New Meets Old – DS-2045s Laser Designator
The biggest challenge I have with my homebuilt 16.5” f/6.5 is pointing the darned thing. At the moment I’m limited to using 1.25” eyepieces and my widest field of view is about 0.4 degrees at 136x. While this is a nice arrangement for a lot of deep sky objects it’s not a good arrangement for locating objects. I’ve tried quite a few different approaches including star-hopping, finders, a Telrad, a laser pointer, and setting circles. All of these worked to a point, but still there had to be a better way. While using my laser pointer I hit on this idea; use a laser pointer on a separate GoTo mount to direct the laser pointer on the big scope. I had originally planned on using my little ETX-60, but it turns out that I had enough spare parts laying around to put this system together; a Meade 2045s 4” SCT spotting on a DS-2000 mount. I just removed the 2045’s finder bracket and replaced it with an Orion laser pointer and bracket. This turned out to be very easy to use. I can clearly see the laser beam in the field of view of the 2045 and synch the DS-2000 on a star near the target area of interest, and then GoTo the specific target. I then locate the beam in the finder of my 16.5” and follow it out to the end. Finally, I located the beam in the 16.5” and follow it out to its tip. The object is usually right there or just a tad off. Once I’ve got it I switch the laser off. I had a chance to give this a test last night and it proved very easy and very effective to use. Hopefully, this will help make my big scope a lot more enjoyable to use.