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#6147222 Yeah, it's slow. Yeah, we're missing stuff... Please read...

Posted by Tom T on 04 August 2014 - 05:25 PM

Just an FYI - yup, you may have noticed (by the fact that you are reading this post), that we've reopened the forums.
Well, we have. 
We aren't done with the conversion yet.  Until we do finish, please expect very slow performance, missing and/or broken links, and missing content on all portions of the site.  Please rest assured that our faithful programmer is hard at work trying to get all this fixed.  Be patient with him (and us) and this place will (hopefully) be humming right along in a few days.
Thank you!
Tom T

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#6160156 Show me a Selfie with your gear

Posted by jrbarnett on 12 August 2014 - 09:46 PM


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#6204098 Nice Telescope Drawing

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.


Peter B.


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#6194087 Post a picture of your refractors (PART 7)

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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#6175125 A Beginner's Guide To Fall Skies of 2014

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:


Open Clusters:

M25 http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_25

M23 http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_23

M18 http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_18

IC 4665 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IC_4665

M29 http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_29

M39 http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_39

Double Cluster http://en.wikipedia..../Double_Cluster

M52 http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_52

M11 http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_11

M34 http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_34

M45 http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_45

M36 http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_36

M37 http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_37

M38 http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_38

Hyades http://en.wikipedia...._(star_cluster)


Globular Clusters:

M2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messier_2

M15 http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_15

M22 http://en.wikipedia....iki/Messier_22

M28 http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_28

M13 http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_13

M92 http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_92



M31 http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_31

M32 http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_32

M110 http://en.wikipedia....iki/Messier_110

M33 http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_33

M77 http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_77

NGC 253 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGC_253


Diffuse Nebulae

M17 http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_17

M8 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messier_8

M20 http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_20

NGC 7000 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGC_7000


Planetary Nebulae

M27 http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_27

M57 http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_57


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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#6151096 Things that go bump in the night

Posted by Starman1 on 07 August 2014 - 12:52 AM

The flip side of that story is that I was purposely observing at a site known to have drug deals going down.  The Ranger suggested I keep an eye out and call him if I saw stuff.

A van filled with cholos showed up and started drinking and listening to loud rap music.  One of the guys (stereotypical chinos and white wife-beater t-shirt and hairnet) saunters over to me and says, "What're you looking at, sir?"  Right away I sense this won't be a typical encounter.  While his friends party and listen to music, he patiently sits and looks through the scope with me, asking fairly intelligent questions.  After a couple hours, his friends called out, "Hey Nerd!  Let's go."  He wished me a good night, shook my hand, and left.

Maybe there was one homey who had a telescope in his future.  I'd like to think so.

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#6206221 Unitron History Project

Posted by Tore E on 12 September 2014 - 12:06 PM

During a motivational visit today to Will Thornton's to pick up some reference material...and to get some additional photos of his Model 530...he pointed out that there was an article in the February 1974 issue of S&T describing an observatory in Norway that had a 5" Unitron.  I checked my electronic copies of S&T and found the reference to the Sky High Observatory built about 40 miles northeast of Olso by a Carsten A. Deberitz. My further research found that he was also known as a member of "The Beatniks" Band...and this reference: "By next year we hope to have the services of Mr Carsten A. Deberitz from Oslo. His 'Sky High Observatory' is well known among the continental fraternity, and is equipped with no less than three Unitron refractors and as many astrographs." Note: Mr Deberitz passed away in 2006.


Ok...CNer's...anyone across the pond have any info on this?  I can't find any other references to the Sky High Observatory.




I am a Norwegian amateur and a new member to the classic telescope forum. First of all, thank you all for sharing so much of your knowledge and insight, it is an inspiration to read.
You ask about information on the Sky High Observatory in southern Norway. Well, I have a lot of information actually…………. I will try keep it short. This is my first posting, so hopefully it will work.

Carsten Deberitz was on the front page of Sky and Telescope in the February 1974 issue. At that time, I was 15 years old, and the proud owner of a 75mm equatorial Polarex. I had just started subscribing to S&T, and was of course drooling over the picture on the front page. It shows Carsten proudly in front of his observatory with a 5” Polarex.
Then we spool 40 years forward, to February 2014 (strange coincidence). One evening I started thinking about an ad I had seen in the Norwegian astronomy magazine “Astronomi” a year back, announcing the sale of a used late 70s, Unitron 75mm (like the one I grew up with). It was still for sale, and I ended up with that beautiful, ……… delightful white icon :-)


Then in May, things started moving. I knew that Carsten had passed away in 2006, and started asking around wanting to know what happened to the 5” and the observatory. Nobody knew anything, but I had an old friend I had not seen for many years, who back in the 70s had an observing platform at the observatory. He did not know anything either, but suggested that we could try to find the observatory. He had not been there for 30 years. The area is not more than 1-2 hours’ drive northeast of Oslo, but is in the deep dark Norwegian forests, so this was a little bit of an Indiana Jones expedition :-). This was in early June. 

The vegetation (and so the landscape) change a lot in 30 years, so my friend was unable to recognize where we should start venturing into the woods. After talking with some old hunters, we got the lead. They had a hunting post they called "observatoriet". We knew where to leave the road, parked there and started walking. It should not be very far from the road, but the vegetation was thick and my friend did not recognize the terrain. After 10min I said out of whim, lets leave the track and go left (another strange coincidence).  And after some walking, …………. viola, there we could see the observatory between the trees.

The building was in bad shape, but it was still standing thanks to the brick walls. We did not know if the telescope was still in the building, and it was impossible to look inn anywhere. Luckily, I had a very small camera with me, and I pressed my hand with the camera inn through openings, and took flash photos. Nothing, totally black, or just bricks. But wait……. In one picture we could see something white… it was the telescope. Still in there!!! With the building and the roof inn such a bad shape, had it survived?

We could of course not break inn……… Well I wrote I was going to make this short. Well fast forward…it turned out that Carstens son and x-wife lived down by the road. My friend recognized her outside the house (still another strange coincidence) when we got down to the car, a hundred meters from where we parked. He had not seen her in 30 years either, but she recognized him. We talked, and she gave us access to the observatory. Back at the observatory, we opened the door, and it was like opening the Tutankhamen tomb. It looked exactly like the S&T article 40 years back. A lot of dust, and dead insects, but it seemed dry.

Well, to shorten down. The observatory had not been in use in 20 to 30 years according to Carstens son. I ended up buing the 5”, and have transported it my house outside Oslo, and the telescope is “restored” back to working order (I think). It is still in my basement, and I have not star-tested it yet. I am a little unsure of the next step, but to me this telescope is the Holy Grail, so I am happy just to have it in the basement (even if my wife do not look at it the same way :-)).  I can sit watching it for hours. Happy!!!

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#6195041 Craigslist, ebay and other vintage telescope ads

Posted by choran on 04 September 2014 - 04:56 PM

Nope, sold for asking price plus shipping.   I bit the bullet and went for it.  Have read about these for quite a while.  I will do my utmost to use it properly and take care of it. To me, they are for observing.  I've never been able to bring myself to sell a scope yet.  I appreciate the info and pictures, and I'm sure I will have a ton of questions when it arrives.  I was tempted to drive, but it's about 1000 miles away, so I'll have to sweat it out for a few days until it arrives.  

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#6185581 Observing or Imaging with Classics?

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.





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#6146466 Welcome to CN 3.0!

Posted by Tom T on 04 August 2014 - 06:53 AM

And we're live!


But not complete.  Please bear with us over the next week as there is still finishing work to be done.




Tom T.



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#6211801 Unitron History Project

Posted by choran on Yesterday, 01:59 PM

Someday i'd love to see Sky and Telescope (or anyone, for that matter) devote an entire issue to the scopes of old.  At a minimum, a great idea for a column would be to feature one classic every month or so, with an observing report.  I know there's only so much room, and that article selection is influenced by a myriad of considerations, but wouldn't that be great?

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#6190725 That Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi"

Posted by terraclarke on 01 September 2014 - 09:28 PM

For me, this picture says it all.

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#6190651 That Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi"

Posted by davidmcgo on 01 September 2014 - 08:30 PM

My 1965 Celestron C10, real solid, small 27% obstruction, and a very flat field at f15.  One of these was the first real telescope I got to look through when I was 10 years old starting out with a borrowed Tasco 50mm.


I use this beast a lot for lunar observing in my back yard.  It is a nice chair height scope on the pier.  The 70 pound weight of what is pictured makes it a bit more than "grab and go", though.



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#6186407 NGC6543, 7026, 7027, 6826

Posted by azure1961p on 30 August 2014 - 10:50 AM

Transp: wavering between good and slight haze,


no wind

seeing 7 Pickering



Some very rewarding planetary observing under mag 5 sky's with my C6...




its been long long years since I observed this bright planetary and with no good reason to suffice.  At my finder magnification of 62x the Catseye is a smokey ellipse of blue grey.  I tried to detect a green but it wasn't forthcoming.  As most folks know though, at this low power the object is very conspicuously non stellar.   I reached next for my 152x plossl and the ellipse now seems rather blocky in a morphing but undefined way that begs for a closer look.  The best overall magnifications turned out to be 320x and 400x . Here a kind of notch defines one end with a bit of  a hook  while the other is a little less obvious in another direction.  The general course outline is had in this manner with care.  Through it all the interior is a morphing motte of details that never quite materialize. I know something's there and it never rests but again, it does not solidify either.  I could have put a full hour into this object alone as it is, I gave it thirty minutes.




This one is very small but worth the effort dedicated observing brings...


A nice opaque light masquerading as a wooly star next to another star just minutes away. At 62x its subtle enough appearing 15" perhaps that a quick scan could miss the fact that this is an extended object.  Because of this small size (but good surface brightness, this ghost of mars like haze prompted me to blow past 152x and straight into 320x and 400x and this is where the enigma began.  There's something amiss with this otherwise smooth elliptical haze.  Its unsettled and teeters at the threshold resolution.  There's a light trying to peer through and so I figure "oh central star ..,ok".  But its again, a confused morphing light.  I stay with it trying to let the truth unfold then I began to think "oh I know what this is - central hole like m57 trying to define itself and appearing jumbled" - this was nt too too far off but it was still wrong.  Now I stayed at 400x and just rested at the eyepiece with it to let it unfold in its own time which it needed to do apparently. The truth came in brief flashes - amazing - two bright spots - one over the other. Not pointing to the nearby field star but just off a bit if you connect the dots.   Now things are shaping up - "ok ... Two spots - stars or lobes?".  I rest with the belief they are lobes and the darkness between them appearing like a pseudo central hole is merely a contrast effect.  It turns out after the fact there is infact a hole or void here but my sensing of it was illusory.    Looking up the photos later online I'm blown away by the intricate structure here.  This was nothing more than a 15" ellipse of light at 62x and now all this discovery at the ocular and confirmation online after the fact.


This is an amazing planetary nebula. In the past I know I observed it with my 8" but - I was far too quick and missed this magic entirely.  I have to revisit it again with that aperture.



Very nice squat rectangle with one love brighter than the other - terrific surface brightness here .  Comparatively simplistic after mulling over 7026'revelations. A very robust light.



A nice medium large disc of opaque light clearly evident at 62x .  What's great here , especially at 152x is the central star is quite evident and so its rewarding to find both components if the planetary nebula system glowing gas shells and central star it originated from.  So often the white dwarf is lost in the haze and beyond reach visually.   I want to return here again with a more concerted effort as the large disc though homogenous at 152x I'm sure would yield some concentric details within .  It was pushing 3am at this point however so I moved on.


My closing observation of the night was a GOTO aimed at Uranus which defied location.  I tried several times but only this asterism of stars yielding no planet.  Removing the dew cap I found dew just beginning to form and guessed that's why the stars in this area now appeared soft. 


I packed it in and called it a really satisfying session. Other objects like planets and doubles omitted in keeping on topic with deepsky forum content.



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#6165843 500 Best DSO list

Posted by Starman1 on 16 August 2014 - 07:00 PM

I just reduced this is size to something I can post.

A lot of you have requested this from me, so I am posting it here.

It is a list of the 500 best DSOs, as seen in a 4" refractor and 5" Maksutov in modestly dark skies over a couple of years.

It started as a list of 2000 favorites culled from my much larger log, then got whittled down as I re-observed every object.


There will be some challenges here for the newbie, and there will be some really spectacular objects in larger scopes.


So enjoy.  I include a LOT of information about each object.

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#6212745 Unitron History Project

Posted by combatdad on Today, 06:56 AM

Ok..here we go!  Version 1.0 of the "All Things Unitron/Polarex History" web-site is released.  My apprehensive level is really up there!  Enjoy...especially Tore's upfront article under "Owner Stories". I did make one change to the menu list that I published earlier.  The Links is broken out into one for Information such as articles, and one for related Sites.  As always, feedback is appreciated.  No log-in will be required to view the site.




Do want to thank, Tom and Terra for their feedback and beta testing; Xavier and Tore for your inputs and feedback, and Will Thornton for the use of the photos of his Model 530 as background.  Also, Unitron, Inc and Company Seven have both had an opportunity to review and their feedback was positive.  Over the next year I hope to be thanking many of you for your inputs as I fill out all the gaps wrt the different models, and add stories similar to Tore's.  This is just the beginning...




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#6210503 T6 > XW = Delos > T6 ?

Posted by Brian Carter on 15 September 2014 - 03:01 PM

First of all, the T6's are not scaled design.  A good indicator of a scaled design is a decrease in eye relief with shorter focal length.  As far as I can see, all these eyepieces have a more or less constant eye relief, so each is an individual design.


Eyepiece reviews should all be taken with a grain of salt.  People spend a lot of money and like to think they got the best thing in the world.  It doesn't help that all these premium eyepieces are also very good.  That means that any premium review, for instance T6 vs XW, is going to be comparing optical aspects that are very very very similar.  What isn't similar are the ergonomics: T6 has a bigger field in a small package but short eye relief, Pentax has oodles of comfy eye relief, but its bigger and 'only' 70 degrees.  People like one or the other better, which is fine, but a lot of reviews are then skewed by that subjective experience.


Take your pick of the eyepieces based on their characteristics.  Need eye relief?  need small size?  Need wide field?  Working with an F/3 scope? These will help you make your decision.  But try to read the eyepiece shootouts more as experiential narrative and less of a scientific study and remember that all these high end eyepieces are very nice.

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#6206517 Unitron History Project

Posted by Tore E on 12 September 2014 - 03:32 PM

Tore, first things first. Welcome to the Classics Forum. It is so nice to have you as part of our group. Secondly, thank you for posting such an amazing and truly wonderful story. I was imagining everything, line by line as I read each word. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lastly, congratulations on an equally amazing and wonderful find. Wow! A 5 inch Unitron. Very few people have one of those. We all very much look forward to seeing pictures and hearing about your further adventures with this rare instrument.


Thanks for the kind words Terra. I have been reading on the list for maybe two months now, and I regard you as one of the numero uno members of this fine community :-), so hearing it from you makes me proud :-)

Sometimes I have problems sort of believing my own story. But, then I go down in the basement………… If someone had told me 40 years ago when I looked at S&T, that I would own that beautiful instrument, I would have thought him or her mad :-). It is also a string og strange coincidences that made it happen.

I am also a little proud of what I have achieved so far, because I think it was maybe one or two winters away, before the roof would collapse, and then the instrument would have been destroyed. And that would have been a loss to……………. well history or something. I think we have an obligation to take care of these fine instruments (but I don’t have to tell you that :-)).  

I have many pictures, but I have to figure out the best way to post them. Any hints and tips are appreciated.

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#6196563 What mondern day telescopes will become a classic?

Posted by Stephen Kennedy on 05 September 2014 - 05:55 PM

Although, the below telescope and mount were purchased by me in Japan in 1988 I am not sure if it would qualify as a classic but is probably unique.




The mount is a Pentax MS-5 GEM.  The serial number on mine is 65 and I doubt more than 100 were ever made before Pentax stopped making telescopes.  It was a display model at a large telescope store in Tokyo and they were selling it for half MSRP and I could not resist.   The mount has a mass of 150 kg.


The OTA is a 210 mm F/7 Newtonian with a tube rotation device that I specially ordered from Mikage Optical Labs along with a custom plate so it could be secured on my Pentax mount.  The OTA has a mass of 22 kg.  In the 1980s in Japan, Mikage was ranked higher than even Takahashi as a maker of premium telescopes.  Unfortunately, like many other great Japanese telescope makers they are no longer in business.  Most Mikage OTAs were put on Mikage mounts which are the same mounts that Takahashi now uses for their 200 mm and 250 mm refractors so my combination of a Pentax mount and a Mikage OTA is, I am almost certain, unique in the U.S. and probably very rare, if they exist at all, in Japan.


I am not sure if something can be considered a classic if only one exists. 

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#6194191 That Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi"

Posted by roscoe on 04 September 2014 - 02:23 AM

The old Swifts had 'the look' too, the tan-and-brown look really makes 'em stand out in a crowd.....though not, perhaps, as much as Ms. T's red one..... but they have real old-school class - even the finder has a real achromatic objective!




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