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Messages - Jonathan Sabin

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Equipment for Sale/Trade / FREE Observatory!
« on: May 03, 2022, 03:44:39 PM »
Yes.... FREE!

Jason Mocherman, the head of Riverview High School's planetarium, has alerted me that the Sarasota Military Academy is looking for (hopefully!) a Local Group member who would be interested in acquiring their observatory dome. (Pictured)

It measures 6' in height, and the base is 9' x 12'.

The ONLY catch is that if you want it, you'll have to go get it yourself... or make arrangements to have it delivered to you.

If you're interested, please contact Jason via e-mail at

Equipment for Sale/Trade / Meade Super Wedge for Sale
« on: March 14, 2022, 07:56:10 PM »
Meade Super Wedge for Sale

It will be listed on Cloudy Nights for $250... if an LGDSO member doesn't snap it up first for $150.

For all inquiries, please contact
Chris Mugrage
or e-mail:

Hi Raymond,

I'm not a huge fan of the focus knobs on the back of SCTs as they are *very* prone to image shift... which isn't an issue at low power/wide field, but becomes a huge, annoying problem at higher power when you go to adjust the focus and your target "image shifts" right out of the field of view! And for astrophotography, image shift will quickly have you pulling your hair out.

On my Celestron CPC1100, I have an aftermarket focuser (pictured) that includes knobs for both course-focus and fine or "micro" focus. This type of focuser (and there are a variety of them out there at many price points), not only makes it easier to tweak to a fine focus, it also eliminates the image shift issue because it no longer uses the movement of the primary mirror to achieve focus.

That said, I did not remove the original focus knob (or lock it), since I still occasionally use it for a very course focus at the start of an observing session.

Good luck!


The article I mentioned here a couple of months ago has finally been published!

It is not in the East County Observer (as I'd thought), but it's in the current issue of LWR (Lakewood Ranch) Life Magazine... and not only that - - it's the COVER story, as well as the topic of the Editor's welcome page.

I picked up a couple of copies of the East County Observer today (I'd heard that the magazine would be inside, but the two copies I grabbed didn't have it.) Now that you know what to look for, you might be able to score a copy somewhere in LWR. It's a quarterly publication, so copies should be out there for a while.

Meanwhile, I've scanned the pages pertinent to us, and you can see them here in PDF format. (The entire publication is available on line, but the PDF is around 70MB, so it's a bit much for posting to our forum!

Oh... and yes, there are a handful of facts that got *totally* lost in translation. Don't let yourself get too worked up about that. The writers are not the experts - - we are - - so if we tell them that a beam of light will cross a room in a few nanoseconds, and they say it takes a full second, they have no clue that clipping out the prefix 'nano' sorta changes the meaning of the statement. By like a billion times!  ;-)   

That looks like Sky Safari Pro -- which with the addition of the Skyfi option, will allow you to connect to most telescopes. (My CPC 1100 is about 12 years old, and my Meade LX200 was even older - - and there were no 'age' issues connecting to either.)

Once you've connected your scope, your phone, with the app running, becomes your controller and you can "Go To" any object you select, regardless of how it's labeled in the app.

In fact, you don't even have to point - - the latest version allows you to talk to it; click on the microphone icon and say "Go to Saturn" (or whatever), and the scope will point to it.

The Skyfi may not be the most inexpensive tool in your kit, but it is quite cool.

This scope was purchased as a birthday gift a year ago and has never seen 'first light.'

It was a "mistake" birthday gift, but that mistake will be someone's gain.

Brand new, it cost $1200.

Still brand new, the seller is asking $700   NOW $200. (Photos attached)

If interested or if you have any questions, please contact the seller directly:
Van Bell (727) 698-3579

Equipment for Sale/Trade / iOptron IEQ45 Mount/Tripod <complete>
« on: February 15, 2021, 02:57:12 PM »
iOptron IEQ45 Mount/Tripod

Passing along information regarding this really nice mount, not quite 8 years old, with a replacement cost in the neighborhood of $3,000.

The weight capacity of this particular mount is 45 pounds.

The seller (who will be joining as a member soon) is more interested in quickly getting this into the hands of an LGDSO member who will be able to get a lot of good use out of it, rather than getting a ton of money for it.

Therefore, *any* offer will be considered.

For more information, or to make your offer, please contact him directly:

Warren Sullivan

Equipment for Sale/Trade / Tiltall Model 4602 Tripod
« on: October 27, 2020, 06:19:53 PM »
Tiltall Model 4602 Tripod - $85

With some reluctance, I am selling my vintage Tiltall model 4602 tripod.

This is a well-designed aluminum workhorse that has been with me on countless nights in dark sky locations as far ranging as the Florida Keys to rural Nebraska --and on two occasions, I brought it with me all the way Down Under to the Australian Outback!

But I've decided to go with something a wee-bit lighter and slightly more compact.

With all three legs fully extended, the head of this tripod sits approximately 71" above the ground. Completely collapsed, it is just over 29" in length. It weighs in at 5 lbs 8 oz.

Everything works very well... a few years ago, I disassembled, cleaned, and greased every knob, screw, etc. Plus, I replaced the 1/4-20 screw in the head, as well as the flexible pad on the head (that surrounds the screw.)
The only part that is 'aged' are the 3 rubber feet, which are all intact, but they're probably a bit 'harder' than they were when new.

They are still selling the latest version of this very model, brand-new for just under $190.00:

Or, you can get my well-cared for original for just $85.
It should go without saying that the Nikon DSLR shown in the full-length photo is NOT included in the purchase price!

If interested, or for more info, call me at 941-518-8695.

I have sent this out to everyone via e-mail, but to make sure that no one misses the message, please note the following:

March 14th Starry Night Fundraiser at Crowley postponed to Saturday, April 25th

Out of an abundance of caution concerning the fact that the World Health Organization has, as of today, officially declared "pandemic" status on the Coronavirus/Covid-19 situation, we are postponing the Starry Night event that had been scheduled for this Saturday, March 14th.

The very nature of this event--with a large number of people gathered in close proximity to one another, placing their faces against telescope eyepieces, and partaking in an open "refreshment" buffet--is simply too likely to put people at risk.

At this point in time, not enough is understood about the disease, but it does seem that the potential to expose hundreds of people is simply not worth the risk.

This is not, however, an outright cancellation. Please note that we are tentatively re-scheduling Starry Night for Saturday, April 25, 2020, assuming that the conditions regarding this Coronavirus outbreak have changed for the better by that time.

We will of course, keep everyone posted.

Assuming that the event will be held on that date, please note that the time of the event will shift slightly later due to the later sunset (8:00 p.m.) six weeks from now. The observing that evening would take place from 8:30 until 11:00 p.m., the gates will open to the public starting at 7:15 p.m.

It's not that often that I get to post a "go" more than a few hours in advance--let alone 30!

But my confidence level is high that tomorrow night's Sidewalk Astronomy at the Celery Fields will feature some amazing clear skies.

That said... it'll probably be a good night to dig out your hats, gloves and long underwear! It's going to be CHILLY out there!  :-O

See you then!


I really hate canceling events, but I tried to put it off as long as I possibly could. The screen shot is the cloud-cover forecast for tonight at around 8:00 p.m.

Some weather models were showing a possibility of some clearing, but most of the forecasts are indicating that it won't clear up until closer to midnight tonight.

Plus, one typically reliable model is showing a brief period of light showers right in the middle of the evening while we'd be set up. Not the best conditions for observing. :(

Because of the way the lunar phases worked out this year... we actually have another Sidewalk Astronomy event slated this month!

Keep your fingers crossed for clear skies on Saturday, February 29th, when we're scheduled to have our next event at the Celery Fields!

Maybe.... maybe not!

Hey all...

As long as there's still the possibility for an unexpected change in the forecast, I'm not anxious to call off tomorrow night's (Saturday, Feb 1) Sidewalk Astronomy at Riverview.

That said, it doesn't look promising!

As of right now, the scenario for tomorrow evening appears to be total overcast until around 8:00 p.m., dropping to 50% cloud coverage by around 10:00.

The real clear skies aren't expected until 11:00 or later.

I'll make the final call as early tomorrow afternoon as I can. It really depends on how 'stable' the current forecast remains.

Equipment for Sale/Trade / Celestron 127 MAK
« on: January 27, 2020, 07:15:14 PM »
Celestron 127 MAK for sale. Only $250!

Barely-used 6" Celestron 127 MAK Computerized Telescope

Accessories include iPhone bracket for photography, eyepieces.

Paid approximately $600 in mid-2019.

Asking only $250.

For more information or questions, please direct all inquiries to:

Mitch Leon

My rough count for Saturday night was 100 over the course of the evening. And 17 scopes all totaled.

All in all, a great show!

Equipment for Sale/Trade / CRAZY-GOOD DEAL on an 8" SCT!
« on: January 26, 2020, 12:45:23 PM »

Celestron CPC 800 GPS XLT plus accessories

Former LGDSO member Marc Ellis has found himself in a "must move quickly" situation, and is giving up his very lightly used Celestron CPC 800 GPS XLT scope, along with a couple of eyepieces and a Celestron Powertank.

Photos are attached, it's all in great shape, and you likely won't find a better price without going into a telescope store wearing a pair of pantyhose on your head!  ;D

Replacement cost for all of this stuff is just about $2000.

First person to bring Marc $500 gets it all!

As always, please contact the seller directly with questions, etc.

Marc M. Ellis

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