Sunday, February 22, 2009

New Fangled Contraptions

I never have thought of my self as an astronomical curmudgeon but I might be headed there. What I am talking about is the New Meade ETX-LS with Lightswitch technology. I for one have never been much on all in one Stuff save three or so exceptions, SBIG Cameras with two chips (one for autoguiding). That was cool genius. Second the Denkmeier Powerswitch Diagonal. You can have a focal reducer, a barlow or just the eyepiece by moving a switch.What a time saver. The Sky scout is a wonderful teaching tool.It will identify objects in the night sky give a blurb or two about it and is just fun to play with. Connect it on your non goto scope and you have added a whole different dimension to your scope. I like it because it is a stand alone piece of equipment. when I do outreach it can go with me. When I am out at the dark site then chances are it will be taking it easy in a warm house. Not just those three items, but definitely those three items make me say I am glad to be living in this age of astronomy. I cannot say that about the Meade ETX-LS at least not yet. My first impression of the scope is :Way to many bells and whistles. My Dad is a tinkering sort of guy.Collects British sports cars. So you know one thing for sure. He has his head under the hood a lot. He has always said "less parts the better" as there are less parts to break.I know Meade is in trouble and as a result they are scrambling to sell to all or anybody. Meade has always been an innovator. The ACF thing is brilliant. The DSI series? A stroke of pure genius. I believe that when an Amateur plunks down a sizable wad of cash for a scope he wants to have something that will grow with him. He can add on to it with "stuff" he likes or deems superior to make it his signature scope.Optics aside, all the DooDads on the ETX-LS are cool or have some level of Coolness but I believe might fall short of the mark. I would gladly trade the bells and some of the whistles for a larger mirror. Besides all that, the scope is a wedge on a stick. That might be OK for the ETX series but for a six inch? or larger later? very suspect. The motorized focus is cool but I am going to want a Crayford linear focuser for fine focus and no mirror shift. That might be a problem. What I am getting at is I think that Meade is marketing this scope to the "new to the hobby folks". It is a novelty to me. I do a lot of outreach and if I was a shy sort I might consider this as a tool. I go out of my way to make astronomy come alive for the folks that step up to my scope for a peak. No computer can replace that. Folks could not see the love I have for the night sky. and want to some how experience what I feel. The goto feature is great but with a six inch scope and suburban skies there will be a lot of items that might not show up in the scope. I cannot speak to the lightswitch doohickey turn the switch and presto it is ready to track and find anything. Hmmm Show me...It would be incredibly difficult to get the object in the eyepiece every time. If they have got that down then Katy bar the door!!! We are seeing the next big thing.
Good seeing to all


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