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8 October 2008

The purpose of this visit to Oracle Observatory was to test my newly received Meade 8" LX90-ACF telescope. This is my third LX90 and the tests will show whether or not Meade has cured the image vibration problem that was evident in the first two LX90 telescopes I received in April 2008. Meade has worked hard to determine the cause and remedy it. The results of my testing are documented on my LX90 reports page.

First, the obligatory "set-up" photograph. This shows the 8" LX90-ACF, my observing chair and table with accessories, my "relaxing" chair and my tent.


Here's a close-up of the telescope.


One thing you can see in these photographs is all the loose brown dirt. That's because the area has been prepared for my future observatory. For more on the groundbreaking visit my "Road to Oracle Observatory" blog. The loose dirt created very dusty conditions. I may suspend further visits to Oracle Observatory until the home and observatory construction projects are completed, or at least until the ground is less dusty.

I arrived at 1400 MST to clear skies with a temperature of 88°F. The moon was a day past First Quarter and already visible in the sky. For the purposes of my telescope tests a dark sky was not a requirement so the moon light would not hamper my efforts. I finished setting up at 1530 and then watched the plumbing subcontractor preparing the "rough plumbing" for our new house. (You can read about that on the "Road to Oracle" blog.) I then took the two set-up photos above. I also took this photo of Kitt Peak Observatory with my 300mm telephoto lens (the image has been cropped from the full-frame original). Kitt Peak is about 80 miles from Oracle ("as the crow flies").


Sunset occurred at 1800 MST. The temperature had dropped to 70°F. The wind was calm and the skies still clear. I started my telescope testing. First up were several tests of various accessories for the telescope and I used the moon as a target. My report on the results of those and other tests are on my LX90 reports page. But here is a photo of the moon taken with my Nikon D70 DSLR at prime focus of the 8" f/10 telescope. This is like attaching a 2000mm focal length telephoto lens to the camera. The exposure was 1/200 sec at ISO 400.


I completed all my tests at 2315 MST. The temperature was 64°F. I got up the next morning at 0630 MST and began packing up. There was a county inspection of the rough plumbing to occur in the morning so I stayed for that. I left Oracle Observatory at 0900 MST (temperature 79°).

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Copyright ©2008 Michael L. Weasner / mweasner@mac.com
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