March 8, 2008

Greetings again from The Star Deck Observatory!  I hope everybody has had a couple of good months to start off their new year for 2008!  Things have been rather stagnating here at the Star Deck for the past few months, between the many many evenings of very poor to no seeing what so ever, a pretty drastic schedule change in my own little world for right now, due to an on going saga with Work Comp as we attempt to get a back injury from mid October of 2007 taken care of so I can return to my regular duties and schedule I've just not had the time, nor will to accomplish much in the way of Amateur Astronomy.

With the above said it is safe to say that not a whole lot has happened on The Star Deck in the way of news and or updates.  I did manage some new Mars, Saturn, & Moon shots with my "new" Philips NC900 Web Cam using Craig Stark's Craterlet capture/acquisition software.  They can be found in the Star Deck Photo Albums, in the Solar System album.  I have been studying on some possible upgrades to some of my more basic "economy" astronomy equipment as well.

I am looking at replacing the primary mirror in my Orion SVP 8" Newtonian OTA with a higher grade mirror.  I contacted Wooden Optics and R.F. Royce Precision Optical for a quote on a 203mm F4.9 primary mirror.  I never received response to my inquiries from Wooden Optics and a rather prompt reply from R.F. Royce Precision Optical, which sealed my decision to order the new 203mm high quality replacement mirror from R.F. Royce.  I plan to replace the secondary also with a little larger elliptical mirror, the stock version is 1.83" and from my calculations this does not give me the full illumination as it should from my 203 mm primary at F5.  I'm looking to replace it with a 2.14 inch elliptical when the primary is replaced, likely a ProtoStar elliptical mirror.  I'm hoping to be able to achieve a high grade Newtonian from this little modification exercise at a little more economical price.

I am still not sure on the size of the secondary I would like to get.  The 2.14 inch will give me a great full illumination of the camera, but at a sacrifice of a larger obstruction vs. the 1.83 inch stock sized mirror.  A little better contrast or little better chip and film illumination???!  I don't think the extra few percent of obstruction from the 2.14" elliptical over the smaller 1.83" secondary will amount to much of a contrast loss.  I am also considering replacing the 4 straight vane spider with a curved vane spider, but not yet set on that option.  The Royce mirror should be ready in about 2 months, it will be interesting to see how the finished project turns out.  I won't be calling it the Orion SVP anymore once it's done, it won't even be close!  I appreciate any input on the ideal of going to the larger 2.14 elliptical over the 1.83" elliptical, feel free to drop me an e-mail via the contact links here on the site!

Well sorry for no new or great news this month, I may be putting up a couple of articles in the reviews & reports section over the next couple of weeks.  I wanted to put out some basic thoughts on switching over to the Philips Web Cam over the Meade LPI for planetary imaging, as well as some input on a couple of Stark Labs great little applications.  Keep stopping by once & a while to check out any new articles as well as any new photos in the photo albums, until then...............!

Clear Skies!
The Mad One

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

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News & Updates - March 25, 2007

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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

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