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First Light! (XT10 Plus)

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#1 bazookaman

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 12:07 PM

After using my wife's 120x1000 Galileo with included eyepieces for the past few weeks, I caught the bug and ordered an Orion xt10 plus. I would rather have gotten the Apertura AD10 but they were out of stock until into December and I decided against waiting (I'm impatient when it comes to toys).

 

Assembly wasn't too bad... just put the base together (less than an hour while trying to keep my 3 kids from breaking or losing something), and drop the tube on. Collimate with included cap. Actually, after checking the secondary with the cap, I put my laser collimator in and adjusted the primary with that. Today, I think I'll cross check the laser with the cap to see if they agree. There was some slop with the laser as it sits in the 2" to 1.25" adapter so changing the tightening screws moved the return beam around quite a bit.

 

So at first glance, it kind of resembles a water heater. Fortunately I have a dolly to move it around.

 

First target was the first quarter'ish moon. It was still light out but I was done waiting! The scope comes with a 2" 28mm and a 1.25 10mm. I used the 28mm and was blown away by the detail. To be fair, I had not viewed the moon with the 5", or rather it was about 20 years ago so hardly a fair comparison. But I don't remember this much detail. Incredible. I just had time for a quick peak and then had to go inside to do some things. I caught another peak 15 minutes later and dropped in the 10mm. Seeing was pretty bad and I could see the boiling light a bit so I switched back to the 28 which allowed me to see the whole sphere, even the dark side was had a surprising amount of detail.

 

I tried the 10mm on Saturn and Jupiter, but again, there was little detail and contrast, as if the image was out of focus, even at perfect focus. Saturn looked pretty impressive at 28mm though. Quite sharp, but almost totally white. Did I see a moon or was that just a small star? I'll look again tonight... Also, all three are low on the horizon so not ideal.

 

After dinner, it was quite dark, for the neighborhood anyway. Bortle 7. I checked out Pleaides, M103, M52, M31 & M32. At one point I saw a meteorite zip through the fov. That was pretty cool, but it looked about the same as if I had seen one naked eye. Quite dim and fast. At around 10, my quickfinder 2 started fogging up a bit but it was still useable. The bottom end of the ota was getting condensation on the outside, but the optics still appeared okay.

 

I attempted several objects including Iris Nebula, M74, and North America nebula, but no luck picking out anything recognizable as a DSO. I tried splitting Beta Ori but I have no idea what I'm doing or what I'm looking for. I did notice that when it's slightly out of focus, there are two groups of spikes, but when in focus, it was just a single blob. I could see a very faint and small speck next to the bright mass but I don't think that's what was causing the second group of spikes.

 

It was about 10pm and Orion was about 20 or 30 degrees above horizon so I turned to M42 and it was significantly brighter than in the 5" and I could see it spread out more. The stars in it were brighter. Small, but pleasant. The I tried the 10mm but the view did not improve significantly. I even snapped a pic with my cell that put some color in it and additional detail, that I was surprised to see. I used night mode which I assume takes a short video and blends the frames somehow. It was blurry though, either from hand movement or earth rotation.

 

My house is in a suburban neighborhood so it's impossible to not be looking over someone's house so I'm not sure how good of seeing I can expect from here given that, and the light pollution. I've read a lot of people say that aperture is king. I think dark skies are probably more important given my very brief experience, but we'll see if my opinion changes. I was able to locate a lot more taking my 5" to Bortle 5 than the 10" at Bortle 7.

 

Thoughts and Conclusions:

 

This 10" scope is quite huge and heavy. I can see how it would be much easier to leave it in the garage and take a night off of viewing instead of lugging it out, especially under less than ideal viewing conditions.

 

I was disappointed in the lenses. The 10mm has little eye relief and a narrow afov. I was expecting much more from the 28mm too, it being a 2". It's quite particular about where my eye is. If I'm off too much, it starts blacking out. Stars around the outer 30% start getting soft with coma, and at the outer 10% they are completely out of focus. This is frustrating when I'm scanning for a DSO because I can't tell if the object on the edge is the fuzzy I'm looking for, or if it's just an out of focus star. So I found myself chasing stars at the edge, interrupting my search pattern. I'm glad I have two quality lenses on the way. The wide ep that came with the Galileo (26mm?) was sharp edge to edge and forgiving with eye placement. I realize that at f/4.5, this scope is less forgiving though, than the f/8. I hope these new eyepieces (Pentax xw 7mm 70°, ES 11mm 82°) are sharp edge to edge and are comfortable to use. I also realize that I need a quality wide angle as well. Sooner rather than later. :)

 

Comparing the 5" on the tripod with the Dob mount is apples and oranges. The 5" is unstable, and has no fine control. It either jerks around or falls back when trying to either alt or az. It's very hard to center a target, especially at high mag. The Plus dob mount is quite smooth and easy to maneuver around. I had no issues centering or tracking objects, even with the 10mm Barlowed.... (240x). I'm very pleased with this as this was my major gripe about the 5".

 

However, using the tripod was much easier to view than the dob. The tripod is easy to use standing, and virtually all ep positions are easy to get to standing, horizon to zenith. The dob horizon view will have on your knees, and the zenith view will have you standing but hunched over. I will be building myself a Denver chair this weekend to remedy this.

 

On this same note, using the quickfinder 2 on targets near the zenith was a real neck breaker. It's challenging to lean over the tube and get my in the right spot while looking straight up. I felt like a failed contortionist. I think building a stand to get the base off the ground would alleviate this. Or an L spotting finder perhaps. Otherwise, I love the QF2. Oh crap, I forgot to turn it off from last night. Be right back (seriously).

 

Ok, that brings me to my biggest drawback of the QF. In the past two weeks, I have forgotten to turn it off all but one night. Fortunately it doesn't draw much power, but I wish there was a timeout on it. Those 2032 batteries aren't free.

 

I will be meeting up with a buddy Saturday at his bortle 4 location, so that will be a treat. I have to be honest, with the exception of the moon, I wasn't blown away with my night of viewing like I thought I'd be. I was expecting 4x more light coming in to be more obvious of a difference. I suspect this is a combination of the seeing and my light pollution. Time and experience will tell.

 

I plan to build the Denver chair, a small pedestal so I can stand more (I'm 6' 2"), and some sort of padded transport cradle that I can slide in and out of the SUV so I can leverage the weight on the bumper when I load and unload.

 

I'd love to hear your feedback and thoughts on how my night went. Same as your first night with a big dob?


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#2 spereira

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 12:12 PM

Moving to Reflectors.

 

smp



#3 cuzimthedad

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 12:29 PM

Great report and congratulations on the new dob bazookaman!


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#4 Barlowbill

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 01:42 PM

You need a 9X50 RACI finder scope.  I use one on a dual mount with a Green Laser finder.  Light pollution is a huge problem for all city folks.  Live with it or travel.  Better eyepieces are a must.  A 10mm Plossl stinks.  I use my 32mm Plossl a lot and my 25mm occasionally.  I also like my Russell 50mm Plossl XL.  I use a cheap card table chair.  I view sitting always.  Works fine for me.  I used to be 5' 11".  Old now and I'm sure I have shrunk some.  It takes practice to learn which eyepieces require certain eye placement.  You get used to it.  Main thing is, have fun


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#5 bazookaman

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 01:53 PM

You need a 9X50 RACI finder scope.  I use one on a dual mount with a Green Laser finder.  Light pollution is a huge problem for all city folks.  Live with it or travel.  Better eyepieces are a must.  A 10mm Plossl stinks.  I use my 32mm Plossl a lot and my 25mm occasionally.  I also like my Russell 50mm Plossl XL.  I use a cheap card table chair.  I view sitting always.  Works fine for me.  I used to be 5' 11".  Old now and I'm sure I have shrunk some.  It takes practice to learn which eyepieces require certain eye placement.  You get used to it.  Main thing is, have fun

Excuse my inexperience, but my scope only has one dovetail... does a dual mount convert one into two or do I have to add another mount to the ota?


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#6 Echolight

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 02:52 PM

Nice report! Even just a little better eyepieces will make all the difference...in comfort and ease of viewing at least.

 

I got an office chair with a gas strut from a garage sale. Actually a birthday present from dear old old Dad. Said he gave fifteen buck for it. But only about 6 inches of lift.

Kinda get sunk down in it though. A little too much of a good thing I guess. Probably something a little more upright would suit a bigger scope better.

Works well with a little scope.

48DD493A-0B0E-4330-A5FD-46AA805907FF.jpeg


Edited by Echolight, 19 November 2020 - 02:55 PM.

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#7 Barlowbill

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 04:13 PM

You place a "dual" where the "single" is.  Go to Orion's site and find the Dual Mount.  Kinda like a Y.  One place to attach to the scope tube then has 2 places to mound devises.  


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#8 coopman

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 04:18 PM

Congrats on your new light bucket! I was out with my 8" last night but quickly realized that the seeing was bad so I packed it in. Sometimes it's just not worth it.

#9 MellonLake

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 07:15 PM

Congrats!  The XT10 is a great telescope.  I have had amazing views with mine.  

 

Yeah viewing in Dobs while standing does not work well.  A Chair is a must.  I do all my viewing seated so I can view for hours at a time (like watching a transit of Jupiter or searching for Galaxies in Virgo).  

 

As for adding a second finder. I would buy another shoe and drill through the tube and mount it.  The double finder brackets are heavy and affect balance.  Drilling is fast and easy and easy and does not impact optical performance in the least.  I have 3 mounts, a Dob handle to point the telescope, and a carrying handle that I have attached by drilling holes in the the Dob tube.  

 

Your new eyepieces will definitely help.  For wide field the 2" barrel APM 30mm UFF is also a great performer that is light weight and optically very good for the price.  Big Dob's need good widefield eyepieces because they perform so well on large DSOs (Andromeda, Pleiades, North America Nebula, Crescent Nebula, Helix Nebula, Veil Nebula......)  

 

Collimation is going to much more critical with the XT10 compared to your old telescope.  Buy an Astrosystems Combo tool (Cheshire/sight tube).  This tool can be used for all stages of collimation and will work very well (Cheap Cheshires/Combo tools are too long and you can't round and centre the secondary and Cheap lasers are not generally accurate enough).      

 

FYI - Saturday the moon will be up until about 11:30pm.  As such, DSO (Galaxy/Nebulae) viewing will really only be good after 11:30pm.  

 

Rob


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#10 Sheol

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 07:28 PM

           Yeah, a chair is a winner. Definitely improved my viewing with my 8 inch Dob, but I still need a GOOD chair. I basically was just using patio furniture at the time. I am always blown away by Luna despite being a DSO person. And I share the pain of most of my fellow suburban observers, LP has gotten worse over  the last 10 years, it can be hard to do astronomy from the old backyard anymore. Hopefully, you just had one of those off nights. We all have them. At least I do, when things just do not come together, despite a good scope. Well, here is to hoping your 10 inch is not a dud, that is possible. Orion does have a very good return policy 

 

     Clear Skies,

         Matt.



#11 Sky_LO

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 09:30 PM

I too can't use a red dot finder as I get a backache and neck pains in trying to use them.   Neck breaker is correct !

I like a green laser (the legal kind) and a 9 x 50 Right angle finder.  Yes I switched to a double shoe mounting bracket. 

No more painful "sighting down the tube"  

 

Yes a chair is a must.  I use an office stool that goes up and down with a gas piston - 5 inches range to match the eyepiece height.  Inexpensive and works great.   

 

Some of the targets you looked for (like the North American Nebula) may require nebula filters and dark dark skies 

You will never see that from your yard.  

 

Download Stellarium and study ! 

 

Look for brighter objects that you can get from your home ! 

There are lots of them.   

 

The 10 inch Orion is great, I love mine. 

 

 

-Lauren   


Edited by Sky_LO, 19 November 2020 - 09:32 PM.

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#12 bazookaman

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 11:21 PM

 

Collimation is going to much more critical with the XT10 compared to your old telescope.  Buy an Astrosystems Combo tool (Cheshire/sight tube).  This tool can be used for all stages of collimation and will work very well (Cheap Cheshires/Combo tools are too long and you can't round and centre the secondary and Cheap lasers are not generally accurate enough).      

 

Is that this light pipe/ sight tube?

 

https://www.astrosys...iz/coltlsm1.htm


Edited by bazookaman, 19 November 2020 - 11:22 PM.


#13 bazookaman

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 11:38 PM

I had a better night tonight, albeit a shorter session. I rolled the beast to the front yard and decided to do battle with the neighbors front house lights instead of going through the house and into the back yard, which is a chore. Need to build a light-weight blind.

 

First target, moon again. Very nice, with the 10mm I could see some interesting details. I could also see the atmospheric turbulence, but it wasn't terrible.

 

I turned to Jupiter. It was quite bright and I could only see 3 moons. But it seemed to focus fairly well, so I went crazy and put the Barlow on. 5mm, 240x. I could see two dark bands going across and three moons still.... wait. What is that tiny little dark spec in the lower left quadrant? Whoa, there's #4!! Actually, I'm not sure if it was the backlit moon or the shadow of the moon projecting onto the surface. I'm sure someone can let me know, but that was cool! It was sharper than the surface of Jupiter, which seemed out of focus, but very tiny and fairly sharp. Awesome!

 

I moved to Saturn at 240x. I could see details that I didn't see the night before. It was fairly sharp... I could see a dark band in the middle of the ring separating it in half roughly, going all the way around. And I could see a faint shadow from the rings on the planet surface bisecting it. I saw a sharp shadow of the planet projecting onto the back ring, which gave it quite a bit of dimension, unlike previous sessions. I also saw 3 small, bright specks nearby that I figured could have been moons. I'll have to do some reading, I don't know how many moons Saturn has. I also checked out Andromeda and noticed that the core seemed a bit brighter, almost like a star in the middle. I spotted two of the 3 GC's in Cass. One I hadn't recognized before so check that one off the list (left my journal in the garage so don't know which ones).

 

I also looked at mars at 240x and could see that it was around 4/5 phase... the upper right arc was shadowed a bit. Or at least that's what it looked like was happening. I could be wrong! I also could see a faint dark smudge around the equator stretching from the center to bottom left, and I presume wrapping around the backside. This looked like a completely different planet from what I saw the night before. I had no problem focusing or seeing it.

 

After I came in, I saw that my pentax xw 7mm had been delivered earlier in the day but I hadn't realized it. Oh well, hopefully it'll be nice again tomorrow!


Edited by bazookaman, 19 November 2020 - 11:40 PM.

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#14 bazookaman

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 11:47 PM

I am concerned that the laser isn't accurate enough. It's a 1.25" and it's not snug in the 2" adapter. Depending on if/how I tighten the set screws, the return beam will bounce around out of the hole. I can also see with the star test, that it's not quite perfect.

 

I think having a handle or something on the ota would be easier than reaching up and grabbing the edge of the tube to move it. At higher alt's, it's too big to push the tube az with my right hand because I can't tell if I'm also changing the alt.

 

For now I think I'm getting by with the red dot. It may not be comfortable at high alt's, but it is accurate. I'll definitely consider adding a scope/green laser combo in the future. My next purchase will probably be a wide angle to replace the 28mm and a better barlow.


Edited by bazookaman, 19 November 2020 - 11:48 PM.

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#15 Sky_LO

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 12:40 AM

I store the OTA and the base separately.

That way I can set up the base, and then plop on the OTA 

Its much easier for me to move two thirty pound pieces individually, than to deal with it assembled.

 

My XT 10i does have a knob at the bottom of the OTA to grab onto.  Yours doesn't ? 

 

I mostly use a colimation cap to colimate.  I do have a laser but the colimation dot works well.

The scope holds the colimation very well and rarely needs any adjustment. 

 

-Lauren   


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#16 MellonLake

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 07:42 AM

Is that this light pipe/ sight tube?

 

https://www.astrosys...iz/coltlsm1.htm

Yes it it both a sight tube and cheshire, that is the one I recommend because it is for shorter focal ratios (which allows it to be used as a sight tube).

 

 

I turned to Jupiter. It was quite bright and I could only see 3 moons. But it seemed to focus fairly well, so I went crazy and put the Barlow on. 5mm, 240x. I could see two dark bands going across and three moons still.... wait. What is that tiny little dark spec in the lower left quadrant? Whoa, there's #4!! Actually, I'm not sure if it was the backlit moon or the shadow of the moon projecting onto the surface. I'm sure someone can let me know, but that was cool! It was sharper than the surface of Jupiter, which seemed out of focus, but very tiny and fairly sharp. Awesome!

 

I moved to Saturn at 240x. I could see details that I didn't see the night before. It was fairly sharp... I could see a dark band in the middle of the ring separating it in half roughly, going all the way around. And I could see a faint shadow from the rings on the planet surface bisecting it. I saw a sharp shadow of the planet projecting onto the back ring, which gave it quite a bit of dimension, unlike previous sessions. I also saw 3 small, bright specks nearby that I figured could have been moons. I'll have to do some reading, I don't know how many moons Saturn has. I also checked out Andromeda and noticed that the core seemed a bit brighter, almost like a star in the middle. I spotted two of the 3 GC's in Cass. One I hadn't recognized before so check that one off the list (left my journal in the garage so don't know which ones).

 

I also looked at mars at 240x and could see that it was around 4/5 phase... the upper right arc was shadowed a bit. Or at least that's what it looked like was happening. I could be wrong! I also could see a faint dark smudge around the equator stretching from the center to bottom left, and I presume wrapping around the backside. This looked like a completely different planet from what I saw the night before. I had no problem focusing or seeing it.

 

After I came in, I saw that my pentax xw 7mm had been delivered earlier in the day but I hadn't realized it. Oh well, hopefully it'll be nice again tomorrow!

Sounds like you had very good seeing and the collimation was good.  You did see a transit of Callisto! Very nice. Sounds like your views of Saturn and mars were good as well.   I am jealous of your seeing... Right now the jet stream is raging above us in the northern latitudes and seeing is terrible (and likely there won't be many good nights for months).   

 

I am concerned that the laser isn't accurate enough. It's a 1.25" and it's not snug in the 2" adapter. Depending on if/how I tighten the set screws, the return beam will bounce around out of the hole. I can also see with the star test, that it's not quite perfect.

 

I think having a handle or something on the ota would be easier than reaching up and grabbing the edge of the tube to move it. At higher alt's, it's too big to push the tube az with my right hand because I can't tell if I'm also changing the alt.

 

For now I think I'm getting by with the red dot. It may not be comfortable at high alt's, but it is accurate. I'll definitely consider adding a scope/green laser combo in the future. My next purchase will probably be a wide angle to replace the 28mm and a better barlow.

The Cheap lasers are just not made well and don't register consistently and the beam is often not aligned.  Put you laser in and rotate it with the set screw lightly tightened letting go after you rotate it 22.5 degrees and repeat for a full circle, if the beam traces a circle on the mirror, your laser is out of alignment (I bought two of these cheap lasers and they were both considerably out of alignment.  This will be an issue for both secondary and primary collimation.  If you are going to use one of the cheap lasers for primary collimation, I also recommend using the Barlowed laser technique for collimation of the primary.  

 

I really recommend the Farpoint laser which is relatively inexpensive (compared to the Glatter) and highly accurate (by itself can only be used for adjusting the secondary, if you want to spend more you can get a Tublug (barlowed laser tool) to use the laser to adjust the primary as well but the Astrosystems Combo tool is perfect for this as well). 

 

It also sounds like your 2" adapter is not a good one.  I prefer the Glatter Parallizer.  It is an excellent tool that registers eyepieces and tools into the focuser very very well.  If I take the laser out and put it back in it goes to exactly the same spot on the primary with the Parallizer.  

 

FYI - The APM 30mm UFF 2" barrel eyepiece is ideal for wide field, very well corrected and reasonably priced. Unlike many other wide field 30mm+ eyepieces it is also light and does not through off the telescope balance.  I highly recommend this eyepiece, it has been a bit of a game changer.  



#17 Sheol

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 07:21 PM

       Glad to hear you had a better night the 2nd time around. waytogo.gif Nice outing on solar system viewing. BTW, I've had better luck with the North American Nebula with Binoculars & in my finder. The surface brightness is just so low & spread out that in the main scope, you just do not see anything at all there..

 

      Clear skies,

          Matt.



#18 phsampaio

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 07:53 PM

As others have said it, collimation is key in having good observing sessions. I have a XT12 myself, and before I first used it, I did a quick primary collimation but didn't pay attention to the secondary. Needless to say, the images were awful, as the secondary was badly miscollimated. I then learned to collimate the secondary and now the views are very good.

 

The primary mirror is easy enough to collimate with a simple cheshire/combo tool, but the secondary can be a pain in the bottom. I suggest you invest in a good combo tool, such as astrosystems or catseyes telecat. 2 inch, if your budget allows. Some people prefer to collimate the secondary with a laser tool, but that presents some issues that need to be adressed. The primary should not be collimated with a sole laser; instead, use a barlowed laser or a cheshire tool. There are tons of tutorials and threads on collimation in the reflector that are really helpful in this respect.


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#19 Sheol

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 07:29 PM

             Good to know, since I will have a XX12i in a couple of days. Probably going to miss my 8 inch in its ability to hold its collimation for months even with minor bumps!

             

 

         Clear Skies,

            Matt.



#20 bazookaman

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 12:32 AM

I checked the col today with the eye cap and both the secondary and primary were off a bit. I fixed them and did not cross check it with the laser after I was done. I was too worn out from building my Denver chair. I just need to make a locking arm tomorrow and I'll be done with that little project. It looks pretty good, but we'll see if it actually works!

 

I also took the scope out to look at the moon when it was still light (4pm) with the new 7mm xw. I was surprised that I found the sweet spot for the ep to be so small. Too close or too far away, and it started to black out or the field stop would blur out, etc. I'll reserve judgement until I actually get it out at night. In fact, I think the clouds have parted...



#21 bazookaman

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 11:05 AM

I think the wierdness I experienced was my viewing angle. I didn't have the same problems last night. The lens is nice. Still need to get some time in on it. The 11mm ES 82 comes in today, and the 30mm sometime this week. It's going to be clear tonight so I'm going to try to get to my Bortle 5 site.


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#22 SteveG

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 01:07 PM

I checked the col today with the eye cap and both the secondary and primary were off a bit. I fixed them and did not cross check it with the laser after I was done. I was too worn out from building my Denver chair. I just need to make a locking arm tomorrow and I'll be done with that little project. It looks pretty good, but we'll see if it actually works!

 

I also took the scope out to look at the moon when it was still light (4pm) with the new 7mm xw. I was surprised that I found the sweet spot for the ep to be so small. Too close or too far away, and it started to black out or the field stop would blur out, etc. I'll reserve judgement until I actually get it out at night. In fact, I think the clouds have parted...

Just an FYI, the "eye cap" is known as a collimating cap. It is a type of Cheshire eyepiece, and it's purpose is for only adjusting your primary mirror, not your secondary. For the secondary you need either a site tube or a laser.


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#23 bazookaman

bazookaman

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 02:51 PM

Just an FYI, the "eye cap" is known as a collimating cap. It is a type of Cheshire eyepiece, and it's purpose is for only adjusting your primary mirror, not your secondary. For the secondary you need either a site tube or a laser.

Cool, thanks, still learning all this terminology!




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