- Series: The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series
- Paperback: 335 pages
- Publisher: Springer; 2009 edition (December 12, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0387097716
- ISBN-13: 978-0387097718
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 26 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,021,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Choosing and Using a New CAT: Getting the Most from Your Schmidt Cassegrain or Any Catadioptric Telescope (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series) 2009th Edition
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From the reviews:
"This book covers a huge subject: catadioptric telescopes. … It’s an invaluable resource describing what equipment is available, including Schmidt-and Maksutov-Cassegrains and their Newtonian variants. … Mollise includes details of brands such as Sky-Watcher and Orion Optics, increasing the book’s value to a wider audience. … overall this is an enjoyable and very informative book … ." (Steve Richards, Sky at Night Magazine, September, 2009)“If you frequent online discussion areas for astronomical assistance or amusement, you’ve no doubt seen a message or 20 from ‘Uncle Rod’ Mollise. … His latest book tackles one of his favorite subjects: the compact … powerful catadioptric telescope (a ‘CAT’), which comes in Schmidt-Cassegrain, Maksutov, and Ritchey-Chrétien configurations. … Mollise walks you through everything you need to know about these scopes … you can make an informed decision to buy one and operate it effectively.” (Sky & Telescope, April, 2009)
From the Back Cover
Catadioptric telescopes (CATs), such as the Schmidt Cassegrains, are increasingly popular with today’s amateur astronomers and are capable of showing even the novice observer thousands of beautiful deep space wonders. Modern CATs, though, have become increasingly reliant on computers. This allows them to automatically point to and track celestial objects, making astronomy more accessible to more people than ever before.
Unfortunately, because of the high-tech nature of these telescopes, selecting one and learning how to use it is often a difficult experience for stargazers both old and new. That’s where Choosing and Using the New CAT comes in. This book guides even the most greenhorn astronomer past the pitfalls encountered on the path to enjoying the beauties and mysteries of the universe.
Here you will learn not just which telescope is right for you but how to set up, operate, and maintain the most complex and electronics-laden CAT. There are plenty of tips for keeping the new CAT happy and working correctly, and there is even guidance on advanced applications, such as hooking computers to CATs and using these telescopes to take gorgeous pictures of planets and deep space objects.
This book gives readers the benefit of the author’s thirty-five years experience using and enjoying catadioptric telescopes and solving the problems that inevitably crop up. If you dream of owning a telescope or are frustrated by the telescope you already own, this is the book for you!
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Top customer reviews
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Where it comes up short is in helping someone decide if a CAT is the best type of telescope for their purposes, which type to get in terms of point of diminishing returns with regard to viewing potential, and it is written with the assumption that one will buy an all in one kit with a scope, fork mount, computer controller, and tripod, all from the same manufacturer.
CAT's can range in size from 90mm to 355mm and larger and in price from several hundred dollars to many thousands of dollars and no guidance is provided for a person to find their sweet spot in terms of performance and cost and ease of use (weights vary tremendously as well).
The option of which type of mount is also not properly covered. With larger CAT's the weight of an integrated fork type mount becomes an important aspect of their use. Having to lift a 50 lb. mount up onto a tripod is not trivial and there are ways to greatly reduce the amount of weight that must be carefully lifted into position.
Where this book really shines is in covering in detail the process and steps and procedures for setting up a telescope the very first time. This section is well worth the price of the book.
This is the most informative book I've read in a long, long time, and I highly recommend it. While it is especially useful for people interested in buying a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, even people who already own one will find this useful.
If you're new at it, considering a scope, or have one you just want to learn more about, buy this book. You'll learn a lot without being overwhelmed by useless detail and mathematics you don't need.
although every chapter title is a play on the acronym cat ("Care and feeding of a CAT", "Inside a CAT," "Hacking a CAT", etc.) in a way that suggests a limited topic coverage, i found some amusement in trying to find a topic that *is not* discussed in this 335 page guide. collimation? a 5 page discussion. mandatory items, like flashlights or dew heaters? check. the use of a hartman mask for precise focusing? pages 294-95. how to deal with telescope dealers? yep. how to use a dark hood, and the importance of warm feet? it's in there. a review of telescope brands and models, astronomy software and a long list of astronomical dealer and web sites? oh yeah. i did finally stump him: there's no formula to compute an eyepiece true field of view using the star drift method (mollise gives the optical formula instead).
elsewhere i gave a negative review of another CAT volume in the patrick moore series because it nohow lived up to its title. with mollise the circumstances are just the reverse: until you pick up this apparently humble book, you'll have no idea how much useful stuff is in here.
essential reading before you buy a CAT telescope, and very helpful reading for every night that you use a telescope, no matter what kind it is.