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DirkSteele

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Everything posted by DirkSteele

  1. Nicolas Louis de Lacaille decided to break up the ancient constellation in 1763 due to its massive size (25% larger by area than Hydra) into Carina, Puppis and Vela. But he can kiss my bum. Argo Navis until I die! My first night on Benguerra Island in Mozambique saw me explore the wondrous DSOs this region of the sky holds. It is an area every amateur astronomer should see at least once. Such a shame it does not rise above the horizon from the UK. The observing report is on the link below. Feedback always appreciated, and as is often the case with my reports, quite a long one. So grab a coffee before you start. http://alpha-lyrae.co.uk/2019/08/17/exploring-argo-navis-on-benguerra-island/ The Carina region of the Milky Way taken in front of our villa where I did most of my stargazing.
  2. I have been fortunate to observe under both Bortle 1 and Bortle 2 skies many times. While near the zenith there is usually little to separate them, I have found that conditions can deviate (but not always) the closer you get to the horizon. I have certainly been under class 2 where small light domes from distant settlements are visible, but under class 1, at least the ones I have observed from, it is that dark all the way to the horizon.
  3. I really think they are well above the standard finders you quote. I use the 30mm and I am not exaggerating when I say it shows as much, if not more than the typical 50mm finders in my collection (Meade, Celestron, TS etc). I have also used the 50mm, and was also very impressed. I am actually considering buying a 50mm Tak finder to use with my larger scopes, but I star hop a lot and a bright, clear image is valuable to me. But they are expensive for sure.
  4. I just use the Tak finder, as unhelpful as that is. They are amazing. If I bought a scope of that aperture and optics were that good, I would be a satisfied purchaser.
  5. Just recently finished my second year undergraduate physics degree and a few of us from the uni Astronomy club took a ferry from Portsmouth to Le Harve which was in totality. We arrived that morning. Was cloudy at first contact but completely cleared 10-15 mins as I recall before totality and stayed clear for a while after. Then we killed the rest of the day before getting the ferry back overnight. It was delayed on departure by an hour as the tide was so high the ramps would not reach the boat!
  6. Ok, I won't tell you to buy Naglers.. Buy Ethos instead!!
  7. The only way to access to the rear lens would be to remove this lens assembly from the tube completely. This is not something I would undertake lightly. I am unfamiliar with the Espirit lenses so I am now sure how they attach. I have had to remove one of the triplets of my LZOS scope before, but that is actually quite simple as it simply unscrews from a housing that acts as the bridge between the lens and the tube. That bridge has the push / pull screws which are used to collimate the scope. Fortunately upon reattachment, the scope remained perfectly collimated. So the question would be, are you confident to remove the lens, clean the rear (there are guides on line on how to clean), and then reattach and possibly need to recollimate the scope? If not, how bad are those spots? If they small and not too numerous, they likely will have limited impact on performance. Front surface lenses get lots of crud on them over time, and the advice is to rarely clean, if ever, as it won't impact performance much, but you could damage a lens far more (I did this once a while back). The alternative, if you are concerned, or think it is impacting performance, is to source an optician who can do the work for you. You could speak to the dealer that sold the scope to see if they can recommend someone.
  8. Do you mean the water spots are on the rear surface of the lens? i.e the side facing the focuser? If so, there is no quick easy solution for that. Can you post some photos focused on the spots so we can see how bad they are?
  9. It is critical to air dry the scope. If you believe you have some condensation inside the OTA, then desiccated silica is your friend. Something like this which can be inserted into the eyepiece end of the scope will help: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dew-prevention/flo-125-2-inch-desiccant-cap.html I would bring the scope in from the garage if you can and allow it dry thoroughly over several days. If you believe moisture has penetrated the mount you could open up the electrical housing so it can breath. However, scopes / mounts are somewhat designed to operate in damp conditions given the difficulties we all experience with dew (don't throw it in a swimming pool though! ) and all should be OK once dried out.
  10. Seriously! Can you imagine? I told the management to install a telescope. Their lodge in Namibia has a 12” LX200 so they do know about astronomy. I did a lot while I was there. Probably have another three write ups to do based on my observing log.
  11. My signature would indicate that I am fairly well placed to speak about them given I own four of them, being the 105mm f/6.2, the 115mm f/7, the 130mm f/9.25 and the 180mm f/7. If we are speaking about the scopes with LZOS lenses (from Russia), then the quality of the scopes is as good as anything you can buy from any of the premium manufacturers such as TEC, Takahashi or AstroPhysics Inc. The build quality is great and they use Feathertouch focusers which are as good as it gets. I have not really had any experience with their non-LZOS scopes but I imagine they are also very good.
  12. Thanks. I think the experience of star hopping for almost 30 years came into its own on this session, which gave me the time to actually stop and study each cluster rather than rushing to the next. But if I am honest, this might be the most successful star hops I have done in a long time, with very few missed targets and random searches. It was almost as if the stars aligned....
  13. Armed with only a 3" scope, but under a Bortle Class 2 sky (limiting magnitude of +7) on Benguerra Island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Mozambique, I attempted to observe every globular in Ophiuchus, which is second only to Sagittarius in number of GCs, in a single session while on holiday in July. Observing report is on the link below. It is quite a long one so you might want your favourite beverage while you read whether I was successful or not. http://alpha-lyrae.co.uk/2019/08/04/observing-every-globular-cluster-in-ophiuchus-in-a-single-session/ Three inch aperture is not that much, but when the zodiacal light is this bright only 80 minutes after sunset, you might have a chance.... Feedback always appreciated.
  14. If you intend to transport the fragile optical components in the hold of an aircraft, I would think nothing less than a Peli case would do (or similar other brand offering). I would still be a bit nervous about doing that as they are called baggage "throwers" for a reason. I have taken a Peli 1510 in the cabin for long haul no trouble with a 4" refractor in it. Tripod and mount can go in the hold. Plus a Pelican case is a potential theft target as it is clearly holding something more valuable than clothes. Can I assume you are taking the 130PDS? Perhaps if you dont think you can take the whole scope in the cabin, you could remove the primary mirror and take that as carry on to keep it safe and just install and collimate at your destination?
  15. I think it is quite popular in Japan (hence why Taks come with so many extension tubes!). I rarely do it as it is not super comfortable, but I have been known to pull out the diagonal if I am going for something super tough (usual a double split) and want as little junk between me and the wavefront coming in.
  16. The most amazing Google Doodle I have ever seen to mark the Apollo 11 lunar landing. Includes a wonderful 4 minute narration from Michael Collins. Definitely worth a watch.
  17. The &Beyond lodge on Benguerra Island in Mozambique. Latitude is -22 so Saturn crosses the Meridian at the Zenith. Light pollution maps classify as a Bortle 2 sky but it is only just missing being a class 1 by 0.01 (21.99 va 22) on the SQM reading. So it is rather good for a spot of astronomy.
  18. This is the kind of view one could get used to after a long stargazing session that concluded with a sunrise. More DSOs than I can count, plenty of bright meteors with persistent trails, and even grabbed M42 which is rather early in the season. That bright star in the top right is Rigel.
  19. Pleased to report a split with my Tak FC-76 at 90x, which just revealed the tiny grey-green secondary. Seeing was exceptional and Antares was at about 75-80 degree altitude. Which clearly helped a lot... However, a second attempt a few days later ended in failure. Better transparency but poor seeing and I could not see the secondary even at almost 200x, with the primary dancing all around. Was a night for DSOs.
  20. Michael Collins followed me on  Instagram last night.  Cannot think of many social media followers I would rather  have.

    1. bottletopburly

      bottletopburly

      Who is Michael Collins? 

    2. DirkSteele

      DirkSteele

      The lunar orbiter pilot for the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.

  21. I would not fixate too much on the transmission. Given the glass path length (glass absorbs light as it passes through) in the WX and the number of air to glass surfaces, it was unavoidable that transmission would be in the 80s. From what I have read of performance, no one has complained about image brightness. I would love to try them but given they weigh so much, I am not sure they would be for me as they defeat what I see as the primary advantage of bins, that they are truly grab and go in a way no telescope can be. They certainly feel like an exercise of “because we could” rather than “whether we should” but that does not make the achievement any less amazing.
  22. I know it is a bit of a cheat but I am heading down to an island off the coast of Mozambique so I will have a crack when I am down there. My defense is I will only have a 3" aperture to assist me. Trying to recall if I have ever even attempted it in the UK.
  23. Pulcherrima translates more or less as "most beautiful" and is reportedly what Struve said when he split Izar for the first time. Definitely an appropriate turn of phrase for a wonderful double star.
  24. I am pretty sure when I joined SGL back in 2012 there would have been two scopes in my signature with one more on its way. And that speaks nothing of the new mounts and EPs since then.
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