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Everything posted by DM

  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
  16. Thanks guys. I have read about having to collimate the laser - I would be pretty annoyed about having to do this after spending cash! One of the reasons I was thinking about the Baader is I read they were more reliable than some of the cheaper alternatives - does this sound right to those that have used them? I did try the hole in the film canister once (always up for a cheap option!!) but I was still a bit unsure if I was getting it right. Maybe seeing a laser dot hitting the centre of the target would be make me feel that I was closer to getting it right... I really don't want to become too obsessive about collimation - you could imagine ending up spending more time tweaking the collimation than actually looking at stars - but I suppose it would be something to do when it is cloudy... Cheers Dave
  17. Very true John. I use a Telrad and have to print the star charts with normal naked eye viewing for the Telrad, and completely reversed for the finder / eyepiece. Wee bit of a nuisance, but much easier than trying to do the reversals in your head! David
  18. OK. So this has probably been done to death already. My apologies if this is getting repetitive.... :insects1: I want to get the most out of my kit, and I think that the collimation on my reflector may not be optimal. I have tried star tests, but I am not convinced that I am getting it right. Views are pretty good, but I have a feeling that they could be better. So I am thinking about investing in either a laser or a Cheshire type device to assist. At the moment I am leaning towards the Baader Laser collimator - I have seen some pretty good reports. However, it would be interesting to hear from folks that have hands on experience with different bits of kit. So, would you a) recommend a Cheshire-type or a Laser-type collimation device? and recommend any particular brand? Basically I am looking for the easiest way to get reliable collimation. My budget is around the £50 mark, so I won't be getting any of the more expensive tools that I know are highly recommended by those what can afford them. This is for use with a 6" F5 reflector, but I am planning on getting a bigger reflector in the future.... Cheers Dave
  19. Upside down AND left-right reversed in a Newtonian. Worth bearing in mind if you are using star charts etc. I use Sky Map Pro which lets you flip the view so that it is the same a you would see it in the eyepiece or in the finderscope. It would be able to show you the planets and their moons in the same configuration as you see them down the eyepiece. Cheers dave
  20. Hi Kenny I got one of these from FLO just before Christmas. Only managed out with it once due to being away for 5 weeks and having 6 months baby. So far I have only used the OTA on the Moon, Saturn and Mars. I have to say that I am very impressed with the scope. Everyone says that these wee Maks are very sharp - and they are dead right. The moon was absolutely fabulous for such a small scope and I was very impressed with Saturn. Plenty of detail on both and easily comparable with a decent 6inch reflector (but much smaller package). Mars is a harder target to get fine datail but I did get some good views. So far I am very impressed. I like the small length of the tube - makes it easy to move around. It isn't too heavy. I think cooldown might be an issue for some, but I can usually get the scope out to cool while I get myself / the kiddies / the dishes etc sorted. I think this hits the spot for me as a second scope and is going to be a keeper. If you do get one you will want to make sure that you get a dewshield for it - there is an awful lot of glass right at the front of the tube waiting to soak up dew. FLO can sort that out for you at a resonable price (or you could make one yourself I guess). Can't comment on the mount, though it is usually possible to stiffen these things up a bit. I am using it on a Vixen GP with Autostar control at the moment - very steady and will probably keep it on this to be honest. Cheers David
  21. DM

    G'day from Glasgow

    Hi Paul Finally got round to joining up here - I think you recommended it about a year ago or more. The wee spot I use on the moor is shielded from the worst of the floodlights, but I agree that the moor is not such a great place just now. I saw the plans for the wind farm at the local library - VERY extensive, but interestingly, it looks like there will be a network of new access roads over the moor that might eventually open up some good spots for observing. For me, just now, it is just a relief to get away from the direct streetlights that flood the back garden. I did wonder about the southern side of the moor - might be worth a daytime trip to look for spots. I really hope that I can get to Harperrig or one of the other sessions with you guys this winter. Not quite so easy with the new arrival... Cheers Dave
  22. DM

    G'day from Glasgow

    Thanks for the welcome - looking forward to getting to know everyone better. I'm on the Southside of the Clyde near Clarkston, but I started life on the Northside. On those rare occasions when it is both dark and clear AND I don't have nappy duties I head up to Eaglesham moor to get away from the local streetlights. I'm hoping to get to one of the group get-togethers further away from the city - proper dark skies would be a massive improvement. The new yin is a good wee soul and is pretty good at night, so I remain optimistic (its the only way......) Dave
  23. DM

    G'day from Glasgow

    Hi Tom I'm actually a mystery member of the 'unofficial' group in the west of Scotland. I get the e-mails etc, but due to circumstances (mainly the recent arrival of the 2nd wean, but also work and our wonderful climate) I have yet to meet anyone from the group. I am desperate to get out to some proper dark skies so maybe we will bump into each other in the dark sometime! Dave
  24. DM

    G'day from Glasgow

    You guys are fast...
  25. DM

    G'day from Glasgow

    Hi Folks Dave from Glasgow - just signed up. Should have done this ages ago. Looks like a good place to hang out and been recommended to me by several regulars. I'm 35, work in marine optics at Strathclyde Uni, have two kiddywinkles, and a very understanding wife who assures me that she REALLY DOES understand that it is perfectly normal to spend your evenings up on the moor, freezing cold, trying to catch a barely perceptible fuzzy grey spot in the sky..... Currently down to a single scope (150mm Europa) and a pair of 15x70 binocs, but I'm in the market for a 127 Mak for Mars. Santa better hurry.... Cheers Dave
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