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Posted by jrbarnett on 12 August 2014 - 09:46 PM
Posted by Tom T on 04 August 2014 - 05:25 PM
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Posted by BillP on 24 October 2014 - 11:16 AM
Tak is on the left
Some preliminary observations...
Went out this morning and was treated to some really trnasparent skies and good (not great) seeing. So took the opportunity for some observations with the 4 eyepieces. These are preliminary so will see how well they hold over time and other targets, but here's what I saw:
1) All eyepieces portrayed M42 in the Lunt 152 (48x) fairly consistently. At this low magnification there was very little difference. The TV, UO, and Tak all showed the nebula at the same brightness and the same extent. There was a nuance-level difference that the TV may have been showing the mottled structure a hair better, but it was very slight if there at all. The Sterling was the only one of the group that had what I consider a more than nuance difference at showing the nebula as brighter and with the wings extending further and M43 nicely brighter and larger. All the faintest stars in the nebula's cloud were visible equally well by all EPs.
2) Barlowing the EPs with an APM 2.7x ED (130x) and things changed. The nebula cloud looked about the same when Barlowed, but Trap-F was not. Barlowed, the star points were a little tighter with both the Abbes. With both the Plossls there was an immediate impression to my eye that the star points were just a little bloated in comparison to the Abbes. The other obvious difference was that I could only catch Trap-F with the Barlowed Abbes (UO and Tak). It was consistent and easy each time I tried. And with the Plossls it was consistent that I could not get it with numerous tries. I've commented many time in other threads how I do not like the Sterlings Barlowed for planetary...this experience is making me wonder if it a chanracteristic of Plossls in general now as the Sterling and TV both were behaving this way.
3) On the Double Cluster, I just made some brief observations so not the detail time I wanted. Again, little difference IMO between the TV, UO, and Tak. They all showed these clusters wonderfully. However, next to how the Sterling showed them, in the TV, UO, and Tak the clusters lacked the Pop/Presence/Liveliness that the Sterling was conveying. So the clusters looked flat in the other EPs compared to the Sterling. That's all I noticed this morning in the breif time I had with the Double Cluster.
4) Jupiter Unbarlowed -- This was showing nicely this morning with steady enough seeing to get 4 good belts and lots of polar region details (best seeing usually gets me 6-7 belts). All eyepieces showed similar levels of distortion of the planet's orb when placed at the field stop. So distortion was enough in the TV, UO, and Tak to bring Jupiter from its oblate shape to perfect round. I did not test the Sterling but am sure it is worse since it has notable AMD at the far off-axis. Other than this all the eyepieces showed Jupiter similarly.
5) Jupiter Barlowed -- OK, at 130x was nice to see good structure within the two main belts and wonderful amounts of border edge details...plus the polar regions exploded with striations and hue changes. The interesting difference between them here, was in the Abbe vs Plossl category. The Abbes Barlowed were showing a crisper view! It was quite obvious to my eye when switching between either Plossl to either Abbe. Both the TV and Sterling showed good details, but in comparison these details were softer showing less distinction, particularly at the borders of the SEB and NEB. The Abbes showed the entire orb like I was going from normal television to HD television. Everything just had a crisper and more defined look to it. The polar regions also showed more discrete and discernable boundaries to the hue changes so they had a great striated texture to them. NTeB and STeB also extended all the way to the edge of the planet, whereas in the Barlowed Plossls they faded out prior to reaching the edge. This was a surprising result for me and totally unexpected. Anyway, appears that the Abbe design plain does better Barlowed.
6) Abbe AFOV - Yes...the AFOV is slightly larger in the Tak than in the UO. Not much but an easy tell observing and confirmed when holding them both up and merging the FOVs.
That's it. Again...I am telling you things as they go so don't take them as conclusions as things may change as I repeat observations and change scopes. But for now, quite interesting.
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Posted by t.r. on 07 November 2014 - 09:57 AM
I'm compelled to continue with this...
No other eyepiece garners such polarizing comments on opposite ends of the spectrum as Brandons do. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out why. Then, a statement in a post about refractors gave me an epiphany. It is simply about expectations. Having the correct expectation for these eyepieces is the key to happiness and indeed, cult like appreciation, with them. If you expect them to have the off-axis correction of a Televue...you will be disappointed. If you expect them to have the wide-field views of a Televue...you will be disappointed. If you expect them to have the transmission of Sterlings...you will be disappointed.
What is left for eyepiece performance you may ask? Well, for one, the on-center view having the lowest scatter of most eyepieces. Two, the darkest field background of any eyepiece I've looked through producing an HD effect to any object I look at. Third, a very light build, which when binoviewing or swapping out eyepieces becomes immediately appreciated. There are others. And, just like any eyepiece, they work for some and not others, due to expectations and what the individual deems as important.
I think a lot of folks have viewed Brandons with utter disdain because of their expectations, biases and the "secret" aire about their production, which some equate to "Snake Oil". I may have thought the same if, I hadn't tried them for myself or I hadn't found out the above information about their production. They are indeed the "real deal" as far as how they are made and what they deliver. It may be a dated design, but it still delivers what it is supposed to. You may have a different set of expectations when assessing Brandons than the folks that appreciate them for what they are. That's okay. Just please, bashing this product is really a moot point for those who know where and who produces the components of the eyepiece. They are made to a higher level (scratch-dig ratio/polish/glasses/effort) than the naysayers think they are. They are worth the dollar for what they are. They may work for you, if, you have the expectations in line with what they deliver. Of course, as always, they may not work for your individual needs...but if you haven't actually owned them and tried them for your individual set of needs, please, refrain from your rhetorical comments. If I had listened to the party line, I would have missed out on some incredible views with these. As always, the disclaimer... YMMV.
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Posted by terraclarke on 19 September 2014 - 10:10 AM
My first real telescope was a Japanese-made (APL) Mayflower 60mm x 700mm yoke and clamshell mounted alt-az refractor. I got it for in October of 1965 for my 16th birthday. I had gotten interested in astronomy when I was 14 when one summer evening we went to visit some family friends who lived in the mountains of Southern California. We were there for dinner and their son, who was about my age had a 3" Edmund reflector. (The Space Conqueror I believe). After dinner, we went outside to look through it while the parents visited. From that point on I was hooked. I got a copy of the little Golden Book, The Stars, by Zim (How many of us started with that?!), and by October, I had talked them into getting me a pair of binoculars, some Japanese 8x40s that my dad ordered from his Herter's catalog. I also got a copy of The Stars by Rey and I was off and running. At Christmas I got the Peterson Guide and by the following birthday, I got the Mayflower. I had wanted a Unitron Model 114 but that was out of the question, the Mayflower cost about half as much at Fedco, our "big box" store back then. I was not disappointed! The first thing I looked at was Saturn! Then I split the double double as Lyra was going down. Then I stayed up late to see the Orion Nebula and the Trapezium! Zowwie! I was in love!
I will have had my little Mayflower 49 years next month! I have had it all of these years. About 10 years ago, (I had a 4" Vixen on a GP by then and a 3" Stellarvue on a TV mount and had sort of moved on) so I loaned to some good friends. Then I moved out of town and I thought it was gone for good. But two years ago the friend that I had loaned it to, called and said it was unused and in her attic. I asked her if I could swing by her place the next time I was in town and get it, and she said sure. So it came home. It was kind of a sad sight. The yoke mount gearing, which had been showing its age for some time, and broken down. The cast gear housings had actually broken. The finder was gone, so was the accessory tray. But the optics were still perfect, the eyepieces still present, the box and tube in good shape. So I got Danny Crawford to make me some rings and a mounting plate for it (one of Crawmach's last), and I bought a Unitron alt-az mount, tripod and spreader from a friend and member on here. I also bought a little GEM that fit perfect on the original legs from another friend here and made a chain spreader. I also put a vixen finder dovetail on it and a 6 x 30 finder that was way better than the original, and I added a 1.25" Vixen V.B.
Over the years, that was often my one and only telescope. In fact up until around 15 years ago, the only telescopes I had were the Mayflower, the 6" RFT I built a year of so after getting the Mayflower (and still have), and those old binoculars (one of my daughters has those now). The Mayflower always stayed in its box when it wasn't being used. (The box has been refinished once or twice.) So it stayed in good use and was always ready to go, and go it did. It was the family scope, the travel scope, the grab and go scope for over 30 years. With it we saw solar and lunar eclipses, comets, the transit of Mercury, and the S-L impact scars on Jupiter. I indoctrinated by two girls with that telescope to the point that one of them, a film maker, has made an astronomy themed Sci-Fi short film and the other one named her son Orion. Oh the memories that scope holds!
I lost my parents in 2000 and 2001. That Mayflower is especially important to me for that reason. Sometimes, it just takes a while to realize the true worth of things, but as my mentor in grad school used to tell me, "to soon we get old, to late we get smart." I once threw it over (euphamism) for a 4" fluorite Vixen, which is long gone. If someone now offered me the Vixen back in return for the Mayflower, I'd have to say no. It's gone through some changes, but it is still basically the same little scope with that wonderful APL objective that I have seen so many wonderful things with over the years. It's more than a telescope. It's a talisman and a time machine. I will always remember my mom coming out from the kitchen to the backyard to take a look at what ever I was looking at. I can use it now and see her standing right beside me. It will be the last scope I ever let go. Yes, I thought I had lost it but got it a few years ago. But I never realized just how valuable it was to me. I do now, and when I got it back, I vowed it will never again leave me.
PS- I also saw my first comet with this telescope: Comet Ikeya-Seki in December of 1965!
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Posted by starman876 on 15 November 2014 - 09:21 PM
Desires of what we want in a telescope is different for all of us. For me it is appreciating old world craftsmanship. The wood tripods, the wood cases, and the way it all fits together. Enjoying the quality of these scopes has become a love. They might not have the best optics that are currently available, but the first time I looked through a 75mm Unitron I said to myself, it is going to take a hell of an ED optic set to beat this. I am sure a lot of you have an old long focal length vintage telescope that provided images that would take a lot of money to get a better image. It does not have to be a Unitron that is your favorite vintage telescope. If you own it, you use it, you are happy with the performance it is the best feeling in the world. A vintage scope that performs. There is a good reason why we all love collecting vintage telescopes. They are amazing telescopes that give you a special feeling like the scopes of today just cannot give you. Like many of you I am sure you all get that special satisfaction restoring a vintage telescope. Sometimes, you get a vintage scope that only needs enjoyment. This is a great hobby and we all have our favorites.
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Posted by jhayes_tucson on 02 October 2014 - 11:26 AM
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Posted by turk123 on 22 September 2014 - 03:37 PM
I just got off the phone with Larry Hardin. I had written him to see if he was going to renew the trademark "Astrola". He called me this afternoon.
Larry is an interesting guy. He is 71 and head of Hardin Optical company who mostly deals with government and commercial account. As a young man he worked for Cave Optical Company. We hit it off great. I had him go to the Cave website to look at some of the historical documents and pictures. He was rattling off all the name of the men working with Alika Herring and even pointed to a picture of himself in one of the catalogs.
He is a wealth of information for this period of time. Here is an example. Something I'm ask all the time: "Was that Tom Cave's corvette parked outside the Cave store?" "It is not Tom's Corvette. He had a Chevy Nomad." Larry said. "The corvette belonged to Bob Crawford the picture on your website to the left of Herring. The one where he is facing away from the camera." Case closed. :-)
Larry is going to renew the trademark. I have nothing to fear with the website and now it will be protected from others who may not respect it. Larry Hardin agreed. "I just might make a new line of classic telescopes one day." He said. I've heard that he said this to others before, but never followed through. I think he has good feelings about the name. He can keep it a bit longer now.
I ask if he would do an article for the Cave-astrola website. He said he liked that idea. When pressed with doing so we kind of "compromised" with me doing several long recorded interviews with him. He was going to talk to his wife about this. He said it would be fun to recreate with her the days of him going to work and what all the "guys" did on a day to day basis. Everything from grinding mirrors, figuring the optics and even the morning coffee breaks with Alika showing off his drawings of the moon. I told him that would be wonderful.
Hardin still has Evered Kreimer's 12.5" telescope and promised to take pictures of Evered's revolutionary liquid cooled Camera for me. I have an upcoming article on Kreimer along with Jason's article. Hardin owns several Cave telescopes, 6" - 10" and the 12.5". They have not been restored.
Larry talked of Parks showing up at the store to deliver tubes to Tom Cave. He said there was always a lot going on.
So in the interest of preserving the history, I guess I have another project.
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Posted by pbealo on 10 September 2014 - 09:28 PM
Just picked this beauty up. This original pencil drawing by Russell W Porter will go together with the matching copper printing plate I have of it that was used to print a page in ATM Book 1.
There's even a handwritten Porter note on the back about how it's going to Ingalls.
I like how the arm extends out of the frame, something the book cut off.
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Posted by opticsguy on 03 September 2014 - 11:24 PM
This is my recently completed 10" on Display at TMSP. 2014
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Posted by DSObserver2000 on 22 August 2014 - 07:42 PM
September-November marks the start of a new bunch of constellations and events, here is a beginners guide to some of mother nature's goodies. All dates are in Central Standard Time
For the friends of the nearest rock in the sky:
First Quarter on September 2nd.
Full Moon on September 9th.
Last Quarter on September 16th.
New Moon on September 24th.
First Quarter on October 1st.
Full Moon on October 8th.
Total Lunar Eclipse on October 8th. http://en.wikipedia....4_lunar_eclipse
Last Quarter on October 15th.
New Moon on October 23rd.
First Quarter on October 31st.
Full Moon on November 6th.
Last Quarter on November 14th.
New Moon on November 22nd.
First Quarter on November 29th.
For those who enjoy the nearest star:
Partial Solar Eclipse on October 23rd. http://en.wikipedia....ctober_23,_2014
For planetary people:
Uranus at opposition on October 7th
For falling rock fanatics:
Comet Jacques (c/2014 e2) visible through a small telescope into September
Draconids peak on October 8th with a variable ZHR
Southern Taurids peak on October 9th with a ZHR of 5
Orionids peak on October 22nd with a ZHR of 20
Northern Taurids peak on November 13th with a ZHR of 5
Leonids peak on November 18th with a ZHR of 15
For deep sky hunters:
Double Cluster http://en.wikipedia..../Double_Cluster
Most of the deep sky objects are visible in binoculars, all of them are visible in even the smallest telescopes under dark skies. It took me all day to make this. I probably missed a few deep sky objects but this is plenty enough to get a beginner going.
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Posted by terraclarke on 19 November 2014 - 11:51 AM
I like the published forum definition and I find discussions like this one serve no purpose other than stirring up rancor. Next I'll be hearing a re-proposal to then take the list and subdivide it into first tier, second tier, third tier, etc.! That ought to really pixx some people off and maybe even enough to get someone banished again. I belong to another group that has recently split wide open due to arguing and I hate to see that here. Can't we just leave well enough alone, go with the published forum definition and let it go at that before we start loosing friends and creating enemies. Beauty is in both the eye and the pocketbook of the beholder. One person's treasure is another person's trash. There is not one amongst us who doesn't know what a classic is in their own mind. That is good enough for me.
So lets avoid the split that is bound to occur between the elitists and the socialists and everyone else who will be caught up in this when the ranks are called in and the lines are drawn. As I told a member of the other group (I mentioned above) this morning when things had finally died down and he was dying to throw in two more cents: "Any more will simply add fuel to the fire which is lying dormant for the moment but ready to ignite into a conflagration with the least spark."
Lets leave well enough alone and move on. This discussion never ends well!
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Posted by xavier on 11 November 2014 - 11:32 AM
I thought that is what we are supposed to do in this forum. Show off our scopes.
OK, if you want this, Johann... The changed setup in my observatory. The Royal Astro Newtonian has left the observatory for the new owner in The Netherlands and the Polarex setup has taken its place beside the 12" Classical Cassegrain. The guidescope of the Cassegrain is a 3" Polarex with a super focuser.
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Posted by GoodAsh on 07 November 2014 - 06:55 PM
I made a new friend today! And, I went home with this beautiful Unitron 102mm setup! Thanks so much for everything J, (This guy knows his stuff!)
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Posted by BillP on 25 October 2014 - 08:48 PM
Beautiful evening tonight with very transparent Moonless sky. Targets I observed tonight were:
The Sterling was the definite take away in this department. It was easily showing stars with direct vision that the others would only show with adverted vision. The most interesting example of this was with M92. Even at just 48x individual stars were apparent in this glob with the Sterling; and they were prominent enough that I could use them to set focus. In the other eyepieces, M92 was just a fuzz ball at 48x with direct vision and could only catch individual stars with adverted vision. Of the other three eyepieces, both the Abbes were a little brighter than the TV Plossl, showing the glob more distinctly with a bit of a brighter core and better brightness extending from the core. And for the Abbes, the UO was ahead by a hair over the Tak. This transmission behavior remained between them even when using a Barlow...in this case I was using the TV 2x. With Barlow, stars in M92 were visible across the Glob very easily. So very nice in them all, but just a little dim for my tastes with the TV.
Off-Axis Performance --
Here the TV was the clear winner. Stars using the f/8 Lunt 152 were sharp pretty much to the edge. The very edge they were not quite the sharpest, and a little dimmer, but still point shaped. As example, with one of the clusters from the Double Cluster centered, the other one was still nice and sharp and near the field stop. In the UO and Tak Abbes the off-axis cluster was slightly aberrated and stars not quite round as there was a little astigmatism. Saw no difference between the Tak or the UO. The Sterling has the modified concave lens surfaces like the TV prescription, so the off-axis cluster was sharper in the Sterling than in the Abbes, bit still not quite as sharp as the TV's off-axis. TV takes pride in their off-axis, and clearly evident with the 25mm TV Plossl doing the best.
All eyepieces showed the colors of this double fairly equally. Scatter seemed about the same in all of them as well. Again, the distinctive this with this target turned out to be transmission. Just off Albiero there are two very very faint little stars. In the TV these were exceedingly difficult to see. Adverted viewing was a must for one of them. The UO and Tak Abbes these two faint stars were an easy catch with the faintest of the pair going in and out with direct vision. And finally for the Sterling they were both easy direct vision stars and no hunting to find them.
Ring Nebula --
All eyepieces showed this well, but I felt that the TV was lagging again for the group and the interior of the Ring was just not as dark as it was in the others. And like Albiero, some of the faintest surrounding background stars were either difficult to see or just not there. Whereas in the UO, Tak, and Sterling faint background stars around M57 were more prominently seen. Using the TV 2x the Ring took on it distinctive shape much better and looked much more defined....again being more nicely contrasted and brighter in the UO, Tak, and Sterling.
Like with the APM 2.7x ED Barlow, with the Tele Vue 2x Barlow the UO, Tak, and TV all showed a fuzzy field stop with lots of darkening before the field stop. So vignetting occurred with these eyepieces. The Sterling however showed a nicely defined and sharp field stop with Barlow. So if your intent is to use these eyepieces with a Barlow, the TV, UO, and Tak will be problematic and maybe require an Amplifier like a Powermate to work correctly.
I took no particular note with comfort tonight, other than all were nice to use and I didn't feel cramped with any of them. The UO thought I would have an occasional partial blackout so had to be a little more careful keeping correct eye position, probably due to it having no eye guard.
Focuser Travel --
I will try to assess the field stop location in them, but the obvious difference is that I need to rack the focuser way in for the Sterling and way out for the TV. The UO and Tak Abbes are parfocal, needing only the slightest touch of the fine focuser between them.
Overall the Sterling still steals the show portraying targets the best; clean, clear, and bright. While all views through all the eyepieces are great, the TV's less bright performance made it least enjoyable. And of the Abbes, the UO I found I preferred to the Tak. Hard to put my finger on it but always felt the view was an improvement in some small way when I put the UO in the slot after the Tak. This was a consistent experience. I tried to ferret out why but all I could see was an extremely slight improved performance on faintest adverted vision stars with the UO. They were more prominent and easier to see in the UO than in the Tak. A real slight nuance, but perhaps this was the driver.
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Posted by Jon Isaacs on 08 October 2014 - 07:39 AM
It was well placed in the sky here in San Diego and it was clear which is somewhat unusual for the early morning near the coast. I took the photo with my cell phone looking through my 10 inch Dob. It is basically unprocessed except for cropping and reduction in resolution.
- Dave Mitsky, MrJones, alnitak22 and 7 others like this
Posted by starman876 on 19 September 2014 - 05:04 PM
Never met an astronomer who did not like a Unitron, or a questar, or a astro physics, or a TMB, or a Royal astro, or a Sears, or a JC penneys, well you get the picture. We all like scopes, really does not matter who made it. Some are good, some are great and some just are not worth the effort to set up, but is sure is great to have just one or a few. You got one you love it. Kind of like that car that gets you from point A to B. If it gets you there you love it. Scopes are the same. You might have to strain your eyes a bit, but you love it when you get to see something. We are a special breed of people. Even after we have seen the same thing a hundred times we still set up to look at it again and again and again. We use different scopes like artist use different paint brushes. Each scope does something special that we love. That is what is so neat about classic scopes. The quality of the optics in those days in most cases were really good and we get to see things with good optics, really neat things. You got to love this hobby, I know I do.
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Posted by youngamateur42 on 18 September 2014 - 11:38 PM
Started my very own astronomy club at my high school, San Dimas High. Last year I brought my RV-6 in to science class and spoke for the class. This year I wanted to do something big, like really big. So, what bigger and better scope to bring than the Meade 12.5"? Anyway, I am the president and founder of the club, which goes on my permanent record. It doesn't hurt for college anyway. I'm planning on meeting twice a month or so. As well as doing a fundraiser for a field trip to take the club up to Mount Wilson or Griffith. Planning on doing solar outreach with the club during lunchtime and such. Any similar high school friendly advice is great. Please enjoy the photos
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Posted by opticsguy on 17 September 2014 - 09:59 AM
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Posted by PiSigma on 29 August 2014 - 07:45 PM
I'm primarily visual also but I do enjoy planetary AP when the seeing is very good (rarely). My 10" f/6 Cave has exceptional optics, is very well balanced, just the right clutch tension and has a dec drive for when I need to bump it a bit to get a planet back on the chip. I started with zero AP experience and have been very happy with my results even though the processing learning curve is steep.
- Adam S, Bonco, xavier and 7 others like this