XEphem and SOHO Images

The NASA web server that dishes out SOHO images has recently been updated to use SSL (HTTPS) connections only, and this causes XEphem to be unable to retrieve the latest images. Contributor Lutz Mändle created a patch to allow this connection to be reestablished. [More]

VIC-20 Real Time Clock in VICE

The beauty of this is that you could program a BBS to use this. The internal RTC gets messed up when either the tape or disk storage units are accessed - so using the D12C887 provides a separate, accurate clock with which to tag things like messages and files. Obviously, it does not worry about dates - but that could easily be accommodated by a subsystem. [More]

Hires Image of Pluto!

New Horizons successfully flew by Pluto and returned some stunning images. Of all of them, this hires image is absolutely amazing - click on it and wait for it down download, and then zoom in to 1:1. Bask in the detail and incredible beauty of our system's noble outpost! [More]

Telescope Reviews: Meade 2120 LX-6

This scope has been out of production for years and has been superceded by the LX-200 series. However, my friend Chris owns a pristine example of the 2120 on the LX-6 mount. His scope has integrated digital setting circles, both RA and Dec motors and a hand controller. He also has the Meade focal reducer, a bunch of eyepieces and a Meade Dew Shield. I've had the opportunity to use his scope on many occasions over the years, but just recently he asked me to run a quick star test on it and share what I thought. [More]

Telescope Review: Guan Sheng GS-600 8 inch f/4 EQ

I traded in my Orion StarMax for this scope just a few months ago. The deal involved just swapping the OTA's, so my test sample doesn't have the 8x50 finder (I have a custom made 12x60 finder instead) and I don't have the 10mm eyepiece, although I did use my 13mm NexStar Plossl with it. The scope is now my primary unit, designed to deliver the deep sky views that the StarMax 127 simply couldn't. [More]

Telescope Review: NewStar 70mm f/10 Refractor

This was a piece together project that included a NewStar (Synta) 70mm f/10 OTA with a Skywatcher red dot finder, an Orion 25mm Sirius Plossl and a Guen Sheng EQ-2 mount and tripod. The tripod featured telescoping aluminum legs and a solid accessory tray that also served to steady the mount. The EQ head was a bit odd - similar to the Orion EQ-2 but the goose neck was missing. The tripod was very solid and the dual slow motion controls were smooth, although the Dec control was a spring loaded affair that had to be "reset" every once in a while. [More]

Telescope Review: Orion StarMax 127

I picked up this super compact scope to replace my bulky 10 inch Dob. The StarMax comes on a sturdy EQ-3 mount. I actually purchased the Apex 127 - which is without a mount. I first mounted to an EQ-2, but that proved too weak, so I later upgraded it to an EQ-4. My review will deal with it's performance on the EQ-4 mount. The scope also came with a decent 25mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece, and I augmented it with the addition of a 17mm and 32mm Sirius Plossls. I rounded out the eyepiece setup with an Antares 2x APO Barlow. [More]