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Equipment Discussions >> Cats & Casses

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rmollise
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5946389 - 06/29/13 11:21 AM

Quote:


Rod:

My understanding is Orion is a vendor but one who works closely with manufacturers in product design and development. Sometimes Orion will have an idea and find someone to manufacture it. In that way, Orion has been very innovative and a leader.

Jon




Like most Chinese manufacturers, Synta will make changes in designs if enough units are going to be purchased. But most of what Orion sells is little different from what's sold under the SkyWatcher or Celestron brands. Often, it's just the names, for example "Versago" instead of "AZ-4," that are different. There's nothing at all wrong with that, and it's not a criticism of Orion. And I suppose it works both ways. No doubt Synta has improved their company-branded lines thanks to some of Orion's suggestions. However, the bottom line is that Orion is largely a dealer in imported telescopes and accessories made by Synta and is by no means a manufacturer like Meade and Synta.


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: rmollise]
      #5946554 - 06/29/13 01:09 PM

Rod:

I think of the XT-10 which was apparently designed by Orion and first built by GSO and then moved to Synta at a time when Synta was not making Dobs... I think of cloning the DGM OA Newtonian, the Starbound chair, the Virgo Astronomics mounts, Orion has always had a mind of its own.

Does anyone else offer Intelluscope?

Jon


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rmollise
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5946704 - 06/29/13 02:46 PM

Quote:

Rod:

I think of the XT-10 which was apparently designed by Orion and first built by GSO and then moved to Synta at a time when Synta was not making Dobs... I think of cloning the DGM OA Newtonian, the Starbound chair, the Virgo Astronomics mounts, Orion has always had a mind of its own.

Does anyone else offer Intelluscope?

Jon




Well, sort of. The GSOs were frankly not much different from the Syntas of the time. Nice enough scopes, sure.


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: rmollise]
      #5946768 - 06/29/13 03:25 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Rod:

I think of the XT-10 which was apparently designed by Orion and first built by GSO and then moved to Synta at a time when Synta was not making Dobs... I think of cloning the DGM OA Newtonian, the Starbound chair, the Virgo Astronomics mounts, Orion has always had a mind of its own.

Does anyone else offer Intelluscope?

Jon




Well, sort of. The GSOs were frankly not much different from the Syntas of the time. Nice enough scopes, sure.




At the time, that is 2001 or so, I think Synta did not have any Dobs. If I am not mistaken, the Orion Dobs that were copies of the GSOs were the first Synta Dobs.

Jon


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Lake Sky
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Ekyprotic]
      #5946793 - 06/29/13 03:36 PM

Quote:

I understand what you guys are saying, but what I dont understand is why is astronomy dying?... This should be a Golden Age in astronomy..... and yet it isn't. Why?




If you are a typical short attn span person under thirty who is the rare bird who even notices something other than the moon exists in the night sky , the virtual world has become the real world . Why deal with the cost and inconvenience of real telescopes and OCD- satisfying tweaky imaging systems when you can download a few free general consumer sky atlas apps to your smart phone or tablet that a 6 yr old can master and point it to any region of the sky to reveal what lies there ( even if your light polluted New York City sky shows nothing ! ) and simply click on any object shown on the screen to download a Hubble pic ? Done - no need to even roll outta bed , LOL !

Edited by Lake Sky (06/29/13 03:45 PM)


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rmollise
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Lake Sky]
      #5946819 - 06/29/13 04:00 PM

I believe Synta did have Dobs at the time, but whether they did or did not, the GSOs were, quite frankly, not much different from the Meade StarFinders nor the Orion Explorer Dobs that Orion had been selling for years. The GSOs were not much of an innovation other than that, unlike the earlier U.S. made Meade Dobs, they had metal tubes--assuming you think that is an innovation.

At any rate, I believe we've been down this road before, Jon, and while I like talking old time telescopes, it really doesn't have much to do with the subject at hand.

Edited by rmollise (06/29/13 05:07 PM)


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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: rmollise]
      #5946911 - 06/29/13 05:08 PM

More back to the discussion at hand, I think Edmund Scientific is a perfect example for this discussion. They never really left the hobby- you can still get one of those weird little Astroscans with a newtonian sticking out of a ball in WHAM-O red. However, the hobby sort of just bypassed them. If the Meade SCT line had just sort of drifted into irrelevance starting in 1990, and today we were hearing the shop was in danger of closing forever, this thread wouldn't be here, or if so, the original line would be followed by a few "Huh, the world's moving on. Remember back when those guys were the cat's pajamas?" type comments and that would be the end of it.

But that isn't the case. And there are strong mixed emotions. Something I believe a lot of people have been missing in Meade threads the last few years is it really isn't a question of Meade haters. It's more of, "Those guys can co better! Why haven't they?" and that's turned into complete frustration as that chain of events never got around to correcting itself the way a story arc we were writing would have. The most sincere form of affection is sincere criticism; not name calling or character assassination, but instead, time consuming and sincere introspection on the problem and honest communication of things folks may not want to hear, but must to succeed.

So, here Meade is with a bold line of products in the field needing technical TLC they didn't have money for, a difficult decade for product launches in general, some really groovy product concepts, and a company financially injured by a past plan to deploy into mass marketers which had a catastrophic outcome. That's just a statement of where we are now. And to be somewhere else isn't one person or 100 or 1000 saying a good word; it's years of actions, not a 0.01% shift in public attitudes that's the problem.

But there is hope since at least one potential buyer appears to be a competent team with sufficient wherewithal to effect a positive outcome if anyone can. And that's the best hope I've heard of up to now.

-Rich


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RodgerHouTex
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: dawziecat]
      #5947032 - 06/29/13 06:45 PM

I would have to disagree. Questar, Astro-Physics, Takahashi, etc. have been around a long time and never sold a scope at Wal-Mart. So there is money to be made on high-end scopes and even on regular Schmidt-casses. No manufacturer ever sells their stuff below break-even. So, for example, when Celestron has their sales, there's still a profit in there for them.

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RodgerHouTex
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: deSitter]
      #5947042 - 06/29/13 07:00 PM

Simple answer - Yes.

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CottsModerator
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Lake Sky]
      #5947100 - 06/29/13 07:46 PM

Quote:



If you are a typical short attn span person under thirty who is the rare bird who even notices something other than the moon exists in the night sky , the virtual world has become the real world . Why deal with the cost and inconvenience of real telescopes and OCD- satisfying tweaky imaging systems when you can download a few free general consumer sky atlas apps to your smart phone or tablet that a 6 yr old can master and point it to any region of the sky to reveal what lies there ( even if your light polluted New York City sky shows nothing ! ) and simply click on any object shown on the screen to download a Hubble pic ? Done - no need to even roll outta bed , LOL !




Not much different is this:

I know more than one person who has a remote observatory (in a backyard or a foreign land), plans an imaging session during the day, commands the roof of the observatory to open, programs the telescope/camera to acquire a target, plate solve to be sure the target is centered, grab a bunch of darks, flats, bias, RGB's, luminances, dump them into image processing software, detect cloud and close the roof before it rains. Goes to bed while all this happens.

The next day, processing and uploading the image to a photo server site and to the appropriate CN Forum.

Fellow doesn't even own an eyepiece....

Many paths.....

Dave


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Ekyprotic
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Scott Beith]
      #5947477 - 06/30/13 02:52 AM

you are quite right, people do get defensive when it comes to the brands they use- it's like you disrespected someone in their family or something..... and if you think this is bad you should check out some of the photography forums where they discuss nikon vs canon vs sony vs others..... man, it gets UGLY in there.

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Ekyprotic
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: rmollise]
      #5947479 - 06/30/13 02:56 AM

Tell me about it Rod! With the rise of the internet and affordable goto scopes, digital cameras (heck even cameraphones) the hobby is better than ever. I still remember how my friends thought I was weird back when I was 16 and yearned more for a big scope than I did for a faster car though haha.

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Ekyprotic
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5947481 - 06/30/13 02:59 AM

I dont think the mystery is gone, I think we are expanding our horizons..... heck with a good scope and a mono camera amateurs can detect exoplanets- these are exciting times.

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Ekyprotic
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5947482 - 06/30/13 03:00 AM

who makes Orion's CCD cams?

with all the Celestron products Orion sells, I thought they owned Orion


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Ekyprotic
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Ekyprotic]
      #5947485 - 06/30/13 03:06 AM

I dont know what this obsession with Wal Mart- honestly I hate that place and how they destroy communities and local businesses, and where their products are made, and how they are made.... haven't been in one and wont.

And I saw someone made a comment earlier about The Food Network and while I would like our hobby to get more widespread attention, I dont want it dumbed down for the masses the way, for example, the weather channel dumbs down meteorology. Instead of watching cartoons and eating fast food, children should be exposed to science from a very young age (say, from the age of 5 or 6), I've known parents who did that and it's surprising how much even such a young kid can take in. We dont need to treat them like they are stupid just because they're that young. I dont even like the idea of "babytalk"- it's better to raise a child on science, organic food and classical music than it is to raise him or her on Sesame Street and Burger King. No wonder we're falling so far back as far as education is concerned.


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Ekyprotic]
      #5947704 - 06/30/13 09:02 AM

Quote:

who makes Orion's CCD cams?

with all the Celestron products Orion sells, I thought they owned Orion




I don't know who makes Orion's CCD's, I know some were made in Canada, I don't think any were made by Synta. Before it got tangled up in a discussion of Dobs, I was trying to point out the different between Orion who for past dozen years or so seems to have had their pulse on the market and Meade who has not connected so well. Orion may be a vendor but they are a vendor who thinks outside the box, is not beholden to a single supplier (look at the apos, eyepieces, mounts, cameras, accessories) and are a big reason why Synta has grown into being as large and as diverse as it is...

The last time I looked, Orion was not owned by Synta.

Jon


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Starhawk
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5947847 - 06/30/13 10:53 AM

Jon definitely has an important point. Instead of dumping vast complexity into systems, Orion has had their whole line of offerings based on simplified functionality. And they were appaently tight with Synta from the start. It's pretty clear they are the ones who started delivering on the vision of PC-free astronomy, which is pretty obviously where the user community is headed at this point, even if most primes are still offering RS-232 connectivity on mounts 10 years after the PCs stopped supporting it.

It's the failure to see what looks good to a new generation which has been a problem. My Food Network post wasn't to imply we should dumb down the hobby, but rather make it possible for people to get a taste of it more easily.

When I lived in New Orleans by Elysian Fields in the Gentilly neighborhood, I was in a spot most people would think has no interest whatsoever in astronomy. Yet, on Halloween nights, I would set up my little C5+ in the front driveway and put it on Jupiter, Saturn, or the Moon, depending on what was in the sky. And the trick-or-treaters, their parents, and even people just driving by all wanted to get a look, and were surprised at how easy it was to find a planet in the sky as well as get a decent look at it.

So, I don't mean dumb it down. But I also think a lot of things are being made ridiculously complicated. Spacetravelerx pointed out how some people will bring an observing dream machine to a star party and instead of blowing people away with an image of M13 they'll be telling their grandkids about, would find an obscure NGC object any layperson would have trouble convincing themselves wasn't a smudge on the eyepiece. There's a balance between dumbing down and nerding up to the point of inaccessibility.

And the major telescope primes are all desperately behind the times on technology.

Standing around surfing menus on a little hand controller or talking to a mount via ASCOM is a two generations of technology out as a solution. It's all but incomprehensible to anyone under 45 today why anyone would think that made sense. Plug and play was 20 years ago, and didn't even get into mounts. Yes, ASCOM control sounds great compared to where the hardware was in 1984. It doesn't even make the grade for mediocre in an age when even a $70 printer is accessable to a smartphone out of the box and the only wires are for power. But looking at a mount rigged to do anything of significance first looks like a hodgepodge of scabbed on claptrap with wires strung like a second rate science fair project. Nothing is ready to go out of the box, and everything needs to have drivers coordinated on a PC like it's 1990. Tell a new astronomer how this works and to a person they all say, "Huh? That's really primative."

Were there any signs Meade was leading the pack, here? Actually, yes- integrating star tracking and guidance is a big step in the right direction. But there was other drag, so the system wasn't ready to go as-is. But clearly they were on to something. And who knows. MITC may be Synta's bid to capture that IP.

-Rich


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amicus sidera
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Lake Sky]
      #5947920 - 06/30/13 11:56 AM

Quote:

Quote:

I understand what you guys are saying, but what I dont understand is why is astronomy dying?... This should be a Golden Age in astronomy..... and yet it isn't. Why?




If you are a typical short attn span person under thirty who is the rare bird who even notices something other than the moon exists in the night sky , the virtual world has become the real world . Why deal with the cost and inconvenience of real telescopes and OCD- satisfying tweaky imaging systems when you can download a few free general consumer sky atlas apps to your smart phone or tablet that a 6 yr old can master and point it to any region of the sky to reveal what lies there ( even if your light polluted New York City sky shows nothing ! ) and simply click on any object shown on the screen to download a Hubble pic ? Done - no need to even roll outta bed , LOL !




This.

Astronomy isn't exactly dying, but it is certainly moribund among the general population, at least from my viewpoint. While there are a good number of younger folks entering the avocation, most Millenials do not have the desire nor attention span to practice amateur astronomy as has been traditionally done in the past; the worship of instant gratification, whether in the form of a smartphone app or a go-to telescope, has seen to that.

With a few notable exceptions, the majority of the young people of voting age which I encounter today seem to be preoccupied with what would have been termed sloth and degeneracy in an earlier era, neither of which are attributes conducive to quite contemplation of the heavens.

Meade may well have fallen victim to to its own foibles, but a company does not operate in a vacuum; it is immersed in the culture of the times. Given the depravity of the current age, I'm surprised that there are as many profitable telescope manufacturers as currently exist.

Fred


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Scott BeithAdministrator
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5947929 - 06/30/13 12:09 PM

Fred - it doesn't have to be done as it was in the past - the new kids will find their own path. We just need to get them looking up and they will figure out how to pass their legacy on to the next generation after they get hooked like we did.

Nothing wrong with technology - I have two goto EQ mounts for my larger refractors and my 80 sits on a nice little alt/az that gets a lot more use than the bigger goto scopes do. Both options have their place in my observing style.

The new kids will be just fine as long as we convince them the hobby is worth pursuing.

(Quick example of tech and new kids - my oldest daughters use instagram. I can't figure out for the life of me why anyone should care what I ate for lunch, much less stare at a picture of my lunch... But the new generation does just that. Nothing wrong with it - just different from what I do.)

Meade will need to tap into new ways of doing things to remain relevant (just as all scope companies must do.)


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RodgerHouTex
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Ekyprotic]
      #5948109 - 06/30/13 02:00 PM

Classic music - ewww! Glad you didn't raise me!

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