Last updated: 20 January 2003
Subject: Refractor Collimation Sent: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 11:53:20 From: "McKinnon, Edward M." (EMcKinnon@northropgrumman.com) Having owned a variety of scopes over the past 20 years, most have them have been compound or reflectors and collimating the scopes was fairly routine. But, I know nothing of collimating refractors. I've got an AR-6, and everything looks fine, but for future reference I was wondering if you could provide guidance in this area, or post this on your website, so I can see what others might have to say. I've done a lot of web searching and the information is fragmented to say the least. As far as the AR-6 goes there seems to be collimation screws on the primary lens cell, but I'm clueless to its operation. Thanks, Ed
Subject: Just received my new LXD55 6" Achromatic Refractor Sent: Monday, January 13, 2003 05:18:35 From: Dimitris Rakopoulos (email@example.com) After owning an ETX-90EC for almost a year I decided to upgrade to a LXD55 6" Refractor. I had to replace the ETX eventhough I would prefer to keep it just for the quick trips to the country. Anyway, maybe some day I get another one just for the fun of it, the easy of use and the great color. Here comes the initial report from the scope. I have not managed to use it under clear skies yet. Heavy rain here in Athens, Greece. However, I managed to try it on some terestrial targets and I must say that is brilliant. I used 2 of the supplied eyepieces (that came with Meade's offer) and my Ultra Wide Angle 6.7mm.The supplied 26mm provided with crystal clear views, quite bright, everthough the general ambient light was low due to clouds.The 40mm (my favourite) produced a much mode brighter field of view. Eventhough the magnification was quite small (only 30x) the result was more pleasant than the higher magification of the 26mm eyepiece.The 6.7mm Ultra Wide Angle eyepiece was the most interesting surprise of the observation. When I was using it on my ETX I got only poor results because the magnification was near the (theoretical) limit of the scope. I had to wait for cold nights with very good conditions to get good results. When I tried it on the 6" refractor I was impressed. The image was very clear and significantly brighter than the one of the ETX. I think I can easily try the 6.7 eyepiece with a barlow 2x to get higher magnifications. A great improvement was the feel of the Autostar buttons. On my ETX, I had to press quite hard the buttons to get them to operate. On the new Autostar the feel is much smoother and the force is minimal. This alone improves the overall experiece. Now, I can navigate on the Autostar menus really fast with trying to guess wheather I pressed on a button or not. The mount seems very solid. I think it can hold the total weight of the scope easily. I think it can handle some wind, too. Overall, I absolutely love the new scope. I am looking forward to the first clear sky so that I can try it. I will send you my first observation's impressions as soon as possible. Congradulations on the new site for LXD55. I hope it grows are popular as the ETX. I hope it will turn out to be a book like the ETX did. Best regards, Dimitris Rakopoulos firstname.lastname@example.org Athens, GreeceAnd an update:
Subject: RE: Just received my new LXD55 6" Achromatic Refractor Sent: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 04:27:09 From: Dimitris Rakopoulos (email@example.com) Last night I managed to take the first look of the sky through my new LXD55 6" refractor.The sky was clear (after several cloudy days) and it was quite cold. The moon was close to full but I had to try the new scope! First of all, I had to carry it to the roof of the house. It was the first time I had to carry it so I had to experiment on the best way to do it. The 6" refractor is some 32kgr almost equally revided (9 kgr the counterweights + 11 kgr the tripod/mount + 11 kgr the tube). I dismounted the tube and carried the tripod+mount+counterweight to the roof. I setup the tripod so that I can mount the tube as fast as possible. I think that one person can do it. You have to hold the tube like a baby, attach it to the mount and then secure the screws. However it is much better to remove the counterweight and then attach them back to the mount. A total of 20+ kgr is quite heavy because the shape of the tripod with the mount is kind of weird. Anyway. I thought I should start without the Autostar to just get the feel of the scope. I had to align the finderscope with the scope. I did a rough alignment using a bright light on an nearby hill. I found the alignment a bit more difficult than the alignment on the ETX probably due the size of the scope and the orientation of the tube (I think I rotated it a bit when I was trying to balance it). I think the alignment was quite good for a rough ride on the evening sky. I will definitely align it correctly on a clear day. I thought I should try to "browse" the sky without the Autostar so that I can get the feeling of the new mount. It is quite different than the ETX. I had to experiment for a while to see how it's moving around. The overall feeling of the movement is somehow magical. The whole system rotates very smoothly and the only thing that bothered me is that sometimes the cord for the declination drive wraps around the mount. Maybe I'm doing something wrong. Let's start the actual tour. First object on the sky. Jupiter. I tried Jupiter with several eyepieces. I started with the supplied one (26mm) and then I tried the following Super Plossl (from the Meade's case): 40mm, 32mm, 6.4mm, 20mm. Last but not least my Ultra Wide Angle 6.7mm along with a barlow 2x. The view was excellent. At start I thought I was seeing greenish/yellowish outlines on the outer of the planet. A friend of mine that came along didn't see the greenish outline so I thought it was my tired eyes. Later on the night I tried Jupiter again (it was some 45 degrees above the horizon) and there were no greenish/yellowish outlines at all. So, I guess it was the atmosphere. Next target: Saturn Saturn was almost at zenith. It was my first night out so I thought I should leave the tripod as it was without extended the legs. Big mistake. I had to get down on the floor to manage to find Saturn on the finderscope. It was quite cold but I didn't care. Saturn was great on the finderscope! It was great on the scope, too. I thought it was somehow flat without detail but maybe that was because of the excell light due to the almost full moon. I guess I have to try it on a more dark night. I loved the view with my 6.7mm eyepiece. It was very clear and quite bright. Now, the moon. It was almost a full moon so that I had to try a high magnification on the part with the shadows. I used only my 6.7mm and then my 6.7mm with a barlow 2x. It was awesome! Crystal clear view of the moon. Nothing compared to the blurry view of my ETX (however once I had a great view with the same eyepieces). The image was solid, bright but didn't tire my eyes, and full of details. Absolutely great! I did take a brief look on my favourite M42, Sirius, Aldebaran, the Pleiades and a couple more stars. The view was crystal clear and very bright. I am looking forward on taking some pictures with my digital camera. I will send you some when I take them. The unmounting and carrying it home was the most difficult part. I must find a way to carry it with less effort. Best regards, Dimitris Rakopoulos firstname.lastname@example.org Athens, GreeceAnd:
Here comes the latest. Last night's report. I went out at 12:30. The moon was close to zenith and the sky was to bright but I wanted to check out the optics on the moon and other objects. Fist of all, I extended the legs of the tipod. I used the full extend so that I could see wheather the tripod was stable enough and wheather it can hold the telescope without a problem. I must admit the result was excellent. There was a bit of wind but I didn't notice any movement at all. There was a slight movement when I was focusing but after a couple of seconds the field was solid. Another advantage of the extended legs was that I didn't have to lay donw on the floor to see the objects near zenith. I am also starting to get the feel of the new mount. It's really flexible but I still need a bit of training to center objects. Once again, the first target was Jupiter. The view was better than the last time I "visited" the planet. There weren't any greenish/yellowish outlines like the other time probably because it was higher in the sky. Then, I tried Saturn. I wanted to see more detail than the other day. Saturn was very close to the moon. However I could see more detail and a more three dimentional look. I used the following eyepieces: 26mm, 32mm, 40mm, 6.7mm, 12.4mm. I particularly liked the 12.4 eyepiece. You get 97x and a good field of view to observe the planet. It's also quite bright. Next target. The moon. Once more I tried my 6.7mm with barlow 2x for excellent detail on the surface. The view was more than I expected or even imagined. Then I tried my favourite 40mm. I read somewhere that AR 6" creates a greenish outline on the moon. So, I thought I'd try to find out if that was the truth. Well, it was and it wasn't. There were moments that I could see the greenish outline but then if I moved my eye a bit I didn't see it. Or if I tried to focus a bit better there wasn't any outline at all. Anyhow, I think that the overall view is very very good and you might not see this at all. Then, Pleiades. One of my favourite. I enjoyed then through the finderscope. I didn't see all 7 sisters through my 40mm eyepiece but still all stars was solid and well formed. What about some stars. Sirius was the first one. I was seeing Sirius through my ETX and it looked like a blue star. With the LXD I saw a blue star with something like sunrays coming out of it. It was weird and I didn't know if it was normal. I tried with a couple of eyepieces but I got the same result. Can you verify this for me? I also tried Arcturus. The same effect was there but not as intense. The color was a yellow/red combination, close to orange. Then I thought I should try the Autostar. I did a moderate alignment with Polaris and I started the procedure. First star was Capella. The alignment was a couple of 26mm eyepieces off. It wasn't that bad. I centered the star and then off to Arcturus. Better results here but still not good enough. Don't forget my finderscope was roughly aligned last night using a distant light. Once again I centered the star and there it was. My first alignment with the LXD. The motors were a bit noisy on max speed but I enjoyed the tiny noise on the slow movement. I chanded Quiet Slew to ON and the result was a very pleasant noise. The speed of the slewing was adequate enough compared to the very slow quiet slew of the ETX. My first target was the moon. It was off. Same distance as the first star. Is there a way to fix this? I read somewhere on your site a was to Sync and Re-Sync. Is that correct? Anyway, I centered the moon and immediately the scope slew back to the original position... I suppose this is normal. I guess I need to align better. Then I tried the Double Cluster. WOW! Must admit it was 100 times better than the ETX. It was not centered but I could see it on the finderscope easily. I centered it manually. What a view. Lots of stars there. Great brighness. Then, it was Praesepe (M44). This is one of my favourites. There are not lots of stars there but the view is great. On star clusters I usually use the 40mm eyepiece so that I can see as much as possible. Once again, the Orion nebulae (M42) was brilliant with a bit more nebulosity that the last time. That was it for deep sky for the night. The sky was too bright to see anything more. So, I tried to see for how long autostar can track an object. I slewed back to the moon. It was better this time. I had the moon on the scope with my 40mm eyepiece. It remained there for 20 minutes before the cold was unbearable. The time was 3am. I had another 30 minutes for Mars to rise but a hill blocks some 10-15 degrees to that direction and I had to wait till 4am to see it. I suppose I have to wake up and setup the scope at 3am to see Mars, Venus before sunrise. Please, if you have any pointers regarding autostar/polar alignment and correcting afterwards the alignment please drop a line.Mike here: I don't recall seeing any "sunrays" on Sirius. Could your optics be dirty? As to the Autostar "rubberbanding", that is a typical indicator of a need for reTRAINing.
I don't know if the word sunrays is correct. Do you see a blue color around the star? I don't know how to describe it correctly. I see the star and it seems like there are blueish rays around the star. I can't find another word or description for it. Ok, I will retrain the drives. Best regards, DimitrisMike here: Could you be referring to the "Airy Disk"? Seeing that indicates excellent optics. It is a series of concentric rings around a bright star under excellent seeing conditions.
I can't say if it's that. This airy disk as you call it, does it move or is it solid? This thing I was seing is moving. Any ideas?Mike here: It may appear to move depending upon whether or not your telescope has reach "thermal equilibrium" and/or seeing conditions.
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