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"Non-astronomy" equipment adapted for astronomy?

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1051 replies to this topic

#1051 Chris Y

Chris Y


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  • Posts: 38
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2018
  • Loc: Bortle 7 - Wichita, Kansas, USA

Posted 03 September 2019 - 12:19 AM

To keep the finder scope secure in the rings and not allow it to slip fore and aft or turn in the rings, I used aluminum muffler tape.  Each end has five or six layers wrapped around the scope.  The width at the ocular end is 3/16" wide, and the width at the objective is 1/2" wide.  This is spaced to fit the ring spacing on my Explore Scientific standard height finder scope rings.

The nylon tips of the adjustment screws make small indentations in the layered aluminum.  After aligning the finder scope with the muffler tape in place, I recapped the lenses, removed the finder from the Mak, and returned it to it's spot in the scope case.  I repeated the process five or six times, and the point of aim never changed.  The muffler tape also added the extra surface height needed to crank down the adjustment screws nice and tight, so that was a bonus too.


Muffler Tape Finder Scope
Edit: Corrected "5" to "five", changed "allowed" to "added".

Edited by Chris Y, 03 September 2019 - 02:40 PM.

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#1052 SamplingNature


    Vostok 1

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  • Joined: 16 Jun 2019
  • Loc: Pittsburgh

Posted Yesterday, 12:02 PM

Aside from my scope itself (Meade ETX-80), zoom eyepiece and Barlow, almost my entire observing kit is cobbled together from non-astro equipment. My first kit for many years, I'm setting it up to be entirely grab-and-go.

My binoculars (Nikon Aculon 10x42) are primarily marketed to hunters/birders. My gear bag is a sling bag for range shooters.

My red lights are Duracell branded LED headlamps set up for the red light to come on on the first click of the power button. Additionally, I carry three red LED wand lights ($1 each at Walmart) as marker lights for tripod, gear bags, hazards, etc.

For initial setup, I carry a carpenter's bullseye level for my tripod and two line levels for my OTA. I also use an orienteering compass (adjustable for declination).

I power my scope with a 12v Talentcell battery marketed primarily to the theatre and A/V market. It and my Audiostar handset are attached to my mount via 3M "Dual Lock" adhesive patches (think velcro on steroids).

Both of my finders are actually gun sights. My green laser mounts to a Weaver plate attached directly to my OTA with Gorilla Mounting Tape so it's low-profile.

Last night, I added a rifle dot scope. At $40, it's about the same overall size as the lower-end red dot sights/finders, but far more robust. The housing is metal, and the LED projector is fully encapsulated. It's shape will allow me to wrap it in a Hot Hands chemical hand warmer if needed to ward off dew. The light output is variable, and I can choose between red, green and blue. It mounts to the riser that shipped with my telescope.

The zeroing mechanism for both finders is enclosed and designed to handle some recoil, so they should hold alignment better than a lot of the astro-specific options.

I'll also be using hand warmers held in place with velcro straps around the objective cell, eyepiece and finder to stave off dew.

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