First Light With Meade 16" Lightbridge
I always thought my next scope would be an 18", but a situation arose and I was able to make some trades of current gear for a 16" Lightbridge. So I went for it.
There are tons of reviews of the scope online so I'm not going to review it here, but I do think it's strange how many mods it needs right off the bat. A counterweight is needed immediately. The scope is nearly unusable with the "altitude break" being the solution for heavier eyepieces. The good news is that the scope can easily be modified to my needs and it was so inexpensive for what it is that mods are almost expected.
When I got it home I practiced setting it up and tearing it down a few times. It was a bit tricky for me as I've never owned a truss tube dob before, but I can definitely do it myself and after a few more times I think it will be second nature.
My first task was to collimate it. The previous owner had put a set of "Bob's Knobs" on it which definitely made the process easier.
My friend Eric who also has a 16" Lightbridge is going to help me rebuild the base making it both smaller and lighter. That will make a huge difference when it's on the EQ platform (and on my back - that base is ridiculously heavy!)
I took it out for a spin when the clouds broke for a short period. First object was M57. It looked great as usual, but not noticeably better then the view in my 12".
Could be me, could be the sky tonight. Could be that it's just not any better, but I doubt it.
Second object was M15 and WOW it was fantastic. Much better then the 12. I've never seen the stars resolve on either the outer portion or the inner portion from my house like that. Now we're getting somewhere!
Third object was M74. I chose this one because I can't see it in my 12 from my house unless conditions are very dark and very good (neither of which were the case tonight). I pointed the scope with the 35mm Panoptic in the focuser and to my surprise it was right in the center of the field of view. Not only did I nail it's location, but it was very obvious. I moved the scope around a bit to make sure I wasn't seeing things. M74 is not exactly a dim object, but for my average sky conditions I can see why it's called "The Phantom Galaxy" 99% of the time it's not visible for me. Well, with the 16 I think that may be a thing of the past. Very, very cool.
Unfortunately I had to pack it in, but it was a great start with a new scope. I'm really looking forward to the views.