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I am a long focal length addict. Shooting deep space at 4000mm comes with major hurdles. Even the steel pier contracting a few microns during the night time temperature drop throws out my polar alignment. Long focal length AP introduces many different issues that normal AP doesn't. However usually during the summer I enjoy warm nights and a lot of telescope time, but this summer, there is an exceptional amount of turbulence in the atmosphere here in Western Australia. It is the wettest January on record for a very long time, and the scintillation is incredibly powerful. So much so that I can't get sharp focus, or if I do get sharp focus, the 5 minute subs still come out hazy as the stars move significantly in and out of focus. At first I thought I was going crazy, dew on the corrector plate, or simply focused with the wrong filter, but after checking and rechecking it is definitely the seeing. So my options are drop the FR back to something like 3.3 or 6.3 or wait to finish two awesome shots at F11. I have two Meade focal reducers, 3.3 and 6.3. I know the threads fit my C14, but does anyone know if the optical arrangement is suited to Celestron telescopes (before I start pulling everything apart)? Regards Ray
Even though I already have flop stoppers on my C14 the mirror still shifts sideways, and not just a little bit, enough to make my astrophotography efforts worthless. Recapping that the problems with mirror flop are poor photos not matter how good the guiding, poor pointing model, loss of focus and collimation. The standard flop stopper config is to attach screws through the rear cell of the telescope which attach to the bottom of the mirror. This mostly only prevents movement front and backwards and will remove a small amount of sideways inertia, but sideways inertia is still detectable. When you are dealing with a heavy piece of glass like the C14 mirror you will still experience some sideways shifting and this is amplified greatly by the awesome focal length of the C14. My solution to this is three M6 nylon screws at 120 degrees apart placed through threaded holes in the rear cell that push up against the side of the mirror holding it in place (very similar system to how we hold guide and finder scopes inside guide rings). I chose M6 screws because their rigidity will increase their holding power. Nylon instead of metal so that we don't chip or scratch the side of the mirror. I was able to use two existing holes and only needed to drill one more. All three needed to be tapped for the M6 thread. I will report back tonight with my results. Fingers crossed. Ray
Had a large counterweight machined up last week but it wasn't enough for this rig. One more counterweight will get made tomorrow go on hopefully by tomorrow afternoon and then I'll be ready to balance and start using the guidescope. Mount is currently holding a Solarmax 90, DS, BF30, C14, mini guidescope, guidescope adjuster, QSI 683wsg-8. It is a fair bit of weight on the mount, but the mount (AstroPhysics 1600GTO) but can apparently slew around twice this weight. Should be an interesting week if all goes to plan. Ray