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Nikon 8 cm Achromat

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#1 skyler

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 04:14 PM

I have a pride and joy late 70's 80 mm F15 Nikon achromat refractor with a very heavy duty wooden tripod and mount. The mount is a GEM and is probably heavier duty than a G11.

I have thought at times to sell it but I am so impressed when I look through it and get the jet black background contrast and almost no color even on the brightest objects. I have heard the optics were typically 1/10th to 1/12 wave PTV.

The mount is so substantial that I am thinking about retro-fitting an electronic drive system or even a goto.

Are there any decent third party systems that are literally "bolt-ons" that anyone knows of?

I have looked at the Losmandy retrofit and also see a lot of info or instructions for the 497 Meade Autostar retrofits. Anything else out there or any specific recommendations? I know I have not supplied any real details on the mount but I have a feeling that most any manual to electronic mount conversion mods probably require some kind of fabrication.

Thanks for any advice or thoughts.

#2 firestar

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 05:16 PM

could you post a pic?

#3 skyler

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 05:37 PM

Hello Firestar -

Unfortunately, at the moment, it is stored for the winter but I will just pull the mount and take some photos of that piece within a couple of days.

Were there any particular shots that would be of most value to you?

#4 Ziggy943

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 05:40 PM

It was an 80mm Nikon refractor that first made me aware of the special qualities of refractors.

This particular one was owned by John Mosely, then of Hansen Planetarium, later of Griffith Observatory. He practically stole the thing. Some guy walked in to Hansen Planetarium and wanted to sell it. John gave him $100. I offered John $150 for it a few days later. I don't think he has it anymore. This must have been in the middle 70's.

I forget which stars we looked at but it gave textbook diffraction patterns. I knew from that time on that my main telescopes would be refractors. I have good memories of that telescope.

You are lucky to have one.

#5 skyler

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 06:51 PM

Hello Siegfried -

I am always interested in finding out anything about this scope from other owners. They are so few and far between, but it made me wonder what kind of mount was it set-up on when you looked through it? $100.00...incredible ! :shocked:

I know what you mean, it was my first real scope as a 6th grader as I had a hand-me-down 60mm Tasco before it. My folks took a trip to Japan in '77 and brought it back for me and it was unbelievable how much more beautiful the sky looked. The mount, tripod, and weights where later shipped from Japan since they were so large to travel with. Still amazed how they carried that coffin sized case all the way back - yes, the good ol' days of air travel.

I later saved for three summers working on a farm for a Celestron 8 that I thought would be far superior. Aperture won but I was disappointed that the views were not as "Crisp". I just thought back then that the 8" would shame the lowly 80mm refractor, but I was completely wrong. It's truly amazing how a good refractor can compare to other larger instruments but that was sure a lesson to remember to this day.

Thanks for bringing back those great memories!


Jerry

#6 Ziggy943

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 08:01 PM

The 80mm Nikkon is a telescope I covet. A 3" Unitron or a 4" would be nice but an 80mm Nikon is really the small refractor in my mind that represents all that is good about refractors. It's because it printed such an image of perfection in my mind. It was the first time I was paying attention to the image quality.

This was before I obtained the Clark and was the direct cause to my getting a 6" lens from Richard Brandt and making a telescope with it.

For me an 80mm Nikon refractor has attained mythical status. I know it's just an 80mm refractor but it's such a wonderful little telescope. :)

#7 Ziggy943

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 08:14 PM

I don't recall what kind of mount it was on. I'm not even sure between GEM or AltAz. I couldn't really even venture a guess.

I had a 4.25 Edmunds and a homemade Newt-Cass that didn't give the best of star images. So when I saw the 80mm I knew it was special.

It had been 12-15 years since I had used the 9" Clark when it was at the U of U. I really didn't pay attention to the quality of star images then anyway. I was more absorbed with the planets. (the Clark was gone when I returned from the service in 1965)

From that point on though refractors shaped my interest in astronomy. I began looking for that quality image. I found it in a succession of refractors which included a 6" F/16.3 Brandt, an 8" F/16.6 Brandt and then the 9" Clark (1978).

#8 skyler

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 11:25 PM

I see you have a very nice selection of refractors present and future. Of all those that you have had the pleasure to own or use, which three would you say offered you the best planetary views or even just pleasure to use in general?

#9 Ziggy943

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 12:59 AM

Easy answer.

1. Not even close, the 9" Clark by miles and miles. It has a look and feel... it is just a pleasure to use. It's just plain beautiful with all that brass. I have a history with this telescope that goes beyond the time it has been in my possession. I used it when I was in high school and my telescope was a 4.25" reflector and the Clark was the "great refractor" at the University of Utah.

2. The 6" F/16.3 Brandt... selling it was a mistake. I wasn't thinking far enough ahead.

3. The 8" F/16.6 Brandt, I never put it into an aluminum tube so it was always a bit awkward to use.

I expect there may be a shuffling in the 3 or maybe even the 2 position when the new telescopes get here.

#10 skyler

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Posted 09 November 2006 - 02:25 PM

Hello Firestar-

Pulled out the mount and set it on the tripod in the garage for a quick photo shoot.

Here are a couple shots of the mount with the RA worm shaft visible where a motor could be attached. the shaft is already slotted as most shafts are. There is an accessory motor drive that attached to these back in its day for tracking but I have no way to get such items any longer. The RA and Dec axis are over 4 inches in diameter so they are very substantial.

Let me know if these photos help.

Thanks !

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1243474-DSC02699-1.JPG


#11 skyler

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Posted 09 November 2006 - 02:26 PM

Close up

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1243478-DSC02700-1.JPG



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