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Everything posted by Marki

  1. Thanks - had a look at that link, but my eye was immediately caught by this! http://www.towsure.com/portable-electric-healthy-griddle-pan-240v-750w?nosto=productpage-nosto-2 What star camp would be complete without your own teppanyaki .
  2. Yikes - wouldn't want to deal with the angry mob that would provoke . Are there suitable types of EHU friendly kettle I can get? I mainly plan to use the EHU to charge my power tank, but I wondered if I could get some sort of more rapid water heating device than my tiny trangia to make tea with
  3. All good ideas - I plan to wrap up my scopes in extra duvets for exta warnth too. Does anyone have any suggestions for what to use ibn th hook ups? Will one of those 4 way plug things fit? How long and water proof will I need. And finally, can I run a standard domestic kettle?
  4. Now thats a lovely looking collection! What is the 130 mounted on?
  5. The Equinox 120 is a lovely scope, no doubt. However, I think I'd go for the mount first. The Equinox 120 is fairly hefty and I'm not sure an eq3 would be adequate to hold it well enough. I'm sure there'd be a lot of noticeable vibration at the least.
  6. Not sure what to bring - I have a new Equinox 120 Apo that needs a proper workout, plus I have a TAL 125r and a rather nice Skylight f13 (100mm). And some bins. Maybe I'll bring the lot, depends how much room I have in the car once I've got all the camping gear and the az-eq6 in! Plus supplies - warm clothing, super warm boots and restorative drafts of Talisker and dark rum!
  7. Marki

    SGL XI Chit Chat

    So I ordered the pitches and food and have a confirmation email. Do actual tickets get sent out? Or will I need to bring the confirmation email? Off to look at electrical hookups/plug and other assorted camping gear and scope covers...I love these opportunities for shopping that astronomy brings .
  8. Moon, clear sky, moon . Telescope time :)

  9. Marki

    SGL XI Chit Chat

    This may be a stupid question, or I;ve missed the instruction somewhere, but can you book more than one day at once on the FLO website, or do you have to book them separately? Edit - ignore me. Just add it all to the basket . Doh! Edit - and thats me and Mrs Marki all booked . Look forward to meeting you all there - this'll be my first SGL party!
  10. Thanks John. I'll pass on the everbrite (unless I can find a secondhand one at a good price) - rather put the money towards a focuser I think. That and getting some tasty eps that'll do the 120 justice... ! RE focusers, there is a fair spread of cost between the Baaders, Moonlites and Starlights. Does this really represent step changes in quality, reliability, functionality?
  11. I've honestly never noticed a problem with the WO diagonal until matching it with this scope, Dave. But then, I've only ever really used it with the Skylight f13, for which it is clearly well-matched. The TAL125r doesn't seem to like the 2" diagonal, but I think thats to do with (lack of) travel in the focuser rather than a quaility issue in the diagonal. A moonlite (or possibly a baader steel track) is on the cards, I think, but I need a finder and new (cheap) diagonal first!
  12. Update. So I got the chance to test the Equinox again using my TAL 1.25" diagonal as opposed to the WO 2" Id used before. The problems I previously reported have essentially disappeared, I'm delighted to report. Pretty much spot on star test. A feint bit of light throw to one side, but I think that is partly in my eyes (particularly noticeable in my right eye) and in the minor play I've noticed in the focuser. Given the moon is so bright, I decided to go on to look at that. Clavius craterlets resolved down to c. 7km easily at 90x and hints of smaller stuff too (180x took me down to c.4-5km). Very pleased with the resolution and crispness of the image. Too bight to go after DSOs (still able to spot M81 and 82 though - always nice) but the open clusters in Auriga still stood out nicely at 90x. Nice splits on sigma Orionis, but trapezium didn't give me more than the usual 4 stars. No real structure in the nebula, not suprisingly. So i think, I keep this one after all. I think the telescope likes expensive eps, though. By far the best images in terms of edge to edge performance were in the Delos 10mm. I'm really not keen on the focuser though. Certainly needs adjustment, but will probably get replaced in time. Maybe a moonlite and then a nice new diagonal too. Thanks for all your help .
  13. WOW! SATURN! Indeed . Exactly my thoughts! For me it is that connection to the things I am observing, making them "tangible" in a way (however feint and tenuous) that a shiny Hubble image in a magazine never is. I'll never see the Horshead in full glorious colour the size of an A3 poster but if I can glimpse as a tiny everted vision image with one of my scopes, that will be triumph enough. Plus I like toys... - its the collecting thing Shane mentioned .
  14. Thanks Mike. So many good reviews of the ed 120s out there... ! I'd expect a wee bit of curvature right at the edge (it was there on my 80mm equinox, but barely noticable), but perhaps not as much as I was seeing. I was using a combo of eps including a 20mm plossl type, a 10mm TV delos and a 7mm and 5mm Baader Genuine Orthos. The telescope was well cooled by the end of my session - it had been out best part of 2 hours by then, so don't think lack of thermal equillibrium was the issue there. Thats also interesting Stu, perhaps a combo of this shorter Fl thing plus a more modern ep type like the Delos (with more glass elements) compounds that effect? Haven't had a chance to test with a different diagonal as yet - cloud and more cloud forecast for the next week!
  15. I totally get this. The gaps in being able to observe have been so long I almost forget how to set up or align! And so when I do get out, I spend half the time fighting my equipment due to lack of practice. And the poor seeing when I do get setup makes the whole thing seem underwhelming. And then....that split second when the air lets you have a stunning razor sharp view of a crater, or the ice caps on Mars swim into focus, or when suddenly a curtain of turbulance passes and the "e" (or even "f" if your lucky) componant of the trapezium pops into view. . And I'm hooked again!
  16. Thats interesting John. I think a change in focuser is definitely on the card if I keep the equinox. Jules, I don't think the WO diagonal can be collimated - I know the TALs can.
  17. A great read! Its these sorts of expereinces that stay with us, and keep us coming back for more. My mum lives near Bordeaux so I've left a 100mm achromat and an undriven eq5 at her place. The skies are just so clean and relatively dark so the small aperture can still show things I only dream of back home. As for the cold, I once managed to stay out for an hour or two in -5 and -6 a couple of winters ago...absolutely fantastic seeing but boy was the post-session hot chocolate welcome! Thanks for sharing!
  18. Not sure yet Jules. The WO diagonal only normally gets used with the Skylight, for which it appears to be well-matched. The 125r doesn't like 2" diagonals so I only ever use the TAL one that came with it. Genuinely seems that the WO diagonal is throwing the light path off in the Equinox, so I'll retest with the TAL one (even though its just a 1.25"). Sod's Law, its clouded over here, so may have to waita few days to test again. EDIT Its funny, because I obvioulsy care about the glass in my telescopes and in my eps, but rarely if ever think about the mirror in my diagonals! Clearly each part of the light path is as imprtnat as any other when it comes to getting the best image. I wonder why I've become so lax in thinking about this?
  19. Mmm. Now here's a thing. The laser shows centred in the tube with no diagonal, but is off with the diagonal - could this account the error I'm seeing? Oddly, when I checked against my Skylight, the laser then was not centred in the tube but the diagonal appeared to correct it - I have no issues using that combo, so whatever it obviously works in that scope! So, I think I need a new diagonal for the Equinox. I'll take the one out of my TAL125r. Edit - this time the laser is well-centred through a TAL diagnal. Looks as if I need to redo my star test with this diagonal. And here come the clouds... . . Thanks for the help/advice so far - makes me happy to belong to such a great and knowledgable forum . Will keep you posted.
  20. Thanks John. I think I have a laser somewhere and will dig out my old cheshire too.
  21. Thanks for the responses. Jetstream, it was cold, but not especially so - maybe plus 2 or 3. Cerainly not subzero. The diagonal I've used was a 2" WO dialectric, and was put out with the scope, so I don't think a temp difference between it and the tube is to blame. I use this diagonal without issue on my Skylight, and this combination never shows the same effect, even when uncooled. Stu, you are correct - it can't be coma, but it may be out of collimation. If I recall correctly, the effect is always present on the same side. Sort of looks like the effect here, albit the third image is more exagerated trhan what I see: http://www.telescope-optics.net/images/11d.PNG The stars were somewhat elongated at the edge of the field - more so closer to the edge, but not pointing to the edge, but laterally. I'm beginning to doubt myself again, assuming it must be my eyes or testing at fault. I have to keep reminding myself that I don't see these issues in other scopes I have owned, whether the longer focus achros or the shorter focus equinox 80mm I used to have (that did have some minor distortion right at the edge, but otherwise fine). If it stays clear I'll try again tonight. Last night the seeing here was distinctly on the poor side and no better than fair at best. Doesn't help! Finally, I wonder if I'm getting too hung up on the technical side, the kit and optical perfection rather than lost in the wonder of the objects I'm actually looking at! Maybe a discussion for another thread .
  22. Hi Gang, So, as you know, my much-desired TAL 125 Apo wasn't up to the mark, and I arranged with the supplier to replace it with an Equinox 120. A well-regarded 120mm ED optical system in a beautiful and well made glossy black tube - another scope that been on my wish-list for a while. That arrived today, and I've had several hours of clear skies in which to test it tonight. I've not bothered with photos, as we all know what they look like, and it has no cosmetic issues to document. Build quality is good. A few niggles - focusser not ideal and may need a tweak. Otherwise its a gorgeous looking thing, with a luscious greeny/purple coating on the objective More importantly, how did it do under the stars? I've read so many fantastic reviews of the 120EDs (whether the Equinox or the ED Pro versions) and couldn't wait to test it! First, I aimed at the moon before it got really dark - a suggestion of minimal colour (slight yellowing) on the bottom of the disc, but I had to look for it. Not sure if was due to atmospheric turbulence, rather than an inherent property of the scope. Contrast and resolution were very good - some of the most satisfying lunar views I've had. Pushed to an easy 270x on this target. The scope was left out whilst I waited til it got really dark and to ensure it was properly cooled. However, the seeing really wasn't great before I packed up. Nevertheless, I came away with some distinct impressions. Colour control is very good, even on the brightest targets (Rigel and Sirius). M42 revealed lots of beautiful structure, and I got a hint of a 5th componant in the Trapezium. Sigma Orionis yielded the A/B, D, E and C components. RIgel's companion was revealed reasonably easily, and I even had a hint of the Pup - the merest suggestion only, but still better than I've managed before! I pushed to 270x on some objects, but the conditions didn't really support it. But... . I was a little underwhelmed, with three issues lodged in my mind. FIrstly, I think the focusser could be better - not as good as the Baader Steeltrack on my Skylight. Might be worth upgrading in future if I were to keep it. Secondly, he field of view is not flat the whole way across - there is clear curvature/distorted stars in the outer 10-20% of the field. For some reason this bugs me. I guess I can correct this with one of the Skywatcher matched flatteners/reducers? Thirdly and more irritatingly, I think there is some sign of coma - at higher magnifications and on brighter stars, there is clearly an effect where the light spills to one side so the star looks a bit like it has a fat comet tail, even when centred. On most targets, and at medium magnifications not much of an issue, but still noticeable. This effect in part made any real judgement on whether the hint of the pup moot - the hint may itself have been an artefact of the light spill/coma effect. I don't think this is a product of the poor seeing (in fact I put an uncooled achro out to check - obviously the colour was worse, but the image was better), so I guess it must be the lens. Not user adjustable on this scope. Star test was good (better than the TAL) but not ideal, a hint of spherical aberration (would this be as a result of the field curvature on the outer edge of the objective?) and possible overcorrection... . Not sure - I may have been over-sensitive after the APOLAr experience. So, am I expecting too much? The scope clearly has great colour control and contrast etc. But its not perfect - the distortion at the edge of the field is irritating for me as a primarly visual user (but thats not the only reason I bought it; I do want to try some photography this year). The noticeable "coma" or whatever it is I'm seeing is distracting though - I can't not see it now I know its there. I did wonder if it was my eyes, but I didn't see the same in my Skylight tonight (nor even in the TAL apolar before Christmas). Am I too picky and over critical? Or am I unlucky getting two "off" scopes in a row? I know telescope purchase and use is somewhat of a compromise (especially given our less than ideal skies here in the UK), but I must confess I expected a bit more of the well-regarded 120ED optical system. At the moment, I'm inclined to send it back and just get a refund and rethink my requirements rather than a like for like replacement. Going to sleep on it .
  23. Thanks guys. Equinox arrived today. Been out an hour or so already, although cloud is a bit irritating. Will post my review in a new thread soon! Looking good so far - shame the seeing isn't too steady tonight though. Quick question for you ed120 owners - is the field of view flat the whole way to the edge? I'm seeing distinct curvature in the outer 10-20 percent - normal? Images in the centre look spot on now its well cooled though.
  24. Hi Fiery Jack I've been in contact with the supplier (Widescreen Centre) and am swapping for the Equinox 120. I did read about some of the early problems with focussers etc, but the focusser on the equinox 80mm I had a couple of years ago exhibited no issues at all. Also the silver bit didn't seem plastic to me - I thought it was chromed metal of some sort. I was very impressed by the fit and finish overall (as well as the excellent optics). Its a shame really. I'd have liked to have had an Apolar in good working order. I had a chance to get my 125r achro out just before Christmas hols (just after my last post in this thread) and effectively do a side by side test. Obviously the Apolar was better colour corrected, but the 125r was distinctly sharper to focus, especially approaching higher mags. Being much less complex and with less glass inside it cooled more quickly and I felt had marginally better light transmission (maybe less glass again) with brighter images as a result - although that could also be a result of the apolar being out of whack somewhere. Anyway, this brief test just reinforced the negative impression of the apolar from the earlier testing I had undertaken. Having said that, I reckon these would be great scopes when properly aligned etc - its just seems they don't make the long journey from Siberia very well . Anyway, its been an interesting process, and if nothing else I've learnt a lot about star-testing, optics and various aberrations etc. Hopefully the Equinox will arrive soon (and the rain will go away) and I can apply what I've learnt to that too! Thanks to all who have contributed to this thread!
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