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dartmanx
2011-May-30, 11:53 PM
I'd been promising the daughter that I'd get us a telescope for just about forever. As a stopgap, I bought a Meade 60az at a garage sale for $10. (Also picked up a Netgear NAS for free, but that's for a different forum...)

Anyhow, Saturn is out right after dark right now, and pretty easy to find near Spica. However, I have a little (or BIG) issue... I'm 6'5 and too tall for the telescope. The elevation of Saturn is high enough that I can't use a regular chair, but I can't sit on the ground or a short stool either.

The 60az is pretty low end, I know. But if anyone can offer advice to a mutant freak stargazer such as myself, it would be much appreciated.

astromark
2011-May-31, 05:49 AM
A less than adequate telescope can be made a useful tool with a good mount.

While a wobbly tripod can destroy a excellent scope.

Your problem is a easy fix for you. Others might not find it useful at all.

Lengthen the tripod legs. By clamping extensions onto each leg. Do not use light weight materials..

any flexing or movement will result in a worse than you want viewing... or, go spend some big money on a real scope.

A 12 or 14 inch MEAD with all the 'Go To' stuff has a excellent tripod that is hight adjustable.

At the other end of this problem.. try using a dobsonian. 8 or 10 inch.

Very cost effective and the eye piece is just where you put it.

NickW
2011-May-31, 03:03 PM
At the other end of this problem.. try using a dobsonian. 8 or 10 inch.

Very cost effective and the eye piece is just where you put it.

I am not so sure about that. I am 6'2" and my dobsonian, in its mount still requires quite a bit of bending to use. Makes for a very slow morning after viewing.

redshifter
2011-May-31, 06:46 PM
I am not so sure about that. I am 6'2" and my dobsonian, in its mount still requires quite a bit of bending to use. Makes for a very slow morning after viewing.

Have you tried observing in a seated position? How about with an adjustable seat and/or stool? Discomfort is never an issue for me if I'm observing while seated; and my 10" dob's eyepeice is about 48" or so off the ground when pointed at zenith--so I'm always seated while observing. Observing while seated allows me to tease out a bit more detail in deep sky objects as well.

NickW
2011-Jun-01, 12:11 AM
Have you tried observing in a seated position? How about with an adjustable seat and/or stool? Discomfort is never an issue for me if I'm observing while seated; and my 10" dob's eyepeice is about 48" or so off the ground when pointed at zenith--so I'm always seated while observing. Observing while seated allows me to tease out a bit more detail in deep sky objects as well.

I have tried it but I usually have to lean forward to view in order to make it work, which doesn't help the back. I am going to start working on making a taller mount using an equatorial mount I found. I found it about a year ago, but have been putting off building it because of time constraints with work.

RickJ
2011-Jun-01, 12:55 AM
Meade has made so many different models starting with Meade 60az I have no idea which you have. Some are under the Polaris brand, some the Telestar brand and even under their own. Some are table top models usually with a T tacked on to indicate table top. Those are more a spotting scope. The others usually are 700 mm focal length (probably written on the focuser) and are on a horridly shaky tripod that makes pointing them nearly impossible as when you let go the scope drops so far the object falls out of the field of view except at very low power. A neighbor had one I built a pipe thread mount for it for a few dollars of pipe fittings and some wood for a cradle. The whole thing was mounted on a solid wooden stand that had a face that sloped at her home declination ~ 45 degrees. This turned it into an equatorial fork mount. Lapping the threads with lapping compound made for a super smooth, solid mount for about $20 of parts and some scrap lumber I had on hand. That and some decent eyepieces turned it into a usable scope.

As for height, most scopes will have positions that are comfortable and positions that aren't. You learn to live with it. Working with kid size scopes, like this one, I usually worked on my knees. Soggy, sore knees were the result but was necessary to help the kids learn how to use the scope. There are expensive scope designs like a Springfield Newtonian that bring the focus out to a stationary point that can be put at a comfortable level. Those are very costly however. So are adjustable piers. Most of us learn to be uncomfortable some of the time. Far cheaper!

Now I'm approaching 60 years in the hobby (built my first scope starting in 1953) and comfort is a big deal as these bones don't work like they used to, especially on damp raw nights. My 10" f/5 on an equatorial mount ($2000 alone for the mount many years ago) does keep the eyepiece within a comfortable range though I find the finder a chore as I never mastered a right angle one. (I'm only 5' 10' however a 7" taller pier would work the same for your 5' 17" height) Kids need a step stool with the scope. I use one with a handle for them to hold onto in the dark. Otherwise they tend to grab the scope and go for a ride while holding onto the eyepiece for dear life. Caught several before I got the stool with the high arching handle for them to hold on to. Even they they prefer to reach for the eyepiece so you need to watch closely until they learn that doesn't work.

You can find manuals for most (not all) Meade made scopes at: http://www.meade.com/manuals/index.html There are many of the 60AZ models listed there. Maybe one is yours.

Rick