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Telrad Finder

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The Telrad is one of those things thats been around for quite a while because, well, it just works. I had a Telrad on my old 12" newt, and it was the only way I could find anything. The unit under test is mounted on a 10" Meade SCT.

Mounting is pretty simple, using double sided tape that is pre-applied to the Telrad. Just peel off the paper strips and stick it down. I found that it's best to lean the device on the long edge until you have it lined up as square as possible to the main tube. Then rock it down onto the tape. If you mess it up you can always pull it off and get a roll of double-sided tape at the office supply store for another attempt. Then just load it up with two AA batteries, and you're ready to go.

The Telrad is easily aligned to the main scope using three little screws on the back. There's a removeable base that lets you take the device off so that your scope fits in its case, and the collamation holds pretty well between sessions. Once you have the Telrad pointing at something, there's an adjustment lever for brightness.

Since I have goto, I don't really use the Telrad for star-hopping to objects. However there are two other uses where the Telrad proves invaluable. The first is during Autostar alignment. As Meade owners know, the initial alignment stars are often quite a ways from the field of view. The telrad allows these stars to be easily seen and brought into the field of view of the regular finder and the main scope.

The second use is finding visual objects without without using goto. It is very easy to line up the moon, planets, M42 etc. and get them into the field of a low power eyepiece very quickly. Of course I also want to learn star-hopping with the 4 degree, 2 degree and 1/2 degree circles on the reticle.

There are a couple of (minor) potential problems with the Telrad. One is that it is very easy to leave the power on and potentially kill the batteries. There is no timed "auto off" like so many of the microprocessor-equipped gadgets of today. And once with my old scope I "swept through" the sun (not while looking through the eyepiece!) at a star party and permanently burned the Telrad reticle. This doesn't really affect function much, but it looks ugly.


The Telrad works as advertised...easy to mount, east to use...all in all a very handy gizmo for any scope that has enough surface area to mount the base.


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