Some weeks, months, ago, I went ahead and ordered a small telescope. While I had/have a working 60mm (~2.3in) refractor, and a 6 inch (~150mm) reflector in need of attention, I sprung for a ‘fast’ (fast – f/6.7) 90mm (3.5 in) ‘scope. This weirds me out a bit. I am NOT used to the idea of a ‘fast’ refractor. I still think of refractors as being ‘slower’ than f/8, say f/10 or more with f/15 not being at all outrageous.
Yes, I still think of objective size in inches, generally, rather than millimeters. That probably shows my age – or at least that I learned from older texts. I do recall, for example, being happy to be able to purchase an epoch 2000 star atlas which was closer to true than the old epoch 1950 charts I had been using. Soon I will be better off to acquire an epoch 2050 atlas.
The ‘scope is nice enough itself, though I do find I miss having a right proper finder scope. The ‘red dot’ site (NOT a Telrad) feels wrong to me. The red dot, even on the ‘dim’ setting is WAY too bright. The idea of seeing the sky ‘as is’ is appealing, but the blinding light destroys that. A finder scope, I suspect, would be far better for me. Maybe it’s just that I am used to such. But I did learn with such, can star-hop with such, and have no issue with the optical inversions a Keplerian finder has.
The red dot setup is fine for bright things, such as planets (and I’ve used the ‘scope for Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn so far – and of course the moon) but falls down horribly for about anything else. M13 (Great Cluster of Hercules) can be far too difficult to find with such, and M57 (Ring Nebula) is challenging at best – even if a 90mm ‘scope is.. rather less than ideal for viewing it.
Of course, now I am evern more aware of how lousy the weather is. “Sorry about the weather. I bought a telescope. That means at least two weeks of clouds and rain.” And then $HOUSEMATE got the convertible out of storage…
One planet I’ve recently seen, perhaps for the first time this century(!), but have not through the ‘scope is Mercury. Mercury and Venus were, as they appeared in the sky, close a few evenings ago. It wasn’t until after the closest they appeared that I had a mostly clear sky, but I did at least manage to see Mercury – higher in the sky than Venus. It was somewhat surprising how easy it was to see, once I found it – but I have no illusions that it is a trivial thing. That the Ancients noticed it reveals they had a LOT of time (and NEED) to watch the skies closely. I had to drive to a place of clear horizon to see it, and did not pack up any of the ‘scopes. Note to self: Take binocs next time – even 7×35 would have helped.
It’s a bit odd. Sometimes I feel like the 60mm showed me more than the 90mm. That might be that the f-ratio is more what I expect in the 60mm. It might be that the finder is NOT a blinding red-dot on the 60mm, and it might be that 60mm can beat 90mm when the seeing is crap – and in town, it usually is with everything radiating heat – at different rates.
I will say this… I do miss out-of-town truly dark skies. I miss having a mostly clear horizon. And I might just be getting a case of ‘aperture fever’. That last would be easier to deal with if telescope making supplies still existed as they had in times past. It seems only minor items can found nowadays, which is sorely disappointing. Even Willman-Bell is disappointing now. Anyone know where I can get a couple 8 or 10 inch disks? Heck, 6 inch might be something now. I’d kinda like to make the classic 6in f/8… the 6in I had/have is f/5.2 due to various.. oddities.