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#26 Geo31

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 12:32 PM

Seems the big Newts faded out around 1975 once the C8 was out and being bought. Same for Unitron as the C8 killed them also.

Not so sir.  In fact, Newts are bigger than ever....

 

I think what killed off the equatorially mounted Newts was the Dob, not the C8.  The C8 had been out for a while before the big Eq Newts pushed daisies.  But...  the Dob craze started to really take hold in the late 70s when S&T did a big article about Dobson and his huge Alt-Az Newts made for relative cheap.  It was a paradigm shift (an expression I generally hate) in the most dramatic fashion.  That probably also pushed Unitron out because for the price of a 4" Unitron, you could buy a 18" portable Newt.  Around the same time the APOs started to really catch on, so those left buying those tiny refractors (j/k - taking a light-hearted jab at the frac loving crowd) started buying Taks, APs, TMBs, and others.  Then lower priced APOs started coming out and it was game over for Unitron.  I bet if Unitron sold excellent APOs they'd still be around.


Edited by Geo31, 13 December 2017 - 12:32 PM.

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#27 starman876

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 01:24 PM

 

Seems the big Newts faded out around 1975 once the C8 was out and being bought. Same for Unitron as the C8 killed them also.

Not so sir.  In fact, Newts are bigger than ever....

 

I think what killed off the equatorially mounted Newts was the Dob, not the C8.  The C8 had been out for a while before the big Eq Newts pushed daisies.  But...  the Dob craze started to really take hold in the late 70s when S&T did a big article about Dobson and his huge Alt-Az Newts made for relative cheap.  It was a paradigm shift (an expression I generally hate) in the most dramatic fashion.  That probably also pushed Unitron out because for the price of a 4" Unitron, you could buy a 18" portable Newt.  Around the same time the APOs started to really catch on, so those left buying those tiny refractors (j/k - taking a light-hearted jab at the frac loving crowd) started buying Taks, APs, TMBs, and others.  Then lower priced APOs started coming out and it was game over for Unitron.  I bet if Unitron sold excellent APOs they'd still be around.

 

That sounds right.   The APO was the death of Unitron refractors.   Most people wanted the shorter OTA and still get F15 achromat performance. I know I like it.   


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#28 CHASLX200

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 01:41 PM

 

Seems the big Newts faded out around 1975 once the C8 was out and being bought. Same for Unitron as the C8 killed them also.

Not so sir.  In fact, Newts are bigger than ever....

 

I think what killed off the equatorially mounted Newts was the Dob, not the C8.  The C8 had been out for a while before the big Eq Newts pushed daisies.  But...  the Dob craze started to really take hold in the late 70s when S&T did a big article about Dobson and his huge Alt-Az Newts made for relative cheap.  It was a paradigm shift (an expression I generally hate) in the most dramatic fashion.  That probably also pushed Unitron out because for the price of a 4" Unitron, you could buy a 18" portable Newt.  Around the same time the APOs started to really catch on, so those left buying those tiny refractors (j/k - taking a light-hearted jab at the frac loving crowd) started buying Taks, APs, TMBs, and others.  Then lower priced APOs started coming out and it was game over for Unitron.  I bet if Unitron sold excellent APOs they'd still be around.

 

I should have said the big EQ mounted Newts..  Seemed Unitron faded away well before AP really got going.


Edited by CHASLX200, 13 December 2017 - 03:22 PM.

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#29 starman876

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 02:25 PM

go read the unitron history web site if you want to know what happened to unitron.  please stop guessing.



#30 CHASLX200

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 02:45 PM

go read the unitron history web site if you want to know what happened to unitron.  please stop guessing.

I don't have to  guess jess.  By the late 70's the ads started to fade away in Sky- Tele.  The prices got so high no one was buying them anymore by the early 80's.  Price out what a 4" M-160 cost in 1982.  If you remember the back of Sky& tele had Unitron ads for years then around 1973 or so Celestron took over the back cover. AP did not get going until around 83 or 84. I know what went on as i lived it and bought it all them years.


Edited by CHASLX200, 13 December 2017 - 02:47 PM.

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#31 starman876

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 02:51 PM

If you look through the Unitron History web site the only thing stated is that NS just shut it's doors in 1992.  That by itself cut off Unitron.  I know Unitron tried to find other suppliers to continue the line, but could not find anything that was the quality of NS products.   There has only been speculation that other telescopes brought on the death of Unitron and no factual finds that it was other types of scope sales.   Remember, these were scopes for people with deep pockets whom never really cared what something costs.   There was nothing else offered by anyone other vendor that came close to the Quality of the Unitron.



#32 CHASLX200

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 02:59 PM

If you look through the Unitron History web site the only thing stated is that NS just shut it's doors in 1992.  That by itself cut off Unitron.  I know Unitron tried to find other suppliers to continue the line, but could not find anything that was the quality of NS products.   There has only been speculation that other telescopes brought on the death of Unitron and no factual finds that it was other types of scope sales.   Remember, these were scopes for people with deep pockets whom never really cared what something costs.   There was nothing else offered by anyone other vendor that came close to the Quality of the Unitron.

I bought a new 3" RFT Unitron in 1988 .  I am just telling ya that they started to fade away when the C8 came to be.  I was still buying new Unitron parts in the late 90's.  The C8 killed the EQ Newt and Untitron ya just as well say. All the proof one needs is look at the ads in Sky&tele from the late 60's to the mid 70's and look at the changes.

 

We go from Unitron to Celestron in a few short years.


Edited by CHASLX200, 13 December 2017 - 03:01 PM.

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#33 Geo31

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 03:11 PM

There was nothing else offered by anyone other vendor that came close to the Quality of the Unitron.

Like Zeiss, Goto, or some others?

 

I guess you mean for the money, especially since DPAC has shown that even Unitron didn't offer the quality of Unitron all the time.  ;)

 

poke.gif

 

:grin:

 

OK, actually, I think probably it was a matter of finding a supplier that offered the quality of NS.  The other good manufacturers probably didn't care about supplying Unitron.

 

Other than your last statement, which I cannot resist teasing you about, I agree with you, especially that Unitron buyers tended to be more well-heeled than the average telescope buyer.  Does the Unitron History web site have info on what caused NS to close down?

 

The other thing that Unitron had was a broad offering covering a wide range of desires, all with the same quality throughout the line.  Cool stuff that I've always drooled over, including today (although today I'd just get separate mount and OTA for probably the same money and quality, but I'm not a collector).



#34 CHASLX200

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 03:24 PM

 

There was nothing else offered by anyone other vendor that came close to the Quality of the Unitron.

Like Zeiss, Goto, or some others?

 

I guess you mean for the money, especially since DPAC has shown that even Unitron didn't offer the quality of Unitron all the time.  wink.gif

 

poke.gif

 

grin.gif

 

OK, actually, I think probably it was a matter of finding a supplier that offered the quality of NS.  The other good manufacturers probably didn't care about supplying Unitron.

 

Other than your last statement, which I cannot resist teasing you about, I agree with you, especially that Unitron buyers tended to be more well-heeled than the average telescope buyer.  Does the Unitron History web site have info on what caused NS to close down?

 

The other thing that Unitron had was a broad offering covering a wide range of desires, all with the same quality throughout the line.  Cool stuff that I've always drooled over, including today (although today I'd just get separate mount and OTA for probably the same money and quality, but I'm not a collector).

 

Seems the build was great in the 50's and 60 and by the mid 70's started to get a little cheaper.  The prices on the 4" M-160 just went sky high by around 1980.  



#35 starman876

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 03:26 PM

there seems to be nothing in writing i can find that states why NS stopped production.  I sent a PM to Dave and asked him if he knew anything.  this topic might be better talked about in the unitron history web site as it has nothing to do with the topic of this thread. 


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#36 JakeJ

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 04:12 PM

It's simple, really for those of us who remember those days.

 

The rise of the Apos from TeleVue and Takahashi in the 80's killed the market for Unitron - the "well heeled" refractor crowd turned to these and sold off their Unitrons - it was quite easy to purchase 114's used back then.   Long achros from Unitron were dinosaurs compared to the new apos.  Unitron stopped production as demand wasn't there anymore.

 

As for EQ newts - yes, the SCTs really did them in - large aperture became much more portable, with nice drive correctors.


Edited by JakeJ, 13 December 2017 - 04:13 PM.


#37 starman876

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 04:26 PM

It's simple, really for those of us who remember those days.

 

The rise of the Apos from TeleVue and Takahashi in the 80's killed the market for Unitron - the "well heeled" refractor crowd turned to these and sold off their Unitrons - it was quite easy to purchase 114's used back then.   Long achros from Unitron were dinosaurs compared to the new apos.  Unitron stopped production as demand wasn't there anymore.

 

As for EQ newts - yes, the SCTs really did them in - large aperture became much more portable, with nice drive correctors.

Unitron did not make the scopes and an interview with the president of Unitron in 1997 seemed to indicate they still wanted to sell telescopes.   Only problem is their supplier NS closed its doors in 1992.   


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#38 Geo31

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 04:49 PM

It's simple, really for those of us who remember those days.

 

The rise of the Apos from TeleVue and Takahashi in the 80's killed the market for Unitron - the "well heeled" refractor crowd turned to these and sold off their Unitrons - it was quite easy to purchase 114's used back then.   Long achros from Unitron were dinosaurs compared to the new apos.  Unitron stopped production as demand wasn't there anymore.

 

As for EQ newts - yes, the SCTs really did them in - large aperture became much more portable, with nice drive correctors.

I remember those days.  Been doing this on and off for 44 years now.  I know Company 7 blames the C8 for killing the RV-6.  I am not buying it, nor did the C8 kill off the Eq Newts.  The Dobs killed the Eq Newts.  Sure the C8 grabbed some of the market (especially the AP market), but it was the Dobs that did them in.  Starting in the late 70s, very early 80s, it seemed everybody and their dog wanted a Dob. 


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#39 apfever

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 04:57 PM

You just have to watch the dogs though.  It's what they want the dobs FOR that is an issue.


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#40 JakeJ

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 05:19 PM

 

It's simple, really for those of us who remember those days.

 

The rise of the Apos from TeleVue and Takahashi in the 80's killed the market for Unitron - the "well heeled" refractor crowd turned to these and sold off their Unitrons - it was quite easy to purchase 114's used back then.   Long achros from Unitron were dinosaurs compared to the new apos.  Unitron stopped production as demand wasn't there anymore.

 

As for EQ newts - yes, the SCTs really did them in - large aperture became much more portable, with nice drive correctors.

I remember those days.  Been doing this on and off for 44 years now.  I know Company 7 blames the C8 for killing the RV-6.  I am not buying it, nor did the C8 kill off the Eq Newts.  The Dobs killed the Eq Newts.  Sure the C8 grabbed some of the market (especially the AP market), but it was the Dobs that did them in.  Starting in the late 70s, very early 80s, it seemed everybody and their dog wanted a Dob. 

 

Yes, you have a point.  I would say however that back in the 80s the SCT's were ubiquitous at any star party.  Coulters were about the only commercial dobs at the time and they weren't as common - the rest of dobs that I saw were generally ATM.  However by the 90s it seemed the truss dob market came into it's own, and that certainly changed things.  So probably a combination of dobs and SCTs, as well as advancing goto technology.



#41 deSitter

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 05:40 PM

I was of course enthralled by Unitron, but that ended as soon as I got a 6" RV-6 and could suddenly see things clearly that were barely glimpsed in my 3" SYW Sears. From then on all I wanted was a big Newtonian. I didn't trust SCTs (justified) - something for nothing. Still don't..

 

-drl



#42 Geo31

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 05:52 PM

Remember that the Dob revolution also made ATM "easy" for most people.  John Dobson's scopes were, uh, rough to say the least.  So, people who might have bought a large commercial Newt instead built a Dob with relatively little effort for in some cases 1/10 the cost, although 1/4 the cost would be more like it.

 

Don't forget that at the time, SCTs were relatively expensive compared with a like-sized Eq Newt.


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#43 CHASLX200

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 06:35 PM

 

 

It's simple, really for those of us who remember those days.

 

The rise of the Apos from TeleVue and Takahashi in the 80's killed the market for Unitron - the "well heeled" refractor crowd turned to these and sold off their Unitrons - it was quite easy to purchase 114's used back then.   Long achros from Unitron were dinosaurs compared to the new apos.  Unitron stopped production as demand wasn't there anymore.

 

As for EQ newts - yes, the SCTs really did them in - large aperture became much more portable, with nice drive correctors.

I remember those days.  Been doing this on and off for 44 years now.  I know Company 7 blames the C8 for killing the RV-6.  I am not buying it, nor did the C8 kill off the Eq Newts.  The Dobs killed the Eq Newts.  Sure the C8 grabbed some of the market (especially the AP market), but it was the Dobs that did them in.  Starting in the late 70s, very early 80s, it seemed everybody and their dog wanted a Dob. 

 

Yes, you have a point.  I would say however that back in the 80s the SCT's were ubiquitous at any star party.  Coulters were about the only commercial dobs at the time and they weren't as common - the rest of dobs that I saw were generally ATM.  However by the 90s it seemed the truss dob market came into it's own, and that certainly changed things.  So probably a combination of dobs and SCTs, as well as advancing goto technology.

 

The real Dob makers got going around 1986 with the Tectron and then Obsession in 1990.  Then it was a horse race with many more makers in the 90's and 2000's.

 

Seems Cave was hurting in the mid 70's and went downhill fast.  Same for many other makers of the bigger EQ mounted Newts.

 

When i first got started it seemed to be Celestrons SCT's were the most of the scopes i saw at starparties and the RV6 in 1977.

 

No Dobs that i remember in 1977. My first real scopes i looked thru a start party in 1977 was a small round base C5 and a C14. Boy did i hate my Sears 60mm blue tube after that nite.

 

Around 1981-82 the blue Coulter Dobs were starting to come out, then a gap until 1986.  APO's back then were about zero. Tak was not even known here back in the 70's by many people, then AP got started up around 83-84.  So it seemed to go from Untirons and EQ mounted Newts of the 60's and early 70's, to the SCT's in the 70's and the Dobs of the 80's and much better Dobs in the 90's and 2000's.

So now it seems to be GO-TO this and that and SCT's and Dobs seems to take the best of the Market.


Edited by CHASLX200, 13 December 2017 - 06:37 PM.

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#44 starman876

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 06:39 PM

Remember that the Dob revolution also made ATM "easy" for most people.  John Dobson's scopes were, uh, rough to say the least.  So, people who might have bought a large commercial Newt instead built a Dob with relatively little effort for in some cases 1/10 the cost, although 1/4 the cost would be more like it.

 

Don't forget that at the time, SCTs were relatively expensive compared with a like-sized Eq Newt.

SCT's were expensive. Just look at the ads back then.   Also, another thing I learned talking about ads.  Unitron stopped placing ads in S&T because they did not need to anymore.  They had driven their point about their scopes and they did not need to advertise anymore.  Everybody wanted a Unitron. 



#45 Littlegreenman

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 09:29 PM

 

Controversy has followed Park's on the internet since for at least the 20 years when I first got into astronomy forums.  A lot of the controversy has been about high prices listed on the website. Also by people afflicted with neomania--"if it"s new, it must be great," and the corollary, "if it's old, it must be [insert term not allowed on CN by the Terms of Service] regarding their large Newtonian  scopes and mounts.

 

 

We moved to our current house almost 20 years ago. At that time the San DIego Scope City store was about 5 blocks from the house.  They had a lot of stuff, old school, that never seemed to sell.  When I asked about a laser collimator, I was told, "We don't believe in Lasers."  After a couple of encounters with that attitude, I never bothered going there again.  OPT was only 30 miles away and they seemed to carry the modern equipment.  I can tell you I was not alone in this. 

 

It was no surprise when Scope City went out of business.  A business needs to serve it's customers and no matter how much one believes in the old GEM mounted Newtonians and overpriced 60mm and 80mm achromats, the market had changed and Scope City seemed to have missed the boat.  

 

Jon

 

I did not have negative experiences at the Parks Sherman Oaks Store. I'm not saying others didn't!

 

===

Regarding some posts above about what killed off Gem Newtonians, I think we have to add suburban sprawl, increasing light pollution and the need for something portable you could pack in a vehicle and drive to a dark sight.


Edited by Littlegreenman, 13 December 2017 - 09:33 PM.

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#46 starman876

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 09:43 AM

Go the Unitron history thread for more information on the end of NS. Had nothing to do with the C8.  I asked the Mods to take all this Unitron talk to that thread.


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#47 deSitter

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 09:57 AM

Anyway to Parks - so there isn't a red line date before which they existed and then didn't - they just managed to alienate people and died not with a bang but a whimper? Did former Cave people go work on scopes for them?

 

-drl



#48 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 10:18 AM

 

 

Controversy has followed Park's on the internet since for at least the 20 years when I first got into astronomy forums.  A lot of the controversy has been about high prices listed on the website. Also by people afflicted with neomania--"if it"s new, it must be great," and the corollary, "if it's old, it must be [insert term not allowed on CN by the Terms of Service] regarding their large Newtonian  scopes and mounts.

 

 

We moved to our current house almost 20 years ago. At that time the San DIego Scope City store was about 5 blocks from the house.  They had a lot of stuff, old school, that never seemed to sell.  When I asked about a laser collimator, I was told, "We don't believe in Lasers."  After a couple of encounters with that attitude, I never bothered going there again.  OPT was only 30 miles away and they seemed to carry the modern equipment.  I can tell you I was not alone in this. 

 

It was no surprise when Scope City went out of business.  A business needs to serve it's customers and no matter how much one believes in the old GEM mounted Newtonians and overpriced 60mm and 80mm achromats, the market had changed and Scope City seemed to have missed the boat.  

 

Jon

 

I did not have negative experiences at the Parks Sherman Oaks Store. I'm not saying others didn't!

 

===

Regarding some posts above about what killed off Gem Newtonians, I think we have to add suburban sprawl, increasing light pollution and the need for something portable you could pack in a vehicle and drive to a dark sight.

 

 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  Two 12.5 inch Newtonans.  One I've owned for nearly 20 years.  That scope has traveled all over the southwest and has seen many nights from my urban backyard.  The other scope, it saw the night sky a few times a year,  it never made farther than the driveway n the 10 or so years I owned it..  

 

You get 50 bonus points if you can guess which is which.. 

 

3773957-Meade + Discovery 2.jpg
 
As far as what killed off the Equatorially mounted Newtonian.. My thinking: in the larger apertures,  they were never very popular.  It's not so much that they were killed off,  rather the Dob made apertures realistic and practical,  GEM mounted Newtonians were overrun by the Dobs. Today,  a 12 Dob is considered a beginners scope by some. 
 
In the smaller apertures,  up to 8 inches,  I think GOTO,  the SCT,  the Dob as well as affordable refractors of reasonable aperture all contributed to their loss of popularity.  Realistically,  the ergonomics of a GEM mounted Newtonian are awkward and often uncomfortable,  often one is fighting with the scope. The easy portability of the Dob with increasing light pollution was also a factor. 
 
If you need a hint to get your 50 bonus points,  this photo would have not been possible with one of the two.  One of the scopes wouldn't have fit in the motor home. 
5879433-Monument valley 3.JPG
 
Jon

 


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#49 Terra Nova

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 10:20 AM

 

Controversy has followed Park's on the internet since for at least the 20 years when I first got into astronomy forums.  A lot of the controversy has been about high prices listed on the website. Also by people afflicted with neomania--"if it"s new, it must be great," and the corollary, "if it's old, it must be [insert term not allowed on CN by the Terms of Service] regarding their large Newtonian  scopes and mounts.

 

 

We moved to our current house almost 20 years ago. At that time the San DIego Scope City store was about 5 blocks from the house.  They had a lot of stuff, old school, that never seemed to sell.  When I asked about a laser collimator, I was told, "We don't believe in Lasers."  After a couple of encounters with that attitude, I never bothered going there again.  OPT was only 30 miles away and they seemed to carry the modern equipment.  I can tell you I was not alone in this. 

 

It was no surprise when Scope City went out of business.  A business needs to serve it's customers and no matter how much one believes in the old GEM mounted Newtonians and overpriced 60mm and 80mm achromats, the market had changed and Scope City seemed to have missed the boat.  

 

Jon

 

There was a Scope City in Riverside as well back in the day. As I remember, it was on Arlington near the Tyler Mall. I went there a few times. They were overpriced, unresponsive, and generally nasty. I certainly understand why they went down the tube if that store was representative of the others.


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#50 Geo31

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 11:18 AM

 

 

 

Controversy has followed Park's on the internet since for at least the 20 years when I first got into astronomy forums.  A lot of the controversy has been about high prices listed on the website. Also by people afflicted with neomania--"if it"s new, it must be great," and the corollary, "if it's old, it must be [insert term not allowed on CN by the Terms of Service] regarding their large Newtonian  scopes and mounts.

 

 

We moved to our current house almost 20 years ago. At that time the San DIego Scope City store was about 5 blocks from the house.  They had a lot of stuff, old school, that never seemed to sell.  When I asked about a laser collimator, I was told, "We don't believe in Lasers."  After a couple of encounters with that attitude, I never bothered going there again.  OPT was only 30 miles away and they seemed to carry the modern equipment.  I can tell you I was not alone in this. 

 

It was no surprise when Scope City went out of business.  A business needs to serve it's customers and no matter how much one believes in the old GEM mounted Newtonians and overpriced 60mm and 80mm achromats, the market had changed and Scope City seemed to have missed the boat.  

 

Jon

 

I did not have negative experiences at the Parks Sherman Oaks Store. I'm not saying others didn't!

 

===

Regarding some posts above about what killed off Gem Newtonians, I think we have to add suburban sprawl, increasing light pollution and the need for something portable you could pack in a vehicle and drive to a dark sight.

 

 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  Two 12.5 inch Newtonans.  One I've owned for nearly 20 years.  That scope has traveled all over the southwest and has seen many nights from my urban backyard.  The other scope, it saw the night sky a few times a year,  it never made farther than the driveway n the 10 or so years I owned it..  

 

You get 50 bonus points if you can guess which is which.. 

 

 
 
As far as what killed off the Equatorially mounted Newtonian.. My thinking: in the larger apertures,  they were never very popular.  It's not so much that they were killed off,  rather the Dob made apertures realistic and practical,  GEM mounted Newtonians were overrun by the Dobs. Today,  a 12 Dob is considered a beginners scope by some. 
 
In the smaller apertures,  up to 8 inches,  I think GOTO,  the SCT,  the Dob as well as affordable refractors of reasonable aperture all contributed to their loss of popularity.  Realistically,  the ergonomics of a GEM mounted Newtonian are awkward and often uncomfortable,  often one is fighting with the scope. The easy portability of the Dob with increasing light pollution was also a factor. 
 
If you need a hint to get your 50 bonus points,  this photo would have not been possible with one of the two.  One of the scopes wouldn't have fit in the motor home. 
 
 
Jon

 

 

That about covers it Jon.  Great post.  The visual comparison is striking.


  • Jon Isaacs and Terra Nova like this


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