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View Full Version : An apology to the folks in central NC.



pmcolt
2003-Jul-02, 07:16 AM
If you're wondering why we have nothing but rain and clouds for the foreseeable future, don't blame tropical storm Bill. I got an Orion SkyView Pro 8 last week for my birthday, and the weather's just following the First Law of New Scopes.

I probably should've asked this before purchasing, but does anyone have any experience with this scope? It's been years since I've bought one, and this one looked decent, but I couldn't find many reviews of it.

gethen
2003-Jul-02, 02:43 PM
I've got an Orion Skyview Deluxe 8', which I believe is an earlier incarnation of the Pro. I'm still learning to use it myself, and now I wonder if this is the scope that's responsible for all the rain in the U.S. We've had an unusual number of cloudy nights this summer so far too. :wink:
The only real gripe I have is that I think the scope ought to have a star diagonal finder scope. I haven't been able to find an adapter to fit it, so I'm saving for a new finder.
As I said, I'm still learning to use the scope, but I've been really pleased with it so far. That first look at the Whirlpool, on a slightlly hazy night and only moderately dark skies was so exciting I relived it for days. I don't know if this is typical, but using co-ordinates to locate objects only gets me in the ballpark, and then I work a grid pattern to zero in. i bought the scope for "faint fuzzies" and I would say it has delivered.
I use a laser collimator and it seems to work well. The scope is easy for me to set up and polar align (the deluxe came with a built-in polar alignment scope) and I've gotten so I can break it down, transport it, and set it back up pretty quickly. This is essential for me, because even if it's just in the backyard, this scope is too heavy for me to move intact.
My one piece of indispensable additional equipment--a small crescent wrench/screwdriver that fits neatly in the accessory case.
Hope I've helped. And I would certainly appreciate your passing along anything you've learned about "our" scope.

pmcolt
2003-Jul-06, 08:06 AM
I finally got it out tonight. My last telescope was a C4.5, so this is a new experience for me. Hijinks follow:

Observing*cough* site:
My backyard, suburban area. Between the trees, the house, and the neighbor who leaves his back-porch security light burning all night, I'm able to see about a 20 degree rectangular patch of the sky directly overhead. Note to self: find a real observing site.

Sky conditions:
The sky was hazy all day. Nothing changed after nightfall; the sky was almost Microsoft grey. At least it drowned out the ugly pink glow from Greensboro.

The plan:
Set the scope up for the first time, try to figure out its quirks.

The scope set up fairly easily.
First trip - carry tripod out and set it up. Let hand controller for drives fall to the ground multiple times due to weak adhesive on cheap velcro holder.

Second trip - carry tube out and mount it.

Third trip - carry chair and accessories out. Perform rough polar alignment.

Fight off mosquitos while getting dark adapted. Spend 20 minutes figuring out why nothing in the sky is where it should be. Realize that you've printed the wrong charts.

Fourth trip - ruin dark adaptation by running back inside brightly lit house to print correct charts. Go back outside.

Properly aim finder scope. This was a lot easier than it was on my old scope; I only had two screws to worry about rather than three.

Star test. Looks good.

Find object to test out scope. Object of choice: M13 in Hercules. Search hampered by the fact that I couldn't find Hercules. I don't know what it is about that constellation, but my eyes just slide right off it without noticing. Every time I looked away for a second, I had to re-locate it by jumping from Ophiuchus or Corona Borealis. Note to self: brush up on basic stargazing skills.

I finally located Eta Herculis and managed to locate the object from there. In the process of getting the scope pointed, I managed to bang the optical tube against a tripod leg, pinch my fingers between both control knobs, and break one of the knobs. Then, when changing eyepieces, I managed to unscrew the wrong thumbscrew and lose it in the grass. Five minutes of searching followed. After locating the lost thumbscrew, I proceeded to once again loosen the wrong thumbscrew. Note to self: never tell another soul about any of the above.

Never have I been so happy, or gone through so much, to see a faint patch of light against a bright grey sky. Decided not to push my luck trying to find anything else, packed up and headed in.

Lessons learned:
- I badly need a star diagonal for the finder. Or, if gethen's right and none can be found to fit it, a new finder.
- A 68 pound scope can be carried out in one piece very easily. If your last name is Schwartzenegger. Sadly, my last name is Coltrane, and that number is nearly half my body weight.
- A clear, dark viewing site is essential. I need to find someplace clear and away from the city. Preferrably off-planet. I bet the Moon has some incredibly clear dark nights.
- Plan the night in advance. Double check the charts you print out. It'll save you the embarrassment of trying to find objects that are below the horizon.

Colt
2003-Jul-06, 07:06 PM
Heh. :D I wish I had the money to buy and space to store a telescope. :x

68 pounds? That seems a tad light to me for a full telescope with a drive. -Colt