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My old Criterion RV6 and challenges of star gazing for the elderly

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#1 Bob A (SD)

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Posted 12 September 2020 - 12:19 PM

Aside from the obvious issues with light pollution, age has impacted my being able to enjoy this hobby. shocked.gif

 

I no longer can manhandle my SkyWatcher EQ6 SkyScan mount's 80 pounds. And even moving a lighter and less sophisticated EQ4 mount takes multiple trips. frown.gif

 

So recently we did two things.

 

First I moved my MN56 Maksutov-Newtonian from the SkyScan EQ6 (with Karry Hanna saddle adapter, Robin Casady tip-in saddle, and Losmady 13.5" DUP dovetail) to my Spectiva EQ4 equatorial mount with NatureWatch wooden legs.  (You know what will be collecting dust now sadly.... bawling.gif)

 

Second, one of my sons setup my vintage Criterion RV6 6" Newtonian in the backyard where it will be left. A BBQ cover is being used to protect it. This will allow me to enjoy the skies without the burden of hauling and setting up a scope and mount. Oh I'll still want to take the MN56 out at times too, but this now gives me the option of a much less strenuous path.  wink.gif

 

9UW7uYx.jpg

OEolpLo.jpg

Cz9Tmhw.jpg

 

And I have a StarSeat to provide relief from having to always stand to use the telescope. (Mine is the upgraded version with a cup holder.  bow.gif )   Great for these old bones!  lol.gif

Mvy7or9.jpg


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#2 Bob A (SD)

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Posted 12 September 2020 - 12:35 PM

Anyone else struggle with similar issues?  And what have you done to mitigate them.  This old septuagenarian is curious.  lol.gifgrin.gif


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#3 mattyfatz

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Posted 12 September 2020 - 12:43 PM

The Star Seat is an excellent product. It really ads to observing comfort.


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#4 Bob A (SD)

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Posted 12 September 2020 - 12:46 PM

The Star Seat is an excellent product. It really ads to observing comfort.

Totally agree!  Got mine from Manny Myles here back in March 2008.  bow.gifwaytogo.gif


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#5 barbarosa

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Posted 12 September 2020 - 12:57 PM

For several reason, light pollution and worrying about a misstep carrying a CPC1100 just a short distance and up or down two steps, I went the convert a garden shed to an observatory route, and later traded my eyepiece for a camera, live imaging aka video or EAA. Slowly I concluded that I did not enjoy cold weather at the scope and set up for remote use. 

 

Now if the night is warm and the owls hoot and coyotes sing, I sit outside, otherwise I sit in the house in a comfortable chair with the option to view the image on the big screen in the family room. Much better than TV.

 

Ironically that CPC is gone, and the mount  a light CEM-60 on a pier.

 

I know two people who keep mounts outside and use 365 covers. One of them has a neat shop made warmer permanently on the EP tray. Had I known about that I might still have a CPC1100 or more likely both setups.grin.gif


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#6 Garyth64

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Posted 12 September 2020 - 01:10 PM

Bob, is that hill towards the north?  That may be a good place for a little shed observatory.


Edited by Garyth64, 12 September 2020 - 01:10 PM.

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#7 Astroman007

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Posted 12 September 2020 - 01:31 PM

I loved your story Bob. Thank you for sharing it!

 

The Black Hills, nice place to hide away.


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#8 Terra Nova

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Posted 12 September 2020 - 04:34 PM

I’ll be 71 in October. I do a lot more of my observing from home in the backyard observing pad or on the deck. I also use binoculars from my chaise lounge a lot more. I’ve scaled back in the number and size of my telescopes. Once the one that I currently have for sale is gone, I will be down to a dozen telescopes and I don’t plan on buying anymore. I like scopes that I can use while seated on a stool. Ergonomics has gotten very important to me. The best ergonomic scopes I own are my Questar 3.5 standard, my two smaller Taks (FC60 and FC76), and my TeleVue Genesis SDF. I also generally don’t observe much past midnight anymore because I have a hard time sleeping in much past 7 or 7:30 in the morning. I used to be an active solar observer, but with the quiet sun, I’ve done very little the past two years. I hope that solar activity picks back up soon as I enjoy it a lot and it fits well into my schedule being retired.


Edited by Terra Nova, 13 September 2020 - 09:13 AM.

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#9 MitchK

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Posted 12 September 2020 - 05:27 PM

Nice RV-6. I am in the (slow) process of restoring the RV-6 I purchased new in 1985. I plan on putting a RACI finder much like the one you have on yours. I'm hoping to get the scope restoration finished this winter and have it ready for late winter/early spring viewing. 

 

Mitch


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#10 vjstangelo

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Posted 12 September 2020 - 06:12 PM

Does my heart good to see 6"f8 newts still plying the skies.

I still have my 6" f8 Meade model 591 which is almost identical to your RV6.

I bought mine new in 1980. How old.is your RV6? Are you the original owner?
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#11 Bob A (SD)

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Posted 12 September 2020 - 07:59 PM

Bob, is that hill towards the north?  That may be a good place for a little shed observatory.

Gary, no.  The horizontal wood laid in the ground in front of the covered RV6 is about 350° true, so the hill is East.


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#12 Bob A (SD)

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Posted 12 September 2020 - 08:16 PM

Does my heart good to see 6"f8 newts still plying the skies.

I still have my 6" f8 Meade model 591 which is almost identical to your RV6.

I bought mine new in 1980. How old.is your RV6? Are you the original owner?

No, bought it used in early 2008.  It looked to date from 1975 and had a history of ownership within the Denver Astronomical Society (DAS).  It was bundled with an ATMer's ‘78 Meade StarTracker tube with installed Jaeger 6" f/8 1225mm mirror.  Drove the 6 hours each way to the Denver area to pick them up.  waytogo.gif


Edited by Bob A (SD), 12 September 2020 - 09:00 PM.

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#13 Bonco2

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Posted 12 September 2020 - 08:34 PM

Bob,

I didn't have a place to plant like did my RV6 that I bought in the early 60's, so I sold it because I'm using more lightweight scopes now that I'm in my 70's. On another forum there are pictures of the planets thru he RV6 which are amazing and attest to its optical quality . But for me I'm now mostly using my small refractors, and a nice adjustable observing chair. However I do have a  8 inch f/6 Dob which I can sill manage as it breaks down to two easily managed pieces. My main complaint is my local skies are so light polluted. Not much I can do about that.

Best wishes , Bill


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#14 Bomber Bob

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Posted 12 September 2020 - 11:26 PM

Made these images with my 1971 RV-6 & ASI120MC back in 2017.  1st is RAW (unprocessed), and about how Jupiter looks at 200x; 2nd is processed in IrfanView to > cloud belt detail:

 

RV-6 - Jupiter (Sundown) 20170710V03BS01.jpg RV-6 - Jupiter (Sundown) 20170710V06AR11.jpg


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#15 MitchK

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 12:34 AM

Awesome pictures from your classic scope! Nicely done.


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#16 John Rogers

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 08:06 AM

Anyone else struggle with similar issues?  And what have you done to mitigate them.  This old septuagenarian is curious.  lol.gifgrin.gif

The best accessory I ever purchased for my 12-inch LX200 was a SkyShed Pod.  I can walk outside and perform a quick evaluation of the sky and seeing conditions.  If they look favorable, I can literally be observing in less than 5 minutes, without having to worry about hauling equipment out.  For nights I plan on observing, I will open the dome after sunset to allow the equipment to reach temperature equilibrium.
 

A good example is that woke up around 3AM a few nights ago and poked my head outside.  Although there was a thin layer of smoke from the nearby wildfires, Mars looked bright enough that I decided to give it a shot.  It took a few extra minutes to attach the ZWO ASI224MC camera to the telescope, but I was able to capture this photograph:

 

20200911_1054UTC_Mars.jpg


Edited by John Rogers, 13 September 2020 - 08:06 AM.

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#17 Bob A (SD)

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 09:08 PM

John, nice red planet picture.  bow.gif   But both a 12" LX200 and a SkyShed Pod are beyond what this old retiree could handle, let alone afford.  

 

 

 

When it came to eyepieces, I've resorted to best bang for the buck.  See this old 2005 thread and my posts. grin.gif    https://www.cloudyni...-why-is-rarely/

 

Sometime back I sold off my University Optics 5mm, 7mm, and 9mm Abbe Orthos; and a pair of Russell 2"/1.25" eps.   The eye relief on the UOs were simply too meager for my aging eyes.  And the Speers-Waler zoom made the Russell 7mm and 9mm konigs superfluous.

 

What I have today certainly isn't going to "wow" anyone, but they work for me in my 1975 vintage Criterion RV-6, 2000 Intes-Micro MN56, and  2011 Celestron f/13.8 C90. waytogo.gif   My favorites are the Speers-Waler 10mm, 24.7mm (an exceptional sample apparently), and 5-8mm zoom, along with the Gary Russell 13mm and 19mm SWA Konigs. 

 

jseTQ3T.jpg

 

As an aside, Jim Henson of ScopeStuff verified with Antares back in 2008, that the Speers-Waler 10mm 82° AFOV I bought was indeed a Series 1 and not the then new Series 2  9.4mm labeled as a 10mm.  They had made a run of the "10W" in the "pewter" color scheme instead of the previous (and traditional) red and black.


Edited by Bob A (SD), 14 September 2020 - 11:55 PM.

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#18 Bob A (SD)

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 09:59 PM

Made these images with my 1971 RV-6 & ASI120MC back in 2017. 

Well done!  bow.gif   

 

I never really got into astrophotography.  Back in the '70s I did try some with an Olympus OM1 camera but was never really satisfied.  The StellaCam II I bought back in 2005 was simply to serve as a "force multiplier" for my MN56.  It would "stack" 256 frames to display on that Radio Shack 10" B&W monitor giving an image with detail equal to what a much much bigger aperture scope would provide.  It was great for groups of folks to view too. smile.gif  That said it doesn't see any use these days sadly.

 

M3Rd3L3.jpg
 


Edited by Bob A (SD), 14 September 2020 - 10:03 PM.

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