Over the past 2 months I have had several club members come over to observe with the F/15. Without exception everyone has been impressed with the quality of the observing. Instead of wishing for a new moon, I now find myself looking forward to a first quarter moon for detailed lunar observing that is not possible even with my C11.
With the manual mount anything above 125x will move out of the field of view rather quickly. Most of my observing has been at around 100x. If I loosen the clutches and manual guide like a dobsonian I have been able to get up to about 200x but it is not easy. The highest magnification that I have used to date is 250x using a Baader Morpheus 9 mm eyepiece. I put the moon just out of the field of view and let it pass by. It is almost like flying over the moon.
It seems ironic that an instrument with such potential for high powers is limited simply by its inability to follow an object. Perhaps a driven, equatorial mounting ought to be in your stars? Your skills at design and fabrication are already well proven. You just need to tilt one axis and add a motor.
Or rebuild a classic 12-15" reflector mounting which can easily manage your long scope. I'd aim for 2" shafts to be on the safe side and a tall pier which allows you to look overhead.
As soon as I had built my 7" f/12 iStar refractor I was routinely doubling my powers on the Moon and planets compared with my years of using my 6" f/8 Celestron achromat. What I had thought was constantly poor seeing and maxing out at 120x was simply inferior optical quality. 250-300x ought to be as easily within your scope's capacity on the Moon, as it is mine.
An Eq. mounting doesn't have to have Goto. Just put a synchronous motor on it. That way your visitors can enjoy extended views without having to constantly re-locate and/or manually follow an object.
Hi Chris, eventually I may tilt the mount, convert it to an equatorial mount and drive the RA axis. When I designed it, I made provisions to do that in the future if I decide to. I have also considered mounting another scope in place of the counterweights. The problem is height. It should be about 3 feet higher for ease of viewing. If it was any taller I could not get it in and out of my garage. I have considered a telescoping pier. My backyard is not an option due to all the trees. Otherwise I would already have an observatory. For now I am enjoying it the way it is.
Last Edit: Jul 27, 2017 11:23:14 GMT -5 by astrorl