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Everything posted by Andymarrison

  1. Thanks very much John - any idea how I find out what the 8mm Baader eyepiece would turn into if I removed the lower 1.25in section?
  2. Sorry to be a bit of a dummy here......so if I buy an 8mm Baader and decide to use it as a 2" eyepiece then I have to remove the 1.25" reducing group and end up with an eyepiece with a focal length greater than 8mm and therefore with lower magnification than the 250x I might have expected based on 2000mm divided by the advertised 8mm? Thanks for all the help here guys - as you can see I'm new to this stuff!
  3. Thanks for the advice - just dug out the 1.25" barrel section and indeed it has no lens group on the 24mm. So if I go for an 8mm, for example, and take off the 1.25" section, will I end up with a 2" eyepiece that doen't perform quite as well as with the 1.25" bit left on? Not so worried about the small increase in focal length, but would be worried about losing quality.
  4. Thanks Robin - I certainly did enjoy the Hyperion, so I probably will go with the 8mm you suggest. I'm a bit confused by something on the Baader information sheet for these EPs, which says that removing the forward 1.25in reducing lens group (which I have to do to expose the 2" barrel to fit into my 2" star diagonal) results in a longer focal length and wider FoV. So when I remove the 1.25in barrel, have I still got a 24mm eyepiece, or actually one with a longer focal length than the quoted one?
  5. Hello everyone! I'm just starting out and last night managed to get a few hours of clear skies for the first time with my CPC 800 and Baader Hyperion 24mm from FLO. Saw some amazing sights and in particular loved the globular clusters M3 and M13, and galaxies M81 and M82. However I'm now lusting after some more magnification, particularly so that I can see some more detail in the two lovely clusters. Which eyepiece would you recommend next? I've got a budget of about £100, and should mention that the skies near me are quite light polluted, so I guess I don't want too much magnification, right? Thanks for your advice!
  6. I took delivery of my very first "proper" scope, a Celestron CPC 800, from FLO on 20 April. It arrived in two rather large boxes - one containing the tripod and the other the scope mounted on its fork arms. The scope was very well packaged in a closed-cell foam type of material which should come in handy for future storage in a suitable case. The tripod is very sturdy indeed, with 2" diameter stainless steel legs and a substantial steel mounting plate on the top with built-in spirit level. A heavy steel accessory tray is provided and also acts as a spreader for the tripod legs - bracing it against the legs is achieved by tightening a bolt on a tension rod that runs through the centre of the tray and is fixed to the top plate of the tripod. The tripod needs to be sturdy because the scope together with its motorised fork mount weighs in at about 3 stone (19kg). In spite of that it's surprisingly easy to move around because of the two very well placed carrying handles - one attached to the side of one of the fork arms and the other a moulded hand hold in the base of the other fork arm. Attaching the scope to the tripod is very simple - a raised steel locating pin in the centre of the tripod mounting plate fits into a corresponding hole in the base of the fork mount, then the fork mount is rotated until the three slightly raised mounting points on its base drop into the corresponding recesses in the tripod plate. The mount and scope are then held in place on the tripod by tightening three "captive" securing bolts. This whole process is very quick and takes only a minute or so. The tripod remains rock steady once the scope is attached - perhaps not surprising as it's the same tripod (and fork mount), that's used for the two larger scopes in the CPC range - the 9.25" (26 kg) and the 11" (29 kg), so it's more than up to the job. Power is 12V DC via a cable plugged into the base of the fork mount, and since no adaptor is provided with the scope you'll need either a 12V power tank or equivalent, or a mains adaptor. The scope handset also plugs into the base of the fork mount and then sits in a holder on the side of one of the arms - the cable is rather short, though, and I might look into extending it by a foot or so in the future to allow for a bit more movement whilst observing. On "power on" the handset provides clear instructions on how to align the scope (the manual is pretty good, too) and I went for Celestron's SkyAlign method - first the scope tries to find a GPS signal, which can take a good few minutes first time around, and then displays what it thinks is the current time. I had the same experience as reported by a number of other users in that the scope displayed the time as if it was still on Pacific Standard Time! I carried on regardless and this didn't seem to affect the alignment process or the accuracy of the goto functions later, but I've since changed the time zone through the "Scope setup" menu (thanks to cfpendock for that tip!) and the time looks spot on now. Once the GPS data has been confirmed, the scope asks the observer to centre three bright objects first in the finder scope (for which the computer sets a faster slewing rate) and then in the eyepiece (slower slew rate automatically selected). Any three bright objects can be chosen, though the manual notes that the best accuracy will be achieved with objects that aren't too close together, nor on a straight line. Since I was dodging lots of clouds, I picked the Moon, Jupiter, and Mars - not ideal but beggars can't be choosers! I actually spent quite a few minutes looking at each of the alignment objects - the moon looked fantastic at 80x (24mm Baader Hyperion eyepiece) - an extremely crisp image with lots of contrast, and the crescent of Venus very clear and sharp in spite of the planet occupying only a very small part of the field of view at this magnification. After the third object has been selected, the handset thinks for ten seconds or so before confirming alignment. At this stage it's possible to scroll through the names of the three objects the scope thinks we're chosen to check that it's got it right, which in my case it had. Selecting objects to view is then extremely simple - the handset can use all of the common catalogues (Messier, NGC etc) and also has options for planets. I chose the M3 globular cluster as the first test for the goto, and sure enough the scope put the cluster very close to the center of the eyepiece field of view (using the same 24mm eyepiece). With averted vision I could pick out some graininess from the individual cluster members (I wasn't very well dark adapted due to staring at the Moon for several minutes!) but to be honest the conditions weren't ideal for making a judgement about the performance of the optics on this DSO (M3 was unfortunately very close to the street light near our garden and other areas of the sky covered by cloud). Unfortunately my evening of observing was cut very short (only 20 mins or so of viewing) due to the clouds rolling in, but first impressions are of an extremely well engineered scope and mount with a well thought through design and excellent optics, based on the limited opportunity I had to test them. I'm planning to use the scope for visual observing, and based on its first outing I'm extremely pleased with my purchase and looking forward to using it again, if it ever stops raining.
  7. Thanks for the advice cfpendock - I'll give that a go once the clouds part
  8. After driving my wife to distraction constantly checking the weather forecasts, it looks finally as if tomorrow night is going to be a clear and cold one! So I'll finally get to look though the scope instead of watching sat sadly in the corner like a very ugly and expensive paperweight. I did have a experimental set up under cloudy skies and had the same problem as cfpendock reports with the scope thinking it's in California (I wish!). How do I change this? Can't seem to access any of the menus because, I guess, I have to go through one of the align options first? Help, anyone? Thanks! Andy
  9. Hoping for First Light on my baby CPC (8") tonight after it arrived on Friday, my first scope, accompanied by the obligatory four days of cloud cover and rain. Tonight looks promising... Will make good use of the tips in the thread re GPS - it would have taken me ages to work it out!
  10. I take delivery of my very first scope tomorrow, and am very excited at the prospect of all these great sights! All I need now is the weather to play ball...pretty unlikely, I reckon.
  11. Many apologies for hijacking this thread, but I am also considering the c6-sgt with cg5 mount, and have read some reviews saying that the drive is very loud - has anyone found this to be a problem themselves?
  12. Thanks guys - had considered a Dob, but will be wanting to carry scope with luggage, wife and kids in car sometimes, and whilst it's a big car, there are limits! Sounds like the usable magnification/FOV, given the range of eyepieces at reasonable price, is going to be the main factor - if I want a relatively low mag of say 70x with the Nexstar I'll need a 28mm, but with the 200p a 14mm. Lower mags would be accessible with the 200p using "standard" focal length eyepieces, but to achieve the same with the nexstar I'd be looking at some very long focal length eyepieces (or a focal reducer). Same goes, but the opposite way round, for high mags. It's a tough one, 'cos I reckon I'd get more use out of the Nexstar, but I've always been a fan of DSOs and not so much planetary observing, so on this the 200p seems to win because of the lower magnifications accessible. At this rate I'll collapse under the weight of the decision and end up buying an expensive handbag for the wife instead...
  13. Hello all. Second post on this topic, and unlikely to be the last I reckon! Having settled on a 200p with eq5 mount last week, I've spent even more time reading around the subject (probably a big mistake!) and am now trying to decide between the original choice of 200p, but this time with an HEQ5 mount, and a Celestron Nexstar 8SE. Can anyone help me out with what the main pros and cons of each would be? One of my main concerns is portability, because my house is not in a particularly good spot for observing, and I guess I'm a bit concerned that the 200p would be a lot less portable. I'm also concerned about ease of use/ speed of setup, and it looks like the celestron would probably win on that too. My worry is the higher focal ratio of the celestron (f10 vs f5 for the 200p) but I have to say I'm not quite clear on what the consequences of this will be for observing. I think I'll principally be doing visual stuff, and perhaps more DSOs than planets, though I'm not aiming to be a DSO specialist in any way. Can anyone help?!
  14. Once again, thanks to everyone for the suggestions for further reading. Time to dust-off the old grey matter...!
  15. Chaps - thanks very much for these very clear and helpful explanations! Does anyone know of a good book on the principles of astronomical optics? I'd quite like to get a better understanding of all this stuff.
  16. Could any of you guys explain to a newbie like me why a fast scope demands a higher quality eyepiece than a scope with a higher focal ratio, which is something I've read a number of times? What is it about a fast scope that puts extra demands on the optics of the eyepiece?
  17. Hi Tim Could you point me in the direction of the eBay seller and product? Bewildering array of cables on offer and couldn't find one with a selectable (non 12v) voltage? I'm about to get a dual axis drive for an eq5 and have an automotive power pack with a cigar lighter output I'm hoping to use. Thanks!
  18. Thanks very much for all the great advice guys. Having read all the comments re imaging and the 200p/EQ-5 mount combination, would I be sensible to consider the same mount but with a 150p DS tube - price is about the same and I'd gain some portability, and I wondered whether the lighter scope would mean that the combo might be more suited to some imaging work later on. I know I'm sacrificing the sacred aperture, but I'm not experienced enough to have a real feel for the difference that will make, particularly for visual observing, which will always be my main interest. If I were to use the same magnification on each of these two scopes to look at a DSO, would the difference really be a "wow" type of difference, or much more subtle? A very subjective thing, I know, but any comments would be very welcome.
  19. Thanks Catweazel - imaging is probably a good year or two away - no point rushing these things! - so it's good to hear that the scope will be a good'un for viewing.
  20. Hello everyone! I'm a new member looking to take the plunge and buy a scope, after many years of using a pair of 10 x 50s to hop around the sky. My priorities are to see more of the fainter deep sky objects, and then later maybe try my hand at some Astro imaging. My budget is £500, and I'm looking for something on a GEM with manual controls to start with, then I may add a motor later. I'd consider goto, but would rather spend the money on some really good quality optics/mount than on electronics if it comes down to a choice. I'm thinking about the Skywatcher 200p newtonian on the EQ-5 mount - does anyone have any experience or views of this scope, or any other advice? Thanks!
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