I wrote in the December issue of The Bolton Astronomer about an old Meade 102 refractor and GoTo mount which one of our members had rescued from the bin(!)
Well, whilst I've been repairing the electronics in the GoTo system, Brian has been working his mechanical magic on the optical tube. The original focusing-rack was only plastic and its teeth had been badly chewed up, so we ordered (from eBay China) a new all-metal focuser which Brian has skilfully fitted. This upgrade means that it can now be used with a 2" diagonal and eyepieces as well as the original 1.25" fittings.
John wasn't at Tuesday's meeting, so having picked it up from Brian on his behalf I couldn't resist trying it for myself. I fitted my 2" diagonal and 26mm eyepiece and managed to shoe-horn the tube into a pair of rings so that I could attach it onto my CG5 mount: Last night there was some clear sky around 10pm, so I went out and had a look at the M42 Nebula and easily distinguished the four stars of The Trapezium. Then I slewed to the M31 Galaxy, the Double Cluster and the M81 & 82 galaxies.
This morning just before breakfast I spotted Jupiter close to the Moon, so I set up again and used my 10mm eyepiece on the planet to see its cloud-belts.
Finally, around 4:30pm I got it all out again to have a look at Venus, and then Mars. The simple achromatic doublet gave a fair amount of colour-fringing with the bright Venus, but clearly showed its 50% phase. Then I used my 10mm eyepeice and a Barlow-lens to achieve a magnification of 160x, with which I could just about make out the Syrtis Major on the Martian surface.
So well done to Brian for such a fine repair, and I hope that John has as much success with his "new" 'scope next week as I've had already!
Blog the previous nights viewing. Link to images on the gallery or simply describe what you observed the night before. Leave the technical and howto in another forum.
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