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About philj

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  1. I think they must have hired the Top Gear production team for that promo video bit ott for a scope/lens methinks. Barring the video, sounds a promising developrment, certainly cheaper than a high end telephoto
  2. Myself and Velvet, (Sheila) were there in the sports hall, you should have introduced yourself Steve (sloss1664)
  3. philj

    Binoscope Project

    Fascinating stuff Klitwo the box IPD arrangement is something Im mulling over at the moment.
  4. Thanks Dave, yes, Ive already had a sneak preview during developement but I am really looking forward to the next moon now its finished
  5. Thanks Peter, Im pleased with it. It's working well now I've sorted the easy alignment adjusters. Now to collect some eyepiece pairs Thanks for the pointers and advice.
  6. I finished the Binoscope project just before Christmas and was expecting at least a months worth of cloud penance but surprisingly there was a clear bit last night, enough to have a play with the completed scope. I've had a couple of test runs with the bins under moon and stars whilst I developed the mounting/collimation bracket and ironed out any snags so this was the first real outing. Set Up ED80 Binocular Telescope fitted with Vixen LV 8-24mm Zoom eyepieces. 9x50 RA finder Alignment and collimation is much quicker now I have made one touch tube alignment and mastered the Inter Pupillary Distance (IPD) setting. IPD is as per Peter Drews design using prisms in rhomboid configuration provides a wealth of adjustment and in the early days of testing I found it slightly fiddly to get the correct IPD and good alignment for me. However Ive made an IPD gauge which is set to my measurements and when the gauge drops into the eyepiece holders on the diagonals I know everything is straight and true and set up for me. First Light Skies were clear but there was quite a bit of moisture in the air thus contrast was reduced due to the increased light pollution. But it was still reasonable and M42 was nicely visible naked eye, M31 was not however despite its altitude. I set up on the rear garden patio which gives me some protection from neighbours lights but provides a nice view south, south east and south south west, the house obscures the rest. My first target was M42 at 24x. Nice but slightly washed out due to LP. I fine tuned tube collimation and the 3d view was very nice, with the stars appearing to set out from the nebula. I zoomed in to 75x (8mm) and the contrast improved considerably and the fan of the nebula was very evident. The dual speed adjustment on each focuser enabled fine focus on the trapezium nicely. This was looking promising, plus I didnt have to adjust alignment / collimation after zooming so I was quite pleased that that snag is now resolved. A very nice view which I revisited several times as Orion climbed higher out of the LP. Auriga Clusters. M36, 37 & 38 Easy to locate each cluster and at 24x each cluster was there but again LP was affecting contrast. So I zoomed in again on each to 75x and much better. My favourite of these is 37 and it didn't disappoint, the dark lanes through the cluster together with the 3d effect was a interesting. M35 At 24x it was nice and the adjacent cluster 2158 was just visible but took some work. Zooming in to 75x brought the cluster out nicely and 2158 was easy to spot as a fuzzy patch. I lingered on M35 for awhile. M31, 32, 110 Took a few contortions to get this because it was so high but I was rewarded with a good galaxy shaped blob with brighter core and darker patch on one side. The core fits nicely in the FOV with the fuzzy stuff stretching off to the edge of the FOV so a little panning is required to see the complete galaxy. M 110 and 32 were easy to spot. I reckon my next upgrade for these bins is a nice pair of 30mm FL eyepieces for views like this. M45 A very impressive sight at 24x. The cluster just fits in the FOV and had a very 3d effect with the brighter components standing forward of the dimmer stars. Almaak Easy spit at 24x and really nice at 75x. My intention for this binoscope was for it to be used on double/multiple stars so I had to check at least one out on first light. Again the 3d effect ws there with the red primary standing forward of the dimmer blue/white companion. Double Cluster Yep a lovely sight at 24x. Both cluster fitting easily in the FOV. The brighter stars standing forward. Couldnt get any colour tonight, no doubt due to the sky quality. I tried for M82 and 82 but just couldnt get them due to awkward positioning of houses, trees etc. Oh and would you believe I completely forgot to have a go at 46P doh So altogether I stayed out for about 2 hours and just revisited the objects getting used to the scope. Conclusion I am happy with this binoscope, it performs well and gives nice views. Under better skies it is going to be a belter I reckon. The effect of having an ED80 on each eye is:- its not a gob smacking in your face "wow look at that" moment when you look through them, I never expected that. They are 80mm scopes after all and not 24" dobs so one has to be realistic. The effect is subtle, there is obviously more of the object to see because there is an 80mm lens gathering photons for each eye but the main thing for me is it is a relaxed view where I can observe with both eyes and get a 3d effect which is for me the main attraction which is great for splitting doubles. Because setting up the IPD is important for each observer this makes the binoscopes in this configuration a very personal piece of kit. You cant just say to someone "quick have a glegg at this". But I am working on a few ideas of how to make the IPD adjustment a bit slicker but for the moment it works well and I'm well pleased with its performance so far and its potential. Oh one other great feature I found last night is that it is really nice on clusters, especially with a trick I learnt. Focus at 24x on the cluster then twist both zooms equally to zoom in to 75x. Its just like going into warp drive Heres a few snaps from today of the completed rig, forgot to fit the finder so just imagine a finder of your choice
  7. I use a micro four thirds for most of my lunar images these days. The small sensor size coupled to my 127 EDT refractor at native f7.5 means the disc just fits on the sensor. Despite the small sensor size it gives excellent quality. Couple that with a few hundred subs stacked and it works even better. I use Olympus Om D em 10 and 1. Both work well.
  8. philj

    Binoscope Project

    Ah right, its the colour scheme that fooled me, now I look closer I recognise the SW Cells
  9. philj

    Binoscope Project

    That looks a useful piece of kit Peter. I see theres a Vixen binoscope in the background as well. Are your OTAs staggered, (one further forward than the other) or is it the angle in the photograph
  10. philj

    HEQ5 sounds

    Yeay, thats what I used smells nice too
  11. philj

    Binoscope Project

    Thanks Peter Its not difficult in principal but its fun in practice. Making one telescope is a cinch but trying to get 2 scopes to optically match can make you scratch your head a few times. My first problem was the IPD prisms didnt match, traced to my not taking enough off a coupling step ring on one of them resulting in one prism not seating correctly which threw the collimation out. Getting firm and concentric clamping on the prisms, diagonals and eyepieces is fun. I am using 2-1.25" Self centreing adapters in the focusers to reduce the movement and seriously thinking about making something on similar lines for the diagonals and eyepiece clamps now, this may be slightly beyond my current lathe skills though
  12. philj

    Binoscope Project

    Managed about 30 minutes in between clouds to try out the bins under darkish skies before the weather moved in again. The aim of this exercise was to see what DSOs looked like in the bins and also to get used to the handling and collimation. Collimation Even though I collimated the tubes I found the two FOV circles were off resulting in the object to be viewed being in different parts of each scope FOV, this was not right and I traced it down to the mirror diagonal clamps on each prism. Thus tube collimation wasnt shifting which was good but the movement in the clamps meant the eyepiece angles were not the same and this was throwing things out. This was evident in that I could collimate to get good binocular vision at 75x but when wound down to 24x it would be out again. The other week it wasnt doing this, I could collimate at 75x and collimation would stay on whatever mags I used, so I know it can do it. OK so thats the next area to concentrate on ironing out and beefing up. Handling, with the pan and tilt handle, handling was OK but it felt a little odd at first because the bins are offset from the mount, this was no problem with alt and az locks off but if I put a bit of friction on them it felt odd. I think this is just a matter of getting used to it. I fitted a RA finder to help with finding stuff at the zenith but I had the tripod set a bit too high initially so using the finder was a bit fiddly. I lowered the tripod slightly and rotated the finder to a different position and things were a bit more comfortable. Performance. Collimated on Mars at 75x and this was a nice view. Mars was small but a definite gibbous shape could be seen and the background stars were good. No detail as at 75x it was a bit small plus the atmospherics were turbulent to say the least. I was glad I was in the lee of the house. M45 at 24x. Yep, lovely colour, depth and really bright. The Vixen zooms are not the widest FOV around, I havent built this scope for wide FOV but the cluster fitted just nicely in view. The brighter stars seemed to stand forward of the fainter ones giving a 3d effect. M31. This surprised me because normally this is just an elongated blob in an 80mm in these skies but I was really surprised at it being brighter than expected with 32 and 110 standing out nicely. In the fuzzy elongated shape of 31 was a clearly identified darker area corresponding to the darker dust lanes, no detail just the indication that this was a dark patch. Double cluster. Found it easily with the finder then had a look through the vixens and was underwhelmed, then looked up to see a blanket of cloud, I was trying to look through quite a thick layer. I waited for it to disperse then had another look..... Woah!!!! Talk about 3d. Because the clusters were at the zenith I set a small stool alongside the scope and the eyepieces were at a perfect height for me to just sit and drink the view in. The colours for a start, yellows and the odd hint of orange. Next, just like with M45 the brighter stars stood right out, I just sat there for 10 minutes drinking the view in until it disappeared behind thick cloud. I looked up to see not a single star visible in the sky, game over due to complete cloud cover. OK it was only a short test but I was buzzing, this scope, despite the few snags that still need ironing out is starting to perform. I am really looking forward to testing this properly now. When I have ironed out the reliability side and get a good nights observing I will post a proper first light on the full set up section of the forum. Oh just forgot to mention, the views are far brighter than a single ED80 with binoviewer. I know its an obvious point but when committing to a project like this there is always a little niggle in the back of the mind.
  13. philj

    HEQ5 sounds

    Yep my HEQ5 pro sounded really rough for years. I improved it slightly by a relube and adjust of tge gears but a belt mod finally quietened things down
  14. philj

    Out of collimation refractor?

    Glad my guides are still helpful. CA is not necessarily a collimation problem, by all means check it as per my guide but collimation issues will be coma on the stars and yours look reasonable in your image. However, like vlaiv above, I cannot see what you describe in your image.
  15. philj

    Binoscope Project

    Sounds promising, collimation will need to be bang on at 200x. Im seeing why quick no tools collimation is preferrable on these

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