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Deciding on a Bigger Mirror

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#26 NewMoonTelescope

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 11:27 AM

My most used personal scope is 16" for many reasons. It's large enough to spot the occasional glob in M31, and portable enough to lift by myself. It cools quickly, and almost all of the Herschel's are a breeze. As you get larger, not only does easily lifting become an issue, but overall width is something to consider (especially if you're a bit short like me!). I can still easily lift an 18", but not as comfortably due to the added width. If ramping in and out of a vehicle is inconsequential in your opinion, and you're rarely faced with stairs to travel up and down, I would think the bigger the better-within reason of course!

Darker skies,

Ryan

#27 LateViewer

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 12:22 PM

Ryan,

Thanks for the input. I was looking at your line of telescopes on your website. I wish I had been able to get to NEAF this year.

Just an FYI, where in upstate are you?

#28 NewMoonTelescope

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 12:44 PM

Thank you sir. Our first ever NEAF, and wow, what an experience. I live in a little town called West Monroe (40 minutes north of Syrause).

Btw-made my first trip ever to Manhatten last week. The amateur astronomer in me made me think I would not like it-quite the opposite was true. I wish I would have had more time to spend there, as it was an incredie experience. My wife and I plan on becoming "regular tourists"!

#29 lionel

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 01:11 PM

Lionel,

How do you like the views from your 16? What did you have before?


My previous scope was a Mewlon 250, which gave better views than any other scope of comparable size that I ever looked through. It has incredible contrast (often remarked on by my big dob observing buddies), no light scatter around bright objects (a sign of smooth optics) and at-the-limit resolution. My preferred targets with that scope were planets, challenging double stars, planetaries and nebulae.

At some point I decided I wanted to see deeper than 9.8” would allow but I was not willing to sacrifice the Mewlon’s contrast performance. I decided on a 16” dob to keep it very portable (see my post above). I called Carl Zambuto and he assured me that he could make me a 16” “contrast machine” that would equal the performance of the Mewlon at similar exit pupils. It took a year due to Carl’s backlog but early in March I picked up my 16” F/4.2 from Rob. (TT #95 - see Rob’s homepage for a photo as Scope of the Month).
http://www.teeterste...com/teeter.html

To date I’ve only managed to get out locally a few times due to the weather. At first light from my suburban driveway (NELM 4 at best) and with seeing at just Pickering 4, I managed to split Sirius and hold the Pup continuously in view at 393x and also split an old challenge favorite, zeta Boo at 561x. This 0.49” equal pair was generally smeared but in instants of better seeing it was resolved about 10% of the time. It should be no challenge at all in decent seeing. The eyes of M97 were visible with a UHC filter, and, looking at the field around Vega at 123x, I could see there was virtually no light scatter. Nearby dim field stars were easily seen…just as in my Mewlon. A number of spring galaxies were also viewed from the driveway and the Eskimo Nebula revealed detail at 393x – two shells, mottling in the hood, and a slight triangular shape that I couldn’t make out in the Mewlon.

Can’t wait to get this scope to a dark site.

Lionel

#30 LateViewer

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 04:14 PM

Lionel,

Really glad you are enjoying your new 16". Sounds great.

Ryan,

While Manhattan is not a very good place for the amateur astronomer it is a very wonderful place for many other reasons and I am glad you enjoyed yourself. I don't know if you have traveled to Europe and seen Rome or London or Paris but I can assure you that NY lives up to those places as well.

I work in the theater district here and the convenience is wonderful but as I said in my earlier post I am looking for the get out of town place.

The Museum of Natural History and the Hayden Planetarium. The Metropolitan Museum or Art, The Museum of Modern Art. Central park Lincoln Center the Broadway theaters and great eating from the most expensive to the downright cheap. This is a great town.

Al

#31 LateViewer

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 04:20 PM

Lionel,

I checked your scope out on the link. That is very very nice indeed. When I built my 12.5" I went to the Teeter web sight a lot for ideas.

Posted Image

This is my string truss f/6 12.5"

Al

#32 Achernar

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 04:48 PM

I opted for a 15-inch F/4.5 for the same reasons. I am 6-feet tall, and getting older too. While at my age of 47 I can easily lift the 60 lb mirror box, there is no assurance I will be able to down the road. Also it will fit into a car, something bigger telescopes will not. I had wanted a 18 or 20-inch, but I am more than happy with the 15-inch I opted to build. The skies here are terrible most of the time as of late, I haven't really begun to scratch the surface of my 15-inch's potential, let alone the 10-inch's I have. All I can say is there is a real wow factor when one moves up to a telesope at least half again as large as his or her present telescope. As for the OP, he would probably find an 18 or 20-inch to be a good step up, assuming he has the means to store and transport it. A 20-inch will not fit through a standard doorway, and it requires a van, SUV or pickup truck to transport as well as at as a 6-foot ladder.

Taras

#33 lionel

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 05:55 PM

Thanks Al. I'm impressed by your homebuilt. How do you like the curved vane spider?

BTW I go to Manhattan often to visit my two daughters and their families. The Natural History and Metropolitan Museums are favorite haunts of ours.

Lionel

#34 LateViewer

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 08:45 PM

Lionel,

I like the curved spider. My previous reflector was an 8" Celestron and the diffraction spikes are greatly reduced. If I made any mistake with this scope it was going with an f/6 mirror.

Glad you like our city.

Al






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