Saturday, June 27, 2009

Heat Shink on a Lightbridge by Meade a Marriage Made For the Stars

If you saw my previous website, Astronomer Matthew, then you know that I have a Meade 16 inch lightbridge dobsonian Telescope. I got that telescope in November of 2008. I think that it is a nice value. I know that it isn't a premium dobsonian like an obsession nor did I pay the price of an obsession. The lightbridge is a fairly good scope as it comes from Meade (we'll actually GSO, they make them for Meade, Zuhmell and Astro-Tech) However, there are a few modifications that make the scope even better.

For starters. I painted the tube rings with ultra flat black spray paint. This helps cut down on stray light coming in the tube. This is a simple modification, but I'd like to mention that I feel powercoating would be a better solution and wouldn't chip as the spray paint did. Meade ships the rings white. They are easily removed for painting.

Next, to make life a lot easier I recommend replacing knobs on the secondary housing with "bob's knobs" these are finger grip knobs that make it easy to adjust the secondary without any tools. The 16" already comes with finger knobs for the primary, and newer 10" and 12" scopes should be coming with them as well.

I also feel that a light shroud is a must, especially in light polluted skys. Keeping stary light out of the telescope helps improve contrast. I've seen a fellow lightbridge owner set up under a street light without a shourd it get some views, but those could have been dramaticlly better with the use of a shroud over the truss tube section. I currently use the Astrozap version of the shourd.

For transportation, I was able to modify my base to accept wheel burrow wheels to help move it. This helps when I can't park where I need to setup my scope.

One of the things I don't like was the fact that Meade sends these out with silver truss tubes... that was easily fixed by some heat shrink. I went to Altex in San Antonio, a computer supply store and bought black shrink wrap that was big enough to fit over the tube and just used a heat gun to apply and it worked like a charm. It is a shame that meade didn't think of doing this. It also prevents the poles from clanging around in the back of the car. I'm looking forward to using this mod in the winter when sometimes it is uncomforatable to move the scope because the metal is cold.

I also purchased a 8x50 finderscope from OPT on sale and I was able to add that to the lightbridge, increasing my starhopping ability. To counter weigh the finder scope I got some welding magnets from harbor freight tools.