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Everything posted by philj

  1. The supplied ep is OK but a quality eyepiece will transform any scope. There are so many to choose from everyone has there own personal preferences if you are looking for decent eps have a look through reviews on here and in the mags and best of all try before you buy if you can
  2. Yes the lock screw stops the tube shifting but the focuser wheels can still be turned, quite normal The second issue is more likely an eyepiece issue.
  3. Just a point on the focusers on these scopes They are good and work well plus they can handle quite a bit of load. However they seem to be shipped in varying degrees of adjustment from super smooth to dog rough. I have 2 of these scopes in binoscope format. One I got was adjusted really well the other was really bad and was advertised as a customer return due to the rough focuser, I got it with a discount due to that. It took me 2 minutes with an alken key and it was as smooth as the other one. So dont despair if your focuser feels rough it just needs a tweak. Quality control should really be better but a rough focuser is not a major problem.
  4. Agreed, I was the same with my 50mm refractor in the early sixties, this showed me so much at the time and I was hooked despite terrible CA and bad coma. Advertising is always hype, just take a look at some of the cure-all pilks and potions from yesteryear but now in the consumer age it is used with everything scopes included. I remember some years ago a newbie joined an astro soc I was in and he threw a lot of money into gear but had no experience except from books. One night he was asking for help after setting up his new goto scope, claiming he couldnt see anything it was suppossed to be pointing at. His scope was spot on in pointing, he had got that right, the rest of us experienced observers could see M57 quite clearly, if not a little faint, we couldnt figure out his problem, then we twigged it eventually, he was expecting to see dso,s as they were in long exposure images. He was sorely dissappointed, we could not beleive someone had shelled out so much on kit without ever looking through even a basic scope at DSO,s.
  5. I was messing with a few details on the late 60s early 70s Towa 80mm F15 last week having just made some tube ring adaptors for the Towa to fit in ED80 tube rings and I set it all up on my HEQ5 for a quick test. Then realised what a handsome scope it was and that got me reminiscing. I got the scope 10 years ish ago for £60 ish off fleabay, complete with wooden crate, wobbly but elegant mount. I did a bit of resto on it and the mount and got it working and soon realised that the objective on this scope (despite a couple of clamshell chips) was excellent, it was a good planetary, lunar and double star scope, but it was let down by the snorkel focuser and 0.96 eyepieces. I made an adaptor for 1.25" eyepieces but it still was underperforming. Another OTA came on the scene, (thanks Nightfisher) which I married to the mount and sold off. Thus I had the original OTA which I could update which I did with a 2" crayford focuser. So 10 years on here it is, crayford, tube extension, more internal baffles. Its a firm fave scope at the moment because a lot of my stuff is in storage due to impending house move but this scope is light, quick to set up and convenient to use. Many scopes have come and gone but this one is a keeper
  6. I,ve watched all of the shows and love it. This is why I like restoring vintage and antique technology, its very satisfying and that comes through in the show. I love giving back someones past or memories. Also I have picked up a few tips from them along the way. Ive also spotted a couple of gaffs, or shoukd I say "I wouldnt do it like that" . My fave resto that I have done was a 1914 Royal Typewriter, fantastic object and the design/craftsmanship in these machines is impressive. Telescopes, Ive restored a few, so that episode plus the one with the nautical refractor interested me more than most.
  7. Could not resist another play with the Towa. I rarely do full moons so this was a new one on me. Stack (R6) of 40 from 80 subs at 200 asa 1/500s ish I think. Through the 1970s 80mm F15 Towa achro with the Olympus OM D EM1 mk1.5 mirrorless. Messed about with in PS. This time Ive left it in colour and used Hasta La Vista Green to get rid of greenachro fringes on high albedo features
  8. Actually there was a bit of processing not for sharpness but to rescue the contrast due to the thin layer of mist. Curves, shadow and highlight and contrast needed tweaking. Sharpening didnt take much, just a small amount on fine wavelets in R6 then fine tuning with smart sharpen in PS. The main thing I do is make sure the scope is cooled then I take the subs making sure image stabilisation is off and shutter is on silent high rate.
  9. Well the clicking for high res isnt working as I though so heres some detail
  10. At least once a year I break out the old (1970s) Towa 339 80mm F15 out on the moon and last night was this years go. Despite viewing through increasing mist at about 19:30 hours I managed to grab some subs with the mirrorless Olympus OM D EM 1 Mk1.5 before the mist got too thick. This is 50 from 80 subs (200asa at 1/ 125s) in R6 and processed in PS. In order to recover the contrast lost due to mist I have pushed it a bit so some of the high albedo features have blown but I am again impressed with this scope and camera combo. The colour version showed a tad CA on the limb and brighter craters so I converted to mono, this has helped with the detail I reckon. The native F15 FL on the 4/3rds chip gives a super image scale, what you see below is uncropped so is what you see through the viewfinder. I enjoyed this outing with the Towa, I must do it more often Click to view full res
  11. This is the cable mod I and many other owners did, you dont need it but if you have operational issues then theres some useful info in here. Gary is a mine of info on these mounts, I was close to getting rid of the mount with frustration at one tine, till I did this mod. http://bendun.net/CGE-UPGRADE-KITS.html So you may find that after sorting the PA you may have operational issues/ errors when you come to calibrate, if the leads are wrong. Note, even if the leads are correct and an earthed shell, it doesnt mean all will be well. Sorry bout that. The rj45 sockets in the column are poor quality and give many problems, I remember unplugging and replugging many times trying to get the mount to calibrate. All sorted when I changed the rj45 for screw Din. So you can probably see why these mounts get neglected in institutions, because it needs someone with dedication and time to sort them, something which schools and clubs cant seem to provide. They are excellent mounts and are superb on goto (5 calibration stars fir goto was very accurate pointing) plus for imaging they are good performers BUT they arent simple to operate if your not used to them, download the manual before powering up for the first time and do some test calibrations in the daylight. Oh and one final bit of advice, run from the handbox till you get used to it. Pc interface with nexremote can result in loss of hair, shouting and general depression
  12. Hi Matt Yep it looks like your electronics column is 120 degrees out, someone has had this apart and not put it back properly. The mount head may be pointing north(ish) but you will run out of adjustment. See pic of my mount in observatory. Your mount has non standard patch leads for RA and Dec motor cables which are longer than normal so this can happen. It wouldnt happen if you had the standard leads cos it would only go one way. Oh, one would think that wouldnt make much difference as the holes are 120 apart but it will. Also there is quite a lot of play in each of the 6 column holes so when you have rotated the column to correct orientation you may get more adjustment on azimuth there. Also please note using ordinary patch leads for the motor box RA and Dec leads is opening a whole can of worms, possible spurious slews, hitting the stops or motor errors, why? Because the celestron leads are earthed shells and ordinaru patch leads arent, many have tried and many have had problems. If these are earthed shell leads please ignore my comment but looking at your photos I suspect they arent. Note the leads shown on my mount are specials as I used the Canadian mod on the mount which came with special long earthed shell leads. These mounts when working are superb but you have to iron out a few bugs before they are reliable. I loved mine but impending house sale meant it and the obs had to go. PM me if you need any more tips, memory cells permitting I shall do my best to help.
  13. I had an observatory mounted CGE for over 10 years so know a little about them. Seems strange that an observatory mounted mount should be way out like this, has the mount, column, pier been messed about with recently? If it has then running out of adjustment is possibly down to the pier not being put back right. If not then check there isnt a nut or bolt or stuff dropped in the az slots. Easily done and will restrict the adjustment. I,m trying to remember the orientation of the electronics column to the mount, I think its been put on in the wrong position. I need to check my old photos. The connectors on the column for the RA and Dec leads should be on the north, ish side otherwise the leads wont reach. I will post a pic of the correct orientation later
  14. Thanks Alan, theres a guy on our local forum has a water jet cnc machine he did the circle on that. I was pleasantly surprised at the split at 75x I think this may be the lowest with ed80, having 80mm for each eye helps, also dark skies. The orientation of the components was obvious and a very small piece of dark sky could be seen relatively easily.
  15. This year I was going to take loads of astro gear to Kelling but when I saw the weather forecast I decided to simplify and take only my ED80 binoscope with Giro11 mount, thus if it was a wash out I wouldnt have wasted time and space on carting and storing gear which wouldnt get any use. Also this gave me some room for my bike Here is a link to the binoscope project thread to give you an idea of when and how I built it. https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/325995-binoscope-project/ Apart from a couple of outings earlier in the year at the East Midlands Stargazers dark site I havent really been able to put these through their paces under a good dark sky so the choice to only take these was an easy one. As it happened Kelling sprung a surprise and I had 3 good observing sessions in the week in which to fully shake down my binoscope and modified mount, so here is a brief account Kit - ED80 Binoscope, Celestron Ultima 30mm x2 Vixen 8-24mm LV Zoom x 2 Giro2 Altaz Mount with new azimuth setting circle and wixey for push to location of objects Skysafari app on my mobile September 25th - Kelling Despite the weather forecast the skies surprised us with a couple of hours usable clear spell. This was my chance to try the ED80 binoscope under a Kelling sky and also try the new push-to system I have fitted to the Giro mount. I had prepped the scope for interpupiliary distance (IPD) and aligned the finder earlier in the day plus I had set the Wixey zero with a spirit level on the scope and mount back home so set up time was very quick,just fit scope to mount, plug in dew bands and slot in eyepieces. I chose Vega and centered this in the scope manually and then looked up the coordinates in Skysafari search and set the Az circle to match and checked the Wixey was reading correctly. The push to was now calibrated, dead easy M13 was nice and high so with 15x in the scope I set the mount to the Skysafari co ordinates and looked through the bino scope, yup there was M13 nicely centered. Success, the pushto was working nicely. I swapped to the Vixens and cranked the mag up to 75x and was rewarded with a nice sight but strangeley the right hand scope view seemed dimmer. Hmm, a bit of investigation showed all was well on the objective and the IPD hadnt shifted so I then removed the rubber eyecups from the Vixens. Much better. The eyecups were forcing me to get too close in to the eyepiece which was causing this effect. Now I could have a relaxed view through both eyepieces without constantly shifting my head to accommodate the eyecups. So the next 2 hours or so were spent on the following objects, sometimes going back a few times to drink in the views. M13, M11, M57, M31, M110, M32, M27, Double Cluster, Owl Cluster, Caldwell 1, M81/82, M52, M51, M39, M15, M76, M92, M33, M45, M56. I can now see the advantages of the push to system, quick, easy, convenient and doesnt rely on a computer. Thanks to Graham on EMS for manufacturing the az circle. 26th September The sky was showing promise by 19:00 so I started setting up, (which didnt take long at all). By the time it started to get usably dark I was up and running and viewing stuff. Last night was spent getting used to finding stuff with the setting circle and Wixey combination so tonight was going to be using the binoscope at 75x. The collimation must be spot on with the higher magnifications so I spent a few minutes ensuring all was working fine. Albireo was the first object and what a jewel it was, even with the higher mag of 75x the pointing accuracy put Albireo at the edge of the FOV, nice one. Saturn was just above the trees at the far end of the field so I went for that and it was nice to see but it wasnt the best view I have had because of atmospherics and altitude. Still, there was Titan evidence of banding on the planet and just a hint of Cassini division. Epsilon Lyra, this was nice, at 75x the 2 component systems were just showing dark sky between the companions. A good split for 80mm. So a few more doubles now: 51 Bootes, Xi Cephei, Almaac, Beta Cephei, Psi Draconis, Epsilon Persei all splitting well at 75x. What I like about doubles in this set up is the 3d effect one gets when there are mag differences between the companions, the fainter companion appears set back from the brighter star. I now revisited some of the objects from last night but at 75x this time M13, resolving nicely into stars. M26 Scutum cluster, M57 lovely detail coming through in the ring with averted vision, M81/82, Blue Snowball, Cats Eye, Uranus, Neptune, M45, Double Cluster was just simply WOW!!. 27th September A clear night again. However I was rather tired (Biking on the coast path during the day) so I was only going to go out for an hour, it turned out to be 2 1/2. I had a few things go wrong resulting in my push to accuracy suffering, I put this down to my tiredness. I viewed a few of the well known objects M11, M31, 27 and 57 to name a few and just lingered on them drinking in the details. Then I decided to go with 15x and wander along the milky way, following its lanes and branches seeing what objects I could identify. The views were memorable especially Cygnus and Perseus/ Cassiopea regions. I lingered for some time here noticing just how extensive some of the clusters were, Stock 2 etc and of course the Double, which was spectacular. I am well pleased with this rig now all the bugs have been ironed out, it is easy to use and gives relaxed views that are far superior to a single ED80 and one eye. I reckon the views are on a par with my 5" ED Triplet but in a more compact package. The Wixey and setting circle push to system is a doddle to use and I now see why this method is so popular with the Dob brigade. P.S I did take my single 18.2mm Televue Delite with me as I intended to purchase a companion for it on saturday which I duly did, only to be greeted with leaden skies for the rest of the stay so I never got to try the Delites in the binoscope under a Kelling night sky. However, I did try them briefly from my now light polluted back yard on the 2nd of October on a crescent moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Double Cluster, M57, M27 and I have to say these quality eyepieces transform the binoscope. The Vixens are good but the combination of quality views and wide (true FOV) that the Delites give make for excellent views. Will I take them again to Kelling? Oh yes Heres a couple of shots of the scope in field regalia when testing the Delites on trees across the blue field between torrential downpours Saturday afternoon.
  16. Nice one Ant, a nice accompaniament to the 839
  17. Nah thats not fungus Ant. Its the 2 elements separating, maybe moisture related but more than likely the cement. Ive never been able to do anything for optics that suffer this. Its still useable but doesnt look pretty. If its on the finder its not so bad. This is another reason I dont like cemented optics
  18. Good comparison. I bought a pair of Nikon 10x42 Monarchs 3 years ago for birding and the occassional astro bino session and I have been well pleased with their performance.
  19. A trip to the London Planetarium plus unpolluted skies where I lived at the time in the early 60s got me into Astronomy, Sir Patricks books and the Sky At Night reinforced the fascination. I still have my Observers book from the 60s
  20. Nice results I used to feel remote imaging was not for me, preferring to do it all myself from my own obsy or portable gear if at a star party. This was great and I considered remote imaging a bit like cheating until bad health struck. Now I cannot cope with late nights or the effort of setting up so my imaging suffered so I took out a 40 plan the past couple of years. Remote imaging enables me to still do Astronomy and scratch the itch so to speak, if I didnt have that then I wouldnt be able to image at all. I am sure there are others using these services in similar circumstances so I no longer knock it or poo poo the idea of it.
  21. The ring is the objective retaining ring. I have restored many of these scopes and never had a seized one yet despite the ages. Just put the palm of your hand across the front of the cell and press then unscrew whilst holding the tube with the other hand. If it doesnt unscrew due to age or muck use a little release oil as Peter suggested. Dont use heat, thats the best way to crack your objective. Some better manufacturers put orientation marks on the element either pencil or knicks ground in to the element edges but dont bank on it. I have never yet come across a lens set in these old scopes that hasnt been messed with by someone in its history so be prepared to do some testing and adjusting when you put it back together.
  22. Watched the first one last night and it was quite informative. I do however question why so many shots of him standing astride a remote mountain peak being imaged from a drone, it gets a bit samey I feel and is distracting. They must have large budgets on the OU.
  23. Just another example of sensationalised headlines to get views. Problem is some dont read past the headlines then we get daft posts on FB
  24. Vixen LVW 22mm eyepiece wanted. Anyone got one sitting doing nothing in their ep box? Cheers Phil
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