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  1. So they were delivered yesterday and I took them out for a quick test last night. They were every bit as easy to handle as I'd hoped and looking at the lunar surface the clarity of detail was really sharp. It was still pretty light when I went out, and I haven't had out my old 10x50s to compare the light gathering capability, but stand alone first impressions were very good.
  2. I've seen build instructions for those before, looks good.
  3. I've got a monopod with a ball / trigger grip head (if that makes sense) and horizon tripod both of which I use with the Apollos, depending on the amount of stability / time I'm going to spend wanting to have them pointing at the same thing. The tripod is especially useful if I want to find a target then show someone else. I'm looking forward to sitting back in the deck chair with the new pair.
  4. Steve, I found the review of the 8x42's on your website to be most helpful thank you.
  5. Yes, the full model is listed as the "Opticron Imagic TGA WP 42mm Binoculars 7x42"
  6. So until the last couple of weeks, it had been a while (like a year!) since I got out to do any observing, but some nice clear and warm evenings tempted me out. Unfortunately I had to put my scopes into storage back around Christmas time to make some space in the house, but I've still got my bins. So I've been using my current pair of 15x70 Helios Apollo's, which give amazing views but are too big and heavy with too small a field of view for relaxed sky scanning and I find I need to use them with support to get the most out of them. I've got a pair of 10x50 Helios Field masters which were my first astro purchase back in 2012 I think, but the image quality is not so great with them anymore and they suffered quite a lot from fogging up the last time I used them, which I found really frustrating. A pair of smaller bins had been on my mind for a while (or each time I picked up my old 10x50s), searching FLO I chanced upon a clearance pair or these 7x42s which looked ideal, I liked the look of the apparent 30yr warranty and what I could find written about them was good, so I decided now was a good a time as any. Hoping they'll be a good complement to my 15x70s and when I get it back my 127 Mak, as well as lasting a bit better than my previous cheap pair. Looking forward to trying them out next week <insert obligatory prayer to cloud gods>. Edit I just fully realised the weight difference, 680g vs 2.5kg for my 15x70s ow my neck (and about 150g lighter than my 10x50s)
  7. Last week I was following the S@N binocular guide which Steve T put together for August and really liked this asterism, I'm sure it's something I'll come back to. Thank you to all involved for getting it published and especially to Eddie for spotting it and sharing it.
  8. Last Thursday (the 24th of July) I was off to visit my parents for dinner and the night before heading away for the weekend. All of last week I'd been watching the lengthening of astro dark and wishing I could get out for some clear skys. So with the prospect of the morning off work and the added bonus of going somewhere with considerably darker skys than where I live, I decided to pack my reasonably new Helios Apollos and tripod to see what they could do. Location edge of Didcot Oxfordshire. Time 9:45 24th of July to 00:15 25th of July. All observations made with 15x70 binoculars, steadied with a tripod or the naked eye. Colour coded as follows: new to me, seen before, failed to find I was outside and getting setup before it was even fully dark, acturus and the summer triangle were the first to come into view and it wasn't long before I could pick out most of Cygnus and so Albireo made a good first target, the colour was great and the pair nicely split. Hercules had become visable to the naked eye so I had a look at M13 which was nicely discernable if rather smudge like, I'd seen it better before but it was still quite light at this point. Next I moved onto the coat hangar asterism which was very nicely framed in the field of view of the bins, and then I swept the milkyway with the bins for a while whilst I waited for it to get a bit darker. I'd come lightly equipped so I didn't have a proper star atlas just July and Augusts copies of the sky at night magazine with the idea of getting around some of the binocular tour objects, but I hoped to see something new. I decided to start off the tour with the dumbel planetary nebular M27 I was sceptical about being able to see this in binoculars, but what a supprise it was as good as I'd seen it from Reading with a 5" telescope. Whilst in the area I had a look at M11 the wild ducks cluster in Scutum, it was nice to see that I could see it but it was a little small in the field of view to make out any of the dark patches that I've seen at higher magnification. I then tried for quite a while and I'm going to chalk this up as a failure to find NGC 6940 an open cluster in Cygnus and on the S@N tour, I probably did see it but I was never able to decide when I was looking at it as there were so many stars in the area and I didn't have a picture at the right magnifaction on hand to compare it to. Some time around this I saw a bright green meterorite somewhere in this region of the sky, but I didn't have anything to note down the time with me. Then I had a look at the globular clusters M15 and M2 in Pegasus and Aquarius respectively, I've probably seen M15 before but I think M2 was new to me. At this point I decided to swing the scope around and have a look at the other side of the sky. I was able to see the Andromeda galaxy M31 rising over the roof of the house, a nice bright core easily seen with direct vision and then an elipical glow becoming apparant with averted vision. I was able to see I think the core of M32 near by with averted vision as a small fuzzy patch. Then I found the double cluster in Perseus, which I'd seen many times before but never tire of looking at and moved up to Cassiopia to have a look at some objects I'd yet to see before. The asterism called Eddie's Coaster which Stephen Tonkin includes in the August S@N binocular tour was first on the list here, a really nice arrangement of stars and well worth a look with binoculars. By this time the milky way was clearly visible to the naked eye overhead dark patches and all, running through the summer triangle and down toward the horizon, spectacular and not something I'm lucky enough to see often from Reading where I normally observe. I then had a look at what is described in the S@N as the Cassiopeiae tripple cluster a collection of NGC open clusters made up of NGCs 663, 654 and 659, not as obvious to the eye as the double cluster but nice as a collection. I also spotted M103 near by which I had I think seen before. At this point I it was getting late and I thought what the hell I'd see if I could see M81 and M82 not for a moment was I expecting to be able to with binoculars but with averted vision I was pleasantly surprised. I also went back to M13 for another look and with the darker sky the view as much improved, to small to make out any individual stars but a nice bright patch fuzzy around the edges. Someone turned on a light in the house and I lost some of my night vission so I decided it was a good time to get to bed, all in all a cracking night. Whilst I was packing up a second metorite of the night streaked across the sky, bonus Also there were many satelites spotted during the course of the evening to numerous (and unidentified) to mention. I went inside and sribbled down everything I could remember looking at on a bit of scrap paper to make some notes for myself and this report later on. I hope you've enjoyed reading this and maybe got a few ideas of things to look at, the best night I've had out with the stars for quite a while and it really spurred me on coming up to the new season of astronomical darkness.
  9. Unless done intentionally probably not, but at least forgetting your torch won't be something you'll likely regret on the way down
  10. Well I've been observing on Countisbury hill before which is near Lynmouth/Lynton (just up the other side of the town), there's a car park (free parking I think owned by the National Trust, anyone that knows better please correct me if I'm wrong), from there you can walk to the church and then through the church yard and up onto the open hill / cliff (take a torch, falling off cliffs in the dark is not recommended). There are some buildings at Countisbury including a pub so some outside lighting but if you walk a little way you should be clear of any direct lighting as they are in a bit of valley along with the road. I can also recommend the pub, while you're there or as a good place to deposit less keen observing companions. I'm sure there are other locations nearby but this is one I've actually been to and will probably go back to at some point.
  11. oh I'd not heard of that before, I've just added the feed on my phone will have a listen, thanks.
  12. Satellites? there's a website for that (and an app too I think) to be honest I've not used it really much before but I remembered the name. Normal I just go outside look up and sooner or later I spot one or two and then follow them with the binoculars. However if you were interested in actually planning to spot some, you can put in location (near the top of the page) see configuration, then click on "daily predictions for brighter satellites" a bit further down. Here I set it up for today, in the town where I live and asked for only things brighter than magnitude 3, which means I should be able to easily spot them with the naked eye. http://www.heavens-above.com/AllSats.aspx?lat=51.4543&lng=-0.9781&loc=Reading&alt=45&tz=GMT Back on the subject of next month, the sky at night fortuitously dropped through my door yesterday and the "planet of the month" is Uranus. Which I've never observed before so I'm going to see if I can find that. It should apparently be visible with my binoculars as a tiny blob (3 arc seconds), but I'm hoping for a little bit of colour with the 5"/6" scopes.
  13. I'm looking forward to getting a better look at the highlights of the summer triangle, I managed to relocate M5, 11, 13, and 57 this last week / weekend in the summer twilight, but I'd like to get a proper look before they're gone. And if we get a really clear night then the milky way running through Cygnus is a great naked eye sight to look forward to. As far as planning for the next session, well I'm probably not doing enough, often it's a case of dial up the planisphere and then go from memory or get out this months sky at night. I need to get some better plans made though otherwise I'm not going to see much new to me.
  14. wow, that's a pretty big project to take on. Version 1 looks really nice congratulations. A couple of minor suggestions How about a mouse over tool tip on the hours that are red / orange to say why at a glance Does a 1% chance of 0.01mm of rain need to be counted as precipitation? living in the UK I'd take those odds any day Thanks for putting it together Tyr ps In my opinion apps of web pages are overrated, some developers seem to sink large amounts of unnecessary resources into maintaining apps (think of the frequency of new android / IOS releases), when a well scaling well designed web page with a thought out mobile layout would do the job just as well for much lower maintenance costs.
  15. I have a 15mm BST and 7 and 25mm X-cel's, so I can't speak for the views of the 18mm's specifically but for the money but I've not been disappointed with the views from any of the ones I own. The overall construction of the BSTs feels a bit cheaper, but then they are cheaper so that's what I'd expect. Having said that I've had the rubber eye cup rim has come partially off on my X-Cels because the glue has decayed, I could glue them back easily enough if I wanted I guess. I don't know if celestron have resolved this problem by now, maybe someones bought some recently and can say. I find the eye cup design on X-Cels a bit more comfortable to use, maybe they are they a bit better blackened inside too? I find it easier to unscrew filters from the XCel without undoing the barrel which seems to happen a bit if I hold the BST in the wrong place when unscrewing the filters. rereading that they both sound horribly built but really they're not these are really minor construction issues compared to what you're getting for the price in either case and can be easily avoided with careful handling. I'd probably say yes it's worth the extra for me (hence why I have two), but the BSTs are still very good for the price.
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