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About DirkSteele

  • Rank
    Sub Dwarf
  • Birthday March 9

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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.
  • Location
    London, UK

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  1. Shows just how omnipresent the refractor is in the general public consciousness as what a telescope should look like. This is was the front cover the Iberia Business Class magazine a few months ago.... At least astronomy is featuring. That is certainly something.
  2. Ha....It was considered. However we have decided on Vamizi Island which is off the coast of Mozambique. The villa we are staying in does have a stargazing / sunset watching tower so.... My Tak 76 is joining us on the honeymoon. Based on previous Mozambique island experience the skies should be very good, if not quite Namibia good.
  3. Good luck to you as well! I am excited but starting to feel just a tiny amount of nerves. Will be over before I know it.
  4. Many of you will have seen the thread I created last year about the engagement ring I had commissioned which incorporated aspects of my passion for astronomy including 6 point star motifs made of tiny diamonds as well as engravings of Ursa Major and Lyra inside the band and a small piece of meteorite in the base of the ring. Well we have continued the theme for the wedding which is now only a couple of weeks away. I have had a custom pair of cuff links made, once again along the “stylised Star” theme. Around the edge are dozens of Carbonado Black Meteor Diamonds. If you watched the 60th Anniversary Episode of Sky at Night recently, you will have seen a short segment on them which discussed the current consensus hypothesis that they possibly came from a shattered White Dwarf and fell to Earth more than 3 billion years ago when Brazil and West Africa were still connected, which is now the only two places they are found. The link for that portion of the show is here: Now wish me luck!
  5. I have tried it a few times. I think there is an improvement in the image seen in the eyepiece, in particular less scatter, which improves contrast (its not huge, but noticeable) but at remotely high altitudes it becomes quite uncomfortable and my neck is good a holding a grudge so I do not really do it. Just an occasional experiment. However, if I had one of these I might consider it more often!
  6. Thanks to both of you. That was nice and easy.
  7. Does anyone know of a good source of 2" and 1.25" plugs for sealing things like diagonals when not in use and other connection points on telescopes? I have mislaid one or two of mine and now have a couple of exposed mirrors etc. Thanks in advance.
  8. Add to that, if you are not already lucky enough to live at a location with low levels of light pollution, then travel to one with your scope. The difference a truly dark sky can make is remarkable. I have had scopes perform as well as telescopes more than double the aperture when at a very dark site compared to suburban locations in the UK.
  9. @Dust Cap The 115 is one of more used scopes because it has enough aperture that you can do some decent astronomy but light enough that you don't groan when thinking about setting it up. Helps it is optically superb as well. Probably these days my Tak-76 is the most used, but I think that is because I am getting lazy and I can carry it, the mount and tripod in one go.
  10. It can happen to the best of us, even when we are meant to have some experience under our belts. Mine goes back to 2004, so at the point I already had well over a decade of telescope usage experience, and even more of stargazing thanks to the use of my father’s binoculars prior to that. I had taken delivery of a very exciting telescope, the LZOS made 115 f/7 triplet refractor having decided to take the plunge into the that black hole (at least for one’s wallet) of preferring lenses to mirrors. The focal length of the telescope is 805mm, but to make the scope a bit more manageable for storage, there is a sliding drawtube at the rear which must be slid out some distance for the feathertouch focuser to be near the focal plane of the telescope. Sadly in my excited state of wanting to get it out under the stars, I had not really realised how far (perhaps I should have stopped to think about 805mm….) the tube should slide out, so had the scope in the garden, with my state of mind becoming increasingly anxious that there was a serious problem with my scope as nothing would get anywhere near focus. I even emailed Tom Back, the lens designer in the US to ask what was up! However, after that email I detached the scope from the mount and brought the OTA inside and sat with it on my lap in the lounge. I sat that fiddling with the scope, pondering the several thousand pounds paid, when I loosened the set screws that held the drawtube and tugged on it, to find it moved far, far further than I had realised (probably 2-3x further than I had positioned it). I immediately dashed back outside and set up the scope and was blown away by that first view of M42. That was a big mess up on my part! Tom Back actually emailed back very quickly but I did not discover till the next day as I was enjoying the lens he had designed. I am sure most of us have one these stories in our history.
  11. With fresh batteries it is perhaps a touch brighter than ideal but definitely useable. After 24 hrs (I suppose you could leave it on for a day to get there) it is much more appropriate. Even with a deliberate partial run down of the batteries, it should run for an entire season of use (especially in the grey UK! ).
  12. Haha, you would think so wouldn't you? But I believe I relinquish control of the cheque book as per the new management agreement* I was only "busted" the other day when I was looking at the link that @John posted about those new long focus achromats. Had to explain that I just like looking at new equipment as I am a bit of geek rather than wanting any new telescopes. *otherwise know as a marriage certificate
  13. I better start repeating that myself. In less than 6 weeks a CFO will be entering my life and I will get into trouble if I buy one.... but I really want one.
  14. Also a very good point! I am still stuck in the office and have no idea what time it is (but clearly found time for a quick visit to SGL! )
  15. I am not sure I fully understand the described problem. Do you mean that when you moved from the Moon to view Jupiter that you were able to see the spider vane that holds the secondary mirror in place at the entrance aperture of the scope (or a shadow of it) when looking through the eyepiece?