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Newbie Seeking Advice...Rookie Nerves or Did I Get Ripped Off?

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#1 SidneyD3

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 07:28 PM

Greetings One and All,

 

I appreciate your time and shared experience in this matter.

 

I'm recently retired and a decent telescope has been on my bucket list for years. After a lot of research I decided on a Dobsonian and began my search.

A couple of weeks ago I ran across an ad in the CN classifieds for an 8" Star Hopper that was just a few miles away and after a few messages back and forth with the owner, we met in the parking lot of a local Wal-Mart late Sunday afternoon. 

 

After a cursory inspection and quick looks through the finder and the telescope, I paid him and went home with my first telescope.

 

The 25mm plossl that it came with performed better than I expected and I got my first decent view of Jupiter in 20 years or so. I went to bed pleased and anticipating the view from better eyepieces.

 

My questions began this morning after I downloaded the owner's manual and started checking out the telescope in the daylight.

 

With the exception of the 25mm eyepiece and the dimensions of the tube (52" long and 10.5" in diameter), there is absolutely NOTHING about this telescope that seems to match the specs in the owner's manual or any ad I can find. Every time I would look at a new item I would think, "this just doesn't look right".

 

List includes, but not limited to:

 

* Focuser is 1.25" instead of 2".

* Secondary mirror is mounted on a single stalk instead of a four vane spider. It is also secured with long screws and wing nuts on the inside of the tube. (Is this standard?)

* Besides being 1.25" instead of 2" the inside of the hole in the tube for the focuser is "ragged" with splinters sticking up around the side of the focuser base. Like the way the finderscope is mounted, it looks more like workmanship I would expect from somebody's garage than from a "factory".  Or is this standard for a major brand telescope?  Again, this is my first telescope.

* Minor, but the base is painted black when the ads/manual show and mention that it is white. Also the "Star Hopper" label that is mentioned in the previous owner's ad is completely different from those in most ads and almost looks homemade.

* The focuser is about 10" from end of the tube instead of what looks like 3 or 4" in all of the pictures in ads/manual. The primary mirror is about 4" from the bottom making it about 48" from the primary mirror to the top of the tube, but only 38" between the primary and secondary mirrors.  Is this correct? Or does this change/shorten the focal length?

 

Could this be an earlier version of the line that came equipped/set up like this instead of the versions shown in ads/manual?

 

Bottom line is I'm wondering if I bought a real Star Hopper or some homemade/modified telescope being passed off as something its not. 

 

If this isn't a real Star Hopper, should I keep it and just deal with the extra costs of new focuser, etc, or try to return it and get my money back?

 

Would appreciate everyone's opinion. Thanks again for taking your time to help out an old newbie.

 

Trip



#2 bobzeq25

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 07:36 PM

Greetings One and All,

 

I appreciate your time and shared experience in this matter.

 

I'm recently retired and a decent telescope has been on my bucket list for years. After a lot of research I decided on a Dobsonian and began my search.

A couple of weeks ago I ran across an ad in the CN classifieds for an 8" Star Hopper that was just a few miles away and after a few messages back and forth with the owner, we met in the parking lot of a local Wal-Mart late Sunday afternoon. 

 

After a cursory inspection and quick looks through the finder and the telescope, I paid him and went home with my first telescope.

 

The 25mm plossl that it came with performed better than I expected and I got my first decent view of Jupiter in 20 years or so. I went to bed pleased and anticipating the view from better eyepieces.

 

My questions began this morning after I downloaded the owner's manual and started checking out the telescope in the daylight.

 

With the exception of the 25mm eyepiece and the dimensions of the tube (52" long and 10.5" in diameter), there is absolutely NOTHING about this telescope that seems to match the specs in the owner's manual or any ad I can find. Every time I would look at a new item I would think, "this just doesn't look right".

 

List includes, but not limited to:

 

* Focuser is 1.25" instead of 2".

* Secondary mirror is mounted on a single stalk instead of a four vane spider. It is also secured with long screws and wing nuts on the inside of the tube. (Is this standard?)

* Besides being 1.25" instead of 2" the inside of the hole in the tube for the focuser is "ragged" with splinters sticking up around the side of the focuser base. Like the way the finderscope is mounted, it looks more like workmanship I would expect from somebody's garage than from a "factory".  Or is this standard for a major brand telescope?  Again, this is my first telescope.

* Minor, but the base is painted black when the ads/manual show and mention that it is white. Also the "Star Hopper" label that is mentioned in the previous owner's ad is completely different from those in most ads and almost looks homemade.

* The focuser is about 10" from end of the tube instead of what looks like 3 or 4" in all of the pictures in ads/manual. The primary mirror is about 4" from the bottom making it about 48" from the primary mirror to the top of the tube, but only 38" between the primary and secondary mirrors.  Is this correct? Or does this change/shorten the focal length?

 

Could this be an earlier version of the line that came equipped/set up like this instead of the versions shown in ads/manual?

 

Bottom line is I'm wondering if I bought a real Star Hopper or some homemade/modified telescope being passed off as something its not. 

 

If this isn't a real Star Hopper, should I keep it and just deal with the extra costs of new focuser, etc, or try to return it and get my money back?

 

Would appreciate everyone's opinion. Thanks again for taking your time to help out an old newbie.

 

Trip

Opinion.  How do you like the views?  If you like them, _forget_ about all the rest.


Edited by bobzeq25, 13 July 2020 - 07:37 PM.


#3 WadeH237

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 07:38 PM

Hi, and welcome to Cloudy Nights!

 

I think that a picture or two would be worth 1000 words here.  Based on what you wrote, it would be, at best, a guess about what you have.  If you could send pictures of the scope, the mount and any labels on it, we could probably tell you exactly what you have.

 

The good news is that the tube dimensions sound about right for an 8" F/6 telescope.  The fact that you got a good view of Jupiter is also a good sign.

 

Before panicking, do know that lots of us modify our telescopes.  Some of the items you list make me wonder if the previous owner did imaging with it.  In particular, moving the focuser down to tube, so that it extends further out, may have been done to allow the scope to reach focus with a camera package (sometimes people move the primary mirror up the tube, but moving the focuser closer to the primary mirror would have the same effect.  But I'd want to see pictures before settling on that as the explanation.


Edited by WadeH237, 13 July 2020 - 07:38 PM.

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#4 Grounddweller

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 07:43 PM

If you could download some pics that would be especially helpful, but a few things you could look for in the meantime;

-are there any additional holes in the tube that are not being used? ( i.e. that single stalk vane? I believe some Cave’ dobs actually had that configuration)

-Does the focuser have a tube that looks to be able to handle a 2” eyepiece ? ( not doubting your ability to notice an adapter, just performing some tier 1 questions here)

- what is the material that the tubing is made of? Does it look to be metal or a type of sonotube?

 

Again, pictures would be immensely helpful.

 

 

Steve


Edited by Grounddweller, 13 July 2020 - 07:46 PM.


#5 Bill Jensen

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 08:25 PM

the early versions had a single stalk. 

https://www.scoperev...m/page1g.html#4

 

check out #4 on Ed Ting's fabulous site from that link. 


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#6 Taosmath

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 08:44 PM

Trip,

 

it sounds like your scope is very similar to mine:

 

Star Hopper Front.jpg

StarHopper L.jpg


Edited by Taosmath, 13 July 2020 - 08:49 PM.

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#7 Taosmath

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 08:49 PM

Star Hopper Rt.jpg

 

Starhopper Rear.jpg

 

Mine has a single stalk.

 

Mine had a 1.25" focuser about 10"  from the front - you can see where it used to be in the 3rd picture, before I removed it and fitted a 2" on the opposite side (I think I still have it around if you want a spare  ;-) )

 

 

I added a bunch of stuff (2" focuser, EP rack, Tel rad, Finder, friction springs)

 

My 8" star hopper gives the best views I've ever had from an 8" dob (though admittedly I've never looked through a premium 8" dob)

 

As was suggested above by bobzeq25 - if you like what you saw, I would just use it, enjoy it, and move on.

 

Colin


Edited by Taosmath, 13 July 2020 - 08:51 PM.

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#8 JohnBear

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 08:49 PM

If the telescope works, which you seemed to confirm - Don't worry about it (as they say in New Jersey)! You seem to know some basic terminology, so you can probably learn more about it here on CN and via lotsa googling. It is an older scope and that means there were likely several versions - with differnt mauals.  The nice thing about Dobs is that the are relatively easy to use and maintain. If it is anything like pictures posted above you are probably Ok.

 

Best advice for most new telescope owners is to join a local club:  https://www.astrolea...clubs-usa-state

 

Clubs now are using online meetings, etc., and many member can work with you via email or video chat if needed, even it these difficult times.  

 

The main thing, once you have a scope, is to USE it and ENJOY it! 

 

Clear skies!


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#9 SidneyD3

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 08:49 PM

To All:

Thanks for the reads and replies. Really appreciate the help.

 

BobZ...Like I said the view was OK for an old inch and a quarter Plossl. One of the main reasons I picked this scope over others is it was advertised as having a 2" focuser and my plans were to buy a 2" EP. Now to do that I have to spend my EP money on a focuser and then save up for the EP. 

 

Wade and Steve...tried several times to attach pics but kept getting error messages saying file too large. If you know how too shrink them down let me know.

 

And "no" I don't mind the "tier 1" questions. 

 

Upon further examination the bottom of the primary isn't as high as originally thought. Looks normal.

 

Also, there are absolutely no extraneous holes visible on the inside or out.  

 

Focuser is definitely 1.25.  In the parking lot it looked like EP was sitting in an adapter but it wasn't. When I popped the EP out and loosened the set screw, thinking an adapter was going to pop off but only the little collar came off.



#10 JohnBear

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 08:52 PM

BTW - to post pictures, just click on the "More Reply Options" button below the text box when you start a reply. the just follow the instructions in the dialog box.



#11 JohnBear

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 08:57 PM

Most PC graphic "picture" applications allow you to load and resize images that you the re-save. I like to use to use the free Irfranview program  

 

BTW - don't worry about using 2" eyepieces (EPs) early on.  You probably won't notice the difference until you have a lot of observing experience under you belt. They are also a lot more expensive that many 1.25" EPs that will perform just as well.

 

In fact I suggest you try a cheap Svbony 62* aspheric 23mm (and 10mm) EPs available on Amazon or Ebay (for about $10-15 each).Then compare your Plossls and any new EPs you get to them - it will reach you a lot about EP specs and which specs really make a difference to you. 


Edited by JohnBear, 13 July 2020 - 09:06 PM.

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#12 Echolight

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 09:04 PM

I take oversized pics from a distance and then edit/crop the sides down to get below the size limit.

 

So stand back a bit and take your pics with lots of room around the subject (telescope). And then check the info on your device to tell you the size..Then edit, and crop the extra off the outside of the subject. Then re-check the info to see if you need to crop some more off to get down to the 500kb size limit.


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#13 SidneyD3

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 09:36 PM

Bill Jensen, Taosmath and Colin... Thanks I was hoping that it was just an older model. I feel much better now after talking with you guys. Any recommendations on a 2" focuser?

 

John Bear... Yes, plan to join the club here in Austin soon. Can't wait. They have a couple of dark sky sites that are really good.They're currently trying to figure out how to do it safely. Also no luck with pics so far but I'll keep trying.

 

Thanks again to all. What a great community. I figured I'd be days getting a reply not minutes. 

 

I really feel better and am sure that after a few mods, upgrades, and additions I'll have the scope I wanted and can enjoy for years.

 

Clear skies!

 

Trip



#14 SidneyD3

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Posted 14 July 2020 - 12:05 AM

JohnBear and echolight

Thanks for the tips. Think I might have figured it out.

If it works, it'll be two very close views of the focuser. One with tape measure is of the outside. The other is a detail shot of what the inside of tube by focuser looks like.

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  • 20200713_082720_HDR~4.jpg


#15 SidneyD3

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Posted 14 July 2020 - 12:07 AM

Inside of tube and focuser

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  • 20200713_233000~6.jpg


#16 Bill Jensen

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Posted 14 July 2020 - 06:26 AM

Bill Jensen, Taosmath and Colin... Thanks I was hoping that it was just an older model. I feel much better now after talking with you guys. Any recommendations on a 2" focuser?

 

John Bear... Yes, plan to join the club here in Austin soon. Can't wait. They have a couple of dark sky sites that are really good.They're currently trying to figure out how to do it safely. Also no luck with pics so far but I'll keep trying.

 

Thanks again to all. What a great community. I figured I'd be days getting a reply not minutes. 

 

I really feel better and am sure that after a few mods, upgrades, and additions I'll have the scope I wanted and can enjoy for years.

 

Clear skies!

 

Trip

You asked about adding a 2 inch focuser. You would probably need to get a larger secondary mirror, and with it, a new holder for the larger secondary, and then a spider to hold it (which would make collimation a lot easier ), in order to take advantage of the 2 inch focuser.

 

Depending on your budget, for now, I would first put some money in a nice couple of (used) 1.25 inch plossls, perhaps a TeleVue or two. With the planets being a nice summer set of show pieces, perhaps you can find some used color filters as well, and take your time to observe the details. Perhaps adding a good 2x barlow to the mix may allow you to push up the magnification for those moments when the view snaps and you can start to observe the planetary details. None of that needs a 2 inch eyepiece. 

 

As you saw in the Ed Ting review, the oldest of those Starhoppers had a black base. You may want to try to add some furniture guides to it as he described. The kissing cousin early Orion dobs and the Starhoppers were made by Discovery telescope. The optics from those scopes were usually quite good, as Terry O was doing some of those mirrors. I had an Orion Deep Space Explorer of that same vintage, with a single stalk. It was pretty basic, and also was a very good performer. You may find that the primary mirror optics in your scope are very good, and if so, it may make sense to modify it. The mirror may be made of pyrex, not BK7 glass that is current used in the mass produced dobs, and pyrex is a better material. 

 

Like you, I recently retired. While your scope may not be what you expected, it may actually exceed your expectations by putting some work into it, and getting some help in collimating the scope to ensure you get the best views. 

 

Have fun!



#17 Grounddweller

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Posted 14 July 2020 - 08:46 AM

As JohnBear stated, eyepieces will be where you will want to invest your time and money next. Do not get hung up on trying to acquire 2” eyepieces, there are much more varieties of 1.25” and for good reason, as many of the scopes produced have peculiarities that allow some eyepieces work better than others. You said you were looking to join a club, that will be a good resource for you, you should find a number of members who will be happy to share their experiences and even equipment (including eyepieces) with you, so you can ‘try before you buy’ to see which type and powers work best for your eyes and expectations.

Edited by Grounddweller, 14 July 2020 - 11:01 AM.


#18 Taosmath

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Posted 14 July 2020 - 10:50 AM

You asked about adding a 2 inch focuser. You would probably need to get a larger secondary mirror, and with it, a new holder for the larger secondary, and then a spider to hold it (which would make collimation a lot easier ), in order to take advantage of the 2 inch focuser.

 

 

While I agree with the recommendation to just get out there and use the scope without further ado, I don't think it is necessary to increase the secondary size if you ever wanted to go to a 2" focuser.

 

The current secondary is about 1.5" minor axis (I assume it's the same as mine) and my calculations show about a 1" diameter illuminated aperture for a 1.5" secondary at 0.3 magnitudes drop off.

 

IMO the tiny increase you would get from going to a larger secondary would almost certainly be unnoticeable for visual use and certainly not worth the cost and aggravation entailed.

 

A 2 inch focuser would let your largest TFOV increase by about 50% from its current value of about 1.4 degrees to a maximum achievable value with a 2" EP of about 2.1 degrees.

 

It was worth changing the focuser for me, since my wide field EP's were all 2", but it may or may not be worthwhile for you at some point.


Edited by Taosmath, 14 July 2020 - 10:50 AM.

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#19 Bill Jensen

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Posted 14 July 2020 - 12:31 PM

While I agree with the recommendation to just get out there and use the scope without further ado, I don't think it is necessary to increase the secondary size if you ever wanted to go to a 2" focuser.

 

The current secondary is about 1.5" minor axis (I assume it's the same as mine) and my calculations show about a 1" diameter illuminated aperture for a 1.5" secondary at 0.3 magnitudes drop off.

 

IMO the tiny increase you would get from going to a larger secondary would almost certainly be unnoticeable for visual use and certainly not worth the cost and aggravation entailed.

 

A 2 inch focuser would let your largest TFOV increase by about 50% from its current value of about 1.4 degrees to a maximum achievable value with a 2" EP of about 2.1 degrees.

 

It was worth changing the focuser for me, since my wide field EP's were all 2", but it may or may not be worthwhile for you at some point.

Thanks for weighing in with your secondary size on the same scope as the OP.  I had to change my secondary when I moved to a 2 inch focuser on a different 8 inch f/6 scope, not my original Orion DSE 8 inch. I should not have "assumed" it would have the same secondary size as one of my other dobs. 




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