Six weeks waiting for a LX10, only to find this brand new instrument had a major collimation fault. So back to the shop for an exchange unit, this time the optics were spot on, but the motor was not responding. Fortunately, I had chosen a good shop to purchase my Meade. They spent nearly all morning tracing the fault, and finally had to exchange the motor assembly for the one I had returned. Two LX10’s one faulty optics the other faulty motor, both of which were needed to get one functionally correct unit. The same day I decided to fit the declination motor, and yes, you have guessed it, I could not do it, one of the two securing holes had not been threaded correctly. Quite honesty I am beginning to wonder if Meade was the right choice, certainly the Stockport Binocular and Telescope Centre was the right shop to buy it from, they could not have been more helpful, BUT is this really the Rolls Royce of Telescopes? Comments please.
Maybe I’m missing something, but if the telescope (or cooker) is mounted on an axis parallel to the equator, it seems like all the tracker has to do is turn the telescope (or cooker) at (360/24) = 15 degs per hour in the opposite direction to the way the earth is rotating?
The trouble is that, except at the poles, the axis is not vertical. If your cooker is attached to a sloping axle which rotates, the cooker will be slowly tipped over until the food falls out. Generally, it’s a better idea to keep the cooker stationary, relative to the earth, and arrange some sort of reflector that moves so as to keep reflecting sunlight onto the cooker from the correct direction. A heliostat, in other words.
Associated Sun Telescope Question: In order to avoid misunderstandings: If you are using a telescope, the film MUST be placed in front of the telescope. NOT between eye and eyepiece. Usage as “window” or solar goggles is only for observation with the bare eye. BTW: Don’t miss to cover your finder when observing the sun by telescope. An uncovered finder may focus the sun on your head!
- Anwser: An uncovered finder can be a useful way of finding the Sun, which can be an extremely “elusive” object to actually get into the telescope’s field of view! My normal method of finding the Sun is to use the scope’s shadow to get it approximately in the field (by moving the scope until the shadow of the tube is minimized), and then to place my hand a few inches behind the finder’s eyepiece and move the scope until I see an image of the Sun on my hand. I can then centre the image in the finder’s field, which will place it into the scope’s field of view. Having done that, I obviously cap the finder. Regard,
Associated Sun Telescope Question:Okay, I’m going to come out really idiotic-looking here, but I figure anything I learn now will prevent patrons of mine from doing damage to themselves later, especially with the annular eclipse coming in May. We have all seen the Mylar balloons, and have all heard of Mylar filters for telescopes. Is the Mylar used in the balloons as thick as the filters, or are they completely different animals. I want to keep someone from cutting one of these deflated balloons and using it for a filter to view the sun.
- Anwser: Nothing idiotic about it! A little learning is a dangerous thing, and nothing is so boneheaded that someone won’t try it. The Mylar could be the very same stuff in both applications, but the COATING is what does the work, not the Mylar. Tell them, for God’s sake don’t use a cut-up balloon! The balloon might appear nearly opaque to visible light but will almost certainly pass dangerous amounts of UV or infrared. Ask them whether the risk of permanent eye damage or blindness is worth saving a few dollars.
Associated Sun Telescope Question: No matter where the sun is in the sky, and no matter whether it’s in eclipse or not (same question, basically — both situations reduce the amount of solar radiation reaching the telescope, but not enough), IT IS *N*O*T* SAFE TO PUT YOUR EYE TO THE EYEPIECE WHEN THE TELESCOPE IS POINTED AT THE SUN.
- Anwser: You definitely want to be extremely cautious when risking your eyesight, but I have viewed a sunset with binoculars. When I was on the Gulf side of Florida, I was watching a boat on the horizon which went near the setting sun. I noticed as I was getting nearer the sun, that the sun’s rays were so attenuated that it was comfortable to look at in the binoculars. At this point, the sun had already started to dip below the horizon, which was the sea. It was cool because you could see the silouette of the waves on the horizon against the sun (I calculated that the waves were three or four miles away). However, at other locations, the sunset will likely occur higher in the sky (over trees, hills, or buildings) and therefore be attenuated less, so USE CAUTION! By the way, the company I work for makes some equipment for measuring electrical stuff. Accessories for one of the products includes a fixture for measuring very small capacitors, and it has an attached magnifying glass to help position them. There is a warning in the manual not to view the sun through the magnifying glass. How stupid do they think people are? Do they also need a warning telling someone not to drop the equipment on his foot?
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Aren’t you happy with your XT10?
I am very happy with it. But I cut my teeth on using EQ mounts and would be happier with that. However, in the final analysis, it gets back to what is the best value for what you can afford. I probably cannot afford the Skywatcher, since I am retired and on a fixed income. So I will do my best to get what I can out of the XT10 with the security lights of AllMetal and WPI in my face, making it impossible to dark-adapt my vision enough to see anything well in my finder. With the EQ, I would be able to set up on something bright and then swing the scope to the required coordinates for my target. Remember, to star-hop, you have to be able to SEE the stars that guide you to an object. Sometimes this DOES require dark adaptation. And that is something I do not get. The XT10 is a great value, I just need to move somewhere away from these security-obsessed businesses to use it like it should be used. Clear, Dark, Steady Skies!
Associated Telescopes Skywatcher Question: Has anyone heard anything about SkyWatcher branded telescopes?
- Anwser:From what I know, a lot of company have the same scope. For example take the Orion Spaceprobe 130mm which is a skywatcher 1309 on a EQ2. Celestron bought a lot of telescope from Synta as well. And you can find synta or skywatcher telescope in a lot of astronomy store which sell them as their brand, like in Montréal where LMDA sell them. Refractors from celestron come from synta as well. As the CG3 which is a EQ2, the CG4 which is the EQ3-2, etc. Here in Québec I found the 1309 (newton 130mm F7) on the EQ3 mount for 436$CAD, including 2 plössl 25mm and 10mm, and a 2x barlow (344$CAD with the standard EQ2). Add 112$CAD for the RA motor, or 157$CAD for the double axis motor (EQ3-2 only) Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/ Before you buy.
Associated Telescopes Skywatcher Question:I’d highly recommend Sky Vue Telescopes. The number is 239-8386. The guy is super nice and extremely knowledgeable and will spend all night talking shop with you. He runs his business out of his home in Edgemont (at least he used to) and his prices are the best in Calgary. If you’ve done your research, like you said you have, you know NOT to buy one of those toys from Walmart or Costco. I think the best beginner, bang-for-the-buck telescope is an 8 inch dobsonian, although they are rather bulky. Blair sells the Skywatchers you mentioned. Best of luck.
- Anwser:Thanks for the recommendation. I have seen that name pop up on one of my dealer searches. I will call him tomorrow. And yes my choice will be made from either Skywatcher or Celestron. Although the Meade looks like a good unit the aperture is too small.
Associated Telescopes Skywatcher Question:A cow-orker of mine is interested in buying his dad a starter telescope for Christmas. His price range is about 300-400 dollars Canadian. Any suggestions? He came to me as the sort of geek that would know, but I don’t. On the other hand, I know where the right sort of geeks hang out….
- Anwser:I haven’t priced hardware in a few years, but there are some general things to look for. There’s no substitute for aperture, unless it comes at the cost of decreased optical quality. Magnification is a useless measure of anything, since any scope can be mated with eyepieces to raise its magnification to the point of uselessness. A stable mount is an absolute requirement, and inexpensive scopes frequently have cheesy tripods that wobble in any breeze. My personal prefence for a beginner in that price range would be a Dobsonian reflector in the 100-150mm aperture range. These have simple cradle mounts which are usually quite stable. They typically don’t have motors or computer controls, so he’ll end up correcting the aim frequently. However, they are very simple to operate and most beginners are going to end up hopping from object to object anyway. They tend to break down into two pieces and are reasonably portable. The main tube would be around 80-120cm long. Weight of the heavier piece should be around 10kg. Doing a quick check, Astronomics (U.S.) has the Discovery 6″ for US$339 at: http://www.astronomics.com/main/product.asp?n1=2&t1=50&myStype=Dobson… while Efston Science (Canada) has the Skywatcher 6″ for CA$399 at: http://www.telescopes.ca/telescopes/RENDER/5/1024/1043/11297.html And now I’m drooling. Astronomics has a 13.1″ scope for under $1000. And I just wasted that much killing termites.
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