Meade ED80 APO Triplett

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I have had several small auxiliary scopes mounted on the LX50 tube over the years.  The most recent was a Celestron Short Tube 80.  This is the scope used to make my recent astrophotos.  Having discovered the best focal length for my needs (around 500mm) I decided to get some good optics.  I looked at quite a few scopes, asked lots of questions and decided on this one.....

It is the new Meade Series 5000 ED 3 element APO refractor.  I got the 80mm f/6 version.  It tips the scales right at 7.2 lbs with the included enhanced 99% diagonal and 1 1/4 reducer.  I have a T-track rail system mounted on the scope and merely added two T-bolts to the "foot" on the scope to mount it. 

For fun I ran the eyepiece calculator with the eyepieces I have:

Eyepiece Magnification Field Of View Exit Pupil
41mm PanOptic 12x 5.8 6.83
35mm PanOptic 14x 5.0 5.83
27mm PanOptic 18x 3.8 4.5
24mm PanOptic 20x 3.4 4
22mm PanOptic 22x 3.1 3.6
19mm PanOptic 25x 2.7 3.16
15mm PanOptic 32x 2.1 2.5
14mm UWA 34x 2.4 2.33
12mm Nagler 40x 2.0 2.0
8.8 UWA 55x 1.5 1.46
6.7 UWA 72x 1.1 1.12

And it has been cloudy ever since the scope arrived.......

This bird was about 30' away, shot at prime focus with the Canon 10D.  Effective focal length is 770mm!

Also prime focus with 10D. The conversion process from Canon RAW to small JPEG adds some artifacting, but the lens is essentially color free.  A short view of the sky last night (1/24/07) has me believing I found the correct scope for many purposes.

I took the scope out to a semi dark site about 70 miles from my house on 2/17/07 even though the skies were not predicted to be very good.  Surprisingly it was fairly nice Friday night, Saturday was a bust though as the clouds rolled in around sunset.

    

Unguided test shots of the new lens, Canon 10D at prime focus.  Flame Nebula was 2 minutes at 1600 ISO.  In the original image the Horsehead shows up reasonably well.  Orion Nebula was 1.5 minutes at 1600 ISO.

A new mounting foot....

I found that the foot included on the new scope would not fit the dovetail on the top of the Atlas EQG and decided to make an entirely new one as opposed to milling down the original.  I elected to do this for several reasons among the most important was the ability to adjust the center of the FOV to match the main scope.  Side to side alignment was possible due to the play in the T track, but some sort of an elevation screw was needed for vertical alignment.  Here's the new foot...

The height of the foot was increased about 0.750" to allow more access to the bolts.

 

Updated 2/25/07