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Equipment Discussions >> Cats & Casses

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Qwickdraw
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: starrancher]
      #5955763 - 07/05/13 09:41 AM

Quote:

The early 4000s were Japanese and I believe we're actually a five element design . Hence "Super Plossl" . The later ones were Chinese and more of a standard Plossl using four elements but they kept the Super Plossl name . Physically by looking at them it's hard to tell the difference without seeing the country of origin printed . I've heard the early ones weigh a little more which would make sense due to the extra element .
I've never done a side by side comparo between the early and late units and I have tha later Chinese units . Every one of mine have always produced excellent images . No noticeable quality difference in the images from one focal length to the next . No doubt that a defective unit gets through here and there and this could happen with any brand but I've never seen enough of a difference in image quality in any eyepiece I've ever compared to justify the large difference in price compared to the 4000 series Plossls .




I just came across one lot of 4000 super plossls. I have two 15mm, one is stamped Japan on the barrel, the other is has no country stamp. The one stamped Japan is slightly heavier by .012 pounds and physically you can see the lens retainer ring is out further supporting what you say about the extra element.

I also acquired a pair of 26mm supper plossls LP's. One is stamped Japan, the other is actually stamped Taiwan but there is no noticeable difference weight or dimension wise.


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Brian P
member


Reged: 04/07/09

Loc: New England
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: jimb1001]
      #5955765 - 07/05/13 09:42 AM

I own Meade stock, and need to decide to sell to MIT Capital or hold for the JOC/NA deal.

MIT Capital (which has no connection to MIT!) seems to be a mystery; no web page worth mentioning, and all I can find is that it's owned by a Chinese national (may be a dual citizen) and is involved in 'optics and stuff', but won't identify what companies.

JOC/NA has more information as it's a joint venture with Chinese money, Explore Scientific, and Meade Europe/Bresser.

Thoughts? As of this morning (July 5) the Meade BOD hasn't made their required "yes, no, no opinion" statement on the MIT Capital offer.


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Qwickdraw
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5955809 - 07/05/13 10:15 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Andrew,






Regarding write downs. I am pretty certain I did not write down my ep in 1977 (I was 14 at the time, just an FYI). And I did not write down my HD-60s from Santa, though Santa Clause may write them down, but I don't know that works at the North Pole.

I do have a question - how the heck do you know what I write down and don't write down? Most of my work is with the government, and I can assure you (the tax payer), all government contracts are closely monitored and audited, and in the public domain. Paperwork consumes my life. That is part of the gig. And I can most assure you the work I do and I am paid for is NOT recreational, but I am very grateful to be paid to do what I love. You will hear more about EarthScan, the project I am working on, and others in the news in the coming months, and you are welcome to hear me speak at the AIAA Space 2013 Conference or the Small Satellite Conference this year if you want to get a tad more educated.





Andrew,
Of course "the work you do is not recreational" It is by definition "work"

Saying this does not negate recreational activities being carried out on the same equipment.

Maybe Rich was being a little presumptuous about your write downs but he did say they were justified, I agree. You certainly did not deny that some of your purchased did fall into this category. I don’t think there is a need to justify it to anybody. As far as government contracts being highly scrutinized I agree but a tax write off for a private company would not fall into this contractual scrutiny unless it was purchased with grant money. This would strictly be between you and the IRS as far as I know.

All this said based on little experience on the matter so please feel free to correct my naivety.

I am looking forward to hearing more about you upcoming endeavors.


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ColoHank
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/07/07

Loc: western Colorado
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5955825 - 07/05/13 10:27 AM

Quote:

Yes, I did eye the Televue, and they are great, but I found my Meade ep when used side by side were just as adequate.





"...just as adequate?" Now there's a ringing endorsement.


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: starrancher]
      #5955837 - 07/05/13 10:32 AM

Quote:

The early 4000s were Japanese and I believewe'reactually a five element design . Hence "Super Plossl" . The later ones were Chinese and more of a standard Plossl using four elements but they kept the Super Plossl name .




I believe there have a number of different versions of the Super Plossl. The originals were 5 element like the Celestron Ultima's and made in Japan. However they were soon replaced by Japanese 4 element Plossls and since then there have been quite a variety, I believe all of them are 4 element, I think some that shipped with the entry level scopes even had plastic bodies but I could be wrong..

The Celestron Ultima's were always made in Japan and of the same 5 element design except for two that were 7 element.

Jon


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Spacetravelerx
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: ColoHank]
      #5955923 - 07/05/13 11:13 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Yes, I did eye the Televue, and they are great, but I found my Meade ep when used side by side were just as adequate.





"...just as adequate?" Now there's a ringing endorsement.




Yes, I guess I have to parse every word I say...and I must make sure I have Roget's Thesaurus on hand.

I found the views from the Meade UWA ep's like doing a spacewalk. Images from edge to edge are wonderful. I would just sit and stare and stare through them. I use them also at outreach events - lots of ooohs and ahhhhhsss from people looking through them.

HD-60s, I am very happy with the view through them also. Clear and sharp. Since I have the entire set I like playing with all the eps! Great Christmas present from Santa!

The Televues are certainly very nice ep's, no doubt there. I just did not find the need to spend the extra funds, since the Meade's provided just as great of a view through my CATs and the PST. Yes, I use the HD-60 on the PST, not the Coronado CEMAX ep. The view are great with the HD-60/PST Combo.

So dude, I am ringing the endorsement bell...ring, ring, ring!


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5955943 - 07/05/13 11:26 AM

Did anyone else read the LA Times article on Meade?

They were saying the entire amateur astronomy industry was worth $126.7 million in sales last year, down from $147.4 mil in 2008. That puts a very definite ceiling on how many large companies running around in that area. There's practically nothing to offer for a prime to restart, now.

There is a very interesting note at the end how a real astronomy outreach program in the UK made a 500% boost in Amazon's sales.

So, reluctantly, I am forced to conclude the folks posting here about a 10 year decline are right. The data says 2.9%/year during that time.

-Rich


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bicparker
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/07/05

Loc: Texas Hill Country
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: BGeoghegan]
      #5955946 - 07/05/13 11:28 AM

A few basic things concerning Meade's stock:

1. Meade's stock price and volume means zip, zilch, zero, nothing, nada, a portable whole. Don't try to read too much into it; you will hurt yourself.

2. Meade's announcement that they are looking at MIT Cap's offer and please-don't-sell-your-stock-to-them-in-the-meantime simply means: 1. We have to make this filing response to cover ourselves under the SEC rules and because our D&O insurance said we had to, and 2. We (Meade's Management and Board) don't want to be dealt out of this game.

3. There will be other announcements in the coming days (more public filings, can't meet payroll, Rosenthal and Rosenthal call their loan, etc.). The only one or ones that will really matter will be the ones that come from who ever absorbs or receives Meade (JOC, MIT Cap, or the Federal Bankruptcy Court receiver... or someone else). All of these other announcements are either following form or posturing.

4. The money being offered back and forth here is tiny in the M&A world. Plus, it involves a company that is financially starved. The dealmakers here will be looking for the easiest, most profitable means to an end... except for those who consider $3+ million not tiny. These people, however, may have the least influence in the end.

5. There is nothing that can be gauged about Meade's future support from an investment standpoint. Meade's future support of anything is subject to the future owner's willingness and ability to continue such support. My guess is that anything that won't contribute to some immediate cash flow to pay for this deal will not continue. With respect to Lightswitch, this means that, most likely, the successor organization will honor current warranties to their shortest end and then either end-of-life the product or continue it because it will generate positive and ongoing cash flow. Or they may discontinue all support immediately. In other words, roll the dice.

If, after reading all of this, you come away with the notion that the products and everything else that we call Meade now stands a good chance of coming to an end, then you understand. This is not being pessimistic, it is just like looking at the Black Knight with no arms and legs and expecting them to still put up a good fight.

Quote:

Quote:



Thanks Groz. That was a good mini-lesson in making sense of this. I missed the volume scale when at first. Taking 17,565 shares times an eyeballed $4.50 average makes about $79,000 in transactions yesterday.

BG




If you all can indulge my being so naive and prone to errors... I am not an investor but do want to know what can be gauged about Meade's future support of current model 'scopes like the Lightswitch. An astro-newby friend is expecting a refurb LS8 ACF that just shipped.

It looks like Meade has a little over 1 million shares. 20+ % are held by 3 insiders and 8% by North Star Investment Management Corp. The July 3 trades were ~1.5% of all Meade shares. The 2 take-over bids are both now well under yesterday’s stock prices. They’re both from groups with backgrounds in optics or instruments. My initial thinking that the “MIT” outside bid was a “buy-and-destroy” vulture seems less likely now that the principals’ background is out. But I could be wrong on all of this.

From http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=MEAD

The top story under Headlines talks about the required BoD recommendation on the "MIT" outside offer competing with the more inside "JOC" offer:

“On or before July 8, 2013 (the tenth business day from commencement of the offer as required by the tender offer rules), Meade intends to file with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission a solicitation/recommendation statement on Schedule 14D-9 stating whether the Board recommends acceptance or rejection of the tender offer, expresses no opinion and remains neutral toward the tender offer, or is unable to take a position with respect to the tender offer, as well as setting forth the Board's reasons than as for its position with respect to the tender offer. Accordingly, Meade stockholders are urged to defer making any determination whether to accept or reject such tender offer until they have been advised of the Board's position with respect to the tender offer.”

More thoughts?




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Spacetravelerx
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: mclewis1]
      #5955950 - 07/05/13 11:30 AM

Quote:

A less business/financial oriented overview of Meade's situation in the LA Times ...

Meade article link

You may have to answer a question of two to view the complete article.






Excellent article and thank-you for the link!

It also confirmed what I have been saying about the hobby. For example, referencing the article, my understanding is most folks do not use iOS/Android apps like SkySafari and others to control their telescope. Most use it as the main tool to look at the heavens. As a matter of fact, StarWalk, the top astronomy app on iOS (and I believe overall) has NO telescope control. It is a very slick app for the iPad, wonderfully done, and most folks get that combo (app/ipad) vs a telescope. When I do my events, I make sure the iPad is out and ready with the telescope.

Doing these events I see a clear trend. Show the "masses" Saturn - they get wowed. Show them a faint fuzzy - and they look at you like a nerd and out of touch.

BTW - after the oh and ah of Saturn and Jupiter and related questions, the second most asked question is "how much does that telescope cost?".

I do think though video astronomy has the potential to really help our field. M51 simply looks wonderful live, vs. faint fuzzy mode in the ep. The cost of entry is tough for most though. There are good cheap items, but to do it right money has to be spent.

But back to the article, it confirmed my suspicions and what I have been saying. The population in the U.S. has been increasing, but the number of buyers in the U.S. has gone down. It is good there is interest outside the U.S., however the U.S. does represent a huge market. The economy and technology trends, plus other competing interests do not help Meade and the hobby.

And I honestly believe light pollution is also impacting the sales of telescopes.

Meade, and the industry does have a tough road still to hoe. I do hope whoever buys Meade keeps not only their products alive and grow the technology, but can sustain operations in this very changing market. A game changer idea - ideas outside of the box will be needed.


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Starman1
Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)
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Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5955958 - 07/05/13 11:37 AM

Quote:

Did anyone else read the LA Times article on Meade?

They were saying the entire amateur astronomy industry was worth $126.7 million in sales last year, down from $147.4 mil in 2008. That puts a very definite ceiling on how many large companies running around in that area. There's practically nothing to offer for a prime to restart, now.

There is a very interesting note at the end how a real astronomy outreach program in the UK made a 500% boost in Amazon's sales.

So, reluctantly, I am forced to conclude the folks posting here about a 10 year decline are right. The data says 2.9%/year during that time.

-Rich



You have to take that with a grain of salt. Being all private companies, the size of the market is speculation. There is no central reporting agency.
At its peak, Meade's sales were 130 million and they were far from being the bulk of the US sales at the time.
I don't have accurate figures, but given the nature of the dollars I've seen spent at just my frequented dark sky site over the last few years, and seeing what I've seen spent for equipment, coupled with what I've heard from retailers and knowing the income of one of those retailers, for whom I worked for many years, I would guess the true national figure to be several times that figure--over 500 million.


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5955962 - 07/05/13 11:38 AM

Makes you wonder if, with the decline in sales overall, if the best astronomy has to offer has already been made. Is the future of astronomy going to be based on yesterday's equipment/technology (look at mounts and controllers)? While Televue and others have come out with wider and wider FOV eyepices; these are smaller niche markets for luxury items; ES seems to be the current "leader" in "affordable" eyepieces; but they seem to be selling at a loss item right now, and how long will they continue to do that? Other mfgs are dropping like fruitflies right and left. I really hate to think it, but without some major equipment breakthroughs (doubtful by any big commercial firms, might get lucky with a smaller business like TV)we've seen the heyday of astro equipment. Sad too, hopefully I'm wrong, but I think we're in for a bad spell for awhile. Partly due to economics; partly due to light pollution; and partly due to the fact that many people living today have actually not seen the night sky yet outside of the moon.......

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Astrosetz
professor emeritus


Reged: 10/05/03

Loc: Wisconsin
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: csrlice12]
      #5955982 - 07/05/13 11:55 AM

The LA Times article indicated the decline was since 2008. That's only five years, and coincides with the US economic collapse/recession/downturn. I remember planning events for IYA2009, and our corporate sponsor pool evaporating before our eyes; none of them were in the astronomy industry, just local businesses. Unemployment skyrocketed, discretionary spending tightened up mightily, and we're slowing coming out of that.

The BBC's excellent prime-time series was credited with a jump in telescope sales in that country; I'm thinking the revamped COSMOS series with Neil DeGrasse Tyson will do something similar in the U.S.


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
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Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5955984 - 07/05/13 11:56 AM

Andrew,

This is what we agree on. If people see they can do something, that's great. If it looks hopelessly underwhelming, then they aren't going to go out of their way for it. If the Eiffel Tower was 40' high, no one going to Paris would be very impressed by it.

And yes, new ideas are needed, and badly. In a way, the app version of astronomy isn't so bad. That was how I figured out the geometry of Venus passing Mercury would be visible at noon in Tucson, the Friday before the transit last year. So, I was able to get in position and figure out how to photograph it (OK, saying that was great is a stretch- it was 106F in the shade and I lost tracking when my power supply went into thermal shutdown, though I did get one image as they passed each other).

The magic point would seem to be something where you could prepare yourself with an iPad, and for a reasonable amount of money and a simple setup, be able to see what's in the sky. And that's probably where the fish are biting.

-Rich

Quote:

Quote:

A less business/financial oriented overview of Meade's situation in the LA Times ...

Meade article link

You may have to answer a question of two to view the complete article.






Excellent article and thank-you for the link!


BTW - after the oh and ah of Saturn and Jupiter and related questions, the second most asked question is "how much does that telescope cost?".

I do think though video astronomy has the potential to really help our field. M51 simply looks wonderful live, vs. faint fuzzy mode in the ep. The cost of entry is tough for most though. There are good cheap items, but to do it right money has to be spent.


Meade, and the industry does have a tough road still to hoe. I do hope whoever buys Meade keeps not only their products alive and grow the technology, but can sustain operations in this very changing market. A game changer idea - ideas outside of the box will be needed.




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bicparker
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/07/05

Loc: Texas Hill Country
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: csrlice12]
      #5955995 - 07/05/13 12:03 PM

I would second what Don P. said about estimations of market size. This is a tough industry to measure (since most of the companies are private) and such measurements are often based on estimates derived from multiple indirect measures.

I read the IBISWorld report estimate a few months ago (this is the one quoted in the LATimes) and I'm not sure whether they have really accounted for all telescope manufacturing sources in a solid representative manner (i.e., dob makers, discount telescopes, other accessory manufacturers worldwide, imaging components, telescope software and computer accessories, etc.). They included a total of 21 companies, but we know that is a pretty small number compared to what is out there. This is important because just a few million dollars difference from an underreported segment in that report would changed its context altogether (i.e., the industry is growing or flat).


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
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Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: bicparker]
      #5956000 - 07/05/13 12:06 PM

Bic,

As always, an informative and rational response. I too find it remarkable there is even such a thing as a board recommendation and a shareholder vote for a collective $4 million. Didn't Robin Williams or someone like that just sell a house for three times that?

Anyway, I have heard a number for the total value of the market from back in the day when Meade was mighty and LX200s were half the systems at any given star party which was much higher than the LA Times article numbers. The only modern numbers are the ones in the article.

I must say I like the $500 million much more. In any case, how do we set up a stargazing Justin Bieber to move opinion. Or who knows, now that I take a moment to rub my hands together and produce a sinister smile, I wonder if someone could be turned to the dark sky.

-Rich


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rmollise
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/06/07

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5956083 - 07/05/13 01:14 PM

Quote:


So, reluctantly, I am forced to conclude the folks posting here about a 10 year decline are right. The data says 2.9%/year during that time.

-Rich




Due to a poorly researched article by a Times staffer who may or may not know much about the corporate food chain but clearly doesn't know anything about amateur astronomy and didn't bother to find out?

An insightful quote from this goober? "People no longer hold stargazing parties."

Goob didn't bother to talk to any amateurs. Or find anything out about our avocation or its current status. I would bet my bottom dollar that he asked a Meade corporate drone why they were on the rocks, and the answer was, "It's not anything WE did...amateur astronomy is dead. Why we ran this company like a well-oiled machine."


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5956086 - 07/05/13 01:14 PM

Quote:

As a matter of fact, StarWalk, thetop astronomy app on iOS (and I believe overall) has NO telescope control.




I would guess that Google Skymap might be in the running with over 10,000,000 downloads.

But I have to think the most popular astronomy app has little to do with the apps that committed astronomers who actually own telescopes are using. App purchases are an indication of a passing casual interest.

As far as market analysis and a reported drop. How much of that drop can be accounted for by the drop in Meade's sales?

I agree with Don... I look around, each and every year I see more products, better products.. someone is buying them, driving the interest among manufactures and vendors.

It maybe that with manufacturing shifted out of the United States, the sales figures are affected. Meade's $130M would probably represent world wide sales...

Jon


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pfile
Post Laureate


Reged: 06/14/09

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5956122 - 07/05/13 01:47 PM

for some reason, back in 1997 i bought 100 shares of meade. of course now i have 10 shares after the reverse split.

i just got a tender offer in my brokerage account from MIT capital for $3.65/share. since we're talking about 36 bucks here i really don't care what happens either way. i feel like declining the offer since there's some suspicion about MIT's motives.

not that withholding my 10 shares will have any effect on the outcome, though.

i assume this means that meade has made it's decision?

Edited by pfile (07/05/13 01:54 PM)


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bicparker
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/07/05

Loc: Texas Hill Country
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: pfile]
      #5956149 - 07/05/13 02:14 PM

No, it means that MIT Cap made a public tender offer bypassing Meade management. This offer went straight to your broker and they have now given it to you. That is what a tender offer like this is. Meade's management is out of the loop on this deal and that is why they are asking shareholders to hold off until they make their decision (on Monday).

As I said in one of my prior posts:
2. Meade's announcement that they are looking at MIT Cap's offer and please-don't-sell-your-stock-to-them-in-the-meantime simply means: 1. We have to make this filing response to cover ourselves under the SEC rules and because our D&O insurance said we had to, and 2. We (Meade's Management and Board) don't want to be dealt out of this game.

Also bear in mind that whatever Meade may decide could be moot if the shareholders at large decide to accept MIT Cap's public offer.

Edited by bicparker (07/05/13 02:15 PM)


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pfile
Post Laureate


Reged: 06/14/09

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: bicparker]
      #5956153 - 07/05/13 02:17 PM

okay thanks, too much in this thread, i missed your point #2 above.

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