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Posts Made By: John Shutz

March 4, 2014 10:34 PM Forum: Refractors

Riccardi Apo Reducer 0.75

Posted By John Shutz

Reducers are either specifically designed for a certain scope or the manufacturer advises of a range the reducer will work with, helps the ROI. For example f/4 through f/7.5 sort of thing. I doubt the reducer will work with an f/12 refractor, much to far out of workable range and I could be wrong, but f/12 sounds like an achromat. Further, I believe the Riccardi .75 reducer is designed for apochromats, hence the Apo in the description and yes I also believe it's for f/9 or below scopes.

April 12, 2015 11:17 AM Forum: Refractors

Lunt 6" ED APO

Posted By John Shutz

If I'm not mistaken, the OTA is made by APM Germany and was the subject of a lot of chatter on CN a few years ago, that is where Markus Ludas of APM became actively engaged with forum members during the design concept stages of the OTA. It was an interesting read with Mr. Ludas exchanging ideas with the group. The 6" doublet was the result. According to Lunt's website, the OTA apparently is designed for visual and imaging, giving planetary as an example. Nothing was said about DSOs which is no surprise looking at the config of the scope. I believe you are correct unless they are doing a blow out special, $3591 seems to be the correct price relative to retail pricing at $3,999. I would also agree if the price is actually $2,691 there would be an upsurge in sales.

July 1, 2015 01:09 AM Forum: AstroMart FAQ

classified ads to my email address

Posted By John Shutz

I was in the email section before and there is no where on the page asking you whether you want all classified ads forwarded to your email address or not. There was a choice at the top, a small pull down window indicating if you want "one at a time" or in "groups of 10". Other than that, unless I'm missing something, I still don't get how to stop the ads going to my email in box.

August 8, 2017 01:05 AM Forum: Mounts

Polar finder calibration

Posted By John Shutz

I went through the same contradiction about six years ago. Set up my CG-5 and fumbled around with it by blocking the tripod legs in a futile effort to achieve zero degrees.

I got lucky by running into a Utube video tutorial addressing this, produced by the informative Astro Shed guy. I also located the same Celestron instruction sheet you likely referred to. The method wasn't new, in fact you can find similar guides of how to calibrate the scope with a series of adjustments using the three tiny polar scope hex screws. The problem was the hex screws, trying to adjust them one at a time to move the clock face reticle was next to impossible. More on this below.

At this point in writing I paused and thought, maybe I still have the Celestron sheet on how to align the optical axis? Sure enough, I still had it and while reading the instructions I detected what sounded like a contradiction. At first, Celestron indicated you can use Polaris as your target point, but then went on say you can do this during the day by selecting a distant object. Then it said, "next, using the altitude adjustment bolts, incline the polar axis until it is level with the ground". I recall being confused by this statement as well, but now after re-reading the instructions, they really meant for you to raise (incline) the altitude of the polar axis so that the polar scope was pointing at your target point, whether Polaris or some object far away like the top of the pole I mentioned. After all, they did recommend pointing at Polaris, but if you were to do this you certainly can't put Polaris in the polar scope if your altitude is level to the ground (as Celestron instructs)besides which, as you indicated, you can't level a CG5 altitude to zero. Lowering the altitude is declining, raising it is inclining,correct? In any case, their explanation didn't make sense and as you go further into their step by step directions it's pretty clear they were likely translated originally. I remember having to read and re-read the instructions a number of times to get it down.

Calibrating the polar scope is pretty straight forward and I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I took on astrophotography a couple years back and a lot of it flies over my head, many times I think the people trying to help you would really be helpful if they didn't assume you already knew the associated terms. The same with a video tutorial where the instructor is moving the cursor so damn fast or has a nervous twitch with it to the point you can't follow him. I like the paint by numbers method of instruction. Sorry to digress.

Once I got over the zero degree issue, the main problem was more mechanical, having to do with the really tiny polar scope reticle adjustment hex screws. First of all, there are three of them and you adjust each based on a step by step process as detailed in the Celestron sheet by using a combination of azimuth and altitude and adjusting the small polar scope hex screws. The pictured instructions can be confusing for the lack of clarity describing which is which, but where I found to be the most difficult was adjusting the hex screws, that is where the tip provided by the Astro Shed came to the rescue.

I found it nearly impossible to easily adjust the polar scope hex screws using a single hex wrench. You turn one out and leave it to turn the opposite one in or visa versa. The sheet warns you to be careful not to allow the reticle to become loose in it's position, it can fall out and that is exactly what mine did a few times. Getting it back in there correctly was a pain.

The Astro Shed guy recommended replacing the hex screws with appropriately sized and length hex head screws, longer ones so you can hold them between your thumb and forefinger. The size of these screws escape me now, something in the M6-M8 range, long enough you can pinch them. The beauty of the longer screws is you can now hold two screws at the same time and adjust them in the same manner as you would adjust finder scope screws, using one against the other. That way you don't lose control over the reticle and having it fall out on you. As you adjust one in, you are adjusting the other out.

The process is still kind of fumbly, but having the longer screws and clarifying the directions made the process much easier. If you don't have the same Celestron sheet I do, let me know and I can mail a copy to you, if I could scan it I would, but my desktop is in for repair and I don't expect it back for a week or two. However, as indicated before, I saw somewhere another polar scope adjustment instruction sheet and maybe a Google search would reveal it, it might have been produced by iOptron.


October 1, 2018 06:13 AM Forum: Antique/Classic/Vintage Optical Instruments

vintage C102

Posted By John Shutz

I know this thread is old, but I just stumbled on to it and had to chime in.  I also had the Orion by Vixen 102 achromat and like Larry said, I'm sorry I sold it.  It was my first refractor and I really had nothing to compare it with until I bought a new Astrotelescope 152 achromat.  I can't remember if I sold the 102 before the 152 or after, but the 152 came to me with four screws banging around between the front lens and lens cap.  One somehow got caught between the lens cap and dew shield and put a noticeable gouge in the paint.  Upon first light I pointed it at Orion and just couldn't get a sharp focus, things appeared fuzzy.  Furthermore, I couldn't resolve the four stars in the Trapezium like I could with the 102. I later returned the 152 back to the dealer.  The Vixen clearly had the sharper image and that includes against other scopes I've had since.  I swear it acted like an ED and even a triplet in respect to sharpness and resolution.  It had very little color issues.  For an achromat at this price point, it was a steal.  Later on, it made me want to pick up the fluorite 102FL, but I didn't want to spend the $1,350-$1,650 for a older doublet and I was dead set on getting a good triplet for imaging. If I had any extra money laying around, I would get one.  Company 7 did a glowing review of the 102FL and the 102 series of Orion and Celestron by Vixen telescopes have always had an excellent reputation.  

October 1, 2018 06:22 AM Forum: Reflectors

Any posted images seen yet from the new 8" Rowe Ackermann Schmidt?

Posted By John Shutz

The price point of the 8" RASA puts this new offering by Celestron within reach.  I like the f/2 imaging capability.  Maybe too early for any owners to throw up images with this new product, but you would think Celestron would have posted some on their website in advance of the release, nothing yet.  They also mention a new focusing mechanism to counter image shift or flop.  

December 20, 2018 03:51 AM Forum: Digital SLR AstroPhotography

Rho Ophiuchus from Down Under

Posted By John Shutz

Very nice.  I want to photograph this complex some day, but I can't do it here with the heavy light polluted southern sky and Rho being low in the sky as well.  Perhaps going up to the mountains during the summer months. 

November 27, 2020 11:41 PM Forum: Mounts

Need top G11 tripod plate that fits iOptron CEM60EC or CEM60 mount and question on G11 tripod height

Posted By John Shutz

If anyone has one available, I would be interested.  I'm waffling back and forth on whether to sell my new "open box" CEM60EC I received from iOptron Corp. I realized it is more portable than my AP900GTO and I do want to do more imaging at dark sky locations. 

I use a G11 Losmandy tripod set up for the 900GTO and I was wondering if anyone has a CEM60 top plate built for the G11 tripod they don't want or need? 

My second question has to do with tripod height, specifically the G11.  It's roughly 34" tall (non-folding legs) and can reach 48" tall with the legs at their widest footing. I was considering the G11 tripod extension which adds 12" with the legs in their most stable position.  I'm thinking of buying a 6D full-frame Canon for imaging, but it doesn't have the articulating screen like my Canon crop sensor 60Da.  That means back to almost laying on the ground to read the live view screen on the 6D.  I believe the pier/tripod extension or extending the legs of the tripod (no cost for doing that) are two options to consider, but not without some caveats. 

The 12" pier/tripod extension retails for $150, extending the legs at their widest point is free, actually 2" taller than the tripod extension.  However, my biggest concern between the two options is stability, cost is another factor, especially if I have to buy a new custom made tripod/pier plate. I image with my AT106 APO refractor, with all the accessories on board, all in it weighs about 21 lbs.  I have never weighed the 11"EdgeHD, I just know it's a little challenging lifting it to the saddle on the 900GTO even when the tripod is at it's lowest height.  

Whether using the 12" tripod extension or extending the legs, mounting the EdgeHD would require a short step ladder. After blabbing about this, I get the gut feeling the tripod extension might be more stable than extending the tripod legs when using the EdgeHD, I don't think the refractor matters either way. The other factor is not only weight but dimensions of the Edge OTA as well. It might be a case where both possible options might not provide the kind of stability needed for imaging? Unless again, there might be others here that have used the same configuration I'm talking about, e.g., the EdgeHD/G11 tripod set up, and can hopefully report on its performance. 

Finally, I have to consider the costs of doing this upgrade. If I go with the extension, that's $150 unless I find one used. I'll need a pier/tripod plate for the G11/CEM60EC combo, whether "homemade" or custom, which is costly, I'm guessing $350+.  So, we are talking potentially 500 smackers, or more just so that I won't have to lay on the ground to read the live view screen on my DSLR. I think a piece of ground foam might be the best option yet, lol. If that's the case, all I'll need then is the pier/tripod plate that fits the G11 and CEM60 mount.  

I'm waffling on this idea because I have considered selling the CEM60EC and just try to work with my 900GTO, but I'm facing two hip operations in the near future complicated by bulging discs from a previous three vertebrae and pelvic fractures, and other broken joint bones. I'm not even sure I can continue with what I have to work with, I'm either being unrealistic or overly confident. Getting out of the hobby or seriously downsizing is a real possibility so I'm trying to minimize costs. Used parts would be ideal.  

 There must be a number of people who have done this conversion/upgrade.