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First Light, Apertura AD10

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#1 ScottFW

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 02:28 PM

Apertura AD10 arrived a couple days ago from High Point, just under a month after ordering, and I started assembling it after getting home from work last night. I live in a suburban hell (Bortle 7) and the sky last night was looking even a bit hazier than usual. The moon had a pronounced orange tint with some details looking a bit fuzzed out to the naked eye, so my expectations were not high but I wasn’t letting that stop me.

 

Toted the scope to the end of my driveway. First carried out the optical tube (set temporarily in the back of wife’s SUV) then carried out the base, then set the tube in the base. Wrangling the parts is no big deal as I’m reasonably fit and 6’2” so I have the wingspan to manage the tube. Still, a hand truck will make it so much easier to move this, so that will be a likely purchase very soon.

 

Got the included right-angle finder aligned with the eyepiece using a tree top way off in the distance, easy peasy.

 

I didn’t even bother checking collimation at first since I just wanted to make sure I could get a focused image, so I pointed it at Jupiter with the 30mm EP. No problems focusing so I swapped in the 9mm plossl. Got a decent view, with the planet appearing slightly fuzzy, could make out one of the cloud bands and could easily see 3 moons (Ganymede was occulted behind Jupiter last night). On a few occasions I’ve been able to get more detail out of Jupiter (both bands, red spot) using my dad’s old 3” refractor, albeit on much clearer nights.

 

I swung over to Saturn and had no difficulty picking out the shadow cast by the planet onto the rings. Couldn’t really pick out the Cassini division.

 

I cruised around looking at stars but couldn’t quite get them to focus tack sharp, so at this point I decided I should put the batteries in the laser collimator and check things out. The dot was hitting ~1.5” outside the donut on the primary. Yeesh. Retrieved a screwdriver and got that sorted. Thumb screws for the secondary will be another near-term purchase.

 

By this point, Mars was rising above the roof of my house. I then swapped in a Celestron 8-24 zoom EP that I picked up here on the classifieds and had a look. Quite bright, difficult to nail focus probably due to general atmospheric conditions plus it being over my roof. Not a huge amount of detail I could discern but I could pick out the slight color shift of a polar ice cap. At times, more central areas of the planet looked dimmer, but not enough for me to confidently describe any surface detail.

 

I spent the next couple of hours just randomly cruising around, mostly with the zoom EP. The center of Andromeda appeared as a faint smudge and I tripped across that several times while looking around randomly. Over near Vega, I’m fairly confident I picked out the double-double in Lyra, and will look again tonight to confirm.

 

The inverted image through the Dob was throwing me off a bit when nudging the scope, or trying to do some rudimentary star hopping from the charting apps, but I’ll get used to that soon enough.

 

Other issues I had were more of the ergonomic sort. Could use a better chair than my mechanic’s stool, but it will do for now. I need some sort of shield to block the neighbors’ house lights from reflecting off the glossy surface of the optical tube as I’m looking through the EP. I did the cupped hands thing, used a black t-shirt as a hood, not sure what’s going to be optimal here. Might need to pick up an eye patch for my off eye too.

 

I packed it in around 1 am since I was getting tired and had to get up for work the next day. Overall a fun first session. I might be able to improve the collimation (didn’t touch the primary, just made sure it was looking roughly centered in the secondary) so I’ll work on that before heading out tonight.


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#2 LIVE LONG

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 03:02 PM

   Congratulation's on your scope purchase.

 

   I have the same scope under the High Point Scientific label. I consider the 10" Dob the "Goldilock's" scope. Not too big, not too small, just right.

 

   You should look into buying a observing chair. I have a Starbound Observing chair. I consider this an absolute necessary purchase. Your back will thank you !

 

   Also, without a doubt, get a hand truck.  I bought mine from Home Depot, nothing too expensive.

 

   I also bought a Telrad. Another absolute necessary purchase, in my opinion. I cannot imagine using my Dob without my Telrad. It really help's speed up locating major star's.

   

   Good luck with your scope. Clear Skie's !


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#3 Astroboy54

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 03:14 PM

I second the recommendation of buying a Starbound Observing Chair. It's a bit pricey but very sturdy (rated to over 300 lb. capacity) with a very comfortable seat. Seat height is easily and quickly adjusted without aid of tools. Height adjustment can go from very low to high. It's available in black or white. Most prefer the white for better visibility in the darkness. Here is a vendor's link for the Starbound Observing Chair:

 

https://www.bhphotov...ws?sts=pi&pim=Y

 

Clear Skies!


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#4 SteveG

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 06:01 PM

 

 

I swung over to Saturn and had no difficulty picking out the shadow cast by the planet onto the rings. Couldn’t really pick out the Cassini division.

 

 

You mean the shadow cast by the planet on to the rings, which is evident now that we’re past opposition. This is part of what gives Saturn a 3D look.

 

The very thin shadow that is cast by the rings on the face of the disk is rarely seen, depending on the tilt of the planet. If you couldn’t resolve the Cassini division, then you wouldn’t see it. I did see a darker atmospheric band just above Saturn’s equator the other night on an exceptional night of seeing (using only a 4” refractor).



#5 Men2Boyz

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 09:14 PM

Congrats on your new scope. I have had my AD10 for about 3 weeks now, but more than half that time it sat in the house because of smoke from nearby wildfires. High Point told me to expect about one month delivery when I ordered from them. The shipment came from China to west coast to New Jersey and back to me on west coast in almost exactly the predicted time frame.

 

I got the Apertura 2" 2x Barlow's and High Point's collimating knobs. Both have been very useful. The laser that came with the AD10 never quite sat in the focuser consistently for me but with the laser in the 2" Barlow's I can get predictable results every time. I have had no difficulty seeing Cassini division of Saturn's rings all last week and SPC and albedo on Mars is visible every night. I saw a transit of one of Jupiter's moon probably my first night.  I have probably made every rookie mistake there is with collimating including loosening knobs completely off the primary cel and trying to blind myself thinking laser was off when it was on during daylight conditions. When using the narrow laser beam after badly messing up primary mirror ( I was confusing the lock knobs with the collimating knobs ) I once saw the side port target centered with a diffuse red light covering the center target. I didn't know what that meant. But seeing a narrow red beam shooting out the end of the OTA onto my deck convinced me something wasn't right. Fortunately this dob is more tolerant of bad collimating than I was expecting from a fast scope. As long as I laser with a Barlow's and correctly position the red diffuse circle with black center on my laser's side port target after centering the narrow beam laser on the primary mirror, I get decent enough viewing no matter what I've done to my scope.

 

I bought black Starbound chair and find it useful but clumsy to move around my deck one handed. I'm positioned near the edge of my deck by the swimming pool and I risk taking a midnight swim at times.

 

I found the OTA stayed balanced better by adjusting the bearings' height so that the OTA with eyepiece and finder attached is balanced while it points up about 45 degrees. If you balance the OTA when it is in horizontal position the tube will tend to drift upwards when you start viewing above 45 degrees unless you use a lot of friction on the knobs. Why balance in horizontal position anyway? When is anyone going to be viewing anything in that position?  Tightening the bearing knobs will help with the drift but too much tightening, the OTA won't respond easily to light touch when trying to move it vertically. I bought ceramic magnets from Harbor Freight to help with tube balance. I didn't even remove them from the plastic packaging. They were 99 cents for a package of two magnets. I bought 6 packages. Keeping them in the packaging protects the tube from getting scratched and the magnets slide easily up and down the OTA. Rearranging the magnets along the tube for various combinations of eyepieces keeps the OTA balanced and only a minimum amount of friction with the bearing knobs is needed to keep my scope happy. Not having a tight grip on the axial bearings also lessened the vibrations seen in eyepiece when you reposition the tube. I found that if you position the magnets just right to allow a slight amount of vertical drift you can synchronize it with a planet's vertical movement and keep the planet in the eyepiece for longer time. This is especially helpful when viewing at high magnifications. I watched Mars last night at 357X with just slight horizontal nudges every 10-15 sec when the magnets were positioned to give the tube a slight drift that match Mars' ascension speed.

 

I'm still learning. There is so much info on CN. So many knowledgeable people. Enjoy the nights.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#6 ScottFW

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Posted 24 September 2020 - 01:18 PM

I have the same scope under the High Point Scientific label. I consider the 10" Dob the "Goldilock's" scope. Not too big, not too small, just right.

Yeah, I figured I could probably manage a 12" Dob too, but I measured my car and a 12" won't fit inside, so 10" it is!

Evidently my wife thought I was buying something smaller. She asked me why I "bought a planetarium" (her words) at which point I had to explain that 10" is still on the small side for a reflector.
 

Also, without a doubt, get a hand truck.  I bought mine from Home Depot, nothing too expensive.

Already got my eye on one at the local HD. I've seen pics here where someone used the styrofoam from the original packaging to cradle the tube on the the hand truck, so I'll probably do that.
 

I also bought a Telrad. Another absolute necessary purchase, in my opinion.

Also on my radar, along with a degree circle & angle gauge so I can get in the ballpark with Alt/Az coordinates.

   

You should look into buying a observing chair. I have a Starbound Observing chair.

While I don't quite need a 300-lb load rating, it does look reasonably sturdy and that seems to be the one most people recommend.
 

I got the Apertura 2" 2x Barlow's and High Point's collimating knobs. Both have been very useful. The laser that came with the AD10 never quite sat in the focuser consistently for me but with the laser in the 2" Barlow's I can get predictable results every time. I have had no difficulty seeing Cassini division of Saturn's rings all last week and SPC and albedo on Mars is visible every night. I saw a transit of one of Jupiter's moon probably my first night.

The laser seemed to fit snugly enough in the focuser, but I could try it in a Barlow and see if there's any difference.

I have a 1.25" 3x Barlow among the Brandon/Vernonscope kit from my Dad's old refractor but didn't get around to trying it last session.

It did occur to me that I could probably apply more magnification on the planets. The 8mm end of the zoom would be 156x.
 

I found the OTA stayed balanced better by adjusting the bearings' height so that the OTA with eyepiece and finder attached is balanced while it points up about 45 degrees... I bought ceramic magnets from Harbor Freight to help with tube balance.

Yeah, I had just left the bearing height at the default recommendation in the assembly instructions, which wound up not really being optimal, so I had the bearings tensioned pretty high, which made nudging the scope more difficult and less smooth. Definitely room for improvement here.



#7 LIVE LONG

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Posted 24 September 2020 - 01:59 PM

   I forgot about the degree circle & digital angle gauge. 

 

   I have both. A real game changer. I am able to find everything I am looking for, with this combo. I am using Sky Safari Plus. That and the setting circle/ digital angle gauge, are amazing, and very affordable !




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