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Equipment Discussions >> Cats & Casses

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Stew57
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/03/09

Loc: Silsbee Texas
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Glen A W]
      #5987474 - 07/24/13 08:11 AM

The one scope I wished they had saved is the ETX125. They should have dropped the mount and sold it as an OTA. Seems there is not a lot of competition at that price point and it always seemed to have great optics.

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rmollise
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5987529 - 07/24/13 09:02 AM

Quote:

At ages 5 and 7, that goes quite a ways, though.






But it's not (many) 5 and 7 year olds buying go-to SCTs.







Edited by rmollise (07/24/13 09:03 AM)


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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Glen A W]
      #5987531 - 07/24/13 09:05 AM

Quote:

The biggest trouble I can see faced by Meade or any company like it is that no matter what electronics are attached to the scope to point it, it still delivers pretty much the same thing as telescopes have delivered for several centuries - and that is not enough for most people in the general public to spend very much money.




And yet, people still get excited by amateur astronomy and still come to it like they always have. Why is that?


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Jon Isaacs
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Reged: 06/16/04

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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Glen A W]
      #5987553 - 07/24/13 09:27 AM

Quote:


The biggest trouble I can see faced by Meade or any company like it is that no matter what electronics are attached to the scope to point it, it still delivers pretty much the same thing as telescopes have delivered for several centuries - and that is not enough for most people in the general public to spend very much money




I have to think that a century ago, the choices an amateur had were limited in comparison to what is available today. Forget that it costs less than a month's wages for many people, a 16 inch Lightbridge, how many 16 inch Amateur telescopes were there in 1913?

And "most" people, most people will never participate. This is a small hobby so if one can increase the participation from 0.1% of the population to 0.15% of the population, that is a huge gain.

But the question is, can marketing really produce more amateur astronomers, bring people to the hobby?

I think so.. Orion seems to reach out and understand how to connect in a serious way, beyond the Meade model of selling a bunch of really cheap scope and making a bundle off the volume while ignoring the "turn off to the hobby" factor of these scopes.

The lesson here is that a private company is not at the will and whim of the stockholders, a private company can make long term decisions.. Stockholders tend to be "what have you done for me today."

Jon


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csrlice12
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5987629 - 07/24/13 10:23 AM

When your focus becomes profit and not product/customer service, it's on a downhill road......

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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: rmollise]
      #5987634 - 07/24/13 10:26 AM

Oooh that Uncle Rod!

Just yesterday a mentor of mine told me I really need to know the plural of "Nemesis."

-Rich

Quote:

Quote:

At ages 5 and 7, that goes quite a ways, though.






But it's not (many) 5 and 7 year olds buying go-to SCTs.










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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: csrlice12]
      #5987638 - 07/24/13 10:29 AM

More specifically, when you divide everything you do "Profit centers" and "Cost centers," and extracting money from customers fits in one and making them happy fits in the other, you're doomed.

-Rich

Quote:

When your focus becomes profit and not product/customer service, it's on a downhill road......




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mark379
sage
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Reged: 02/07/09

Loc: New Jersey
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5987668 - 07/24/13 10:52 AM

So, Any new News from Meade? Did the Sunny Buyout go through?

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csrlice12
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Reged: 05/22/12

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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: mark379]
      #5987674 - 07/24/13 10:58 AM

If it doesn't Meade will be just another name in a history book.......It'll be awhile yet before everything is hashed out, but Sunny is already providing funding to keep Meade up an running right now.....

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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: Starhawk]
      #5987679 - 07/24/13 11:01 AM

And on refractors, I would second the comments here. There are equivalents for less in the market, and ES has the virtue of not being in danger of going bankrupt in the next three months. And the Synta based SkyWatcher series and other EDs are no slouches, especially for the money.

And as for better, there is a broad range of better products out there, from onshore US sources AP and TEC, Tak in Japan, Taiwanese products like TMB, William Optics, and StellarVue, or from European sources like Office Stellare or APM.

Spacetravelerx, you should track some of these down and get a look through them. Leave the video eyepiece at home on your next star party outing.

And as for achromatic scopes, there are a lot of options, there- and this is Cats and Casses so I really need to stop this diversion, somewhere (sorry D&G).

Wow, it wasn't until I compiled that list that I realized just how far into the no man's land of overpriced mediocrity Meade's refractor lineup is. It's like Buick trying to offer V-twin motorcycles.

-Rich


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EFT
Vendor - Deep Space Products
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Reged: 05/07/07

Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5987680 - 07/24/13 11:02 AM

Quote:

EFT...

Have you tried the Meade Series 6000 ED APO Refractors?

Yes built in China and this model has a variation in Europe and elsewhere (Altair Wave I believe).

I have the Meade 6000 80mm APO. I dispute your claim the mechanics are subpar. Optics seem very good to me for the price. Yes, the high end and way more expensive models are built in house in the U.S. and Japan, but I did not find the leap in the systems worth the price or necessary for my requirements. And most folks could not afford those models. I think I read reviews in CN where the class of refractors Meade is in does compete very well.

Are you suggesting Meade compete at the very high end only? Or bail out? Can they build in-house for a price that will compete with Chinese manufacturers?

BTW - I don't think Meade ever made eyepieces in house, yet have sold them for eternity. Should they get out of the eyepiece biz too? I have to say I really like my HD-60s and UWA ep.

Yes, I do agree with the issue of Chinese manufacturers - this is really a bigger issue related to the entire industry. On the flip side most folks like the lower prices and China seems to be subsidizing our hobby.

Doesn't Synta/Celestron do the same practice you mention?

Should Orion also get out of this biz and build in house? Doesn't Astronomics also sub out the work to Chinese companies for some systems? Isn't China just dumping optics where ever they can?

Either way, most folks like lower cost so I can't see this model changing regretfully. And this is not a get rich business for the most part - the phrase others use, "Cottage Industry" fits it well. I think you are asking for major changes in the entire industry.


I do love my little Meade APO so much I am planning to pull the trigger and buy the 130mm APO from Meade when I am back from my next travel run. Folks seem very happy with this Telescope. Should I just buy it from China? Are there other very similar models AVAILABLE in this price/size? Most places seem to be out of stock. Of course based on my consulting rates, if I spent a lot of time hunting around that will be lost time/money and then it is just cheaper to get the Meade APO in the end. Reviews, pictures taken etc of this telescope seem quite good.




Wow, can you imagine that even though I don't have your vast wealth, I have tried and owned many more telescopes than you? Hard to believe isn't it? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm in the business and buy equipment for the express purpose of trying it out and in many cases determining how to improve it. There are certain refactors out there with good glass but in serious need of a focuser upgrade, particularly for those who want to do something other than glance through the scope with their eyeball now and then or run a vidcam on it.

For the price, the glass is fine, but as others point out, if you are a glass type aficionado then there are better alternatives out there. But I have no complains about the glass quality myself. However, in the scopes that I have owned and decided to keep because I like them so much, my WO110ZS with TMB optics was very good and comparatively cheap to other offerings. The WO110FLT that I switched to from there was much better mechanically with the same optics. The TMB130SS that I left the WOs for blows them away with top notch optics and the best mechanics for a very reasonable price in comparison to some of the more elite offerings that start to get truly expensive. That scope is essentially the same price as the one you want if you add the top-end focuser to it.

I am suggesting that Meade or whoever they end up being, stick with the SCT for their comparatively higher-end products where they have only one competitor. When you are in trouble like them, you shed things that don't make you as much and where there is a lot of other, and some better, competition.

Eyepieces are cheap accessories for Meade with good margins. While there is a lot of competition in this area, they can still sell large quantities at a good profit. That's not the same as the refractor market.

Of course Synta does the same, but they also make a lot in house and only sub out the pieces. That makes Celestron different than Meade. Even if Orion doesn't make a thing themselves, they are not going down the tubes like Meade so the difference is that they don't have to worry about changing what they are doing to stay alive right now.

You bet that China is dumping a lot of optics on the market like many other things. That's unfortunate for the competition, but since the quality is generally very good, it's great for the consumer. The very best optics are often still made elsewhere, but the differences are beyond many average observer's needs and means at that point.

I was certainly not suggesting a change to the entire industry. I was suggesting a change to a company that is all but DOA at this point.

We all know that you love every piece of Meade equipment out there and have the money to buy it all. But use mere mortals would have to ask way someone should purchase a relatively expensive piece of equipment from a company about to go under if they can buy something of equal or better value for a similar or better price from elsewhere as pointed out by other posters? It's your money to burn, but others don't have to burn it with you and not everyone is aware of what is happening with Meade. I just had a question the other day on the LX850 Yahoo group (that I own) from a relatively new LX850 owner who had no idea that Meade was in trouble. If your exorbitant billing rate means that you have to buy things from glossy ads only, that's your loss. Most of us prefer to do a little more research before we dump $3K on a luxury item to make sure that we are getting the most for our hard-earned dollar.

You need to join the new reality. Meade is dead. Long live the king or queen (whoever that may now be).


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EFT
Vendor - Deep Space Products
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Reged: 05/07/07

Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5987685 - 07/24/13 11:08 AM

Quote:

More specifically, when you divide everything you do "Profit centers" and "Cost centers," and extracting money from customers fits in one and making them happy fits in the other, you're doomed.

-Rich

Quote:

When your focus becomes profit and not product/customer service, it's on a downhill road......







That's the better summary. In this industry, a company that doesn't concentrate on products, service AND profit is may be in trouble. The reality is that profit is important (just ask Meade) and without it you truly are doomed. Some companies to all or some of those things better than others.


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Spacetravelerx
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Glen A W]
      #5987726 - 07/24/13 11:41 AM

Quote:

The biggest trouble I can see faced by Meade or any company like it is that no matter what electronics are attached to the scope to point it, it still delivers pretty much the same thing as telescopes have delivered for several centuries - and that is not enough for most people in the general public to spend very much money.

Most people would be hard-pressed to spend $300 on a telescope. The ETX-80 which you can get for that is not the worst but it's not enough to hold interest for most people. And then when it points to a star in Cassiopeia during the alignment, and the new user can't tell which of those five stars the scope is pointing at, because they are all the same brightness and the tube is so short and there's no finder - now, how long is this going to be entertaining?

There are those who will become so involved in the equipment that they will enjoy the hobby, but I think it is safe to say that it is a very small segment of the general population. And a lot of what is in amateur astronomy today is just like the rest of society - people pecking on machines like they are on speed, and seemingly getting little out of the actual purpose of the activity. But I suppose, if it suits them, then it has its own purpose for them. But I often feel like I want to stay far far away from these walking talking caffeinated energy drinks.

Most people are interested in "space" and "the Universe." But amateur astronomy is not the same thing as all that. Clubs would do better on their outreach if they would stress these general topics and not "amateur astronomy," which so often means "telescope consuming and obsessing." I think some people in this hobby have no concept of how it is viewed by the public. The public also likes mythology which is attached to the constellations, and astrology. A company which wants to grow large and become more than a cottage industry should look into all this.

Meade had a lot of marketing, but it was not so intelligent as some say. Not compared, say, to Edmund fifty years ago, which obviously understood what a more general swath of the public wanted. GW






Glen - Very well put.

I can't tell you how much our family spent when I was a kid at Edmund. We even visited the place! It was like the Mecca for kid scientists every where.

And yes, I find way more kids are interested in Cosmology than basic astronomy.

Very good post.


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Spacetravelerx
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5987791 - 07/24/13 12:26 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I have the Meade 6000 80mm APO. I dispute your claim the mechanics are subpar. Optics seem very good to me for the price. Yes, the high end and way more expensive models are built in house in the U.S. and Japan, but I did not find the leap in the systems worth the price or necessary for my requirements. And most folks could not afford those models. I think I read reviews in CN where the class of refractors Meade is in does compete very well.




Andrew:

Of Meade's three current ED/apo refractors, the 80mm F/6 FPL-53 Triplet appears to be the best value as well as the best scope. But it costs $1000 where as the same basic scope but with a carbon fiber tube costs $850 from Orion. That's a tough sell for Meade. They may have a reputation of SCTs but in the refractor world, Orion has been a leader in bringing affordable apo's to the amateur community and Orion does have a reputation for excellent customer service.

The two larger Meade Series 6000 ED/apo's both use the Chinese HK-61 which is very similar in properties if not quality to FPL-51. This is the less expensive ED glass, doesn't have the desirable properties of FPL-53.

As Greg pointed out, the ES-127 with optics that should be very similar to the Meade 130 is $1300 less. But even more surprising is the fact that the ES-127 is $300 less than the Meade 115.

I think the refractor marketplace is unique, there are small companies that specialize in bringing the Asian scopes to the marketplace, these companies have reputations and a customer base that Meade just does not have. People pay big money for these scopes. When you look at the specs and see a 130mm ED/apo scope for $3000 it looks attractive compared to something like the 130 TMB that costs $4000. But when you figure out that the TMB was designed by Thomas Back but it uses top of the line FPL-53 rather than Chinese HK-61, suddenly it doesn't seem like such a great value and then when you figure out that ES is offering the 127 for considerably less, well, it's a hard sell.

This is market Meade has always struggled in and one that they seem poorly suited for. Customers are picky and knowledgeable, they know the buzzwords...

Jon





Good pointers Jon,

Actually I have been doing a bit of research in this area - specs wise, pictures taken, customer comments, etc.

But as Rich points out, it is best this is covered in the "Refractors" area, and I will. I was pointing out I was a satisfied customer with the 80mm from Meade, and folks have taken some nice pictures with them.

So back to Meade and "Cats & Casses"...except for one more comment.....


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Spacetravelerx
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: EFT]
      #5987824 - 07/24/13 01:10 PM

.....Yes EFT, though I am a mega-millionaire watching the little folks from above, I have lived in isolation with Meade. Alas, I never saw a need to own lot's o' telescopes. Seemed lame to me.

And you also nailed it - I am the King of glossy ads. I love them! When I purchased my sailboat, the winner was the one with the BEST glossy ads. Sails too - best racing ads convinced me to buy from that vendor. We have done well racing, so the ads must have been right, right?

And when I purchased my plane, it was glossy ads all the way baby. Cessna has some slick ads, and a REAL slick web site. Sold me!

When purchasing the family home my wife just had the Real Estate agent send her glossy pictures. The home with the best pitch won!

Research, Smesearch...who needs that! I saw that glossy ad for the LX850, and I said lets do it...on the spot!

I won't buy from you...you don't have the best glossy ads. Now if you had a babe in a bikini holding that new OAG, NOW were talking!

-----------------------------------


But in all seriousness, I agree with everyone going public was the kiss of death for Meade. The initial folks going in made out like bandits, but Meade in many ways lost its direction.

Still, I like Meade. Thet have great customer service (Carlos and company are great!), and their equipment has worked for me since 1975. Do I purchase from other vendors? Yes, but I have a degree of loyalty, though not to the point buying blindly. I just purchased a Manfrotto mount and head. Really good stuff, btw. (AND really good glossy ads and website. Just sayin'...).

And as an entrepreneur, I find the Meade situation fascinating and an interesting case study. I for one am rooting for them. They are clearly the underdog. I am depressed though they will soon be part of the Chinese envelope. Not because I hate China, but just the overall trend for our hobby.

Orion? I am mixed on them. Lets just leave it at that.

BTW - I love Visual, Video and regular AP, plus other areas of astronomy (astronomical spectroscopy for one). There is other areas I work with optically, but it is way beyond the scope of this topic and price range, but this is for work. I do notice in this hobby some speak with distain on the Video astronomy side. Curious. Very curious. (Vidcams are nice EFT, they really are. And it addresses a market need).


ETX-125: I agree with others this should be brought back, and should have evolved vs. vanish. Another reason this was a success for Meade is BIRD WATCHERS bought this thing! I know several who purchased an ETX for looking at wildlife (all models of ETX). Nothing to do with Astronomy.


Oh well, back to the Meade buyout, merger, etc.


Oh, P.S. - Greg: The number of posts have picked up because it has been CLOUDY EVERY NIGHT IN NEW MEXICO! I have concluded the summer monsoon season is the worst for observing down here. No matter, I am traveling soon - work, speaking tour and mountain climbing. I pray for a clear day in California, Oregon, and Utah. Yeah, clear day in Oregon Hahahahahahaha (I lived there for 6 years).








Quote:



Wow, can you imagine that even though I don't have your vast wealth, I have tried and owned many more telescopes than you? Hard to believe isn't it? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm in the business and buy equipment for the express purpose of trying it out and in many cases determining how to improve it. There are certain refactors out there with good glass but in serious need of a focuser upgrade, particularly for those who want to do something other than glance through the scope with their eyeball now and then or run a vidcam on it.

For the price, the glass is fine, but as others point out, if you are a glass type aficionado then there are better alternatives out there. But I have no complains about the glass quality myself. However, in the scopes that I have owned and decided to keep because I like them so much, my WO110ZS with TMB optics was very good and comparatively cheap to other offerings. The WO110FLT that I switched to from there was much better mechanically with the same optics. The TMB130SS that I left the WOs for blows them away with top notch optics and the best mechanics for a very reasonable price in comparison to some of the more elite offerings that start to get truly expensive. That scope is essentially the same price as the one you want if you add the top-end focuser to it.

I am suggesting that Meade or whoever they end up being, stick with the SCT for their comparatively higher-end products where they have only one competitor. When you are in trouble like them, you shed things that don't make you as much and where there is a lot of other, and some better, competition.

Eyepieces are cheap accessories for Meade with good margins. While there is a lot of competition in this area, they can still sell large quantities at a good profit. That's not the same as the refractor market.

Of course Synta does the same, but they also make a lot in house and only sub out the pieces. That makes Celestron different than Meade. Even if Orion doesn't make a thing themselves, they are not going down the tubes like Meade so the difference is that they don't have to worry about changing what they are doing to stay alive right now.

You bet that China is dumping a lot of optics on the market like many other things. That's unfortunate for the competition, but since the quality is generally very good, it's great for the consumer. The very best optics are often still made elsewhere, but the differences are beyond many average observer's needs and means at that point.

I was certainly not suggesting a change to the entire industry. I was suggesting a change to a company that is all but DOA at this point.

We all know that you love every piece of Meade equipment out there and have the money to buy it all. But use mere mortals would have to ask way someone should purchase a relatively expensive piece of equipment from a company about to go under if they can buy something of equal or better value for a similar or better price from elsewhere as pointed out by other posters? It's your money to burn, but others don't have to burn it with you and not everyone is aware of what is happening with Meade. I just had a question the other day on the LX850 Yahoo group (that I own) from a relatively new LX850 owner who had no idea that Meade was in trouble. If your exorbitant billing rate means that you have to buy things from glossy ads only, that's your loss. Most of us prefer to do a little more research before we dump $3K on a luxury item to make sure that we are getting the most for our hard-earned dollar.

You need to join the new reality. Meade is dead. Long live the king or queen (whoever that may now be).




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Whichwayisnorth
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 07/04/11

Loc: Southern California
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5987860 - 07/24/13 01:49 PM

Clear for me tonight! At least I think so. Big moon shining on me though I am going to give my lawn some extra water this morning so I can leave the sprinklers off for a few days and see what I can do as far as testing goes.

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galaxy_jason
Vendor


Reged: 05/22/07

Loc: Texas
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Glen A W]
      #5987864 - 07/24/13 01:54 PM

Quote:

The biggest trouble I can see faced by Meade or any company like it is that no matter what electronics are attached to the scope to point it, it still delivers pretty much the same thing as telescopes have delivered for several centuries - and that is not enough for most people in the general public to spend very much money.
GW




Glen,
Well put. One other factor, the hobby has mostly been driven by baby boomers who are children of the space race. That generation is aging and there is waning interest in the younger generation. Star parties see fewer and fewer young people. This is true of other tech hobbies like rocketry as well.

The companies that survive will need to figure out how to compete for a piece of a smaller pie.


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gmartin02
professor emeritus
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Reged: 04/11/05

Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5987873 - 07/24/13 02:01 PM

Quote:

Oh, P.S. - Greg: The number of posts have picked up because it has been CLOUDY EVERY NIGHT IN NEW MEXICO! I have concluded the summer monsoon season is the worst for observing down here. No matter, I am traveling soon - work, speaking tour and mountain climbing. I pray for a clear day in California, Oregon, and Utah. Yeah, clear day in Oregon Hahahahahahaha (I lived there for 6 years).




Andrew,

We had our first clear night here in a week here last night - the monsoon weather has been spilling over into our area, so visual & AP were on hold until the next moon cycle.

Speaking of good Meade products, I have a PST, and I just got a Lodestar mono guiding camera, which I am going to try to use on the PST for solar imaging (assuming the sun stays out of the clouds).

Greg


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5987878 - 07/24/13 02:04 PM

Andrew,

If one is trying to turn people off, I think the above post belongs in a HOW TO manual.

OK, so you've found a way to get the open money spigot to stop at your door. That's great for you. But if you really are in the buying sailboat and airplane class consumer, you're buying the wrong astro gear. Just saying.

And while I'm just saying, video astronomy isn't a stressing case for a telescope mount. A dobsonian with no drive whatsoever is adequate for video astronomy. No one with any knowledge of the technical issues is impressed by saying something works for video astronomy. If it can stand under its own weight, it will work for video astronomy.

And the discussion about glossies is going beyond the pale. Ignorance of what else is in the market is hardly a reason to beam high-handed contempt at everyone else on CN.

Others value their less luxurious quantities of leisure time differently, and with much more ordinary paychecks have figured out how to get the best gear there is.

You have a champaign budget and you drink MGD because of the glossies, and you want to tell everyone else to do the


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
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Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) *DELETED* [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5987880 - 07/24/13 02:05 PM

Post deleted by Starhawk

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