The story of my Telescope as of June, 2004

 

 

I purchased my Meade Telescope from Wal*Mart on March 30th, 2004.  Its list price was 298.95 dollars.  The first thing I did was call up Meade and get an eyecup that was missing for the 9mm lens and a 1.25 inch eyepiece adapter for free.

 

Tripod Improvements

 

  After some viewing I noticed the telescope would be more stable if the screws at the tops of the tripod legs were bolts instead of screws so I used 10-32 1¼ “ bolts with flush Phillips head screw tops, a lock washer and bolt to replace each of the wood/sheet metal screws that are perpendicular to the tripod legs at the tops of each leg.

 

Accessories

 

        Although the telescope came perfectly collimated I tried to change it to see if it could be collimated better, it could not be by eye.  Nevertheless, I used it many times and ordered four accessories from Meade Instruments Corp. for it: The Basic 1¼ “ Camera Adapter, the Electronic Focuser, the 50mm 2” eyepiece and the Auxiliary Cable with Software.  I also bought a Celestron set of 1 ¼” eyepieces, filters and 2x Barlow for it after a gentleman from the Palm Beach Astronomical Society told me they were good one night while I was out viewing.

The Basic Camera Adapter is very nice.  It is very well made and sturdy.  It is also heavy, but it is hard not to be satisfied with its construction and performance.

        My Electronic Focuser I also returned when I found it ran batteries dry, but the replacement ran them dry too.  Now I unplug the cord from the handle when it is not in use and it is working very nicely.

The 2” 50mm eyepiece is very nice too.  The 2” adapter came with my telescope and the 50mm eyepiece is very nice to look through since it provides a wide view of the sky.  Also it is well built and although I have not had a chance to use it much since I have been collimating and measuring the optics of the telescope, and it has turned cloudy here in Southern Florida, when I did use it it was perfect for an open cluster.

The Auxiliary Cable seems to have very limited usefulness so far.  It did allow me to download the position of Comets Neat and Linear (I did see Comet Neat) but when used with the Control Panel software it would sometimes reset the entire computer and I would have to realign again.  I may, in the future, try and autoguide the telescope using this cable, but if it resets the computer I will never be able too.  Besides, Meade does not make such an accessory and finding documentation will be a matter of luck.

 

Telescope Optics

 

        I found the Basic Camera Adapter did not work without a focal reducer, such as a 2x Barlow. 

        Eventually I could not get it back into collimation and decided to take the telescope apart so I could center mark the primary mirror.  I made a template 130mm in diameter and put it on the primary mirror and found that the mirror was smaller than the template.  A ruler confirmed that the mirror’s diameter was 127mm.  Since Meade’s manual described two DS-2130 models, one with a 127mm mirror, and mine with a 130mm mirror I eventually measured all the focal lengths and found that my 1020mm focal length was really 1000mm.  I told Meade and they sent me a new telescope tube with optics in it, but it was the small mirror as well and the primary mirror was rattling around in the holder when it arrived.  I sent that back and bought some longer screws for my mirror holder to increase the primary mirrors position in the tube by 20mm.  This worked and my Basic Camera Adapter and all my other eyepieces still worked too.  At this point I can either get better springs for the mirror holder or cut 20mm from the primary mirror end of the tube.

        The size of the primary mirror was not the problem with collimation, and I had bought a set of Tectron Collimation tools.  After I marked the primary mirror center using a square piece of electrical tape with the center cut out collimating the telescope was easy.  I can now collimate very quickly.

 

Photography

        Another thing I did was to buy a Canon EOS Rebel 35mm Camera to take photographs through the telescope, and I had to buy the T-adapter to make it fit the Basic Camera Adapter.  I had bought a T-Adapter for my father’s Nikon, but I found that adapter did not lock on the Camera, so when I bought my Canon T-adapter I ordered a name brand, Qualude, and it locks on the Camera that is worth the extra money.  One of the accessories I am learning to use is the remote shutter release so that I do not shake the telescope when taking a picture.

        My first set of pictures was an experiment with long exposure times.  Meade tells us that this telescope can really only be used for planetary and lunar photography and the pictures of Jupiter show that movement during a 8 second exposure of Jupiter and its moons.