The “Rising Stars Corner” is a chance to share some Novice and Tutorial type info with new members
and/or for the benefit of those are just thinking about getting into amateur astronomy (our Rising Stars).
If the series seems useful to you, let me know what kinds of items you might be interested in for future
Rising Stars Corners.
This month’s tidbits are:

1) In a recent donation of equipment to the club there were 2 books.
(shown at right). If you’d like to “check” one or the other of these out,
we’ll try to have these at the upcoming meeting. Please try to check
them back in - in a month or so - so someone else can try them out too.

2) If you’re like me, you may be getting tired of having to significantly change
the focus every time you change from one power eyepiece to another
(many times just during the alignment of the scope’s go-to routine!). Some
eyepieces are matched sets, but mine are various versions of hand me
downs. I finally bid the bullet and bought some par focalizing rings (picture
at right) so I could set them up to be interchangeable. Of course, because
I was in a hurry, I bought sets from a couple of vendors at once and paid
more accordingly. Later I found that member Larry Rudner would be
happy to use his home machine shop to make up similar rings or sets for
about half what I paid! If you’re interested in his club member “special”
offer, see him at one of the meetings and he can probably accommodate
your desire to have interchangeable eyepieces.

3) For new and “observing hardware challenged” members, we had two (2) candidate club loaner
scopes donated during the last month. I’m presently checking them out and seeing what they
might need to make them suitable for a “club loaner” scope and will notify President Steve and
the board if significant funds might be needed in some cases.

a. The first scope I’ll say is in need of some loving care while it is
being borrowed. That is because it was received with the mount
structure in damaged (broken) condition and, although I have been able
to get it back together and in workable condition, I would hope it would
be used “gently” so that it does not get broken again (probably
permanently). The present configuration is shown at the right. The
tripod that it is on came with it, but I believe is not really capable of
holding it in a polar orientation (probably how it got broken), So I’ll talk
to the President/Board about getting a more suitable/heavier duty tripod
so it could be used in other than a non-driven Az/El (precarious)
configuration – but it should be quite nice for bird and nature watching
until them. You may be able to see in the picture, it is a Maksutov-
Cassegrain with a long focal ratio, so it will provide lots of magnification.
Contact Steve Schiff or myself if you’re interested in giving this nice
scope a good “club loaner” home. People at outreach events like
Loggerhead should really like the views it should provide! It is not a Go-
To unit, but will provide nice views when to point it at the great sky

b. The second scope is a 125 Maksutov-Cassegrain so, even without the white light glass
solar filter and other accessories, someone on Amazon is currently asking around $3,000 for a
less capable configuration! Since it is a larger and more complex unit, it will take some learning
curve persistence to lift and master its use. It does have a matching tripod in a Meade bag and a
hard case for transporting the scope/drive unit. It also has a screw-on light shield, but no dew
heaters of dew shield. We’ll need to think about protection against the Florida Dew most nights,
but that, like the fact that it did not come with a power pack or cigarette lighter adapter are not
show stoppers, probably just details. The sun filter, if the spotter scope is capped will enable it to
provide sun spot, as well as night sky views. The tripod has a mechanism for mounting the unit in
a polar configuration which will get the go-to alignment sequence what it needs (if not setting up
for Az/El drive orientation). I plan to take the unit to Pine Glades for a set up and check out, but
not sure if I’ll be able to get a photo into this note of the full setup.

See August 2016 newsletter for photos!