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Another Cultural Exchange

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#1 astroneil

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 07:13 PM

Hello,

 

I come fae achromatic culture.

 

I see blue as new.

 

Big Newts give great images, I ken fae experience.

 

Two shoots on Facetube fur comparison.

 

No' on the same night mind, dunnae ken either where they're fae, but summit tae chew on, ken. September and November.

 

Target: Jove.

 

TEC 8" f/9 refractor footage;

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=CNlI3MXlAPw

 

8" SkyWatcher Dob:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=ProOhknvS3o

 

Best wishes,

 

Nelly. ;)

 



#2 george golitzin

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 09:43 PM

But Neil, neither video represents what the given instrument is capable of showing.  I guess that's the way of cultural exchanges--they never quite bring the best to the table.

 

Speaking of which, maybe auld Robbie Burns could have a rest?  Checking your excellent website, I see you have a wonderful command of standard English. :)

 

Sorry, it's been a dreich day and I'll no' be watchin' the stars tonight.  



#3 astroneil

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 04:42 AM

Hi George,

 

Newts are nice 'scopes. Got bad press fae the gless boys.

 

I'm deeply sceptical o' the efficacy o' big poodles that's all.

 

I'll go back tae my website the noo. Can speak my mind there, ken.

 

Why are Newts rated so very highly by maist all folk, except a few arch poodlers?

 

Thanks,

 

Neil. ;)


Edited by Joe C, 25 September 2014 - 09:20 AM.


#4 havasman

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 06:17 AM

Waell, pardner. Down 'round these parts we cotton to the ole bang for tha buck doo-hickey pret' near more'n most o' the time. Lot's o' fellers'll tip a hat & yank a forelock for a lower cost producer of might near all the goodies. Yep. And we fancy BIG. Anyhow, my neighbor's trick li'l ole paint pony'll run off & hide from that Morgan plug I got my little sister to sashay 'round the pasture on. O'course he had to put up a quarter of his eighth o' that pumper down near town and I got that plug for a beat up ole pickup.

-or-

The cost/performance effects can weigh heavily in many analysis, possibly accounting for part of Newtonian scopes' popularity. Plus, quality Newtonians in the .5 to 1.5 meter range have become widely available. The comparison is between a relatively large, fine refractor and a relatively small, mass market reflector. And on one target. What about a shootout on NGC7284/5 between a $20,000 complete system of each type?


Edited by havasman, 25 September 2014 - 07:12 AM.

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#5 Eric63

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 06:48 AM

I really have to start adding my french accent to my post :lol:


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#6 Mike B

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 12:33 PM

Oh- that's French? No wonder my Google translator melted down, and nearly kicked me back into spreken zie dos!

 

:poke:



#7 astroneil

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 03:51 PM

It's been nearly 20 years since I last used a 8" f/6 Dobsonian and their quality has almost certainly improved since that time. The SkyWatcher models seem to be universally lauded these days, so I'll take a chance on one.

 

Man and his technology!

 

Cheers,

 

Neil. ;)



#8 The Ardent

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 04:44 PM

Neil 

 

What are the choices for a homegrown, custom, premium Newtonian?

Or is everything pretty much imported mass produced? From reading BBC Sky at Night and other UK magazines, I get the impression it's the latter. 



#9 astroneil

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 05:33 PM

Neil 

 

What are the choices for a homegrown, custom, premium Newtonian?

Or is everything pretty much imported mass produced? From reading BBC Sky at Night and other UK magazines, I get the impression it's the latter. 

Good evening Sir,

 

There are some good optics houses in the UK; Orion, Oldham Optical and Beacon Hill etc. They make fine products and I suppose one can order up mirrors of various optical quality (P-V 1/4L, 1/6L or 1/nth L and so on and so forth) and at very reasonable prices. Some observers place an emphasis on quality, and I completely understand that, but I suppose my own cultural background has made me see things differently. I appear to have an aversion to perfection. The stuff Synta and the likes are churning out now is very decent indeed and I feel privileged to be living at a time where I can avail of that technology.

 

I sense that there is great vanity in this hobby, something I want no part of.

 

 

I used a 6" f/8 SkyWatcher Dob for outreach for many years and only recently gave it away to a friend. Before that, I reviewed a SkyWatcher 12" f/5 Flextube (non- motorised). It was a beast of a 'scope but when conditions were good, and the instrument was ready, it served up some of the best images of Saturn I have personally encountered. I think the smaller ones are probably better made (just a guess), so I'm thrilled with the prospect of learning from this old tool again, to put it in its proper setting in the scheme of things. It would be good to do a shootout with my 5" f/12 achromatic as well as my very fine Orion 180mm Mak. I can have some real fun again and that can only be good.

 

Best,

 

Neil. ;)


Edited by astroneil, 26 September 2014 - 10:00 AM.


#10 The Ardent

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 07:42 PM

Vanity is a common trait. Every telescope owner is proud of their baby.

 

If you sense that in me, let me say instead appreciation of the craftsman and his Art. 


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#11 astroneil

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 04:59 AM

Vanity is a common trait. Every telescope owner is proud of their baby.

 

If you sense that in me, let me say instead appreciation of the craftsman and his Art. 

 

That's true, vanity takes many forms.

 

I suppose that, if I have any allegiances, it would be to the artist formerly known as 'good enough.'

 

Regards,

 

Neil. ;)



#12 Eric63

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 06:41 AM

Oh- that's French? No wonder my Google translator melted down, and nearly kicked me back into spreken zie dos!

 

:poke:

 

:lol:



#13 Eric63

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 07:06 AM

Neil 

 

What are the choices for a homegrown, custom, premium Newtonian?

Or is everything pretty much imported mass produced? From reading BBC Sky at Night and other UK magazines, I get the impression it's the latter. 

 

I took the path of having my mirror refigured.  It was not too bad mind you (1/4 wave with some turned edges), but I found a scope maker in Montreal who refigured it to 1/10th wave for about $300.  My choices were to replace my 127Mak with a 150Mak  (I just love the Mak design) or keep the 127Mak and upgrade the mirror in the 150F5 Newt.  Even if I had not owend the Newt, the total cost of a new 150F5 with 2," 2 speed  focuser and the regifured MIrror is less than buying a new 150Mak.  This was a good choice for me since the Newt can better handle the temperature swings here in Ottawa (I also installed a fan) and is a bit less affected by poorer seeing (which we often have under the jet stream).   One of the things I like the most about this setup is how comfortable it is to use on an AZ4 mount.  I can use it in a very comfortable standing postion all night, no chair needed.  I only take a chair for longer planetary sessions when I use the EQ5 with tracking. 

 

What I noticed with the premium mirror was better light scatter control and slightly better contrast on some DSO's.   Saturn was also very nice providing a touch more detail on the globe, but I need good seeing to really see the difference.  The real test will be this winter when Jupiter returns.... as long as seeing cooperates.

For those who say a 150F5 is not a good planetary performer, they should look through this one.  With a 33% CO, 1/10 wave mirror, fully flocked and a cooling fan.... it is better or equal to a similar sized CAT IMHO.  Yes there are better planetary performers out there, but as a good all around performer, this one really rocks (it also gives great 3 degree low power wide field views  ;) )

 

Eric


Edited by Eric63, 26 September 2014 - 11:53 AM.

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#14 astroneil

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 07:06 AM

No doubt, some have seen this highly humorous Youtube clip;

 

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=THV1OEKqw98

 

 

Where does this mindset - which is self evidently anti-Dobsonian - have its origin?

 

 

Is there any rational basis for holding to such a mindset?

 

 

Thanks,

 

Neil. ;)


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#15 amicus sidera

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 12:35 PM

 

I sense that there is great vanity in this hobby, something I want no part of.

 

 

Nor do I.

 

It was not always thus. Beginning around the time of Comet Halley's return in the mid-1980's, it seemed that amateur astronomy received a great influx of souls who believed that they could buy their way into the avocation. Furthermore, most came to believe that their place in the hierarchy should be determined almost solely by the amount of money they had spent on their instruments, as opposed to the classical method of judging an observer by his qualities as an observer: familiarity with the sky, the objects therein and their lore; a working knowledge of the optics of his equipment; his observing skill; his patience and willingness to assist neophyte observers; these among other virtues. Much that was the best of amateur astronomy of yore has been subsumed in a shallow sea of glowing tablet screens and whirring go-to motors.

 

The trend towards unabashed and unashamed materialism continues apace to the present day; one need only look about.


Edited by amicus sidera, 26 September 2014 - 12:38 PM.


#16 Mike B

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 01:02 PM

For some of us, prob'ly an issue of mental date-stamp, increased complexity of systems equates to more stuff to go wrong, and an increased probability of down-time, or wasted time. Having scopes with "push-to" electronics has been as far as i've personally permitted myself to indulge- and the two systems i've enjoyed to date have performed swimmingly well, truly enriching my viewing experience. I s'pose we each have our limits for this sort of thing...

 

In the automobile realm, i've been pulled kicking & screaming into electrically operated windows... which has always seemed to me the height of folly. Cutting my vehicular teeth on a '71 MGB roadster, with its naturally ample ventilation characteristics, to be stuck inside a car which one cannot enjoy ram-air ventilation at will due to a silly electric motor's failure seems just wrong. Oddly enough, i have yet to suffer a window motor failure. Go figure.

 

Where does this mindset - which is self evidently anti-Dobsonian - have its origin?

 

Is there any rational basis for holding to such a mindset?

 

Polished aluminum & Oort optics aside, nothing pleased me more than to "graduate" to Dobsonianism... with the possible exception being my Dob, my personal starship, bein' constructed mostly of wood. Sometimes it even creaks like an old ship. :grin:

 

The utter simplicity of a Newtonian optical configuration enthralls me! Two mirrors, and a support structure to hold them firmly, best embodies the truism: "A telescope is mostly air". :lol:



#17 george golitzin

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 01:19 PM

Thanks for that (the questar-apo video)!   I had a good laugh.

 

I suppose the desire for status, in some individuals, trumps any rational consideration regarding the usefulness of the object.  People spend large amounts of money just for bragging rights.  Usually, this behavior applies to large, flashy objects (houses, cars), or to more arcane collectibles (artwork), but apparently it also extends to telescopes.

 

I also hold to the "good enough" criterion.  To me, that means obtaining the best possible mirror at an affordable, second-hand price, and then building a working dob around the mirror that meets my design criteria--because what's commercially available isn't good enough.  The commercial offerings can be very good, but as you pointed out earlier, they are very heavy in large apertures.  They often have a lot of mechanical "issues" that need ironing out, and sometimes the optics are poor.  (And sometimes the optics are excellent.)  So I have found it easier, and more rewarding, to build from scratch.  

 

In the larger apertures, this approach can prove less  expensive than comparable commercial offerings, or perhaps involve a slight premium.   Hopefully you will not consider it too crass to mention actual costs.... I have about $1500 invested in my 12.5-inch  f/6, almost all of that in the Zambuto primary.  That's half again the cost of a commercial 12-inch dob, but still pretty good for such a fine mirror.  And I have maybe $1900-2000 in my 18-inch, which has a very good OMI  mirror:  that's the same cost as commercial 16-inch scopes.  Both of these have given me  jaw-dropping views of Jupiter and Saturn, as well as beautiful DSO views.  

 

As Russell Porter said, "the mirror's the thing."  That's not a status issue, it's a reality in my experience.  My approach:  be patient, get the best mirror you can, scrounge for all the other parts, keep it simple, and you won't be disappointed.


Edited by george golitzin, 26 September 2014 - 01:20 PM.


#18 george golitzin

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 01:29 PM

For some of us, prob'ly an issue of mental date-stamp, increased complexity of systems equates to more stuff to go wrong, and an increased probability of down-time, or wasted time. Having scopes with "push-to" electronics has been as far as i've personally permitted myself to indulge- and the two systems i've enjoyed to date have performed swimmingly well, truly enriching my viewing experience. I s'pose we each have our limits for this sort of thing......

 

...The utter simplicity of a Newtonian optical configuration enthralls me! Two mirrors, and a support structure to hold them firmly, best embodies the truism: "A telescope is mostly air". :lol:

 

Amen to that--well said.

 

For my part, electronics are limited to my telrad, a secondary heater, an AC outlet to drive a portable house fan (which I forgo when not at home), and, once in a while, an old EQ platform.



#19 jrbarnett

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 06:38 PM

For some of us, prob'ly an issue of mental date-stamp, increased complexity of systems equates to more stuff to go wrong, and an increased probability of down-time, or wasted time. Having scopes with "push-to" electronics has been as far as i've personally permitted myself to indulge- and the two systems i've enjoyed to date have performed swimmingly well, truly enriching my viewing experience. I s'pose we each have our limits for this sort of thing...

 

In the automobile realm, i've been pulled kicking & screaming into electrically operated windows... which has always seemed to me the height of folly. Cutting my vehicular teeth on a '71 MGB roadster, with its naturally ample ventilation characteristics, to be stuck inside a car which one cannot enjoy ram-air ventilation at will due to a silly electric motor's failure seems just wrong. Oddly enough, i have yet to suffer a window motor failure. Go figure.

 

 

Polished aluminum & Oort optics aside, nothing pleased me more than to "graduate" to Dobsonianism... with the possible exception being my Dob, my personal starship, bein' constructed mostly of wood. Sometimes it even creaks like an old ship. :grin:

 

The utter simplicity of a Newtonian optical configuration enthralls me! Two mirrors, and a support structure to hold them firmly, best embodies the truism: "A telescope is mostly air". :lol:

 

Yeah Mike, I agree.

 

The Dob is the sailboat among telescopes.  SCTs and MCTs are tugs and barges, refractors are cigar boats.   Dobs, like sailboats, are self-contained, self-reliant, simple, repairable, and durable but require some basic seamanship skills to use well.  Different boats for different slips, as they say.

 

I think that *any* variety of telescope design advocacy to the exclusion of other designs is akin to missing the ocean for the spars and rigging.  Every design represents a designer's decision in balancing compromises.  There aren't any best designs per se, just tasks and situations where one set of balanced compromises conflicts the least with the requirements of the task.  There are two designs that work best for the tasks I like to tackle; the Dob and the mid-speed visual apochromatic refractor.  There's nothing I really like to do observing that the combination of those two doesn't cover satisfactorily.

 

I find the talk of "culture" as it relates to different telescope designs to be misplaced.  I've never once felt the need to define my social connections with reference to use of particular telescope designs.  Telescopes are tools.  Nothing more.  There is no Balpeen Hammer culture or Table Saw culture.  There are no sensible raging debates over "bubble level" vs. "plumb line".  If you think of telescope ownership as a socially exclusionary phenomenon, then, Weegie, you're using the darned thing for the wrong purpose.   :winky:  The "culture" if there is one is the culture of stargazers as distinguished from those who do not observe.  We have our own language, shared experience and shared aspirations and values.

 

Now there is a place for discussing "leather faced mallet" vs. "engineer's hammer", but that discussion relates to deciding which is more adept and appropriate for a given task, not for deciding who your friends are.  

 

Regards,

 

Jim 


Edited by jrbarnett, 28 September 2014 - 05:28 PM.

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#20 areyoukiddingme

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Posted 28 September 2014 - 02:36 PM

Vanity is most certainly tedious. But I think that needs to be separated from the basic human interest in cool technology, which is of course necessary for us to get MORE cool technology.



#21 Joe C

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Posted 28 September 2014 - 04:41 PM

Let's please keep this thread on the topic of reflectors.



#22 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 29 September 2014 - 11:13 PM

Neil:

 

Interesting thread. I am definitely a small refractor and Dob type.  In one of your posts you mentioned you were considering buying an 8 inch Skywatcher Dob.  In the US, the Skywatchers are collapsible and for planetary and double star viewing, a tube dob is probably a better choice since the tube is better at keeping the effects of your body heat out of the optical path.

 

Jon



#23 astroneil

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Posted 30 September 2014 - 06:42 AM

Hello Jon,

 

Yes I think the closed tube 8" f/6 Dob from SkyWatcher will be a fine instrument to begin my exploration of Newtonian reflectors anew.

 

I had this instrument in mind;

 

http://www.firstligh...-dobsonian.html

 

I am also mindful of the 11 comments made about the same instrument on that link.

 

It appears to be a tremendous value in today's market and there is much I can do with it.

 

As ever, I will use my 5" f/12 classical refractor to find the true measure of this instrument on a variety of celestial targets, in the same way that I have conducted (still ongoing) my evaluation of the large Orion Maksutov in another thread.

 

My classical refractor remains for me, the instrument with which all others are to be compared.

 

I am encouraged by the enthusiastic work of visual observers such as Jeremy Perez - an excellent astronomical artist - and the planetary observer and BBC Sky at Night presenter, Dr. Paul Abel, who use a similar - if not the same - instrument to generate a large body of high quality work.

 

I remain hopeful that the instrument will provide new insights that I can learn from profitably.

 

Kind Regards,

 

Neil. ;)



#24 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 30 September 2014 - 06:54 AM

Hello Jon,

 

Yes I think the closed tube 8" f/6 Dob from SkyWatcher will be a fine instrument to begin my exploration of Newtonian reflectors anew.

 

I had this instrument in mind;

 

http://www.firstligh...-dobsonian.html

 

I am also mindful of the 11 comments made about the same instrument on that link.

 

It appears to be a tremendous value in today's market and there is much I can do with it.

 

As ever, I will use my 5" f/12 classical refractor to find the true measure of this instrument on a variety of celestial targets, in the same way that I have conducted (still ongoing) my evaluation of the large Orion Maksutov in another thread.

 

My classical refractor remains for me, the instrument with which all others are to be compared.

 

I am encouraged by the enthusiastic work of visual observers such as Jeremy Perez - an excellent astronomical artist - and the planetary observer and BBC Sky at Night presenter, Dr. Paul Abel, who use a similar - if not the same - instrument to generate a large body of high quality work.

 

I remain hopeful that the instrument will provide new insights that I can learn from profitably.

 

Kind Regards,

 

Neil. ;)

 

 

Neil:

 

My only other suggestion is to look for a Dob manufactured by Guan Sheng Optical, GSO, very similar to the Skywatcher but with a nicer focuser and such.   The first metal tube dobs were the GSOs developed in conjunction with Orion in the US.  that about 1999..  Those were made by GSO.  About 2002, Orion switched from GSO to Synta (SkyWatcher is the Synta housebrand) and so the Skywatchers were originally copied from the GSOs... 

 

Both are good.

 

Jon



#25 astroneil

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Posted 30 September 2014 - 07:49 AM

Cheers Jon,

 

Duly noted!

 

Best,

 

Neil. ;)




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