I don’t get in here enough, and I need to – this is good therapy. It’s May 1st, 02:43 local and I have Cataract Surgery tomorrow just after noon. Left eye, my ‘good’ eye since ’94. They’re going to do a little upgrade work when removing the cataract – may not need glasses afterwards. The right eye went well and, despite the old retinal damage, it is clear and crisp where not damaged – so much so that my old prescription for that eye is giving it fits. It’s also confusing my brain, fighting with the left eye for dominance now that the ‘thru the shower curtain’ view is gone. But the Doc is good, and this is going to be the best vision I have ever had (ignoring the damage to the right retina) and I am pumped. And anxious – the left eye will be blocked for ~48 hours and that means no reading, no watching movies. Meh.

Ascent 102 ED f/11 (Meriadoc) in foreground, Bresser AR102-L/1350 (Pippin) in the back.

ASCENT 102 ED f/11 & Jason 307  they both arrived today. I suppose I didn’t need either, but it’s my ‘fix the eyes’ treat. The Jason is a 60×800 – only have one other like it, I believe, so this is for comparison. Anything better than 700mm is interesting, and it should perform well.

Simple Jason 307 on it’s yoke mount. Just a good scope!

The Ascent is also for comparison, with the Bresser AR102-L / 1350 f/13, and a couple Celestron 102s. The Ascent is an ED Doublet, and during the short viewing this evening appears to be very colour-free. Only had Sirius in the tube for a few minutes and thru light clouds and atmo-moisture. A little fluctuating rainbow haze, but no real CA noticed (yet). We need clear skies, dry skies, the moon, Jupiter and Vega or Sirius to really know. Tonight wasn’t the night – we’re 100% overcast now, have been since late twilight.

I put it on the CG-4 and it rides that well – better than the AR102-L. Winds were 5~12 kph from the W-SW and Meriadoc (the Ascent) barely noticed – not a shudder. It’ll probably move to the Sirius EQ-G shortly and we’ll work towards EAA / AP this summer, and start shopping for a 127, maybe an APO triplet, hopefully an f/10+ ED. Below f/10 I think full APO would be required. Still learning, so we’ll see.

5 days ago, the XT8G came in. Didn’t assemble and firstlight it til 3 days ago. Good collimation out of the box. Did a fair two-star alignment (clouds) and turned it loose. Wow – excellent goto, excellent tracking. Put objects in the center of the EP consistently. Able to track Saturn for three hours, stayed right on it. Been grab-n-go mostly since Jan, so I was rusty on the procedure for a couple minutes. Did the XT8g, an ETX-60, ETX-70 and they all did well. Had the Celes 130 out last week, and it also tracked well.

Still have to assemble and test the PMC-100, but that’s got good reviews. The SV80 will ride there, the 102ED f/11 on the Sirius, the Celes 130 on it’s mount, with the ETX 90, 80, 70, 60 available. 80s & 90s, maybe the f/9 102s will ride the CG-4’s with tracking motors, and I get the HEQ-5 on a tripod and running whatever needs a ride. Sybil and I don’t ‘need’ GoTo, but the tracking is sweet. Manual is fine fine fine still =)

Looking to the future, an XT12/14g would be nice, and at least an Atlas EQ-G pro, for the capacity and AltAz dualie mode. An HDX-110 or equivalent isn’t out of the question, especially if we’re considering a chunky big 152 refrac or an 8/10″ newt.

Also need to fire up the StarSense, GPS modules, and the Revo Imager. And build the Optical test bench (still waiting on the flat from Russia). Busy summer =)

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