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StarryHost
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Loc: Vista, CA
First Light: 10" F11 Report
      #5560331 - 12/08/12 02:00 AM Attachment (144 downloads)

Thank you for all of you who have helped bring this scope to first light (Peter, Dave, Mike, Kevin and many others).

I got first light tonight with my 10" F11. I am positively tickled! Even with what turned out to be poor collimation (one of the tube sections was not snug), this was the finest view of Jupiter I have ever had. Io's shadow was crisp. I was so excited I forgot to look for Io! :-)

Mechanically, this is a Dob mount using 3/4" Baltic. The base is 24" diameter using Teflon/Ebony Star (or Ebony look-a-like...I'm not sure). I used 12" diameter alt bearings, again with Teflon/Ebony Star.

The motions in alt/az were smooth with a perfect amount of stiction. Even with a 14mm 100 Explore Scientific eyepiece barlowed, objects were easy to get into the field of view and keep there.

Wobble and vibration were not much of an issue to my surprise. At top mag vibrations dampened in less than a second and wobble continued for only up to 4 seconds depending on the altitude, but closer to zenith wobbles were again very short-lived.

I nervously attached the 21 lbs Explore Sci refractor on my custom mount attached to an alt bearing and the 10" scope barely even noticed it. The mount is exhibiting great balance.

The OTA is not painted (blonde wood on the inside) so contrast was down quite a bit on the Orion Nebula, but the seeing/transparency tonight is very difficult anyway.

I am about half-way done with a custom EQ platform which will add another 5.5". Currently the eyepiece is 104" off the ground.

I've got a list of about 10 must-do enhancements to keep the scope safe and more usable as a result of my trial tonight, but I am very pleased with it's performance.

More to come,
Jack Swaton
www.StarryHost.com


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Jeff Morgan
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: StarryHost]
      #5560573 - 12/08/12 09:36 AM

Congratulations on first light! At f/11, just getting the mirror in the tube is "collimated"!

While long focus Newtonians get pigeon-holed as "planetary" scopes I think you will find it does exceptionally well on DSO's too. With the right eyepiece, you should be able to manage about 3/4 degree maximum true field.


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StarryHost
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5560593 - 12/08/12 09:52 AM

Jeff,
First of all, I love your tag line..."Wile E. Coyote School of Telescope Making". I belong to the "Professor Grampy" School (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_Comes_But_Once_a_Year). I'm not that old but the concept is true...but mine usually blow up and fall down like Mr. Coyotes. :-)

I only use (only have) two eyepieces any more and I love them: Explore Scientific 100 degree 20mm and 14mm. I have an OPT 2x Barlow I also enjoy.

Thanks for your encouragement.

Jack


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Sean Cunneen
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: StarryHost]
      #5560774 - 12/08/12 11:54 AM

Great job, don't forget your parachute!

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ccaissie
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Reged: 09/13/10

Loc: Whitefield, Maine
Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: StarryHost]
      #5560777 - 12/08/12 11:55 AM

Telescope size is limited by ladder technology.

Congrats on a real performer. I may have missed earlier posts on this, but tell me about the mirror. Spherical or parabolized? How close do you think you are to a paraboloid?

We had a 10" f/10 that had a marginal mirror (spherical with a turned down edge), but even then, it was a super scope. I like the square wooden tube. I find them to be excellent at conveying tube currents out.


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StarryHost
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: ccaissie]
      #5560838 - 12/08/12 12:49 PM

Parachute? I don't need no stinkin' parachute! ;-)

The mirror is a 10" f/11 ground by me and Peter but finish polished and coated by OWL: 1/10th wave. Good stuff!

:-)

Jack


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Dave O
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: StarryHost]
      #5560879 - 12/08/12 01:16 PM

Wonderful Jack! It really looks like a dandy! I can feel your excitement half way around the world! Congrats!

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starman345
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: StarryHost]
      #5560881 - 12/08/12 01:17 PM

Great project Jack, thanks for sharing

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glennnnnnn
sage


Reged: 10/20/09

Loc: San Diego, CA
Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: starman345]
      #5560895 - 12/08/12 01:28 PM

Maybe you should just get one of those cherry-pickers. In fact, you could attach the whole assembly to it and make it the first telescope you can actually drive !
-Glenn


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StarryHost
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: glennnnnnn]
      #5560939 - 12/08/12 02:02 PM

Glenn,
Do I need a special license to drive that at freeway speeds?

Jack


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tim53
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: glennnnnnn]
      #5560944 - 12/08/12 02:05 PM

I'd be tempted to put a large-format CCD camera on the focuser, another camera on the finder, add drives to the mount, and never have to look through an eyepiece or climb a ladder again!

-Tim.


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StarryHost
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: tim53]
      #5560969 - 12/08/12 02:24 PM

I'm taking donations for Tim's CCD camera...I'm sure he'd appreciate it! ;-)

Seriously though Tim, I agree it'd be great. I'm half-way done with an EQ platform (EzCBP (http://home.netcom.com/~tlsystem/cablet4.htm) but even that has it's special needs for a scope this large. I'm optimistic that I chose a good solution. I've got the wood all cut and just have to assemble it then.

Once on the platform, I would LOVE to see about adding video or live image of some kind.

I don't have the time for processing images, so I'm mostly looking for an outreach CCD solution.

Thoughts are welcome.

Jack


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tim53
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: StarryHost]
      #5560975 - 12/08/12 02:31 PM

You might want to consider something like a Mallincam, then.

I've already done something like this for my roof-mounted C 9.25. I have a 2x barlow and Pt Grey flea2 camera on the main scope for planetary video imaging, a Flea with an 11mm c-mount lens for a finder, a robofocus on the 9.25". I operate the scope from a desk in our attic space using software like Sky Safari. There's a hatch cover over the scope and door under it, so it's isolated from the attic room environment. Once I set things up for observing and turn everything on, I can't even see my telescope! But the 11mm lens on the finder camera gives a wide enough field of view that I can monitor sky conditions and watch clouds rolling in.

-Tim.


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Jeff Morgan
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: ccaissie]
      #5561034 - 12/08/12 03:10 PM Attachment (33 downloads)

Quote:

Telescope size is limited by ladder technology.




Indeed. A rolling platform ladder is my solution to the problem. It has a nice platform on top, handrails, and is very stable. You can get these from McMaster-Carr. The ladder in this photograph has the platform at 4'2". The largest they offer has a platform height of 13'4".


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StarryHost
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5561179 - 12/08/12 04:43 PM

Jeff,
That's a beautiful scope and a very nice ladder. Lots of options there...

Jack


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magic612
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: StarryHost]
      #5562334 - 12/09/12 12:14 PM

Freaking AWESOME! Nice job - fantastic!

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tim53
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: magic612]
      #5562453 - 12/09/12 01:23 PM

I'm considering one of these guys' 3-steppers for my 12.5" f/7 Cave:

X-deck platforms

-Tim


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StarryHost
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Loc: Vista, CA
Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: tim53]
      #5562981 - 12/09/12 07:00 PM

Tim,
That's a very interesting ladder site. I have a thought to share...last night I setup my foldable ladder to look just like the scaffold ladder you suggest in your link. It was very easy on my feet rather than the straight rungs, but I noticed that I felt much more comfortable leaning against the A-frame of the ladder. Now your choice has rails and I think that's great. But then I noticed that as the eyepiece changed height, I had to bend and stoop rather than just climb down one ladder rung.

Now then, my handyman brother has introduced me to the Little Giant platform. It's only $40 bucks and it slips onto your ladder (if your ladder is supported). It will support 300 lbs and gives you an adjustable height platform: http://www.littlegiantladder.com/little-giant/work-platform.html.

There is a YouTube on this I can't find right now and it shows how easy it is to use this.

I've not purchased it yet but I'm leaning towards this solution because I still have to get that dang ladder into the car.

As far as I've seen, your link is the next best thing I've seen!

Jack


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bremms
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: StarryHost]
      #5563054 - 12/09/12 07:51 PM

That's a BEAST!!! Love it!! Makes the Vintage 12.5 F8 in the closet not so daunting...

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David Castillo
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: StarryHost]
      #5563063 - 12/09/12 07:59 PM

That focuser is way up there . The views must be worth the climb. Are you going to use a Sherpa to assist you in getting your eps up that ladder
-----
Dave


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StarryHost
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: David Castillo]
      #5563106 - 12/09/12 08:40 PM

The last Sherpa I used would not work without a parachute. Now I use oompa looompas.

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StarryHost
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: David Castillo]
      #5563111 - 12/09/12 08:45 PM

Several of you have mentioned your long focus news which sound like real gems... With the success of this project maybe I need to start a conversion business! There must be dozens and dozens of dollars in a business like that!
;-)


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Jeff Morgan
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: StarryHost]
      #5564064 - 12/10/12 12:19 PM Attachment (22 downloads)

Quote:


I've not purchased it yet but I'm leaning towards this solution because I still have to get that dang ladder into the car.




The standard car interior is a pretty limiting factor for large gear. Years ago I used a kayak roof rack for my old 10" f/9 scope. No reason you could not put a ladder up there.

Currently I already have a kayak micro-trailer, so it is a natural to press it into service for hauling astronomy items. During kayak season it takes about 10 minutes to add/remove fittings to switch uses for the trailer. It really opens up the possibilities for astro equipment, and in my case was a bit more practical than buying a pick-up truck.


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tim53
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5564119 - 12/10/12 12:57 PM

My dad conditioned me to prefer vans over cars when he traded our 1953 Hudson Hornet in on a 1960 Ford Econoline. I drove that and his 1966 dodge van until buying my first VW van in 1975. I've had vans in the corral ever since.

It's nice to easily accommodate scopes 8 ft long as a rule!

Tim


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kfrederick
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: tim53]
      #5564133 - 12/10/12 01:00 PM

Jack how high was the eyepiece when you used this mirror as a chief?

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StarryHost
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Loc: Vista, CA
Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: kfrederick]
      #5564252 - 12/10/12 02:03 PM

Kevin,
of course with the Chiefspiegler the ep is half the height. Over the last two weeks I made more progress on the chief but still have some variables not controlled. . I have made this newt box such that I can continue on the chief project. Thank you for your help and encouragement. You are a blessing.


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glennnnnnn
sage


Reged: 10/20/09

Loc: San Diego, CA
Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: StarryHost]
      #5564445 - 12/10/12 04:23 PM

Tim53
I thought I saw a blue pick-up type 2 in one of your posts!
I have a beautiful refurbished/functionally restored 1970 1600 van. Love it and can haul at least a 10 foot telescope in comfort inside. And off-road it goes almost anywhere (like in the Anza-Borrego desert.)
However I think that Jack needs an old fire engine with the ladder. That should accomodate his massive f/11 !
That would make it a UFO: Unidentified Focusing Object.


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StarryHost
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: StarryHost]
      #5564515 - 12/10/12 05:02 PM

My ota does break down into sections. It only takes a couple of minutes to set up! :-)

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kfrederick
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: StarryHost]
      #5564523 - 12/10/12 05:06 PM Attachment (24 downloads)

I think it is 33 inches from the primary to focus if you use this mirror as a CHief

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glennnnnnn
sage


Reged: 10/20/09

Loc: San Diego, CA
Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: kfrederick]
      #5564599 - 12/10/12 05:51 PM

Looks complicated! How do you ever place L1 & L2 at those angles? Trig the linear dimensions?

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StarryHost
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: StarryHost]
      #5564662 - 12/10/12 06:19 PM

Glen,
The chief must be very carefully laid out. I have ever document describing what we did by Mike, Dave, Peter and Kevin. Then keen had a waterjet guycut the prescribed ages. My problem is that the material we choose allow too much movement so I am having to lock of each variable one at a time. Very time consuming and difficult, but the result should be worth it.


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StarryHost
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Loc: Vista, CA
Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: StarryHost]
      #5564685 - 12/10/12 06:35 PM

You will laugh... I did that last post while stuck on the pirates ride at Disneyland! We finally gotninstuck and the ride is now closed. Adventure!

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tim53
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Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: glennnnnnn]
      #5564714 - 12/10/12 06:56 PM

Quote:

Tim53
I thought I saw a blue pick-up type 2 in one of your posts!




Close! It's tan (though it was originally Sealing Wax Red) and rust!

Quote:

I have a beautiful refurbished/functionally restored 1970 1600 van. Love it and can haul at least a 10 foot telescope in comfort inside. And off-road it goes almost anywhere (like in the Anza-Borrego desert.)




Oddly, I've never owned a "breadloaf" before. Several "Splitties", one "Brick" (1980 Westfalia), and two Eurovans. The Eurovan MV weekender is a great scope hauler, though the 60 singlecab is the one to carry the Cave 12.5" with.

Quote:

However I think that Jack needs an old fire engine with the ladder. That should accomodate his massive f/11 !
That would make it a UFO: Unidentified Focusing Object.




How 'bout one of these?:


All seriousess aside, though, some of the rolling platforms available are really neat. I think Stonyridge observatory uses one of those scissor lifts for accessing the eyepiece of their 30" f/5 Newtonian. I was invited up there for a night of observations sometime in the mid to late 80s.

-Tim.


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Ed D
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: David Castillo]
      #5564863 - 12/10/12 08:40 PM

WOOOW!!! Your scope kind of reminds me of the rocket ships in the B&W movies from the 1950s and early 1960s.

Ed D


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Mike I. Jones
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: Ed D]
      #5564930 - 12/10/12 09:24 PM

Jack - check out my new thread on a 71.5mm eyepiece for you. Oh man, that would be an awesome sight through your 10" f/11!
Mike


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glennnnnnn
sage


Reged: 10/20/09

Loc: San Diego, CA
Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: Mike I. Jones]
      #5565074 - 12/10/12 11:06 PM

tim53-
Yes! That would work and I should have thought a little more about it.
I spent almost 4 years in (then) West Germany the land of gizmos and garage engineers. Although there were just as many zany contraptions as those elegantly designed by dedicated engineers, I'm certain that somewhere in that range of inventors there would be someone who had addressed the very problem of the exceedingly long telescope that would probably have something to do with a VW.
A real problem though. Through the ages it seems like one of the biggest challeges to large telescopes is getting your eyeball where you can see.
Imagine a telescope so large that you could ride inside at the focal point! Imagine something like that parked in a safe orbit with gyros to point anywhere and being able to see forever!!!!
Now a camera (Hubble, etc.) is probably better with the potential for light amplification and selective spectral viewing, but I don't think there's any substitute for direct viewing with your very own eye.
Mostly because I like it so much.
A breadloaf! I've never heard that one before. =)


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StarryHost
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Loc: Vista, CA
Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: glennnnnnn]
      #5565219 - 12/11/12 12:29 AM

Tim,
I love that VW Cheerie Picker. I hope I can get one in red!

Jack


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Ed Jones
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: StarryHost]
      #5565711 - 12/11/12 10:52 AM

Jack,
How did you mount your Chief lenses?


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StarryHost
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Loc: Vista, CA
Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: Ed Jones]
      #5566169 - 12/11/12 03:46 PM

Ed,
Good question. The lenses are all fixed mounted in one upper OTA unit. I can't find a picture this moment so I'll explain.

The theory is that if the prescription of distances and tilts is known to a high degree, then we should be able to build a fixed box to house the upper elements (secondary, L1, L2, focuser). Each unit (secondary, L1, L2, focuser) is attached to an aluminum plate which has tabs on the edges which fit like a puzzle snugly into the square aluminum tube of the upper OTA (or lens box or whatever you want to call it). The thickness of the plates is taken into account for the overall distances and tilts and decenters. Mike and Dave and Kevin have all been extremely generous and helpful. The secondary and the mirror have been siliconed while the focuser is screwed (so to speak).

I have had many challenges to this point with the Chief, but much of that is because of both the rigorous demands of the placements of the optics and my skills and shop tools. To eliminate errors with my adjustable lens holders, I went the fixed route.

Now that I have gotten the newt version working, I have eliminated many flexures in the mount that I had and platform. The newt mount can actually now recieve my Chief ladder and Upper OTA (lens box).

Other difficulties I continue to work on are flexure in the mounting of the secondary, the ladder and the focuser. My problem is that a shift of only 1/16th of an inch from perfect square in any of these components sends my light beam over an inch off center by the time it traverses it's 112" light path.

I believe I have nailed the angle of the secondary, but my focuser mount remains a little wobbly. Again, for a newt the minute wobble is nothing at all, but I worry about the compounded impact of a small error in the focuser board and the secondary and finally any twisting of the ladder.

So here is where I am. I am continuing to finish the newt and will begin my outreaches with it (this is a ministry scope for me above all else) and I will coninue to nail one Chief variable at a time. The Chief variables I need to nail are:
--Twisting of the ladder at every alt level
--Movement of the focuser
--Angle of the secondary to the lenses (I may have finished this part).

Wouldn't it be fun to have a scope that converts from a newt to a Chief and back again in a few minutes?

Thanks for checking in,
Jack


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Ed Jones
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: StarryHost]
      #5566343 - 12/11/12 05:32 PM

I thought you might have, I would have highy recommended against doing that. When make everything fixed the tolerances are tighter and you give up degrees of freedom in alignment. Making things fixed works in theory but you're up against more tolerances; if it works great, if not what do you do then? I make a holder that holds both lenses fixed relative to each other but the holder can rotate which gives a needed degree of freedom.

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StarryHost
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: Ed Jones]
      #5566622 - 12/11/12 09:45 PM

Ed,
I absolutely understand your position. I do offer a different way of thinking about knowing how my mind works. For my brain, having different variables such as the x and y adjustments for the lenses confused me more and more. I did build two different adjustable lens holders and neither could manage the angles well and keep the adjustments. Then when I did make a change, it changed the centrations and decenterings between the lenses and the optical and mechanical paths.

I was just having difficulty wrapping my mind around changing one parameter and that change impacted several other parameters.

So...I agree with what you say, but I opted to try this route to see if I can get it this way.

The good news is that I still have time and energy to keep this as a continual work in progress. I am optimistic that as I get my mount and OTA nice and stable (which is currently is about there) I can move on back to the Chief while I enjoy the Newt and the altitude nosebleeds. :-)

I always value your input for certain.

Jack


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StarryHost
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: StarryHost]
      #5566625 - 12/11/12 09:47 PM

Kevin,
How is the 17 looking? And how is your other scope?? I'd love to see pictures or progress reports. Encouragement is an important element of this community and it has kept me going more than once! :-)

Jack


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kfrederick
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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: StarryHost]
      #5566704 - 12/11/12 10:42 PM Attachment (28 downloads)

Took this pic low res with my cell phone with the 17 f9 wide Band CHief

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StarryHost
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Reged: 01/13/09

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Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: kfrederick]
      #5566754 - 12/11/12 11:16 PM

Kevin,
That's fantastic for a low res hand held cell phone. Post a pic of the scope too! :-)


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glennnnnnn
sage


Reged: 10/20/09

Loc: San Diego, CA
Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: StarryHost]
      #5568046 - 12/12/12 06:15 PM

Kevin-Is the spectrum-shift from top to bottom typical of that kind of telescope?

Starryhost-
Let me get this straight- you wrecked the pirate ride at Disneyland looking for Capn' Jack? Arrrr?


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kfrederick
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 02/01/08

Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: glennnnnnn]
      #5568071 - 12/12/12 06:40 PM

The camera was hand held and not centered .There was clouds moving across the moon the bottom might be a cloud not sure .

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StarryHost
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Reged: 01/13/09

Loc: Vista, CA
Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: glennnnnnn]
      #5568112 - 12/12/12 07:12 PM

Glen,
I could not help myself... I wanted capn Jacks autograph so desperately that when I saw him I threw my genuine imitation yoda light saber into the river and short circuited the ride. Imagine my chagrin when I found out that my namesake was a fake!

Jack Swaton, Starry Host


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glennnnnnn
sage


Reged: 10/20/09

Loc: San Diego, CA
Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: StarryHost]
      #5568556 - 12/13/12 01:11 AM

to The Real Jack-
!!! I knew it, but thank you for confirming the facts !!!

Kevin-
I was hoping that it had to do with other factors...


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kfrederick
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Reged: 02/01/08

Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: Ed Jones]
      #5569037 - 12/13/12 11:14 AM Attachment (15 downloads)

Quote:

I thought you might have, I would have highy recommended against doing that. When make everything fixed the tolerances are tighter and you give up degrees of freedom in alignment. Making things fixed works in theory but you're up against more tolerances; if it works great, if not what do you do then? I make a holder that holds both lenses fixed relative to each other but the holder can rotate which gives a needed degree of freedom.


Like you said" If it works Great" Mine does so no need to worry ever setting the top 5 things For sure the way to go . I have both types .If it does not work the cnc water jetted box only costs 100. worth the risk to have chance at a perfect one The key is having the correct numbers and known optics .and some luck

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StarryHost
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Reged: 01/13/09

Loc: Vista, CA
Re: First Light: 10" F11 Report new [Re: kfrederick]
      #5573252 - 12/15/12 09:19 PM

HAHAAHHA! You'll never believe this. It's a GRAB-N-GO scope!

Trying to beat the clouds and get a superfast view of the crescent Moon on my second-light, I was able to bring this out of the garage, set it up, attach the refractor and collimate it in 10 minutes flat. Tear down took only 5 minutes. Mind you, I was booking trying to beat the clouds, but the point is, it can be done! ;-)

I have never been so pleased with a scope. The only thing better at this point will be to get the Chief working out of it which I will continue on as time goes by.

In the meantime, it is stable, smooth and the image of the crescent Moon even with clouds making it fuzzy was simply glorious.

Too much fun,
Jack


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