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DirkSteele last won the day on September 7 2014

DirkSteele had the most liked content!

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About DirkSteele

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    Sub Dwarf

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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.

    As well as writing reviews and other astro-related content for my own site, Alpha-Lyrae.co.uk, I have also begun contributing content to Astronomy Now magazine, with my first equipment review appearing in January 2018 issue.

    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.
  • Location
    London, UK
  1. DirkSteele

    10x50 vs. 16x70

    Not so much a hijak of the thread as the OP mentioned them but does anyone have any thoughts about the APM 10x50 ED Apo binoculars? I note they are on sale at the moment as APM is moving and clearing some inventory.
  2. Not to many other refractors that are natively f/6 and under spring to mind, but with a large number of reducers out there, for those thinking astrophotography you can achieve that. I would also suggest that the Vixen VSD100 is not really intended for visual use. I think if you do, it has to be used straight through without a diagonal. I would throw one more scope in the mix. The TMB designed, APM LZOS 105mm f/6.2. It just misses your f/6 requirement but a Massimo Riccardi 0.75x reducer is available which would convert it to f/4.65. I own this scope and it is fantastic both optically and mechanically. It is also airline portable in the cabin which is rare among 4" scopes.
  3. DirkSteele

    Summer solstice with a TEC and a Tak

    Great report.
  4. DirkSteele

    How do amateur astronomers make money?

    I have just returned from another Baker Street Irregular Astronomers star party in Regent’s Park. Around 200 people attended, many with little to no experience of using scopes. Their reaction when seeing craters on the Moon, or Jupiter and Saturn is more than enough reward to make sharing the night sky and very worthwhile endeavour.
  5. DirkSteele

    Qualifications in Astronomy?

    I hold a masters degree in Physics and Astrophysics. And somewhere between 25-30 years of stargazing as an amateur astronomer. The latter being far more relevant to me in my life since graduation.
  6. DirkSteele

    How do amateur astronomers make money?

    I am lucky to get paid for some equipment reviews for Astronomy Now magazine, but it is pocket money. I like everyone else on SGL are here because we love it. I write far more for my own website which I do not make any money from ( in fact the hosting fees cost me money) because I really enjoy writing about a topic I love. It is just an added bonus if someone else enjoys / finds useful reading the content I have written.
  7. DirkSteele

    Beware SkyTee 2 Mount

    Read very good things about them. A retailer should look into becoming a distributor for Europe. I am sure there is a market that would make it a worthwhile endeavour.
  8. DirkSteele

    Beware SkyTee 2 Mount

    100% agree. There is a big jump in capacity and cost with the APM AzMax Load being the only mount that springs to mind in the next class and it is a substantial jump in cost. Including a Lozmandy G11 tripod and 24kg of counterweights mine tipped the scales at around £2,000. Compared to the Ercole, the Az MaxLoad really is in a different size class. My review of the APM Az MaxLoad in case anyone is curious: http://alpha-lyrae.co.uk/2016/02/27/apm-azmaxload-mount-review/
  9. DirkSteele

    Beware SkyTee 2 Mount

    That is very surprising! Same tripod in the comparison? I will report on it once I take delivery and spend some time under the stars with it.
  10. DirkSteele

    Beware SkyTee 2 Mount

    I disagree with that. It has an 18kg load capacity on each arm. Now while load capacity in isolation is somewhat meaningless and the moment arm is very important, i.e length and weight combined, the Ercole has been loaded up with far more than a 120mm triplet. I know of people who have put 5 and 6" triplets on it. I will be using my new 130mm f/9.25 triplet on it.
  11. DirkSteele

    Beware SkyTee 2 Mount

    Seeing a few reports of things like this happening with that particular mount. Scary to say the least. When I was looking for a heavy duty Alt-Az mount, I asked a well known scope maker / retailer and mentioned the Sky-Tee and he said he would not use it and directed me towards the Tele Optic Ercole.
  12. My then 5 year old future nephew gave me this for my birthday. Fast forward two years and my wife and I just gave him his first telescope for his 7th birthday. Bringing another into the club.
  13. DirkSteele

    The Widescreen centre

    The wesbsite is https://www.widescreen-centre.co.uk/ However, I experienced some issues on the site a couple of days ago and now it seems to be down completely. Assume it is just an IT issue.
  14. Thanks! Did not know it was going to be on the cover so was quite a surprise when it arrived on my doormat.
  15. It is a great scope. Mine has traveled south of equator and provided some memorable DSO views under dark skies. And so easy to transport as well.

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