Tag Archives: John Mcmahon

For Sale Outside Tully, NY: Orion SkyQuest XT8 Dobsonian Telescope #9908 (Vintage 1999) – SOLD

The scope has sold!

Greetings fellow, astrophiles!

Local amateur astronomer extraordinare and friend of CNYO John McMahon has a SkyQuest XT8 for sale. For interested parties, please drop a line to info@cnyo.org and I’ll forward your contact info to John directly.

Orion SkyQuest XT8 Dobsonian Telescope #9908 (vintage 1999)


Excellent condition
Completely assembled
Perfect for both Solar System and deep-sky observing

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Specifications and description from original instruction manual (included):

* Enameled steel tube
* Tube outer diameter: 230mm
* 200 mm parabolic mirror (f.l. 1200mm, f/6)
* Mirror coatings: aluminum with SiO overcoat, 89% reflective
* Aluminum R&P focuser
* 6×30 finder scope
* Original Plössl eyepieces included: 25 mm (48X), 9 mm. (133x)
* Eyepiece rack (accommodates four eyepieces)
* CorrecTension mounting system
* Rigid plastic dust cap
* Wt.: 42.3 lbs (tube + base)

Reviewed in Sky and Telescope, January 2000 (Vol. 99, No. 1): pp. 60-69. Excerpt:

“The Orion SkyQuest XT8 stands out as the best telescope of the batch, with its good optical performance, smooth, controllable motions, freedom from most problems and good package of standard accessories. This is a fine telescope for beginners and should provide enjoyable observing for anyone…”

You can also find some additional information on the scope line (+/- some generational modifications) at: telescope.com/Orion-SkyQuest-XT8-Classic-Dobsonian-Telescope/p/102005.uts

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Personal note: This instrument has been well-maintained and has afforded the owner many hours of serious astronomical observations, easily providing excellent views of deep-sky objects (including those on the Messier and Caldwell catalogs), numerous double stars, comets, planets and a wealth of lunar details.

Original list price as purchased: $499.00. Asking: $225.00

CNYO Observing Log: Attempted Observing, Successful Lecture, And Maker Hall Session For January, 2016

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

A brief summary of events already had in January. For the most part, this is the time of year when most activities slow to a crawl (unless you’ve got a good few pairs of thermals to wear, in which case you’re observing is limited by conditions and the build-up of water vapor as you breath too close to an eyepiece).

Solar @ Green Lakes, Nighttime @ Baltimore Woods, January 9th

With the Friday night session a complete wash at Baltimore Woods, Bob Piekiel and I ran a double on Saturday, January 9th. The first event was a solar observing run at Green Lakes State Park (amid current construction around the main building). Sadly, this was the best-attended failed session yet, with considerable cloud cover only providing the most fleeting glimpse of the Sun before taking it away again. Attendance peaked near 25, though, which is great news otherwise. Bob will be running (and I wing-man’ing) a few more solar sessions, for which we hope the skies agree at least once.

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Observers observing, but not as planned @ Green Lakes. Click for a larger view.

I am pleased to mention that, near the end of the session, a few mountain bikers came by the scopes to ask what we were looking at. When I said it was a failed solar observing session, one of the bikers (in an SOS shirt) mentioned that he had learned some observing with “A guy named Stu.” Taking a few minutes to remember local amateur astronomer extraordinare Stu Forster was a treat that made my otherwise overcast day.

Later that night, during what was maybe-sort-of predicted to be an opening in the sky from 7 to 8, Bob and I waited patiently at Baltimore Woods for his monthly New Moon weekend session. We went with hope, then left with 90 minutes remaining in the session as the cloud cover only got worse-and-worse. Our loss was other’s gain, of course – as we’ve had a few previous January sessions that were painfully cold but clear. 2016 has started warm but painfully cloudy.

Ceres & Pluto @ DPL 4 CNY Skeptics, January 21st

The lecture given at DeWitt Community Library for our fellow science-minded friends in CNY Skeptics was a repeat (mostly) of the Ceres & Pluto lecture given at Liverpool Public Library late last year. With a few new pics and the benefit of one full pass of the lecture, this session went fairly well (minus at least one softball-stump-the-speaker question). Plans are already in the works for a few more lectures, including one at DPL for the non-affiliated library audience.

TACNY Maker Hall @ The Dr. King Community Celebration, January 30th

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A view from the CNYO table (and a Meteor Game). Click for a larger view.

This past Saturday, CNYO hosted a strategically-placed table to talk astro-shop for a third MLK Community Day Celebration in a row (with continued thanks to STEM Superstar Mary Eileen Wood for the invitation to the event at Nottingham High School). With brochures, Prof. John McMahon’s graciously donated table-top scope (and a 38mm eyepiece to be able to get *anything* into focus in the background), Mars and Ceres pebbles, and a gyroscope in tow, we had about 50 kids and adults stop by over the course of the 2 hour 30 min event. Directly behind us, Dr. David Wormuth made a guest appearance and put his surgical skills to the test (well, not really) in a live demo for the attending audience.

A New Aquisition For CNYO Solar Events – The “McMahon-o-Scope”

I am very happy to report that CNYO has obtained its first official telescope donation. Local amateur astronomer and my favorite Classicist John McMahon has given CNYO a 5″ portable Bushnell Dobsonian made for Optics Planet and awarded to him as a grand prize at the 2012 Summer Seminar held by the Syracuse Astronomical Society.

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The scope comes to CNYO in great shape and with all the original fixings. Plans for the new McMahon-o-Scope are immediate, as we plan an order of Baader film to make an easily-portable solar scope for upcoming daytime observing sessions. Those of us who’ve been in the community long enough can now marvel at how the Dobsonian design went from custom builders and intrepid amateurs to mass-produced tabletop scopes that collapse down for storage most anywhere.

As for the new scope, we await Baader and clear skies. Many thanks to John McMahon for making someone’s future solar setup quick and painless!