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About Rob_UK_SE

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  1. If you do decide to purchase the 14mm XW, they are currently being sold off as clearance on 365astronomy (£190) which is quite a discount. From the few reviews I have read, it seems the amount people that notice field curvature is quite dependent on the scope this eyepiece is paired with. https://www.365astronomy.com/Pentax-XW-14mm-1.25-inch-Eyepiece.html ... not intending to confuse matters, but have you considered either the 14mm or 12mm Delos? I had the 14D for a time and found it went a little deeper on galaxies than the 13E (I only sold it because their focal lengths were so close). It was also extremely sharp across the entire field of view and very relaxing to use.
  2. I can see a whole new 100+ page thread of ‘Show us your low-tech counterweight system...’. Although I fortunately don’t have issues with balancing my current scopes, my old 12” Meade Lightbridge required taxi magnets with dumbbell weights attached. I tried wrapping an old t shirt around them to minimise the painful ‘clunk’ that would resonate when moving near the zenith. After banging my shins against the weights, many times, I resorted to looping bright yellow guy rope around them to make them particularly unsubtle... it worked for most of the time.
  3. That sounds fantastic, Louis. I would very much like to see a photograph of this in action. Loving the plastic bag, in particular. If you made the bag out of some sort of fancy material, with a suitably important looking logo, you could patent it and sell for a fortune! No one would know its filled with washers - they could instead be described as ‘aerospace-grade precision CNC’ed narrow cylinders’ with optimum weight balancing properties . .... quickly running off to the patent office.
  4. It is indeed, in fact, I think the ES17/92 is even heavier than the 21E. You shouldn’t therefore have any issues. However, I was also trying to help you with a legitimate excuse for not buying it . Perhaps the 21E might be on the cards at some point? Alternatively, I could just lie and tell you that it’s ugly, has rubbish optics and is quite uncomfortable to use? I am assuming that you may not be too far from where we are based. You are welcome to try out mine on an evening’s session, if you don’t mind a bit of travelling?
  5. That’s great news. I’m looking forward to those sociable 6pm skies too (let’s hope they are a little less frequently accompanied by cloud!).
  6. It is a very lovely eyepiece to use and the additional magnification certainly benefits contrast. However, it is also very heavy and can cause all manner of balancing issues when observing around the zenith on a manual alt az mount. As long as your mount can apply some friction to the altitude bearing it should be ok. It’s not so much about balancing the telescope’s lens cells and eyepiece, but an issue of the uneven placement of the weight extending above the scope at the focuser end. I recall once seeing an ingenious homemade solution bu Stu that added a counterweight on the opposite side of the focuser. I once tried to replicate this, but failed spectacularly!
  7. If you haven’t already used it, it’s worth searching out darker skies using the light pollution map website. You can search for a location and then drop a pin to view the Bortle class value. Lymm is Bortle 6, but it’s not too far from Bortle 5 skies (the lower the Bortle class the darker the sky will be). Bortle 3 And better are only achievable from extremely remote locations. https://www.lightpollutionmap.info To ‘fine tune’ your searches, refer to the SQM value (after you have placed a pin). This is the Sky Quality Meter value. In short, the higher value the better!
  8. Have you seen the new Heritage 150p? ... it looks great for grab and go as well for camping etc. At 6” aperture it’s also quite capable! https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/sky-watcher-heritage-150p-flextube-dobsonian-telescope.html ... it is a little more costly though.
  9. Given your telescope’s focal ratio is f5.9, the resulting exit pupil from a 35mm Panoptic would (amusingly) also be 5.9mm. This would be ok, but contrast would certainly improve with a slightly smaller exit pupil under general conditions. I like to use a 4mm(ish) exit pupil for low power views with my dob. I also found the eye relief a little too long on the 35mm pan. However, it is easier to hold your eye in the correct position when using Tele Vue’s eyeguard extender too (might just be my eyes though!). My recommendations would be to look into either the 30mm APM ultra flat or 30mm Pentax XW (currently very competitively priced by 365 Astronomy) rather than the 35mm pan. Both of these result in an exit pupil of just over 5mm and have 70(ish) degree fields of view. Other low power options include the APM 20mm XWA (100 degrees) and 22mm Nagler (82 degrees). These result in 3.4mm and 3.7mm exit pupils respectively. The APM will show more sky, but the eye relief is a bit tighter. The Nagler is the most expensive of the bunch, but would probably yield the best overall views when used from moderately light polluted skies, in my opinion.
  10. Ditto on the Baader wonder fluid suggestion - it lasts for ages too. For me, it works best if you spray the cloth and not directly on to the lens. Swipe from one direction to another (lightly) and avoid moving in circles. Try to use a different part of the cloth for each swipe.
  11. I don’t have the 5mm yet, but find the eye position surprisingly easy to hold with the 10mm and 3.5mm XW. For me, they are more comfortable than the Delos of the same focal lengths. I would recommend bringing the eye cup all the way to its max position and then try to nestle your eye right into it. As the exit pupil gets smaller you do need to hold your eye in just the right place and the nestling method should assist with blackouts. I find an observing chair really helps with this, too, at shorter focal lengths (although I was impressed to hear than John mainly observes standing up ... I wish that I could! ). With the combined chair and nestling approach, I am able to use the 3.5mm (0.5mm exit pupil in the refractor) to observe with a surprising amount of comfort compared to other shorter focal length eyepieces. I very much hope that it does work out for you. If not, do let me know as I was planning to buy that one!
  12. If you were to add one more eyepiece (for lower power), my suggestion would the 22mm Nagler. I appreciate that it is a considerable investment, but it is a wonderful eyepiece and would perfectly complement your trio of Morpheus. Although this sort of thing can be very subjective, I have not found the eye relief too tight (it is stated to be 19mm) and the 22N is certainly much more relaxing to use than the 21mm Ethos. I own the 21E and frequently observe with someone that has the 22N. I have always been very impressed with the views from the 22N. As a long term investment, a set comprised of a 22mm Nagler with 14mm, 9mm and 6.5mm Morpheus would make a lovely quartet and, importantly, all focal lengths would get used frequently. If the 22N is just too much of an investment, you could also explore the 20mm APM XWA which is somewhat influenced by the 21E. It has around 15mm of eye relief (so is a little tighter than the 22N) - this may not be sufficient if you wear glasses to observe. My ‘journey’ to expand the available focal lengths in my eyepiece case is the result of using both a dob and refractor. I was finding gaps in focal lengths that I would like to utilise, but that weren’t available. The new additions have largely been used in the refractor, thus far, but I look forward to using them in both scopes in the future (there are still a couple of gaps to address too). Like you, I enjoy keeping things fairly simple with the dob and, as a result, tend to only switch between 3 or 4 eyepieces during an evening. However, there have been more than a few occasions where I only use one (usually the 21mm).
  13. I have been on a similar journey recently and also use a 12” dob... Firstly, that’s a lovely set of eyepieces, Baz - you really do have a lot covered already. Having closer spaced focal lengths (at the shorter end) is certainly beneficial, but is an area that you could thin out if you’re only reaching for specific focal lengths. Do you still reach for the Starguiders now that you have the Morpheus? My most frequently used focal lengths with the 12” are 21/13/8. Recently, I am often jumping from 21mm to 8mm, depending on the target, but do enjoy the 13mm with many winter targets. I would have thought your 9mm is ideally suited to a great many smaller DSOs as well as planetary views, with excellent contrast, in general seeing conditions. If you ‘had to’ thin things out, I would let go of the 8mm, 12mm and 18mm Starguiders and consider adding something around 20mm. I find the 4mm exit pupil from a 20mm(ish) eyepiece ideal for subtle objects like the veil nebula from non-dark sites. Spacing the low end 30mm, 20mm, 14mm, etc. is a good progression. Alternatively (as you appear to be enjoying the Morpheus so much), you could always work towards an ever so slightly larger set by adding a 4.5mm at the top end too? 4.5mm, 6.5mm, 9mm, 14mm, 20mm(ish) and 30mm as a ‘complete’ set of six eyepieces.
  14. I quite agree, John (having just attempted to read through those pages with varying degrees of success this end). I didn’t realise that using an Ethos 13/10/8/6 with the 2” barrel -into a barlow- would impact on the barlow’s ability to achieve 1.6x. I don’t like securing the 13/8/6 Ethos using the 1.25” barrel and have been considering purchasing the Antares 1.6 since hearing about Dale’s successes with this combination. It would be interesting to hear, Dale, how your 8E+ barlow compares to your 4.7E in terms of magnification. Does it feel similar, in a non-scientific way? I am wondering just how much the magnification is affected by using the 8E in ‘2” mode’? Stardaze, I’m sure that you will be delighted with the 5mm XW. I had been planning on ordering it due to the clearance sale, but you beat me to it . I have recently purchased the 30mm, 10mm and 3.5mm XW to complement my Ethos set and have been very impressed with them, thus far. I have heard nothing but good things about the 5mm so I can’t imagine that it will disappoint. Hope that you get some clear skies to test it out.
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