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Everything posted by brympton

  1. I'm guilty of that David, but then again having owned and used an OO scope for a little while I now have more faith in the Zygo test than I did before . I had a read of the Oldham Optical article, then looked at their price list (£1,350 for 16" 1/4 wave mirrors for example) which I have to say makes the big Flextube's and Lightbridge's look like absolute bargains. Regards Mark
  2. Me neither, but have you tried it? It's just a click and select job in the main for all the parameters. You do have to type in the object and brief comments (or maybe voice record the comments?) but these can be embelished later if you export the CSV file to Excel. Still on the learning curve but it all seems very well thought out....up to page 112 now
  3. All depends how obsessive you want to be At f/4 and in my opinion, I would want to up the ante a bit. At one end of the scale you have a simple piereced eyecap and at the other you have the CatsEye collimation tools. Somewhere in between there are cheshire's, sight tubes and lasers. As a minimum I would get hold of a combined cheshire/sight tube (like the one I just sold ) to ensure secondary rotational and fore/aft positioning before using the laser. Also and depending on which laser you have I would check it's accuracy as Steppenwolf (I think) has commented on. The other thing I would look into is the barlowed lased technique something I have not tried but there appears to be a lot of merit in this approach.
  4. "IF" you have a pda or smartphone you could take a look at Astromist. I can't give you a full review as I have only just aquired this but I am well impressed so far, The manual which you can download for free spans some 136 pages and I note that the ability to import Astroplanner data is included. As well as providing in real time a sky chart of available objects (and virtual Telrad overlay) it also provides the ability to record observing notes and input sky conditions etc. The display can be switched to night mode at 3 different brightness levels which should preserve your dark adaption. I did a search for this on SGL and was surprised to find zero results surely someone else here is using this what with bluetooth telescope control and all, not that I wanted that bit, but it is an unbelievably good piece of software for a reasonable price (IMHO). Now where was i...oh yes page 62....
  5. This might be of interest Karlo: http://www.balinka.com/power.htm Regards Mark
  6. That's an interesting reply Graeme, did you have any specific recommendations I could take a look at?
  7. Bernie at Modern Astronomy does them (Telrad's) for a good price and a natty little dew heater which fits a treat and works really well. Perhaps I should have said "Stick-on big ugly plastic box" - still love mine though
  8. Lidl are doing a keep warm special this week...thermals look good value http://www.lidl.co.uk/uk/home.nsf/pages/c.o.20081104.index.ar6
  9. I recently sold my EQ6 to concentrate on purely visual observing. I wanted a lightweight easy set up and settled on an AYO mount (similar to WO EzTouch). I believe you can use this with the EQ tripod although a SW 200 might be a bit heavy? There is a heavy-duty version complete with DSC’s but at substantially higher cost. I love my new set up. I can be up and running in just a few minutes, it’s easy to transport and I can move the whole assembly with lightweight OTA’s when required. With the weather we have had this year I just was not using the EQ6 mainly due to set up and break down times. However… There is no way I could beat the EQ6 (once set up) at finding multiple targets even armed with a Telrad and pre-prepared charts. Also, the mount is not as stable as an EQ6 when using high power eyepieces, which is only to be expected. DSC’s would certainly speed things up but you still have to look at coordinates and set them for each target. So in summary a good idea if you want fast access for visual observation, not so good if you want to find as many targets as possible in a viewing session and hopeless for imaging
  10. Really, I'm surprised by that :shock: (if you think the WO's bright don't try the Sky Watcher ) I was so impressed with the WO RDF I bought a second one for my son - mind you I have to admit that I don't use any setting above 1 (there's 6 in total). However, if you can live with that big ugly plastic box called a Telrad I think they are unbeatable - I wouldn't be without mine
  11. Can anyone recommend some software for making up my own Telrad Charts. I would like to produce an A4 book with combined NGC, Messier and Double Star targets - and larger text
  12. Just started to use a Telrad and it got quite wet last night so will probably give one of these a go for 9 quid rather than make my own: http://telescopes-binoculars.co.uk/acatalog/Finderscopes.html Scroll down to AC308, picture may be useful to you
  13. Thank's for the replies all...this is now a cracking scope, third time out with it last night, fantastic views Paul, the SPX had the free optics upgrade offer when I bought it: (click to enlarge)
  14. Andrew, Got to agree with the last two (now three - must learn to type faster) replies. I had similar symptoms to those you describe in your first paragraph with a SW 250px until I borrowed (then bought) an AE Cheshire. Not an expensive item given the investment you have already made in the Lightbridge. My new OTA is f4.5 also and I thought it may be worth investing in the CATSEYE system - and I'm pleased to say it is. I used to have a laser collimator which was only really useful for primary alignment (fine provided that the secondary is adjusted properly). I still spend a ridiculous amount of time on secondary alignment but it's always worth it
  15. I am pleased to say that the Orion Optics SPX200 OTA has been received and briefly tested on a night of excellent seeing conditions. Communication with OO has been exemplarily and ALL issues have been fully resolved (in and some cases to a higher standard than requested). It is difficult not to make reference to previous posts on this item; however, the intention here is to put forward the facts and my own opinion based on what has been delivered. Packaging. The first good sign was with the somewhat larger but single strong box: (click to enlarge) Opening this up revealed a box within a box within a box! (click to enlarge) Followed by enough poly chips to start my own packaging company – someone’s having some fun here: (click to enlarge) Next up is the OC1 focuser. A much-improved design with the 3 point brass clamping rings, nicely finished, smooth in operation and complete with OO logo: (click to enlarge) The mirror cell is an absolute work of art and has exceeded my expectations. It now has the locking screws, 3D milled track finish and once again the OO logo: (click to enlarge) The dovetail plate is a special edition as requested incorporating two 8mm clearance holes that enable the OTA to be mounted on either side of an AYO/Easy Touch mount: (click to enlarge) The OTA was also in a clean condition and well collimated so this covers all the major issues I had. The finder scope is a straight through affair (as standard) of good quality and incorporating a variable brightness illuminated double crosshair target. It is shown below with the OC1 extension tube: (click to enlarge) So far, so good…Now onto performance, which I need to qualify before I start: This was a very brief test from home on a night of exceptional seeing conditions. The OTA was given about an hour to cool down (without fan assistance) before selecting a couple of targets. First up with a WO 32mm SWAN eyepiece was the double cluster (NGC869 & NGC884), which was absolutely breathtaking, tack sharp and exquisitely detailed in fact the best I have ever seen it from my own home. Definitely a moment to be shared with the family, so after encouraging everyone out into the cold several very satisfying WOW’s were forthcoming – good stuff. A slight movement down and over to the right brought in Almach an easy separation following a change of eyepiece. Once again, beautiful, with the blue and yellow really standing out against the night sky. Finally to end this quick test I reverted to the 32mm eyepiece and took a look at M31. At first I was not quite as elated as I had been with the double cluster and stars but the longer I looked the more I could see – end result fabulous. This is all I had time for unfortunately as I could have stayed out all night with views like these. There are a couple of points worth noting: [li]Don’t even think of ordering the OC1 without the 10:1 reduction I would say this was absolutely critical on this OTA. [/li] [li]My high quality wooden tripod does not provide sufficient “steady” support when using high powered eyepieces [/li] I do not think that this OTA with its 1/10th wave optics blows away the competition, but working from memory and after only a brief test I would say that it is a significant improvement to what I have seen before. I guess this is something you just have to judge for yourself if you have the opportunity. I am now a satisfied customer. The SPX200 meets my criteria for a good quality lightweight easily managed Newtonian that needs no further additions to provide the performance I require. Would I buy another OO scope? Yes, but I would talk to them first not just place an order over the Internet. Orion Optics have clearly stepped up to the plate here and this is a shining example of what they can achieve. But in some ways my mini review is irrelevant. I hope to see another positive review in the future from someone else to show some consistency. Finally one last image for the educated (the Zygo Chart): (click to enlarge)
  16. Dave, An interesting review thank you, can I ask if you checked the centre line of the scope with the mount by either adjusting the set screws shown in the picture below or by shimming the dovetail to tube ring interface. I mention this because I did not achieve consistent 3 star alignment until this was taken care of on the EQ6/200spx I owned previously. (click to enlarge) Regards Mark
  17. One of the things that make this site so enjoyable are the characters of the people here so I am very happy to read that you are staying with it Mel. I have a feeling that you are in for in for a pleasent surprise with the 4se, a well made, very capable and excellent scope. You know one of my favourite books (Turn Left at Orion) was written by a guy with a small telescope, something he could not have achieved had he not taken it with him and used it frequently. Given your analytical approach and literary skills with the guides you have written perhaps we can look forward to your first guide "book" Regards Mark
  18. I have stayed at this campsite but didn't have a scope at the time. It is probably one of the cleanest, well run sites we have used outside of the Caravan Club. There is a large "overflow" field which is normally empty at this time of year so should be ideal. I would mention that Sandy Balls was owned by a Mormon family so while they had a good on site restaurant they did not serve alcohol (although you could bring your own wine) and the shop didn't sell any either. Things might have changed now however as this was a few years ago.
  19. I don't tend to comment on other peoples images as I lack experience in this area but I have really enjoyed your recent images...outstanding....keep them coming please
  20. Helen, I don't know about your particular camera but the guide window will not appear until you draw a rectangle around a star in the image window. Sorry if you already knew this but otherwise I think it will be a settings issue so I would need more detail to fully answer. Regards Mark
  21. Thanks for the tip Helen, I just ordered one too. Good price on the Baader Ortho's as well I saw some telrad charts at MC2 in Frome: http://www.telescopeshop.co.uk/index1.html must take a closer look next time I'm passing!
  22. Thanks for the replies all. I am still undecided at the moment but ultimately may have to budget for both
  23. Hello Phil, I have a WO red dot finder which is very good and easier to use in a lot of situations than a finder. The ability to stand behind the scope and align targets rather than twist into position trying to use a finder is much more comfortable - except when the scope is pointing upwards! I have had sucess in locating objects by star hopping but then again there is no magnified view so some stars can be difficullt to locate. I am also considering a Telrad with a flip down mirror/dew shield accessory for near vertical viewing as shown on this site: http://www.altairastro.com/ (Search for Telrad) The big advantage of the telrad for me is the ability to use telrad charts in the field. Regards Mark
  24. I would like to add a 5mm eyepiece to my collection and have narrowed down the choice to either the Baader Hyperion or the Orthoscopic. I have a Japanese (unknown brand) 9mm Ortho that initially I did not like due to the lack of eye relief but it’s superior definition and contrast is winning me over. My question is would I be sacrificing performance for comfort/FOV by going for the Hyperion?
  25. It is not supposed to be able to rotate past the polarscope. I will try and explain, Start with the adjuster handle pointing down, push the red button in and pull back on the handle. This disengages the splines allowing the thread to remain stationary while you turn the handle 90 degrees anticlockwise. When you release the handle and the red button you will have the ability to turn the thread another 90 degrees. Oops too late again
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