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  1. #1
    laurelg999's Avatar
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    Default hello from Ohio, and new 'scope woes



    Hello!

    My name is Laurel, and I live in SW Ohio, USA, with husband and two (of three) kids, which will soon only be us and our son, as the second girl is off to college next year. I've been an amateur astronomer for about ten years -- with long, drawn-out stories of 'scopes I can't get to work "just right." I started with a NexStar 60mm refractor -- had some fun, and then found a used NexStar 114 OTA only, so I bought it (this was back in '02 or so) and rigged it to work with the GoTo NexStar mount. Trouble was, there was something weird with the mirror, so I sent it back to Celestron and they sent me another OTA, which was cool...but the thing wasn't collomated correctly and (of course) through the course of trying to get that right, I REALLY changed the secondary mirror.

    Anyway. Long story short -- I just ordered the SkyWatcher 10" Dob...and when it came, the OTA was dented, so now it's all ready to be shipped BACK, and another one is on its way.

    My goals: I want to get the 10" dob set up and start showing off deep space objects to my family (and myself, of course)...and, I'd like to gain enough know-how to collomate the 114 correctly. I've got this dream of having family & close friends "star parties," with the two scopes (I wish I had another tripod mount -- I could get the refractor out, too).

    So -- hello, and thanks, and any comments/help with the silly 114 that's now in my attic, I'm all ears.

    Laurel in Ohio

  2. #2
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    Default

    Hi Laurel ,

    Welcome to Astronomy Forum.
    I hope you get the SkyWatcher 10" dobsonian intact the next time around. Not being familiar with the NexStar 114 I cannot help you there. I just tried to connect with the Celestron web site to no avail.

  3. #3
    BobDob's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Hello Laurel, and a hearty welcome to AF!

    I gather your NexStar 114 is a newt, and you have a problem with collimation ?

    If this is the case and you have a 10 inch dob on the way, I suspect the next chapter in your life will be titled, "Laurel Learns Collimation". Now, this isn't the most intimidating thing (like childbirth, for instance...) you'll ever do, but until you grasp it expect to be challenging. There is a plethora of websites and articles available on the subject. You can spend hundreds of dollars on fancy techie tools, but you don't need to as it turns out unless you have a very fast (short focal length) 'fractor. This will not be the case with your new dob. The latest generation of Orion's Laser Collimator Tool should stand you just fine.

    I believe the best primer source for learning collimation is to be found at Andy's Shot Glass - Affordable Amateur Astronomy and Astrophotography. You can go from there if you need to, but Andy laid it all out pretty well . Other newt and dob buffs will have other opinions, but this one is mine and worth every penny you paid for it.

    The very best and most excellent asset you could have at this time is a mentor who will walk you through the process. If you aren't already hooked up, by all means do plug in to the nearest astronomy club. There will be guys and gals who will love to help you along.

    Again, welcome to AF and Clear Skies!

    BobDob
    6 inch F/5 GEM mounted reflector

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    >)))))*>

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    Howdy and Welcome Laurel ... thanks for joining up and jumping right in ... great to have you aboard and I am really looking forward to reading about your continuing adventures ...

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    Bill - "Recreational 'Stronomer" and "Astro-Junk User" ... EGO lego , proinde EGO operor ...

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    Hello from another Ohioian & welcome ! Go Buckeyes !
    " It's a much better feeling to have your wife yelling at you to remove your scope from the living room, rather than seeing it collect dust in a spare bedroom "

  6. #6
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    Hi laurel , Welcome aboard the forums .
    16in Night sky
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    Welcome Laurel, I too, have found Andy's shot glass web site to be the best for a tutorial on collimation

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    Welcome Laurelg - I live in Northern Kentucky about 10 minutes from the Ohio River. Light pollution here is awful, isn't it?

    I too purchased a Nexstar 114 used as a second scope, though for different reasons. I simply wanted a smaller scope for quick views than my 8" SCT. Mine came with a collimation cap - if you do not have this or a sight tube, I recommend buying one online. Instructions to collimate a reflector will be included.

    Clear skies.

  9. #9
    laurelg999's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks to everybody for suggestions and welcome. It is collomating the 114 that's had me pulling my hair out, and the website Andy's Shot Glass was very helpful. While I wait around for the new 10" dob to get shipped, and for clear skies, I think I'll take out the 114 again and give it a try.

    Again: thanks for welcome.

  10. #10
    RussL's Avatar
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    Hi, Laurel, welcome aboard. The kind of collimation I have always done required no tools other than a pair of needle-nose pliers and another small wrench. The wrench to tighten the lock nuts and the pliers to turn the adjusting scews and hold them while tightening the locknuts. Visually, all I do is look in the focuser with no eyepiece and see if the image of the diagonal looks centered in the primary. I'm probably not dead-on, but hey, I saw the shadow of the Martian polar cap at 150x in my old Criterion RV6 a few years back. Good enough for me. The hardest part about collimation is figuring out which screw to turn and in which direction. You can do it. Don't be nervous, you won't hurt anything if you're wrong. Just keep messing with it. If the screw bottoms out and you're not right yet, then adjust them all to give that one some room. If a nut falls off, then you know you need to adjust them all the other way. The only catch is collimating the diagonal mirror, and sadly, I can't help you there as I've never had to do it in all these years (I don't know why, but it's the truth). You'll get it all done, I'm sure. Just play with it and you'll get familiar with it all. Good luck and clear skies.

 

 
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