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John

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  1. They say that the best investment to get great galaxy views is some fuel in your tank to take you and the scope to a dark sky site That said, my backyard has some light pollution issues but I've still managed to see many galaxies down to around magnitude 13.8 with my 12" scope. I've not found a filter of any sort that improved the views of galaxies though, despite trying broadband / light pollution types. I found that I sold these on rather quickly wheras the UHC and O-III type have proved very valuable for nebulae.
  2. The 13mm 100 degree Ethos is a 1.25" eyepiece For your budget and with a 24mm preferred focal length I think the Explore Scientific 24mm 68 would do very well and be showing pretty much as much sky as a 1.25" eyepiece can.
  3. This is the conclusion that my astro society have come to as well. We currently have a vintage 12" newtonian and an 18" JMI dobsonian but our ambition is to replace them with a large aperture SCT.
  4. The Skytee II has not changed. It works well and can handle heavy loads but the stock dovetail saddles need to be upgraded before putting heavy / expensive scopes on them. This adds to the cost of course. I have ADM saddles on my Skytee II which are excellent. The mount has slow motion controls which the others you mention don't. It's not a deal breaker for me but it might be for you ? I have had a Sabre and that was pretty good. Rather similar to the Giro III in terms of capacity and operation. It takes ADM and other saddles using the same 35mm spaced M6 holes that the Giro mounts use. I now have a Giro Ercole which is a superb mount and a step above all those mentioned in terms of finish, capacity and operation. Really top notch piece of gear Remember that you will need to use counterweights with your 127L and balancing the scope fore and aft is important. If your EQ5 is driven you may find having to move and track manually causes more vibrations with the long 127L tube than you anticipate. I'd highly recommend a 2" steel tubed tripod or even better a Berlebach tripod
  5. What you need to change is the distance between the barlow lens element and the lenses in the eyepiece. It is that distance plus the focal length of the barlow lens that determines the degree of amplification. There is maths that can work it out but you need to know the focal length of the barlow lens. If you are happy to experiment then it's the top section of the barlow that will need to be shortened I think. This will bring the eyepiece lenses closer to the barlow lens and should reduce the amplification. I hope I've got that right !
  6. Everything matching and lined up nicely !
  7. Great stuff Doug !! I find filters less than helpful on galaxies to be honest with you, even the ND. A little additional magnification sometimes does help but sometimes not. Some galaxies do look less bright than you think they ought to be from the bare magnitude figures. The given magnitiude is an integrated figure wheres a face on galaxy is spread out and the actual brightness of any one point on it can be well below the integrated figure. M33 is a classic example of this !
  8. It depends on the scope you are using but my experience is that the UHC and O-III filters (by Lumicon, Astronomik or other brands) do make a difference when viewing nebulae, even under light polluted conditions. They work even better under dark skies of course but we can't all have those ! The broadband filters such as the Lumicon Deep Sky do make some difference but the UHC and O-III types are much more significant, in my opinion. Here is a report worth reading: http://www.prairieastronomyclub.org/useful-filters-for-viewing-deep-sky-objects/
  9. I bought the scope in then put it out again because the cloud thinned out. In, out, in, out, shake it all about
  10. I wonder which two they will be ???
  11. Indeed we should - sounds like they could be a more affordable and available alternative to the ZAO's if the range was extended
  12. Thin cloud here but the Tak 100 is cutting through it Little wind tonight and a nice steady image at 180x. The GRS is quite colourful at the moment.
  13. Great report ! I'd like a night like that soon
  14. If you can upgrade the tripod to a steel tubed one (the EQ5 / HEQ5 ones will fit) that would make a lot of difference. Otherwise some good suggestions above