When I say/think “I want a new scope” the song “I want a new drug” keeps going through my head, strange. I have been contemplating buying a new telescope for a couple years now, but always held off because of my wife, now ex-wife. It is a long story and I have no intention on going into it here. All that said and done, in resent weeks my taste for astronomy has been on the up tick, especially since the discovery of a new supernova in the Galaxy M95.
When I was a teenager, I fell in love with the stars and stargazing. The first Messier object I ever observer was M42, which you can see with the naked eye and is spectacular in normal 10×50 binoculars. I soon found binoculars very limitings and want more power, more light, more magnification. So I approached my dad and asked him if he would buy me a telescope. To my amazement my dad never batted an eye and said yes (I don’t think he talked to my mom about it this purchase) So I started to shop around and after many weeks I found someone who was selling a home made telescope for $200.00, and believe me that was a staggering amount of money when I was kid. My first telescope was a Newtonian Reflector with a 6″ hand ground mirror and had a whopping f-stop of f/13.5 (the light tube was taller than I was). The telescope came with a hand made mount made from cement, steel tubing and plumbing pipe and was surprisingly stable, considering I could have attached a hose and used as a sprinkler to water the garden.
So with my brand new/used/home made telescope I began to explore to the heavens, and a few neighbours windows, but we won’t talk about that here. For years I use to freeze my ass off in winter (when we had winters) and in the summertime I use gather large crowds at Sauble Beach. It was a hoot showing people the red spot of Jupiter and rings of Saturn. I would literately have 20 to 40 people laying in the cool summer sands of the beach, staring up at the stars, it was like people had never seen them before. Soon, it was known that some geeky kid was giving free astronomy shows each Saturday night on the beach. It was great fun seeing children squeal with joy when they saw Saturn, Jupiter and moon under high power magnification.
After 15 years of use, my old telescope gave up the ghost. The soft iron shafts and brass bushings began to wear and there was to much free play in the mount. The main mirror started to oxidize and the silver coating was actually starting to wear out in places.
Since then I stopped stargazing because other things took over in my life, and doing astronomy is not conducive to a marriage, unless your significant other likes it or doesn’t mind not seeing during the night for hours on end.
So now here I am, single again, with time on my hands and my eyes wander towards the heavens, but I do not have a decent size scope. Ok, I do have a Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain D90 F/11.11 with dual focus, but it’s useful limits are really restricted to Mag +12 (under excellent view conditions) and I do not have an even half-ways decent mount for it. It would make for an excellent piggyback scope and I do have the adapter rings to attach my Nikon D80 SDLR to it.
In the end, I want a scope,… and I have been shopping around and have narrowed my choice down to Meade LX90 series with either a Schmidt-Cassegrain 8″ F/10 or 10″ F/10 or the Celestron SGT series with a either a Schmidt-Cassegrain 8″ F/10 or 9.25″ F/10.
Any fellow nerds or nerdettes out there with an opinion on these kits or with a recommendation for a different setup?