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Everything posted by radiofm74

  1. You might even get away with a (used) C6. I paid mine 400€, and it's a full 6" of visual goodness in a tiny package. Well below your 10kg fully setup. My precious little visual travel scope … Add in a f/6.3 reducer and you get almost 2 degrees of FoV in a 1.25" eyepiece.
  2. I've had two beautiful nights of stargazing around new moon: galaxies in Ursa, Canes, Coma. Seeing was not great so I mostly used the 24, the 19 (just a little closer, just right for low power…) and the 9. I loved the views, but I did miss the 13 – on most objects, it was the magnification that conditions called for. Very happy with how the set came out, and both Pans and Naglers have completely conquered me!
  3. Finally! The 13 mm arrived and here's the family, all together. Impatient to try it out!
  4. Hi! Nice picture of Bode's Pair! Yes, more integration on the Whirlpool could be a good plan. As for the Whale galaxy: it will be small, and you will certainly have to crop some, but it's an attractive duo with the Fishhook galaxy nearby. I am a little confused by what you say about the NA Nebula. It's too low NOW, but unless I've completely mistaken your location it will be high and proud in your night sky during mid- to late summer: very much at Zenith, actually. Ditto for the Veil Nebulae. Narrowband is everything but a waste of time on a DSLR. By "Narrowband" I mean nothing more sophisticated than sticking a UHC filter in front of your sensor. Here are a couple shots I got with a stock Canon 60D and an Astronomik UHC EOS-clip, using a Vixen SD81S. Post-processing in Photoshop. Quite a lot of integration time on each target – that is key. I am not a particularly experienced imager and that was my first summer so I was even less experienced then than I am now. Lagoon Eagle Trifid (using a milder UHC-E filter in order not to kill the reflection nebula) Western Veil (back to UHC)
  5. Hello! The season transition may be slower than you're assuming ;D Galaxy season is still in its full and if you have not tried these targets yet, the Pinwheel Galaxy (M101) is perhaps the best spring galaxy to image with a short-ish focal length,. and there are plenty more wonderful galaxies that transit near zenith if you're at 52 degrees N (Whirlpool, Whale and Stick…). All of these targets are wonderfully placed right now for you, and will still be once the lunar cycle is back to astrophotography-friendly at the end of May. If your NW horizon is not terribly light-polluted, you might even start from Bode's Pair right now and save the galaxies I mentioned before for late May/early June. The globular clusters M13 and M92 might be your logical next targets for June. Wonderful M5 too, although lower South for you. M13 is certainly a target I want to revisit this year. In July, it's Nebula season (and plenty of open clusters too, if they're your thing…). With 400mm of focal length, I'd stay away from planetary nebulae (save perhaps the Dumbbell in August and the Helix in September). The Lagoon and Trifid are, each, wonderful subjects of their own and true narrowband classics (… though the Trifid is in part reflection and a bit trickier). A little more to the North, culminating around 25° above the horizon for you, are two equally beautiful targets: the Swan Nebula and the Eagle Nebula. Whether they're feasible for you will entirely depend on what your Southern Horizon is. If AT ALL feasible, I'd try all of them. Being narrowband targets, they can be shot with more light pollution or moonglow than galaxies or clusters. As John suggested, already in July, and even more so in August and September, Cygnus, Cepheus and neighbouring constellations offer a wealth of wonderful objects for short focal lengths: - All the components of the Cygnus Loop (at the very least two absolute classics: Western and Eastern Veil) - The North America Nebula and especially its "Cygnus Wall" section - As said the Dumbbell Nebula - Not narrowband but stunning: the Fireworks Galaxy in Cepheus (mayhap you can catch also the nearby cluster in a single frame?). Note that the Iris is a reflection nebula: still broadband, and possibly trickier, but of course worth it. - Certainly trickier from what I'm told (have not tried it myself yet): the Elephant Trunk in Cepheus I have the impression that you have much to keep you occupied this coming Summer, and perhaps the next 😃
  6. Yes, I'll be in Tuscany and given good weather and no Moon, it's pretty nice and dark.
  7. Here's for the happy (almost) ending. My new set, nearly complete! One piece is missing: the Nagler 13 was not sent to my dealer and is expected in July (grrrrrrrr…). As my "astro-month" IS July, I might seek another one on the market and find a mutually satisfying solution with the dealer… The Pan 35 and Pan 19 were not in the plans originally. They showed up used at a very good price and I pounced. I'm glad that I did! As I pay the customary weather penance, I've only had occasions to use the Pan 35, the Pan 19 and the Nagler 9. They're wonderful, and I've taken a particular liking to the 19… such an easy eyepiece, such crisp and beautiful views, such a good focal length especially with my 102/920 and 81/625 refractors! There's an undeniable overlap with the 24mm, but for my f/9 Vixen and F/10 SCTs the 19mm is the "golden" focal length or very close, giving an exit pupil of 2mm, so it might well take its place, where possible with the 35mm Pan for widest field. But I stray… very happy to have them all here. Thanks everyone for the good advice!
  8. I'll venture a post about Vixen eyepieces, at the risk that it be considered off topic 😃 My personal enabler and Vixen-stuff dealer sold me these four a little while ago… I suspect that they're the ones Roger Vine used in his review of the ED102S: In a relatively short time frame, and with moderate expense the family has grown considerably! While I am putting together a Panoptic/Nagler set for my DSO forays, the Vixens are to be used primarily as my planetary, lunar and multiple star eyepieces in town. Having tried them, I'm pretty sure that I'll be taking them around in my trips as well. I like them a lot: clean, crisp images, super-comfortable to use! Needless to say, they go especially well with my greeny ED102S – but I'm sure they'll make good friends with my other scopes too ;D PS: I was about to skip the 40mm in favour of a 32mm Plössl. When a 40mm showed up, however, my completist side prevailed… good call! In my 920mm-to-2000mm focal lengths it's great to have max 1.25" field and a large exit pupil, plus the eyepiece is wonderful. The other night, along with the ED102S, it gave one of the best views I've had of the lunar full disk!
  9. While the OP has obviously given me a tremendous bout of aperture fever and sent me scrambling through classifieds for a good GoTo Dob – but of the sort you can also use if GoTo fails you! – this post reminds me of a fundamental truth. I live under Bortle 9 and 6, with family and work constraints precluding trips to anything better than Bortle 4, and even then in full "nomadic"/"portable rig" mode. The best thing in the world is as much aperture as you can reasonably take under a dark(er) sky in your life situation! For me that's currently 8"… and even then, I usually sneak in a little quality refractor… ooooh the beauty of those star images and expansive fields… But note – there's a country house where I spend about a month every year. THAT could be a nice place for a light bucket… hmmm, lemme see those classifieds again…
  10. Hey Mark, it's the story of every time I tried to see something I should have been able to see, couldn't, checked my collimation, touched it up, and bang it was there. Close doubles are my typical test object. Izar, Rasalgheti, Algieba, Epsilon Lyrae, … they'll all let you know if something's wrong. For the SCT user and even more for the Newton user, collimating should become as easy and routine as tuning your guitar every time you pick it up. Can't say I'm there yet, especially with my fast Newt, but getting there. Besides, as John says I will practically always prefer the star images of my refractors. But a well-collimated reflector can give very pleasing images, and have much more to offer.
  11. Top right of the screen there is a "Follow" option, which lets you be notified whenever new content is posted and places the thread on your "followed" list. Clear skies!
  12. Late winter / early Spring update to the List of Ten (my take). Notes: I am sticking to DSOs, most of them "any sky" objects, and assuming you start observing early in the evening. I try to give them in a rough "West-East" order so as to make a logical sequence. And I'm cheating, adding discretionary objects above 10. Sorry about that ;D - Beta Monocerotis, splendid triple system - NGC2244 the Satellite Cluster in Monoceros (under dark skies and with a UHC filter, you may be able to sense the Rosette Nebula) --- Alternative in case you've observed NGC2244 already: NGC2264 Christmas Tree Cluster (no, chances are you won't see the Cone Nebula) - M35, spectacular open cluster in Gemini (and if under good skies, look at its neighbours; bonus tough double: Propus) - Eskimo Nebula, one of the finest planetary nebulae, in Gemini (nearby bonus: Castor) - M46 and M47, two open clusters in Puppis (yes, they're two but I count them as one; and there's a planetary nebula in M46!) - M44 the Beehive Cluster in Cancer --- No widefield capabilities? Forget the Beehive and head for M67 the King Cobra Cluster in Cancer - Iota Cancri, a beautiful, easy double --- if you're in for a challenge and have the instrument and atmospheric conditions to split doubles down to 1.1 arc seconds: the marvellous Zeta Cancri - M81 and M82 aka Bode's Nebulae (= galaxies) in Ursa Major - NGC3242 the Ghost of Jupiter Planetary Nebula, a startlingly colourful planetary in Hydra - M65, M66 and NGC3628, the Leo Triplet of galaxies —- want to save the trio for later in the year, and observe more around the Lion’s nose? Wise decision, rewarded with two objects: splendid Algieba, and Messier-list-worthy Galaxy NGC2903 (the Missing Jewel of Leo) "Out-of-list" last chance objects: if you haven't done so, do take a look at the Orion Nebula and at the Pleiades! PS: most of these objects (and more) are in Turn Left. I really recommend you grab a copy!
  13. That 115 haunts my dreams, but I have to stop amassing gear and focus on using my already extensive arsenal of optical tubes at its best 😅
  14. That's exactly what I intend to do! And you remind me, the R200 could also turn out to be an extremely valuable addition to my imaging gear! As to age… hmmm… it's an old warrior: if I read correctly the catalogues it, the rings, trimmings and logo date it back to 1993-2003. So it's 20-30 years old. Except for the wrong center spot placement, the mirror is in very good shape. Yesterday when I came home it was covered in frost and dew. After a moment of concern, I kept the scope mounted "mouth down" overnight and this morning everything looked fine.
  15. My Vixen family has just admitted a new member. For dark(er) skies I have to drive to the countryside (and walk a nice bit to the car sharing parking with all my gear), so I am the greatest fan of "portable" stuff, and constantly taxing/testing the limits of my Advanced Polaris and APZ. I had eyed a R200SS for the longest time: nothing else has the same combination of lightness, light-gathering capabilities and rich field. A very old, battered one has come up at the irresistible price of 400 CHF .- and, in November, I pounced. Then spent extra money to have it revised. Then spent extra money to get the original coma corrector (used, of course). Then spent extra money cause the eyepiece holder was not the kind that admits the R200SS coma corrector… then thought, for a few months, I should sell the thing but couldn't because something fundamental was wrong with it: the views were HORRIBLE, my first attempt at collimation had been a disaster, and now it had been collimated by expert hands… As a last-ditch attempt, and with advice from forum members, I attempted a collimation with an artificial star. BANG! It's everything I ever could hope it would be! I had a first very promising first night in the courtyard here below (Algieba in bad seeing and Leo triplet under Bortle 6… not too shabby!). Yesterday I took it to the fields. It was freezing cold, damp, windy, and again with very bad seeing. But ahhh the sky above. It was pretty memorable. I had the R200 on the Advanced Polaris, with dual motors – super comfortable, a bit shaky in the wind but absolutely doable. After a dazzling view of the Orion Nebula, with a lovely trapezium, I went to my old enemy Alnitak to see if this mirror would at last give me my first view of the Flame Nebula. And there it was: with the 10mm Ortho, and Alnitak just outside of the FoV, an eyeful of mottled nebulosity with dark lanes and spots running everywhere from the center. Not by any means a "photographic", detailed image, but seeing the nebula in its general outline and regions was actually easy and achievable with direct vision. Sigma Orionis, observed by the way, was a real pleasure (and let me appreciate how much care I must put in focusing…). So was M78. I then moved to Monoceros and to my delight – despite very, very bad seeing – the scope could split delightful Beta Mon. Not my best view ever, but that was entirely due to seeing. The object I had my best view ever, though, was only a few degrees away: I've never seen the Rosette Nebula so well. With my 32 Plössl and UHC it was a fat, evident ring of nebulosity around the Satellite cluster. The NW section was so dense it gave almost a tridimensional, "fluffy" impression. The section opposite to it was also evident, if thinner and wispier. Awe-inspiring. With better seeing, I might have seen some of the famous dark lanes. The Christmas Tree cluster nearby was also very nice. No cone nebula, but I could see some of the nebulosity embedding the cluster, especially around bright 15 Monoceros. That was a first, too. To close I went down South to Canis Major. Despite even worse seeing, the Little Beehive, Tau Cma, the Winter Albireo and one of my faves NGC2360 were all very nice. I would have gone on and probably lost a couple fingers in the process… luckily I found myself suddenly embedded in mist and frost-covered and I was forced to withdraw. It's clear that the R200SS will now take its rightful place in my stable. I am now very much looking forward to Galaxy season! I've discovered a couple things in the process: - Yesterday I did not have the R200SS coma corrector with me (needs cleaning), but I did have the MPCC it came with, and I found that it degraded the image on-axis. This one will go to a new owner for sure; - The reason why it was so hard to collimate is in part, I think, that the center spot is quite a way off. I'll go on collimating with a star and cross-hair eyepiece for now. I might have the mirror washed sometime later, and on that occasion I'll have the center spot removed and replaced, or I'll do it myself. For now, I'll just ignore it. Ok, sorry for the long post. Here's the old boy ;D
  16. Dear all, especially dear Backyardscope, following your suggestions I recollimated at home, then took it out on the first available clear night yesterday in Lausanne (Bortle 6-ish). Good transparency, pretty bad seeing but I cannot be picky these days (it's been cloudy for the longest time…). Star-testing it, I found it was still a little off. After quite a bit of work, and getting to understand much better than before the push/pull system of the R200, I got decent collimation. I suspect that the center spot is off and that that is what made it so difficult for the previous owner to get the scope collimated. I'll check today if I have a minute, and I suppose I'll have to trust star tests rather than Cheshires… In use: Mizar was a nice view, though the main stars were still a little bloated; same for Algieba, which I could split in spite of the bad seeing (unthinkable on my first outings). In the Leo Trio, M65 and M66 were evident, and the Hamburger galaxy was clearly visible, intermittently even with direct vision. No mean feat under urban skies! I brought my beloved little C6 – it's a pretty sharp one – for a comparison. I could confirm that the stars were indeed bloated due to seeing, not to imperfections in the R200, and the superior reach of the 8" duly showed (M65 and M66 were much fainter, and the Hamburger galaxy nowhere to be seen). Last point, the R200SS sat comfortably and without any shakes on the Advanced Polaris. All in all, it seems I have a functional, lightweight 8" capable of going with my "trip to dark sites" mounts. Boy am I happy ;D and it's all thanks to your showing me my blatant mistake when collimating my fast newt. Thanks again!!
  17. A few have come up in Italy recently but they go very quickly. As soon as I spot one I’ll PM you!
  18. The "test" was wholly inconclusive … I was only allowed to point a Nagler 13 and Morph 12.5 briefly at a grey sky, can't say I got anything out of it. HOWEVER, seeing the EPs in person, and given my nomadic life as a visual astronomer, it took me just a fraction of a second to choose the Naglers. Negotiations ensued with the dealer that had followed me through the whole thing and at the decisive moment – quite inadvertently! – the hand slipped (or was it the mind?) and it so happened that I ordered not three but four Naglers. So at the moment I am expecting to take delivery of a Pan 24, of Naglers T6 13, 9, 7, 5, and of an eyepiece bag. Should be towards the end of the month (Pans being backordered the way they are). The initial budget has been duly pulverised and I suspect I'm gonna have to sell something to remain in the good graces of my beloved wife, 50 or no 50 😂 Thanks again to everyone who contributed! I'll be sure to post a picture as soon as the goods are with me!
  19. Ditto! The combination of portability, solidity and slow motion control is quite remarkable!
  20. For my first year of astronomy, I have used the Baader set with a manual EQ mount. At the highest magnifications things would fly by quite rapidly but I must say that tracking with just one knob to turn is pretty good already. When I had my first RA motor I went "aaaaaah…". So get the small Fov eyepieces, and a little RA motor for your mount… nothing fancy, nothing photographic, just enough to keep your object in the FoV. My personal feeling! But to your question, it's not a sine qua non to use the BCOs You mentioned longer eye relief, and if you want to go down that route I venture to mention the Vixen LVs (or their more modern series the NLVs and SLVs). I've read that they're a bit "dim" but they should make excellent, cheap (if bought used) and comfortable eyepieces for lunar, planetary and doubles. Their FoV is entirely comparable to that of the BCOs, but eye relief is 20mm.
  21. I do have the Baader "Classic / Q-Turret" box including the 32 Plössl, 18 Ortho, 10 Ortho, 6 Ortho and a handy 2.25x barlow. It's been basically my only set of eyepieces until now (actually, living in two different places, I got me two of those on the used market). I subscribe fully to what John said above. If you can put up with the short eye relief in the 6, and do not expect good edge-of-view performance (the field stop is intentionally wider than normal in order to make finding objects easier) you're in for good experiences! The magnification range is also very well thought-out. As other members know all too well, I am in the market for a new set of "wide" eyepieces, and I'm also getting a set of Vixen LV for longer eye relief and good planetary and lunar performance. I'm sure that I'll sell one of the two boxes as soon as the new EPs are home, but I don't think that I'll let both go. Those little orthos are very nice and in terms of cleanliness of the image they more than hold their own against more costly alternatives. The Plössl is also a nice wide eyepiece.
  22. After further deliberations (and finding very attractive offers on TV eyepieces with two Swiss dealers) it's now between - UFF or ES 24 + Morpheus kit (14-9-4.5) or - Pan 24 + Nagler T6 13, 9 (or 7), 5 (or 3.5) with the prospect of later completing the line. Both sets would be internally consistent (weight, eye relief) and work well with all my scopes I'm using or might use in the future. Based on what I read, they should be more or less equivalent in optical quality and FoV afforded. Comfort, hard to say… - Pros of TV set: form factor (I am a traveller, light and small is my preference); I like the magnifications better, and as noted they're part of a line I can also expand (3.5, used 2.5… or Delites…); I cannot deny that their "classic" status appeals to me - Pros of UFF/ES/Baader: the Morpheus might have an edge in comfort, usable FoV, and also maintenance (no eyelashes near the glass); the set costs less (I can have a great price on the TVs but I'll still have to sell something to stay in budget); I am used to and like very much Baader's little "eye-protecting wing". Tomorrow I'll go to a shop having both Naglers and Morphs in the house, and so I plan to see them side-by-side and if allowed to put my eye to them for a feel. Do you think that a daytime test could offer good indications as to their respective comfort and ease of use? I know that my pupils will be less dilated and thus react differently, but I'd still hope to get a rough idea…
  23. Speaking of Naglers… ;D My dratted C8 weights in at 6.2 kgs complete with its finders and diagonal. So in one of my applications (C8 on tracking Advanced Polaris), I'm ever so slightly above payload and every gram counts. I might still take the UFF 24 + Morpheus route, or I might take the Pan + ES82° route. Night will bring counsel. But since "light and quality" is the name of the game, and assuming I could negotiate a good discount for the whole package from a dealer I know, what would you think of an "all TV" set? - Panoptic 24 - Nagler T5 16 or T6 13 (which would be your suggestion?) - Nagler T6 9 - Nagler T6 5 I've seen that eye relief on these is 12mm. For an observer that does not use glasses would it be uncomfortable? It's the last option I'll explore, promised… PS: concerning the shorter focal lengths. I usually use a reducer on my SCTs so I don't think that a 4.5-5mm EP would be redundant. And it would be positively precious with my 420, 625 and 920 focal length refractors all the while respecting a minimum 0.5 eye pupil.
  24. I take your point. I might still want a 24mm for the nights when I'm out with my f/6.3 (reduced) C8 or C6 and the UFF is not available: the 24mm would effectively be my widest, lowest power eyepiece. I am intrigued however: - What 22mm would you suggest? If I found a Vixen LVW 22mm I think I'd scoop it up in a heartbeat, but they're not on my market. And I haven't seen a 22 in the ES or UFF lineup. - Between UFF and ES 68° 24mm, considering that I'd probably be comfortable with either in terms of eye relief, which one would you pick to complement the 14-9-4.5 Morphs? Thanks, and sorry for pestering you with my questions!
  25. Plus – forgive the shallowness of the comment – UFFs look a lot like Morphs! The 30 UFF, 24 UFF and 14-9-4.5 Morphs will make for a nice set I think!
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