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Parks Telescopes

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#1 lunar

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 08:12 PM

I was wondering if anyone has a Parks Telescope. I'm one of those people who can't get over some of the cheep plastic telescopes that are manufactured today, and as the only option I think that pure metal and other great materials are great. I also love that rustic, retro look that Parks gives their telescopes. I was wondering if anyone out there owns one, and how good they are. Another question of mine about them is, do they work? And how easy are they to use?

#2 coopman

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 08:50 PM

Do a search on the reflectors forum for "Parks" to find some past threads about them.

#3 cildarith

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 09:54 AM

I'm happy with mine.

#4 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 11:29 AM

I was wondering if anyone has a Parks Telescope. I'm one of those people who can't get over some of the cheep plastic telescopes that are manufactured today, and as the only option I think that pure metal and other great materials are great. I also love that rustic, retro look that Parks gives their telescopes. I was wondering if anyone out there owns one, and how good they are. Another question of mine about them is, do they work? And how easy are they to use?


There are plenty of telescopes today that have no plastic...

If you like the retro-look of a larger equatorially mounted Newtonian, I suggest trying one out first. They have their ups and downs, I mean that literally and figuratively. Literally because with a 12.5 inch, you will be spending some time on a ladder. Figuratively because they have their high points and their low points... I don't know if the Parks come standard with rotating rings, I don't think they do...

Those Retro Newtonians, that is how they all used to be. I have one, similar to the Parks. There is a reason they called it the Dobsonian revolution, a 12.5 inch Dob is a lot easier to use than a 12.5 inch on a GEM.

Jon Isaacs

#5 David Knisely

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 12:54 PM

Some of the Parks Newtonians do come with rotating rings while others have rings that can allow the scope to be turned, but not easily. However, the mounts are somewhat of a "classical beast", as they are heavy GEMs with solid steel shafts. Clear skies to you.

#6 lunar

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 07:38 PM

The thing is, when I go to college, I'd like somewhat of a better telescope than I'm looking through right now, not size, I'm kind of anxious to get into the scopes that track the sky as the Earth rotates. I like the design, and the quality of the Parks telescopes. I know that those mounts are over 125 lbs., but trust me, I'm a person who's very relentless, and won't let the weight of a mount stop me from getting to an observing location.

#7 Dr Morbius

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 09:55 PM

Hey Brandon, don't forget a Brandon eyepiece to go with your Parks! :grin:

#8 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 06:04 AM

The thing is, when I go to college, I'd like somewhat of a better telescope than I'm looking through right now, not size, I'm kind of anxious to get into the scopes that track the sky as the Earth rotates. I like the design, and the quality of the Parks telescopes. I know that those mounts are over 125 lbs., but trust me, I'm a person who's very relentless, and won't let the weight of a mount stop me from getting to an observing location.


If you want a tracking mount, consider an Equatorial platform for your 10 inch Orion Dob. This will allow you to track objects without all the complications of an Equatorial mount.

Jon

#9 JayKSC

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 09:54 AM

Brandon,

I'm known to be fairly determined and relentless, but on a night with clear skies when you're feeling a bit tired, a heavy mount can readily turn a scope into more of a dust-collector. I think Parks sells their optical tubes separate from mounts. It might be a better option to go with one of their optical tubes and something like a SkyView Pro mount or the deluxe version. It should be a little more portable. I used to have an old early 80's Meade reflector with the "retro" equatorial mount. Wow, that thing was a beast to transport.

- Jay
South Florida

#10 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 11:57 AM

Brandon,

I'm known to be fairly determined and relentless, but on a night with clear skies when you're feeling a bit tired, a heavy mount can readily turn a scope into more of a dust-collector. I think Parks sells their optical tubes separate from mounts. It might be a better option to go with one of their optical tubes and something like a SkyView Pro mount or the deluxe version. It should be a little more portable. I used to have an old early 80's Meade reflector with the "retro" equatorial mount. Wow, that thing was a beast to transport.

- Jay
South Florida


I can second that... I have two 12.5 inch Newtonians, one is a Dob, one is one of those 1980 retro scopes. The Retro Rig weighs right at 300lbs, it takes me 4 or 5 minutes to roll it out of the garage and set it up but in the 3 years I have had it, it has never gone further than the front driveway.

The 12.5 inch Dob, now a Truss scope, it takes up the seat space of 1 person and has been all over the southwest.

Jon

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#11 deSitter

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 12:01 PM

Wow nice team! Is it a Meade RG?

-drl

#12 lunar

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 01:18 PM

I've got to say that you have some beautiful telescopes Mr. Isaacs, and I think you all have changed my mind a little bit, maybe it is a better idea to just get a heavy duty clock driven mount for my 10" reflector that I already have, but I don't like the looks of the price tag on the celestron mounts, and the Orion mounts I think really aren't made for that kind of a job. Any suggestions?

Maybe when I get out of college and get a job (and maybe a house) I'll get one of those retro behemoths, since I could provide a permanant location for it. :)

#13 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 02:25 PM

I've got to say that you have some beautiful telescopes Mr. Isaacs, and I think you all have changed my mind a little bit, maybe it is a better idea to just get a heavy duty clock driven mount for my 10" reflector that I already have, but I don't like the looks of the price tag on the celestron mounts, and the Orion mounts I think really aren't made for that kind of a job. Any suggestions?

Maybe when I get out of college and get a job (and maybe a house) I'll get one of those retro behemoths, since I could provide a permanant location for it. :)


I would recommend an Equatorial Platform. You set your DOB on an Equatorial platform and it will track for about an hour, then you reset it and go for another hour. They are only a few inches tall, you retain the compactness and stability of a dob while gaining the ability to track.

These are the best:
Tom O's EQ Platforms

Look at it so you see how they work but they are not cheap. You can find them used and you can even make them yourself for under $100 in parts.

Jon

#14 Bill Weir

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 04:36 PM

Perhaps this is metal retro looking enough for you. f/5 25" all metal construction. You are only seeing about 2/3 of the OTA. Standing on the ladder trying to point this scope at an object high in the sky is a trip. While doing so you hope not to take one. ; )

Bill

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#15 azure1961p

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 06:43 PM

I would recommend an Equatorial Platform. ack.


Excellent recommendation...I have no idea why these arent nearly standard at this point with most dobs. I think they will be eventualy.

When Im dont with my dob, specificaly the cradle to hold my PARKS OTA, that'll be my next project. Your right about the money, less than a hundred, and if your careful super fine tracking for nearly an hour.

The one guy i know of online who did his own - and has a great website that eludes me - sais his can track accuratly even at 1000x.

I love dobs, and i really roll well with the hand tracking thing, but itd be swell to finally have my PARKS track.

I love the link you made to the other website. Nice stuff there.

Pete

#16 sglamb

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 10:13 PM

Brandon,

I too love the old school Newtonians on German equatorial mounts. They are what I think of when somebody says telescope. I have 6 of them in my garage ranging from a 6" up to a 16". But they aren't the most user friendly scopes. Yes they do track the stars and are great for star hopping using an atlas but most of these mounts suffer from vibrations, balance issues, you have to be a contortionist to get to the eyepiece sometimes, difficult to use near the celestial pole, they are heavy, and on and on. Now when I take one of them to a dark site, the biggest I can go is the 10". The 12.5" Cave weighs over 300 lbs and the 16" Star-liner weighs close to 1000 lbs. I'm not trying to dissuade you from getting one of these scopes, just pointing out what has likely been long forgotten. Dobsonians are popular because they're the best portable aperture telescope design around. And with accessories like equatorial platforms and computer-driven systems, there really isn't a reason to look elsewhere in my opinion.

Steve

#17 Jim Curry

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Posted 18 July 2010 - 07:16 AM

I used to own a Parks 8" f/either 3.5 or 4. Boy I regret selling that baby. Anyway, it was mounted on a CG5 class mount so the weight wasn't bad taking it out in 2 pieces. It was a little undermounted but still very useable. Rotating rings weren't standard but I set the focuser at the side I wanted before swinging to that side of the mount, no biggie.

Jim

#18 Paul R.

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 11:24 PM

Parks telescopes over the years have cheapened like everything else. In the mid 1990s my friend bought a new 8" OTA and I was very impressed with the quality. Today the 'astrolight' OTAs while sharing the same price point as the earlier models, is NO way as well made. The fiberglass tubes are thinner and cheaper, plastic/carbon, mirror glued on mirror cells, etc... Sad..

#19 azure1961p

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 09:51 AM

Parks telescopes over the years have cheapened like everything else. In the mid 1990s my friend bought a new 8" OTA and I was very impressed with the quality. Today the 'astrolight' OTAs while sharing the same price point as the earlier models, is NO way as well made. The fiberglass tubes are thinner and cheaper, plastic/carbon, mirror glued on mirror cells, etc... Sad..


Now thats a **** shame. I must have bought one of the better ones in the early 90's. The problem with Parks is this...

1. What makes them excellent is what makes defeats them as well. They [used to anyway] believe in time honored work for the good of near perfection. Thats why I sought them out. As a result ...

2. They are so entrenched in the old school which has served them so well, they miss out on the lucrative oppurtunities the dobsonian revolution has brought about.
They wouldnt need to make thin walled telescopes if they were selling enough of them.

3. How about a truss tube scope already?


Let me tell you - if PARKs made a dob akin to ORION all the way out to Obsessions ultra compacts - let me tell you theyd dominate the field. Finally a portable PARKS reflector????
If they didnt domiante the field theyd atleast be major contenders.

Lastly I have a sneaking suspicion of the reasons they dont do this. Probably faced with the threat the "new" scopes would pose to their older dinosaur mounts. If thats the case - they clearly dont get it.

As far as a mirror being glued to its cell!!!! God thats reprehensible!!! LOL - WOW.

Man Id like to see these guys step it up.


Pete

#20 cildarith

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 04:58 PM

Let me tell you - if PARKs made a dob akin to ORION all the way out to Obsessions ultra compacts - let me tell you theyd dominate the field. Finally a portable PARKS reflector????
If they didnt domiante the field theyd atleast be major contenders.


They tried that in the late eighties...

http://www.telescope...ector/parks.htm

#21 azure1961p

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 06:04 PM

LOL - kerplunk!!!


Well so much for that. Thats surprising. Maybe they just dont have the name out there enough advertising it. I think if they pushed it they could have succeeded.

So they keep plodding along with the dinosaur line.

Thats a pity.

Pete

#22 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 07:51 PM

LOL - kerplunk!!!


Well so much for that. Thats surprising. Maybe they just dont have the name out there enough advertising it. I think if they pushed it they could have succeeded.

So they keep plodding along with the dinosaur line.

Thats a pity.

Pete


I don't know what the story is. It used to be the Scope City store in my town was about 4 blocks from my house. Questions like, "Do you have any laser collimators" were met with "We don't believe in Laser collimators." They had a similar answer when I asked about Dobs.

They did have an impressive line of large EQ mounted scopes that seemed to be permanently fixed. At that time, I didn't get the feeling that they were big on New and Different.

Things may have changed.

Jon

#23 Starman1

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 11:02 PM

Jon,
Yes things have changed. :lol:

#24 MemphisAstro

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 12:35 PM

I have one. The 10" Parks HIT, f4/f15 Newtonian/Cassegrain on their Superior EQ mount. I have had it for about 20 years. It's a great telescope. I am interested in selling it.

#25 GeneT

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 10:14 PM

The thing is, when I go to college, I'd like somewhat of a better telescope than I'm looking through right now, not size, I'm kind of anxious to get into the scopes that track the sky as the Earth rotates. I like the design, and the quality of the Parks telescopes. I know that those mounts are over 125 lbs., but trust me, I'm a person who's very relentless, and won't let the weight of a mount stop me from getting to an observing location.


If you want a tracking mount, consider an Equatorial platform for your 10 inch Orion Dob. This will allow you to track objects without all the complications of an Equatorial mount.

I echo Jon's recommendation for an Equatorial Platform.


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