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About DirkSteele

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    Astronomy has been a part of my life since I was 3 years old, so I have been looking up for about 30 years, and using telescopes for about 25 years. My education followed a similar path and I left University having studied Physics and Astrophysics at both Undergrad and Masters level. I was also a founder member of the University Astronomy society and held the position of president in my last year of undergrad and continued on as treasurer in my masters year. My interest now is primarily visual astronomy.

    I currently own 7 telescopes, and the list clearly shows that I am a refractor man. The pride and joy of the collection is a 7" Triplet Apo (f/7) from APM in Germany, as well as 2 smaller Triplets (TMB 115 f/7 and the APM TMB 105 f/6.2 which is my primary travel scope). I also own three ultra portable Takahashi fluorite doublet Apos, the FS-60 CB & FS-60Q,as well as the FC-76 for those times when the 105 is a bit too large to take with me. Rounding out the collection is my oldest scope, the Celestron Nexstar 11 GPS.

    I love to cook (and eat!), and also collect retro video games, though prices recently have gone through the roof, so that has taken a bit of a back seat.
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    London, UK

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  1. That looks like a great idea. Being able to bring a filter in or out of the optical train without risk of losing the object would be very helpful.
  2. Sort of. I forgot I owned a 10mm Radian EP (a very good eyepiece) and went and purchased a 10mm Delos. However it was a great mistake to make as it is an awesome EP though it was an expensive mistake as off the back of the 10mm performance I bought the 4.5mm and 14mm.
  3. It is an easy split at 59x (6mm setting of my Nagler zoom) with my baby Takahashi FS-60 so only 2.4" aperture. Not tried it lower but given the ease I suspect it wouldn't be hard. Must try it. It is considered a challenge for 3" because the secondary is so faint.
  4. I have used almost that exact set up many times. Tak 60 with 1.25" Televue diagonal, Gitzo carbon fibre tripod and gitzo fluid head (though near zenith pointing can be a pain due to off centre balance issues), a 24 mm Panoptic, a Nagler Zoom and I have just gone mid range with a 7mm Type 6 Nagler rather than Leica zoom. Works really well. Can pick the whole thing up with one hand.
  5. Spotted myself in a couple of the photos. Clearly sitting fairly close to each other.
  6. Nice. I will be watching this thread closely and look forward to reading more of your thoughts.
  7. My definition of grab and go seems to have evolved as I purchased smaller scopes. Initially it would have been my LZOS made 105mm triplet mounted on a Tele Optic Ercole Giro and a Gitzo 5532S carbon fibre tripod. I have taken it as far a field as the deserts of Oman so travels well. But all in that is tipping the scales at about 13-14kg including rings, finder and EPs so still quite weighty... Pic in Oman below. Then I purchased the Takahashi FS-60 and FC-76 objective unit upgrade. That is mounted on a Tele Optic Mini and Gitzo 4452S carbon fibre tripod and all in weighs 5-7kg including clamshell, finder and EPs (depending on which version). The FS-60 has been to Slovenia, Mozambique, Namibia several times, Spain and elsewhere. The FC-76 has been to dark sites in the UK and will be coming on my honeymoon later this year. Pic of the FS-60 in Mozambique. Pic of the FC-76 at AstroCamp in the Brecon Beacons. So my definition seems to be more about taking to far away lands with dark skies, but it does not change much even if I am just dragging it outside at home. Light weight, quick to set up and take down with minimal fuss.
  8. I agree with the above post on that. The first picture is towards the centre of the Milky Way. You can clearly see M7, known as Ptolemy's Cluster near the middle of the image. The second is looking towards the Carina region of the Milky Way so would have been South West at that time of year. Crux, the Southern Cross is obvious and to the bottom right you are just starting to see the Carina Nebula (mind blowing in a telescope with a wide field).
  9. Nice video. Agree, they did seem to be less items in general to purchase and certainly less discounted products.
  10. I got rather excited when I saw that but it is not quite what it seems but still quite exciting. Now I caveat the following as the person on the Ian King stand I spoke with was not super confident in the confirmation they gave me. The scope in question is an amalgamation of three separate already existing pieces. The front end is the FC-76 Objective unit (that converts the FS-60 in the 76) which is f/7.5. The middle piece is the 1.7x CQ module which normally is used to convert the FS60 into the FS-60Q, the f/10 quadruplet. That is quite interesting as I thought that module was specifically designed to work with the FS-60. The final piece is the FS-60CB tube and focuser. I already own all three of these components so guess what I am going to try soon! Now it might be a different extender module but no harm in trying.
  11. Have to confess I did not see a for sale sticker on it but didn't ask for confirmation. That it probably didn't is an indication it might still be prototype but it looked great.
  12. Let me collate the pics and I will post them. I was very well behaved and did not buy anything this year. I am very proud of myself! ;-)
  13. Check my twitter feed, probably a dozen tweets over the two days showing all the shinny new toys you could have purchased. @Alpha_lyrae_uk is my twitter handle.
  14. It always great to be able to meet the minds behind the products we all use know and use. Had Al autograph the box of a new TV eyepiece I purchased a few years ago.