Blackie's Cloudy Skies Pages M13  

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Orion Premium 102mm

Let's start with some of the good stuff. I recently acquired an Orion Premium 102 APO refractor from an individual on Astromart for what I thought was a very reasonable price. I have been very pleasantly surprised with the quality of the images I have managed to take with the scope when mounted on my ASGT equitorial mount. I also purchased the used ASGT mount on Astromart. I have used my modified Canon camera (purchased on Astromart) with this unit and it seems to work very well. I have been using a Q-Guide camera (also purchased on Astromart) running PHD guiding software and have managed 3 to 5 minute exposures with no problems. So far, I am seeing no noticible false color in my images. Needless to say, I am very pleased with this little telescope and the ASGT mount seems to handle the scope with ease. It just makes for a nice combination, and is light enough to be considered a "grab and go" unit. Let me also note that the difference between an 80mm refractor and a 102mm refractor is very noticable. I have had a Celestron 80mm APO for a number of years, but I really notice the difference between the two scopes. The Orion 102 seems to be a very nice solution at a very reasonable price. So the other lesson here is that perhaps that you need to check out  Astromart  if you are on a budget...

Nexstar 11GPS (Stella)

I have had Stella for many years. She has spent so many wonderful evenings under the stars with me. What can I say about such a wonderful lady. She has always worked perfectly, never talks back, and is always cooperative. Not only that, she is beautiful in my eyes. I have had my N11GPS mounted on a set of wheely bars for years. I simply open the garage door and roll her out to the end of the driveway, plug her in and she nearly aligns herself. I have always been impressed with her pointing accuracy. The N11GPS has been my primary platform for astrophotography for many years, and given the disadvantages of a alt/az mount, has performed as well as could be expected. It was not until I acquired a Hyperstar lens unit that I started producing images that I could confidently share with other astrophotographers. Now, I am not saying that my images are good enough to be published, but they are so much better than they were before that addition of the Hyperstar unit. Ultimately, I saw the need to switch from alt/az mounts to equitorial mounts if I wanted to continue to progress with my astrophotography hobby. I am now in the process of making that switch, but that does not diminish the affection I have for Stella, my very good and true friend.

Celestron EdgeHD and CGEM

I have only had one chance to get under the stars with the CGEM and EdgeHD telescope, for a total of two evenings, so far.But I have learned a few things. First off, the mount seems capable of handling the weight of the 11 inch scope. Second, I like the screw-in power cord, it just removes one more thing that can go wrong during an evening under the stars. Third, this is a BIG unit. The pieces are heavy. At my age, this is about the limit for a scope that gets set up and taken down very often. What I am saying is that this is at the far edge of what might be considered "portable" if there is only one of you. Fourth, the entire combination is "pretty." What I am saying is that it is easy on the eyes. It is a nice looking unit. If she were a girl, she would be a "10" in my opinion. Beyond that, everything seems to work as it is supposed to. I am sure I will be able to add to this as time goes on...


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