XT8 mods
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bulletReduce Stray light


Reduce Stray Light

The telescope came with no baffles and a fairly flat black paint job inside the tube, but not enough to compensate for the excessive light pollution.

Placing felt across from the focuser greatly reduced reflections and enhanced contrast.  Use self-adhesive black felt in letter-sized sheets that can be found in any craft store.

The photo at the left is over-exposed to show the felt.  Both the tube and the felt are very black.

While collimating, you may need to put a white piece of paper over the felt to see the edges of your secondary!

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The 6x30 finder that came with the scope was nice, but I needed a right angle finder to make observing easier on my back.  I upgraded to an 8x50 and love it.  It accepts 1.25" eyepieces, which is nice when searching for difficult objects. 

After a using a friend's scope equipped with a Telrad, I "saw the light" and simply had to place one on the scope.  Since the Telrad works best (for me) at the vertical, I had to relocate the 8x50 closer to the focuser.  While it does make the end of the tube a bit cluttered, it's a great combination that allows great flexibility.

The white card is a quick reference card that shows the field of view and magnification for each eyepiece.  This is a great help when searching for new objects.



Of course all the hardware at the focuser makes for fun balancing problems.  My solution was simplified by Orion's great "CorrecTension Friction Control" system.   It's a simple system that uses springs too put pressure on the Teflon pads to increase stability and compensates for a variety of eyepieces.

It moves lightly to the touch, yet stays where you put it.  As an added bonus, the springs firmly connect the base and the tube, so you can lift it as one unit.

Unfortunately, the system won't compensate for two heavy finders, so I had to find another solution.  I prefer simple solutions whenever possible, so my counter balance is a SCUBA weight belt with a single four pound weight and a shoulder strap pad to keep it from sliding.

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The XT8 is a fairly light scope, but bulky. I'm more tempted to use the scope when it's easier to move, so I found a solution that allowed me to roll it out to the back yard or wherever.  I had an old folding baggage cart that just happened to fit the base perfectly.  The attached stretch cords hold it on the cart securely.  It's quick, easy, and small.  It allows me to drag out the scope for a quick look, which means I get more use out of it.



I wanted a secure, cushioned holder for the scope in my truck.  After some experimentation, I came up with a great holder that doubles as a shelf in the extended cab.  I used the Styrofoam packing from the scope's box and built a set of legs to match the contours of the truck - the middle legs are shorter to allow for the transmission hump.  The other side of the shelf is covered with a chunk of rug.  The shelf serves a dual purpose - first, my dog can see out the windows and second, it makes things easier to reach while driving. Picture goes here.