Last updated: 31 March 1998

User's "First Light" Report

What's it like to experience the ETX on your first night outside with it? Here is one user's report.

Well, I got home early enough, the skies were clear, the evening as dark as one can expect, and my wife only made me clean up my telescope & Minox camera detritus before the cleaning woman comes tomorrow. So chores done the ETX got put on the Bogen & trekked out to the back yard.

I have forgotten just how complex sighting is with an equatorial mount!

So put the thing in Alt-Az, more or less, and, yup. There's the belt, the sword, and the Orion nebula staring me in the face. Cool. With the standard Ploessl the trapezium was not resolved. Pop in the barlow and there it is! Should have a nebular filter. Maybe for birthday or something.

What the heck; I could just barely see Polaris thru the trees, so I used the elevation handle on the tripod to do a rough polar alignment just by peering down the tube. Good enuf for government work since there would be no photography, etc. tonight.

Back to Orion. Engage tracking. Thing stays pretty centered for 10 minutes with only a couple of quick touch-ups in declination. High marks.

There's Arcturus. Bloody pretty.

Back to Orion. Fine. Even with the 8x21 I got it first try. Put in my ancient RKE 13mm eyepiece. Compare it to 26mm+2xbarlow. Doesn't stand up too well. PUt the Barlow on the 13mm; nothing but fuzz. Back to the 26mm + 2x. Funny, it's getting hard to see. Still tracking of course. Look up.

OH HELL! a cloud bank has rolled in from the SW obscuring the whole constellation. I can't find anything naked eye, and by now the scope doesn't help either.

Found the Pleiades, still clear of fog. Gorgeous.

Got tired of bending over because I set the tripod too low for the circumstances, so pack up everything & go in. Out more than an hour. Confusing; I thought it was 10 minutes.

pete zimmerman (peterz@erols.com)

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