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7354Re: [tmboptical] Re: Quasi-observing report

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  • Eric W. Baumgartner
    Feb 2, 2003
    • 0 Attachment
      Tony:

      I'm about to order a Feathertouch focuser and adapter for the 3 in. focuser of my TMB 130. I spoke at length with Detlef Schmidt yesterday, and he was very helpful and patient in answering my questions. Still, it would be a tremendous help to see photos of your focuser and adapter plate in pieces and assembled.

      Thanks in advance,

      Eric Baumgartner


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Tony White <twhite@...>
      To: tmboptical@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Saturday, February 01, 2003 4:59 PM
      Subject: [tmboptical] Re: Quasi-observing report


      John,

      Thanks for your comments.

      Nothing needs to be "changed" to adapt the Feathertouch to the TMB
      focuser. Starlight Instruments makes an adapter plate that threads
      into the end of the 4" focuser. All you need to do is thread that
      adapter into the end of your focuser tube and then attach the
      Feathertouch (it slots into a machined hole in the adapter and is
      secured with three set screws). A real amateur can make the change
      in a matter of minutes.

      Having both is nice simply because one can achieve rough focus with
      the TMB focuser and fine focus with the Feathertouch - which is
      really nice when you have a number of people who want to view
      through the same scope and all need slightly different focus. The
      TMB focuser just doesn't have the range of tension it needs to make
      this easy - especially with a binoviewer load and pointed near
      zenith. I had problems with mine wanting to rack out immediately
      upon loosening of the focuser tension screw. The Feathertouch has a
      shaft brake which, instead of locking against the focuser drawtube
      itself, pushes a flat piece of metal against the shaft tensioned
      with a screw - which gives a lot of control over the amount of
      tension on the focuser shaft while not allowing the focuser to rack
      back out.

      If there is enough interest, I can take and post photos of the
      focuser and adapter plate seperately and together and the end result
      on my tube.

      regards,

      twhite

      --- In tmboptical@yahoogroups.com, "John Erickson" <jerickson@w...>
      wrote:
      > I enjoyed your post. I also have the 152 and am considering
      changing
      > the focuser. What cost was involved in changing out to a
      feathertouch
      > focuser? What is needed? Can a real amateur make the change or is
      > professional help needed?
      >
      > I regularly see both E and F components through my 152 when I haul
      it to
      > my friends house in Boulder City, Nevada.
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Tony White <twhite@d...> [mailto:twhite@d...]
      > Sent: Saturday, February 01, 2003 12:08 AM
      > To: tmboptical@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [tmboptical] Quasi-observing report
      >
      > Took the 152 out to our club star party tonight, and wanted to
      share
      > a few things with the group.
      >
      > We were fortunate enough tonight to enjoy some of the best seeing
      > we've had in the Tulsa area for some time - though it sure didn't
      > look as though it was going to be that good starting out. I
      arrived
      > at our club's observatory site about 30 minutes before sunset, but
      > the entire western sky was obscured by clouds that were being
      blown
      > to the north. We didn't hold out a lot of hope, but we set up
      > anyway and waited. The southern sky wasn't too bad, so I went
      ahead
      > and pointed the scope at M42 with my Nikon binoviewer and 19
      > Panoptics for the visitors and kids who would leave early. I also
      > wanted to see if the Feathertouch retrofit to the 152 was as
      > successful as I'd hoped it would be (more on that later). It
      turned
      > out that the view was enjoyed more by the club members than the
      > visitors - and every one of them said that it was the best view of
      > M42 they'd ever had out of any telescope. Using both eyes with
      the
      > binoviewer and allowing the image to develop while observing let
      > everyone see more detail in the nebula and the dust lanes. I
      > thought I caught a glimpse of the E component in the Trapezium
      with
      > averted vision, but maybe not.
      >
      > Of course, the kids wanted to see planets, so I obliged them.
      > Saturn was spectacular. With the 5mm Pentax Ortho at 240x, we
      were
      > easily able to discern both Cassini's and Encke's divisions as
      well
      > as several planetary bands. The kids (and their parents) oohed
      and
      > aahed over that for quite a while. Later Jupiter came up enough
      to
      > get out of the turbulence (though the skies actually got more
      steady
      > as the night wore on) and we observed that as well. Both Io and
      > Europa transited the planetary disk, and it was well observed with
      > my 5.2mm Pentax XL (which actually provided more contrast and
      > surface detail than the 5mm Ortho). The point at which Io was
      > ending its transit and Europa was entering it was quite
      spectacular -
      > both moons were discernible against the disk of Jupiter, and one
      > could still see shadows projected on the disk. It was quite
      > stunning, and enjoyed by everyone who was still there.
      >
      > Another club member who was working on his Double Stars asked if
      we
      > could find a couple of doubles for him to log that he wasn't able
      to
      > split in his scope. One was 38 Lyncis, a pair with only 2.7" of
      > separation with components of 3.8 and 6.5 (iirc). Easy split with
      > the 7mm Pentax XL. I've never observed that one before, so it was
      > gratifying to observe.
      >
      > All of this was, to me, enhanced by the Feathertouch focuser that
      I
      > fitted with the adapter Detlef made for the TMB. The amount of
      fine
      > control it added to focusing made both binoviewing and cyclops-
      > viewing a *joy*. I had *no* problems whatsoever focusing the
      > binoviewer - even with the OTA pointed near the zenith while
      > initially observing Saturn. The brake held the focuser in place
      > with the load of the bino and the 19 Pans easily. Of course,
      > cyclops mode was simply stunning. There were several folks who
      were
      > at the star party last month when I gave the 152 first "public"
      > light and had seen the image of M42 in the bino, but they all said
      > that having the Feathertouch made a real difference in achieving
      > critical focus (seeing was better tonight, but not so much so that
      > it was a major factor). Even the seasoned observers in the club
      > were stunned - there were several "oh wows" and other stronger
      > exclamations from those more experienced viewers. :) Several of
      > the kids (ages were probably 6-10) were fascinated with it and
      > observed for several minutes (most gratifying to me - it makes it
      > all worthwhile to have the kids look for more than 10-15
      seconds).
      > Bottom line - I would *highly* recommend anyone with a TMB
      consider
      > adding a Feathertouch to their scope. It really made it easy to
      > snap to focus on planets. I saw more detail viewable in Saturn at
      > 240x tonight than I've ever seen - even with better seeing
      > conditions - and I attribute that to being able to achieve better
      > focus. I tried both (stock focuser and Feathertouch) and there is
      > no question in my mind that the Feathertouch is much easier and
      more
      > satisfying to use and worth every penny spent.
      >
      > The wind picked up about 11PM and made it a bit unpleasant, so we
      > had to pack up earlier than we would have liked. Hopefully
      tomorrow
      > night will be as good as tonight (but warmer, as forecasted) and
      > we'll go back out for another evening.
      >
      > regards,
      >
      > twhite
      >
      >
      >
      >
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