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Project Moonwatch

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#76 Chuck Hards

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 01:08 PM

Glad you got that sucker off!  I'm about to leave the office and will see what mine looks like in a little while.  Did it take a lot of effort to remove it?

 

I think you are correct about the eyepiece not being an Erfle.  Looks like a Kellner to me, as well.  


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#77 terraclarke

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 01:08 PM

Here you can see the unscrewed eyepiece assembly. Find out if your eyepiece is independent of the knurled ring and goes in and out as the ring is turned to adjust focus. Mine does not, at least currently. I wonder if it is made that way or is supposed to go in and out. When I turn the knurled ring on mine, the entire assembly turns until ti is detached from the main body. This does not seem right. It would seem that it should work like a binocular eyepiece that has diopter adjustment.

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  • M17_1918.jpg
  • M17_1920.JPG


#78 terraclarke

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 01:09 PM

Glad you got that sucker off!  I'm about to leave the office and will see what mine looks like in a little while.  Did it take a lot of effort to remove it?

 

I think you are correct about the eyepiece not being an Erfle.  Looks like a Kellner to me, as well.  

 

No effort, it just turned counter-clockwise and unscrewed.

 

Thanks Chuck! :)


Edited by terraclarke, 22 July 2015 - 01:09 PM.


#79 Chuck Hards

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 07:47 PM

Terra, after examining all three of my elbow telescopes, it appears that yours has a stuck focusing mechanism.  The eyepiece should move in and out without rotating, when the diopter ring is turned, as you suspected.

 

It turns out that my unmodified 50mm elbow telescope is the M75C.  I'm not sure what the military designations mean exactly, but I think it's just a later model of the M17.

 

M75C plate.jpg

 

I checked the eyepiece movement on all three of my elbow telescopes.   In every case, the eyepiece moved in and out without rotating.  Only the knurled diopter ring turns. 

The unmodified M75C. 

 

M75C pair.jpg

 

My green 20x120mm Apogee scope:

 

001.jpg 001.jpg

 

My grey 20x120mm Apogee scope:

 

20x120 grey 003.jpg

 

You're going to have to disassemble the focusing mechanism, clean out the old lubricant, and re-lube it.  It should then work perfectly.



#80 terraclarke

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 10:27 PM

Thanks Chuck. It's just as I figured. Any idea where to begin with the eyepiece focus disassembly? Those small set screws above/below the knurled ring perhaps? I definitely don't want to take the eyepiece itself apart as it is in great shape. And what solvent would you recommend to get the old lube out? WD-40?

Edited by terraclarke, 22 July 2015 - 10:30 PM.


#81 Chuck Hards

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 06:36 AM

One of my eyepieces is pretty stiff when I turn the diopter ring, so I'm going to have to break that one down, myself.  I've never had one of these focusing mechanisms apart, Terra, so you are going to have to blaze the trail.  I can't get to it for a while.  I would suggest starting at the bottom and working up, this should minimize the chance of actually pulling off a part of the eyepiece itself.

 

Speaking of these scopes, the cast aluminum objective cell on my green Apogee scope had a bad dent in it when I got it, and it was a bear removing the lens retaining ring, and objective itself.  I had to tap it out, a few mm at a time, for about six full threads.  Took me a couple of hours!   When I went to gently pound the dent back out, about an inch-long section of cell broke off completely in two sections.  Rather than lathe-turn a brand-new piece this large, I used JB weld to re-attach the broken pieces.  The trick was getting them aligned properly since they had the retaining ring threads on the inside.  I'm happy to report that the repair worked, the retaining ring threads easily and the objective can slide in and out without binding.  I've got it all bodyworked, stripped and re-primed with etching primer and sanding primer.  Should be repainting it soon.  I may repaint the entire scope something different, or go with the grey color of the official SAO Apogee scope.   I'll post a pic of the repaired, primed cell later.

 

JB Weld to the rescue, once again!


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#82 Chuck Hards

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Posted 24 July 2015 - 05:51 PM

I got the repaired cell from the green 5" Apogee scope painted today.  I opted for satin black.  After test-fitting it in the cone, I decided that now was as good a time as any to pull the eypiece for cleaning, there was grime and dust on some internal surfaces.

 

One retaining ring on the back side was all that was keeping the lenses and spacer inside.  And surprise!  The eyepiece is an asymmetrical Plossl, not a Kellner.  This design has the potential of being very well-corrected, so I am happy to find that.
The lenses cleaned-up perfectly and are ready to go back in the housing.  Note the blackened edges.

 

Green 20x120 eyepiece.jpg

 

I want to clean the filter wheel and prism train as time permits.  I thought it would be handy to remove the military filters and replace them with various LPR & narrow bandpass filters, something more useful to astronomy.  I will investigate that possibility.

 

I hadn't noticed this until today.  It was on the right-hand side of the telescope prism housing, opposite the metal plate.  It appears that this one is also a genuine Moonwatch Apogee telescope, like my grey one.

 

Green 20x120 Smithsonian.jpg

 

I wonder if the Smithsonian still has a database of serial numbers that would show which Moonwatch teams these scopes were assigned to?
Provenance like that is pure gold.

Here is my green one, with the eyepiece temporarily removed.  The objective cell is in place for a test-fit, note the retaining screws have not been re-installed.  I want to repaint the scope first.  You can see where the cone had slid rearwards about two inches, which explains why the previous owner couldn't get an image to form.  It was also repainted while the cone was in the wrong position. 

 

Green 20x120 ep removed.jpg

 

I had to heat the small end of the cone up with a heat gun, very hot, to enlarge it slightly and free it from the barrel of the M17.  Then a lot of tugging and tapping with wood block and dead-blow mallet to get it forward again to it's correct position.  It seems that it was designed as a snug friction-fit.  The image focuses perfectly with the cone once again in it's correct position.  I may use a couple of tiny sheet metal screws to assure that the cone stays in the correct position.

 

More photos as the restorations progress.


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#83 fjs

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Posted 24 July 2015 - 06:28 PM

That Smithsonian sticker is cool!

 

If you really want to, you can go through this: LINK

 

I guess you have to request that records be e-mailed to you.


Edited by fjs, 24 July 2015 - 06:36 PM.


#84 Chuck Hards

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Posted 24 July 2015 - 06:34 PM

Uber-cool.  Thanks Frank!



#85 fjs

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Posted 24 July 2015 - 07:09 PM

The links just go on and on. Here's another that might be better: LINK

 

Here's the mother link: LINK



#86 Chuck Hards

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Posted 24 July 2015 - 08:25 PM

OMG it's like the end scene in Raiders of the lost Ark.  



#87 Chuck Hards

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Posted 24 July 2015 - 08:29 PM

Anyone here have the 20 x 120 Moonwatch Apogee telescope, like the one linked to below?

Walter Scott Houston had one, it is pictured in the book version of Deep Sky Wonders.

 

http://www.geocities.../moonwatch1.jpg

 

You need to check-in on the thread more often.



#88 terraclarke

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 09:35 AM

Chuck, did you by any chance take the focuser part of the eyepiece assembly apart? I am looking formideas on how to get it unfrozen. I will take the eyepiece itself apart if need be, but my lenses are quite clean.

Edited by terraclarke, 25 July 2015 - 02:32 PM.


#89 Chuck Hards

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 10:56 AM

Not that one, Terra, it works smoothly.   The grey one is stiff, however,  so that's the one I'll be working on shortly. 


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#90 csrlice12

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 02:23 PM

Because Chuck provided some good information (like Project Moonwatch is what this scope was designed for) and recommended this be put here.....

 

Found this 6X50 Unitron Satellite Scope at the scope store yesterday.....its not mine and is for sale...PM me if interested and I'll give you the vendor's info....it ain't gonna be cheap.....

 

Unitron1.jpg

Unitron2.jpg


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#91 Chuck Hards

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Posted 19 August 2015 - 06:54 PM

I was outside this afternoon, comparing the view through these two little guys, and testing out the Observer (right) after installing a brand-new mirror.

 

Swift%20and%20Observer_zpsspis9cwd.jpg

 

And I discovered something I hadn't noticed before.

Both bases have these 1/4-20 threaded tripod mounting bosses.

 

Observer%20base_zpsgv9cdwi0.jpg

 

I'm going to have to try them on a tripod when I have more time.  Going to the astro club meeting tonight.  Mike Clements is speaking about his 70-inch Dob.


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#92 starman876

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Posted 20 August 2015 - 04:18 PM

70" Dob???????  Holly telescopes Batman

 

http://jaysastronomy...-reflector.html

 

that's is the largest satellite scope I have ever seen.


Edited by starman876, 20 August 2015 - 04:24 PM.


#93 Chuck Hards

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Posted 21 August 2015 - 07:07 AM

70" Dob???????  Holly telescopes Batman

 

http://jaysastronomy...-reflector.html

 

that's is the largest satellite scope I have ever seen.

 

You just found out about the 70" scope now?   Dig out your April 2014 S&T.  Ahem.   ;)

 

BTW, the author of that blog, Jay, is a former Moderator here on CN and helped me get my job here.  He lives about 20 minutes from me, and about ten minutes from where Mike's big scope is currently located.



#94 Mr. Bill

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 11:38 PM

 


Anyone here have the 20 x 120 Moonwatch Apogee telescope, like the one linked to below?
Walter Scott Houston had one, it is pictured in the book version of Deep Sky Wonders.
 
http://www.geocities.../moonwatch1.jpg


I thought someone here just scored one on Ebay because no one knew what it was.

 

 

Thanks for this post and thread....I Googled to find as I was wondering if the scope in  Deep Sky Wonders was Scottie's Moonwatch.

 

:waytogo:



#95 Chuck Hards

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 11:58 PM

I believe Houston wrote in his column that it was his Moonwatch scope, used when he was a Moonwatch Team Leader living in Kansas. 



#96 Vesper818

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Posted 17 January 2016 - 12:52 AM

I didn't see this link here, conversations from way back.. www.cloudynights.com/topic/51975-moonwatch-telescopes/
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#97 terraclarke

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Posted 17 January 2016 - 10:38 AM

Did you get the one on eBay Carol? I hope so. I know you had your eye on it!
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#98 orion61

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Posted 17 January 2016 - 12:19 PM

 

 

scope set up

post-44298-0-52844900-1433972798.jpg

 

It's...it's...beautiful..... :blush:

 

thank you

 

That little guy is as Beautiful as a Questar!


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#99 Chuck Hards

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Posted 17 January 2016 - 02:46 PM

I wonder how many active Moonwatch teams used imported commercial "satellite" scopes?

 

Teams had to purchase their own telescopes, with most opting for domestic designs, such as the Edmund product.  Many were home-made, from plans published in magazines such as Popular Science & Popular Mechanics, and those closely resembled the Edmund scope- some even citing Edmund as a source for the optics.  Teams would secure local sponsorship in order to pay for their equipment.

 

Only the Apogee scopes were supplied by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and they were given only to a few select teams that were consistently supplying the best data and in a location favored by Whipple's staff.

 

Once set-up, a Moonwatch scope was not required to change aim.  Each member of the team was focused on overlapping parts of the sky, varying in elevation and spaced along the meridian.  This helped secure the transiting satellite's elevation, as well as it's transit time.  

 

I have a feeling that the vast majority of commercial Japanese-made scopes were not used by actual Moonwatch teams, but sold to members of the general public who were probably under the impression that a specialized telescope would provide a better view of satellites.  Equatorial motions were simply not ever used or needed for Moonwatch data takers.

 

Also, the number of actual Moonwatch team members, even during the program's entire lifetime, was probably never much over one thousand and usually far fewer, whereas the number of commercial "satellite" scopes produced surely was in the tens of thousands, altogether.

 

These commercial scopes are a memento of a special time in the world's history, and our nation's history, at the very dawn of the space age, and reflect an interest in science by the general public that doesn't seem to be even close to the same level today.

 

BTW, there was a similar satellite-tracking program in Soviet Russia at the time, that bore a very strong resemblance to the US program.  Whipple communicated with his Soviet counterparts in the time leading up to 1957 (the International Geophysical Year), and there is speculation that the Russians patterned their program after Moonwatch, except that their scopes were entirely government made and supplied, in substantially smaller numbers than in the US.  I'm trying to imagine sitting there in the early morning of a Moscow winter in late 1957, eyeball frozen to the eyepiece!

 

A Soviet satellite scope would be a real treasure in a classic scope collection today.


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#100 Vesper818

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Posted 17 January 2016 - 06:19 PM

Did you get the one on eBay Carol? I hope so. I know you had your eye on it!


No, it went beyond my top bid. But another CN member contacted me, bid after I dropped out ,and he got it.
So thats good.
:-)
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