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Everything posted by Marki

  1. Glad you are enjoying your bins . I love mine for things like the Pleiades - fits in the field of view perfectly! In fact I use my binoculars more than any of my telescopes - just ideal for those quick gaps in the clouds, or to take when I go on holiday. I find it helps if I can sit when using the binoculars or sort of support my arms on my chest or lean on a wall to keep things steady. I guess I should get a tripod to something!
  2. Nice one Nick! I had a nice bit of time with Orion last night (23rd) - always a worth a visit under a bright moon, with so many lovely targets to choose from. Merry Christmas and clear skies
  3. Thanks Jules - I'm pretty much decided on the ED120 (in Equinox guise) is what I'm after - means splashing out a wee bit more, but from all I've read the optics are really worth it (plus I loved the fit and finish of the equinox 80 I had). I can always add things like reducers etc. later on as I get a bit more proficient with the old picture taking . Happy Christmas to you and yours too .
  4. Update: Simon at the Widescreen Centre has just got back to me (pretty pleased with how they've handled themsleves with this issue so far). We've agreed a replacement, date to be agreed in January. Not a TAL - although I am glad I made an effort with this, and I'd have been delighted if the APOLAR had performed better, I'm not prepared to take another risk!
  5. Thanks Dave I agree with what you have said. I am in contact with the Widescreen Centre with a view to making a swap/replacement - probably not on a like for like basis. I am awaiting their response to my suggestions made some days ago, and I spoke to Simon Bennett yesterday who said he would get back to me...I appreciate they are a bit busy at this time of year. I can't comment any further on this until they actually have come back to me. It looks like being a decent night here, so I may just give it one more try out, if only to confirm what I already know/suspect about the scope.
  6. Thanks Jules. Already emailed them with a link to all the unboxing photos and report on my star tests. I went out again for a brief period between 2 and 3 this morning. Scope well cooled and at ambient temeprature by then (it'd been left out for hours by then). Still not ideal seeing but a bit steadier than earlier. Still not altogether spot on - some spherical aberration, and stars not ideal across the outer third or so of the field of view. Still feels "soft" and I think it could do better as it approached higher magnifications. The telling thing for me is that the uncooled achro I put out to compare performed noticeably better - but then the f13 should go through bad seeing better than the f7.5, "apo" or not, so maybe not a fair comparison. Ideally I'd wait for a crisp clear night to properly test the Apolar, but I'm not sure the turbulence is fully to blame for whay I'm seeing. Maybe I'm being super critical though. I've emailed the vendor to see if they can wait a better report, or whether I lose my rights to return it (could be ages til a good night comes along!). Will keep you posted.
  7. Thanks John - will do, just feeling a bit frustrated. The scope is certainly much better optically than the 125r was when I first got it - just annoying I can't really put it though it's paces and come to a definitive conclusion!
  8. Given up for tonight and packed up. Too much cloud so didn't get any further than I previously posted.. So, first test has been a bit inconclusive. Colour control is good, and no obvious astigmatism or pinched optics but I wonder whether the poor seeing/turbulance is masking any other problems (i think there may be some spherical aberration maybe). Not sure when I'll get a chance to test again (forecast is not good for a few days, plus other commitments) or whether to just send it back, given the cosmetic damage it came with.
  9. I really need to invest in a sensible collections of eps . I was wondering about using my TV 2.5x powermate with a 10mm Delos...but not sure if I want to risk them yet . Actually, the focusser end seems pretty solid, to be fair.
  10. TAL apolar is out tonight. Dodging cloud and some pretty poor seeing/lots of turbulence - sky is also bright (even where no cloud) quite high up from the horizon, so not sure how useful a test this has been so far. Put my 100mm f13 achro out for a bit to give me a comparison point, after the TAL had been out for a while. The F13 seems to cut through the seeing a bit better than the TAL, but as that is only f7.5 I guess thats not surpising, "apo" or not). Anyway, the TAL is back out for another test, but its clouded over again. Initial impressions - this scope needs a considerably longer time to cool than I had at first assumed, I suppose because of all the glass! Colour correction is good. Can't see any obvious errors, such as pinched optics or astigmatism, but the turbulance isn't helping to make a proper assessment. Question for John (or anyone else...), how much difference does having multi-piece eyepeices and/or barlows affect the testing? Is it best to try to use simpler eps like orthos/plossls? Highest mag I can get with my simpler eps is with a 5mm bgo for 188x. Otherwise I have to start using more complex eps and barlows to get over 200x. Not sure the seeing is up to much over 200x tonight anyway judging by the murk and indifferent images my f13 was showing of easy targets like Castor (albeit that is still pretty low). Will update again if the cloud passes - at least the apolar should definitely be at ambient temperature now!
  11. Nice pics, Nick. So jealous! Tantalising little gaps in cloud here, but a big chunk of dark grey stuff approaching. No doubt any gaps that do appear when its properly dark will have thin higher haze behind them anyway .
  12. Chris Hadfield was excellent indeed - give that man more airtime! I thought Tim Peake came across very well on the Horizon programme the other night too. I loved his massive grin and thumbs up from the Soyuz - even at that instant his obvious delight and enthusiasm were clearly apparent! All the best to him and his colleagues for a successful expedition. And another star to go on the Baikonur launchpad that put Gagarin into space...
  13. Tube isn't too bad, John. Maybe not a true 360 circle, but not egg-shaped and no pronounced seam. Better finish than my 125r not withstanding the poor filling I highlighted earlier. Forecast is pretty poor here for the next week (according to the BC) so no idea when I'll get to properly star test it!
  14. I must confess I reread your review about a dozen times last week, John. In the end, I decided at the current price point it was worth a punt. Decidedly not a £1500 scope, but if the optics are decent, then I'll be happy at £1100. I'll draw the retailler's attention to the condition it came in, but really I need to see some stars with it (I'm not bothered by the cosmetic side so much, if the optics work as intended). I'll keep you all posted!
  15. Spot on John. I'm clearly insane New thread here: http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/258487-tal-125-apolar/?hl=%2Btal125+%2Bapolar
  16. So. I'm at this point now convinced its a dud...but may as well stick it outside and see what the optics are like (at least so far as I can tell in daylight). Onto the mount with it: Didn't bother fitting the finder for this. You'll notice the tube rings don't have the trademark APOLAR handle - this did not fit the dovetail I had, so I simply switched over the rings from my 125r. Metal dewshield: Focusser end: And so I turned it on a chimney pot some 500m away (the farthest thing I can see from my garden during daylight). Now, when I first tested my 125r achromat, it was excellent at low and medium powers but always felt "soft" at higher powers (until I got it professionally sorted). How would the APOLAR compare? 47x - (20mm plossl) lovely clear image - so far so good. In with a 5mm ortho for 188x - again clear, sharp image. Ok, feeling a little happier now - in with an 8mm and barlow x2 for 235x. Still ok - a jubilee clip on the edge of an aerial on that chimney showed clear detail. No colour spill, but not the conditions to really show any being so dull out. Focusser works well, but "snap to focus" not as marked as it could be at the highest power in this test. Now this short foray outside is not a great test - the air here is damp and its grey and pretty dark even mid-aftrernoon here. Uncooled tube, uncooled optics (and the 8mm is a bit iffy anyway). But much happier than I was with the 125r when I first tested that. A few other impressions - I like the case, the paint job is ok, focusser a nice smooth crayford. Its pretty heavy (all that glass inside it). Optics seem ok so far...roll on a clear sky please so I can test it on some stars! Status - cautiously optimistic (can't say I didn't know what I was letting myself in for - lol).
  17. The sharp-eyed amongst you will have noticed something amiss with the black plastic trim, where the scope flares towards the objective end (not sure thats the right expression given the complex optics of this scope!). Full horror below: Now at this point my heart started to fall. More details: This trim masks where the tube flares, but theplastic pushed back easily enough. Detail below shows badly filled holes where another of the optical elements sits, but the paint job is actaully pretty good and uniform (certainly compared to the other TALs I have): The front end is multicoated, with a dstinctly purple hue, but which seems to disappear entirely in some directions. Tube is well baffled and blacked inside.
  18. Well, I've gone and done it now. After dithering about a new scope, bouncing between aperture, exotic glass, weight, type, suitability for photography and so on, I finally decided a nice apo in the 4.5" - 5" category would be good. So what did I get? Notwithstanding sensible advice to the contrary, and having read many and varied posts about the potential pitfalls, I've bought a TAL 125 Apolar. For a bit of context about the madness of this decision, check out this review of the Apolar by John back in 2011 - http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/104408-tal-125r-apolar-apochromatic-refractor/?hl=+tal125%20+apolar. Now, I already own a TAL 100RS, a fantastic cheap robust and optically excellent 4" achromat, albeit somewhat indifferent in finish. I also own a TAL125r, a 5" achromat which I had to import from Italy, and which reuired the attention of a proper optical engineer to get it to give reamotely near its best. Also indifferently finished. So why have I exposed myself to the ups and downs of yet another TAL adventure? Simple - I've hankered after one since I read John's review, And recent reductions in price by OVL (presumably shifting stock) meant that I could get one new for around a third less than the standrd price (c. £1k as opposed to £1.5k). Ordered from Widescreen Centre on Thuraday evening, and arrived today. So on to the unboxing... . Obligatory stickers in Cyrillic shots The contents in a rather nice wooden (pine?) box (as opposed to the rough weapons crate my 125r came in); https://farm1.staticflickr.com/716/23095706913_bf1e81b63e_c.jpg[/img From the Instruction booklet, serial number 0165 and acceptance date in August 2010!: More to follow.
  19. Another clue... . I'll post a proper unboxing thread separately...good and bad!
  20. What have I gone and done ...new addition to the stable arrived today. Here's a taster! Can you guess what it is yet ?
  21. Happy. Open clusters in Auriga :)

    1. Daniel-K


      38 is my favourite with the small ngc next to it :) enjoy

    2. jetstream


      Its nice for sure, and then just a squeak over the Flaming star!

  22. I used to have a minitower II. Held my 8SE really well. I must have been lucky, as I had absolutely no issues with it at all. Only got rid of it to part fund a heavier mount.
  23. Some instructions on image posting here: http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/154704-sgl-how-to-attach-images/#entry1561785 Not sure if you have to have a certain amount of posts though?
  24. Pics or it didn't happen . Congratulations, I hope you get the chance to get it all set up and in action soon Love to hear how you get on with it!
  25. Still can't decide... . Which of these would you go for - cheap and cheerful big frac choice: https://www.harrisontelescopes.co.uk/cgi-bin/sh000001.pl?WD=bresser&PN=Bresser-Messier-AR-152L-1200-Hex-Focus-Optical-Tube-Assembly-4852120.html#SID=1658 or http://www.firstlightoptics.com/evostar/skywatcher-evostar-150-ota.html Which of these would you go for - cheap and cheerful "apo": https://www.harrisontelescopes.co.uk/acatalog/Explore-Scientific-ED-APO-127mm-f-7.5-Essential-with-Hex-Focus-0112133.html#SID=1644 or (I know the risks...) https://www.harrisontelescopes.co.uk/acatalog/TAL-125_Apochromatic_Refractor_Telescope_.html Or alternatives in these brackets welcome! I hate shopping! Maybe a 120ED... . Maybe this might be more useful ! http://www.fultonumbrellas.com/mens/all-mens-umbrellas/320/miniflat-1/
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