I recently acquired a lovely new Moonlite CR1 focuser for my Dob at a bargain price courtesy of First Light Optics, who are having a clearance sale. The Moonlite system is great in that it has a modular approach, with spacers added under the filter until the required extension is achieved. However I found that the focus point for my scope was right at the limit of the supplied spacers, and that another few mm was needed. At the same time, I noticed that Moonlite also sell a filter slide, which attaches inside the tube. Unfortunately this cannot be used on my scope as the spider vane lines up with the focuser. In any case I couldn’t justify $150 for such a simple assembly. I realised that I could use the design of the Moonlite focuser to my advantage, and build a filter slide, allowing nebulae such as the Veil to be blinked in and out, while providing the extra extension to give me focus in all my eyepieces.
With the later nights coming in, my thoughts inevitably turn to the long, observation-free horror that is the English Summer. So I decided to make a solar filter for my 5″ Mak. You can buy these pre-made for a variety of sizes of telescope, but I prefer the Blue Peter Challenge of making things myself from household objects.
Last summer was my first as an amateur stargazer, and I confess I found it rather frustrating not having anything much to look at. So in my usual fashion I started to get Garage Project Syndrome and was looking for something to make.
Then I visited fellow SPOGger Mark Radice, who had prototyped a binocular mount for his giant bins and showed how simple it was. Well, clearly this would not do – I had to try my hand at one.
I’ve got a secret love my wife doesn’t know about: I’m in love with my Telrad. It transformed my 10″ dob when I first got it, and I would literally be lost without it. But there’s one problem: at some point in the evening, I inevitably find myself wiping buckets of dew off the glass.
I tried a couple of solutions; first I wired up a homemade dew heater using high wattage resistors – but it didn’t work. Then I tried Rod Nabholz’s homemade dewshield; that worked, but kept getting knocked off by the barbeque cover I use to keep the dust off the scope when its stored in the garage.
So I needed a more robust solution. There are several available on the market, but whenever I’m confronted with a website asking £30 for a couple of pieces of plastic my response is always the same: get out the tools and make it myself.