Jump to content


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


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

  • Please log in to reply
159 replies to this topic

#151 clamchip


    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11,355
  • Joined: 09 Aug 2008
  • Loc: Seattle

Posted 08 May 2021 - 06:01 PM

Celestron founder Tom Johnson when interviewed about why orange:

"Just different and controversial. The color scheme came from the Mauna Kea Telescope."




Edited by clamchip, 08 May 2021 - 06:05 PM.

  • Terra Nova, Bomber Bob, Kasmos and 2 others like this

#152 GUS.K


    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 996
  • Joined: 13 Aug 2014
  • Loc: Australia.

Posted 08 May 2021 - 06:37 PM

I remember the Celestron catalogues from the early eighties, I loved the orange colour scheme, dreamed of owning one, but I was still at school so no chance. A couple of years later, rebuilt an eq mounted reflector into a dob and painted it orange, didn't quite have the same appeal.


Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_20210509_0916187518 (2).jpg

  • clamchip, Terra Nova, Bomber Bob and 4 others like this

#153 LukaszLu



  • -----
  • Posts: 489
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2020
  • Loc: Poland

Posted 08 May 2021 - 06:46 PM

Celestron founder Tom Johnson when interviewed about why orange:

"Just different and controversial. The color scheme came from the Mauna Kea Telescope."




That's exactly what I meant: "it's not an ordinary telescope like many others, but ... an orange Celestron"... :-)

  • clamchip likes this

#154 Joe1950


    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 10,867
  • Joined: 22 Aug 2015

Posted 08 May 2021 - 07:21 PM

I’ve told this story before, but I hope it’s worth repeating.


About 1968 or so I saw a C-8 for the first time. It was in a display case at the Franklin Institute, Phila. I wanted one right then and there. I read about them, followed the ads and saved my money. It was $1,000 back then, surely a lot of money but other expenses were low, so I bought one from Edmunds about ‘70 or so.


It was a good scope, but I saw nothing jaw-dropping through it. The moon was great, and the planets good, but not outstanding. Plus the sky was much better than now but still not real dark.


In the early ‘70s there were 2 consecutive and very favorable oppositions of Mars. For one of them the club I was in, Willingboro Astronomical Society, had a ‘bring your scope’ to look at Mars in the parking lot of the club. So I did. I set up and observed Mars, the detail was good and one of the best views I had seen to that point.


Next to me was a gent with an 8” Newt on a heavy equatorial mount. A lot of scope to lug around I thought. He asked if he could look through my C-8, and offered me a look through his Newt. Sure.


When I looked through the Newt at Mars, my jaw dropped. Unbelievable detail, color, contrast. Many times better than the C-8. The guy must have seen the look on my face and said the difference must be because of the large secondary obstruction. I thought it was more than just that. Not long after I sold the C-8 and got a 10” Cave. Another story.



In that case you would have to say that the C-8 was mediocre at best. And, the original hype was just that and they were much over-rated. That said, many, many were sold and they changed the telescope industry of the time.


Looking back and knowing what I do today about collimation and how important it is to good performance in an SCT and Mak, I have to wonder if the C-8 back then was collimated well enough to give the finest views possible. All most of us knew about collimation was to look in the eyepiece holder, without an eyepiece, and adjust the screws on the secondary so that the secondary shadow was centered in the primary mirror reflection. That was it!


Today we know that is not nearly accurate enough to collimate the scope. So, I’d have to say in all fairness, the bad rap on SCTs at the time was at least partially due to the lack of understanding of collimation and lack of accurate procedures to do so. Now we have exacting methods that will get SCTs spot on to get the most possible from them.


Attached File  SCT Collimation(1).pdf   163.5KB   14 downloads


Still over-rated? Maybe, maybe not so much. I don’t know.  shrug.gif



ADDED: Myself and the club and club members all were very close to the Edmund Scientific retail store. I loved going there any chance I could.


But, to the guys with the biggest and best scopes, Edmund’s products were considered meh! The gold standard to them was Cave. An 8”, 10” Cave was the best of the best.


They would buy the scope, immediately take off the clock drive and replace it with a large diameter Buyers drive. And none of them would ever consider an SCT, or as they called them, ‘Suitcase Telescopes.’ lol.gif



Edited by Joe1950, 08 May 2021 - 11:24 PM.

  • Terra Nova, Bomber Bob and davidc135 like this

#155 CHASLX200



  • *****
  • Posts: 22,731
  • Joined: 29 Sep 2007
  • Loc: Tampa area Florida

Posted 09 May 2021 - 06:12 AM

I never knew there was a C8 in 1968. I know they had a 4",6" 10", 12",16" and on and on. Then that one off  axis job.

#156 Joe1950


    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 10,867
  • Joined: 22 Aug 2015

Posted 09 May 2021 - 07:45 AM

I can’t be sure of the exact year Chas. It could have been later. The one I saw at the Franklin Institute may have been a pre-production prototype. I don’t think it was for sale at that time. Anyway it was about those times +/- 5 years. grin.gif

Edited by Joe1950, 09 May 2021 - 07:47 AM.

#157 Kasmos



  • *****
  • Posts: 3,711
  • Joined: 19 Aug 2015
  • Loc: So Cal

Posted 09 May 2021 - 01:35 PM

IIRC, the C8 we all know came out in 1970, but there was a mechanically different blue and white version before that which was sometimes used as a guide scope on a larger instrument.

  • Joe1950 likes this

#158 DrAstro



  • *****
  • Posts: 46
  • Joined: 21 Jun 2012
  • Loc: Arizona

Posted 09 May 2021 - 02:04 PM

I'm taking a different direction...


The worse telescope of the 70s is the Russian 238 inches (6 m), Bolshoi Teleskop Azimutal'ny (Large Altazimuth Telescope), or the BTA-6 as it is referred to.




Big yes, but placed on a terrible site for astronomy, so it never lived up to its full potential. It did have some firsts, mainly being Alt/Az with a field rotator, which is very common in large (even smaller) telescopes today.


But it was built for one purpose, to upstage the venerable 200" Hale telescope at the Palomar Observatory. 




the BTA held the world's largest distinction till 1993 when the 10M Keck in Hawaii came online.

  • Joe1950 likes this

#159 bjkaras


    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 285
  • Joined: 24 May 2019
  • Loc: Back and forth between Santa Clara, CA and Las Vegas, NV

Posted 12 May 2021 - 06:23 PM

I would not say that Unitron and Cave were mass market like Celestron and meade.  Both Unitron and Cave were very small shops compared to Meade and Celestron.

Cave was definitely not mass market. Their shop was very small and their showroom even smaller. It was more like a small waiting room. I remember going there to pick up my scope in 1972, and Tom Cave came out and personally checked me out on it. He went over behind the counter and picked out three eyepieces and put them in a box for me.

  • astro140, steve t, mdowns and 2 others like this

#160 bierbelly


    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11,851
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2004
  • Loc: Stephens City, VA

Posted 13 May 2021 - 07:10 PM

I can see this might be turning into a Quester thread.

IMO, when it comes to a “price/performance value proposition”, the Quester is absolutely overrated.


Questars are valued for reasons other than on a pure price/performance scale. Questars deliver: portability, an observatory in a box, convenience, the elegance of a beautiful and functional instrument, quality optics, craftsmanship, pride of ownership and many other more intrinsic attributes that Questar owners will, I’m sure, add. And judged on those criterions, Questars are not overrated and are much valued by their happy owners.

Back in the day, Questar offered its beautiful compact design as an alternative to the 3 and 4” F15 achromats of the day, which in comparison to the small and compact Q were behemoths. Today, as an alternative to those long FL achromats, the apochromatic refractor, with its versatility and more compact tube, has mitigated Quester’s value proposition.

Would I like to own a Questar – you bet! But only if someone left one to me in his or her will. I happen to value other things more than what Questar offers. But many others appreciate what Quester offers as being of value and just right for them.


Porter Garden...

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Recent Topics

Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics