Astrophotography in Central Mass 

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The Missing Cap (Orion Telescope Downer)

Published on 2015-11-06, by

Earlier this year, I purchased an Orion 4.5″ StarBlast telescope from the Goodwill Auction website.  The telescope arrived in all of the original packaging and I couldn’t see any signs of wear.  I believe the telescope was donated new or perhaps used only once or twice.  After some deliberation I decided to donate the telescope to a local library as part of the Aldrich Astronomical Society‘s Library Telescope Program.  I initiated a GoFundMe campaign to raise the funds necessary to purchase the additional supplies that go into transforming the telescope for public use (PDF). Thanks to the generosity of many people, I was able to raise the $200 very quickly and John Root will put in the order for the remaining components.

The one caveat in all of this is that either Goodwill left out the OTA cap on accident or the person who donated the telescope to Goodwill omitted it.  In order for the telescope to travel to and from library patrons’ homes safely, a dust cap is needed and preferably an OEM cap.  I contacted Orion and was rather shocked to find out that they could not offer me a replacement.  If you have any suggestions or know of a place I can purchase a replacement please use the contact page.

I post this not to fault Orion’s agent, Giovanni, nor the company as a whole.  They make great products and that’s why we’re able to successfully deploy them to so many libraries.  I am posting this as a plea to Orion to offer replacement parts to owners of their telescopes–regardless of whether they are the original owner.

Here’s a full transcript of my chat with the Orion agent (2015-11-06):

Chat 2015.11.06

Giovanni
12:35:50
Thank you for contacting Orion Telescopes & Binoculars, how may I help you today?
Charlie Ste…
12:36:17
I lost the aperture cover for my Orion StarBlast 4.5 astro reflector telescope (the tabletop unit) can I get another one?
Giovanni
12:37:03
Did you purchase this telescope from us?
Charlie Ste…
12:37:24
No I purchased it used from Goodwill
Charlie Ste…
12:38:15
Happy to pay for the part
Giovanni
12:39:02
Are you referring to the collimation cap?
Charlie Ste…
12:39:37
No the cap that covers the OTA
Charlie Ste…
12:39:46
The big one
Giovanni
12:41:21
The one that goes on the end of the telescope when doing solar viewing?
Charlie Ste…
12:41:51
No the opaque black one that protects the primary from dust etc during storage and transport
Giovanni
12:42:06
One moment please
Charlie Ste…
12:42:17
Thanks, Giovanni
Giovanni
12:42:54
Like this correct?
http://www.telescope.com/432mm-Orion-Lens-Cap-for-Binoculars/p/7609.uts?keyword=telescope%20cap
Charlie Ste…
12:43:17
One sec
Charlie Ste…
12:43:59
Sort of… this is for the Orion 4.5″ telescope
Charlie Ste…
12:44:11
I think part of it fits within the OTA and overlaps slightly
Giovanni
12:44:34
Yes, that is not the correct size
We might not have one at the moment for the 4.5
Charlie Ste…
12:44:36
This is the reflecting telescope… the 4.5″ newtonian
Charlie Ste…
12:44:42
Ok
Giovanni
12:44:45
Let me go head and double check and see if we have the proper size for your telescope
Charlie Ste…
12:44:52
Thank you.
Giovanni
12:46:28
We unfortunately do not have one, go head and check astromart.com
They might have one that fits the telescope
Charlie Ste…
12:46:59
Yeah, I’ll check there. We want to cover this telescope for use at a local library
Charlie Ste…
12:47:12
https://gofund.me/librarytelescope
Charlie Ste…
12:47:42
Haven’t had any luck finding the part
Giovanni
12:48:28
Hopefully they might have it
Charlie Ste…
12:49:16
I don’t understand that Orion doesn’t have the cap for a telescope they manufacture and are still actively selling
Charlie Ste…
12:49:43
Doesn’t that seem like needing a hub cap for a vehicle and the manufacturer saying go to the junk yard
Giovanni
12:51:32
All telescopes come with the appropriate parts when customers order them
Charlie Ste…
12:52:34
There must be a giant quantity of them where they’re manufactured?
Charlie Ste…
12:52:39
Sorry if I’m giving you a hard time
Giovanni
12:52:47
Since we are limited with replacements, we replace parts for those who purchase the telescopes directly from us or an authorized dealer
Giovanni
12:53:20
One moment please, let me go head and see if we can get you that part
Charlie Ste…
12:53:21
Our club orders sometimes 10 of these telescopes at a time so I’ve asked the guy who orders them to go through his channels
Charlie Ste…
12:53:43
We’ve put over 50 of these telescopes into libraries statewide
Giovanni
12:58:05
Unfortunately we can’t get that part, but some customers have used a shower cap to prevent dust and etc
Charlie Ste…
12:59:48
Ok. Thanks for your time.

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Pleiades in November

Published on 2015-11-06, by

This is my latest attempt at imaging the Pleiades (Seven Sisters) open star cluster in Taurus. The “seeing” hasn’t been great lately and the moon was a factor on the 3rd.  Given the sky conditions, I’m pleased with the results. Use the contact form to offer feedback.

I’ve been working on the mechanical alignment of my Newtonian telescope trying to achieve the best possible light cone for round tight stars. I’ve also recently started using a Baader Planetarium MPCC multi-purpose coma corrector (PDF).  The corrector is a lens assembly that corrects the light cone as it passes through allowing round stars almost to the edge of the full frame sensor.  I highly recommend this product to anyone imaging with a fast Newtonian telescope!

M45 - Pleiades Open Cluster in Taurus

M45 – Pleiades Open Cluster in Taurus

 
© 2015 Charles Kelley Stevenson