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Posts posted by John

  1. I had a couple of objectives this evening:

    - Have another look at Nova V1405 Cas

    - Try and locate and observe supernova SN 2021 hiz in the faint galaxy IC 3322A in Virgo

    The first objective was achieved with my 4 inch Vixen refractor. The nova looked to me to be still around magnitude 8, which is where it's been for the past week or so.

    I used my 12 inch dob to try and find the supernova and managed that as reported here:


    With the sky transparency looking quite good I spent some time on other galactic challenges:

    - I managed to see the 4th member of the Hickson Compact Group 44 group in Leo, sometimes also known as the "Leo Quartet". I've seen the other 3 before (NGC's 3190, 3193 and 3185) but tonight I was also able, with the help of 200x magnification and a little averted vision, to see the fainter NGC 3187 as well. So that was a good result.

    - I had a look at the other end of Leo for traces of some of the members of the Copeland's Septet group of galaxies also known as Hickson Compact Group 57. The location is not too difficult to locate but actually seeing these dim galaxies is pretty challenging under my skies. I did get clear sightings of two of the brighter members of this tight knit group (probably NGC's 3753 and 3745) and some vague hints of others in this area. Under better skies I think this group would be worth a re-visit. These are 400 million light years away I believe so no wonder they are faint !

    - I took a high power (199x) look at the lower end of the Markarian's Chain where the 4 galaxies that form what is sometimes known as "The Face" are situated. This triangular grouping of Messier's 84 and 86 and NGC 4388 with the fainter NGC 4387 right in the centre looked really well defined (even the fainter NGC 4387) at this high magnification and more or less filled the field of view.

    With some clouds starting to interfere with things I decided to call it a day there. Another enjoyable deep sky session though with some good objectives achieved :icon_biggrin:




    • Like 7
  2. I've managed to see supernova SN 2021 hiz this evening with my 12 inch dobsonian. I used Stellarium plus @davhei's very helpful sketch to nail the position.

    My (inexperienced) estimate is that the SN is very close to the same brightness as a nearby magnitude 13 star. Once I was dark adapted the SN was reasonably easy to spot at 122x. At 199x I was just getting suggestions of the edge on host galaxy IC 3322 and it's orientation relative to the star field. I think IC 3322 lies at a distance of around 81 million light years ?

    The somewhat brighter galaxy NGC 4365 is in the same field of view as the SN at 122x. 

    Pleased to see this - I think it's my 12th SN ?

    Thanks to @alanjgreen for the heads up :thumbright:



    • Like 2
  3. 40 minutes ago, Deadlake said:

    My neither, I went for an SXP2 because it’s lighter then the competition. I can be in and packed up in 10 minutes at the end of the night. That means the scope, mount and tripod are disassembled and stored.

    My solution for the 130 f/9.2 is alt-azimuth with no power / alignment requirements.



  4. 3 hours ago, Mark at Beaufort said:

    Thanks for the 'heads up' Alan - a great report. I noticed that there was a supernova but did not appreciate there were 3.

    Thanks also to @davheifor his diagram and that he observed it using a 10" Dob.

    It looks like we might have a clear spell tonight so I might have a go at SN2021hiz especially as its mag is 13.2

    Thanks gain both.

    Me too. "Clear Outside" forecasts a few clear hours later this evening.

    Thanks @alanjgreen and @davhei :thumbright:

    • Like 2
  5. 1 hour ago, Marki said:

    ...I don't have the option of a permanent set-up regretfully....

    Me neither.

    All my setups have to be reasonably portable and quick to setup / tear down.

    With hindsight the Istar 150mm F/12 on the EQ6 / Meade Giant Field tripod was not my smartest decision :rolleyes2:

  6. My skies are around bortle 5.

    With my 12 inch F/5.3 dobsonian I have a couple of low power / wide field options:

    - 31mm / 82 degrees which gives 51x, a true field of 1.6 degrees and an exit pupil of 5.84mm

    - 21mm / 100 degrees which gives 76x, a true field of 1.32 degrees and an exit pupil of 3.96mm

    Most of the time I find the 21mm is the most effective eyepiece for picking out faint deep sky objects.

    I've had a number of galaxy hunting sessions where the 21mm is the only eyepiece I've used in fact.


  7. Very interesting report Mark.

    Aperture does tend to "win" with globular clusters.

    When the seeing is steady you should get a nice split of Zeta Herculis with the 130 LZOS I think. The ED150 should do this as well of course.

    It does take a bit of practice to get used to mounting these scopes using the Losmandy fitting, I agree.

    Hope you get lots of great observing with your refractors over the coming months :thumbright:




  8. My earliest telescope views were through a Charles Frank telescope but in my case it was the 8 1/2 inch newtonian that my school owned and I got to use by joining the school astronomy club. This would have been around 1971 / 72:

    This image was posted by @paulastro a while back:


    Back then, the best that I could do personally was to borrow my mates Tasco 60mm refractor. I later saved enough to buy a used one of my own, which I still have:




    • Like 1
  9. The Panoptic 24mm does pretty well too but a number of those galaxies were right on the limit for the aperture / conditions and I found that the additional magnification of the 14mm Delos helped to tease out their faint glows.

    The 10mm or 7mm XW's would probably work similarly for the 76mm F7.5 :smiley:

    Sometimes you've just got to play around with eyepieces and see what does the trick. It's not always the one you might think would do the best !



    • Like 3
  10. Occasionally I put my 13mm Ethos in the diagonal of my FC100 - it looks a bit ungainly but the views of DSO's are pretty spectacular at 69x / 1.4 degrees true field :smiley:

    When I was galaxy hunting in Leo with the 100 a few nights back, the Delos 14mm seemed the ideal tool to pull those fainter fuzzies from my moderately LP affected skies. It seemed the most effective EP on that occasion.

    Don't know if that experience translates to the FC76 though :icon_scratch:


    • Like 3
  11. 19 minutes ago, KP82 said:

    .... more like collector items than tools for astronomy.

    That's an interesting point.

    I know of someone (not a member here) who purchased a couple of Takahashi scopes but very rarely uses them because of concerns that they might get damaged in some way. He has gone to the lengths of also owning Skywatcher ED scopes in the same aperture as well and those are the scopes that get used.

    That's his choice of course but I think these really nice scopes are meant to be used. I certainly use mine as often as I can !


    • Like 5
  12. 1 hour ago, Dave61 said:

    My neighbour has just given me his two binoculars he does not use, a pair of  8x50 Celestron and a great pair of Helios Naturesport 7x50mm.  So looking forward to looking at the moon and just the sky with these.

    I have the Naturesport 10x50's and 8x40's. They seem nice performers :thumbright:

    The 7x50's will make great astronomy binoculars. 8x50 is a good spec too !


    • Like 1
  13. My 130 F/9.2 has the Kruppax 50 tube. I think the model is the 130/1200 LW. I believe the tube material is the reason that the scope optics do not seem to dew up at all. Even when the outside of the tube is running with it.

    It is quite hard to track the model history and specs of the TMB/LZOS/APM triplets. Quite a lot were made to bespoke specifications or have been later modified by owners.



  14. @StuF/6 is quite a bit easier to mount steadily I think. The Rowan AZ100 should handle either focal ratio quite easily though.

    I was strongly considering buying a used Astro Physics Star 120 ED (doublet) a few years ago. It was good nick and priced around £800 I recall. I had recently bought my Skywatcher ED120 though so I was a bit skint and let my "head rule my heart" on that one. It's one of those "I wonder ......" things that I look back on occasionally. My guess is that a used Star ED would now set me back at least twice that amount.



    • Like 1
  15. Over the past 5 years Takahashi scopes have been more and more frequently discussed on SGL and I've seen more mention of LZOS optics over the past couple of years as well. Very little discussion of Astro Physics scopes though.

    On the CN forum, unsurprisingly as AP are a US manufacturer, we see much discussion of their scopes but very rarely do they get a mention on here.

    Is this because the brand is rarely encountered on this side of the pond I wonder :icon_scratch:

    Over the years that I've been in the hobby, Astro Physics is certainly a name that has been prominent and that has always piqued my interest.  I've read, rather enviously it has to be said, the very enthusiastic reports from owners elsewhere and also, less enviously, of the long waiting lists for potential owners of the new scopes they produce.

    I'm sure that Takahashi and LZOS are in a similar league to AP but I'm curious as to whether there are simply not many of the US brands instruments over here or whether they are around but their owners are "quieter types" maybe ?

    I've never owned an Astro Physics scope but I do have one item of AP equipment - one of their 2 inch "Maxbright" diagonals which does seem a superbly made piece of kit with performance to match.

    I think I might have observed through a 130mm AP refractor at one of the SGL star parties but it was dark so I could not be sure ! :rolleyes2:

    Astro Physics also produce very highly regarded mounts and I think there are a few of those around. They even come up for sale, occasionally.





    • Like 4
  16. Just now, SuburbanMak said:

    Thanks John - that does look very similar & in beautiful condition! I wonder if they are the same OTA badged for different brands like the Synta of today? 

    Prinz was I believe a Dixons house brand this version is a 60mm, 710mm focal length 


    My mate used to have the Prinz version. His was the same as mine except that it was 800mm in focal length.

    I'm not an expert in these vintage Japanese scopes but I think there were 2 or 3 manufacturers in Japan making scopes that were sold under a wide variety of brandings around the world. Prinz, Tasco, Royal Astro, Greenkat, Swift, etc, etc.

    This archived webpage is fun - it has links to the catalogues and manuals for a lot of scopes of that era:


    Not sure all the links work but some certainly do.

    • Thanks 1
  17. 2 hours ago, Luke said:

    Thanks Mark, I will never forget the night we hunted down the Horse! We no longer have the 16 inch, alas. I had a nasty knee injury (not caused by the dob!) that took about a year to get better and I figured maybe the scope was a bit of a handful for me.  My back can get iffy too!

    We thought about putting castors on it etc but I tend to want to lift the scopes around. We mainly use our 10 inch solid tube dob these days but would like to get a relatively light 12 or possibly 14 one day if funds allow. Mind you, I had a lovely time with an 8 inch SCT the following night.

    I really hope Sarah and I are able to attend another SGL star party, it would be lovely to catch up with folks and to meet more SGLers. And it would be lovely to see the Lucksall site again.

    I well remember that night as well - but mainly because I arrived the following morning to find the camp still buzzing with the previous nights observing excitement :icon_biggrin:

    I seem to recall that it mostly rained for the following nights :rolleyes2:



    • Like 1
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