22" First LIght

by Shneor Sherman

Picked up this beautiful and elegant telescope at Bruce's, loaded it into my hatchback, and headed to BC. Bruce was kind enough to accompany me to walk me through setup, collimation and takedown. This was first light for the Sayre Monocular at a reasonable site. Jim, Brian and another gentleman whose name I cannot recall right now also arrived in short order.

Conditions were clear skies, except to the south, average of slightly below average transparency and very good seeing. Setting up this telescope requires lots of turning of bolts, and attention to detail. The drive system is not ready yet, so I set it up on my platform.

Collimation is easy using a single-beam laser collimator, but I need to acquire a couple of small tools. There are a couple of items that need to be reworked - the struts need to be cut a tad shorter, for example, to handle a couple of eyepieces or eyepiece+paracorr combinations that wouldn't come to focus. But, and I know this will be hard to believe, my Widescan II by itself showed no signs of coma even at the f/4.05 focal ratio of this mirror. I was amazed, but Bruce noticed this also. It may be a result of the easily achieved excellent collimaton of this setup. The red lights were also not noticeable at all, another surprise.

Some of the objects viewed included M31 and the nearby galaxy (viewed in a Denkmeier binoviewer at about 270x)), the M65 trio in Leo, M57, the Eagle and the Swan, M81&82, and Markarian's Chain. The initial view where Markarnan's begins, the triangle of galaxies with another in the middle, etc., showed 11 galaxies in the field in my Widescan II. Also viewed M87 and the Siamese Twins. Jupiter was viewed early in the evening, with considerable detail and additional belts, with details visible in them, one of the best views I've had in the past coupple of years. Also had a superb view of the Sombrero at 250x. I'm sure there are other objects I've left out, but it was a very exciting night for me.

I Began packing up just before midnight, still learning how the 22" goes together.