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Posted by Robert May on October 31, 2002 20:57:20 UTC

The scope is basically the same as Celestron and Meade offerings and was built basically the same as the early versions of those other makers.
The scope is a Schmidt-Cassegrain which means that the front glass on the scope is a Schmidt corrector plate and the basic design is a Cassegrain two reflector design. The corrector plate is somewhat easier to build in some ways than to try and get a parabolic or other non-spherical surface on the primary (the large mirror) and also helps with some of the problems of aberration contol that parabolic surfaces have.
The scope is a bit on the weak side for rigidity of the mount, the biggest part being the forks not being rigid. Not touching the scope after you have it pointed at an object will allow the vibrations to damp out after a bit.
The Bausch and Lomb company built the scopes but the optical system just wasn't done as well as the other two companies (many scopes made it out of the factory with horrible image problems) and the weaker fork of the scope with its commiment vibrations ended up putting the scope in the poor catatory for a decent astronomical scope.
The scope may be a good example of the design but you would need to test it to find out how good it really is. I might note that one of the people that used to have photos in the back of Sky and Telescope magazine used one of those scopes for doing his photography so they aren't all bad.
If you find that the optics are decent, making a new fork system for the scope will do a lot towards making the scope a nice useful scope. Unfortunately, stuff like that really hasn't been made for commercial sale so you're pretty much on your own in stiffening the forks.
The focusing mechanism is also somewhat flakey as you have noticed and this can be somewhat tightened up when you open the scope up.
The mirrors can be resurfaced for not all that much money (probably about $50 or so) after you get them out of the scope.
I might also note that if you do disassemble the scope, mark all of the optical pieces so that you can get them back in in the same relative position so that any "tuning" of the optics will be maintained.
Good luck!

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