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Monthly Archives: November 2008

26 Nov

What’s the best deal in a computerized telescope for the holiday season? My vote is the closeout telescope version of the Meade DS-2114 telescope called the Meade DS2114 ATS-TC. We purchased the last of these older model Meade DS-2114 telescopes from Meade in volume which allows us to offer these computerized telescopes at a price that is only half the price of the current version of the Meade DS-2114 LNT telescope. It even includes two eyepieces. That makes it one of the best buys ever on a Meade telescope. No, the Meade DS2114 ATS-TC will not fit in a stocking, …

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25 Nov

From the name, the Meade ETX-80 telescope and the Meade ETX-90 telescope would seem to be very similar telescopes. Both good telescopes, of course, but the ETX-80 is only half the price of the ETX-90. Is there a difference in these two Meade telescopes? Oh, yeah. Big difference. The ETX-90 PE telescope is a much higher grade telescope in three ways. First, the ETX-90 comes with a better built and sturdier mount than the low priced ETX-80. Second, the ETX-90 has the higher grade Meade Autostar 497 computer, the same computer used on Meade’s most expensive telescopes. The ETX-80 has …

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24 Nov

Is the Bushnell Northstar Mak 90 telescope as good as a Meade ETX-90 telescope? This is a question I get due to the much lower price of the Bushnell Mak 90. Now some people will dismiss any Bushnell telescope out of hand, as being much inferior to any Meade telescope. I do not agree with this. Let’s take optics, for instance. Yes, the ETX-90 will deliver better image quality, but the Bushnell Mak is actually quite good and it surprised me the first time I tested one. Tube construction is also quite good on the Bushnell Mak – minimum of …

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21 Nov

Nearly all telescopes under $100 feature a high percentage of plastic parts. That’s typical at this telescope price point and one reason I do my best to get customers into better quality telescopes. There is one exception under $100, however, and that is the Bushnell 3″ reflector. Minimum of plastic parts on this model, making it my first choice in a cheap telescope. This cheap beginners telescope gets my vote as the one “most likely to survive” a rough encounter with children and stay with them if they sustain an interest in astronomy.…

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20 Nov

For years, one of the things that has most frustrated users of computerized telescopes is the need to first align the computer and the telescope so that both are pointing at exactly the same place in the sky. In the early days, this alignment procedure was often a complicated and time consuming task, requiring a lot of hands-on user intervention. The good news is that telescope alignment has been getting quicker and easier these past few years, but even the best computerized telescope system still requires some hands-on tweaking to get it right.

A lot of us have dreamed of …

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19 Nov

One of the things I love about Maksutov-Cassgrains (Maks, for short) telescopes is the great image quality. A good Mak is second only in this respect to a very expensive APO refractor. The best Mak telescopes on the market are the ever popular Meade ETX-90 PE and the larger ETX-125PE. Doesn’t get much better than an ETX 90 or 125. Have had an ETX-125 at 200x, here in the city, on Saturn and Jupiter and the image was as good as it gets on these planets. Best of all, an ETX-125 is not so heavy that I cannot pick it …

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18 Nov

The 8″ Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope has been long regarded as the entry level telescope for serious amateur astronomy and for good reason. An 8″ SCT (Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope) is large enough to see a great many of the fainter deep-sky objects and it is always a good choice for planets. In fact, a Schmidt-Cassegrain can be accessorized to do almost any job in astronomy and do it well. One of the best values going in an 8″ Schmidt-Cassegrain is the Celestron Nexstar 8SE. No way you will get into a computerized, portable, 8″ Schmidt-Cassegrain at such a nice price and in a …

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17 Nov

Had a visit from our excellent Leica camera rep to bring us up to speed on the Leica M camera, which we have recently added to our website. In a way, I really wish he hadn’t come, or, I should say, I almost wish he hadn’t brought those Leica M cameras for me to ooh and ahh about. Now I am thinking an almost impossibel fanatasy of carrying a classic Leica camera, just as I always dreamed of owning a Leica R back in my SLR days. For a pursit like me, it was almost too much, especially when I …

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12 Nov

I told a friend the other day that I don’t go on birding trips too often. She was shocked, of course, and asked what was wrong. Was I sick? Guy problems? I smiled, and then explained to her that I was having a little fun at her expense. What I should have said is that birding is something I do on a daily basis and something I assimilate into my daily routine. Birding has become such part of my lifestyle that it no longer gets set aside for a specific time or day. I can’t pedal down a street or …

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11 Nov

There is so much to decide when choosing a telescope that even basic articles like my How to choose the right telescope can still be too much in one bite. Wouldn’t it be nice if a beginner could narrow it down to only two questions at the start and then go to a basic article for more information? You can! Just in time for the holiday season, I wrote Telescope First Questions. Once you answer the two questions discussed in this article, you can follow up with fine tune it with How to choose the right telescope to get that …

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