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vintage refractor starter advice

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23 replies to this topic

#1 semlin

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Posted 21 January 2021 - 11:08 PM

hi, looking for advice on how to use my vintage refractiors.  i would like suggestions on good relevant books for beginners using refractors and basic equipment i should accumulate.  

 

i have an eikow/polarascope 60x910 and a tasco 10te-5 76.2x1200.  both are nice quality 1960s era refractors on eq mounts. 

 

both came without eyepieces or barlows, so i have picked up a 1.25" vixen adaptor, a celestron 9115 diagonal, a meade 26mm super plossl, and i have orion sirius plossl 6.3 and 10mm on the way.   

 

normally i collect binoculars and spotting scopes and so this is new to me but i am game to learn and, for now, quite interested in planet and moon gazing.

 

 

 

 


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#2 vtornado

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Posted 21 January 2021 - 11:24 PM

I think you are doing fine.

 

I would download sky safari to a tablet or phone.   It will help you find things and has a wealth of information on interesting celestial objects.

 

Red beam flash light is helpful setting up and finding lost stuff in the grass.


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#3 semlin

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Posted 21 January 2021 - 11:36 PM

well i have sky safari too.  very helpful.

 

what is the red beam flashlight for?  like a laser pointer?


Edited by semlin, 21 January 2021 - 11:37 PM.


#4 vtornado

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Posted 21 January 2021 - 11:43 PM

No it is a simple flash light with a red filter on  it.

The idea is you can use it without ruining your night vision.

https://www.astronom...t/?q=flashlight

 

It helps with setting up your scope in the dark, because if you need a light for setup you will not spoil your vision.

Also if you drop something in the grass like an eyepiece or set screw this will help you find it.

If you go with paper charts, you can use this too.


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#5 therealdmt

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Posted 22 January 2021 - 03:23 AM

You’ll have to wait a few months for Jupiter and Saturn to come back into position, plus Venus will become an "evening star" in a few months too. 
 

You can see the Moon for big stretches of every month though, of course. Also, Mars and Uranus are around, though don’t expect to see any detail on them. In fact, the Moon, Mars and Uranus are getting together tonight!:

https://www.space.co...on-january-2021

 

So, like I said, hang in there until the planets come around again, and in the meantime, you can view the Moon and practice finding things in the sky, pointing and controlling your scope.

 

Assuming you’re in the northern hemisphere, try taking a look at the Orion Nebula (the middle "star" in the sword of Orion), for starters. The double star Almach in Andromeda (near Perseus) is another good one to check out. https://cosmicpursui...le-star-almaak/

 

Finally, you might be able to detect some open clusters, for example M35 in Gemini and nearby M37, M36 and M38 in Auriga (a constellation to the side of Gemini and above both Orion and Taurus). https://freestarcharts.com/messier-37


Edited by therealdmt, 22 January 2021 - 03:39 AM.

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#6 semlin

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Posted 02 February 2021 - 02:41 PM

hi folks, well i wanted to revisit this topic.  i have now had a little time to play with these scopes and also some cloudy nights to do some reading.  i would like to test some tentative conclusions with you guys

 

1.  the benefits of getting the "best" modern eyepieces and accessories are reduced with these slow f15 refractors as compared to fast f5 type scopes.  i think i am better off chasing mid to inexpensive level but well regarded eyepieces rather than chasing televues and up.

 

2.  the older .965 eyepieces that came with the tasco 10te work better than i expected compared to a newer meaded super plossl 26mm 1.25".  i think i can do just about as well with nicer .965  eyepieces as with a a modern 1.25 collection.

 

3.  due to the relatively low maximum useful magnification of these scopes (2.4 x objective?) i can use a good modern barlow or two and some good lower magnification eyepieces rather than chase eyepieces that approach the maximum magnification potential of the scopes by themselves.

 

4.  i should get a good shorty barlow.  i do not need the improved performance of a full size and it will be difficult for me to use with a diagonal.  i do not need a powermate, but a good 3 or 4 element barlow is advisable.

 

i'd be very interested in views or critiques of this as i would like to add some eyepieces and a barlow as soon as i can.


Edited by semlin, 02 February 2021 - 02:43 PM.

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#7 DouglasPaul

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Posted 02 February 2021 - 03:10 PM

hi folks, well i wanted to revisit this topic.  i have now had a little time to play with these scopes and also some cloudy nights to do some reading.  i would like to test some tentative conclusions with you guys

<...snip...>

I'm in agreement with all of it. If your eyepieces perform well I can see no reason to go spending a lot more money to replace them other than bragging rights (ie look what I have...)


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#8 semlin

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Posted 02 February 2021 - 03:16 PM

I'm in agreement with all of it. If your eyepieces perform well I can see no reason to go spending a lot more money to replace them other than bragging rights (ie look what I have...)

thanks!  fyi, i have a couple of those 821 swift spotting scopes but not in swift livery.  they were my telescope until recently and i love them.



#9 DouglasPaul

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Posted 02 February 2021 - 03:32 PM

thanks!  fyi, i have a couple of those 821 swift spotting scopes but not in swift livery.  they were my telescope until recently and i love them.

I've seen more than a couple different brands that look identical, I'm not sure if they all used the same optics. It works pretty darn good for something that small, I have used it a few times for night viewing.


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#10 semlin

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Posted 02 February 2021 - 03:56 PM

I've seen more than a couple different brands that look identical, I'm not sure if they all used the same optics. It works pretty darn good for something that small, I have used it a few times for night viewing.

 

the eyepieces must come from the same place surely.  mine are identical physically (other than colour) and optically as far as i can tell, but have two different (unidentifiable) maker's marks on the tripod mount.  my best educated guess is omori made the scope parts and optics, and the tripod marks are for those who assembled them like "j-e" marks on telescopes. 

 

they are also surprisingly sophisticated inside.   nothing like my spacemaster 1 which is just a big monocular with a moveable prism.


Edited by semlin, 02 February 2021 - 03:57 PM.


#11 vtornado

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Posted 03 February 2021 - 12:50 PM

I think you are still on the right track.

 

If your .965 eyepieces are performing for you, there is not reason to rush out and get new ones.

I would probably replace them on an as needed bases.

 

People love to hate Plossl eyepieces on this site.  If you can stand the short eye relief, you can buy good eyepieces

for $20 - $30.  I have some televue plossl's and I find them just a hair sharper than a good Chinese one.

The short focal length TV's can be had for around $50.00 each.

 

Other cheap good performers are the expanse clones.  Sometimes these are called gold band or red band

eyepieces.  They have 66 degree view.   The shorter ones can have trouble with blackouts if you can't

hold your head steady.

 

The shorty three element barlows are good.   I don't buy the apochromatic nonsense about the three elements, 

but they do seem to be manufactured with to a higher standard than the two element ones.

 

Another thing to consider about 2x  barlows is that if you get one with a removable lens set, that can be screwed directly

onto your eyepiece for about 1.5 x increase.

 

Make sure that any barlow you purchase has a "nose" short enough so it will not strike the mirror in your diagonal.


Edited by vtornado, 03 February 2021 - 12:52 PM.


#12 semlin

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Posted 03 February 2021 - 09:05 PM

ok i ordered a baader 2.25x  q barlow and a vintage used vixen 2x .965.

 

i am also accumulatung a small mixed bag of imexpensive used eyepieces in bith sizes. the only new one is an antares .965 10mm plossl i got on closeout with the baader.   the most expensive will be a vixen .965 9mm ortho.  

 

we will see how these work out.  


Edited by semlin, 03 February 2021 - 09:06 PM.

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#13 semlin

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Posted 05 February 2021 - 11:53 AM

well my order for the baader q got cancelled by the vendor who seems to be shutting down operations.  too bad because it was on sale. 

 

my options here in canada  seem to be to spend a little more on a baader q (or similar) elsewhere or i can get a used meade telextender 3x for about the same price which seems like it would potentially be overkill on magnification.  i am thinking to stick with the baader unless anyone thinks there is a better option.



#14 norvegicus

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Posted 05 February 2021 - 07:25 PM

Order a US one and ship it to me? ;)



#15 Paul Sweeney

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Posted 09 February 2021 - 02:33 PM

I suggest you take these questions over to the Classic Scope thread. There you will find the experts on tuning these old scopes.

Eyepieces: These old scopes had high quality eyepieces with glass lenses. The new .96 eyepieces tend to use plastic lenses. If you want to use 1.25 eyepieces, you can buy an adapter for $5 on ebay. But you might have an issue with in-focus. It doesn't work in my Tasco, but did work in my Apollo. If it works, you can get cheap aspheric wide field eyepieces for about $10 apiece. The 4mm has a bad reputation, but I have the 23 and 10mm and they work great in long refractors.

So pop over to the Classics forum and you will get a ton of help from the people there.

#16 semlin

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Posted 12 February 2021 - 04:46 PM

ok well after futzing about with the original taso/rao .965 eyepieces and barlow and my lone 1.25" 26mm meade superplossl without a lot of gazing oppurtunities in winter, i have decided things like parafocal eyepieces are important when trying to track mars in -15c weather as a very inexperienced eq mount scope operator.  

 

so i impulsively decided i need to see how the other half lives.  i ordered a q turret set of baader classic orthos and a q-barlow.  i also dug deep and bought a 12mm bst starguider.  the q turret itself was not a priority, but it was the best deal i could see to have a number of consistent eyepieces that would allow me to step up and down quickly while learning what lens i should be using.



#17 CarolinaBanker

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Posted 13 February 2021 - 07:40 PM

For books I recommend Turn Left at Orion and Touring the Universe through Binoculars: A Complete Astronomer's Guidebook. Both are geared towards small telescope and binocular users, so they do a pretty good job outlining what is noteworthy. They are stylistically different, I think Turn Left is a bit more intuitive and I really enjoy its illustrations as they replicate what you'll see from a finder scope, small refractor and a 6 or 8" dob.

 

I'd consider adding a moon filter. Both OPT https://optcorp.com/...0-965-eyepieces and Surplus Shed have .965mm EPs.



#18 MaknMe

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Posted 13 February 2021 - 08:19 PM

If you want to pick up eyepieces for an older model, you might want to try eBay. I have seen some .965 eyepieces there that were pretty inexpensive.

#19 RalphMeisterTigerMan

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Posted 13 February 2021 - 09:10 PM

I did not know that vintage telescopes had starters. When you turn the ignition key, do you hear a "click"? It also just be the starter solenoid. Did you check if the battery was still good? Many people do not realize that car batteries only last a certain length of time...

 

Oh....you meant starting out in the "vinatage telescope" market. While I also enjoy a beautiful brass telescope I feel I should warn you that authentic vintage telescopes can come with a big price tag, especially when in good condition. Your best bet is to keep checking for any estate sales or, and I hesitate to say this, Craigslist. Just watch out for scams.

 

Good luck and don't forget to get a mechanic to check your starter LOL!

RalphMeisterTigerMan



#20 sevenofnine

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Posted 13 February 2021 - 09:24 PM

I highly recommend getting an adjustable astronomy chair. A big part of learning how to see night sky objects is to be comfortable at the eyepiece. Brands include Starbound, Vestil and Tele Vue. There are also plans available to make your own if you are a wood worker. Good luck with your new scopes! waytogo.gif



#21 vtornado

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Posted 13 February 2021 - 10:18 PM

Be careful of .965 eyepieces.   There are fine ones and really bad ones.   Do your research before you buy.

I have had two nice vintage scopes, and all of the  eyepieces from these were rubish.  

I am not that picky either I am perfectly satisfied with Chinese plossls.



#22 davidmcgo

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Posted 14 February 2021 - 01:13 PM

If you can find a copy of “The Summer Stargazer” by Robert Claiborne, it is a really excellent down to Earth guide for starting out  with the old school vintage equipment with practical advice on using it and what to look at.

 

https://www.amazon.c...s/dp/0698106555

 

Dave



#23 semlin

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Posted 17 February 2021 - 03:38 PM

Be careful of .965 eyepieces.   There are fine ones and really bad ones.   Do your research before you buy.

I have had two nice vintage scopes, and all of the  eyepieces from these were rubish.  

I am not that picky either I am perfectly satisfied with Chinese plossls.

 

it seems to be hit and miss so far.  i have two vintage sets of rao tasco .965" eyepieces in 6mm, 12.5mm and 20mm.  i bought used two orion sirius 10mm and 6mm plossls and a 26mm meade super plossl made in japan.

 

in daytime and in limited non-celestial body nighttime use so far (just testing on lit street lights and stuff until i get a moon to work with), the 12.5mm rao eyepieces are the sharpest and are as bright as the super plossl.  the 20mm raos are not quite as sharp but respectable.  the rao 6mms are not bright or sharp but neither are the orions.  the meade is easiest overall to use and close to the 12.5mm in image quality.

 

so i need to wait for the baaders i ordered, and for the moon and bigger planets than mars right now to learn to use an eq mount properly.



#24 semlin

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Posted 17 February 2021 - 03:38 PM

If you can find a copy of “The Summer Stargazer” by Robert Claiborne, it is a really excellent down to Earth guide for starting out  with the old school vintage equipment with practical advice on using it and what to look at.

 

https://www.amazon.c...s/dp/0698106555

 

Dave

thank you for the tip.  that is perfect.




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