Tag Archives: Meade 8″ SCT

De-Forking a Meade 8″ SCT OTA

This sound a bit obscene but I promise that no animals, people or telescopes were harmed in the process.

The Meade SCT in question is an 8″  2080 model that I purchased around 1992. I used it quite a bit for a number of years until my interest turned to astrophotography. The specific model do not have a dec motor and the RA motor is running off 240VAC.

img_2775Over time I build an invertor that could work from AC or 12VDC and allowed me to vary the frequency  around the nominal 50Hz and I could therefore do some manual guiding in RA with a set of buttons and with the existing fine controls on the DEC. It worked a treat for a while but anybody that has guided long exposures manually will know that its a very tedious exercise with unpredictable results.

Well, now everything has changed. The new Skywatcher EQ6-R can easily carry the 8″ OTA (Optical Tube Assembly) as well as my ED 80mm and new opportunities becomes available.

I had to de-fork the OTA out of the Meade fork mount to allow me to fit a Losmandy plate to allow for the OTA to be fitted to the EQ6-R. There are a lot of guidance on the web for how to do this but I used the following site:

http://uncle-rods.blogspot.com.au/search?q=getting+deforked

Its remarkable easy and took no time at all.

Loosen two bolts on one of the arms first.

img_2778

Then remove three small bolts from each side of the tube. Take care to work on a soft surface and have someone assist you to make sure you don’t scratch the tube surface.img_2779

And its off!img_2780

Now to mount the Losmandy DM8 kit into the existing holes on the OTA.img_2783

10 minutes later…img_2784 img_2785 img_2786

And now the amazing Meade 8″ OTA can be used on a very capable and accurate mount. A big change for me and there should be some new images soon.

img_2788With my luck it will probably be cloudy and rainy for a month now ….

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Unpacking the SkyWatcher EQ6-R mount

The EQ6-R has arrived on Thursday and I unpacked it that night. No surprises there….

Here are some photos of the process:

img_2751 img_2753 img_2754 img_2755img_2756 img_2757 img_2758The handle makes it easy to lift the mount head with one hand.img_2759 img_2762The adjustments bolts look quite solid, at least 15mm on the main altitude bolt and 12mm on the other three.img_2766 img_2767Saddle takes Vixen and Losmandy.img_2768 Probably not many changes visible here on the cable panel except for the power connector that is now a solid screw on type.img_2769 img_2770Synscan loaded with version 04.37.03.

img_2772 img_2773 img_2774Waiting for the weekend now and a mounting plate for my Orion ED 80mm EON and also a Losmandy DM8  dovetail plate for my Meade 8″ SCT.

Omega Centauri globular cluster

Omega Centauri is a large globular cluster close to the Southern Cross in the constellation of Centaurus. See the finder chard below to help you find it. The cluster is visible with any binoculars (and telescope). It looks like a 4th maginitude star with the naked eye but with a telescope it resolves into thousands of pinpoint stars. This cluster is the brightest and largest globular cluster in the entire sky. It is a ball of stars that cover about the same area of the sky as the full moon.

I played around with my 8″ SCT last week in the southern suburbs of Adelaide under very bright skies. The moon was beginning to set but the city lights was still very bright.

The following image is nothing to write home about. Due to the very bright sky the noise levels are very high and battled to make a decent image of it.  I promise to do better next time under a dark sky. The image is made up of 6 light frames of 20 seconds each at ISO1600 and 2 dark frames all stacked by DeepSkyStacker and processed with Photoshop CS2 and Lightroom 4.4. The telescope is f/10 but I used a focal reducer on it that brough it down to f/6.3.

Picture saved with settings applied.

To find Omega Centauri, start from the Southern Cross (hopefully you can find that in the southern sky). Then find the star Hadar (or Beta Centauri, its one of the two pointers), then trace a line through a small star to Omega Centauri. If the sky is clear and dark you should have no problem finding it with binoculars.

Omega Centauri