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  1. #1
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    Default Meade SN-10 First Light(Finally)



    Well It finally happened. It was clear,and warm enough to bring out the scope. On the 5th scope, second mount, 4.5 months after purchace SUCESS. It finally saw its first light.

    I wasn't sure I was going to be able to use it. During the day there was this haze in the sky. I took the scope out anyway, leveled it, mounted and balanced, and tuned up the collimation. Threw the cover over it and waited for dark and to see if it would clear up.

    At dark(bout 7) it was still about 10% cloudy with a haze. by 8 tho it was clearing and at 10 I could see the milky way, m44, and m31 naked eye.

    First things, I reset the handbox. I proceeded to train the drive(i used Mars. Polaris was behind a tree) I had my 34mm SWA 2" EP in. I guess I shoulda used a bit higher power to make the gotos a bit more accurate.mainly I used it cause the 2" adapter was in and I thought it would prove easier to find objects if the goto was off.

    Next polar home. Did that, and proceeded to an easy alignment. It chose Sirus as the first star........the scope ended up pointing at the ground. I got worried quickly(note the post doesnt start off cursing meade so things went better after this). I shut off the power reset the scope to PHP. This time I chose 2 star align. I got to choose the stars. First i chose Rigel. This time it was close not in the eye piece but not far. Centered it and proceeded to regulus. Also about the same, centered and hit enter. Align Sucessfull it says.

    So I thought mars would be the first and easiest to hit and find. The goto was off by about an FOV width a little up and over there it was. It was Bright so it had a hue. I thought at first the collimation was still wrong, then noticed the stars were all pin points. It mustve been the brightness? Regardless I moved on for now. My goal of the night was to get the goto up and running and practice.

    Gotos:

    Pleidies: This time it was in the FOV not centered but close. All the stars had nice pin points even on the edge of the field(at least to me a noob it did) Again wasn't there to look so I moved on.

    M42 Orion Nebula: Can I say WOW!!! This time the goto was right on. I thought it was right in the center. It was mighty impressive. Considering it was the only nebula I tried I can't wait to see others.

    I got brave then........

    M51 Whirlpool Galaxy: Whata ya know just slightly out of the view and I saw it as it was slewing so I knew where to move the scope. Very small in the 34mm SWA. Very dim too, it didnt impress me, but I was very very very excited that the goto found it or was close enough to aid me.

    A friend came over to help and look.

    M81: The gotto was close again I had to scan a bit to find it it took me 30 seconds maybe. Again I was very excited 1. cause it was working, 2. There was m82 next to m81. Bag 2 more. These 2 were brighter than m51 Skinnier too. I have seen pictures of all 3 so I knew basicly what I was looking for.

    Mars: Went back to mars for my friend. Took a look through the 34mmSWA then We switched to the 1.25" adapter and started to change the EPs. I tried a 2x barlowed 34mm with a red 23a filter first. I have to say if it wasn't cold and I could mess with filter/EP combos Mars would be fun. Plus I noticed the corrector was frosted a bit now. That really impressed me, It looked like I shouldn't have seen jack with that frost. I tried the 15mm with a yellow filter next, barlowed first. This view was where I started to see the frost. I removed the barlow and the view was good again. A lil bit brighter with the yellow filter. No ice caps or noticeable features tho. Im sure those things take some practice to pic out. To bad mars is only this good every 2 yrs right or is it 3.

    M44 Beehive Cluster: For some reason it wouldnt goto this one. Kept saying it didnt rise till 422am. So I just manually moved it from Mars down to it. Again nice pin point stars. The collimation must be close.

    Saturn: It finally rose above the roof of the house. It was still in the mist of a buncha trees but I was determined to see those rings damnit! I couldn't get it, it was behind a tree from the scopes FOV. So we waited. I noticed on the star map 2 galaxies right above Saturn and below Leo's tail.

    M65,M66: Goto was close again a small amout of scaning and I found em. Now though Im looking through the 1.25 34mm. These 2 were dim and looked like very small smears. Still excited tho!!! Bag 2 more on my first night!!!

    Back to Saturn: Goto was close. Put it into view did a fine tune of the focus and those rings popped right out!!! With closer looks a couple of moons too. This made me yearn for Summer when Jupiter will be back in the early evening.

    This concluded my evening. I made sure to put all the EP's I used out of there bottles but in the case closed before I brought them in to warm up slowly. I wraped the mount with a blanket in hopes it wouidn't get condensation..didnt work. The OTA I put in the box it came in w/o the front cover on i didn't want to trap the moisture on the corrector. I put it in the cold box. Brought it in the house and also covered the box with a blanket to hold the cold in tring to avoid alot of condensation. Thats about as best as I can do. Did I do it right?

    Over all I am impressed. When the warmer weather hits and I can fine tune it take it places and play with the EPs more this will be a blast. No doubt keeping me up untill the wee morning hours. Lets not forget the moon!!! I wish I had someone that knew what things should look like tho to tell me if I have the mirrors as close to perfect as I can. O well I'm happy and it was about time huh.

    Hope you all enjoyed, not much for infomation,just a window into my night.


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  3. #2
    MarkM's Avatar
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    Default

    That is really great news after the torturous journey you have been through. Close but not exact is how a lot of my early attempts using goto ended up using the XT8i (which is only a push goto)--so I know what you mean. Pretty good results for the first crack at it.

    Great thing about goto is the sheer number of targets you can take in during a brief session--especially helpful when you have an attentive group nearby.

    Sounds like you have some decent skies there.

    *check out the Sombrero galaxy (M104) and the big glob M3 next time you are out--you wont be disappointed!
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    Wow! What an exciting night. I felt like I was there. Congratulations, you deserved a good night after that nightmare. Sounds like the best is yet to come.
    Mike
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkM View Post
    Sounds like you have some decent skies there.

    *check out the Sombrero galaxy (M104) and the big glob M3.
    Yeah Mark I live quite a bit up in northern Wisconsin. There isn't much up here so It can get very dark. M44, and M31(M3 too if really dark this one is tuff tho) take averted vision to see, still those 2 with the naked eye you know its clear.

    I have seen M3 thru my binoc's Isnt that one in Hercules? I beleive it is out of my view untill spring. I agree that one was on the list. M104 I havent seen
    i'll look into when I can view it, cause I dont see it on Febuarys star map.

    Thanks for the support fellas. The night turned out better than was expected. This was refreshing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CLeRiCNovA View Post
    I have seen M3 thru my binoc's Isnt that one in Hercules? I beleive it is out of my view untill spring. I agree that one was on the list. M104 I havent seen
    i'll look into when I can view it, cause I dont see it on Febuarys star map.
    eshing.
    You are thinking of M13--also fantastic.

    M3 is in Canes Venatici--you can also spot it in binos usually from dark skies.
    Last edited by MarkM; 02-11-2010 at 07:09 PM.
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    Great report Mark. I even got cold reading about frost. Goto accuracy .. centering qlignment stars is important and made easier if you defocus until you get a big doughnut then switch to a higher power eyepiece.
    SXINIAS

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    well done i am sure with the 3 star-alignment your go-to system will be more accurate....

    regards
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkM View Post
    You are thinking of M13--also fantastic.

    M3 is in Canes Venatici--you can also spot it in binos usually from dark skies.
    Yep, you are correct. I will look for M3 with my binos.

    I'm thinking I can't take the scope out in the cold nemore. At the end of the 2 hours I was viewing(5 for scope) the grease in the gearbox was so thick it sounded like it was having a hard time when moving(along with the impossible to move fouser when switchin EPs). I am certiain the only things in these scopes that are worth anything are the optics. The rest of it is the cheaper materials to make the LXD series affordable. So the little the stress the better. Maybe 30 degrees and above. Even tho last night was even better than the night I was out, but it was between -2 and 2 above. It was around 5-10 the night i was out.

    On my birthday March 9th 1030cst I guess there will be 7 of Saturns moons around. Im not sure if they are in one view. From the picture in Astronomy mag Titian is the furthest out. It also said you'd need a 10 inch to see two of the smaller ones, but who knows right? From a dark enough area and good eyes. Worth a try. Im hoping its warmer by then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CLeRiCNovA View Post
    but who knows right? From a dark enough area and good eyes. Worth a try.
    That is always my recommendation--besides, who know what else you will learn.

    I think others have done things with the focuser lube to aid when viewing in low temps. Can you manually move the scope during these times?

    Shame to waste a great opportunity when it is crisp yet cold and you are willing.
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    M51 is really impressive in darker sky. I am telling. I saw it on a grey zone and it was the most beautiful object I have ever witness.

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