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Frank2
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A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging?
      #3619429 - 02/11/10 07:08 PM

With all due respect and saying this in only the best possible way, why is it so difficult for Questar owners to see the obvious? The Questar was a truly astonishing scope meticulously crafted that was 20 years ahead of its time, but, its time was the mid 20th century. Since the advent of go-to, large dobs, and feature packed Questar clones, its desirability as the ultimate telescope to own for active observers has precipitously declined. It is my opinion, however, that its appeal as a collectable has benefited from the very circumstance that has caused its utility to be eclipsed, it remained essentially unchanged over time. Do I want one? You bet. Would my self-aligning go-to computer controlled optically similar ETX PE get more use? I think so.

Frank


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greedyshark
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Frank2]
      #3619513 - 02/11/10 07:57 PM

Quote:

With all due respect and saying this in only the best possible way, why is it so difficult for Questar owners to see the obvious?




Frank,
With all due respect...it was, in fact, frustration with the self-aligning go-to computer controlled scopes of today that led me to the simplicity of the "point-and-view" Questar. To each his own.

CS,
Charles


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ColoHank
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Frank2]
      #3619575 - 02/11/10 08:47 PM

Quote:

Do I want one? You bet.




Why?


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Brian L
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: ColoHank]
      #3619739 - 02/11/10 10:13 PM

One might justly ask why it is that non-Questar owners can't appreciate the scope's merits? Superior build quality and materials is one. Questars are built to last- mine is 40+ years old and still looks and functions as new. Feature-packed Questar clones- I assume you are referring to Meade ETX series scopes- are built to a certain price point where the sort of engineering that goes into a Questar isn't cost effective. They are not built to the same standards and will fail on average long before the Questar. Many view the fact that Questars don't have Goto as one of the scopes merits. There are reasons to appreciate slewing all over the sky with goto scopes. However, some view goto as an unnecessary crutch that prevents one from learning their way around the heavens. Astronomy is about observing, and even though goto helps one find objects quickly and easily, they have a tendency to promote bad observing habits. Seldom to you get to see all there is to see with a quick look and then on to something else. Observing takes time and patience- changing atmospheric conditions bring out more detail that might be otherwise missed. One can detect perceptible changes in Jupiter's cloud belts in a single imaging session if you continue to observe. I've seen people with GoTo scopes that can't even find M57 without it. Some find star-hopping tedious and tiresome, some find that getting there is still half the fun. I don't always have time for it, but I am sure glad that I know how to do it. Even though modern conveniences like GPS make maritime navigation simple and easy, there is a reason that maritime vessels are still equipped with sextants and charts. When technology fails, one might find themselves (literally) quite lost. Another merit to the Questar are its ergonomics and portability. It's a joy to use and one can take it just about anywhere. It may not have the light grasp of a big dob, but it is much easier to take out and take with. I use my Questar a lot more than I thought I would for this simple reason.

I would firmly disagree that the utility of the Questar has been eclipsed. It is precisely its simplicity and timelessness that maintains its relevance. It provides a different kind of observing experience that is, in some ways, more immersive than trolling around the sky with goto. The Questar is not for everyone, but for those that appreciate its simplicity and the back-to-basics style of observing it promotes, the Questar simply shines.

Edited by Brian L (02/11/10 10:15 PM)


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astro_que
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Brian L]
      #3619763 - 02/11/10 10:28 PM

One thing which is not commonly understood is that the Questar optical design is significantly different from Meade and Celestron clones. They are only superficially clones. There are three types of Maksutovs with an axial viewport.

1. The Gregory Maksutov (terminology corrected as per Barry, thanks) is the simplest, using all spherical surfaces. The secondary mirror has exactly the same curvature as the corrector. This design is used by Meade and Celestron, because it can be mass produced.

2. The Rumak design has separate secondary mirror, which has the advantage of a separate curvature.

3. The Questar design may have no name, but it is quite unique. The secondary is on the same glass as the corrector, but it is ground to an independent curvature. The secondary has an aspheric curvature, figured by hand. This is a very expensive process, but the secondary can never go out of alignment. The aspheric element provides superior optical performance, but this has apparently escaped the notice of many amateurs.

But the superiority is widely exploited by the U.S. Government. The earth observation telescope on the International Space Station is a Questar 7. The design, which is also produced by Davro, is used uniformly by the U.S. Government for law enforcement, military surveillance, and intelligence gathering.

On the subject of craftsmanship, I have a feeling that many of the general public, perhaps including astronomers, have perhaps not seen enough fine work to really know what it is. The mass market companies have pretty much succeeded in convincing the buyer not to look beneath the surface. But fine machine work is not simply a matter of something being "pretty."

Open up another "very popular brand", and you will see a mirror that rides on a film of grease, plastic gears and plastic fasteners. Open up a Questar, and you will find work as good as a Rolex, which is why you can send a forty year old Questar in for freshening, and it will be as good as new. In fact, there is no plastic at all in a Questar, save the tiny transparent indicator on the right ascension axis.

Precision machine work is difficult to appreciate. I will post some pictures soon.

Edited by astro_que (02/12/10 11:45 AM)


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Rat8bug
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: astro_que]
      #3620098 - 02/12/10 04:11 AM

I think you mean Gregory-Maksutov; not Gregorian. A Gregorian is a open tube Cassegrain with an eliptical secondary. It also produces an erect image.

Ciao....Barry


Quote:

One thing which is not commonly understood is that the Questar optical design is significantly different from Meade and Celestron clones. They are only superficially clones. There are three types of Maksutovs with an axial viewport.

1. The Gregorian is the simplest, using all spherical surfaces. The secondary mirror has exactly the same curvature as the corrector. This design is used by Meade and Celestron, because it can be mass produced.






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Erik Bakker
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Brian L]
      #3620127 - 02/12/10 05:23 AM

Quote:


The Questar is not for everyone, but for those that appreciate its simplicity and the back-to-basics style of observing it promotes, the Questar simply shines.





Wow Brian, well said!


This is one of the things I love about my Questar. Last night, I spent roughly 7 (!) hours at the eyepiece of my Questar 7 and was stlll reluctant to go inside and get some sleep. This telescope totally gets out of the way and lets me observe the universe. Mars was absolutely breathtaking and got 95% of the time, with small excursions to the deepsky and rising Saturn.

One of the things I also enjoy about the Questar 7 is it's ability to use both a Binoviewer at the axial port and regular viewing and searching through a Brandon in the regular eyepiece holder. Last night I used my Baader bino with 2 TV 15mm WideFields and the 12 mm Brandon on top. Great combination.

And then there are the optics. The incredible optics. The amazingly sharp and contrasty optics. Polar cap in white, surface color in salmon/yellow orange, beautilul dark surface details all over the globe in many shades of gray including deep dark black.

NO DEW after 7 hours in -10 C, the synchronous motor quietly running. Dec and RA manual control smoothly adjustable, finder- and barlow flip-levers working wonderfully.

Fully cooled optics and mechanics giving a perfectly calm and stable image. The image was so sharp I dared inserting my 4mm Zeiss to observe the polar cap and the dark delineation aound it. A bit dim, but very sharp. Optimum monocular was my 7 Nagler, giving a little bit more magnification then my 12 Brandon barlowed. I guess the perfect ocular for last night would have been the 6mm Brandon that I don't have (yet). Hmmmm......
Anyway, the Q was smootly cruising at around 400x most of the night, providing a wonderful imagescale, brightness and contrast to observe Mars. It actually looked BIG.

Before I get to excited I better stop and wish you all clear and stable skies where our Questars shine and make us glow!

Erik


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Mike E.
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Erik Bakker]
      #3620193 - 02/12/10 07:47 AM

Hi Frank,

The mid 20th Century was a time of Quality. We now live in a time of quantity, in which for most things, leaves a lot to be desired.

The thing about aging is that you can look back and appreciate that quality, where others can not.


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Clive Gibbons
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Frank2]
      #3620252 - 02/12/10 08:45 AM

You might even say it's "An Aging Scope For The Ages".

Yes, it's superb quality. Yup, it's a classic design and still looks ahead of it's time, over 50 years after it was introduced. Sure, it has many lovely convenience features.
It might not utilize goto technology, or employ the latest polycarbonate construction materials, but for observers who have a good knowledge of the sky resident in their noggins (or who can read a star chart), that's not an issue.

S&T wrote an in-depth article about the Questar in one of their 2002 issues. For folks who are looking for further insights into why Questar has continuing appeal, it's worth checking out that article.

I wouldn't say the Questar is "the ultimate" telescope, for active or inactive observers. However, it's extremely good for an amazingly compact "observatory in a briefcase".


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spaceydee
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Clive Gibbons]
      #3620815 - 02/12/10 01:29 PM

it's the observatory in a briefcase aspect plus the pure beauty of the scope (looks and workmanship) that attract me to it. it will still be a long time if ever if I get one, but it has been a dreamscope of mine since I saw it in Sky + Tel. when I was an astro major.

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astro_que
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Reged: 11/11/09

Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: spaceydee]
      #3620846 - 02/12/10 01:45 PM

Dee, if you have a chance, do what I did. I bought a scope off eBay that was missing practically everything, at a commensurate price. Yet it was quite usable as is. You can replace/upgrade the missing parts as circumstances permit.

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spaceydee
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: astro_que]
      #3620857 - 02/12/10 01:47 PM

I'll consider that - when I think that there is a 'lull' in the vet bills!!

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astro_que
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: spaceydee]
      #3620871 - 02/12/10 01:55 PM

Trade the kittens for a cat.

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spaceydee
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: astro_que]
      #3620903 - 02/12/10 02:13 PM

got one too. just not a Q.

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Brian L
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: spaceydee]
      #3621182 - 02/12/10 04:26 PM

It really is a delight to use. I bought mine as a realization of a three decade old childhood dream. I expected to use it occasionally for observing, but for the most part I expected to admire it in a display case in my study. I am finding out that the more I use it the more I want to use it.

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Rat8bug
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Brian L]
      #3621994 - 02/13/10 12:34 AM

Well, I like computers, but don't like to depend on them. Some things like hybrid cars require a computer to work. In the case of Questar, it has the means to locate objects easily if one becomes adept at using its timeless features. Use the scope and it then becomes your friend.

http://www.barrie-tao.com/questar1.html

Ciao....Barry


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Darren B
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Rat8bug]
      #3623011 - 02/13/10 05:13 PM

The Questar has setting circles, if I could learn to use setting circles on a Synta EQ1 mount, learning to use them on a Questar would be a doddle. How about learning the sky. The scope and mount that I own at the moment does not have goto or setting circles, but I get by.
I must be one of those rare types that appreciates fine and inovative engineering. I aim to own a Questar one day.


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JupiterJon's
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Darren B]
      #3626761 - 02/15/10 05:37 PM

My Questar was made in the early 1970s. It has functioned PERFECTLY for almost 40 years. It has spent hundreds of hours out under the stars and at dozens of star parties and still looks new. The Sun, Moon, planets, double stars, all the Messier objects, and much more, plus a lot of film and digital photography... this little 'scope has handled it all effortlessly. Someone will still be enjoying "my" Questar long after every Meade and Celestron Go-To telescope on the planet has ceased to function due to unavailability of replacement computer chips.

Mr. J


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astro_que
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Reged: 11/11/09

superglue new [Re: JupiterJon's]
      #3626838 - 02/15/10 06:16 PM

Someone observed that, in a Meade 7" Mak, a light baffle is glued to the corrector, surrounding the secondary spot. The glue used for this purpose is cyanoacrylate adhesive, popularly known as "superglue." This is the same adhesive used to cement rear view mirrors onto windshields.

Anyone who has ever had a cemented rear view mirror knows that, eventually, it falls off. Thermal cycles shear the bond. The owner of the 7" Meade Mak observed that, when this happens, the baffle will fall on the primary mirror. With that kind of impact, scratches, or worse, are inevitable, and these cannot be fixed by a trip to the recoating shop.

Moral of the story: If you buy a telescope that is glued together, it will eventually become catastrophically unglued. Questar owners will never be bothered by this.


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Halo27
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Clive Gibbons]
      #3626859 - 02/15/10 06:25 PM

Hi...can you tell me which month of Sky & Telescope 2002 the article on Questar telescopes appeared in? Thanks Lenny

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Mogdriver
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Halo27]
      #3627083 - 02/15/10 08:33 PM

Lenny:

The Questar 50th Anniversary Edition Telescope by Gary Seronik

November 2002 edition of Sky and Telscope


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Fomalhaut
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: JupiterJon's]
      #3627521 - 02/16/10 04:00 AM

I had tested my Q3.5 directly against an ETX90 by day as well as under the skies.
Well, I admit the Q was the BroadBand-coated-version, and I do not know how the Standard-version would have compared, but anyway, mine was so clearly superior to the ETX in brightness and even more so in contrast, that nobody better tries to tell me an ETX is sort of equal optically. (I would severely suspect him to be a concealed Meade distributor or even the manufacturer himself...)

Chris

Edited by Fomalhaut (02/16/10 04:03 AM)


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Halo27
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Fomalhaut]
      #3627925 - 02/16/10 10:46 AM

Thanks

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John Zimmerman
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Halo27]
      #3628087 - 02/16/10 12:20 PM

I like to think of the Questar as a "Retro-Scope". Sort of an astronomical time machine that takes us back to an era before the birth of the global economy when extreme cost cutting measures were not taken, and quality control was not sacrificed to the extent that it is today.

And as much as I love GOTO scopes, over time they do tend to cause your object finding abilities to atrophy, much as excessive use of a calculator can affect our math abilities.


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ColoHank
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Re: superglue new [Re: astro_que]
      #3695754 - 03/21/10 02:09 PM

I don't know about the Meade 7" Mak, but the ETX series Maks had a glued-on conical baffle centered about the secondary on the rear surface of their correctors. Those baffles did indeed have a tendency to migrate out of position from time to time, I presume because the adhesive deteriorated over time or was softened by heat.

The biggest complaint about the Meade 7" was that, because it employed the same tube and mount geometry as the Meade 8" Schmidt-Cass telescopes, it required a substantial internal counterweight to balance the heavier corrector of the Mak. Owing to that increased mass, it apparently was extremely reluctant to reach ambient temperature.


Chalk such shortcomings up to the difference between styling and engineering, and the manufacturering expedience of doing things on the cheap.


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Mark Rosengarten
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Re: superglue new [Re: ColoHank]
      #3737996 - 04/11/10 08:59 AM

In the 1950's, things were built to last. That's why they are considered classics today. You bought something and spent enough dosh on it, you weren't expecting to run out and replace it anytime soon. We have turned into a consumer culture, where the things we buy are designed to be disposable (environmental issues notwithstanding) after a short time. Things are built to fail...usually a day or two after the warrantee expires. The Questar is built to last more or less forever. No cheap rolled aluminum tubes with adhesives and plastics here. Metal, glass, precision tolerances...still as much today as at any time in the past. There are very few companies that manufacture anything anymore that can claim that. The cost comes from extreme quality control and low volume. I have only looked through and handled a Q briefly (until my 1991 standard arrives this week), but I understood almost immediately why they cost what they do. I paid $500 for a 27" color television in the early 1990's that still runs perfectly well today. My refrigerator is the one that was in my childhood home...it's 30 years old. Still works just fine. Most of my furniture is generations old (or cheap particle board). I have a pocket computer from 1993 (HP 200LX) that still works like a dream. Things today just don't last as long. They are prettier, maybe, but that's about it. Looking at laptop computers lately, it is shocking to see the decrease in build quality and the increased use of cheap plastics in their construction. I owned an ETX 90RA, and it was such an exercise in frustration that I ditched it before too long. I have a Celestron C6 OTA, and though it throws up fair images, it is cheaply built. My old C5+ was built a LOT better. There are still some companies that focus as much on build quality and longevity as optical quality, like Televue, Takahashi and Questar, but you're going to pay a premium for it. A premium that I feel is well worth it. I have a Televue 76 that I will never part with, and the Questar will remain with me until the end of my days.

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NeilR
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Re: superglue new [Re: Mark Rosengarten]
      #3738028 - 04/11/10 09:21 AM

To add to what Mark just said, I think we'd be hard pressed to find a company as devoted to keeping all their children in running order. Not just running order but to the spec they were originally built to (and in many cases updated to modern specs where the specs have improved).

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akman1955
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Re: superglue new [Re: Mark Rosengarten]
      #3739941 - 04/12/10 09:13 AM

I totally agree with mark and neil...love the craftsmanship of older stuff be it cars or scopes..timeless. john

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Mark Rosengarten
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Re: superglue new [Re: akman1955]
      #3741011 - 04/12/10 05:43 PM

Think about how radios used to be built...crafted from wood and designed to last decades. Now look how cheaply that stuff is made today. Televisions were also works of art. Not anymore.

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akman1955
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Re: superglue new [Re: Mark Rosengarten]
      #3741115 - 04/12/10 06:36 PM

Your right mark..they dont build them like they use too..but technology on electronics is much better today they are just cheap..john

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Mark Rosengarten
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Re: superglue new [Re: akman1955]
      #3741331 - 04/12/10 08:35 PM

That is very true. I have played with goto in the past, and it was an exercise in frustration. I have new DSC on my Microstar and I find them frustratingly inaccurate. Give me manual controls. I love slow-motion controls. The Questar will be heaven.

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JimK
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Re: superglue new [Re: ColoHank]
      #3741605 - 04/12/10 11:13 PM

How is the Questar standard optical tube attached to the control box? Press-fit, perhaps with glue, if I recall correctly?

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davidmcgo
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Re: superglue new [Re: JimK]
      #3741693 - 04/13/10 12:13 AM

OK, so none of the old radios and TVs we had when I was young worked. A small cheap transistor pocket radio outstripped a many vacuum tube desktop. The TVs were impossible to fix. And don't start with cars, back in the 1960s or 1970s getting to 70mph was a pretty squirrly ride and I remember breakdowns and flats all the time. Not anymore, nowadays most cars are trouble free for 100K miles at least. So progress isn't all bad. However none of my scopes are go-to and a Q does appeal to me, just not yet while I can still handle bigger telescopes and want more aperture and resolution than a 3.5" would give me.

Dave


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Mark Rosengarten
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Re: superglue new [Re: davidmcgo]
      #3741914 - 04/13/10 04:32 AM

That's fair enough. I'm not all that old, so perhaps my memory isn't one to go on.

I've had bigger scopes. Where I live, it's not worth it to have a light bucket, because there's not much to see. My lovely neighbors keep floodlights splashing on their house all night. I'd hate to have their electrical bills!


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Les
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Re: superglue new [Re: davidmcgo]
      #3742633 - 04/13/10 01:22 PM

Quote:

However none of my scopes are go-to and a Q does appeal to me, just not yet while I can still handle bigger telescopes and want more aperture and resolution than a 3.5" would give me.




Dave,

That's what the Q7 is for


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Kfrank
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Re: superglue new [Re: davidmcgo]
      #3745002 - 04/14/10 03:44 PM

Quote:

OK, so none of the old radios and TVs we had when I was young worked. A small cheap transistor pocket radio outstripped a many vacuum tube desktop. The TVs were impossible to fix. And don't start with cars, back in the 1960s or 1970s getting to 70mph was a pretty squirrly ride and I remember breakdowns and flats all the time. Not anymore, nowadays most cars are trouble free for 100K miles at least. So progress isn't all bad. However none of my scopes are go-to and a Q does appeal to me, just not yet while I can still handle bigger telescopes and want more aperture and resolution than a 3.5" would give me.

Dave




Whoa!!! Can't let this one go...

While it's true that there have been a lot of improvements to a lot of things, this characterization of 50's, 60's and 70's products is just plain ridiculous.

Practically any American car of the era would top 90mph and while they weren't built for hard cornering, "squirrly" is certainly not the word. We did have flats but frequent breakdowns - sorry David. Sure cars needed to be tuned up frequently due to the vagaries of carburetors and Kettering ignitions. Lots of improvement in those areas but a decently cared for engine would easily hit 100k miles with no problems.

As for TVs and Radios, vacuum tubes weren't known for long lives but they were easily (and cheaply) replaced. TVs were MUCH easier to fix back then. They were not made to be throw away products as they are today.

Just for the heck of it, if you can find an audiophile with one, compare a Scott or Fischer or Marantz, or DynaKit - or a Macintosh (really high end) amplifier to the so called "high fidelity" equipment available today. With these amps you could hook up a set of speakers and unplug all the inputs, crank the volume wide open and not a sound would come out of the speakers. No pops, no hiss, nothing. These guys were all vacuum tube rigs and no modern solid state amp can hold a candle to them for true reproduction.

We've made a lot of progress - BUT we've also lost a lot. The picture isn't nearly as simplistic as you suggest.


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astro_que
sage
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Reged: 11/11/09

Re: superglue new [Re: Kfrank]
      #3745075 - 04/14/10 04:18 PM

I am that audiophile, and I can tell you that the Dynakit stuff did not measure up to today's equipment. David Hafler, chief engineer of Dynaco, did not have the opportunity to build the equipment he really wanted to build until he started Hafler in Pennsauken. His DH-110 pre is 20 dB quieter than the quietest Dynaco pre.

I cannot account for all the fads in audio, but the good stuff these days is much better than the good stuff back then. And I've had it all.

As far as televisions and the rest, there are two sides to this. Televisions today perform much better than televisions back then. Bill Cosby's joke about the "TV pliers" that one inevitably used when the tuning knob fell off is all too true. The electronic components: wax encased paper capacitors, even the circuit boards themselves, did not have long lifetimes. In the industrial arena, there was some equipment that equates to Questar: Tektronix oscilloscopes, B&K instruments. But there were as many items that didn't. HP scopes, favorites for short contracts, because they got crushed at the end of the contract, had phenolic circuit boards, which carbonized from the heat of the tubes, causing major degradation after two years, with leakage paths that could not be compensate for.

Gadgets and appliances have generally changed in the following way: they are longer lived, and more durable, but more expensive to repair, frequently to the degree that repair is uneconomic. This is a consequence of the destandardization of parts. Parts are custom now, driven by the desire to take advantage of the integrated circuit to the fullest. Diagnostic events can no longer be seen on conventional oscilloscopes; special factory equipment is required.

Telescopes are a special case, a corner of technology that belongs to the small area of precision mechanical devices. As technology, they are living history, and this is part of the fun. But we should not attempt to understand the other fruits of modern life in the same way. Technology IS change.


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davidmcgo
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Reged: 10/09/04

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Re: superglue new [Re: astro_que]
      #3745673 - 04/14/10 10:36 PM

I tell it like I lived it. My 71 Valiant and 76 Volare were absolute junk even though well maintained. My dad's National SW receiver 12 tube couldn't pull in much at all compared to a Sony ICF2010 hooked to same antenna.

Amplifiers might have been nice but I never cared for the crackle and hiss of vinyl played more than once.

I agree a lot of stuff today is throwaway but mostly I rant about hand tools, furniture,mowers, and go-to telescopes when I want to dis new stuff....

Dave


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John Zimmerman
super member


Reged: 10/05/09

Loc: Lake County, CA
Re: superglue new [Re: davidmcgo]
      #3750574 - 04/17/10 02:08 PM

It occurs to me that telescope manufacturers that market high tech GOTO instruments may try to keep the costs low (with associated compromises in quality) because the technology is evolving. No one wants to spend a lot of money on an instrument that may have obsolete technology in a few years. In the past 15 years Meade's GOTO technology has evolved dramatically, to use one example.

If Questar issued new models every few years with features that made earlier ones obsolete, people would be less inclined to spend $4000+ on new ones.


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jouster
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/27/05

Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Frank2]
      #3750881 - 04/17/10 06:22 PM

Price is a more important distinction than age. Meade et al could sell scopes of the same quality as Qs if they could get people to pay as much. It's hardly surprising that McIntosh amps perform well, but it isn't because they come from an era where quality mattered more. It's because they cost tens of thousands of dollars. Pick up a magazine from the fifties or sixties if you want to find those decades' cheap junk. You will not have far to look.

Note that his is not a criticism of Questar. I spent today at NEAF and admired the Q7 for some time. It is beautiful.


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Mark Rosengarten
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Reged: 04/05/10

Loc: NY, USA
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: jouster]
      #3750920 - 04/17/10 06:48 PM

I also spent at NEAF...bought a Stellarvue 70 ED refractor and a Herschel wedge with filters and a Dwarfstar mount from Larry at UA. I was at the Solar Star Party booth, despondent due to lack of sun.

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astro_que
sage
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Reged: 11/11/09

Re: superglue new [Re: JimK]
      #3751478 - 04/18/10 01:11 AM

Quote:

How is the Questar standard optical tube attached to the control box? Press-fit, perhaps with glue, if I recall correctly?




JimK, I consulted Questar sources to get the answer to your question. The backplate screws into the barrel. The control box bolts to the backplate, but you know that, as you previously posted instructions for removal.

In older scopes, the front cell is a press fit. However, bear in mind that the barrel itself is machined full length, so the interference is very tight. The same technique is used to install valve guides in modern engines, where they normally remain stable with extreme temperature changes.

In newer Questars, the front cell is no longer a separate piece. As the entire barrel is machined anyway, the process was changed to simply machine in the front cell as part of the process.


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Kfrank
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/20/08

Loc: Northern Colorado
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Brian L]
      #3752541 - 04/18/10 04:19 PM

I've seen a variety of comparisons on this thread but if I had to draw a comparison it would have to be to Harley Davidson.

When Harley was repurchased from AMF in the early 80s, it was decided that, the best way to sell motorcycles would be to package them with lifestyle and the Harley riding bad-boy image was born.

Harley has often led its ads off with the admonition "Ride The Legend".

The Harley community buys Harleys simply because they ARE Harleys. Harley makes a good motorcycle. Not the best, but a good, respectable motorcycle. Yet, if you talk to the average Harley rider you'll come away with the impression that quality has absolutely nothing to do with it. You'll be told "If I have to explain it, you wouldn't understand" and they're probably right. There's a mystique about Harleys - a certain cachet that no other motorcycle has and Harley nurtures that cachet carefully.

Questar owner are much the same. They don't just want a 3.5" telescope - they want a Questar. If they have to explain it, you wouldn't understand. Yet I DO understand - at least to a degree. There's something to be said for tradition, uncompromising adherence to standards of quality and excellence and an unwillingness to bend to the standards of the day. Of course, the Questar Corporation can afford to do this. They are not dependent on their consumer telescope line for survival. Today, outfits like Televue and TEC are much the same. They craft optically superb instruments that are mechanically and conceptually excellent.

I once owned a Rolex watch. I got it new in 1977 - before the "quartz" revolution. Over the years, I became aware that far cheaper watches were keeping far better time than my Rolex and I sold it. I've never regretted doing so. Why? Well, simply because I wear a watch for its primary function - timekeeping. I got to the point where I could no longer justify spending $200-$300 every 5 or so years, to keep the Rolex maintained when I could buy an excellent quartz watch which required practically no maintenance (other than a battery every few years) never had to be set and if lost or stolen, was no great loss. YMMV.

A Questar is unquestionably not only a superb telescope optically but mechanically and conceptually as well. IMO, Questar and its owners should feel complemented that Meade chose the Questar design as the basis for its ETX line. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. For my part, I'm content to spend my telescope money on functionality rather than cachet. I'll continue to appreciate the Questar from afar. And I DO appreciate it.


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NeilR
super member


Reged: 02/18/08

Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Kfrank]
      #3752571 - 04/18/10 04:34 PM

Quote:

For my part, I'm content to spend my telescope money on functionality rather than cachet.




That I'll disagree with . The Questar is all about functionality. It is an old school style of functionality, not a new school GOTO style, but it is mostly about functionality. I didn't buy my Q for it's looks (and by extension, it's "cachet". The engineering behind the good looks does keep it going decade after decade.

I understand the Rolex thing, to the extent that even though a Q will last forever, you could replace an ETX for the price of a full Q service. But the ETX would not function like the Q during any of it's lifetime. If old school mechanics is your style of functionality.


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Kfrank
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/20/08

Loc: Northern Colorado
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: NeilR]
      #3752705 - 04/18/10 05:42 PM

Quote:

Quote:

For my part, I'm content to spend my telescope money on functionality rather than cachet.




That I'll disagree with . The Questar is all about functionality. It is an old school style of functionality, not a new school GOTO style, but it is mostly about functionality. I didn't buy my Q for it's looks (and by extension, it's "cachet". The engineering behind the good looks does keep it going decade after decade.

I understand the Rolex thing, to the extent that even though a Q will last forever, you could replace an ETX for the price of a full Q service. But the ETX would not function like the Q during any of it's lifetime. If old school mechanics is your style of functionality.




It may be that Questar is "all about functionality" but it's EXPENSIVE functionality. Functionality to me means the ability to view celestial objects (or perhaps terrestrial objects) through a high quality (both optically and mechanically) telescope with as few bells and whistles as possible. I'll grant you the quality of Questar's optics. I'll also grant you the quality of its materials and engineering. Speaking of engineering, however, I might point out that the engineering costs of the Questar have been paid off for over 1/2 century yet are still being charged for in the price of a new Questar.

If I had a TV85 or a smaller TEC or Takahashi scope, I would have superb optics, quality materials and faultless mechanical execution. I would be able to realize superb views of whatever I chose to look at, just like a Questar. Unlike the Questar, however, I would have the flexibility to use the scope with the mount of my choice to suit my viewing requirements. This is what I refer to as "functionality".

I've tried to use my ETX 90 as a tabletop scope and frankly I wouldn't give a plugged nickle for tabletop "functionality". The Questar is touted to be a "portable observatory" with everthing fitting into the supplied carrying case. That is only true if used in the table top mode and personally, I don't consider a tabletop scope to be functional for astronomy no matter what its quality.


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NeilR
super member


Reged: 02/18/08

Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Kfrank]
      #3752787 - 04/18/10 06:20 PM

Quote:

Speaking of engineering, however, I might point out that the engineering costs of the Questar have been paid off for over 1/2 century yet are still being charged for in the price of a new Questar.

The Questar is touted to be a "portable observatory" with everthing fitting into the supplied carrying case. That is only true if used in the table top mode and personally, I don't consider a tabletop scope to be functional for astronomy no matter what its quality.




We've discussed many times previously that the cost of Q in today's inflation adjusted dollars is considerably less than the original asking price, which was increased substantially in just a couple of years.

Regarding the table top thing... have you ever tried a Questar?


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Kfrank
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/20/08

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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: NeilR]
      #3752881 - 04/18/10 07:19 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Speaking of engineering, however, I might point out that the engineering costs of the Questar have been paid off for over 1/2 century yet are still being charged for in the price of a new Questar.

The Questar is touted to be a "portable observatory" with everthing fitting into the supplied carrying case. That is only true if used in the table top mode and personally, I don't consider a tabletop scope to be functional for astronomy no matter what its quality.




We've discussed many times previously that the cost of Q in today's inflation adjusted dollars is considerably less than the original asking price, which was increased substantially in just a couple of years.

Regarding the table top thing... have you ever tried a Questar?




Putting all other things (inflation adjusted pricing, the unquestionable high quality and longevity of a Questar) aside, you're left with one inescapable fact:

The basic Questar is a 90mm, obstructed aperture telescope.

Granted, it's a superb 90mm, obstructed aperture telescope and its superb optics and excellent mechanical design and execution will probably get the best possible image using the available photons...

But, it's still a 90mm, obstructed aperture telescope.

No, I have never looked through a Questar. I don't see how its quality level would alter in any way my opinion of viewing by setting the scope on a tabletop. The Questar isn't going to make the tabletop any more steady or easy to move around.

I'm sure that Questars provide a wonderful viewing experience. There is just too much anecdotal data to believe otherwise. It's just that if I'm going to spend a couple of thousand dollars, or more, on a smallish telescope, it's going to be on a quality apo refractor with an unobstructed aperture. A high quality apochromatic refractor of about 102mm can be had new or used for prices similar to a (new or used) Questar and will, I think, yield superior images on a wider range of astronomical objects.

IMO, a Questar is very much a niche telescope, albeit a superb one.


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Mark Rosengarten
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Reged: 04/05/10

Loc: NY, USA
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Kfrank]
      #3752901 - 04/18/10 07:30 PM

I can bring my Questar into the classroom, pop it out of its case, set it up on the counter pointing out of the window at the sun and give a lesson on solar activity. My kids can do daily solar observations. The Earth Science teachers can do a daily sunspot tracking with their kids. All from the tabletop-mounted Questar. I can do my daily solar sketches during my lunch break from a windowsill instead of setting up the scope outside in the parking lot. In the winter, when I get into work before dawn, I can set my scope up on the hood of my car and have a quick look. Yeah, it's expensive. No doubt. But don't dismiss its utility as an outstanding grab-and-go scope. My personal preference is for small things...whether it be gadgets or scopes. I just bought a Stellarvue 70ED this weekend at NEAF with a Herschel wedge. I can't wait to put it up head to head against my Questar once I get the full-aperture solar filter back from recoating in a couple of weeks. I put the Nagler 3-6 zoom into the SV. Not convinced it's the best eyepiece for the job, I might want to get a 5mm plossl to get the job done. Portability is king for me. I had and sold an XT8. Gave good images but was a pain to lug around. For observing sessions at night I use a Televue 76 on a Bogen tripod with a UA Microstar mount. I will put a small round table on my deck and use the Questar out there instead this summer...once I get the deck stained.

Oh, and it's an 89mm aperture.


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NeilR
super member


Reged: 02/18/08

Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Kfrank]
      #3752907 - 04/18/10 07:33 PM

Yes, it's unfortunate that the quality of outdoor furniture (or tastes) has not kept up with the Q . I actually had an outdoor table built for my two Q's, but mainly for the 7. However, I have always had a Q tri-stand, which is something I can pick up, with the Q mounted, and carry in and outdoors. Can't do that with am APO if you want decent equatorial mounting. Back in the day people used heavy picnic tables and I would presume the astro types took the time to shim the legs to keep them steady. Fortunately heavy picnic tables are still common in a lot of parks where there are reasonably dark skies to be had. I've done that often.

And, yes, it is a niche product but I just took issue with the specifics of some of your statements.


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akman1955
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Re: superglue new [Re: Kfrank]
      #3752990 - 04/18/10 08:12 PM

K frank..my 71 nova ss is still here..can you say that about a modern car lets say in 40/50 years? i dont think so. New stuff is nice but not built to last and be worked on as old stuff. Thats the key to survival. Plus it hold's value if not make money in future. so each his own. john

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Kfrank
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/20/08

Loc: Northern Colorado
Re: superglue new [Re: akman1955]
      #3753122 - 04/18/10 09:14 PM

Quote:

K frank..my 71 nova ss is still here..can you say that about a modern car lets say in 40/50 years? i dont think so. New stuff is nice but not built to last and be worked on as old stuff. Thats the key to survival. Plus it hold's value if not make money in future. so each his own. john




An anvil will last virtually forever!

The '71 Nova was a classic muscle car of its time. Built to go like the dickens - in a straight line. BUT, they handled poorly, the interior was an ergonomic disaster and the chassis and suspension was ill equipped to handle the power crammed under the hood. For instance, you'll see many of these old musclers with Traction Masters on them to help overcome the deficiencies of the rear suspension. Just one example.

Longevity is often just as much a function of the care a product is given as it is of the initial quality of the item. The 60s and 70s American cars still around today are far more a testament to the care lavished on them (or perhaps to the skill of a restorer) than to the initial quality of the cars. Back in that era, American cars were NOT built to last. I know, I drove 'em and worked on 'em.

Anyway, cars are not a good parallel to the Questar. The Questar has always been, and new ones today remain, a quality product, built to last. I'd venture to say that there will be a LOT of Televue 85s around 50 years from now and they will be in good condition if properly taken care of.

Part of the cachet surrounding the Questar is the perception, often encouraged by Questar itself and its owners, that the Questar somehow transcends telescope technology.

It is a wonderful telescope - portable, convenient, optically and mechanically superb and built to last. BUT, it is still subject to the laws of physics as they apply to the science of optics. Let's not pretend that it's more than it is.

OH yes, IMO, you certainly don't do the Questar any favors by comparing it in any way to a Chevy Nova.


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John Zimmerman
super member


Reged: 10/05/09

Loc: Lake County, CA
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Kfrank]
      #3753424 - 04/19/10 12:14 AM

Quote:

But, it's still a 90mm, obstructed aperture telescope.

No, I have never looked through a Questar. I don't see how its quality level would alter in any way my opinion of viewing by setting the scope on a tabletop. The Questar isn't going to make the tabletop any more steady or easy to move around.





Ken, for me it became a matter of to observe or not to observe. One day I woke up and discovered a 20 year old living in an old guy's body, with aches, pains, etc. So tabletop observing makes it very easy on me. I have a tripod I can mount my Questar on, but it's much more comfortable sitting at a table, resting my heavy head in my hands.

As for the Questar being only 90mm, true. But where does that end? 100mm? 150mm? 200mm? Aperture rules in astronomy, and at some point the observer has to compromise between size and portability. In my case, the size kept getting smaller

I did do an exhaustive search of everything on the market before buying my Questar. I had to reject every scope that was mounted on a GEM because of the extra weight of the counterweight. With those eliminated, all that were left were GOTO scopes on alt-azimuth mounts, and for a change, I wanted something simpler than GOTO. And so while there was certainly the Questar "Urban Legend" factor in my purchase decision, it really came down to a case of where this was the only scope I would be able to use as the ravages of old age increased. And in that context price was no object.

Gee - maybe a new Questar marketing campaign: "Questar - the right instrument for the aging baby boomer"!


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akman1955
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Re: superglue new [Re: Kfrank]
      #3753994 - 04/19/10 10:39 AM

who collects anvil's..questars and other things (novas, antiuqes, art,old scope's, exc..) are collectable in there own right with a proven history built up over time. plus questars are a thing of beauty too the owner. if the owner has fun using them and brings enjoyment ..please don't bash them for that.if you don't like them, then don't buy them. john

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Kfrank
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/20/08

Loc: Northern Colorado
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: John Zimmerman]
      #3754254 - 04/19/10 12:41 PM

I know all about the aging body syndrome and it indeed has affected me. In fact, I just last night had 1st light on a new 6" SCT OTA which I mounted on a UA MicroStar mount. It will replace my 8" dob, which I now plan to sell. I don't want to mess with the size and weight any more and I don't use goto on any of my scopes. I enjoy the challenge of finding things and the satisfaction that comes with knowing where things are in the heavens.

I use tripod mounted scopes exclusively as I must occasionally move around my yard to get different exposures. I always observe sitting down. I have the tripod legs shortened up (which makes for a more stable mount) and I sit on a pneumatically adjustable mechanics stool that I got at Sears for $30.

Using my ETX90 on a tabletop (that is stable enough) works OK but I found it too limiting. My SV80ED and its wooden tripod weigh about 12-15 lbs. My C6 on its JMI Megapod weighs in at 25 lbs. I can manage both of these fine and can easily relocate my viewing position anywhere in the yard in a couple of minutes.

Granted that a table gives a resting surface but it better be a solid one to minimize jitter and it certainly limits (or eliminates) mobility.

As to collectability, I am not a collector (although given the financial resources I could easily become one). The comment on the anvil was directed at the older American car example. I'm sure there are folks who collect anvils, incidentally :>) I grew up in the '40s and '50s and was a big part of the car culture. However I now believe that American cars of that era, while they evoke a lot of nostalgia, were fundamentally junk. They handled poorly, rusted out easily, needed frequent repairs and tune-ups, and broke down frequently. At least they were easier to work on. None of that however, impacts their collectability, nor should it.

Collecting tends not to be a rational, but rather an emotion driven, irrational thing. I get that urge myself and I tend to have a soft spot for '55 Chevys (my father had one).

I do indeed appreciate the quality that a Questar represents and I believe they are a good, functional telescope within the limits of their size and design. I could see myself owning one - just not now. To me one of the much touted advantages of the Q (tabletop observing) is a non starter. I'd rather have a tripod mounted scope and can deal with one just fine.

In a different financial reality, I'd probably own a Questar but in this reality, I can't justify the cost when compared to other quality astronomical equipment that is out there.

Enjoy your Questars - you're lucky to have them and I hope they serve you well.


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ColoHank
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Reged: 06/07/07

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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Kfrank]
      #3754298 - 04/19/10 01:00 PM

Quote:

IMO, a Questar is very much a niche telescope...




Questar isn't unique in that regard; every telescope appeals to a niche market.

This much is certain: Anyone who has purchased a new or used Questar obviously could have opted, at the same price point, for a different brand/model of telescope that offered considerably more aperture. For whatever reason, and those reasons are legion, they made a conscious decision not to.


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akman1955
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Reged: 09/07/09

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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: ColoHank]
      #3754311 - 04/19/10 01:07 PM

frank and hank have very valid points. thanks, now too go wax my classic car and scope. then sit back with a cold beer and enjoy. john

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Steve C.
sage


Reged: 01/24/08

Loc: Sugar Land, TX
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: akman1955]
      #3756870 - 04/20/10 02:27 PM

As much as we may deem ourselves as guided by logic and rationality, we are primarily driven by emotions. The ownership and use of a Questar is emotionally satisfying, and that is why the owners of those fine instruments treasure them.

The same thing applies to the hobby of astronomy as well. Amateur astronomers pursue it because it satisfies the soul.


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hfjacinto
I think he's got it!
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Reged: 01/12/09

Loc: Land of clouds and LP
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Steve C.]
      #3763297 - 04/23/10 10:46 AM

I had a Questar for several months and at the beginning it did feel like a Rolex, why use such an expensive finely detailed scope. Our club wanted it for sale and it was my job to sell it. So I buffed it up and took pictures, but while making sure everything worked I decided what the hell, let me try it out. The images are refractor like, they are clear and sharp, the scopes works very well, extremely smooth. I used for a couple of weeks until the scope sold. I really got to appreciate the scope, the built barlow, sun filter and finder. Just awesome how the scope works.

Recently I picked up an 80MM APO and honestly the APO works as well as the Questar. The views were comparable and I can get a much wider field. The new APOs have smooth focuser and the EON (the APO I purchased) is built very very well.

Do I still want a Questar, I don't know anymore, I am waffling. For $4000 I can get an 120MM EON on a CGEM and have enough left over for a guide camera and more accessories. Its like owning an Omega (which I own) I paid a lot for it, but I don't think I would do it again, a Seiko is cheaper tells better time and costs less to maintain. But the Omega has more value than a Seiko and I can sell it for a slight lose after owning it for 10+ years.


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10000rpm
super member


Reged: 07/18/09

Loc: Equatorial Singapore
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Mike E.]
      #3766407 - 04/24/10 11:46 PM

Quote:

Hi Frank,

The mid 20th Century was a time of Quality. We now live in a time of quantity




Hi Frank,

I just realized how so true that is! Spot on!


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Michael Edelman
newbie


Reged: 12/04/06

Loc: Detroit area
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: 10000rpm]
      #3796897 - 05/10/10 09:25 AM

I've had four Questar 3.5s- two standards (one of which I still own), a duplex, and a field model. Every so often I'd think I needed more aperture, sell the Q, and buy a big scope- a 7" refractor on a big Losmondy mount, a 10" GEM newt, and even a 17" Coulter. And every time I'd get tired of hauling all that iron and glass around, and the long setup time. I'd sell it all and get another Q. There's nothing else that gives you a super high quality observatory in a tiny, portable package. (BTW, I once bought an early ETX as a less expensive scope for travel, but it was so mechanically and optically inferior to the Q that I dumped it soon after.)

I do have a second scope- but it's even smaller: A 67mm Pronto I use for travel. I'm thinking of replacing it with a TV60 ;-)


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JimK
Skygazer
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Reged: 09/18/05

Loc: Albuquerque, NM USA
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Michael Edelman]
      #3798218 - 05/10/10 10:36 PM

Yes, a small, portable, excellent optics package has many merits.

And WELCOME TO CLOUDYNIGHTS!


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Johndob
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Reged: 12/22/08

Loc: Gardena,Ca
Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: JimK]
      #3798420 - 05/11/10 12:48 AM

Questar is a good Moon and Planetary scope but sometimes you need more aperture and faster optics to get to the faint stuff. There are astro photos on the Q website that demonstrate the 3.5" optics with a Starlight Express MX-916. I think i will look up any ETX 90 astro photos to see how inferior the images appear.

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GR1973
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Johndob]
      #3798554 - 05/11/10 03:25 AM

I compared many astro-videos on youtube.com with what i get with my Q ....many times Q out perform a larger apreture on the moon and planets....

About Faint fuzzies you need to live in a dark place to search for it...Not only a big apreture and fast scope....But if you live in a big city with a massive light pollution you need an exteremly portable scope to carry and a long f ratio to increase the background darkness...and the only available choices are planetary system,moon ,sun and bright deep sky objects.Questar outperform many scopes in these condition this was not the case 50 years ago....With increasing civilization and more pollution questar will be more usefull.....A SCOPE FOR AGES
The only missing is goto but what is tge usefulness and what is the aquired skills i get from my hobby if i push a button to see a celestial object??? i can do this with a remote telescope or seeing hubble scope images on the internet


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Mark Rosengarten
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: GR1973]
      #3798601 - 05/11/10 04:54 AM

As much as I enjoy seeing images taken by other people, for me, nothing beats capturing the photons with my own eyes. For some reason, a gorgeous photo cannot compete with an actual look-see, where my eyes capture the actual photons emitted long ago by the celestial object. That said, I don't get much joy out of locating faint fuzzies...to my eye, they all look more or less the same. I love planetary and solar observing. For that, the Questar is a gem of a scope! I could happily get rid of all my other scopes and just have the Q to keep me company.

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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Mark Rosengarten]
      #3798625 - 05/11/10 06:12 AM Attachment (54 downloads)

Quote:

For some reason, a gorgeous photo cannot compete with an actual look-see, where my eyes capture the actual photons emitted long ago by the celestial object.




That is why I enjoy the comfort of the Q and the amount of photons collected by my Q7. It works wonders on solars sytem AND deep sky (globulars!)

Clear skies,

Erik


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Rat8bug
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Erik Bakker]
      #3798692 - 05/11/10 08:14 AM

IMO, all this discussion is poppycock. One has to go back to the root of the why of Questar. The designer of the Q, indicated it was for "A lover of fine instruments". You have to break down what "fine" means. I look upon it as the Total package; including pleasing to the eye. Next is the Q was not designed to be a one dimensional tool. The Q3.5 ads showed photos of the moon, birds, landscapes, planets, squirrels, et. al. Galileo upset the world with less than an inch aperture. David Levy (a Questar owner) has many comets to his credit. Purpose and Persistance paves the way.

http://www.barrie-tao.com/questar1.html

Ciao....Barry

Edited by Rat8bug (05/11/10 08:16 AM)


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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Michael Edelman]
      #3798756 - 05/11/10 08:53 AM

Quote:

I've had four Questar 3.5s- two standards (one of which I still own), a duplex, and a field model. Every so often I'd think I needed more aperture, sell the Q, and buy a big scope- a 7" refractor on a big Losmondy mount, a 10" GEM newt, and even a 17" Coulter. And every time I'd get tired of hauling all that iron and glass around, and the long setup time. I'd sell it all and get another Q. There's nothing else that gives you a super high quality observatory in a tiny, portable package. (BTW, I once bought an early ETX as a less expensive scope for travel, but it was so mechanically and optically inferior to the Q that I dumped it soon after.)

I do have a second scope- but it's even smaller: A 67mm Pronto I use for travel. I'm thinking of replacing it with a TV60 ;-)




Good thoughts, Mike.

And, welcome to Cloudy Nights!


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Les
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Rat8bug]
      #3799315 - 05/11/10 02:06 PM

Quote:

David Levy (a Questar owner) has many comets to his credit




Barry,

Are you suggesting that David discovered those comets with his Questar?


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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Les]
      #3799390 - 05/11/10 02:44 PM

I didn't say that....Barry


Quote:

Quote:

David Levy (a Questar owner) has many comets to his credit




Barry,

Are you suggesting that David discovered those comets with his Questar?




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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Rat8bug]
      #3814016 - 05/18/10 11:22 PM Attachment (61 downloads)

I feel sorry for brian L on his questar having bad coating. Glad i have a good 1978 bb coated questar. Bought site unseen and lucked out i guess.Hope it stays good here in dry climate of fairbanks. Also by the way Frank I have lots of people everyday(i work on military base) wanting too buy my novas and chevelles regardless of your opinion. a coworker just bought back his 1969 "396" ss nova for $25,000 plus. So not bad investment in my eyes. As a professional mechanic I really like the simplicity and they now can be made better then back in the day.Plus They have styling and just look plain COOL.Why are they remaking all the old body styles?? Just ask Jay Leno..if it makes ME happy i'am Happy.I really like my Questar .john Oop's sorry clive didn't mean too be off topic and drege up other thread but owning stuff is personal to each individual. I don't understand people who argue or bash other peoples parade or happyness. noth said, john

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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: akman1955]
      #3814103 - 05/18/10 11:56 PM

No problem, John.

A few months ago, I saw a nice used BB Questar of '71 vintage at a local dealer. The primary mirror looked perfect.
It's last service was in 1978.
If I didn't already own a Q, I woulda bought it.

I kinda think the Questar that Brian bought had a defective overcoating. These things happen and since the underlying reflective material was silver, a porous overcoat would be trouble. The coating contractor (and/or Questar) is off the hook, since the failure happened a few years after the warranty expired.
If economic times were better, a more agreeable resolution to the problem might have been reached.
It's unfortunate that such is not the case...


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Brian L
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Clive Gibbons]
      #3814905 - 05/19/10 11:16 AM

Jim's explanation is that moisture for this unusual phenomenon is that moisture can get in behind the overcoating and separate it from the BB coatings. As a physicist, I am having a hard time conceiving how this is possible without oxidizing the silver somewhere. If the topcoating were porous, I would think the inevitable result would be formation of silver oxide. Not so in this case.

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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Brian L]
      #3814944 - 05/19/10 11:31 AM

I spoke to Cumberland also, and as an aside they have nothing to do with the broadband coatings. They only provide Questar with AlSiO coatings.

Edited by Brian L (05/19/10 11:41 AM)


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GR1973
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Brian L]
      #3815098 - 05/19/10 12:31 PM

Quote:

I spoke to Cumberland also, and as an aside they have nothing to do with the broadband coatings. They only provide Questar with AlSiO coatings.



When i bought my new Questar three years ago,I changed my order from ALO2 to BB coating Just before shipping


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astro_que
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Brian L]
      #3815196 - 05/19/10 01:10 PM

Quote:

Jim's explanation is that moisture for this unusual phenomenon is that moisture can get in behind the overcoating and separate it from the BB coatings. As a physicist, I am having a hard time conceiving how this is possible without oxidizing the silver somewhere. If the topcoating were porous, I would think the inevitable result would be formation of silver oxide. Not so in this case.




Brian,
Coatings have become increasingly complex. Particularly with silver, there is such a variety of processes, it is impossible to say anything with certainty. Denton offered a coating called FS99, which had conflicting reports on durability; lasted well, yet one coating was destroyed by fog in a day. More recently, Lawrence Livermore developed a silver coating, described as "encapsulated silver", that is as durable as dielectric. The process is so complicated that I have been quoted $4K for a single prepped 12 inch mirror. Between these, it is reasonable to assume there are many varieties. We know that formerly, Questar used a coating of thorium fluoride, which, while not as protective as modern coatings, has lasted over 35 years in many specimens.

One possible mechanism for what you saw is that the dielectric layer provides some protection, on the order of what thorium fluoride provides. As pinholes in the silicon dioxide layer are all too common, then infiltration of moisture through these holes could cause separation.

I am curious as to the frequency of occurence of these pinholes. Perhaps they are more common than the actual damage you saw. In discussions with Optical Guidance Systems and one of their subcontractors, I received conflicting opinions on whether a mirror should be periodically cleaned. OGS advocated; the coating lab said no. With the exception of the Lawrence Livermore process, silver coatings are fragile. In the hands of the careful user, they provide siginficant benefit: smoother surface, less scattered light, and higher reflectivity.

Since many of us here have BB scopes that were owned by nontechnical people, and have survived many years (34 and 29 years in my examples), I tend towards the notion that an unfortunate set of circumstances resulted in what you saw. There were pinholes, but these are probably more common than the damage. The second factor is either some element of treatment by the prior owner that provoked this, or, in fact, a defective coating.

I prefer to leave this question open, because we simply do not know. Yes, the Midwest is drier than most coastal areas. But that does not exclude owner abuse, which could have taken several forms. Regardless of the locale, many basements are humid. Mine was, so I installed dehumidifiers, but they don't make it dry. Accidental introduction of a small quantity of liquid water through the eyepiece holder would also create a very high moisture condition in the tube. For these reasons, I advocate that everyone proactively keep the inside of the tube dry with a dessicant plug. This will also remove moisture of accidental nature.


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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: astro_que]
      #3815237 - 05/19/10 01:24 PM

It's easy to speculate that Questar has some magical formula for coatings that is superior to all others. It's also easy to say hogwash and chalk it up to Questar mysticism. The reality is likely somewhere in between. It's not as complicated a process as they would like you to think, but it is also more involved than what you get with Meade UHTC and Celestron XLT coatings.

There's more to this story than I am willing to publicly disclose at this point. Who knows....someday I might write a CN expose piece.


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astro_que
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Brian L]
      #3815325 - 05/19/10 01:56 PM

Quote:

It's easy to speculate that Questar has some magical formula for coatings that is superior to all others.




Brian, I made no such speculation about magical coatings. As far as I know, they do not use the Lawrence Livermore encapsulated process. I provided information about the wide variety of coatings that exist. Questar made no statement to me about the complexity of the process. Questar doesn't coat; they send out to a lab


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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: astro_que]
      #3815390 - 05/19/10 02:27 PM

Robert,

didn't you mention Perkin-Elmer as being the coater for your older BB Questar?
At least, that's what Jim R. said when he saw your scope.


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astro_que
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Clive Gibbons]
      #3815452 - 05/19/10 02:56 PM

Clive, actually, it was the newer Questar, the '81, that Jim identified as having a Perkin-Elmer coat. Interestingly, the '76 seems to have less reflection intensity off the corrector. The '81 has a strong violet reflection, while the '76 has a subdued shade of green as one would expect with a modern optic. One may surmise that they switched for a reason. Durability?

I've been looking at local coatings companies. I have a call into one for general information. There are two companies local to Questar and me, though I have no idea whether they use them. I have seen two reflectivities attributed to Questar BB mirrors. One is extremely high: 99.9%. Such a coating is offered by ECI here in Willow Grove: http://www.evaporatedcoatings.com/mirror/print/109.htm
Another coating, more compliant with what Jim told me in a recent conversation, is offered by Acton, a division of Princeton Instruments, the makers of the CCD cameras: http://www.princetoninstruments.com/Uploads/Princeton/Documents/Datasheets/Princeton_Instruments_Acton_Optics_Protected_Silver_Coating_Rev%20A1.pdf.

Back in the days of yore, an amateur astronomer silvered his mirror in the bathroom with silver nitrate. The main danger was that of explosion of the concentrated nitrate. The coating might last six months. Today, it is a much more complex process. There are binder layers, there is the silver, there is the tuned dielectric overcoat, and there is the protective layer.

Today, pure dielectric coatings, made of 40 or more alternating layers of two or more materials with different indices of refraction, are advocated for durability. Opticians refer to each layer as an "etalon", the French word for gauge. Each alternating layer achieves total internal reflection for a specific band of wavelength. However, because these coatings are so thick, they actually change the figure of the mirror. Also, Jim explained to me that all their scopes both commercial and military, are optically identical. There is a strong need in government for high IR reflectivity. Dielectric coatings cannot be tuned to function over a sufficiently wide bandwidth.

The dielectric enhanced silvered mirror consists of binder layers, the silver layer, which may be encapsulated, and several etalons made of different materials for enhancement. These days, this ensemble is overcoated with silicon dioxide. The advancement in the past ten years has been extraoardinary. Perhaps some day, the Lawrence Livermore process will become feasible for small mirrors. It is simply too labor intensive at present.


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Clive Gibbons
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: astro_que]
      #3815509 - 05/19/10 03:34 PM

Seems that at this point, we don't know who does the BB coating for Questar.
We don't know the exact configuration of the coating.

We do know that it's warranted for 5 years and that applies to the original owner.
Many folks who own BB coated Q's report great longevity.
Some folks haven't been as fortunate.

Not much else to say, re. coatings, IMO.

Over 'n' out.


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Rat8bug
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Clive Gibbons]
      #3815571 - 05/19/10 04:01 PM

Are you speaking of the Perkin Elmer that screwed up the Hubble ST some years back? I'd be scared


Quote:

Robert,

didn't you mention Perkin-Elmer as being the coater for your older BB Questar?
At least, that's what Jim R. said when he saw your scope.




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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Rat8bug]
      #3815698 - 05/19/10 04:50 PM

I am the original poster of this thread and it was my intention to offer an observation about the current state of Questar and make no further comment, however, before this thread goes completely off topic let me add the following: I feel safe in saying that we all want the same from Questar, the best production telescope in the world, period. The truth is that Questar has met that criterion in an increasingly narrow sense since its introduction. We are now left with arguing that the telescope has superior optics and excellent machining of the mount components. In almost every other respect the Q is now inferior to other serious telescopes. If anyone doubts the longing for Questar to resurrect the brand just look at the post with the most hits in this forum and you will see that Q owners are trying to do for themselves that which Questar will not.

Frank


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astro_que
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Rat8bug]
      #3815728 - 05/19/10 05:02 PM

Quote:

Are you speaking of the Perkin Elmer that screwed up the Hubble ST some years back? I'd be scared





It was indeed. I know you're joking, but for those who don't know, Perkin Elmer was the premier maker of advanced optics in the U.S. The Wikipedia article doesn't state, but I believe they divested that business to concentrate on life sciences. It seems true that Perkin-Elmer bungled the Hubble job, but other than that, their optical reputation was of very high esteem.


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akman1955
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Clive Gibbons]
      #3816381 - 05/19/10 10:30 PM

Clive, does all this mean that the older bb coating were done better and last longer? due too coater or process? as time has passed and they are still good. john

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astro_que
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: akman1955]
      #3816429 - 05/19/10 10:56 PM

In theory at least, the older coatings did not last as long, because they were based on thorium fluoride. In fact, Questar reports fewer coating failures with the newer coatings.

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Clive Gibbons
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: akman1955]
      #3816965 - 05/20/10 08:42 AM

Quote:

Clive, does all this mean that the older bb coating were done better and last longer? due too coater or process? as time has passed and they are still good. john




Hi John.

I don't have info to make an informed comment on that, one way or the other.
Hard to say if anybody, other than a Q insider with actual data, could answer the question.

In an earlier posting, Robert recounted something said by Jim R. at Questar.
"As far as Jim Reichart's opinion about age, and the effect on coatings, when I spoke with him, he was unconcerned. Most of the scopes he sees from that era are just fine. A decade is the absolute minimum of durability, when stored in less than optimal conditions."
That was in reference to BB coatings from the mid '70s to early '80s.


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akman1955
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Clive Gibbons]
      #3817033 - 05/20/10 09:16 AM

Thanks All! If my coatings ever fail i would still keep it as a "work of art" sitting on bookshelve or spare parts for another one. john

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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Clive Gibbons]
      #3818767 - 05/21/10 12:10 AM

Clive, i liked the funny hat guy as your avatar and the cute kitten..we all know life is a pain.. as we are not getting out of it alive. ,john

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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: akman1955]
      #3830681 - 05/26/10 09:01 PM

Go-To? I watched a fellow with one of those scopes... he could not get the scope to slew to Jupiter... what a pitiful sight. I could make this a long story...
but hey what's the point?

I use the Questar setting circles to locate hard-to-find DSOs... (I live under real dark
sky... the finder is more than adequate...) with my "old fashioned" chart
I can dial onto the ONE or TWO objects I wish to OBSERVE in a SESSION,,
Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy LOL!!!!


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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Matt Looby]
      #3864954 - 06/14/10 06:44 PM

So...a fellow starts a post in aficionado forum with "why is it so difficult for Questar owners to see the obvious?" I applaud the responding Questar owners for their patience, civility and continuing good manners in spite of the not so subtle evaluation of their combined intellect.

Keith


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Les
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: trainsktg]
      #3866774 - 06/15/10 05:05 PM

It's so much easier to be patient and civil when you're the one owning the Questar.

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Rick Woods
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Les]
      #3867919 - 06/16/10 09:07 AM

Quote:

It's so much easier to be patient and civil when you're the one owning the Questar.



Which, if I'm not mistaken, Keith is?


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Rick Woods
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #3867928 - 06/16/10 09:16 AM

I'm a little late coming in here, and I haven't read all the posts; but let me throw in my two cents:
I dream of someday having a Q7. No way I could even think about it right now, but everything changes. I don't think I could justify a Q90, it's just too small to suit my needs. But a Q7 - now, there's a dream scope for a planetary observer like me. I've never looked through one, but that's only one of many things I haven't tried, but I know I'd like. (TOS prohibits naming some of the others).


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trainsktg
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #3868182 - 06/16/10 11:34 AM

Quote:

It's so much easier to be patient and civil when you're the one owning the Questar.




Excellent point .

Quote:

Which, if I'm not mistaken, Keith is?




Well, (very) soon to be (mere days away in fact ) .

BTW, hello again Rick, after my long absence .

Keith


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Rick Woods
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: trainsktg]
      #3868277 - 06/16/10 12:20 PM

Quote:

Quote:

It's so much easier to be patient and civil when you're the one owning the Questar.




Excellent point .

Quote:

Which, if I'm not mistaken, Keith is?




Well, (very) soon to be (mere days away in fact ) .

BTW, hello again Rick, after my long absence .

Keith



Hello again to you too, Keith, and a hearty woohoo! for your impending delivery!


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Les
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #3869045 - 06/16/10 06:18 PM

Hi Rick,

Every argument made here against the Q3.5 can certainly be made against the Q7. I even had one prominent local dealer in MD try to talk me out of the purchase. But it was one I could afford and never regretted. I am more than happy that I parted company with my IM603 Mak-Cass.


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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: hfjacinto]
      #6146754 - 10/19/13 01:58 PM

Quote:

For $4000 I can get an 120MM EON




Out of curiosity I looked this up. It was made by Orion and on their website it says "Not Available; This product is no longer available for purchase."

Perhaps a case of Survival of the Fittest.


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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: Halo27]
      #6150471 - 10/21/13 07:40 PM

Computers come and go. Setting circles go on forever. I don't see the advantage of putting "M27" into a control panel, over dialing M27's coords into setting circles. The circles will keep working for the next 100 years. I'll get the coords from a revolving door of various replaceable computer systems and smartphones over the years. So I essentially have a computer-controlled system with a modular, replaceable computer. It's future-proof and indestructible. And after working with computers all day in my job, the elegant simplicity of setting circles is like a breath of fresh air.

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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: munirocks]
      #6150683 - 10/21/13 09:53 PM

Quote:

Computers come and go. Setting circles go on forever.... It's future-proof and indestructible. And after working with computers all day in my job, the elegant simplicity of setting circles is like a breath of fresh air.




+1

Edited by Erik Bakker (10/24/13 07:52 PM)


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starboy1954
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: munirocks]
      #6155955 - 10/24/13 05:09 PM

Quote:

Computers come and go. Setting circles go on forever.




Great line.

Setting circles have an organic connection to the heavens and when I use them I am part of that.

And the aesthetic pleasure derived from rotating the Questar dials is an experience not afforded by button pushing.


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munirocks
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: starboy1954]
      #6162641 - 10/28/13 02:22 PM

I think you've pegged it. Much as I rationalise the decision to use setting circles to others by quoting effectiveness, simplicity, logic, and practicality, I too like the analog feeling that I get from having "bolted the telescope to the sky" by myself.

Ditto on the knobs. I don't have my new Questar yet, but I do know that I like the silky smooth feel of the volume knob on a 1976 Pioneer SX-737 receiver, and music itself doesn't even feel the same without it.

Setting circles are also indispensible when teaching children. The circles help them to "see" the RA Dec lines in the sky, and you can rotate the telescope to draw the lines. You can turn off the drive and ask them why the star is moving across the field of view (about 50% of them guess it), then turn it right back on again without having to realign the whole thing from scratch. The alternative is to tell them it's done "with computers", which teaches them nothing. Actually it's worse than nothing, as it teaches them to stop thinking and just accept superficial non-explanations. You could just as well have told them it's done with mirrors, smoke, and magic.


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planetmalc
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: munirocks]
      #6170334 - 11/01/13 01:55 PM

Quote:

I don't see the advantage of putting "M27" into a control panel, over dialing M27's coords into setting circles.




I can; I know M27 is probably going to be called 'M27' but I haven't a clue about its co-ordinates!


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munirocks
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Re: A Scope for the Ages or Just Aging? new [Re: planetmalc]
      #6171472 - 11/02/13 05:49 AM

Quote:

Quote:

I don't see the advantage of putting "M27" into a control panel, over dialing M27's coords into setting circles.




I can; I know M27 is probably going to be called 'M27' but I haven't a clue about its co-ordinates!




Mmm, yyeeess. But if you've got a computerised control panel there and you type in "M27", it can tell you the coordinates.

I attended a lecture last night on using Stellarium, the last half of which covered using it to control a telescope through a labrynth of downloads, drivers, communication protocols, networks, and hardware, each of which was picky about version numbers. I can see a certain appeal to sitting in a warm house while the telescope is out in the freezing cold, if you don't mind looking at pictures on a screen instead of the real thing through an eyepiece, but I sure wouldn't call it a time saver. The lecturer was a very competent astronomer/computer expert/speaker, but by Zeus, by the end I was ready to gnaw my leg off to get out of there. Come back setting circles, all is forgiven. It reminded me of that plane crash where the iced up plane flew under a bridge. The black box showed that the pilots needed more power urgently, but instead of applying more power they pulled back on the stick because they knew the software would apply more power if they pulled back on the stick. They were flying the software instead of the plane.


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