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October 25 ,2014:

In celebration of my 71st birthday I bought myself a present, a TPO10RC telescope.  I have been using my SN8 since 2008 to do my imaging. Though it does a nice job at wide field images with  my SBIG STF8300C camera, the SN8 is a bear to collimate the optics. I never really got it right. There  has always been a problem odd shaped stars. Anyway,  I decided to go for a new Scope and the TPO10RC was my choice. It's design makes collimating the optics a breeze compared to the SN8.

The focal ratio of the TPO10RC is f8 where as the SN8 was a f4 the field of view is about half that  of the SN8 allowing me to get closer and more details on various smaller galaxies that  appear tiny in the images made with  the SBIG and SN8.

This OTA is made of carbon fiber which is suppose to be very temperature stable as well as lighter in weight than the steel tube scopes. Since my Atlas EQ-G is rated for 40 pounds of equipment load I needed to keep the OTA weight as low as possible. The OTA with focuser and guide camera pushes me close to that  limit.

I opted for a 10"  telescope for its greater light capturing capability. In reading reports from others on the Ritchey/Chretien telescope, most, that  bought 8" models, say they wished that  they had gotten a 10" model. So I went for the 10" right away. Yeah its more expensive but I think that  this will be it for telescope purchases.

You can see that  I hung the guide scope on the bottom of the main telescope to keep the weight as close to the mount's center point as possible.

As of yet the weather hasn't cooperated for me to take some picture but hope to get out there soon and try it out.

10/29/2014:

 Just out of curiosity  I checked the collimation of the optics on the new scope and found that both the primary and secondary needed some minor adjustments. Collimation looks good now but have to wait for mother nature to cooperate for me to get some picture to actually see how good a job of collimating the scope I did.

11/6/2014

Still unfavorable weather conditions for checking out the new toy. Been either cloudy, windy or raining. I guess that's  the way things go. Buy a new telescope and you  have to wait a month to try it cause mother nature throws you a curve ball.

11/20/14

I have found that  then collimation of the TPO10RC is a bit more complicated than  first thought. It would appear that  the focuser is not quite perpendicular  to the primary mirror. Unfortunately the scope does not come with a means to adjust for this misalignment. In order to correct I need a way to tilt the focuser slightly to get it aligned with the center of the secondary mirror.   To adjust for this misalignment I've ordered and focuser collimation adapter with will allow me to adjust the focuser to be aligned properly with the secondary mirror.

The following is a except from the TELESKOP Service web site that  describes the steps to collimate the RC using a  laser.

I have purchased a Baader collimation laser to use in this process.

Useful information provided by Teleskop-Service: Collimating a RC telescope
 

  1. Adjusting the focuser:
    Adjust the focuser at the collimation adapter until the laser spot lies exactly on the secondary mirror's center mark. It can be seen by looking into the front side of the telescope.

     
  2. Adjusting the secondary mirror:
    The laser beam is reflected by the secondary and you can see the spot on the matte screen of your laser. Now collimate the secondary until the laser beam is reflected into the center bore of the matte screen.

     
  3. Adjusting the main mirror:
    The main mirror is collimated using an artificial or real star. The artificial star by Geoptik is a great help here. Now defocus the star image slightly at approx. 150x magnification. By using the screws on the telescope's back side (push-pull-configuration) adjust until the shadow of the secondary mirror lies in the center of the diffraction rings.

     
  4. Final collimation:
    Tilting the main mirror has an effect on the focusers alignment. So repeat step one "Adjusting the focuser". After this, the RC is adjusted optimally and gives best performance on- and off-axis.
     

     This seems the simplest method of collimating an RC. Other methods such as that  provided with the AT10RC, which also has no way to align the focuser, has you bouncing around adjusting the secondary and primary, which I tried with  little success.

(stay  tuned for updates )

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