Subject: Avoiding the Desire to Collimate Your Maksutov Sent: Wednesday, August 8, 2001 18:14:12 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) All of the recent flurry of activity and "concern" regarding whether or not each of our ETX scopes is in precise collimation has hit like a wave. Hopefully this crest will be short-lived. I DO NOT RECOMMEND OWNERS ATTEMPTING HOME COLLIMATION on a Maksutov. I have said this many times. Indeed, there is a way to do it, but you must keep in mind two things if you are tempted to change the collimation of your Maksutov scope....this applies whether you have a Meade or a Questar: 1) Even though an out-of-focus star image may appear to reveal that your scope is out of collimation it does NOT mean that it necessarily is (see my recent posting under the Tech Tips...."collimating a Mak..."). Indeed, most Maksutovs will show a slight "donut" offset when at either side of focus, when the telescope is perfectly collimated IN FOCUS; 2) Collimation is now done with extremely precise machinery that is computer generated for the optimum positioning of THREE (3) optical elements in your system, not just the primary as has been discussed tweaking here. I do understand that some degree of success is possible through collimating on a Christmas ball, but overall one of the most common problems that I see results from self-collimating at home. Ask yourself this question: When I tweaked the primary via the six screws in the rear cell, did I also compensate the meniscus lens to coincide with that change as you MUST in a Maksuktov? Once that meniscus lens was then set, did I change the axial angle of the secondary mirror to that of the corrector lens which I just arranged precisely with the primary which is now "collimated" via my three screws in the back of the telescope? Nope, you did not and cannot. Please do not tamper with your collimation; if you have reason to believe that it is far out, do the in-focus star test as I have described under: http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/collimating.html and do it carefully and objectively. If, after doing this test you still feel that your scope is not performing up to par, then by all means let Meade do it for you....they have the equipment to answer "yes" to the above....you do not. Most telescope owner suffers from "instrument hypochondria" in that he or she hears about another owner's scope that was in poor collimation and suddenly.....I'VE GOT THAT TOO!! In reality, the telescope has been giving nights, weeks, months....years, of excellent service and views. Suddenly, because the subject has been brought up, yours is suffering too! Please heed this advice....something are left better off alone. You will be much happier in this instance if you do. P. Clay Sherrod Arkansas Sky Observatory
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