Monday, August 31, 2009

Finally Some Photos from the ZenithStar 70 ED

I was able to order a "store demo" William Optics ZenithStar 70mm ED refractor from the W-O online store for $338. This included free shipping worldwide!

I had it shipped to Singapore and paid the 7% GST. At least no unpredictable customs fees depending on the phase of the moon and the arbitrary-ness of Philippines bureaucrats..

The thing has amazing fit and finish. The 10:1 2-inch Crayford focuser is really smooth, and yet does not suffer from creep. The entire focuser also rotates, although as reported by others on the internet, there is a "catch" at one point of the rotation which causes the 360-degree rotation to be not entirely smooth. Not a huge problem however as rotating the entire focuser is not something one does very often..

I also got an EQ-1M quartz-controlled motor drive for the EQ-1 mount which I bought at True Value. Actually I purchased an Orion mini-EQ mount and the motor for S$100 from someone on the SingAstro forum.

Here's an afocal Jupiter at about 140X (12mm Plossl, 3X Meade Barlow). It's not as good as it could be, I've seen much better with this type of equipment. The EQ-1 mount is really horrible, with a lot of backlash that needs to be taken up before the system starts tracking properly.

Also even with good equatorial alignment, the EQ-1M does not track perfectly. I would expect that Jupiter can only remain in the field at 140X (0.35-degree) for about 2 - 3 minutes.

And here's the moon, with 32mm Plossl and 3X barlow.