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Jason Comet Chaser

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#1 C64ER

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 05:00 PM

Question to the group, is $79.45 a good price for one complete with box?

I know about the scope and how it's not really good as small scopes go, but it is pretty. :-)

 



#2 SpaceConqueror3

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 06:02 PM

You should be able to find one much cheaper than that. They aren't in high demand. Before I found out that this telescope wasn't particularly all that great, I bought one on Ebay for $56 shipped and I was in a minor bidding war with another bidder to get it to that price.



#3 DreamWeaver

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 08:18 PM

I found my complete Model 323 at a local Goodwill for $25.  I didn't know there were so many comets to be seen in the night sky until I looked though my Jason.  Every point of light had a tail!!!   :lol:   It looks nice sitting on the corner of my desk, but that's the only thing it is used for.  And the 6mm ortho is a nice little eyepiece.


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#4 SkyCruzr

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 09:10 PM

I was just wandering around on the fleabay and stumbled across this one. $30 + $7 shipping for now.



#5 orion61

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 11:25 PM

I got mine for  $39.00 about 5 years ago, but have noticed them going up in price lately. usually about 50-60 on eBay.

I actually have 2 of them one for parts but it works too.

I centered the secondary in the optical window, then used my laser to align the optics. It is a Jones Bird design but one of them actually has decent enough optics that I use it with a Solar filter. It actually works great, and they are cute. It is a crap shoot for the optics tho. I remember them when they were new and fell in love with the looks of them but not the $369.00 they cost new.

I would try to get it for $60.00 shipped. It helps if it is complete. most times they are missing parts. They are actually very well made! I use the 2nd mount for my B&L 80/800 with super optics...

You will also want to make a different baffle for the Finder, the stock one is only about 10mm, without it views are really pretty Purple fuzzy things.


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#6 C64ER

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Posted 21 May 2016 - 08:05 AM

Thanks for the replies all, I kinda figured it was on the high end. I can put the money to better use but do want one in the future, mainly because it's so dang cute.  :lol:


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#7 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 21 May 2016 - 08:17 AM

Thanks for the replies all, I kinda figured it was on the high end. I can put the money to better use but do want one in the future, mainly because it's so dang cute.  :lol:

 

Wise decision.

 

I have owned a couple of them, the 480mm versions, garage sale specials.  I think I paid $8 for the last one.  Optically, neither was sharp to my eye even at low magnifications even after my best attempts at collimation.  

 

My stuffed Donkey liked it and found the views acceptable. 

 

Jon

5012081-Jason Comet 480-2.jpg

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#8 AstroKerr

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 10:25 PM

We just took delivery of one here, SGW find @ $40. In very good shape, bit dusty, 1.5" extender & Ke20mm japan EP:

jason323-1.jpgjason323-2.jpgjason323-3.jpg

 

Pressed for time this eve, so I wrestled the huge bugger out the door and rested it's crushing weight against my chest just for a quick glimpse of the moon...

...

wow. 24x w/ that dirty EP and an absolutely beautiful image of the moon - just stunning - no CA, crystal sharp - it just wobbled there for about two minutes, then Sybil reminded me to get back indoors before I froze. Can't wait til Wed night - I have a number of scopes to star test, and Tangey here just got bumped to the front of the queue. I really was not expecting much - I bid on it because Jon and some others have them and I wanted to see what a Jas 323 was all about. Been studying up a bit, collimation troubles, tails, and so forth - wasn't expecting an inspiring view. The bloody thing even has a focusable RA finder! 

 

This wasn't built by O'reilly's crew, no sir, not-at-all! Solid like a pumpkin is solid! Well engineered, well machined! And collimated out-of-box very, very nicely (which is a thrill, because I found the collimation instructions here and about and it can get a bit bothersome...).

 

I'm going to get another and see how it performs - this one needs a buddy, a pal, un ami d' ciel...


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#9 GeneDiG

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Posted 21 November 2018 - 11:08 AM

I've always wanted one, but every time I think about buying one I scratch my head and wonder if it really would be any better than a short focus 60mm refractor like a Tasco 999VR which I already have or an Orion ST80.


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#10 bbqediguana

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Posted 22 November 2018 - 08:18 PM

I picked up one for fun and for nostalgia - it doesn't test very well optically, but since it can't really get very high in magnification it performs adequately. Half the fun I found with this was collecting some 0.965in eyepieces to use with it! :)

 

But yes, my 70mm f/10 achro puts up better images - just not quite as portable, but that's OK with me.

 

Jason Comet Catcher

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#11 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 08:30 AM

A couple of quick experiences:

 

- An ST-80 is a much better planetary scope.

 

-  My Jason Comet 480 had an extension tube to the focuser that could be removed.  The threads on the drawtube were male 28 mm filter threads so a 1.25 inch eyepiece could be threaded to the drawtube.   It did work maybe not with all eyepieces.

 

Jon


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#12 terraclarke

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 10:17 AM

It’s a toy really. I agree with the others that a plain old generic ST80 would be far more useful.


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#13 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 10:50 AM

It’s a toy really. I agree with the others that a plain old generic ST80 would be far more useful.

:waytogo:

 

My stuffed donkey posted above found it acceptable but I've had two Comet 480's and both were best reserved for my stuffed donkey collection.  

 

Jon


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#14 AstroKerr

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 03:04 PM

toy. 

 

pffft.

 

Tangey has been joined by Shadow, dark, suave and another trouble-free performer despite the poor fellow having no legs. Clementine is en route from the Willamette region. 

 

I'll run them thru some higher power EPs and see if I can find fault with any of them - hint of CA or some other picky fluff-stuff.



#15 grif 678

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 03:34 PM

These are very cute scopes,I almost bought one several times. I thought that the optics may be better than what I have read here, so I guess it was for the best that I decided not to get one. It is a shame that the optics are sub par, wonder if that is because that they are older scopes, and maybe they have been knocked around and out of collimation. It seems that if they were over $350 new, that the optics would be better. But then look at the cute B&L 4000, the same way, poor optics in a $500 scope new. But you know, even after reading this thread, I still would like to get one, just because of how it looks.


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#16 terraclarke

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 05:57 PM

These are very cute scopes,I almost bought one several times. I thought that the optics may be better than what I have read here, so I guess it was for the best that I decided not to get one. It is a shame that the optics are sub par, wonder if that is because that they are older scopes, and maybe they have been knocked around and out of collimation. It seems that if they were over $350 new, that the optics would be better. But then look at the cute B&L 4000, the same way, poor optics in a $500 scope new. But you know, even after reading this thread, I still would like to get one, just because of how it looks.

I think it is both a poor design and poorly executed.


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#17 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 09:11 PM

I think it is both a poor design and poorly executed.

:waytogo:

 

These are basically a Jones-Bird but they are F/6.3 so the primary must be super fast.  

 

Jon


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#18 AstroKerr

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 09:21 PM

Short update:

 

I should be clear that what I find amazing, satisfying, pleasing et cetera is not what everyone finds so. I don't want my enthusiasm for an item to be misconstrued as a recommendation of that item to others.

 

Now, to me, my Skelescope is a toy - a frustrating, non-compliant, non-consistent but useful toy. It is useful not as a telescope, but as a 'light path visual aid' when properly fitted with a laser nib and a bit of fog. And sometimes you can get decent views of Luna. Planets? meh.

 

Tangey, Shadow and Clementine, my happy trio of Jason Model 323 Comet Chasers are not 'toys' in my estimation; neither, neither are they telescopes I would recommend to anyone else for purchase as a 'serious' viewing scope, especially if one is on a limited budget. A short tube 70~12mm refractor or a long tube 114mm on an appropriately sized, solid mount is a better choice if you want an easy to use viewing scope. I would add to that 'with a 1.25" or better focuser'.

 

The 323s could be termed 'unruly children'. While they are well-made, nicely machined scopes, I believe Terra is correct - "a poor design and poorly executed".

 

1. B/J or J/B optics. A great idea, but better suited elsewhere. I have no complaints about the optics on any of the three - they all came to me nicely collimated. EPs matter - I've ordered a few .965s from Fred and Bill - just came in, very quick peeks are promising. I have seen a thin crescent artifact of the secondary infrequently when I'm changing eye positions - never when I've settled and am 'viewing'. Not much clear sky, so it's been just the moon (when we're both up) thru haze / clouds and the 20mm and 12.5 - but I am getting very nice views during those short clear spots at night and during the day - crispy not mushy so far.  

 

2. Lack of slo-mos. None, and you won't be adding any easily. 

 

3. Design of Altitude and Azimuth pivots. 

    a. Alt pivot is by 'sprung fork' with bolts that tiighten into the ring mount - you can lock it down, but you have to crank the bolts very tight. This is not a "conical tip bolt forming pivot point with a slo-mo threaded arm to provide control" assembly - once the Alt bolts are loosened a bit, they'll continue to loosen whenever you slew the Alt.

    b. Az pivot does have a brake bolt, but getting the drag right is annoying and it does eventually slip looser. A little teflon tape on the drag / brake bolt keeps it 'set' longer.

 

What gives me the most grief, that which 'chews my biscuits' is the finder bracket - not one of the three have had the bracket 'right' - always off - and I haven't had time during the day to do a good bracket alignment, so the finder(s) is/are always off. That means some scanning, and that is when the Alt and Az go loose - even just tweaking one or the other to center the image so you can then align the finder, sends that axis loose, so you must tighten that, then back to the finder, and, well, my, it just gets very frustrating. In the cold. With no skies anyways. 

 

But that is overcome-able, with patience. After I have conquered the bracket on all three I'm going to replace said bracket (3-point) with either a six point or a red-dot. I just don't work comfortably with a three point bracket. I like red dots, but the RA finders on these are teeny-scopes in their own right and I am quite fond of them.

 

But no, don't buy one unless you need a little adventure in your life that is not 'viewing time'. If you think you've been wanting one, I'd say get one so that you can answers whatever questions you have - the views, limited as they have been, so far have been wonderful - beautiful sunset tonight above the stepped ridge line on the cliffs to the west and it was just FINE - clouds in focus and crisp, stepped ridge crisp, and crisp cliff faces with their streaks and colours. Venus is up in the morning, clouds allowing... But I believe I've been very, very lucky with these collimation wise.

 

I need to test the Celes zoomer on them - the supplied 9s and 4s (?) have rather (to my eye) narrow exit pupils and I think 'narrow' is not so wonderful with theses B-J / J-B tubes.

 

Clementine arrived legless, but with a low low-end alt-az tripod w/ fold-in legs and some other parts. The legs from that low-low tripod do not unscrew, so now I need six comet chaser legs - have to measure them up and go searching. I haven't checked yet, but there are two std looking threaded holes on the ring mounts - so we'll try getting Clementine or Shadow on a decent(er) EQ or AZ mount shortly - I have to take a break and put Sybil's maple workbench together and string some eave lights - duty calls.

 

So, for those of you out there perusing this thread - do as I generally do and listen to Terra, Jon, Space, Keith, Grif et al and think about buying something else. I love mine, but for their general 'quality of build' / uniqueness and not, believe me, for their 'utility'. 

 

Clear Skies, Sharp Eyes and Cookies =)



#19 astrowolf67

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 10:30 PM

I just bought one of these a couple of weeks ago at a flea market for 20 dollars.  It is complete, in the box, only missing the instructions and moon filter (if it had one).  When we got home, part of the barlow was stuck in the end of the finder, the other part was mix matched with the extensions, the finder had no cross hairs, and, the secondary had been unscrewed to the point it was about to fall into the tube.  It's always amusing seeing how people try to assemble some of these telescopes.  Anyway, once all the bits and pieces were cleaned, and reassembled, I removed the front window, reinstalled, and aligned the secondary, put it all back together, and collimated it the best I could.  I plucked one of my wife's hairs, and glued in some new cross hairs for the finder.  In the 3 point finder bracket, I added a few bits of velcro to center one end, making the 3 adjustment screws functional.  It's been out a few times, and, actually provides some pretty good lunar viewing.  I've yet to try it on anything else, being happy that it even works.  My wife asked what I had planned for it, I told her I'd probably just give it away.  Her reply was, "Nope, it's too cute, plus, it has my hair in it, so you have to keep it."  I have to admit, it will make for an interesting conversation piece.  Now, I've got to order some .965 bits from Bill, for this and a few other projects pretty soon.


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#20 Charles Funk

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 05:07 PM

My neighbors down the road gave me one of these. It is a cute and usable scope. But it has limitations, the optics are adequate once aligned (low power views), the finder is absolute junk, and the mount I would describe as quirky, and mildy aggravating. Anyone with a properly mounted 70-80 mm refractor will no doubt get better images consistently, but I must admit the little Jason is fun to play with if you have some observing time to kill. They are also cool little pieces of decor if you are of the proper mindset. (I think most of us here might be)

 

I did a blog post on mine quite a while back, I don't know if its kosher to leave a link, so I won't.

 

Jon already mentioned this, but there is a threaded tube in the box that is a perfect match for the threads on my Celestron plossls (remove the barrel from the eyepiece and screw it into the tube.) Using it in this fashion is far superior to the views with the eyepieces that come with the scope.

 

Note: Mine is identified as a 335, 76mm F 7.9. Just wanted to point that out after seeing a couple of differing numerical ID's in the thread.


Edited by Charles Funk, 07 December 2018 - 05:44 PM.

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