Telegizmo 365 Cover Review

Before I purchased my Telegizmo 365 cover for my telescope I did a lot of searching for reviews. I found a couple reviews, and then the Telegizmo testimony for their 365 cover. This is the way it is advertised on their website (I didn’t copy the whole part, just the part that captured my interest when looking into the covers).

Less than 1% shrinkage or stretch assures continuous proper fit. The water resistant capabilities of this material are outstanding… tested and shown to not allow moisture penetration from a spray test at 40 PSI, 1/2 inch concentrated stream.
A year of strenuous testing in some of the harshest outside environments, including the desert southwest, Florida Keys, Colorado @ 8000 feet and the Texas Hill country has proven the 365 Series to be capable of handling all types of weather on a continuous 24/7, 365 basis.

We all know that companies will say what they have to in order to sell a product, and given the fact that I couldn’t find much information on them I was a bit skeptical about buying one. I had one in my cart ready to purchase for many months. I had planned on buying one to fit my 6” Newtonian over a year ago. I just couldn’t pull the trigger on purchasing one although I was extremely tempted.

After I purchased my 8” Celestron SCT I found myself really wanting to be able to setup my telescope, polar align it, and be able to leave it up for use whenever the skies were clear even if that meant having it set up throughout a lot of rain and wind, and snow in the winter.

This year I had attended the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) at Rockland Community College in Suffern, NY. This was my first time attending this event, and I would love to make it a yearly adventure. While at NEAF I stumbled upon the Telegizmo 365 cover when I first got there. The bin they were in was filled. A few hours had gone by and I walked past the booth with the bin of these covers again, and noticed a bunch had been sold. So, I decided to look through and see if they had one there made specifically for an SCT telescope on a EQ mount since my telescope is mounted onto my CG-5. I found the cover for my telescope and mount and decided to bite the bullet and make the purchase.

NEAF happened early April, and after getting home with the cover I set up the telescope in preparations for a clear night. I polar aligned the telescope, did my imaging and viewing for the night, and covered the telescope. This is when the true Telegizmo 365 Cover test went into full effect. We had practically 2 months worth of rain. Some nice days in between, but way more rainy days than nice days. Some of the days were heavy downpours with wind gusts of 50mph, and other days were just a light sprinkle.

After 2 months of my cover being rained on I finally did a thorough examination of my telescope to ensure there was no water that has penetrated the cover and entered the OTA. I checked for water damage to the telescope, and to the mount. Everything was bone dry!

It seems these covers really are excellent for keeping your telescope dry in the rain. This purchase was worth every penny spent!

The only downfall I found which has nothing to do with the cover is that where I setup my telescope there was a bit of erosion on the ground which resulted in my mount no longer being polar aligned. No fault of the cover, just my own fault for having my telescope setup where it is; in dirt, along a slight slope on the ground. I need to put a few pavers down where my tripod sits to hopefully avoid erosion messing up my polar alignment.

Here are images of the cover on the telescope, and the way I have it on my telescope. The cover came with an extra bungee cord which I use as extra security in hopes that it keeps the wind from blowing it off of the telescope.

I tighten up the bungee cord that cinches the bottom tighter, then I take the loose bit of bungee and tie it around the adjustment knob for the tripod. This helps secure the cover to the telescope and mount through heavy winds.

Telegizmo 365 Cover

This leaves the cover looking a little bulky on the scope, which had me worried that a heavy gust of wind could get inside of it and either rip the cover off, or knock the whole setup over.

Telegizmo 365 Cover

So I took the spare bungee cord that came with the mount.

Telegizmo 365 Cover

I tighten that bungee around the telescope to hold it tighter and reduce the parachute-like appearance it has. So far this has worked out good in heavy winds.

Telegizmo 365 Cover

I wrap the extra bungee around the telescope to get the loose bit of cord off the ground. No need for a tripping hazard around the telescope.

Telegizmo 365 Cover

Then I wrap the bungee around itself to keep it from coming undone.

Telegizmo 365 Cover

Now the cover is completely on the telescope, and it is ready for inclement weather.

Telegizmo 365 Cover

I have also been out on a clear day to remove the cover after a rainstorm to see if it is damp at all, and it has been bone dry each time I have checked on it. I also found that the cover does and excellent job keeping it from getting too warm. Where I have my scope in my yard it is bombarded by the sun for most of the day. I can remove the cover midday and it is cool to the touch. So not only does the cover do a great job at keeping rain out, but it also does an excellent job of keeping the scope at a decent temperature so the optics don’t get too hot sitting out like that.

I highly recommend these covers to anyone that is looking for a way to keep their telescope setup in their yard without having to purchase or build an observatory. This has saved me a lot of time on nights that I go out since I can turn on my telescope, wake it up from hibernation, point it at an object, and begin imaging. I cut down the entire setup and polar alignment time which has been major motivation for going out on a clear night.

Telescopic Goodies in the Milky Way

This is what happens when you piggy back your point and shoot camera on your telescope, and stack 28 images towards the Sagittarius region in the milky way. No dark frames, just the light images. Will have to do this again with dark frames, and maybe not at 1600 ISO, that little camera doesn’t like it that high, maybe 800 next time.

Just look how amazingly “dusty” the milky way looks. Filled with all types of telescopic goodies. I love the sky this time of year, I wish this was visible longer than just a couple months from my location… going to enjoy it while it’s around, so long as the sky clears up again.

At the same time these images were taken I was taking images of a nice deep sky object that I am doing some final touches to, and will have them up tomorrow evening. If I had a 3rd camera I would have taken a picture of my telescope with the two cameras latched onto it like two Ramoras.

The Celestron Omni XLT 150

On Monday I received my brand new telescope, a Celestron Omni XLT 150. It has a 6 inch mirror (150mm) and is such a beautiful looking scope. Aesthetically pleasing, and also provides some great views of the skies.
When I got the telescope it arrived in two boxes, one containing the tripod, mount, weights, and slow motion control knobs. This box was a bit on the heavy side, which is a good thing. A strong sturdy mount with little to no wobble when in use. I knew this box was going to be heavy, but it still surprised me a bit when I went to pick it up; luckily I didn’t have far to carry it into my house to be assembled. When I opened the boxes inside the main box I was happy to see how well packed it was, I was also happy with UPS for not delivering me boxes with damaged corners or holes poked through it.
In the second box which was quite a bit lighter in comparison was the optical tube assembly, finder scope, 2” eyepiece adapter, 1.25” eyepiece adapter with threads to attach a t-ring (for attaching a DSLR camera for prime focus astrophotography), and the 25mm eyepiece. Again, I was quite happy with the packaging and the fact that the boxes were in good condition when delivered.
I removed all the parts from the first box and laid them out on the floor and checked them over for any damage. I had one damaged piece, but it’s damage was my own fault. When removing the box containing the weights it slipped out of my hand and fell to the floor. It broke a piece off of the tightening screw, but it’s not worth losing any sleep over. It still functions properly and if I really need to I can order or find a replacement screw.
Opened the second box and laid the pieces out to inspect them and make sure everything is ok. I didn’t want to put it all together to find out there is damage to anything. Everything was in great shape, so it was time to attach it all to the mount and tripod.
After setting it all up I collimated the scope to align the mirrors to get the best views I can. Went outside and took a look up – CLEAR! Went to go pick up the telescope and realized that this thing weighs 45.5lb and the Astromaster 114EQ weighed 17lb, but I got it outside just fine.
Polar aligned the telescope real quick just enough where I could track an object. First object I went for was the moon, and I have to say I was amazed by the difference. This telescope is going to be a blast to view with.
I quickly aimed at the constellation Auriga and almost immediately found M37, which was a distinctive cluster of stars which looked like small pin holes.

Took a quick moon shot, but couldn’t get many as the clouds rolled in. Better ones to come in the near future.

Out of Order

I haven’t had much of a chance to go out and gaze at the stars in the past couple of weeks due to a mixture of clouds and the fact that my telescope mount for the Astromaster 114EQ broke the night of December 30th, 2011. I was tightening the thumb screws to attach the optical tube to the mount when all of a sudden there was a SNAP and before I could react the telescope fell to the floor. The mount snapped and there is no DIY fix.
You can see me holding the thumbscrews that connect the telescope to the mount, along with the mount broken there. At the moment of the picture the telescope was laying on the floor. Fortunately after going through and giving the OTA a thorough check it didn’t seem to be damaged, but it may need a good collimation after falling about 3 feet to the ground. I can’t describe how scared I was to look into the tube expecting to see a shattered mirror.
I have contacted Celestron and they will replace the part, sending out the broken part to be replaced this week. Unfortunately they are saying it could take 4-6 weeks until I receive my new mount. Until then I still have the 70mm refractor although I can’t really take pictures with it, and it’s been quite cold so sketching my views is a bit of a hassle.
I’m also looking into a new telescope – The Omni XLT 150 – which will be a nice addition to my small telescope collection. Keep an eye out I will hopefully be back up and running as normal hopefully within a couple of weeks. Sorry about any lack of viewing updates.

First Lunar Viewing

I meant to make this post the night I viewed but I got too cold and lazy after viewing it and attempting to photograph it that I didn’t get around to it. I had posted these photos on my picasa web album and did a bit of sharpening to really bring out a little bit of detail. It was Monday night and the air was COLD! When I say cold it was around 0°F or possibly lower. I can’t remember at the moment but I know I couldn’t stand there longer than 10 minutes without losing feeling in my finger tips.

I took these photos of the Waxing Gibbous moon with my digital camera that has a manual function so I could adjust the F-stop to 5.0, Shutter speed to 1/125th, and ISO to 100. These seem to be the sweet spot for photographing the moon. I was unaware of these so after some fooling around with the camera settings and not getting it, I went inside to ask my girlfriend (who does photography, and damn well I might add) what the settings should be for the moon. Once she told me I set the camera, warmed up, went back outside, aimed my telescope at the moon, held the camera to my 32mm eyepiece, Crystal View Moon Filter, and No. 82A filter, and started taking snap shots. I took about 20 pictures, 4 came out really good. That’s what you have to expect when taking photographs of just about anything though. Which is why I love digital cameras, because you don’t end up with a roll of wasted film, which I would, endless amounts of wasted film.
I’ve been looking at the weather forecast for this weekend at accuweather.com because they provide an astronomy viewing forecast which will tell you how good of a view you should have for stargazing the night sky. This weekend into Tuesday so far is looking great. Although it’s also looking pretty cold, around -15° and colder with the real feel temperatures. The cold wont stop me, I’ll still go out, but I’ll be shivering and chattering my teeth like some crazy obsessed astronomer who can’t let one good night of viewing go by. Unfortunately other than the moon I wont be able to take any photographs to share because I lack a motor drive and a camera mount for my telescope. Someday hopefully I will be able to invest in these items.
Anyway, enjoy these photos, click the one above and the 3 below to see them larger.