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What is the most over rated scope from the 60's and 70's era.

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#51 Steve Allison

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 10:50 PM

I am sure there are some super sharp orange tubes just gotta win the lotto so if ya buy enough of them you will strike gold one year.  I still want a shot at a super sharp fork mounted C14.

I am lucky to have a very sharp and well corrected orange tube Celestron C8. I purchased it from a pawn shop for $250 and it came with the original tripod and sand cast wedge, case and a full set of Celestron eyepieces and filters.

 

The mirror and corrector plate are spotted, most likely with some mold, and the focuser has some dead spots.

 

But the images it displays are wonderful, with excellent star images (for a SCT) and sharp planetary detail. Jupiter last year was glorious, and being used to smaller apertures, I was taken aback by the intensity of the orange color in the Great Red Spot.

 

My previously owned C8 with the black tube was not nearly so good, and was perhaps more representative of the average, run of the mill SCTs coming from Celestron and Meade at the time.

 

SCTs were possibly over rated as to their overall image quality, but I still marvel that they perform as well as they do for their compact size. Have you ever looked at an equatorially mounted 8 inch, F15 refractor? And SCTs are color-free!


Edited by Steve Allison, 28 April 2021 - 10:55 PM.

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#52 Volvonium

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 11:46 PM

Love my Cave Student 6" f8 OTA, but it sure is a fight to have a good observing experience with the mount.  Would have to agree there.   



#53 Alex65

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Posted 29 April 2021 - 02:26 AM

Astroscan would be one.  Basically useless for higher power or planets, rich field is fine (except it's a Newtonian with coma) but the scope is heavy for what it is, owing to its design.  So on the one hand the mount works well (easy pointing) but you need a decently hefty tripod or surface to put the telescope on to use it.

Oh here we go! I wondered how long it would be until somebody mentioned the AstroScan!

 

Granted, it isn't the best 4" reflector ever made but I have had over forty years use out of mine. I got it brand new in 1978 and over the past forty years I've spent countless hours observing with it. Off course it will never compare to a larger aperture telescope, but it is a great little 'scope when used within its capacity.

 

Never thought of it being heavy. Back in my twenties I'd often put it in a backpack and haul it to the astronomy club I belonged to at the time on my motorcycle. It is a very portable telescope. I also had a heavy army altazimuth tripod at the time and will probably try and find one again at some point. I still have the Edmund tripod bracket.

 

It wasn't designed for viewing DSOs or the planets but I have observed my fair share of DSOs with it, many double stars, quite a few comets since IRAS in '83. As for planets, well I have viewed all of them except for Pluto (I'm old fashioned, sue me!) and have seen the belts on Jupiter and its Giant Red Spot, the ice caps on Mars and the Cassini gap in Saturn's rings plus various moons orbiting the two big gas planets.  I've spent probably thousands of hours observing the moon since 1979.

 

The optics on my AstroScan are very clear and the mirror is still properly collimated after all this time.

 

I never had the space nor money to buy a 'better' telescope nor, to be honest, do I really need a higher aperture for the simple star gazing that I undertake. Astronomy, for me, is a relaxing form of entertainment and to paraphrase W.F. Dennings, I'm the kind of guy that likes to quietly observe the evening star or new moon from his cottage window with his little telescope.

 

I don't seriously think I would have put up and used mine for that length of time without considering getting a 'better' telescope if I had thought that the AstroScan was as worthless as you think it is. Used within its capabilities, the older USA made AstroScans are a design classic that keeps on giving.


Edited by Alex65, 29 April 2021 - 02:47 AM.

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#54 CHASLX200

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Posted 29 April 2021 - 05:37 AM

Astroscan would be one.  Basically useless for higher power or planets, rich field is fine (except it's a Newtonian with coma) but the scope is heavy for what it is, owing to its design.  So on the one hand the mount works well (easy pointing) but you need a decently hefty tripod or surface to put the telescope on to use it.

I had one in 1980 and it was bad. Like all fast Newts i had back then they were a sea of coma and mushy views.
 



#55 starman876

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Posted 29 April 2021 - 06:53 AM

The Astroscan is fine for what it really is.  A nice scope you can hold in your lap.


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#56 PawPaw

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Posted 29 April 2021 - 06:59 AM

I have been following this thread every morning to see the new/old reviews and opinions.  I normally don't comment on threads such as these however I decided to put in my 2 cents on the Astroscan. 

 

The idea behind the Astroscan was simple: create a relatively low-power telescope, with excellent optics and a solid
mounting, that would:
1. Provide bright, wide-field views of the heavens;
2. Be relatively inexpensive;
3. Have no need of collimation in normal use; and
4. Be so easy to use so that it could be enjoyed by everyone, from small children to their elderly grandparents.

 

So functionally aesthetic was the Astroscan's design that it won an Industrial Design Award in the year of its release, 1976.
The late optical wizard Stanley Brower, founder of Laboratory Optical Company in Green Brook, New Jersey, was
responsible for making the prototype optics for the Astroscan (Dr. David Rank's association with Edmund had not yet begun
in earnest at this point).

 

As an indication of its success and acceptance by amateur astronomers and the telescope-buying public in general, multiple
tens of thousands of Astroscans have been sold worldwide to date. Sequential serial numbers had reached 40,000 by the
early 1990's; thus one may reasonably extrapolate that possibly as many as 100,000 instruments have been sold by the time
of this writing.

 

In my opinion it is easy to make the argument just by numbers sold and the longevity of its design the Astroscan likely introduced more of the population to astronomy then any other mass produced telescope and it achieved the 4 points of concept design.  

 

The bulk of this information is documented in "Telescopic Apparatus of the Edmund Scientific Company"  Written by Amicus Sidera (In Memorium).

 

 

Cheers

 

Don


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#57 PiSigma

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Posted 29 April 2021 - 05:14 PM

Yeah, Cave mounts are absolute crap. That is why I could take this with an absolutely stock 1.5" shaft mount and low end 12 year old webcam:

 

 

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#58 starman876

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Posted 29 April 2021 - 05:35 PM

Yeah, Cave mounts are absolute crap. That is why I could take this with an absolutely stock 1.5" shaft mount and low end 12 year old webcam:

The 8" Cave I had seems solid enough for viewing.  Most of these old mounts did fine. Of course I was not trying to get super high magnification like 1000X.   I was just pushing 300-400X which seemed high enough.  


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#59 RichA

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Posted 30 April 2021 - 12:42 AM

Oh here we go! I wondered how long it would be until somebody mentioned the AstroScan!

 

Granted, it isn't the best 4" reflector ever made but I have had over forty years use out of mine. I got it brand new in 1978 and over the past forty years I've spent countless hours observing with it. Off course it will never compare to a larger aperture telescope, but it is a great little 'scope when used within its capacity.

 

Never thought of it being heavy. Back in my twenties I'd often put it in a backpack and haul it to the astronomy club I belonged to at the time on my motorcycle. It is a very portable telescope. I also had a heavy army altazimuth tripod at the time and will probably try and find one again at some point. I still have the Edmund tripod bracket.

 

It wasn't designed for viewing DSOs or the planets but I have observed my fair share of DSOs with it, many double stars, quite a few comets since IRAS in '83. As for planets, well I have viewed all of them except for Pluto (I'm old fashioned, sue me!) and have seen the belts on Jupiter and its Giant Red Spot, the ice caps on Mars and the Cassini gap in Saturn's rings plus various moons orbiting the two big gas planets.  I've spent probably thousands of hours observing the moon since 1979.

 

The optics on my AstroScan are very clear and the mirror is still properly collimated after all this time.

 

I never had the space nor money to buy a 'better' telescope nor, to be honest, do I really need a higher aperture for the simple star gazing that I undertake. Astronomy, for me, is a relaxing form of entertainment and to paraphrase W.F. Dennings, I'm the kind of guy that likes to quietly observe the evening star or new moon from his cottage window with his little telescope.

 

I don't seriously think I would have put up and used mine for that length of time without considering getting a 'better' telescope if I had thought that the AstroScan was as worthless as you think it is. Used within its capabilities, the older USA made AstroScans are a design classic that keeps on giving.

One more bad thing about it.  The rubberized focuser doesn't work well in very cold temps, you focus it and it kind of rolls back.



#60 RichA

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Posted 30 April 2021 - 12:48 AM

I am sure there are some super sharp orange tubes just gotta win the lotto so if ya buy enough of them you will strike gold one year.  I still want a shot at a super sharp fork mounted C14.

I've seen a custom-figured one (by Celestron).  View of Mars was astonishingly great. 
 



#61 RichA

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Posted 30 April 2021 - 12:49 AM

The SCT by far in my book.

I don't know of any scope more excoriated than it.  I'd hardly call them overrated.


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#62 RichA

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Posted 30 April 2021 - 12:53 AM

The 8" Cave I had seems solid enough for viewing.  Most of these old mounts did fine. Of course I was not trying to get super high magnification like 1000X.   I was just pushing 300-400X which seemed high enough.  

A kind of benchmark for a mount might be to put the scope at 100x.  Rap the scope tube.   If it keeps vibrating past 2-3 seconds, it's not very good, or if it moves in a slight breeze.  Cave mounts are pretty heavy though, I doubt they move much in the wind, even with a scope with a big wind profile like a long Newtonian.



#63 CHASLX200

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Posted 30 April 2021 - 05:49 AM

A kind of benchmark for a mount might be to put the scope at 100x.  Rap the scope tube.   If it keeps vibrating past 2-3 seconds, it's not very good, or if it moves in a slight breeze.  Cave mounts are pretty heavy though, I doubt they move much in the wind, even with a scope with a big wind profile like a long Newtonian.

I had Starmans 8" Cave and found the mount fine for the 8" OTA. The optics in that scope were super good and 550x could be used no problem.  Just goes to show the old 8" F/8 is a killer all the way around. No coma to speak of, not too big to move around, well maybe the mount is, easy to collimate and nice views of all objects.

 

If i had to pick a best all arounder scope then the 8" F/8 is my top pick.



#64 starman876

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Posted 30 April 2021 - 06:31 AM

I had Starmans 8" Cave and found the mount fine for the 8" OTA. The optics in that scope were super good and 550x could be used no problem.  Just goes to show the old 8" F/8 is a killer all the way around. No coma to speak of, not too big to move around, well maybe the mount is, easy to collimate and nice views of all objects.

 

If i had to pick a best all arounder scope then the 8" F/8 is my top pick.

The mount on that scope was not that bad to move around.  It was getting it in and out through the doorway that made it a pain to move.    



#65 steve t

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Posted 30 April 2021 - 07:05 AM

Some people like beautiful things and have worked hard to be able to afford them. It is not a moral failing, nor does it have to be justified to anyone else. And it is usually not, as some perhaps envious people often allege, just to impress the neighbors.

 

Owning a possession such as a Questar to me represents the fulfillment of an inner need for beauty and perhaps permanence in one's life. Not everyone seems to have this need, valuing instead mere functionality. Both life views are valid and I don't understand the need to criticize one or the other.

 

I don't currently own a Questar but I am certain there is one in my future. Owning something as fine as the hand of man can make it can provide for endless fascination and personal satisfaction- at least to those of us who appreciate such things.

 

And as for old and/or overweight people owning a fine bicycle and enjoying dressing for the part, why should anyone care? It's their money and besides, can't older people have any fun?

Well said.

I don't own a Questar (came close once) or a bike, but feel it's not my position to comment negatively on those that doflowerred.gif


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#66 Bomber Bob

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Posted 30 April 2021 - 09:15 AM

Allow a short comment from the other side of the world. I agree that the Questar phenomenon is more social than technological - and specifically American, related to specific American aesthetic preferences. And as we all know, there is no account for taste...

 

The standard of living in Poland is of course much lower than in America, and there are also far fewer people who can afford to buy high-end equipment. But there are those - they maintain contacts with people selling such equipment around the world, follow offers, import whatever they can - mainly from the USA. It is characteristic that in Poland the Questar brand is practically not mentioned in discussions. If you check how often it was mentioned on the main Polish discussion forums, it turns out that such cases can be counted on the fingers of one hand (ok. maybe two hands...).

 

This, of course, does not mean that the advantages of Questar are mainly of an aesthetic nature, but it shows that at least in this part of Europe this is how these products are perceived.

Thank You for the perspective!  How do you feel about Swiss watches vs. Japanese?  Are the Swiss overrated?  I got my first Seiko Quartz in 1981 — just as accurate as an Elgin, but much cheaper.  I don’t recall thinking the Swiss overrated back then.

 

Were Questars overrated in the 60s & 70s?  I don’t think so.  Questar promised an observatory in a shoebox.  That’s what they delivered.  Swiss watch scope at a Swiss watch price.  And at a time when Maks were rare, and portable scopes usually meant flimsy.  Gotta admire the design, if not the craftsmanship.  
 

I feel similarly about the Swift & Takahashi gear of 60 years ago.  IMO, definitely not overrated.  Both companies (and their joint ventures — “Takahashi by Swift”) strove for high quality.  And, they were innovative — sometimes with mixed results.  IIRC, Swift refractors were at least twice the price of comparable Tascos back then.  Were they worth it?  Yep.


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#67 Terra Nova

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Posted 30 April 2021 - 09:35 AM

Some people like beautiful things and have worked hard to be able to afford them. It is not a moral failing, nor does it have to be justified to anyone else. And it is usually not, as some perhaps envious people often allege, just to impress the neighbors.

 

Owning a possession such as a Questar to me represents the fulfillment of an inner need for beauty and perhaps permanence in one's life. Not everyone seems to have this need, valuing instead mere functionality. Both life views are valid and I don't understand the need to criticize one or the other.

 

I don't currently own a Questar but I am certain there is one in my future. Owning something as fine as the hand of man can make it can provide for endless fascination and personal satisfaction- at least to those of us who appreciate such things.

 

And as for old and/or overweight people owning a fine bicycle and enjoying dressing for the part, why should anyone care? It's their money and besides, can't older people have any fun?

This is wonderful and exemplifies why many Questar owners, myself included, intrinsically esteem their Qs. There is a current thread over in the Questar forum and I’m going to quote you in a post!


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#68 1939Dodge

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Posted 30 April 2021 - 09:49 AM

Looks like the popcorn is ready!


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#69 LukaszLu

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Posted 30 April 2021 - 10:07 AM

How do you feel about Swiss watches vs. Japanese?  Are the Swiss overrated?  I got my first Seiko Quartz in 1981 — just as accurate as an Elgin, but much cheaper.  I don’t recall thinking the Swiss overrated back then.

You have set a very good example. My point is that the popularity of this product seems to stem to some extent from prestige and aesthetic considerations - just like Swiss watches. I don't want to judge how much because I have never had a chance to touch it. I have not, because there's probably not even one such telescope in Poland, although there would be many enthusiasts of the idea of a "observatory in a shoebox"...



#70 SandyHouTex

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Posted 30 April 2021 - 10:12 AM

If you mean by niche companies that put out nothing but top of the line gear I don't think there was anybody in the niche before Roland. Lots of people claimed it but none in my opinion were there. There were times when those companies had the right employees and turned out very good gear, but none were consistent over the lifetimes of their companies.

Takahashi?



#71 Terra Nova

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Posted 30 April 2021 - 10:18 AM

I LOVE this!

 

”Astronomy, for me, is a relaxing form of entertainment and to paraphrase W.F. Dennings, I'm the kind of guy that likes to quietly observe the evening star or new moon from his cottage window with his little telescope.”- Alex65, post #53 (above).

 

I feel exactly the same way! Astronomy, Star-gazing, has been my hobby since 1964 and through the first thirty years of that period, I happily enjoyed it with no more than a pair of 8x40 binoculars, a very good 60mm F12 refractor and a humble ATM Newtonian reflector. Note the use of my two words, hobby and enjoy! It always makes me snicker when amateurs refer to their astronomizing as work. It also comes off as a bit pompous to me as well. At least for me, when it becomes work, astronomy will cease to be a hobby.

 

I also find it rather odd when those in our community say that you can’t observe DSOs with a small telescope. Let’s please remember that Charles Messier complied his list with nothing larger than a 4” refractor.

 

Lastly, let me say that I have very much enjoyed reading the many positive comments made in this thread. I have a real problem in general with threads like this, as they presume inadequacy in instruments (and sometimes, in the owners of those instruments simply through association) and thus invite negative commentary on this telescope or that; it presents a forum for, as George Costanza’s father Frank would say: the ‘airing of grievances’. I would like to applaud all of you that rose above the bait to instead, speak positively about their telescopes.

 

Galileo changed the world with two small, simple lenses in a wooden tube!


Edited by Terra Nova, 30 April 2021 - 04:00 PM.

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#72 Jeff B

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Posted 30 April 2021 - 10:56 AM

Dynamax anything.  Runner up is the Edmund Astro-scam, I mean Astro-can,  I mean Astro-trash...ok, I'll get it right...Astroscan.


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#73 GR1973

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Posted 30 April 2021 - 11:20 AM

I LOVE this!

 

”Astronomy, for me, is a relaxing form of entertainment and to paraphrase W.F. Dennings, I'm the kind of guy that likes to quietly observe the evening star or new moon from his cottage window with his little telescope.”- Alex65, post #53 (above).

 

I feel exactly the same way! Astronomy, Star-gazing, has been my hobby since 1964 and through the first thirty years of that period, I happily enjoyed it with no more than a pair of 8x40 binoculars, a very good 60mm F12 refractor and a humble ATM Newtonian reflector. Note the use of my two words, hobby and enjoy! It always makes me snicker when amateurs refer to their astronomizing as work. It also comes off as a bit pompous to me as well. At least for me, when it becomes work, astronomy will cease to be a hobby.

 

I also find it rather odd when those in our community say that you can’t observe DSOs with a small telescope. Let’s please remember that Charles Messier complied list with nothing larger than a 4” refractor.

 

Lastly, let me say that I have very much enjoyed reading the many positive comments made in this thread. I have a real problem in general with threads like this, as they presume inadequacy in instruments (and sometimes, in the owners of those instruments simply through association) and invite negative commentary on this telescope or that; it presents a forum for, as George Costanza would say: the ‘airing of grievances’. I would like to applaud all of you that rose above the bait to instead, speak positively about their telescopes.

 

Galileo changed the world with two small, simple lenses in a wooden tube!

Totally agree. 

 

Within the last year, I observed with my Q many deep sky objects that I have never seen before for 20 years. I enjoyed the ease of observing with Q. My observing skills improved dramatically because of frequent observing.

 

In the last three months and from a suburb sky ( Bortle 5), I observed crab nebula, Leo triplet, M81, M82, M3, M5, M4, M104, M76 and many open star clusters.


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#74 starcruiser

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Posted 30 April 2021 - 11:33 AM

Dynamax anything.  Runner up is the Edmund Astro-scam, I mean Astro-can,  I mean Astro-trash...ok, I'll get it right...Astroscan.

Thanks for the lol.gif. I need one this morning..



#75 dnrmilspec

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Posted 30 April 2021 - 11:53 AM

Anything by Starliner unless you are one of the chosen lucky ones.




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