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About DirkSteele

  • Rank
    Sub Dwarf
  • Birthday March 9

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  • Interests
    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

Recent Profile Visitors

4,819 profile views
  1. Astro Baby website back up

    Excellent!! Good to see it back.
  2. Amazing images, all three. The winner in particular blew me away when I first saw it.
  3. Vixen SG 2.1x42mm binoculars

    Interesting review. It really does seem as though binoculars are a far more personal preference thing than other optical aids such as telescopes. I am one of the very positive reviews out there but I also have 20/10 vision (well I did last time I was tested. I can tell age is beginning to have an impact) but I did try to simulate loss of field of view by trying them with cosmetic glasses to get the eye to lens spacing correct. However, nothing I could do about actual eye prescriptions. Having lent them to several people, over half readily like them and many purchased their own pair, but clearly leaves many who were less than impressed. As you wrote, try before you buy if you can is the best advice!
  4. Please can you provide an idea of budget so we can better target our suggestions?
  5. Sumerian Optics Alkaid 12"

    Your interested public demands photos! Very interesting first report. Look forward to reading more about your experiences with it. As you say the weight is a bit much for airline cabin transport, but the idea of a 12" scope that could go to a dark site is a very intriguing one...
  6. Grab & Go setup

    May I enquire as to where you sourced the carbon fibre pillar?
  7. Help required

    My APM LZOS 105 and 115 both have that extension arrangement (especially important for the 105 as it makes the scope airline portable). Neither show any signs of slop when extended (and the 115 was bought in 2004 so it has plenty of use). I would also note that the maximum amount of extension is not needed on my two scopes to bring them to focus when using a diagonal. With the 115 is probably only about 2/3 of the total length available.
  8. Vamo Traveller by Ayo Swiss

    Does it break down for easy transport? How much would you estimate it weighs?
  9. New Canon IS Binoculars

    Wonder if that means we will see new larger models coming in the next year or so? A 50mm with improved I.S would be nice.
  10. I agree, I have had some amazing sessions with my 60mm Tak under very dark African skies and it is capable of delivering a very satisfying observing experience. The Baader sounds great. I look forward to reading about your experiences.
  11. I was too busy to take advantage unfortunately but I have heard reports of others in London that the seeing was "rock-solid" last night.
  12. Binoculars with a capital "B" !!!

    Wow! Nice of them to "throw in" the mount and digital setting circles. Like you I would pay a small amount just have a look through them.
  13. Campsite stargazing – 22/07/2017

    Nice report! Very unique presentation style!
  14. nPAE 6061 Medium Eyepiece Turret Review

    I think the price is of course the biggest impediment to the 6061 turret being a big seller. As you point out, and as I did in the review, it costs more than many amateur astronomers would spend on a telescope. However, I do not think the target market is necessarily astronomers with £1,000 OTAs or NEQ6 mounts. It is more towards people like me who own £20,000+ OTAs (suspect it is one of the reasons why they asked me to review it) and public observatories which perform a lot of outreach. That’s not to say someone with a cheaper setup would not see great utility in using the 6061. For me, one of the big advantages was the ability to switch in mere seconds to an extremely high power when one of those very tranquil moments in the atmosphere occurred, giving me the opportunity to actually benefit from it. The scopes would most likely be 9” and larger Cassegrains and 7” and larger refractors, though I have seen it hanging off the back of a 7” Maksutov. I am not sure if the 3” ES eyepiece is the best corollary as that also requires a 3” diagonal whereas here the turret is standard sized equipment. Must admit I was tempted by one of those 3” beasts but really I would want it closer to 40mm focal length to give a bit more true field as the step up there is difficult to justify over some of the wide field 2” models. I wonder if we will see any different focal lengths though if the sales numbers have been really low. Has anyone seen one in the wild? I know they have a smaller turret model in the works with six 1.25” eyepiece locks which will be more competitively priced.
  15. Show us your travel kit

    For years, my girlfriend now wife has actually used the lure of astronomy to get me to go to some interesting places that I might otherwise have had some trepidation about. Very smart on her part! She even checks when new moon is so it sits in the middle of a two week vacation to maximise darkness. I am lucky! The most extreme example is our recent wedding and honeymoon. We worked backwards from a new moon to determine honeymoon departure (6 days after the wedding) and the actual wedding day which fell around full moon. However, unless it a specifically Astro focused holiday as some of the trips to Namibia have been, I try to keep it to just three sessions during the holiday, early evening, around midnight and early morning, so I get a shot at all the interesting DSOs.