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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.

    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. Must do this one day

    I really hope so. TBC with my wife but given I proposed under those stars with a scope pointed at Saturn in 2016, we will always have a connection to Sossusvlei so it should only be a matter of time before we go there again.
  2. Must do this one day

    I have been to that lodge four times since 2011 and actually worked as the resident astronomer in 2014. It really is incredible. The 12" LX200 in the observatory. The plunge pool at night.
  3. Out of stock

    Clearly some working capital management. For all businesses, and in particular small ones, managing working capital is of critical importance to keep yourself solvent. There is only so much one can do with receivables and payables but tight control of inventory is something that can be monitored down to a single item. While it is frustrating for all of us who are anxious to get our hands on a new piece of kit, the wait can be understandable, especially in the context of low volume, high value ticket items like all those you mentioned. Having to hold it on balance sheet waiting for an order to materialise means the business needs to finance that carrying cost which eats into margins, which are not that high in Astro retail to begin with. I had to wait probably 6-8 weeks for my Takahashi scopes and the wait was 9 months for my APM LZOS 180 triplet Apo. Still sucks though!
  4. Another suspicious eBay sale

    Funny, in the TAK FS-102 listing it claims he knows nothing about telescopes and got this in payment of a bad debt. Yet if you click on the Questar listing it states one of the most beautiful telescopes ever made (which it is) which would seem to indicate a good level of knowledge of telescopes.... If you know Questar you also definitely know Takahashi.
  5. The below linked Wikipedia on astronomical seeing covers the challenges of ground based imaging and basically concludes the typical seeing parameter is no more than 10-20cm. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astronomical_seeing
  6. Giro Ercole mount head plus 2x Vixen clamps

    Agreed! I took the ercole to Oman with my APM LZOS 105 triplet. Given its capacity, it is actually quite compact and not too heavy (though still 3kg excluding clamps). For anyone considering it, here is my review from a few years ago. http://alpha-lyrae.co.uk/2015/05/03/tele-optic-giro-ercole-alt-az-mount-review/
  7. Thomas Bopp

    I met him in the summer of 1997 when he gave a lecture hosted by Patrick Moore about his discovery. Really nice chap and what a comet! It was not just the size and brightness in the sky but it's longevity as well.
  8. @FLO, any thoughts how one might either mount this on a small dovetail for use on a small telescope mount or directly on to a photo-tripod thread?
  9. I might treat myself to this as a tiny travel scope when even the Tak FS-60 is too much...And there was me thinking I was done purchasing equipment
  10. Also make sure the scope is accurately collimated to get the best performance which is another critical factor alongside those mentioned above.
  11. There is one on display on the Skywatcher stand at Astrofest. Had a quick look and seemed to have a very solid build quality.
  12. That looks fun! I like small scopes (guess it is the traveler in me that appreciates being able to take them to dark places). Will it come to focus with a diagonal in place or is is straight through only?
  13. Astrofest 2018

    Completely agree. What I always find amazing is he gives the talks without any notes in hand, and typically has little to no slides as aide memoire, such is his knowledge of the topic areas.
  14. My TAKAHASHI SEISAKUSHO, instrument album.

    I love that photo of the EM-3500 mount with the person next to it. It provides context to how large that mount is which suddenly gives insight into how large some of those scopes are! Especially the FCT200 and 250.
  15. My TAKAHASHI SEISAKUSHO, instrument album.

    So much eye candy! And a great historical record of the development of Takahashi scopes. I really want the FC-50! And one of its far larger brothers....