After the Triangulum Galaxy headed into the trees, I slewed the ‘scope over to the Flame Nebula which was just coming out from behind a tall tree to the South. This is the same small window of opportunity that afforded the recent attempts at Orion Nebula. As much as I love trees, I’m looking forward to opening the view significantly allowing many hours of exposures on targets that fly low. When I processed the images I was excited to see, for the first time on my own equipment, the Horsehead Nebula adjacent the Flame Nebula. I don’t have many exposures to work with but here’s a good start. Feedback welcome through the contact page.
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):
|Thank you for contacting Orion Telescopes & Binoculars, how may I help you today?|
|I lost the aperture cover for my Orion StarBlast 4.5 astro reflector telescope (the tabletop unit) can I get another one?|
|Did you purchase this telescope from us?|
|No I purchased it used from Goodwill|
|Happy to pay for the part|
|Are you referring to the collimation cap?|
|No the cap that covers the OTA|
|The big one|
|The one that goes on the end of the telescope when doing solar viewing?|
|No the opaque black one that protects the primary from dust etc during storage and transport|
|One moment please|
|Like this correct?|
|Sort of… this is for the Orion 4.5″ telescope|
|I think part of it fits within the OTA and overlaps slightly|
|Yes, that is not the correct size|
We might not have one at the moment for the 4.5
|This is the reflecting telescope… the 4.5″ newtonian|
|Let me go head and double check and see if we have the proper size for your telescope|
|We unfortunately do not have one, go head and check astromart.com|
They might have one that fits the telescope
|Yeah, I’ll check there. We want to cover this telescope for use at a local library|
|Haven’t had any luck finding the part|
|Hopefully they might have it|
|I don’t understand that Orion doesn’t have the cap for a telescope they manufacture and are still actively selling|
|Doesn’t that seem like needing a hub cap for a vehicle and the manufacturer saying go to the junk yard|
|All telescopes come with the appropriate parts when customers order them|
|There must be a giant quantity of them where they’re manufactured?|
|Sorry if I’m giving you a hard time|
|Since we are limited with replacements, we replace parts for those who purchase the telescopes directly from us or an authorized dealer|
|One moment please, let me go head and see if we can get you that part|
|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|
|We’ve put over 50 of these telescopes into libraries statewide|
|Unfortunately we can’t get that part, but some customers have used a shower cap to prevent dust and etc|
|Ok. Thanks for your time.|
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Since acquiring a telescope in January, I’ve been fascinated with online images of the Orion Nebula and wanted to see it for myself. A few months ago, I viewed it for the first time through my 10″ telescope with an OIII filter in place while it was low above the horizon one morning. It’s truly a wondrous object with inherent captivating beauty.
The trees in my yard have been a major obstacle blocking clear views of objects rising in the southeast and setting in the southwest. The night before last, Orion passed through a gap between two trees at just the right height for me to take some photos. In the end, 13 of them were suitable to be combined into a single image. I think it came out really well, all things considered. The moon was bright and the sky wasn’t very transparent. I pushed the Canon EOS 6D camera’s ISO about midway at 6400 and used the long exposure and high ISO noise reduction features.
What do you think? Use the contact form to send feedback.