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Update on my SW ED150 order...

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#601 CHASLX200

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 05:27 AM

I would return the scope if i was Jim in a flash.  I think sub $2500 is asking too much for a 6" ED and it could end up like SCT scopes that vary all over the map from a rare super good one to very bad.  If i buy one of these scopes it sure as heck better be checked in the field before i get it and take 60x per inch without a blink of a eye.

 

Maybe a scope costing $3800 with much better optics would still sell well?  I am kinda scared to take a chance at this time.


 

#602 starman876

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 07:54 AM

I think that if any vendor offered a 6" ED scope for $2500 that could easily do 60X per inch they would be flying off the shelves like hotcakes.   You have to keep things in their proper perspective when talking about these scopes.  They are not Taks, Tecs or AP's.  They are a bargain scope providing people a good deal on a 6" ED refractor.   If they could perform like a Tak than I doubt they would be on the market for $2500.   They are a couple notches above a 6" achromat and I would not expect them to perform that much better.  anyone that would expect more are chasing a dream or are being very foolish.  


 

#603 John Huntley

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 08:31 AM

I'm hoping that the ED150 can match what an ED120 Pro can do but with the additional performance of the larger aperture. If Skywatcher can do that, consistently and the scopes remain stable performers through the colder months I think they will have a huge success on their hands.


 

#604 Bomber Bob

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 08:34 AM

I think that if any vendor offered a 6" ED scope for $2500 that could easily do 60X per inch they would be flying off the shelves like hotcakes.

 

Okay, so while the sale is on, pay about the same & get a 6" ED that will perform at 60x per inch.


 

#605 starman876

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 09:19 AM

I think that if any vendor offered a 6" ED scope for $2500 that could easily do 60X per inch they would be flying off the shelves like hotcakes.

 

Okay, so while the sale is on, pay about the same & get a 6" ED that will perform at 60x per inch.

Are you saying the APM 152 will do 60X per inch without a problem?


 

#606 Bomber Bob

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 09:21 AM

Yep, and I've posted digital images to support it -- IF your local seeing is good enough you should get the same performance.  Check out the posts by other APM owners.  IIRC, I posted an APM 152 image that replicates 300x views of Jupiter -- on the FAN thread...

 

And Again:  I would not consider Jim's SW150 to be a typical sample.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 13 August 2018 - 09:31 AM.

 

#607 Jeff B

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 09:41 AM

At best 600x on a 6" gets you nothing but larger scale with no additional detail.  More typically the image suffers to some degree compared to that back in the "non-empty-magnification" range.  The best magnification for high magnification observing is that magnifiication which yields more detail than any lower magnification and introduces nothing objectionable into the equation (e.g., no excessive dimming, no softness/breakdown of the image, etc.).

 

Best,

 

Jim 

Well said Jim.

 

There is an audio analog (pun intended) to this too.  I find that past a certain volume level, I do not hear anymore of the musical and acoustic details in the recording, but I do un-mask distortions previously hidden.  The result for me is less enjoyment as I am put off by the now audible distortion.   

 

Jeff


 

#608 starman876

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 09:46 AM

Yep, and I've posted digital images to support it -- IF your local seeing is good enough you should get the same performance.  Check out the posts by other APM owners.  IIRC, I posted an APM 152 image that replicates 300x views of Jupiter -- on the FAN thread...

 

And Again:  I would not consider Jim's SW150 to be a typical sample.

I will compare performance against my trusty 1986 6" AP triplet.   It will do 60X without a problem.    Will be interesting to see which scope will stay. 


 

#609 bobhen

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 10:21 AM

Yep, and I've posted digital images to support it -- IF your local seeing is good enough you should get the same performance.  Check out the posts by other APM owners.  IIRC, I posted an APM 152 image that replicates 300x views of Jupiter -- on the FAN thread...

 

And Again:  I would not consider Jim's SW150 to be a typical sample.

SW only offers a “diffraction limited” optical quality guarantee. So Jim’s SW 150 ED meets SW’s optical quality guarantee and it is made exactly to spec.

 

If the scope is returned, it will most likely be sold to someone else. The optics will not be stripped and refigured, why should they be, they meet spec. If you want another one of these scopes, the chances are you will get something similar. If one of these scopes comes off the line at ¼ wave it goes out the door. Why would it not?

 

If SW could produce better 6” refractor optics consistently and profitably and at this price they would offer a better optical quality guarantee – they do not.

 

Bob


 

#610 jrbarnett

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 10:28 AM

Are you saying the APM 152 will do 60X per inch without a problem?

At least one sample can...grin.gif

 

I know a few others who might quibble with that as a blanket statement.

 

Maybe they are on average better now than they were at the beginnings of the run.  That's actually to be expected.

 

With respect to Synta 6" optics historically, I recall Valery saying that only 15-20% of the C6R units they checked were optically good enough for him to feel comfortable shipping with his Chromacorrs.  That's anecdotal data, yes, but from a guy who examined literally scores of 6" Synta achromatic OGs over an extended period of time.

 

What I am hoping is that JOC jumps on this bandwagon and spins up FCD10 and FCD100 flavors of its doublets with 152mm aperture.  I think JOC's large achromatic optics are slightly better on average than Syntas.

 

Another factor to bear in mind is that it's pretty clear that after the initial buzz fades these are going to be very cheap big ED doublets.  Expect the street price in Euros (under 1700) to be matched here in dollars.  This is a $2250 scope now only due to novelty and scarcity.  With the pipeline full and inventory on shelves, we'll see this as a commoditization play.  That is, they will improve the process for making and shipping these scopes, tighten efficiencies of production, use economies of scale to ensure margin at a low, competition crushing, street price.

 

UO via dealers like APM aren't big enough to play that game.  JOC on the other hand is.  I think whether we see another big producer with direct distribution (i.e., a house brand in each geo) in this segment depends on how big this segment actually is.  In other words, what is the demand for a big, very cheap, well color corrected, slowish doublet?  Is the total addressable market large enough to keep two big producers who compete on price and depend on volume fed?

 

I think it is, provided you can get the price low enough and remain profitable on the units.  The reason I say this is that there's a fairly large installed base of 6" achromats out there.  Though you can get 6" achromats now fairly reasonably ($500 to $1000 depending on build), these scopes too are built to a price so ultimately should not be much better in quality making quality between madd produced achros and ED doublets at this level a wash.  If that's correct then the entire installed base of 6" achromats could potentially be migrated to such ED doublets, if (big IF) the price is low enough.  I would say $1500 would be low enough to sway a large percentage of the 6" achro installed base over to a 6" ED doublet.  $2k+?  Less likely as the pricepoint climbs.     

 

Best,

 

Jim


Edited by jrbarnett, 13 August 2018 - 10:45 AM.

 

#611 Bomber Bob

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 10:28 AM

So Jim’s SW 150 ED meets SW’s optical quality guarantee and it is made exactly to spec.

 

Okay... But Jim's 150 wasn't delivered to spec, which is why I would've returned it -- wouldn't even have tested it.


 

#612 jrbarnett

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 11:15 AM

Oh, to add, I'm kicking around an idea for this scope.  It's got nice light grasp, fair-good (rather than great) optics, doesn't weigh that much (as an OTA) and didn't break the bank.  From home my darkest skies and stablest seeing tend to be in the early morning hours starting about 3 hours before sunrise.  I've toyed for years with the idea of a scope left set-up, covered, for on-demand use.  I've even done trial runs with a variety of instruments (e.g., left 12x50 binoculars on a p-mount set up, covered, for several months, left a C90 MCT on a Nexstar SE mount similarly deployed for a couple of months, though I would deploy the battery each session with this setup, and more recently for several weeks, a LOMO 80/480 APO on a manual alt-az mount and cheap surveyor's tripod), but think it requires some aperture to make truly engaging and viable.  I thought about a C8 - big, cheap, capable - but prefer my SCTs on driven mounts and really prefer a manual no-electronics needed mount for an exposed setup.

 

This OTA seems pretty perfect for such a deployment.  In addition to its Milky Way sweeping and binocular tour guiding role, hour long early morning sessions and maybe a little pre-dawn comet sweeping several times a month courtesy of having it ready on a whim would be a good use of this scope I think.  I will need a sturdy weather proof cover (Telegizmos 365 or is there a better option?).  The cover will need to cover the scope mount and tripod so I am thinking a big Dob cover would be best (and have additional utility for use with my Dobs).  I have plenty of low cost accessories with which to dress the OTA as well as cheap eyepieces (probably will dedicate the set of Sterling Plossls for this duty) that I don't mind leaving out under the cover.  The Tak tripod I use (an SE-L made for the EM-200) has a traditional triangular tray to hold the eyepieces.  I have a spare older Sky Commander mothballed so I can update and attach that to the AYO Master.  I don't think the AYO Master will suffer much being outside under cover - it is well sealed and made of aluminum on the exterior.

 

Of course I'm not going to do much of anything with it beyond occasional use unless and until the focuser mess gets resolved.  The damaged focuser much more than the optics makes this scope less than pleasant to use.

 

Whacha think?

 

Best,

 

Jim 


 

#613 jrbarnett

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 11:19 AM

So Jim’s SW 150 ED meets SW’s optical quality guarantee and it is made exactly to spec.

 

Okay... But Jim's 150 wasn't delivered to spec, which is why I would've returned it -- wouldn't even have tested it.

To me it was - delivered in spec.  It didn't arrive at the dealer from the distributor in spec though.  There's a reason APM adds TLC to each and every 152ED is sells, and why Lunt's version which lacked the TLC failed in the market - many of these were showing up from the manufacturer "out of spec" and required dealer intervention to avoid this becoming a consumer problem.

 

I had the UO 6" f/5.9 achromat prior to this scope.  That scope comes out of the same factory as the APM.  I bought mine from Gary Hand (Hands on Optics).  Gary found that most units he received from the manufacturer were miscollimated or had other defects.  He checked and corrected every unit he shipped for the same reason - avoiding sub-spec units reaching the consumer and resulting  in bad PR.

 

- Jim


 

#614 BillP

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 11:21 AM

I think it is a great idea.  However, if left on a tripod then I would get three tie downs to anchor the rig to the ground if at all feasible.  I've seen too many scopes topple from a thunderstorm downburst and those weather covers make that all the more likely.


 

#615 BillP

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 11:23 AM

I had the UO 6" f/5.9 achromat prior to this scope.  That scope comes out of the same factory as the APM.  I bought mine from Gary Hand (Hands on Optics).  Gary found that most units he received from the manufacturer were miscollimated or had other defects.  He checked and corrected every unit he shipped for the same reason - avoiding sub-spec units reaching the consumer and resulting  in bad PR.

 

Gary was great.  Got several scopes from him...all perfect as he did put personal attention checking them out prior to sending or me picking up.


Edited by BillP, 13 August 2018 - 11:23 AM.

 

#616 BillP

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 11:28 AM

Are you saying the APM 152 will do 60X per inch without a problem?

 

Mine certainly has zero issue at producing a nice crisp and detailed view at 60x/in and more.  A tour of Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn two days ago was simply spectacularly detailed at about that magnification level. Then backed her way down for some really pretty views of the Swan Nebula and others around that portion of the Milky Way.


Edited by BillP, 13 August 2018 - 11:31 AM.

 

#617 bobhen

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 12:03 PM

So Jim’s SW 150 ED meets SW’s optical quality guarantee and it is made exactly to spec.

 

Okay... But Jim's 150 wasn't delivered to spec, which is why I would've returned it -- wouldn't even have tested it.

According to Jim the scope is optically between ¼ and 1/5 wave, which meets the SW “optical” guarantee.

 

If you are referring to damage during shipping that is, of course, a different matter.

 

Bob


 

#618 BarrySimon615

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 12:17 PM

I think that if any vendor offered a 6" ED scope for $2500 that could easily do 60X per inch they would be flying off the shelves like hotcakes.   You have to keep things in their proper perspective when talking about these scopes.  They are not Taks, Tecs or AP's.  They are a bargain scope providing people a good deal on a 6" ED refractor.   If they could perform like a Tak than I doubt they would be on the market for $2500.   They are a couple notches above a 6" achromat and I would not expect them to perform that much better.  anyone that would expect more are chasing a dream or are being very foolish.  

So what would be typical wavefront readings of any telescopes that would be considered  price competitive to the SkyWatcher 6" ED?  Jim mentioned "better than 1/4th wave and perhaps approaching 1/5th wave"  <<<<quote is not exact, but close.

 

Maybe for a similar outlay, someone can drop aperture a bit and get a better image with a more portable telescope that can jump magnification beyond 200 x or so - Some of the doublet Tak's, the SkyWatcher ED 120, the ES 127, all seem like more viable alternatives with a lot of upside.

 

Most of my current herd of refractors, given a good night, will all do at least 50x per inch, including the achromats (Celestron/Vixen SP C102's - 2 of them, Antares 105x1500, Astro-Tech AT102ED and Antares 127 mm f/9.4).  Others will do 60x to 70x per inch, without issue on a good steady night.  That group includes my Tak TOA 130, my TMB SS 130, AT 111 triplet and Milo 76 mm f/18.4.  Only a few fall below the 50x per inch threshold; that group includes the Orion ST120, my 6" Jaegers f/5 and the Vixen NA 140 which with it's petzval system is an f/5.7 system.  This later telescope with a 5 mm eyepiece yields 160x which is about 29x per inch, which works well with it.  A 2.5 Nagler jumps the x per inch to about 58x which is too much.  A 3.5 Nagler yields about 229x which works out to 41.5x per inch which is ok, but I prefer the 5 mm view so maybe an eyepiece yielding about 35x per inch would be a good compromise at 192 x would be ok (a 4 mm eyepiece would do that).

 

This all has me thinking that a Vixen NA 140 might be a good alternative to at least some of the 150/152 mm ED scopes.  Similar upper magnification limit in a more compact and lighter package which can be handled well by a Celestron AVX mount.  For something that is not an ED or an APO, it has respectable color correction and I believe it can now be acquired for about $1700.00 at this time.  Something to consider.

 

Attached is a photo I took thru mine of Comet Lovejoy.  The telescope was riding on my AVX mount.  I used a TeleVue reducer/corrector to drop the focal length and focal ratio further down to a focal length of 640 mm and a ratio of f/4.56. 

 

Barry Simon

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_0068NA140small.jpg

Edited by BarrySimon615, 13 August 2018 - 12:26 PM.

 

#619 Jeff B

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 12:49 PM

Oh, to add, I'm kicking around an idea for this scope.  It's got nice light grasp, fair-good (rather than great) optics, doesn't weigh that much (as an OTA) and didn't break the bank.  From home my darkest skies and stablest seeing tend to be in the early morning hours starting about 3 hours before sunrise.  I've toyed for years with the idea of a scope left set-up, covered, for on-demand use.  I've even done trial runs with a variety of instruments (e.g., left 12x50 binoculars on a p-mount set up, covered, for several months, left a C90 MCT on a Nexstar SE mount similarly deployed for a couple of months, though I would deploy the battery each session with this setup, and more recently for several weeks, a LOMO 80/480 APO on a manual alt-az mount and cheap surveyor's tripod), but think it requires some aperture to make truly engaging and viable.  I thought about a C8 - big, cheap, capable - but prefer my SCTs on driven mounts and really prefer a manual no-electronics needed mount for an exposed setup.

 

This OTA seems pretty perfect for such a deployment.  In addition to its Milky Way sweeping and binocular tour guiding role, hour long early morning sessions and maybe a little pre-dawn comet sweeping several times a month courtesy of having it ready on a whim would be a good use of this scope I think.  I will need a sturdy weather proof cover (Telegizmos 365 or is there a better option?).  The cover will need to cover the scope mount and tripod so I am thinking a big Dob cover would be best (and have additional utility for use with my Dobs).  I have plenty of low cost accessories with which to dress the OTA as well as cheap eyepieces (probably will dedicate the set of Sterling Plossls for this duty) that I don't mind leaving out under the cover.  The Tak tripod I use (an SE-L made for the EM-200) has a traditional triangular tray to hold the eyepieces.  I have a spare older Sky Commander mothballed so I can update and attach that to the AYO Master.  I don't think the AYO Master will suffer much being outside under cover - it is well sealed and made of aluminum on the exterior.

 

Of course I'm not going to do much of anything with it beyond occasional use unless and until the focuser mess gets resolved.  The damaged focuser much more than the optics makes this scope less than pleasant to use.

 

Whacha think?

 

Best,

 

Jim 

Been there, done that, still doing it, expanding it and on a bigger scale than what you're looking at Jim.  grin.gif

 

I certainly can vouch for having something bagged and tagged, ready to deploy.  I use the Telegizmos 365 covers.  Extremely well made with good prices (IMO).  It takes all of a few minutes, maybe 5, to deploy/stow either the TEC 200ED or the Parallax/Zambuto Newt.  And I use a ladder, your SW150ED would not.  As you can see, I even tuck my observing chair and a small table under the cover.   One nice feature of doing this is that a GEM is now really easy to use and can be accurately polar aligned...once.  Also, it keeps dew off the scope so deploying it in the AM gives me a scope that's not soaking wet and around here, that is a big deal.

 

Easy experiment and highly recommended.

 

Jeff

Attached Thumbnails

  • Bagged and Tagged.jpg
  • Newtonian Bagged and Tagged.jpg
  • Parallax Zambuto F7 Bb.jpg

 

#620 starman876

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 12:49 PM

So what would be typical wavefront readings of any telescopes that would be considered  price competitive to the SkyWatcher 6" ED?  Jim mentioned "better than 1/4th wave and perhaps approaching 1/5th wave"  <<<<quote is not exact, but close.

 

Maybe for a similar outlay, someone can drop aperture a bit and get a better image with a more portable telescope that can jump magnification beyond 200 x or so - Some of the doublet Tak's, the SkyWatcher ED 120, the ES 127, all seem like more viable alternatives with a lot of upside.

 

Most of my current herd of refractors, given a good night, will all do at least 50x per inch, including the achromats (Celestron/Vixen SP C102's - 2 of them, Antares 105x1500, Astro-Tech AT102ED and Antares 127 mm f/9.4).  Others will do 60x to 70x per inch, without issue on a good steady night.  That group includes my Tak TOA 130, my TMB SS 130, AT 111 triplet and Milo 76 mm f/18.4.  Only a few fall below the 50x per inch threshold; that group includes the Orion ST120, my 6" Jaegers f/5 and the Vixen NA 140 which with it's petzval system is an f/5.7 system.  This later telescope with a 5 mm eyepiece yields 160x which is about 29x per inch, which works well with it.  A 2.5 Nagler jumps the x per inch to about 58x which is too much.  A 3.5 Nagler yields about 229x which works out to 41.5x per inch which is ok, but I prefer the 5 mm view so maybe an eyepiece yielding about 35x per inch would be a good compromise at 192 x would be ok (a 4 mm eyepiece would do that).

 

This all has me thinking that a Vixen NA 140 might be a good alternative to at least some of the 150/152 mm ED scopes.  Similar upper magnification limit in a more compact and lighter package which can be handled well by a Celestron AVX mount.  For something that is not an ED or an APO, it has respectable color correction and I believe it can now be acquired for about $1700.00 at this time.  Something to consider.

 

Attached is a photo I took thru mine of Comet Lovejoy.  The telescope was riding on my AVX mount.  I used a TeleVue reducer/corrector to drop the focal length and focal ratio further down to a focal length of 640 mm and a ratio of f/4.56. 

 

Barry Simon

beautiful picture Barry.  And I agree there are a lot of scopes out there that will meet those requirements.  You seem to have most of themwink.gif   


 

#621 Jeff B

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 12:50 PM

Here is a trio.

 

Jeff

Attached Thumbnails

  • Trio B.jpg
  • Trio A.jpg

 

#622 BillP

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 01:07 PM

This all has me thinking that a Vixen NA 140 might be a good alternative to at least some of the 150/152 mm ED scopes. 

 

I would say the NA 140, which is still very much achromatic in its performance, is no where near to be considered an alternative to the 150 class ED doublet Apos.  Getting to higher magnifications well, particularly for planetary without any filtration, is more about color correction across the visual spectrum.  With my 152 ED Apo I get zero halo around any planet in focus, including Venus.  About the only object I can reliably  coax a faint bit of very dim blue around in focus is Sirius.  Vega, nada. 


Edited by BillP, 13 August 2018 - 01:10 PM.

 

#623 daquad

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 01:37 PM

Been there, done that, still doing it, expanding it and on a bigger scale than what you're looking at Jim.  grin.gif

 

I certainly can vouch for having something bagged and tagged, ready to deploy.  I use the Telegizmos 365 covers.  Extremely well made with good prices (IMO).  It takes all of a few minutes, maybe 5, to deploy/stow either the TEC 200ED or the Parallax/Zambuto Newt.  And I use a ladder, your SW150ED would not.  As you can see, I even tuck my observing chair and a small table under the cover.   One nice feature of doing this is that a GEM is now really easy to use and can be accurately polar aligned...once.  Also, it keeps dew off the scope so deploying it in the AM gives me a scope that's not soaking wet and around here, that is a big deal.

 

Easy experiment and highly recommended.

 

Jeff

Jeff, nice setups.  How do you deal with bugs and other critters?

 

Dom Q.


 

#624 starman876

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 01:38 PM

For getting rid of bugs I use this. Works like magic

 

https://www.rei.com/...ASABEgKejPD_BwE


 

#625 Crow Haven

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 01:39 PM

Oh, to add, I'm kicking around an idea for this scope.  It's got nice light grasp, fair-good (rather than great) optics, doesn't weigh that much (as an OTA) and didn't break the bank.  From home my darkest skies and stablest seeing tend to be in the early morning hours starting about 3 hours before sunrise.  I've toyed for years with the idea of a scope left set-up, covered, for on-demand use.  I've even done trial runs with a variety of instruments (e.g., left 12x50 binoculars on a p-mount set up, covered, for several months, left a C90 MCT on a Nexstar SE mount similarly deployed for a couple of months, though I would deploy the battery each session with this setup, and more recently for several weeks, a LOMO 80/480 APO on a manual alt-az mount and cheap surveyor's tripod), but think it requires some aperture to make truly engaging and viable.  I thought about a C8 - big, cheap, capable - but prefer my SCTs on driven mounts and really prefer a manual no-electronics needed mount for an exposed setup.

 

This OTA seems pretty perfect for such a deployment.  In addition to its Milky Way sweeping and binocular tour guiding role, hour long early morning sessions and maybe a little pre-dawn comet sweeping several times a month courtesy of having it ready on a whim would be a good use of this scope I think.  I will need a sturdy weather proof cover (Telegizmos 365 or is there a better option?).  The cover will need to cover the scope mount and tripod so I am thinking a big Dob cover would be best (and have additional utility for use with my Dobs).  I have plenty of low cost accessories with which to dress the OTA as well as cheap eyepieces (probably will dedicate the set of Sterling Plossls for this duty) that I don't mind leaving out under the cover.  The Tak tripod I use (an SE-L made for the EM-200) has a traditional triangular tray to hold the eyepieces.  I have a spare older Sky Commander mothballed so I can update and attach that to the AYO Master.  I don't think the AYO Master will suffer much being outside under cover - it is well sealed and made of aluminum on the exterior.

 

Of course I'm not going to do much of anything with it beyond occasional use unless and until the focuser mess gets resolved.  The damaged focuser much more than the optics makes this scope less than pleasant to use.

 

Whacha think?

 

Best,

 

Jim 

Sounds like a cunning plan.grin.gif  It could work!


 


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