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Charlie HeinAdministrator
Postmaster
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Reged: 11/02/03

Loc: 26.06.08N, +80.23.08W
The Unsung Hero
      #5434112 - 09/22/12 09:57 AM

The Unsung Hero

By Malcolm Bird


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Nathan Spitzer
super member


Reged: 03/24/09

Loc: Charles Town, WV
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: Charlie Hein]
      #5434155 - 09/22/12 10:33 AM

Totally agree that this type of scope can be awesome for what you get. One thing to watch for on Ebay-Craigslist is for vintage Japanese scopes of this type.

I have a 4 1/2 inch Towa dating to sometime in the 70's that I paid $25 for plus the so-so mount. It has a very nicely ground parabolic mirror and throws up great images of the moon and planets. I plan on remounting its clamshell on my MIZAR mount from a vintage Meade 6600. Combined it should be a great combo.


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BoriSpider
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/10/04

Loc: S.W.FLA
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: Nathan Spitzer]
      #5434281 - 09/22/12 11:43 AM

I was hoping to see pics up in here.
I have a Meade 114NT that they sold on their
outlet website for like $50. One day it will
be a mini-dob.


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johnthomas
super member
*****

Reged: 10/18/11

Loc: Oklahoma City
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: BoriSpider]
      #5435586 - 09/23/12 07:48 AM

Enjoyed the read too. Although I have others (bigger & smaller), my 4.5 has become my "favorite" scope. Not the best, not the MOST portable, but still my favorite.

I have mine on a alt/az pipe mount (on top of a portable wood "pier") with a tiny digital level & an azimuth circle. Love it.


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cheapersleeper
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 01/22/10

Loc: Sachse TX
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: johnthomas]
      #5436819 - 09/23/12 07:29 PM

I have one of those tubes on a tall dob mount for my son. When he is not around, I sneak it outside. Around that aperture, things start to be interesting...

Brad


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soupaman
sage


Reged: 07/26/09

Loc: Not sure
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: cheapersleeper]
      #5437096 - 09/23/12 10:20 PM

I have the Meade 'electronic' version. Electronic meaning, the mount. Well, that went into the trash. The scope itself is quite good though. I mounted it on a cg4 in alt az mode. The scopes weekness is definitely the plastic focuser. It doesn't care for heavy eyepieces, or light ones for that matter There's a lot of slop between the ep and the focuser drawtube. Putting some teflon tape inside the drawtube helped a lot with this. Now I don't even need to tighten the set screws. The plastic housing around the secondary isn't the greatest either as it seems to have a hard time holding collimation. But visually, this seems to not have a large affect on views.

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RAK on Tour
member


Reged: 11/12/07

Loc: Sedalia, Missouri
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: soupaman]
      #5437225 - 09/23/12 11:55 PM

I have to agree with the article, as well. I just came in from a one-day-past-first-quarter moon observing seesion, and I have to say the moon was just spectacular! I also use a C4-R Celestron refractor, and the performance of my 114mm f/8 reflector has me thinking of selling the refractor - the reflector is that good. I will need to do more side-by-side testing before I make a decision, but what little comparison I have done to date shows very little difference between the two in performance. I have been shocked at how good the reflector performs. Fortunately, I don't have to decide anytime soon...

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ukcanuck
Vendor (Skylight Telescopes)
*****

Reged: 11/07/06

Loc: London, UK
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: RAK on Tour]
      #5437522 - 09/24/12 06:28 AM

My first scope.

The Bushnell is still up in the loft...I'll set it up again someday.

The eyepieces were truly awful. ...when trying to find M51, it simply wasn't visible with the supplied eyepieces...I then inserted a borrowed Meade 26mm super Plossl, and the galaxy became visible.

I ditched the eyepieces and never looked back.


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themos
member


Reged: 04/01/08

Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: ukcanuck]
      #5437795 - 09/24/12 10:20 AM

And they are not too bad for astrophotography either.

M13

Sunspot

Saturn

Jupiter

Mars


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johnthomas
super member
*****

Reged: 10/18/11

Loc: Oklahoma City
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: themos]
      #5437833 - 09/24/12 10:49 AM

impressive photos for 114mm I'd say. Nice Job!

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BoriSpider
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/10/04

Loc: S.W.FLA
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: johnthomas]
      #5437925 - 09/24/12 11:45 AM

RAK on Tour: So you like your 114 better than your C4-R?
Wow, I can't wait to see them side by side myself.


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Ed Holland
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 06/16/10

Loc: San Jose, CA and Oxford, UK
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: BoriSpider]
      #5438506 - 09/24/12 05:34 PM

My wife bought me one of these from a local Goodwill store three years ago. It really helped transform my budding interest in astronomy. The EQ mount proved fun to learn and the optics are more than capable. It's also ripe for tinkering projects if you are the DIY type (I built a crayford focuser and a better finder).

I still have and use this good little telescope - thanks for writing such a constructive article.

Ed


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Bob Brockway
member
*****

Reged: 03/08/12

Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: Ed Holland]
      #5441615 - 09/26/12 12:55 PM

Great read. This was my second scope, the first being a typical department store 60mm refractor. Was I impressed at the upgrade. I then went to an 8" dob. Great views but I started longing for portability. Went to a 4" refractor and honestly, I should have just gone back to my 114. I'll have to dust it off and set it up again.

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djeber2
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/02/04

Loc: Cloudy Midwest
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: Bob Brockway]
      #5442392 - 09/26/12 08:51 PM

Nice article. I have one of these, but haven't viewed thru it in at least a couple years. I need to get it out and test it side by side with my 80ED scope.

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Mogster
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/14/04

Loc: Manchester, England
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: djeber2]
      #5446715 - 09/29/12 12:26 PM

The supplied eyepieces, barlows and mounts are usually the weak link.

Quite often they are almost unuseable. You could get bargain bucket plossls to make the views decent but how many people are going to do that at this price point.


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Jaimo!
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/11/07

Loc: Exit 135 / 40° North
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: Mogster]
      #5446804 - 09/29/12 01:31 PM

Great article, my first scope was a Meade 4500...

Jaimo!


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Perigny270
super member


Reged: 10/23/11

Loc: Temiscaming, Quebec
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: Jaimo!]
      #5447287 - 09/29/12 07:05 PM

My brother-in-law got a Bushnell version. Once collimated and all the bolts on the mount tightened up it is pretty good. The 0.965" EPs are OK but the FOV is narrow. The Barlow is awful. Putting regular 1.25" Celestron EPs and Barlow is a significant improvement. The scope brings our good oohs and ahs for the moon, planets and double stars.
this was fun - he enjoys the scope and the sky much more now.
You said it all well in your article. Thanks!


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Nathan Spitzer
super member


Reged: 03/24/09

Loc: Charles Town, WV
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: Charlie Hein]
      #5447347 - 09/29/12 07:43 PM

In the ATM section of the November Sky and Telescope they have an article about an improvement to the old-style pipe-mount bearing system that would be perfect for this type of scope. I may just dig out my old copy of "All about Telescopes" and finally try to build one.

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stevew
Now I've done it


Reged: 03/03/06

Loc: British Columbia Canada
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: Nathan Spitzer]
      #5454345 - 10/03/12 11:30 PM

In the early 1980's I used to drool over scopes like this.
My imagination ran on overtime with curiosity of what could be seen through a telescope that big.
Of course once I had one, and I realized that trying to look through the pea shooter finder when it was pointed at the zenith was a neck breaker,
and trying to see anything but the brightest stars and the Moon through it was an exercise in frustration.
The mount would wobble at the slightest breeze, and the Huygens and Ramsden .965 eyepieces did not show Saturn at 600X quite like it was pictured on the box.
But I loved it anyway, as it was my first "serious" telescope
Nicely written article.

Steve


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ed_turco
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/29/09

Loc: Lincoln, RI
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: stevew]
      #5458025 - 10/06/12 02:26 PM

As an ATM, I ran across a couple of these and on a lark refigured the optics to a solid 1/10 wave.

You haven't seen anything until you've looked through one of these that have been refurbished!

Of course, getting some good 1.25" Plossls and a Barlow adds icing to the cake.


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Steven817
journeyman


Reged: 10/23/12

Loc: Vineland, NJ
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: ed_turco]
      #5488616 - 10/25/12 01:14 PM

New to CN, and coincidentally I was just considering a couple Meade 114EQ scopes, a 114ED-D and the other a 114EQ-AS. I really want an Orion skyview 8", but since this will be my 1st scope (other than my 7X50 binocs) am hesitant to spend that kind of money on yet another new endeavor. Based on what these sell for new, I am guessing that used should be around 80 to 100 bucks?

Based on the comments above (focuser, EPs quality), can the focuser be replaced with a crayford (?), and is that a simple 'bolt-on' job? Would the total cost be worthwile as opposed to buying a new scope in the $250 range?

Thanks


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paul130v
super member
*****

Reged: 02/13/09

Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: Steven817]
      #5489041 - 10/25/12 06:15 PM

The Meade scopes you refer to are severely under-mounted, very difficult to use, shaky and frustrating at best. There's no free lunch. Only new, retail available 4.5" f8 that's really usable that I know of it the Orion XT 4.5, a dob, not EQ mounted. If you luck out and find a Celestron/Vixen C4.5 EQ on your local CraigsList, jump on it! Though, it's a bit risky buying used if you don't have enough experience to evaluate the condition, completeness, etc.

gotta run now, hope there will be more responses for you, soon. I'll check again later, offer more comments and suggestions, if it seems appropriate.


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Steven817
journeyman


Reged: 10/23/12

Loc: Vineland, NJ
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: paul130v]
      #5489153 - 10/25/12 07:37 PM

Thanks Paul, that was what I was afraid of. I

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Steven817
journeyman


Reged: 10/23/12

Loc: Vineland, NJ
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: paul130v]
      #5489156 - 10/25/12 07:39 PM

Thanks Paul, that was what I was afraid of. I Want to avoid spending $ needlessly just to get started, and have time to squirrel away more funds for a better scope.

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Ree-fract
journeyman


Reged: 03/07/09

Loc: Mecosta county Michigan
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: Charlie Hein]
      #5495271 - 10/29/12 08:27 PM

Just want to say I'm a big fan of this article. IMO it renders a great service. Yes, given the challenges of astronomy, "the best is none too good", and I understand wanting the finest there is. Meantime, there's optimal performance to shoot for, rather than maximum, and it too is a legitimate aim. Further, for those of us on a budget, it's very nice to know that surprisingly good-performing scopes can be had at surprisingly affordable prices. I'm fortunate enough to own a Questar with advanced coatings that cost me plus-two grand. This telescope will actually run 246-power per inch of aperture. Dim but amazingly crisp images. If I didn't experience it I'd never believe it, and if you don't believe me I don't wonder why. What a gas having a great scope is. I love it! I also have a 70mm Meade refractor for which I believe I paid $23. The Meade doesn't work as well as the Questar, surprise, surprise. Another surprise is how well it DOES work, and I love IT.

if I may, I have the same feeling about eyepieces. There are eyepieces that cost as much as an entire telescope, and I don't doubt they're worth every penny. There are also considerably more affordable eyepieces that deliver marvelous performance per dollar. A little blurry at the edge of the field, maybe? Don't look there then, as you enjoy the surprisingly fine performance you bought for, say, 70 bucks instead of several hundred bucks. Puts me in mind of a couple of 50-year-old Criterion "acromatic Ramdsens" I have. Rather narrow field? Yup. But startlingly crisp images and no sign of mold, etc. I am grateful to them for what they've brought into my life, and so it is with these low-price scopes you discuss. You've done a fine service with this article.


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gmussman
super member
*****

Reged: 09/21/12

Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: Ree-fract]
      #5497511 - 10/31/12 09:57 AM Attachment (99 downloads)

Steven,
I recently went through this same process, going from to celestron 8x56 binocs to a 114mm f/8 tasco 11T EQ. The tasco was so undermounted it was really tough to use on anything besides the moon. I bought a vixen polaris mount and I'm really happy with it now, but that alone cost me 200+. Then I added a RA drive, 1 1/4 focuser, eyepieces, scope rings ... you get the drift.

The more I think about it, these scopes are like punching a hole in the ice beneath your feet. Once the hole starts to open, get ready to fall in and spend more and more trying to get them to work. If you are an experienced astronomer with an astro-junk pile you might get away with swapping out parts, but for me ... money pit (I mean, 700 or so all told).

If I had to do it all again, I would look for a mount/scope combo that came with eyepieces, scope rings, dovetail, etc. That stuff adds up quick!

New, I would be curious about the Astroview 90 from orion, the astroview being a minimally acceptable mount similar to my polaris and the 90 being an f/10 refractor that I would guess is a reasonable performer given the specs. That's $300 -- eyepieces included!

The SVP 8 is also really not a bad deal. I wound up spending that much anyway. I'm sure meade and celestron have similar deals. I don't have enough experience to have developed brand loyalty, except that I hate paying for shipping.

Used -- who knows? I've seen skyview pro mounts with scopes on them recently for reasonable prices. But I would be looking for included eyepieces and stuff.

Anyway, good luck whatever you decide. Hope my experience is useful!


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gmussman
super member
*****

Reged: 09/21/12

Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: gmussman]
      #5497530 - 10/31/12 10:14 AM

On second look, that "astroview" 90 is on an eq-2, not an astroview (eq-3). There is a review here: http://www.cloudynights.com/item.php?item_id=1319

Still worth considering, but if you are going to get a reflector in the future you probably want a better mount. Oh, well, I guess there's no free lunch ...


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hottr6
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/28/09

Loc: 7,500', Magdalena Mtns, NM
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: Charlie Hein]
      #5533813 - 11/22/12 11:46 AM

I'll second that!

Here is a thread on my newly resurrected vintage CO114.

And for a "then and now" photo, with exactly 40 years between the two photos.

The white 'scope may have been a Towa, but who knows? Teenage kids in the 60's were not brand-aware.


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Tophat3
super member


Reged: 07/20/10

Loc: Columbus,Ohio
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: hottr6]
      #5585075 - 12/23/12 04:01 AM

Hmmm,I started with a Z10 a little later a celestron 130 SLT and then later still a Meade LX50 10in.Last year when I bought my first refractor Explore Scientific 127 APO,We put it up against all my other scopes.First my heavily modified Z10 and the ES 127 walked (And I do mean WALKED!!) all over it.Did the Z10 go deeper and show more stars? Well, sure it did.But the quality of the glass was shocking!!

The 130 SLT did no better and the LX50 was the same song.I'm not even a refractor guy,but the proof is in the pudding.

Lets just drop the 80mm apo for a minute and focus on the 100mm apo.The 114mm has a 14mm edge and the author still gives the 100mm a 20-25% edge.In a hobby where 10% is noticable, a 20-25% edge is a lot.My 127mm is only 13mm larger, so I should be able to enter this against the 114mm reflector,and the 127mm will walk away from it more then 20-25%.

I find the article misleading at best.Someone who is new to the hobby thinks Hey!! I can get Apo like proformance from the 114 and then finds he has to modify the heck out of it and he still ends up 20-25% worse off,and the scope goes in the closet.and we have a budding astronomer no more.Happens all to often,and we all know it.An Apo killer it is not,and never will be.

Took me almost two years to save up enough for the ES127 and i'm glad i did.I didnt think the views could get better.Man was I wrong!!

Bottem line here is no one rides for free.There is a reason a apo refractor costs more.Its just better at what it does,and I dare say it will do everything better then a 114 reflector,on anything and everything.

We should all be proud of our scopes and eyepieces.Lord knows we pay very good money for all this stuff,and to anyone who has a 114mm,I'm not trying to slam them,but to call them apo killers is just false.It won't wash with me because I know better.

Anyone who wants to challenge me on this,I live in Columbus Ohio and will be happy to "line em up" and you can judge for yourself.

And thats the name of that tune.

Rant over,have a nice day.


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gmussman
super member
*****

Reged: 09/21/12

Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: Tophat3]
      #5585316 - 12/23/12 10:10 AM

Tophat,
I completely agree with you -- heavily modifying these scopes makes little sense to me. Comparing these scopes to an apo is silly. I think it only makes sense to compare these to other beginner sets -- see my post above, I could have done alot better than my 114 tasco for the invested money.
I know better now, but sunk cost is sunk cost. My 114 is great -- I love it, in fact (see picture above). But I keep coming back to what I wouldn't have had to spend if I'd just spent the money on the right stuff up front.

BTW, I'm in Cincinnati, so I'd be happy to shoot it out -- but mostly as an excuse to look through your ES 127 apo!


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gmussman
super member
*****

Reged: 09/21/12

Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: gmussman]
      #5585491 - 12/23/12 12:13 PM

All of the above being said, what a terrific article for bringing this up in the first place! We might all quibble with the details, but the author brings up some great points.

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Tophat3
super member


Reged: 07/20/10

Loc: Columbus,Ohio
Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: gmussman]
      #5586452 - 12/23/12 11:31 PM

gmussman,
Yeah,I saw your setup.I have to say,I don't think you could have made a better decision on your mount.It is a REAL head turner!! I am jealous! I have mine on a cgem.It looks ok,but really lacks the character of yours.

I could go for a shootout with you,mostly to get a couple of pictures of your setup! But also just to have a good time with them.

Also I agree with you that Malcome Bird did do a overall good article.My total disagreement aside,you almost never see anything written on these scopes.

Far from being an elitist,I applaud Mr.Bird for pointing out the viability of these often overlooked diamonds in the rough.They are very much apart of our history and should not be overlooked.

Kudos to Mr Bird!

Have a great day gmussman!!


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themos
member


Reged: 04/01/08

Re: The Unsung Hero new [Re: Tophat3]
      #6063802 - 09/05/13 05:40 AM

More astrophotography with a 114/900: 1 hour's worth of 5 min frames of M27 in OIII narrowband with an Atik 16ic camera.

M27 OIII Narrowband


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