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Meade infinity 102mm - first light

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#1 R0llllin

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 12:22 AM

Got a meade infinity 102mm with research / recommendations from this site. Was cheaper in the usa (im from toronto canada) so picked it up this past weekend when i met up with friends on a mini vacation in catskill mountains, ny.

 

The area is known to have dark skies, except for the duration of our trip the moon was full and bright in that area.

 

I assembled our new telescope in the hopes of getting the kids (12 yr old and 6 yr old boy) excited. Got the finder scope aligned fairly quickly.

 

on the first night, half the sky was cloudy. But we thought we’d check out the moon, i had ordered a meade 13 percent moon filter also, so on it went with the 26mm EP. moon was easy to find through finder and scope was well aligned. 

 

First impression, wow! Beautiful clear view of moon. Great views. Not much detail because it was too bright but the edges of moon showed mountains and i had a ear to ear grin. Kids cheked it out and were fascinated but the cold night got to them. 

 

i stayed out for an hour more and saw arcturus and vega. Both were viewed as white stars. But still fun. The next 2 nights it was cloudy and now im waiting for a clear night in toronto,

 

tried out the 9mm Ep and the 6.3 mm Eps that came with the scope....

 

a bunch of questions for you guys....

 

1) do all higher zoom lenses have small Exit pupil? Because i wasnt impressed with the 9mm and 6.3 mm EPs. Its like looking at the sky through a straw. Recommendations?

 

2) is there a proper way to use the finderscope? It came with a red dot scope and i found myself looking at the red dot from different angles while pointing scope to vega. I realized im not doing this right.

 

3) never realized how fast the earth spins.... trying to keep a star in view was not easy. I have to admit i was clumsy with the adjustments. I think that will take practice.

 

Will appreciate your help

 

imran

 


Edited by R0llllin, 21 May 2019 - 12:36 AM.


#2 sg6

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 02:53 AM

Exit pupil and magnification are in effect related, the higher the magnification then the smaller the exit pupil. Not sure if your problem is principally exit pupil or the size of the top lens.

 

Think the supplied EP's are MA's, likely reasonable in an f/6 scope, but no more.

 

For better results it is a case of better eyepieces. Usually find that you spend as much on eyepieces as on the scope.

 

More comfortable eyepieces are likely to be the Paradigms at $60. Slightly narrower field are the ES 52's at the same cost, next are the Meade HD's at around $90, ES 62's and ES 68's but they are more costly.

 

In my Bresser 102/600 (guess the same scope) I use Paradigms AND a WO 6mm planetary copy. So that is a 5mm, 6mm, 8mm, 12mm and the rest. For me they work well. The 6mm came from Altair and I believe Altair items are available in the US now, so may be worth searching - there are 2 lines of Altair EP's both called Lightwave, mine is the less expensive one.

 

If field is not a great concern then consider the 6.5mm ES 52. Should be good for Jupiter but later Saturn may need a bit more magnification.

 

Following my arrangement then 6.5mm ES 52, 8mm Paradigm 12mm Paradigm and whatever wide you want say the 25mm Paradigm - although ES do a 30mm in the 52 range.

 

If you decided to base on the ES 52's then still 6.5mm ES, 8mm Paradigm, 10mm ES, 30mm ES.

 

Lot of mixture options, but 4 eyepieces end up about the cost of the scope. lol.gif lol.gif lol.gif



#3 J.LAMBIE

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 03:05 AM

_MG_9691.jpg _MG_9687.jpg You've got a very competent grab and go scope. If you want to invest a little time and money in it, you can greatly improve it's performance. I'm attaching some pics of one I kitted out for some friends of mine. If you like, message me and I'll give you the full magilla. I'll break it down into a minimal, economical version. Then list other options to bring it to full spiffyness.

 

As sg6 says above, you can quickly spend more than the cost of the scope, but you end up with an instrument that will take you to 200x (on nights of good seeing) for planets and give you nifty wide field views from a dark sky site. And you can literally carry it with one hand.



#4 Mr. Mike

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 04:05 AM

Nice report!  Those infinity series scopes get good reviews and you seem to like yours.  Great!  Yeah, usually the supplied eyepieces are serviceable but lacking too.  They are fine to get you started but eventually you’ll likely want to get something with wider fields and better comfort.  There are some reasonably priced wider field eyepieces that would be decent choices for you.  The brand Olivon comes to mind and possibly Agena Astro.  Orion and meade also have some options.

 

The red dot finder basically just has to be aligned ahead of time on a closer, easy target and then it should put you in the rough area you want to be in when you use it to find objects.  You’ll get the hang of it.  It’s important to try and look directly through the center though so your target is somewhat centered.  Sometimes when pointing the scope high towards the zenith this isn’t so easy! You’ll have to bend down and contort a bit.  That’s one of the downsides of straght  through red dot finders.  


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#5 kurbs

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 05:26 AM

Congrats! I have a Meade 102 800mm around F7.8  mounted on a SN / DS2000 mount and am pretty happy with the views on that thing. Not to mention it's light and easy to grab and go fully computerized so it tracks by itself. Couple of mods keep it from being too shaky. 

 

The Meade 8-24 Zoom is decent for a lot of ranges but its huge and pretty heavy. Its easy for the kids, I just don't use it for myself. But the FOV keeps me wanting. Especially on a refractor. Before going to more expensive EP's you may want to see if you and the kids wills tick with it. 1 grandaughter is totally consumed with the hobby, the other takes it or leaves it. 

 

The scope does well with a lot of different EP's , and I am sure I will get flamed here but a couple of the EBAY Sbony  chinese el cheapo 68 and 78 degree are fairly sharp on this scope. You can nab those for about 14 bucks and though I figured they would be fine for the kids, I was surprised how clear they were and for the money they are pretty good and eye relief is not bad at all. Better by far than the ones Meade throws in a  box. Those are the ones I use when kids are viewing and fingerprinting everything they touch lol. Great starter EP's for wider field and eye relief. Much better than the OEM supplied EP's believe it or not. But certainly not top end quality for serious stuff. For around 100 bucks you can get a nice range of power.

 

Otherwise for around 25 bucks each or less at times find the older Meade Plossls made in Taiwan or Japan and you will have a decent EP as well. Gosky also seems to get good reviews for a cheaper EP. 

 

If you need to move up you can always sell those and head to the higher dollar range of EP's when you are sure you want to stay in the hobby. 


Edited by kurbs, 21 May 2019 - 05:34 AM.

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#6 Tony Flanders

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 05:42 AM

1) do all higher zoom lenses have small Exit pupil? Because i wasnt impressed with the 9mm and 6.3 mm EPs. Its like looking at the sky through a straw. Recommendations?


You are confusing three fundamentally different aspects of an eyepiece:

1. Exit pupil
2. Apparent field of view
3. Eye relief

Exit pupil is a technical term that you don't need to worry much about at this stage. Yes, all (say) 9-mm eyepieces produce identical exit pupils in any given telescope. But that's not the effect that you are describing.

Apparent field of view (AFOV) is the apparent size of the big circle that you see when holding the eyepiece to your eye, even when it's not inserted in a telescope. Drinking straws do indeed have a very narrow AFOV, typically around 3 degrees. Your 9-mm and 6.3-mm eyepieces actually have the same AFOV as your 26-mm eyepiece, roughly 50 degrees, more than 10 times the AFOV of a drinking straw. You can confirm this by holding one eyepiece in front of your left eye and another in front of your right, and lining up the two circles with binocular vision.

Eye relief is the distance from the eyepiece where you can actually see that full circle. For simple eyepieces such as the one with the Meade, the eye relief is proportional to the focal length. So you can see the full AFOV of the 26-mm with your eye perhaps 1/2 inch from the eyepiece, but you need to be 1/6 inch from the 9-mm, and with the 6.3-mm you need to almost jam it against your eyeball. Most (though not all!) people dislike that.

Yes, there are 9-mm and 6.3-mm eyepieces with long eye relief, longer even than your 26-mm eyepiece. But they do cost extra. Most of the 8-24 zoom eyepieces have quite decent eye relief.

To a large extent, eye relief correlates with the diameter of the eye lens, the part of the eyepiece closest to your eye. It's obvious from a glance that the eye lenses of your three eyepieces have radically different sizes.


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#7 epee

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 07:34 AM

Congratulations on the new scope!

 

The Infinity 102 is a great value. It makes a very nice starter scope and can grow with you. Since it excels at low magnification, wide field views, it makes a great compliment to larger telescopes with a more restrictive field of view. The Infinity is a little weak for high magnification observing of the planets. Due to its short focal length, it does not produce as much magnification as a longer scope would from the same eyepiece.

 

Like almost all telescope packages, the factory supplied accessories, while usable, can be improved upon. Be aware that the 102 Infinity can accept 2" diagonals and eyepieces; these are useful for gaining the widest possible field of view, but are of no help with regard to planets. Also, know that your telescope is not restricted to Meade accessories but will accommodate any manufacturer's diagonal or eyepieces as long as they are of standard size.

 

I recommend looking into a better astronomical diagonal as the supplied diagonal corrects the orientation of the image for terrestrial viewing. perhaps a better x2 Barlow lens, and, since you'll need really short focal length eyepieces for the Moon and Planets that aren't going to be too big for your mount, these https://agenaastro.c...netary/bst.html      I wouldn't get anything shorter than 5mm starting out.



#8 JohnnyBGood

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 07:41 AM

The cheap SvBony 68 degree eyepieces do work pretty well with the scope, though the image is a little blurry at the edge of the field of view. They have longer eye relief and a wider field of view than the MA eyepieces the scope came with, but eye placement can be a bit picky sometimes to keep from getting "blackout" spots. I bought two sets on sale and gave one to my father for his Infinity 102. They work extremely well with my f/13.9 ETX-90 but I didn't like them at all with my f/5 Polaris 130 (and I'm highly tolerant of optical imperfection). They're great with the LX-10 at f/10 but less great with the f/6.3 focal reducer, so I was worried whether they would work with the Infinity 102. However, the one time I tried it I was happy enough with how they worked.

 

A set of those (20mm, 15mm, 9mm, and 6mm) and a 2x Barlow and you're set. My father also has a Meade 8-24 zoom for his scope that also works well optically, but as previously stated it's big and heavy. When combined with a 2x, 2.5x, or 3x Barlow it can cover pretty much the full range your scope is capable of. However, all that weight on the end of a Barlow gives a long lever arm and exacerbates the mount's top-heaviness when pointing at steep angles. Making your own L-bracket and counterweight can help with that problem but can also add vibration problems.

 

Honestly, I don't like red dot finders at all. I've bought four scopes that came with them and I have replaced all four with conventional finders. If you're determined to use it, I have found that trying to be consistent with where I place my eye makes a big difference. Try noting where you ear is relative to some piece of the scope and try to always view from that spot. Otherwise, the Orion 6x30 right-angle-correct-image (RACI) finder like the one in the picture above matches up with the dovetail receiver on the scope nicely and adds to the ergonomics of the scope (I bought one for my father's scope before I gave it to him). Plus, what you see in the finder has the same orientation as what you see in the correct image diagonal, which can make it easier to find things without having to do mental gymnastics. If you have a very flexible neck I think Astromania sells a less expensive straight through 6x30 finder that will fit as well.

 

Edit: I will add that my dad absolutely loves his scope and the optics are excellent. It's an extremely versatile scope that's good for day and night use. The mount is a bit... idiosyncratic. However, after fiddling with it a few times and experimenting with the tension on that altitude nut you get the hang of using it.


Edited by JohnnyBGood, 21 May 2019 - 07:45 AM.

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#9 PNW

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 10:16 AM

Congrats on your new scope. As others have said, it's power is in wide field viewing. The included eyepieces can take you past Transparency/Seeing. So don't get frustrated with focusing. It's all about the atmosphere. On a clear night I once observed the shadow of a moon transiting Jupiter, so you've got the power. Upgrades can come later. Concentrate on larger objects and learn the night sky. Just wait till you see Albieo or split Alcor/Mizar. Then there's the Omicron doubles in Cygnus. My winter favorites are the Beehive, Orion Nebula, and M 35. Over time, I've upgraded to wide angle eyepieces and an SLT GoTo mount. Since then, I haven't pulled out the SCT since New Years. 


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#10 coopman

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 11:34 AM

If you want to stay with 1.25" eyepieces, get a 32mm plossl to use as a low power "finder" eyepiece. The 102 can then be its own finder.
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#11 Ulmer Spatz

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 02:16 PM

...never realized how fast the earth spins.... trying to keep a star in view was not easy. I have to admit i was clumsy with the adjustments. I think that will take practice.

Pushing the scope around by hand (not with slow-motion controls) isn't easy. The altitude movement depends on friction imparted by the big nylon lock-nut on the altitude axis. I think that nut is 14 mm, but I'm not 100% sure. The amount of friction needed changes depending on how high or low the scope is aimed. This means you might need to slightly tighten or loosen that nut several times during an observation session. To that end, I kept a so-called "stubby wrench" handy when using my Infinity 90 AZ.

 

 

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#12 zleonis

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 03:36 PM

1) do all higher zoom lenses have small Exit pupil? Because i wasnt impressed with the 9mm and 6.3 mm EPs. Its like looking at the sky through a straw. Recommendations?

 

2) is there a proper way to use the finderscope? It came with a red dot scope and i found myself looking at the red dot from different angles while pointing scope to vega. I realized im not doing this right.

 

3) never realized how fast the earth spins.... trying to keep a star in view was not easy. I have to admit i was clumsy with the adjustments. I think that will take practice.

 

Congratulations on your new scope! I have this scope and it's been great scope to travel with when taking a larger reflector isn't practical. A few thoughts:

1) I also had trouble with the supplied short focal length eyepieces. The Celestron 8-24mm zoom has better eye relief and a wider field of view than a Plossl or MA eyepiece, and is comparably sharp. Although the apparent field of view is pretty narrow in the 18mm-24mm range, it's a good value in the 8-16mm range. 

 

2) The finder isn't the greatest, the Orion red dot seems a bit less prone to moving around when your eye moves, but if its aligned right it should still get the target in the field of view of a low-power eyepiece. If you decide to get a wider field eyepiece to use as finder or for wide field views, you may need to get a new diagonal, since the supplied diagonal doesn't fully illuminate the edge of field of an eyepiece like a 32mm plossl. 

 

3) I took a similar approach to Ulmer in playing around with the tension. I replaced the included nut with a wingnut so I could adjust the tension as needed. Even so, it's tricky to adjust the scope by hand (there's some backlash with altitude adjustments), so I usually try to get it close with the handle or by pushing the OTA, and then use the slow-motion controls to get the object centered and to track. 



#13 SirLoyne

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 05:23 AM

I've got the Meade 102. I mostly keep it in my car. The mount that came with it is terrible. I replaced it with the ES Twilight 1. I picked mine up for $200 at Amazon, but the price has gone up to $250. I got another diagonal that would reflect more light for at night, and I use the stock one for terrestrial viewing. I picked up the 6 and 9 mm versions of the Agena 1.25" Enhanced Wide Angle Eyepiece. To be honest, they're a horrorshow to look through. If your eye isn't in the exact right spot (and that spot is extremely small) and at the exact right height, you'll get nothing but black outs. I need to get some replacements that I can keep in my car with the scope.

 

 

Twilight 1 mount

https://explorescien...wilight-1-mount

 

GSO 1.25" 90-deg Mirror Star Diagonal

 

https://agenaastro.c...r-diagonal.html

 

Agena 1.25" Enhanced Wide Angle

https://agenaastro.c...epiece-set.html



#14 Tony Flanders

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 05:51 AM

I've got the Meade 102. I mostly keep it in my car. The mount that came with it is terrible. I replaced it with the ES Twilight 1. I picked mine up for $200 at Amazon, but the price has gone up to $250. I got another diagonal that would reflect more light for at night, and I use the stock one for terrestrial viewing

I'm curious how much difference you see between the two diagonals. When I was testing the 90-mm version of this telescope, I was startled how good the optical quality of the stock diagonal was. The improvement from swapping in my own conventional diagonal was barely perceptible. And I really dislike the mirror reversal introduced by conventional diagonals, for astronomical as well as terrestrial targets.



#15 zleonis

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 10:25 AM

I'm curious how much difference you see between the two diagonals. When I was testing the 90-mm version of this telescope, I was startled how good the optical quality of the stock diagonal was. The improvement from swapping in my own conventional diagonal was barely perceptible. And I really dislike the mirror reversal introduced by conventional diagonals, for astronomical as well as terrestrial targets.

I bought a 1.25" GSO mirror diagonal to replace/complement the stock diagonal, and with some eyepieces didn't notice any major differences. The views seemed comparably sharp and bright in both cases. In particular, I didn't notice a diffraction spike that I'd been led to expect. A few qualifications to my assessment: I'm not a very experienced observer, I didn't subject them to tests that might highlight small differences, and I was using modest eyepieces (Celestron zoom, generic plossls). 

The one area where the stock diagonal did under-perform was with wider field eyepieces like a 32mm plossl - there was significant vignetting to the point where you couldn't see the field stop. There was enough clear aperture for the stock 25mm MA and the 24mm setting of the Celestron zoom, however



#16 Tony Flanders

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 10:32 AM

I bought a 1.25" GSO mirror diagonal to replace/complement the stock diagonal, and with some eyepieces didn't notice any major differences. The views seemed comparably sharp and bright in both cases. In particular, I didn't notice a diffraction spike that I'd been led to expect. A few qualifications to my assessment: I'm not a very experienced observer, I didn't subject them to tests that might highlight small differences, and I was using modest eyepieces (Celestron zoom, generic plossls). 

The one area where the stock diagonal did under-perform was with wider field eyepieces like a 32mm plossl - there was significant vignetting to the point where you couldn't see the field stop. There was enough clear aperture for the stock 25mm MA and the 24mm setting of the Celestron zoom, however

Aha! Yes, I would indeed expect precisely that behavior from an erecting prism. It's very hard to fit a full-aperture 1.25-inch Amici prism into a package the size of a standard 1.25-inch diagonal. I never noticed this effect because I never tried the scope with my widest eyepieces.



#17 sg6

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 10:54 AM

Meant to say and suspect others have about the red dot finder.

The "trick" is not to look at the finder. What you do is look at the sky behind the finder, then the red dot sppears (well should appear).

 

The finder projects a small dot and with a lens the image of the dot is at infinity (collimated). The principle is that you focus on the stars and they are sharp and "automatically" the red dot is sharp and in focus.

 

It can be a pain to master. People are used to and expecting to look at the finder, and that is well wrong.

 

I found it easy but I used to do archery and in that the sight is at arms length (0.7mtr) and the target say 100 meters away. So I was used to looking at a target 100 meters away (infinity in effect) and imposing the sight on/over it without looking at the sight.

 

Will warn you some never get the idea. As they are 100% expecting to look at the sight and just cannot break the habit. However I cannot use a Telrad, never managed to use one. Many do, I just cannot.



#18 R0llllin

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 12:01 AM

Thank you very much for that. Im definitely look at finder and not beyond.... if i could just get a clear night, ill go at it. Been cloudy for 7 nights straight :(

Meant to say and suspect others have about the red dot finder.
The "trick" is not to look at the finder. What you do is look at the sky behind the finder, then the red dot sppears (well should appear).

The finder projects a small dot and with a lens the image of the dot is at infinity (collimated). The principle is that you focus on the stars and they are sharp and "automatically" the red dot is sharp and in focus.

It can be a pain to master. People are used to and expecting to look at the finder, and that is well wrong.

I found it easy but I used to do archery and in that the sight is at arms length (0.7mtr) and the target say 100 meters away. So I was used to looking at a target 100 meters away (infinity in effect) and imposing the sight on/over it without looking at the sight.

Will warn you some never get the idea. As they are 100% expecting to look at the sight and just cannot break the habit. However I cannot use a Telrad, never managed to use one. Many do, I just cannot.



#19 R0llllin

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 02:17 AM

You got to hear this.... skies parted and clouds dissolved at 1am and i just had my first 2 hour viewing session

I used skysafari / starwalk2 app to find jupiter....
First view with 29mm ep... could see jupiter clearly and at least 4 moons. It was eye opening. Could see the rings....but im not sure i saw the red spot. Not enough resolution.

Second planet we saw was saturn. With 29mm EP p it was a little orange dot with ears. Then i tried with barlow and all of a sudden it was there in all its glory. Beautiful experience. We kept looking at saturn for about 30 mins.

This allowed me to practice the fine tuning knobs and it was not clumsy and difficult like the first time. I could keep target centered.

Also i followed sg6’s suggestion and looked beyond the spotting scope red dot and happy to report it took away all the issues i had the first time.

After a bit i also saw mizar/alcor, it was okay nothing spectacular. Thought id try albireo after that but couldnt see anything visible to naked eye in that vicinity. I do live on the edge of toronto and there is a lot of LP.

In short fully satisfied with scope / my progress thus far.

The next set of things i want to work on is reading a planisphere and night map. Im not fully satisfied with the apps. The one i like the most thus far is starwalk2 . Ive learnt a lot from this forum can you guys recommend next steps or how your journey evolved?
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#20 epee

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 07:45 AM

Skymaps.com

Monthly free download of what is up and what is hapoening, along with recommend targets. The 102 Infinity, depending on the eyepiece you use, does good justice to their, "binocular targets", and from a dark site can reach into their "large telescope" targets.

You'll find that a better mounting for the Infinity will help immensely in your enjoyment of it. I use mine on a Twilight 1 and it is sturdy, dampens out the focusing shakes quickly, butter smooth to point, and doesn't require clutches to be locked before using the slow motion controls. Unfortunately, I see it recently took a 25% jump in price; perhaps the tariffs are setting in.

Edited by epee, 25 May 2019 - 07:52 AM.


#21 JohnnyBGood

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Posted 28 May 2019 - 07:44 AM

The next set of things i want to work on is reading a planisphere and night map. Im not fully satisfied with the apps. The one i like the most thus far is starwalk2 . Ive learnt a lot from this forum can you guys recommend next steps or how your journey evolved?

 

The most useful thing I've bought was the book Turn Left at Orion. I can see the value of apps, but I have a hard time making them work for me. Of course, if I had a higher end phone with better motion sensors or a tablet with a larger screen it might be different. Instead, I have a much easier time using something printed on paper with a little red flashlight. TLAO gives step by step directions for finding hundreds of interesting things to look at that are within the capability of a modest sized telescope. I use it nearly every time I take a telescope out.

 

The book is set up with a series of "finder scope charts", or maps showing what the stars would look like in a traditional straight-through (upside down view) finder scope. On the website you can print additional finder charts for other finder orientations (e.g. correct images or mirror images). The directions start you at an easy to find bright star and walk you through what you should see as you navigate your way to your target. Essentially, it's like a tutorial for star hopping, and after using the book for a while you'll have no problem picking up a traditional star chart and finding something to see with it. There's also a "big picture" map showing where in the sky the object is that can be used with a red dot finder with a little creative thinking. You can also use the finder charts as guides for what to expect to see at low power in the main telescope as you look for an object but that takes a little practice and getting used to in order to calibrate your eye and brain as to what to expect to see.

 

In the 4th and 5th Editions there are graphics depicting what the object you're looking for looks like in a 3" refractor and an 8" reflector which helps you know when you've found the target. Some things are hard to see in light polluted skies, and the patterns of background stars shown in the "eyepiece view" charts have been useful to me many times in confirming I'm looking at what I think I'm looking at, or in helping me correct my aim.

 

One of my favorite parts of the book is a nightly "moon tour" that walks you through many interesting features for each night of the lunar cycle. I'm still looking for another, similar book with a more detailed nightly moon tour but I still haven't found anything that's quite as satisfactory if anyone else has any suggestions.




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