September 12, 2008

Hello and welcome to The Star Deck Observatory's news and updates!  It's been quite a while since there has been much in the way of updates or activity on The Star Deck's pages from me.    There has been a lot going on, on The Deck since my last updates.  As I mentioned I did a complete refurbishment of the original Orion SVP 8" Newtonian, and it has been performing very well.  All in all I've ben very pleased with the upgrades, visually on an a night of average seeing I have been able to push the Newtonian up to F20 and still have very good clarity on Jupiter & Saturn.  With the original mirrors it took some above average skies to push the Orion up much past F10 before clarity and details began to fuzz out.  I still plan to eventually put up a brief page with some pictures and descriptions of the "new" OTA.

I found a very good price on for the Vixen GPD2 mount only and now own a Vixen GPD2.  I took the Autostar drives from my LAX and performed the retrofit of the Meade LAX Autostar drives to the Vixen GPD2.  It was actually a very easy process requiring only a slightly shorter screw to secure the  Right Ascension motor assembly to the Vixen and the use of a standard 1/4" flat washer between the mount point and the Declination Motor assemble to act as a spacer shim for a little better fit.  That was about it, basically the Meade Autostar drive assemblies "bolted" right onto the Vixen GPD2 and perform with the Vixen about the same as they did with the LXD75.  I will be keeping the LXD75 for my portable mount for a while and be acquiring another set of drives for it.  I have written an article on the LXD75 found on the reports and reviews page this month "The LXD75 In Retrospect".  It is basically my opinions, dealings with, and general finds about the mount from having used, tuned up and maintained the mount for a couple of years now.

The Vixen GPD2 has had a couple of issues right out of the box, but I think I will be able to fairly easily be able to work them out.  More on that another time, over all I have been favorable impressed with the tracking performance of the Vixen as well as the small periodic error, disappointed to have the troubles new right out of the box though!  Little disappointed in their customer support so far too, they don't seem to be returning my messages anymore, but hopefully that will work out.

In May I had stated I was having some ongoing issues from a back injury.  Things have improved, but I am still undergoing continued evaluations and treatments for the problem, at any rate I am back to performing my full duties at the fire department a whole lot less uncomfortably.  It's looking very good for me to be able to complete a full normal career there and that is good!

It has been a rough summer for doing much in the way of Astrophotography.  Most of the nights where I could get out to do anything the weather was not very cooperative, the nights of even average skies just didn't seem to fall on most of the evenings I had to get out.  Couple that with the later times of the skies getting dark enough to start your evening and it just was not a very productive summer for photography.  Although with the new optics I did get in some nice, but short observation sessions.  Hopefully I will have some better luck this coming fall.  I will also be updating the DSO of the Month starting again for the fall.  Look for the possibility of a couple of how to articles coming up in the coming months too as I may finally get around to writing some of the ones I have spoken of on the various group boards, until next time;

Clear Skies!
The Mad One

Mark Jordan
39 47' 06" North X 85 46' 10" West

News & Updates Web Hosting
This site was built entirely by Mark Jordan
with SiteSpinner by Virtual Mechanics!

Set screen resolution to
1024 x 768 for best view
Set screen resolution to
1024 x 768 for best view
News & Updates - March 25, 2007

News & Updates - April 6, 2007

News & Updates - May 6, 2007

News & Updates - May 16, 2007

News & Updates - October 22, 2007

News & Updates - November 5, 2007

News & Updates - December 15, 2007

News & Updates - March 13, 2007

News & Updates - March 8, 2008

News & Updates - May 29, 2008

Equip. Maint. & Mods
Monthly Reviews
Star Deck Home
Favorite Links
News & Blogs