This weekend, I happened upon a wonderful find of a Cave Astrola 6" f/8 Student Deluxe. I've long wanted one of these scopes and jumped on the opportunity when it showed up in the local classifieds. There is a sentimental and nostalgic value in the scope for me, as I got back into astronomy as an adult after my son was born and we moved to Long Beach; the hobby quickly became quite an obsession and a beloved part of our family life. With Cave's iconic history in this city, it was nice to welcome back a hometown hero.
This was the morning of bringing it home-- the tube and mount was a bit dusty, with some scratches and marks, but no cracks in the fiberglass gelcoat:
Some scuffs on the legs, but the casters rolled and spun well, with just some surface rust and pitting on the brackets. The rolling pedestal with the mount removed is a lot lighter than I was expecting. The mount and pedestal is very workman-like; the paint is brushed on and the grinding/shaping of the legs is not identical on each leg, but completely functional.
Quite a bit of dust to clean up and I will reserve plugging in the drive until after giving it a thorough once over. All the white paint for the setting circles is in good condition and all parts rotate smoothly.
This is likely thanks to some beetle larvae husks providing additional "Betelgeuse" lubrication. :haha: I don't know why there are so many carpet beetle larva husks on both bearings. There were also many hidden under the tripod leg. Kind of weird, but OK!
Here's the money shot-- the scope has a helical focuser installed which is fairly nice, and the Unitron 8x30 finder is quite scratched up and will need a repaint.
The focuser is kind of rough to use, but I should be able to smooth it out
The back of the mirror indicates that this may have its original Pancro coatings. The lack of oxidization on the fasteners on the mirror cell tell me that this scope hasn't seen too much time outside. There's a patina of oxidization on the aluminum end tube rings, but not bad. I kind of like the patina.
The mirror is only lightly very lightly dusty. The coatings look to be excellent and robust. Only maybe 3 or 4 tiny pinholes, with no thin spots anywhere across the surface, when I put it up to the light.
The pyrex mirror is pretty thin and should acclimate very quickly, but oddly enough no etchings or markings to be seen anywhere. I gave the mirror its likely first wash of its life with distilled water. The scope didn't look like it had ever been disassembled as the secondary holder and screws all had perfect black paint, where a screwdriver had never even come close to it.