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  1. Hi Ken I have used an AstroEngineering binoviewer with a Skywatcher 127 Mak. Works great! As others have said, the Mak has a lot of focal range, so you can use the binoviewer without a corrector, or with a corrector (e.g. Magni-max x1.6, or x2 Barlow) for extra magnification. I have a pair of 25mm silver top plossls that are very comfortable to use with this set up. I think there is some vignetting with these (the cheaper binoviewers like mine often have small prisms), but I am mainly using it for planets and the moon, so pretty much interested in on-axis views. I had some great views of Mars with this setup last week - using two eyes is very comfortable and I find it easier to observe detail than with a single eye. There is almost certainly some real loss in terms of reduced transmission through extra optical components / surfaces etc, but the increase in viewing comfort goes some way towards compensating for that. Of course some people have real difficulty merging images with binoviewers, even with more expensive types - probably have to try it out yourself... If I was buying now I would look for a set with the largest clear aperture I could find (to minimise vignetting), compression fittings (rather than a set screw) and a pair of eyepieces that provided low magnification without vignetting (field stop close to clear aperture of prisms). You can use a barlow for for higher powers or get a higher power pair of eyepieces later. There are various models available - many look very similar superficially, but there are differences worth noting. When I win the lottery I will get a Denkmeier binoviewer Good luck with your set up and let us know how you get on! Cheers David
  2. Hi Russ Many thanks for the info. I am going to give this a go. Hopefully get rid of the crick in my neck every time I use the Mak. Cheers Dave
  3. I have a Vixen GP mount with a P90 wooden tripod that is just great for use with a reflector. However it is pretty low for use with a Mak and I am thinking about getting a new tripod. Does anyone know if the CG5 tripod with 2" legs will fit a GP mount? There is one for sale on Astro Buy & Sell. It reaches 54" so would be a big step up height-wise... Any advice would be really welcome. Cheers Dave
  4. I like the combination of a unit finder AND a finderscope. On my 6" reflector I have a Telrad and a 6x30 straight-through, and on the 127 Mak I use a Rigel Quickfinder with a 6x30 straight-through. I slightly prefer the Telrad to the Quickfinder (less parallax) but the Quickfinder has a much smaller footprint and is better suited to the smaller scope.The unity finders get me in the right ball park and the 6x30 finders allow me to star hop with charts. The red dot finders can also be pretty useful, though one drawback for me was that I did not want to drill holes in the optical tube to fit a second mounting shoe. I recently found this on the scopestuff website: ScopeStuff that might be a good way of getting round the problem. Cheers Dave
  5. Hi Debasis I think Astro_baby is right. Probably best to go with a dedicated upgrade kit if you can get one in your price range. There is quite a lot of tinkering to get it right. Of course you can also get a brand new alt-az goto for £189 !! Skywatcher - Skywatcher AZ GOTO mount Need to be sure it is suitable for your scope... Ivor, I will try to get a photo of the brackets. The second photo on the data-plumber page actually shows one of them though. Cheers David
  6. Hi Debasis It is possible to perform a DIY GOTO conversion of EQ5 mounts for a bit less than the commercial packages. Take a look at Christopher Erickson's page and links from there. www.data-plumber.com/astronomy/autostarupgrade I have done this conversion with a GP mount using Meade DS motors and Autostar. I also ended up buying Goto-4-All mounting brackets, but unfortunately I believe these are no longer being made. The system works fine, but I find the DS motors a bit noisy at night and I have actually dismantled it recently to go back to manual finding. It made more sense to go this route a while back when commercial upgrades were not widely available. On the other hand, a slightly more DIY approach was fun and I learned a bit about setting up the system. You might also want to take a look at the Roboscopes Yahoo group for other ideas on this topic. Cheers David
  7. FLO sells a polar scope for the EQ5 mount (£29): http://www.firstlightoptics.com/proddetail.php?prod=polarscopeEQ5-3 Does anyone know if this polar scope will also work for a GP mount? This would be a whole lot cheaper than the Vixen unit (£92 - OO), and the TS polar scope (Euro71): http://www.telescope-service.com/vixen/mounts/vixenmounts.html#dx which they say is compatible with EQ5 etc. Anyone else tried this? Cheers David
  8. Was asked by one of the students to recommend a scope (about £150) for the boyfriend. Went through the different options and tried to think about practical issues like portability etc. Eventually came down to the Explorer 130 PM or the 150 Dob. I think either would be excellent to get started with. In the end I think it went to the Dob for the extra aperture. It really is very difficult to choose a scope for someone else - there are a lot of things that really come down to individual circumstances and personal preferences. Still, it was pretty easy to recommend where to get it from - another one for the sponsors I hope! Cheers Dave
  9. I spent some time in the back garden with the Mak - thought I would be clever and leave it out to cool while I did kiddies bathtime etc. Finally got going and it all seemed good for about 30mins. Then I started noticing difficulty in getting good focus - the wee 127 Mak is usually really sharp and contrasty. Sure enough, the corrector lens was pretty badly dewed up - aaarghh. Went back out with 15x70 bins, but the moonglow and light pollution didn't help too much. Still able to get M81 and M82, but overall not the greatest night. Guess it is horses for courses, and the wee Mak might not be the best for extended nights in the frost - even with a dewshield. Hope there were lots of folks having better luck than us! Cheers David
  10. Saw them briefly on Saturday evening before the fog came in. Spectacular visual pair, with the twilight background really adding to the effect. Hope the weather clers over the next couple of days ! Dave
  11. Hi John Sounds like it would be worth giving it a try. Now to work out how I explain this to the Financial Controller... Cheers David
  12. I've got a 127Mak on a GP mount - great combination for moon and planets, but I like the idea of a Porta for extra mobility. Would also love to hear from anyone who has tried this. David
  13. Hi Bill I have one of the 0.965" to 1.25" diagonals lying around. Used it to see if my childhood refractor was any good (nope!). Let me know if you are interested and I will send it to you for the cost of the postage. Cheers Dave
  14. Great links - very helpful indeed!! Thanks David
  15. Hi Gaz Thanks for pointing out the recent add - pm sent to the seller. Sounds like I need to work on my star testing no matter what! Cheers dave
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