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Collimating a Newtonian – The Correct, Easier and Definitive Approach: Incorporating the Cave and Laser Telescope Collimators When Useful

Handbook / Manual

By: Peter R Clark(Author)

65 pages, colour & b/w photos, colour & b/w illustrations

Peter R Clark (privately published)

1 customer review
Paperback | extended edition (65 pages) | Mar 2017 | Edition: 4 | #236277 | ISBN-13: 9780957645431
Availability: In stock
NHBS Price: £12.50 $18/€14 approx
Paperback | regular edition (15 pages) | Mar 2017 | Edition: 4 | #221923 | ISBN-13: 9780957645400
Availability: In stock
NHBS Price: £7.50 $11/€8 approx

About this book

This booklet contains instructions to getting telescope mirrors aligned for speed, accuracy and reliability, without any deep understanding beforehand. You just get on with it and enjoy. The extended fourth edition (65 pages) includes an extra 50 pages with the background story to the 5 years it took to discover the correct scientific adjustments and so bury universal intuitive adequacy for amateurs for ever. In this 4th edition's two versions, the comprehensive instructions chapter is identical. They won't let you down.

Summary of the story and reasoning behind herewith 'Making you Mighty in Collimation'.

Published instructions, by omitting the better arrangement in bold below, are mostly all wrong on the secondary mirror. This is given by the way tracking error of a satellite dish or an EQ mount is corrected, how you change the direction of a bicycle quickly and how you should not.  
{1}. The two lateral adjuster bolts of the secondary mirror are not needed and that if fitted must only be used as strict slaves of the central bolt. It reduces the number of bolts used for collimation to 5. This brings the task to within the ability of the human brain to make the correct choices first time, avoiding the distorted light paths of compensation for errors and so reducing adjustment of both mirrors of fast Newtonians from about every session to just once or twice a year, primary only.
{2}. This easier, far more reliable most accurate method helps telescope users achieve excellence through from faint fuzzes to close or difficult double stars, when the wisdom has said expensive refractors of f/10 at the fastest and another for low power wide angle interests. Things now lean more towards what advances in eyepiece quality and ability can offer.
{3}. And from American telescope maker R.F. Royce, 'The Ultimate Newtonian', on which he writes, 'How many times have you struggled with a conventional 3 screws holder, and, after much frustration and bad language, found yourself looking at a secondary mirror skewed to one side under the focuser? That's because the basic adjustment design process is INCORRECT and ILLOGICAL and does not follow right angle relationships. The instructions in this book do exactly that.

Understanding is not required. Just use the instructions and understanding will follow.

Watch a presentation by the author below:


"'The Cave Collimator was excellent for my Maksutov–Newtonian telescope and very good for my Rumak–Cassegrain."
- Professor Ian Morison, Jodrell Bank

Reviews (1)

Taming the dastardly thing.* It's all over now!
By Peter 10 Feb 2018 Unconfirmed Purchase Written for Paperback

It has been very re-assuring to have travelled from adjusting both mirrors at every session for 4 years when judged at a magnification of 1/2 diameter or more in mm, to just the f3.0 primary mirror slightly twice a year since 201; mainly by eventually regarding the two lateral adjusters of the secondary mirror as handlebars.Correction by turning them can cause a bike rider to fall off by gyroscopic inertia. Similarly, turning the lateral adjusters of the Newtonian secondary mirror because they are there causes fall off from any collimation achieved. Sourced from ideas and trusted writers, lower grade compensation then follows. Handsomely, the instructions chapter keeps you clear of such disasters, rocking the boat and ruffling feathers on the way. Collimation has become easy and reliable again for any f ratio.
If you prefer, slipping back into wrong methods is prevented by re-engineering support found in Norton's Star Atlas 11th and 16th editions from c.1950 p.50. Then on the internet the fine metalwork of telescope makers R>F> Royce again, Conrad's Secondary Mirror Holder*, and Ed Jones's Tracking Travelscope in S&T Oct 2010. They either do not fit the two lateral bolts or lock them into being strict followers of the central bolt. Commercially however, only one adjuster for vertical tilt, and the instructions the writer has produced for three adjuster fitted, both fall foul of those who would not even touch a lathe. There's nothing they may say about needing two for slewing sideways that final rotation about the central bolt doesn't perform more easily, and far better too for both low and especially high magnification interests. Adjustment feels smooth micrometer like, with no hit or miss. No, not even at f3.0 on difficult bright and interesting double stars such as e Bootes for an 8", small lunar craters and fainter stars of globular clusters.

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