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DirkSteele last won the day on August 12 2018

DirkSteele had the most liked content!

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About DirkSteele

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    Brown 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. Congratulations are in order. While 2019 is the year to attempt it given maximum separation, it is never easy from the UK due to altitude and the "small" matter of a 10,000x brightness difference.
  2. Were you using a mirror diagonal? As this would flip the image left to right and hence the pup would appear in the west. Not wanting to rain on the parade and if you did get it, that is fab result from UK in such a small scope.
  3. At 12000 Yen excluding tax, that is about £85. Expect we will see it for a bit more, but might be useful so will consider picking one up.
  4. I have certainly had no issues with stray light using the scope visually. I would say, as with most scopes, the dew shield is too short relative to the aperture, so does not keep dew at bay as long as it could, so from that perspective it would be a welcome addition, and the extra weight up front could prove useful. Try balancing a FS-60 with a 2" diagonal and 21mm Ethos....
  5. That is a shame. There is some great content on some of those threads. I am particularly partial to the TMB group which is sadly now defunct after the passing of Tom Back, but his designs still live on in the LZOS scopes so there is still good relevance in the information.
  6. A couple of months ago nPAE (Nottingham Precision Astro Engineering) lent me a 2" Theia90 Star Diagonal with in built filter changer for a review. I have been playing with since August, comparing against other diagonals in my collection and have now compiled my thoughts into a review which is on the link below: http://alpha-lyrae.co.uk/2019/10/12/npae-theia90-collimating-diagonal-and-filter-changer-review/ What comes in the mini-Cerberus case. Feedback always appreciated. EDIT: mods just realised I posted this in the wrong section. Please move to the reviews section. Thanks.
  7. I used my 3" Tak and Baader Herschel Wedge for the one in 2016 and that worked quite well. As I am hoping to attend an event and hence will travel across London, I expect something similar again. Fingers crossed the weather plays ball!
  8. Been doing this since I was a child so racked up quite a few, but off the top of my head, and in no particular order, some of the highlights include: The Total Solar Eclipse in 1999, as seen from France. Was cloudy until a few minutes before totality, and then the entire sky cleared. Very lucky! Hale Bopp was amazing, and I got to meet Tom Bopp a few months after it faded from view. Seeing M42 for the first time through a scope. It was my first Messier in a telescope and it blew my socks off. One night in the desert in Oman stands out as probably the single most impressive night of stargazing I have ever had and I have had a few! My first time exploring Argo Navis (Carina, Vela and Puppis) from Namibia. Eta Carinae just W.O.W!! Seeing 47 Tucanae for the first time. The 2003 Mars opposition. It was high in the sky and the closest approach in a very long time! Seeing Saturn for the first time in a scope (imagine everyone has that on their list). Also using Saturn to propose to my wife with a scope pointed at it in Namibia. Working as the resident astronomer in gold rated NamibRand Nature Reserve in Namibia for a couple of weeks in 2014. Certainly made the most of a 12" scope and those skies. Edit: cannot believe I forgot the transit of Venus in 2004. Took the day off work, headed to my parents in Hampshire where my C11 lived at the time and had completely cloudless skies for the entire event. I bet I could go on and on! But I will let someone else have a go.
  9. Not sure if they are available in the UK anymore but I have a couple of Thousand Oaks Optical filters (UHC and H-Beta) which are good performers. I purchased them from Green Witch who are not around anymore. Not sure if anyone else stocks them. Also I believe the Baader filters are worth considering as well alongside the ones you mentioned. Edit: Should mention mine are not for sale. just recommending other brands to consider.
  10. Still just like new, though the engraved serial plate has faded a little, but otherwise still like day one.
  11. Yep still have it. It is a great mount. No other Alt Az out there I can find which matches it’s capabilities.
  12. A finder is pretty integral to my star hopping and quite frankly I was getting fed up with the mediocre optics found in pretty much all 50mm finders. My Takahashi 30mm however is superb. Fancing a bit more of that action I placed an order for this. Yes it is expensive (cost more than my first scope bought 25 years ago) but a quick peak at the moon this evening tells me it is a fab piece of kit.
  13. Wow they don’t sell many of those! I bought mine in 2013 with my APM LZOS 180mm triplet and the serial number is 0708. So 10 in about 6 years.
  14. I have purchased from TrueTek Astro (previously known as True Technology so Mods please aggregate with that thread) and always found Nick very helpful and knowledgeable about Takahashi equipment. This time was no different. i decided I was tired of mediocre finders and believing the Tak 6x30 finder to be the best I have ever used, I felt the 50mm would be the same. Prices at the moment are around £315 on the internet but without prompting Nick offered it at £299 including shipping. He was expecting a new delivery within a week so I paid and he shipped out as soon as it arrived and it was delivered this morning. Just took a quick look at the Moon, it is very good! Nice easy transaction as it should be.
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