Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

My earliest telescopes... and on from there...

  • Please log in to reply
15 replies to this topic

#1 revans

revans

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1,713
  • Joined: 26 Sep 2005
  • Loc: Fitchburg, MA

Posted 05 July 2020 - 02:24 PM

My first telescope was a new 60 mm F15 long focus achromat on an equatorial mount sold by Sears that I was given as a present in December 1971.  I'm told the manufacturer was probably Vixen.  It did appear to be made in Japan.  It was a fine little scope whose most severe drawback was the smaller than usual eyepieces (something like 0.9 inches diameter).  The mount was OK but a little shaky and the clock drive wasn't that accurate.  Still I found my first planets with it, had great views of the moon, and saw a good many Messier objects for the first time.  In those days I was still finding my way across the constellations.

 

Again in December, 1979, I got a second hand 8 inch Newtonian F7 on a bulky equatorial mount that appeared to be a Cave Astrola.  It was set up as a Newtonian, but the primary had a central hole in it, and it could be configured as a Schmidt Cassegrain scope (but I never did that even though I had the secondary to do so) .  This scope had a bulky but quite good clock drive, but moving the scope from target to target was manual with the hands on the OTA as there were no knobs to turn.  I still have the OTA but am not sure what has happened to the mount over the years.  The scope was probably already 20 years old when I got it. 

 

I used it as my main scope for about a decade.  The mirror started to spot and needed to be re-silvered but I didn't want to go through that process and ended up buying a C5 Plus and that later led to a C8 that was computerized and allowed you to find an object by typing it into a keypad.  It was a nice novelty and it worked, but I thought that star hopping was more enjoyable... and who knows... maybe I could discover a new comet along the way smile.gif  The C5 Plus was my entry point into astrophotography and I took some pretty good lunar and deep sky photos with it and had more luck than with the C8 because of its longer focus I suppose.  Since then I've had a good number of different scopes ranging from a 16 inch Newtonian to a 14 inch SCT, to a 12 inch Gladius.  I specialized in looking and photographing planets for a while. 

 

I guess I eventually turned back to deep sky and found the Takahashi Mewlon 250 to be the best all around scope I ever owned, followed closely... very closely by a 9.25 inch SCT which cost a great deal less.  This scope may be the best deal out there today in terms of what you see for what you pay.  Now days I don't do as much photography and have a lot of fun with a simple 5 inch F5 achromat and when I want a really superior view of something I still take out the 9.25 inch SCT.  Light pollution has increased a lot since the 1970s in my area and I still think my best views of most deep sky objects was given to me by the old 8 inch Newtonian under those darker skies.  That all represents about 49 years worth of observing and I can't even imagine the number of hours I've racked up with one telescope or another.  It is fun to sit and read through the small library of old logs that I kept over the years and to look back at all of those astrophotos.  The biggest difference that I noticed was moving from film to digital and using all of that processing software for digital imaging.

 

  It was easy to spend as much time doing that as being at the telescope itself.  And it always seemed that the camera always wanted to be just where your eye would have preferred to look, leaving you with a monitor to sit back and look at.  After a while, guiding eyepieces were even obsolete and a second digital camera took care of guiding adjustments and then one camera did it all.  Amazing progress and a lot of change in the hobby over time.  Maybe others would like to share their thoughts on how things have changed in this hobby over time...


Edited by revans, 05 July 2020 - 03:10 PM.

  • BarabinoSr, wfj, steve t and 7 others like this

#2 Codbear

Codbear

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 993
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2016
  • Loc: Novato, CA

Posted 05 July 2020 - 02:51 PM

Rick,

 

A little constructive feedback...paragraphs!

 

Trying to wade through a solid square of 30-40 lines of texts is extremely difficult when you're not the one who wrote it. It's very easy to get lost, so we either give up or pass on reading it in the first place, no matter how interesting the topic is (and this topic is interesting to me).

 

Personally I try and write no more than 4-5 lines per paragraph to make it easier for other CNers to read.

 

Sam


  • Don W and bbastoky like this

#3 JamesMStephens  Happy Birthday!

JamesMStephens

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 873
  • Joined: 25 Jan 2015
  • Loc: Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Posted 05 July 2020 - 02:52 PM

 It was set up as a Newtonian, but the primary had a central hole in it, and it could be configured as a Schmidt Cassegrain scope (but I never did that even though I had the secondary to do so) .  

A classical Cassegrain certainly, not a Schmidt!  I think Cave sold a few convertible Newt/Cass scopes.

 

Great report on your experiences as an observer, astrophotographer, and telescope owner!

 

Jim


Edited by JamesMStephens, 05 July 2020 - 03:37 PM.

  • Terra Nova likes this

#4 revans

revans

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1,713
  • Joined: 26 Sep 2005
  • Loc: Fitchburg, MA

Posted 05 July 2020 - 03:05 PM

Rick,

 

A little constructive feedback...paragraphs!

 

Trying to wade through a solid square of 30-40 lines of texts is extremely difficult when you're not the one who wrote it. It's very easy to get lost, so we either give up or pass on reading it in the first place, no matter how interesting the topic is (and this topic is interesting to me).

 

Personally I try and write no more than 4-5 lines per paragraph to make it easier for other CNers to read.

 

Sam

OK.... I guess using Messenger on Facebook has ruined my paragraphs... when you hit enter there the message gets sent off and you don't get a new paragraph :)  But I've carved it up for you since they allow editing....


  • Bonco2 and Codbear like this

#5 jimr2

jimr2

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 831
  • Joined: 26 Sep 2013
  • Loc: Sparks, NV

Posted 05 July 2020 - 03:56 PM

Actually revans, I had no problems with your paragraphs! (You should see some of mine sometime!)

 

And yes, a great report on your experiences over the your last 49 yrs of observing, photographing, etc. (my first scope--1974--was a Cave Astrola 8" f/8, on their heavy-duty equatorial mount w/ clock-drive--still have both, but yeah that mount is pretty heavy and bulky, so haven't used it in 25 yrs or so! My Cave mirror does not have a central hole in it however...). And like you, have had several 'scopes since then--and still do!

 

Again, a great report--thanks!

 

-jim-


  • TOM KIEHL likes this

#6 oldmanastro

oldmanastro

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 461
  • Joined: 17 Nov 2013
  • Loc: San Juan, Puerto Rico-US

Posted 05 July 2020 - 04:05 PM

Thank you for a great story on your journey through time in this hobby. I guess most of us started with a 60mm refractor. Mine was an F/11 and a Christmas present back in 1965. It is still a very usable instrument.  Another telescope arrived in 1966 but this one was a 76mm f/16 equatorial. I wrote a CN article about the adventures of this telescope back in 2010. Here's the link for anyone interested:

 

https://www.cloudyni...tronomers-r2351

 

College, graduate school and work took a big chunk out of my astronomical activities until about 1993 when I restarted the hobby. By then telescopes were not just 3" refractors and 6" f/8 reflectors. Now SCTs had arrived and Dobsonians were invading the market. At the same time I noticed that prices were not that bad either making bigger telescopes more affordable. By 1994 a B & L 8000 and Coulter 8" f/7 were in my hands.

 

Computerized Goto telescopes produced one of the most important breakthroughs in the late 90s and early 2000s. It was sincerely amazing to see a telescope slew to selected objets just by the touch of a button. I had that first experience with a Meade ETX90EC back in early 2001. A new era had arrived for amateur astronomy but there was a drawback, some people would use the system without learning the skies. Eventually I think everyone recognized that they had to learn their skies one way or another.

 

Imaging was the next big step of the 21st century. My first lunar and planetary images were done with webcams and processed with freeware. They were far better than anything I could have done on film. Now I am experimenting with DSO imaging. Never before had I done DSO photos. In a way this technology has brought astrophotography into everyone's hands. 

 

The hobby has progressed steadily. We have now the biggest selection of telescopes ever offered many at fair prices. I may be mistaken but in my opinion there are more people in the hobby now. Light pollution has increased for most everyone but it's something we have to cope with. Interest has kept us going and I hope it keep the next generation going too.

 

Now, 55 years after that first telescope, I have a few modern and a few classics and enjoy them all. The hobby has evolved from low tech to a very high tech one. Many times I will go out and observe with the old telescopes and track by hand in altazimuth or equatorial mode. Other times I will go to the other extreme, use my Goto telescope and enjoy the technology. Either way the main thing is to have a good time under the stars even if it is with a humble 60mm f/11 altazimuth refractor from the long gone Christmas of 1965.

 

Clear Skies

 

Guido


  • steve t, Terra Nova, Bonco2 and 1 other like this

#7 rogue river art

rogue river art

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,462
  • Joined: 02 Mar 2012
  • Loc: Grants Pass,Oregon

Posted 05 July 2020 - 04:11 PM

1950s a 2.4" Tasco refractor with an eq mount. Had that until 1967. In 79 I wanted a 4 or 6" refractor but couldn't afford one. Planned and built my own with a 4" Edmunds lense and lots of brass,alum,stainless steel and titanium. Got what I wanted after 13 years of machining and building.Little by little and $500.

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_20200415_165540834.jpg

  • tim53, photiost, Peter B and 5 others like this

#8 CHASLX200

CHASLX200

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 20,038
  • Joined: 29 Sep 2007
  • Loc: Tampa area Florida

Posted 05 July 2020 - 04:24 PM

I started with a 40x40mm scope on a 11" tripod in 1976. Then got a used Sears blue tube 60mm EQ for Xmas of 1976. I thought it was the best scope ever until my first Starparty in the fall of 1977. One look thru a C5 and 14 ruined me. I told myself at age 14 i would own them all one day and i just about did over the years.


  • steve t likes this

#9 CHASLX200

CHASLX200

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 20,038
  • Joined: 29 Sep 2007
  • Loc: Tampa area Florida

Posted 05 July 2020 - 04:24 PM

1950s a 2.4" Tasco refractor with an eq mount. Had that until 1967. In 79 I wanted a 4 or 6" refractor but couldn't afford one. Planned and built my own with a 4" Edmunds lense and lots of brass,alum,stainless steel and titanium. Got what I wanted after 13 years of machining and building.Little by little and $500.

It is pretty and a nice tripod.
 


  • Paul Sweeney likes this

#10 wfj

wfj

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,779
  • Joined: 10 Jan 2008
  • Loc: California, Santa Cruz County

Posted 05 July 2020 - 04:50 PM

1950s a 2.4" Tasco refractor with an eq mount. Had that until 1967. In 79 I wanted a 4 or 6" refractor but couldn't afford one. Planned and built my own with a 4" Edmunds lense and lots of brass,alum,stainless steel and titanium. Got what I wanted after 13 years of machining and building.Little by little and $500.

Nice telescope art.



#11 Codbear

Codbear

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 993
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2016
  • Loc: Novato, CA

Posted 05 July 2020 - 05:06 PM

OK.... I guess using Messenger on Facebook has ruined my paragraphs... when you hit enter there the message gets sent off and you don't get a new paragraph smile.gif  But I've carved it up for you since they allow editing....

Thanks so much Rick...That was a great piece!

 

It brought back fond memories of me starting off with my 40mm refractor, then an Edmund 4 1/4" reflector, then being given a 60mm  and after that  going to a homemade 10" dob through a class John Dobson had put on.

 

I also took some time away from observing (never from a love of the sky) for kids, job, etc.

 

When I came back 5 years ago I was blown away how much things had changed...GoTo, Digital Setting Circles, where the heck did film go?!?

 

Fast forward to today and I just got a Mewlon 300 CRS. I'm waiting to have my brother-in-law help permanently mount it on my ATS pier, but I'm very encouraged by your comments about the Mewlon 250!

 

Sam


Edited by Codbear, 05 July 2020 - 05:33 PM.


#12 icomet

icomet

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 203
  • Joined: 09 Apr 2010
  • Loc: Montana

Posted 06 July 2020 - 10:18 AM

Okay. 

I'm not selling " drawbridges in Kansas" here. This is factual.

 

To start with, I'm that guy with the "$100 Cave 12.5" f/7 model "D" " scope that most have seen and probably doubt the price of sale.

 

Here goes:

 

My first scope - a "Gilbert" 80 power reflector in I think 1962 or 1963.

 

My second scope - 20" f/5  Obsession in 2002.

 

I was kind of sneaking up on Astronomy, don't you think?

 

Clear Skies.
 



#13 starman876

starman876

    Nihon Seiko

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 21,825
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2008
  • Loc: VA

Posted 06 July 2020 - 10:32 AM

My first was a Gilbert like many of us.   Then one day (during the day) my next door nieghbor had his newtonian set up looking at Jupiter.   That really did it.   He gave me a 5" F15 achromat (no idea who made it.  With a long carpet tube I made the scope.   I had no mount so I rested it on whatever I could to use it.  It is amazing how creative you can be when you are 13.   Never knew what happned to that lens.  Did not do much with astronomy for a few years after that. Next scope was a JC penny 60nn Alt AZ which I used in Vermont while I was in the Air Force.  that was about it for astronomy until 1978 when I bought a 6" cassegrain ATM with coulter optics and an Edmunds equatorial mount.   I still have the cassegrain.    That was the only scope I bought until I discovered cloudy nights and all these wonderful scopes the people in this thread were talking about.  Bought my first Unitron shortly after that.  Now I have more scopes than I want to admit.  Thanks to the Classic forum for my collection.  It has been fun.  


Edited by starman876, 06 July 2020 - 10:33 AM.

  • steve t, Bonco2 and jcruse64 like this

#14 Defenderslideguitar

Defenderslideguitar

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,444
  • Joined: 05 Oct 2016
  • Loc: Connecticut

Posted 06 July 2020 - 10:59 AM

Christmas 1965?Tasco 60mm

Teenager Jason 60mm

 late 20's Meade 2080  LX2


  • steve t likes this

#15 Bonco2

Bonco2

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 437
  • Joined: 01 Jun 2013

Posted 06 July 2020 - 03:53 PM

First good scope was a Sears 60mm f/11 around 1959. Really good lens got me hooked with views of Jupiter and Saturn
RV-6 was next bought with paper route money in 1960 or 61. What a jump in performance. Kept that scope until recently and miss it very much.
Around 1972 bought a 10 inch Cave Super Custom Deluxe. Beautiful scope and perfect for me at the time. Got ponderous for me later, so sold it in 1998.

About 1974 bought the Celestron C-8 Used it a lot and loved the mechanics but preferred the optics of my RV-6 and Cave
Discovered the new "revolution" of refractors and bought one of the original Televu Genesis's. It's a telescope I'll never part with. It's just perfect for what it was designed to do. Wide flat fields of view, sharp to the edge with great contrast. Performs well too for high power views around 250X.
Not sure when the classic bug bit me but it was soon after I joined this forum. I've enjoyed the shopping and buying of classics and find this forum to be very informative and entertaining.
Bill
  • steve t and oldmanastro like this

#16 photiost

photiost

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,873
  • Joined: 14 Dec 2006
  • Loc: Montreal, Canada

Posted 07 July 2020 - 08:38 AM

When I was 12yrs old I got my first telescope a Towa 60mm F15 ... I had so much fun with that scope.

 

Still have it.  I remember in 1994 getting a glimpse of the SL9 impact sites on Jupiter with the Towa 60mm  

.

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Towa 60mm f15 - 900mm fl.jpg

  • starman876, Bonco2, oldmanastro and 1 other like this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics