Building XX14i

Well, is now 5:00p.m. and I am tired. Had to do a bunch of honey do's today around the new home to get it up and running and now I am very tired and fearing I don't have enough time to assembly the scope. I am off tomorrow at 3:30p.m. and once I get home will see how I feel. If I'm not too tired I'll do it then, and if not then on Tuesday. Man, I have never had this much trouble finding time to build a scope. Here's an image of the boxes . . . I did get the shroud, the three portable bags for transport, an Orion Lasermate Pro (their new model with the Cheshire, I want to compare to my Glatter and my passive tools), a RA Finder, I don't like straight on, a Telrad and the collimation knobs for the secondary, and a 4 inch Telrad Riser (tried of bending over and cranking myself into un-natural positions. Sorry, my Astronomy books are to the right corner behind the image so your seeing my educational books, my Tolkien library minus a couple of items and some other personal items on that book shelf. Man, I have to cook steaks for dinner tonight . . . I want this thing together like yyesterday! I think no matter what, it gets put together tomorrow so I can give it a test run several times this week.

Oh, by the way, we inheirited a hot tub from my mother-in-law that is a nice one and its on our back deck. Were about 3 weeks from getting it setup and working but we realized last night that there is a second use for my light shields! Yep, if we want privacy we simply put them around us and no one, and I mean no one will be viewing in!


  1. Jay,

    Wow, that thing is going to be a Monster! Can't wait to see it up and running.

    I've been following you the last few weeks (Live in Utah county). I'm Pretty new to Astronomy. I have an 8" Dob and am doing my best to learn the night sky and find a few things here and there. W

    Question for you. Are there any local stores where you can buy telescope accessories or lenses anywhere in state?

    I see your two favorite view spots on your site. Any other good recommendations? How far do you like to be from any major city?

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Terrell,

    I started with my good old Orion XT8 Classic (still have it and still love it and enjoy it). Clark Planetarium carries the Orion line so you can get anything made from Orion through them if they don't have it. They also sell Meade and Celestron so anything they offer they can probably get for you.

    There is a lady in Bountiful who sells Telrads for $40.00, $43.00 with tax. Not a bad deal and you can swing by here house to pick it up if your local.

    There is an Inkley's locally that sells stuff though I'm not sure which one. It is in SLC on State I believe, but don't quote me on that.

    In terms of being away from the light dome, I want to state that if the best I can do is observe in Herriman, that's fine for me. Getting out of Herriman depends on time. If I can camp, stay out for a couple of nights then I am willing to go farther.

    Here is a link to sites in Utah.

    and another one:
    just swing to Utah and zoom in.

    Some ok sites near you (some used by the astronomy group of Utah county) are Big Springs Park (the new parking area at the western edge of the park); the Equestrian Parking Lot just up from Big Springs. The canyon will block out low objects but you can get a good night there at zenith.

    Wolf Creek Pass and Mirror Lake area are great. The mountain top site is good (south of you). All of these are within 1 to 2 hours of your home in Utah County.

    Farther out, to really eliminate the light domes requires a 4 plus hour drive. The Wedge is great, going there in August, no real lights there. There is a park just to the NW of Delta that is good and Big Basin isn't bad. Bryce is probably king though in the summer. Not sure if that is what your looking for, but if you ever want to observe, just let me know and I'll post what and where I am going. Sounds like a good idea to do anyway!

    Oh, the 14 is built, with pictures. I'll work on a post about it.

  3. That's a lot of boxes. It's probably a minor miracle it all arrived without the delivery people losing anything! I'm just going to read your assembly post.
    PS, am I right in thinking that 'Honey do's' are requests (orders?!) to do jobs round the house and garden as in 'Honey, do...for me'? ;)

    I enjoy your blog. :)

  4. Jay,

    The links and site recommendations were exactly what I was looking for. I never really noticed all this stray light until I started trying to observe and find some fainter objects.

    I also have the Orion XT8. I've only had it a month or so. I suddenly have this great interest in Astronomy. I've always been fascinated, but never did anything about it. Since then, I've read several books, got some flash cards to memorize the constellations, and am listening to some astronomy courses on podcasts.

    So far, I've seen some planets, binary starts and a few galaxies. Seeing my first galaxy was so exhilriating.

    I am hoping by getting to a darker sky the galaxies will look a little more defined than the smudge that I'm seeing here in town. I'm going up to scout camp in the Unitas next week, I'm for sure taking my scope :)

    Are there any active clubs in utah county? Or any regular star parties? I think I would learn so much more being with more expireinced people.

    Thank you so much for your previous reply and direction.

  5. Hey Faith,

    The boxes came via our local Planetarium and thus I don't have to pay Orion's shipping charges. As an educator I got a good discount so that helps also.

    Honey Do's are not to be confused with the melon Honey Dew that many enjoy, including myself. Honey do are tasks or jobs that are asked by one partner to another to get the job done now. Usually (the male) puts this off but I learned it is far easier to do them and get them out of the way sooner so more are not added upon them. In truth I took many on myself to relieve some stress in the family and to gets things up and going. One was to get our guest room up and running which I did. We now have a guest room that functions nicely with a queen bed in it and still lots of room, and it is tucked away in the basement. I have friends from Denmark and from Norway that visit (spent some time doing research with them while engage in some graduate work) and we have family that will visit once in awhile. Steve is the first astronomy guest we've had in our home though I hope it isn't last and there is an open invite to those I know to come and taste the dark skies of Utah. Perhaps in 2011 when ALCon is at Bryce a straggler might need a rest over on the way down (we are about four hours from Bryce). I figure then a group would work their way back up towards SLC and we could hit some other great dark sky areas. We'll see.

    Faith, I also enjoy reading your blog. I'm entering a period where I am off for six weeks though still receiving a check, and besides hitting the local scene I will be hitting Bryce Canyon Natl Park, Big Basin Natl Park, The Wedge Overlook (all three are really dark) and a couple of other sites. If the weather will hold I am hoping in both July and August to get back to really sketching and putting to use a class I took on sketching. Anyway, have a good one.

  6. Terrell,

    There is one called the Utah Valley Astronomy Association and their site is but it is not working for me tonight.

    The Physics Department at BYU has a group that does Star Parties that can be helpful. They are located at

    Use the left side to navigate on their site.

    Again, I'm in Herriman so not too far away. When I post where I'll be going in July let me know if you want to tag along. You'd be welcome as would your questions.

  7. Jay,

    Thanks. I'd love to join up on one of your sessions. That would be a lot of fun and I'm sure I would soak up tons of great knowledge and learn some great tips just watching you.

    In July, I'll be out of the area for scout camp and a family thing until the middle of the month.

    Thanks again for your great blog. FYI, that new scope is HUGE! I can't wait to hear of your experiences and have you compare the viewing to your previous scopes.