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A Resurgence of Simple Telescopes?

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#1 trainsktg

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 09:06 PM

I've been wondering why classic scopes seem to be drawing more and more people to them lately. I noticed in this month's S&T that Orion and Celestron have full paged ads introducing new lines of refractors and Newtonians on simple alt-az and equatorial mounts. These setups aren't uncommon in their respective catalogs, but I don't believe I've seen them advertised in this way in the pages of S&T. Is it possible that people are becoming frustrated with technology as a whole, and don't want to start another hobby involving more gadgets? Are people becoming tired of lugging around batteries and inverters? Is it possible that people actually want to observe and not fight with their equipment? Regardless of the reason(s), it seems manufacturers see a need for good quality scopes that are easy to use, something that we classicphiles have apparently seen all along.

Keith

#2 Glassthrower

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 10:02 PM

For what I just spent on my old black Vixen SP mount with illuminated polar finder, I could have bought an introductory-level GoTo mount head. But I like the idea of fully-functional manual setting circles, and the ability to find objects using coordinates alone. I plan on observing from some really remote areas in the future, and electrical power will be nonexistent or at a premium.

Also, I think it is probably cheaper from a manufacturing standpoint to make a bunch of silicon chips than it is to make precision gears and machined parts. :shrug:

Viva la old school!

MikeG

#3 BHunt

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 10:33 PM

I am new to this but find it a challenge to locate an object in the sky. Its a hunt and thats the fun of it. Anybody can push a button.
Bill :refractor: :watching:

#4 Wilsonman

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 10:36 PM

I have the Meade 6" achro mounted on LXD75 mount and while I'm happy with this set-up, I'd love to get a suitable Alt-AZ for the scope as well. Trouble is, for this size scope there are no good economical alt-Az mounts available for under $700, including tripod. (at least, I'm not aware of any)

#5 Glassthrower

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 10:44 PM

(not to hijack, just a quick suggestion)

Wilsonman -

Have you consider a fork mounting of some type?

Regards,

MikeG

#6 Nutcase1105

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 11:39 PM

I am new to this but find it a challenge to find a object in the sky. Its a hunt and thats the fun of it. Anybody can push a button.
Bill :refractor: :watching:


I totaly agree, the hunt is the best part. :yay:

#7 trainsktg

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 12:51 AM

I have the Meade 6" achro mounted on LXD75 mount and while I'm happy with this set-up, I'd love to get a suitable Alt-AZ for the scope as well. Trouble is, for this size scope there are no good economical alt-Az mounts available for under $700, including tripod. (at least, I'm not aware of any)


Have you considered ATMing an alt-az mount? Richard Berry's book Building Your Own Telescope has a how-to on building a sturdy wooden mount that can even handle an 8" f12 or larger. I've seen one this built to this size by Kreig McBride at Table Mountain Star Party. It can also be seen on page 276 of ATMJ Volume 1.

Keith

#8 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 06:59 AM

>>>Regardless of the reason(s), it seems manufacturers see a need for good quality scopes that are easy to use, something that we classicphiles have apparently seen all along.

Keith
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Keith:

These scopes have always been around. Celestron has just recently upgraded the CG-4 mount (Orion Astroview EQ-3)which includes stainless steel legs, changed the paint schemes and called them XLTs. Orion is selling some of their stuff on the Vixen Porta mount, probably the result of the changing Vixen's changing US distributors. For example they put the Space Probe 130ST on the Porta mount, it costs aroud $500.

As far as simple scopes drawing attention, DOBs would pretty much seem to be the focus of this market. There is not really anything simpler than a DOB, for those of us who think Simple is Elegent, nothing quite competes with a DOB. At this moment, Keep It Simple Stupid jon has a pair of 6 inchers as well as 8, 10, 12.5 and 16 inch DOBs.

Personally I am a confirmed Starhopper, I bought an ASGT not for the GOTO but for those 2 inch stainless steel legs and the responsive drives. The old drives with the 8x or 16x max speed just don't get it.

But I also realize not everyone enjoys Starhopping and/or just meandering around the sky taking in the view like a walk in the park. GOTO/Push To is a very reasonable solution for people who find Starhopping a task rather than a treat.

The way I look at it, some people like the complex, some like the simple, there is room for both. The important thing is to know which it is you like and choose your poison accordingly.

Jon

#9 Jae

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 08:16 AM

I am new to this but find it a challenge to locate an object in the sky. Its a hunt and thats the fun of it. Anybody can push a button.
Bill :refractor: :watching:


Hey, is it also the hunt for classic scopes that's the fun of it ? Anyone can order from a store, assuming one can afford it, even a fine high tech scope but that's not as much fun as hunting for what you can't buy... :lol:


Jae

#10 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 10:27 PM

>>>Hey, is it also the hunt for classic scopes that's the fun of it ? Anyone can order from a store, assuming one can afford it, even a fine high tech scope but that's not as much fun as hunting for what you can't buy...

Jae
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How very true. Every find is a story in itself. When I was growing up I spent a lot of time hunting and fishing. There was pond on the property and lots of terrain for rabbits.

These days I hunt old telescopes and roam the night sky in search of interesting targets. Going to the store or having a computer find it for you is just not as satifying.

jon

#11 Wilsonman

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 10:51 PM

Wilsonman -

Have you consider a fork mounting of some type?

Glassthrower, Thanks for the suggestion- that could be a possibility.
Trainsktg mentioned ATMing my own- I also appreciate that suggestion as well. If I attempted that, I probably wouldn't be happy with the results, being of limited skills with fabrication, tooling, etc. In the end I'll probably settle for a smaller refractor, (4 or 5 inch) which I can mount easier than the 6" Meade beast. The point is, along with the original thinking of the thread, is that in my incipient dotage, I want to get back to a simpler way of observing without relying on GoTo or even equitorial mounting.




:grin:

#12 trainsktg

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 12:42 AM

having a computer find it for you is just not as satifying.


Who's seen that new point-and-shoot handheld tachometer-looking thing in the latest Meade ad in S&T? There is no way you can learn anything with that.

Real learning comes from trying to collate Moon images in your refractor's eyepiece with those in your Lunar Atlas' that were taken with a reflector, trying to starhop to a faint fuzzy you haven't seen before, or even identifying constellation outlines through sucker holes.

I'm sorry, I'm not that old (I'm not even a Boomer), but this reliance on technology for a hobby that is about learning is getting way too out of hand. :ranting:

Keith

#13 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 06:28 AM

>>>I'm sorry, I'm not that old (I'm not even a Boomer), but this reliance on technology for a hobby that is about learning is getting way too out of hand.

Keith
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Keith:

Here's the way I look at it:

This is a hobby, it's about having fun. If someone enjoys GOTO it is fine with me because they are out under the night sky having a good time. So I am OK with it.

On the other hand, if you asked me if I though people who started out with a fancy GOTO scope were likely to be still out there looking with the same passion and enthusiasm 10 years later, I would guess they wouldn't be, more likely it would be a "Done that one".

IMHO, this is a hobby of subtle thrills and to really have the passion grow so that becomes more exciting as the years pass, one has to be very patient.

A GOTO scope can point you to a target but it cannot provide the years of eyepiece time that it takes to develop the skills necessary to really see a target.

That's my two cents

jon

#14 clintwhitman

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 06:46 PM

One thing I will say about goto scope and lights from the city. When I am at Pinos or in the desert. I love finding what I am looking for its fun! But in the city where you can barely make out Ursa major and sometime spliting polairis is hard Goto takes alot of the frustration out of finding things. Also there two completly diferent aspects of the hobby Goto and getting all working perfect is as much fun somtime as finding the crab or the ring. At leact thats what I think. In any case there both so easy a caveman can do it,,,,,,

#15 Vesper818

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 10:29 PM

On the other hand, if you asked me if I though people who started out with a fancy GOTO scope were likely to be still out there looking with the same passion and enthusiasm 10 years later, I would guess they wouldn't be, more likely it would be a "Done that one".

IMHO, this is a hobby of subtle thrills and to really have the passion grow so that becomes more exciting as the years pass, one has to be very patient.

That's my two cents

jon



Your two cents is grant wisdom in any endeavor, Jon... it rings true not only with in astronomy.... but in marriage

Guess I am "that old" enough of a boomer, to appreciate this.


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