL's for general purpose viewing and switch to the Brandons when I want to try to squeeze the last drop out of an image. Clear skies!

June 9, 2002 10:02 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Televue 5X Powermate

Posted By Ralph Junius

Optically, I'd say that the 5X Powermate is excellent. It works well with f/5 and faster scopes; otherwise its too much power. I use it with my f/5 Genesis; it produces less than a .8mm exit pupil even with a 40mm eyepiece in my C14 which is too small. A 5mm eyepiece gives a .5mm exit pupil in an f/10 SCT, so you really never need it with an SCT or other long focal ratio instrument.

A friend of mine, Ron "DewBuster" Keating, used it recently on a very steady nite on half of epsilon Lyra with his 7mm Pentax XL in his outstanding C11 to give a "stupid hi power" of 2000x. Textbook airy disks with a single, very round diffraction ring around each component. We then added a 2x Ultima to give 4000x. Images were still round and covered most of the FOV. There was a lot of glare in the FOV.

By the way, it was really outstanding with the 7mm Pentax without any barlows at 400x, just a lot smaller. Clear skies!

August 24, 2002 07:09 PM Forum: Deep Sky Observing


Posted By Ralph Junius

Kevin, Some time ago I counted 12 craterlets with a 6" f/8 Celestron refractor. I live in New Orleans where oppressively muggy, hot, still conditions prevail all summer with poor transparency but often outstanding seeing. (Transparency is generally not an issue with the moon ha ha!) It was such a nite. Here is my post to my club:

As a followup to an interesting thread a couple of weeks ago at the Yahoo Telescope forum I spent 3 1/2 hours counting Plato's craterlets with a 6" f/8 Celestron refractor last nite. I started around midnite.

I am extremely excited to report counting 12 craterlets "fair and square". I confirmed the count by drawing what I saw just after I finished and comparing the drawing to the photo in the excellent free program "Virtual Moon Atlas" that Jack told me about. To tell you the truth I was quite surprised how well they all matched up. There was a 13th that I did not draw because I didn't feel certain enough of it but it showed up in the photo too!

I tried eyepieces all the way from 10.5mm to 4mm. They were:

Eyepiece FL Power Exit Pupil

Pentax XL 10.5mm 114x 1.31mm
Brandon 8.0mm 150x 1.00mm
Edmund RKE 8.0mm 150x 1.00mm
Pentax XL 7.0mm 171x 0.88mm
University OR 6.8mm 176x 0.85mm
Clave' Plossl 5.0mm 240x 0.63mm (Thanks Ron!)
Orion Ultrascopic 5.0mm 240x 0.63mm
TeleVue Radian 4.0mm 300x 0.50mm

The 8mm Brandon consistently produced the best images for counting but differences in seeing always linger in my mind with "tests" like these. However as the nite wore on it was pretty obvious that it consistently took less effort to count with the Brandon and more of the craterlets were obvious all the time.

The 7mm Pentax was a close 2nd with an entirely different image. The darker areas were not as dark as the Brandon (or several of the others) but the craterlets were visible for counting. I only saw all 12 with the Brandon and the Pentax. Apparently 5mm and down just produced more power than the conditions could handle for these craterlets.

Its interesting to note that a side trip to Schroter's Valley had the 4mm Radian producing the best image. Aristotles and Eudoxus at times
were spectacular with all eyepieces.

BTW, I had a 9.25 SCT set up to do a comparison but the images were so good in the 6" that I never got to it. Maybe I'll get there next time. It goes without saying that I was impressed with the images in the 6" achromat. I didn't really notice color at all with Plato or any of
the mentioned features but I wish I had taken a few peeks thru the 9.25 just to see what colorless really looked like last nite......but then I may have wound up up all nite. Clear skies!

Ralph Junius

September 5, 2002 01:06 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Looking for Feedback on a 5mm Ultrascopic

Posted By Ralph Junius

It is a very comfortable eyepiece. I'd rate its eye relief as perfect for non eyeglass wearers. Field of view is substantially larger than orthos but the field itself has the very flat ortho look that is lacking in plossls. Field stop is easy to see, is crisp and well defined. It gives up a smudgen in light thruput to simpler designs like my 5mm Clave'. At the same time I much prefer it to the Clave' because the Clave' has practically no eye relief so that your eye is hard against it and its all but impossible to see all the way to the field stop all the way around. I'd say its as sharp on axis as the Clave'. To tell you the truth I've had a hard time spending enough time with my eyeball hard against the Clave' to make a lot of judgements about its optical quality. Not so with the Ultrascopic.

I like my 5.25mm Pentax XL better than the 5mm Ultrascopic in practically every way. The Pentax actually has more light thruput as well as a substantially larger field of view but its also a lot more expensive.

All in all I think the 5mm Ultrascopic is a great deal for under $100 and a lot better overall than the $50 or so competing eyepieces because of the comfort factor at that short a focal length. You miss a lot of good seeing moments no matter how good the eyepiece is if its too uncomfortable to look thru for an extended period of time. Hey, I observe for fun! Clear skies!

P.S. I believe the Celestron Ultimas may be the same design but I only have the 12.5mm in that line(it is also an excellent eyepiece IMO).

Ralph Junius

October 6, 2002 11:50 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Now your full name is posted

Posted By Ralph Junius

With your propensity to cater to every goofball legal eagle that thinks going by his own real name is an invasion of his privacy, etc., etc., etc., I must say I am amazed that the job doesn't take you 24 hours every day. If you worry enough the legal goblins are bound to get you tied into so many knots you won't be able to move. Its amazing how the American legal system has evolved so that so few can ruin so much for so many. Great step in the right direction, Herb!

Ralph William Junius, Jr.