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A thank you to all and especially fjhdavid


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#1 OleCuss

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 05:32 PM

I just joined and the prime motivation was that I recently purchased an LS-8.  But I've had an ETX-60, ETX-80, and an ETX-125 in the past and still have a 10" LX200 GPS so I'm not really new to the Meade world.  Technically I still have an ETX-80 but I bought it for parts ($25 at a garage sale) for the other and I don't normally count it  - but I may someday get a tripod for it and rehab the thing.

 

It is/was my understanding that the LS-8 systems tend to develop problems with their firmware/software but I had no luck at all figuring out how to download that firmware from Meade so that I can re-load if/when it is needed.

 

Fortunately fjhdavid had thoughtfully given a link for the software.  I'm going to study a bit more before dumping the file into the mini-SD card(s).  I think I can just put in the unpacked folder after making sure I've got the card formatted as FAT32 - but I'll be double-checking that.

 

I've had the beastie out only twice so far.  I'm generally quite pleased by the optics (very nicely corrected) but the stars have a bit of a bluish tint and galaxies seem a bit dimmer than I expected.  But both nights were not wonderful so that may have had more to do with environmental conditions and eyepiece choice.  I'm pretty sure the OTA's blue paint is not responsible for the bluish tint. . . ;)  And yes, I've used a lot of scopes so it is not just a matter of inappropriate expectations.

 

The tech is really pretty nice except for its annoying insistence on talking.  My wife likes that, though, so I've not yet tried to disable that aspect.

 

Two primary things I want/wanted from the LS-8:

 

One is that I can quickly haul it outside, power it, and it will generally find itself while it is doing the cool-down.  That means I get to use a scope other than a small refractor on nights when I have little time.

 

The other is for public outreach.  In dark skies when someone bumps it I can have it re-align itself while I'm talking to people - and they should really like and be impressed by a scope which will take care of much of the work.  One public outreach venue has horrible light pollution and I'm hoping (but not confident) that it will be able to align itself there.

 

One of the nights I had it out was pretty chilly.  When I was putting the system away the cover for the corrector would not stay on at all.  I didn't think the plastic would shrink that much.  I'm going to leave on some errands very shortly and one of my stops will be to see if the local Hobby Lobby has an appropriate felt to make the fit a little tighter.

 

Seems like a pretty good system but like everything - not perfect.  So far I'm pretty happy but I'm early on using this beastie.



#2 MistrBadgr

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 06:22 PM

Hello, and welcome to the forum!  :)

 

Congratulations on your LS 8!

 

I found my LS 8 to be a good  reliable scope.....until someone stole it!

 

Some people have had chronic troubles while others seem to work pretty much flawlessly.  I am not sure what the difference is.

 

I hope yours is one of the flawless ones.

 

Bill Steen


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

#3 Bob Arnold

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 07:05 PM

Congrats on your purchase.

 

I've had my LS-8 for almost 4 years and haven't had any problems.  I too have read about other LS owners needing to reload firmware that had become corrupted. Meade customer service can sell you a pre-loaded mini SD card if you need it. My firmware has never needed to be reloaded...knock on wood.  I always run the scope on an external battery but keep fresh cells in the scope and replace them once a year.  I don't know if it's true or not, but I read somewhere that two of the internal batteries are used even when the scope is off.  Then again it may be that I've just been lucky.

 

I don't think you will have any alignment issues due to light pollution. I live in Philadelphia where light pollution is so bad that it's arguably the worst location in the known universe to do astronomy.  On good nights I can see maybe 20 stars and planets with the naked (albeit aging) eye, yet the scope will align. Just keep clear of metal objects such as cars and fences and you should be just fine. With any other scope I wouldn't be able to see enough stars to do a manual alignment.

 

Best of luck. I hope you enjoy your LS-8 as much as I do mine.

Bob Arnold

 

 


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Meade LS-8 ACF, ZWO ASI120, Mallincam Skyraider DSc, Ipad Air-SkySafari Pro, SkyFi, and an assortment of had to have items that don't get used.


#4 OleCuss

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 07:31 PM

I thank you all.

 

The heavily light-polluted area is really, really bad.  Forget 20 stars, I can seldom see more than 4. . .   It is sort of a mix of what I consider to be Bortle 7/8 & 9.  It is truly city and right where we set up on the sidewalk you'd have to consider it to be a Bortle 9 because we have something like 6 streetlamps within about 60 feet of us.  Brightly lit shops on one side and on the other a slightly darker miniature park illuminated at the other end by a movie theater.  If you go to the parking area several hundred feet away I'd consider it to be a Bortle 7/8.  So we're sort of mixed since I'd consider the general area to be a 7/8 while we are in a smaller Bortle 9 area.

 

So folk mostly work the Moon and the brighter planets.  Some of us will try for the brighter Messiers but often the public just can't see them.  I once nailed down M13 when I brought the ETX-125 and some of the experienced astronomers couldn't make it out.  It's pretty bad.

 

But that's where the people are and you can have hundreds of people look through the scopes on a decent night.

 

So I'm encouraged to know that there is a pretty good chance that it will be able to autoalign, but I won't be all that surprised if it doesn't.



#5 Bob Arnold

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 08:39 PM

Since you are doing outreach work, perhaps you might want to consider using a camera and laptop for viewing. A camera with an LP filter can see far deeper than an eyepiece. Using a laptop allows multiple people to see an object at the same time...in color!  Despite my location, I can easily view many Messiers and galaxies. I don't use eyepieces at all any more. Just a thought.

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  • Eagle Nebula_2017.7.30_23.00.05.png
  • NGC.253.Sculptor.Galaxy_2017.9.23_23.46.52a.png

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Meade LS-8 ACF, ZWO ASI120, Mallincam Skyraider DSc, Ipad Air-SkySafari Pro, SkyFi, and an assortment of had to have items that don't get used.


#6 OleCuss

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 09:46 PM

Yup!  Certainly under consideration.

 

I already have both an ASI1600 and an ASI071.  Both are cooled, color, and capable of NRTV.  And I already have SharpCap.

 

The problem I have with doing NRTV with the LS-8 is that the ZWO cameras I have are long enough that if connected to the LS-8 in the normal way they will hit the mount if I aim very high in the sky.  It doesn't help that in the heavily light-polluted area I've got shops close by except to the East where I have trees - so I generally have to aim relatively high.  One can use a diagonal to get around that but I really don't trust/like that.

 

I have an RT224 which I may end up using.  The problem with that one is that in the summer we tend to get hot around here and that means a lot more noise!  Not only that, but the typical focal reduction in that case is to use a 0.5x reducer on the nosepiece and those focal reducers are not very good and the tiny sensor means a narrow FOV which I don't like all that much.  I may have a way to eventually have some decent cooling of the RT224 sensor but I have some doubts about that.

 

So at the moment I'm thinking I will probably stick to something like one of my refractors or the C8 OTA which I have and put them on the AVX if/when I do most public outreach events with NRTV.

 

But you are absolutely right about NRTV being a great thing for public outreach.  And in heavy light pollution it can be an even better choice.






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