Buying More Aperture

I have written about my bout with aperture fever on this site, and how I overcame the affliction – at least temporarily. To be fair to myself, I did a through assessment of why I bought the Televue NP101 (4″ apochromatic refractor), and I came to terms with why it is a fine instrument. I am by no means abandoning this telescope. It has a place in my collection, and it can do things that the light bucket that I am about to describe could never dream of doing. I expect to use it often for as long as I am able to engage in my hobby.

Please indulge me for one more paragraph before I describe what I am buying. I have also written here about why I bought the NP101 in the first place – I am preparing to enjoy my life-long love of astronomy in my retirement. The acquisition that I am presently pursuing will add another dimension to my enjoyment of my hobby, and to my ability to share my hobby with others. And to be sure, this new instrument can do things that the NP101 can never dream of doing. There is plenty of room for both instruments in my collection.

The telescope that I have ordered is a Meade LX200 12-inch f/8 Schmidt-Cassegrain reflecting telescope. Unlike others I know who have purchased Meade or Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain reflectors, I chose to forgo the Meade fork-style mount, and chose instead the Losmandy G-11 German equatorial mount (GEM) with the Gemini II goto system.

This telescope weighs 56 pounds, which exceeds the capacity of my Losmandy GM-8. I chose Losmandy mount over a Meade fork-style mount, because I intend to do astrophotography. A fork style mount is simple to use and is great for visual astronomy. It is, however, completely inadequate for astrophotography. This, and my familiarity with Losmandy made the G-11 a natural choice. And since finding objects with an instrument of this focal length (much narrower field of view) will be exceedingly more difficult than with my NP101, I ordered the Gemini II goto system to reduce the amount of time time required for find the object that I might be trying to visually observe or photograph.

I expect to take delivery of the telescope and mount in six to eight weeks. I will not be sharing the news of my telescope’s arrival with my amateur astronomer friends, because they will most undoubtedly hold me accountable for the many cloudy nights that are sure to follow its arrival. Meanwhile, I must maintain my sanity by being calm and forgetting that I have a new telescope on order.

© James R. Johnson, 2016
jim@jrjohnson.net.