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A Telescope for Miles

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#1 Geo.



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Posted 28 November 2013 - 01:43 PM

My wife got an inquiry from a friend as to whether I would help her purchase a telescope for her 5 year old grandson, Miles. Let me add that Miles would rather watch the Science channel than cartoons and has had grandma already help him through Ken Hewitt-White's Patterns in the Sky. I might add that Miles lives under mag 7 skies.

I thought back to my first telescope, a Gilbert 76mm Newt with a fixed Ramsden and thought I could pull together a much better scope from parts on hand. A little rummaging produced the remains of a Meade 114mm Bird-Jones, some parts from a fast (f/5) 4.5" Bushnell and a good Meade focuser. [1][2]

The Bushnell provided the tube and the primary and the Meade a red dot finder, secondary assembly, nice cast alloy front and rear trim rings and primary cell to replace the Bushnell's plastic parts. I think the focuser is a Meade #73. It has a metal draw tube and rack and pinion.

After resizing some holes and making other new ones, the focuser, secondary, primary and RDF bracket were fitted and roughly collimated. A quick look told me what I already knew, the scope focused too closely due to the higher Meade focuser. I scratched a reference line at the front of the rear trim ring and shortened the tube to the line. [3]

Focusing was now correct and my eyeball collimation was pretty close. [4] So now I have Mile's first scope ready for a mount. [5] I'm leaning toward a Celestron C5 mount from the '70s that has had its motor cannibalized. The C5 of that era has the same 5.5" tube diameter. I can put it on a Nexstar 4/5 tripod and it can be used manually in EQ for better tracking than a Dob mount. If I can fit some C8 forks it might even swing thru. A couple of good Plossls and a Barlow and Miles will be on his way.

If there's point to this (other than I have a wife tolerant of all the "junk" I have), it's there are still kids coming along who are enthusiastic, at least where they can see the stars. Now that's something to be thankful for.

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#2 Lightning


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Posted 28 November 2013 - 04:13 PM

Great work! I'm sure it'll be much appreciated by an enthusiastic young astronomer. Sounds like it'll be about perfect for them.

I'm always slightly surprised at the number of people who appreciate small but good telescopes - small dobsonian scopes especially. I think it's because the wide fields of view are easy to relate to and the scopes are forgiving in terms of positioning, while still showing a good, clear image.


#3 Geo.



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Posted 12 December 2013 - 07:44 PM

Got the Bushnell wide field Newt mounted. A treasure hunt in the basement yielded a set of Celestron C5 diecast forks and a Classic 8 base. As I planned to use a Nexstar 4/5 tripod under the scope I relocated the power recepticle to the side of the base and added a switch. The balance of the scope is good and with light tension on the clutches it swings as well as most Dobsons this size and has the advantage of fine Az and Alt adjusters. With the Nexstar 4/5 tripod it can be used in the Az/Alt position or equatorial. In the latter the drive can be used for tracking.

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#4 PrestonE


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Posted 13 December 2013 - 09:32 AM

Fantastic work and love hearing that other youngsters are interested in astronomy!!!

Best Regards,


#5 Geo31



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Posted 13 December 2013 - 12:02 PM

Outstanding! Bravo! :applause: :applause:

#6 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 12:12 PM



#7 Ed D

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 02:18 PM

What a gorgeous little scope. It's great that you recycled and repurposed 'junk' to make something so wonderful. :bow:

Ed D

#8 cpr1


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Posted 14 December 2013 - 06:39 PM

+1 I agree great work bro. Especially since it is for youngsters.

#9 mattyfatz



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Posted 03 January 2014 - 01:01 AM

I love the fork mounted Newt! Remember those Edmund Newts? They always looked tough on those burly EQ fork mounts. I always wanted one. This scope will be solid as a rock. I feel that many of the "beginner" scopes today are undermounted.

#10 StarStuff1



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Posted 04 January 2014 - 12:31 AM

Anytime you can get kids that young interested in astronomy is a good time! Good job. :cool:

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