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Equipment Discussions >> Classic Telescopes

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John Higbee

Reged: 07/17/12

Loc: Virginia
Re: My Cave 12.5 "first light"...continued new [Re: PiSigma]
      #5533308 - 11/22/12 02:26 AM

First - hope all of you and yours have a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving, and safe travels.

Up a little bit late tonight after observing with the 12.5" for over three hours, and am waiting for the ibuprofen to kick in (running up and down the ladder, and wrestling the tube from NE (Jupiter) to SW (Moon) have my back acting up a bit -- but I was so excited during the session that I didn't notice anything until I restowed the scope in my garage).

Conditions were OK...clear sky, with the same porchlights and skyglow I had during first light. Temps in the low wind, but the atmosphere was "boiling" a lot, with periodic short lulls of good viewing. Main viewing was the Moon, in the Mare Imbrium area, with periodic side trips to Jupiter and the Pleiades.

Cutting to the chase...I have never seen the Moon through a telescope the way I saw it tonight. Used my Celestron 1.25" Plossls (from 6MM (310X) to 40MM (46X)). Looking at the triad of big craters in Imbrium (Autolycus, Aristillus and Archimedes) and their surroundings was truly a new experience. I had never seen the subtle swelling and rolling of Imbrium's surface before...or the dozens of small to tiny craters surrounding the "big three". The twin peaks west of Archimedes stood out like tiny needles, with exquisitely thin twin shadows stretching further westward towards the terminator. Unbelievable, even with the "boiling"...beyond unbelievable when the boiling ceased.

Following the southern mountain boundary of Imbrium west towards the terminator, I happened upon Copernicus...and went no farther for a long time. Copernicus was on the terminator, so I knew the vertical relief would appear exaggerated...but what I saw stunned me. The closest I can come to a description is that it looked like a vast version of the ruined Roman Colosseum with the closely concentric walls towering into sunlight; the interior obscured. Further to the south, I viewed a major crater with half of its floor in bright sunlight, bisected by a ridge...the other half (beyond the ridge) in black shadow. I could go on with what I saw further to the south, but you've seen it yourselves...I'd just be "piling on" superlatives.

Sounds horrifying to say this, but Jupiter (although great) was merely an afterthought tonight.

I ended up holding an impromptu star party/viewing session tonight for 5 or 6 of my neighbors who noted a BIG white tube pointing skyward in my driveway...showed them the Moon and Jupiter...for most, it was their first look through a telescope, and they were uniformly "blown away". (I should add that several of the porchlights went out after my neighbors left. ) May end up being the first meeting of the "cul-de-sac" astronomy club!

Tried the refurbished drive for the first time tonight, with a rough alignment on Polaris...worked well enough to keep the Moon virtually stationary in the field at 310X. The declination quadrant slow motion worked well in one direction, poorly in the other, so I'll have to dig into it (checking alignment and electrical connections).

One question...need to complete the collimation...the one I did leaves much room for improvement. What laser collimator would you recommend?

Enough for now...the ibuprofen has kicked in! More to come later...


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Reged: 01/01/07

Loc: CALI SoEasyACavemanCanSlewIt
Re: My Cave 12.5 "first light"...continued new [Re: John Higbee]
      #5533354 - 11/22/12 04:19 AM Attachment (14 downloads)

Thanks for the great and entertaining star/moon report from the eyepiece of your Classic Cave Astrola. As telescopes go these are the pinnacle of classic USA workmanship and will always have a place in my heart. I have done quite a bit of observing of the Moon with the 65 10" F8 and it always leaves me in a great frame of mind. The Moon, so close and so far.
Here is a shot of Petavius that was shot with my 1965 Cave. When I was done processing the Video I was, needless to amazed what a ToCam was able to pull from the old Cave.. Keep up the great reports!!


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super member

Reged: 01/08/11

Loc: Illinois
Re: My Cave 12.5 "first light"...continued new [Re: John Higbee]
      #5533755 - 11/22/12 11:10 AM

John, great report, thanks! It inspires me to get off the computer and get out there to my little restoration project.


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