Archive for November 2017

Bob’s Knobs – Collimation Thumbscrews For Newtonian and Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescopes

November 27, 2017

It was almost forty years ago when I sold my 6-inch Criterion RV-6 Newtonian reflector.  Life became really busy and I just didn’t have time to observe for several years.

Earlier this year (2017) I decided to replace the RV-6, with another 6-inch reflector.   I really didn’t need another telescope, but you know how that can be.

The telescope came with a bag of Bob’s Knobs thumbscrews, but I had not installed, until this weekend.  It was very easy, replacing one screw at a time and collimating after each replacement.

The 6-inch reflector: 

In the days of yesteryear, a 6-inch reflector was the workhorse of amateur astronomy, but in recent years has lost favor among the amateur astronomy community.  Not so fast!  

Please consider:  The 6-inch reflector is reasonably easy for most anyone to handle, and has good light gathering capability.  The venerable six is an excellent all purpose telescope, especially with an f/6 focal ratio.   

Roger Ivester

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M15 Globular Cluster – Pegasus October 2017 – Observer’s Challenge Report

November 14, 2017

October 2017 Observer’s Challenge:  Click on the following link for full report. 

OCTOBER 2017 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – M-015 2  

Easy to see in 7 x 50 finder.  10-inch reflector at 267x, M15 appears mostly round with a bright intense middle, and an excellent resolve of stars in the outer regions.  When using averted vision, an intermittent sprinkling of faint pin-point stars in the central region.  An impression of dark lanes extending outward from the core and a star chain around the SSW edge.  Bright field star to the north.

3.5-inch Maksutov, M15 appears circular with a very bright and intense center.  There is no resolution of stars with this aperture.  RI 

Pencil sketch 10-inch reflector at 267x 

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Image of M15 by James Dire from Hawaii using an 8-inch f/8 RC telescope  

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M15 photo by Mario Motta of Massachusetts using a 32-inch telescope. 

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Does Anybody Remember Science Hobbies on Central Avenue in Charlotte?

November 7, 2017
I will always remember purchasing my first telescope from Science Hobbies in Charlotte, during the mid-70’s.  Science Hobbies was a small hobby store that sold products mostly from Edmund Scientific.  They always had a big 8-inch Edmund f/6 with a massive equatorial mount sitting in the front window.   

 

My first telescope was an Edmund 4 1/4-inch f/10, equatorially mounted reflector, however, I really wanted the larger 6-inch Super Space Conqueror. I had to settle for the smaller scope, due to the extra cost of the 6-inch.  My budget was very limited at that time….to say the least!  

Throughout the years, I always enjoyed going to Science Hobbies.  It was fun to see and feel many of the products from Edmund.  Other than my telescope, I bought a few eyepieces, a pedestal mounted eyepiece holder and other astronomy related equipment.  

I also purchased “The Finest Deep-Sky Objects” by Mullaney and McCall, an Edmund Mag 5 Star Atlas, and all of those fabulous astronomy books written for Edmund by Sam Brown and Terence Dickinson.  

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It was a Saturday afternoon, back in the late 90’s, when my wife, Debbie and myself decided to visit Science Hobbies, as so many times before.    

But this time it was different…

We drove into the parking lot, something did not seem right, there was no telescope sitting in the window.  The rusty sign that had been hanging over the front door for many years was missing.  I got out of the car and pressed my nose on the front door.  Oh no…..the store was empty!  The store had closed!  

The last time I had been there, one of the clerks told me that business had been slow.  This concerned me a bit, and on that day, I was the only person in the store.

I really miss that place, spending time and looking at astronomy equipment “live” and not on the pages of a catalog.  Retail stores are having a difficult time these days, regardless of what they sell.  It’s really hard to compete with the internet, and mail order.  

If you have problems via mail order it can be quite difficult having to box up a defective product.  I had to return two Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes quite a few years ago.  One would not focus, and the other had a serious problem with the drive.  It would have been great if I could have checked them out in a store before taking them home.    

The good thing….all major astronomy equipment vendors online have excellent return policies, should there be a problem, or if the product does not meet your expectations.   

All of my astronomy purchases are now online, since the closing of Science Hobbies, which has now been over twenty-five years.   However, I still miss those Saturday afternoons, looking at astronomy equipment.  

Roger Ivester