Last updated: 31 December 2001
Subject:	New telescope pleasures
Sent:	Saturday, December 29, 2001 22:50:05
From: (Brian Moldover)
Thanks to you and all your friends for all the help. We've been using
our new DS-90ec almost every clear night for a week, and not only am I
hooked, I cannot get my kids to bed anymore! What a great hobby! I am so
happy to hear them talking about the planets and stars rather than
Nintendo for a change.

I have figured out the proper way to get a good alignment for the
Autostar, and am pretty good at doing a quick tour for friends. It was
about 24 degrees out the other night, but after some significant
'fortitude' (it is the holidays after all) I was able to get everyone
outside for a tour of Jupiter, Saturn, the Moon, and the Pleiades before
everyone froze.

Tonight is a beautiful night for stargazing. Although the moon is quite
bright and has made it difficult to see most deep space objects, Jupiter
and Saturn are beautiful, and in the Northern sky we had nice views of
Messier objects M39 and M52 and Mizar was easily split into a double
with Zeta Ursae Majoris.

I'm sure I am going through the new user phase, but there is just so
much to see!

The scope is pretty good. I am not having any Autostar problems,
although I am struggling with the eyepieces other than the 25mm that
came with it. The 9mm MH that came with it never seems to focus. Also
the I purchased a Meade 2X Apochromatic Barlow that seems OK on planets
and the Moon, but stars do not appear as points. They are more like
blurred lines. I don't know if it's the seeing conditions in central NJ
or not. I am considering a better 9mm, but as you recommended I'll wait
until we really know what I'm doing.

Astrophotography isn't easy. I did try and get my Canon S300 hooked up,
but the thing has a mind of it's own when it comes to focusing, and I
cannot find a way to disable the autofocus. After tonight I realized
it's better to spend my time observing, and take photos later, although
I can see that being addicting. My son took some moon shots that came
out reasonably good, especially considering he is 9.

Anyway, it's 1:30am and I am wide awake, put my son to bed about half an
hour ago, and I am grateful for all your efforts. Have a great New Year!

Brian Moldover
Adam and Ross Moldover
Mike here: As to focusing, yes, could be the seeing, either due to heat from roofs or other factors.

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