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First Impressions of my Lightbridge 16


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#1 JohnGraham

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 07:18 PM

I was so excited to finally have an opportunity to have a Lightbridge 16 and Astronomics did a great job getting it to me quickly. It arrived about 6 hours ago, so I've only had time to put it together and get it aligned. First light will be tomorrow night (cloudy right now). Assembly was easy and only took about an hour. I was pleased to see a lot of small design changes that address many of the concerns I've read about with earlier versions. Overall the design looks very solid and compact. The base is large, but not overly so for a 16". Moving it has been much easier than I thought it was going to be, just roll it around on its side. I may look at making a little cart for it to make it easy to transport over grass. The bottom tube assembly will be moved with a small hand truck just to save my back. So, my very early impressions of this scope are very positive. I'm looking forward to getting it out under the moonlight tomorrow night! I'll post a picture of it in the equipment gallery once I get it set up outside.

Have fun!

-John

#2 MistrBadgr

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 02:47 PM

John,

That is great! I look forward to reading of your experiences with this scope. Eventually, I would like to have something like that.

Best Regards,

Bill Steen
Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

#3 JohnGraham

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 03:29 PM

I posted a picture of it in the equipment gallery. I've got it outside right now taking in the view of the moon. One word... stunning. It's a beautiful warm autumn evening and I plan on having a nice long night with my new baby.

-John

#4 JohnGraham

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 05:32 PM

The evening continues. Wow, this is the scope that I've been waiting for. I can see where some may not be thrilled with it, but I've used a lot of scopes over the past 50 years and this one is just nice. Nothing flashing, just a solid performer. I've got a really simple shroud installed on it. I'll post pictures tomorrow night.

Back to the yard!

-John


#5 JohnGraham

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 05:28 AM

Whew! Long night. We had a rare warm, clear, dry autumn evening that was just beautiful. Seeing was bad though. Oh well.

The Lightbridge 16 performed flawlessly. It held colimation reasonably well after being taken apart, moved outside, and re-assembled. I marked which strut goes where and that might have helped. Still, it did need to be tweeked. One trip to an office supply store and to a hardware store and I had a shroud installed. I parked a small jumpstart battery on the edge of the mount to run the mirror fan which ran quiet and smooth all night.

Moving the Lightbridge proved to be much easier that I thought it was going to be. The base is large and a bit cumbersome, but manageable. I found it easy to tip onto its side to get through doors. The bottom tube assembly is heavy, but easy to grip. The top and poles are nothing. I'm still gonna loot at making a cart just to make things easier. Assembly was quick and easy. Everything locked solidly in place.

The little eyepiece holder came in handy. You can never have too many places to set things down.

The focuser was smooth and solid, once I figured out how to adjust the tension and lock screws (and which was which). Switchiong between 2" and 1.25" eyepieces was smooth and easy. The supplied 26mm is fine and makes a great break-in eyepiece. (I'm not picky about eyepieces, so be warned.) I switched between the 2" 26mm and a 17mm Explorer II with a 2.5x Powermate all night.

The mount was smooth and solid in both directions. However, I found that if you turn it too many times counter-clockwise the center bolt and work loose, so I try to always move clockwise if I'm moving it a long distance. I suspect a bit of Telfon tape will fix that. The altitude brake was not needed so I loosened it. I had not problems changing eyepieces, the mount stayed where I put it, yet was still easy to move even at 269x.

The red dot finder very nice, but a tad bright. A spot of colored plastic film over the emitter should fix that.

I started by blinding myslef with the moon. I've always enjoyed looking at the moon through a large telescope and the Lightbridge did not disapoint. Despite poor seeing the view was amazing. With a telescope this size you just get lost in all of the fine detail. SImply amazing. From there I went on a deep-sky hop, always fun under a bright moon, but the transparency was excellent. M57 (central star was soooooo close, needs better seeing), M27, M76, M31/32, M103, M45, NGC7789, NGC457, Epsilon Lyra, Comet Hergenrother, Uranus, Neptune, and ended the night with Jupiter just in time to see Io come out of transit. Jupiter struck me as being almost too bright! I'm going to see if I can gain some benefit from using filters. Double stars were tough due to the poor seeing, but the double-double was cleanly split. What struck me more was the beautiful colors.

At the end of the night, tired and stumbling a bit, the Lightbridge came apart easily and I had it all put away in about 10 minutes. The deveil is always in the details, but overall I'm very pleased with this telescope. I have a few mods in mind, but nothing serious; a shroud (already installed), a dew sheild (I've got an idea), a small handle under the focuser, a digital inclinometer on the lower tube assembly (borrowed from my homebuilt 16.5"), consider replacing the red-dot finder with a laser pointer. My plan is to keep it simple, keep it light, and keep the weight off of the upper tube assembly.

Have fun!

-John

#6 MistrBadgr

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 01:55 PM

Thanks, John!

You just about have me drooling on the keyboard!

Bill Steen
Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma




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