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Planetesimal

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Planetesimal last won the day on February 4 2013

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About Planetesimal

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    Star Forming

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    Wotton-under-Edge
  1. When I first got my Telrad I thought it was faulty because the reticule was blurry (looked like 2 sets of overlapping circles), however taking a photo of the circles showed this to be related to stereo vision and not a real fault (the image of the reticule in the photo was pin sharp). I discovered that the blurry image resolves to pin sharp in use, because you're looking through the bullseye, not at it, so you're eyes relax to infinity. I'd wait until you have a chance to try it out in the field before selling it on.
  2. From a quick search of reviews some say a little backlash around the north pin is inherent to the design, which was my own first impression, but others say there's no backlash at all... I think I'll wait 'til I've had the chance to use it, to see if it bothers me or not! Good idea about using a longer dovetail plate John, that should solve the balancing issue. Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  3. Post below re-jigged from buried in a previous thread... I've bought a new AZ4 (with the steel legs) from FLO, which arrived within 2 days of placing the order (impressive service given the time of year!). I haven't had a chance to use it yet given the state of the weather over the last few days, but I did set it up with the TAL on board to check everything is in place and working properly... So far so good - I'm really pleased that the steel legs look so sturdy compared to the EQ3-2's aluminium square-style legs. With the caveat that I've not used it yet, here are my initial observations and questions: - it seems like the design of the mount has an inherent level of backlash built in to the azimuth movement, as the north pin on the tripod that locks into the mount is smaller than the slot it goes into, which means when you reverse direction of panning there's a slip of a few degrees. It's probably not significant since it's only for observing but it would be good to know if this is definitely something that is inherent or if there's anything I can do to firm this up...? - when loosened up, the vertical axis balance tends to tip towards the EP end with the Telrad, 9x50 RACI and BST plus diagonal attached, even with the scope pushed as far as possible forward along the tube rings, but I don't think this will really be an issue when everything's tightened up. All in all, I'm excited to try out the AZ-4 / TAL combo under the stars (although it's currently wrapped up and shoved under the tree until the Big Ho Ho Ho! ).
  4. Thanks for all the great detailed info! I've gone and bought a new AZ4 (with the steel legs) from FLO, which arrived this morning (impressive service given the time of year!). I haven't had a chance to use it yet given the state of the sky this evening, but I did set it up with the TAL on board to check everything is in place and working properly - thanks for the link to the manual by the way Qualia, that was really useful as there was no manual in the box... So far so good - I'm really pleased that the steel legs look like they mean business (having been used to the EQ3-2's aluminium square-style legs). The only potential issues I've spotted so far are: - it seems like the design of the mount has an inherent level of backlash built in to the azimuth movement, as the pin on the tripod that locks into the mount is smaller than the slot it goes into, which means when you start to pan there's a bit of a slip - it would be good to know if this is definitely something that is inherent or if there's anything I can do to firm this up...? - thumb screw (nearest the objective) attaching the tube rings to the dovetail plate blocks the alt from reaching zero degrees (but it gets to about 10 degrees which will be fine in almost all cases!). - when loosened up, the vertical axis balance tends to tip towards the EP end with the Telrad, 9x50 RACI and BST plus diagonal attached, even with the scope pushed as far as possible forward along the tube rings, but I don't think this will really be an issue when all tightened up. All in all, I'm excited to try it out under the stars (although it will be wrapped up and shoved under the tree until the Big Ho Ho Ho! ).
  5. Hi JB80, i had exactly the same problem, having left my 150PL in stasis over the summer months the OTA was riddled with cobwebs! I used the narrow plastic attachment on the Dyson to extract them, being very careful not to touch either of the mirrors - this actually required moving the floppy vacuum hose between "quadrants" of the spider veins to get access to each side of the mirror, with the OTA lying just slightly above horizontal so I could effectively feed the hose far enough down the tube to reach the webs. It works but you need to be careful! I'm sure you'd need a lot of webs to degrade the image but still if you can get them out without touching the mirrors why not?!
  6. Thanks nightfisher! Maybe I'll try the AZ4 for a while without a pillar and see how I get on.
  7. I'm planning a radical revision of my observing set-up... The most significant change will be the 150PL on tripod to be replaced with a 250PX dob-mounted system (darn aperture-fever). I've no intention of replacing the TAL (as if!), so I can either carry on using my EQ3-2, or potentially move to AZ-4 with extension pillar combo, increased stability being the motivation. I'm going to need the extension pillar in either case to avoid frac-induced zenith contortions... My question is: Would an AZ-4 be a more stable mount for the TAL than an EQ3-2? Thanks!
  8. M33 was one of the first DSOs I spotted from the patio. I was looking at it again last night with the bins and then the TAL - easy from the back garden. M101 eluded me for ages though, but I managed to see it once back in January. My current nemesis is M74 - I just can't see the little blighter! I actually got a bit down-hearted last spring with the Virgo galaxies as well - there are just so many of them I could never be sure which ones I'd seen so in the end I gave up. I still haven't fully recovered my enthusiasm for DSOs after that experience! Also, moving away from DSOs - Uranus has been in roughly the same position for years but I still can't tell wether I've seen it or not...
  9. I love my TAL - great for contrast on Jupiter, and nice round, non-spiky stars when you want to split those tight doubles. My ideal observing set-up would be 4" frac for planets etc. and a 10" dob for the grey fuzzies...
  10. Hi Giltbrook - welcome to SGL... You mentioned in your OP that you noticed this star when looking out a window. Did you set up your scope / camera inside, pointing out a window? If so, that would explain the image somewhat...
  11. This image that Astronymonkey posted yesterday evening during perihelion is really wonderful - I'm certain that's Ison and the sun looks majestic and awesome next to it. On this scale Ison is a dot as big as the Earth, which is amazing considering it's only about 2 km in diameter at most. And in those blue C3 images post perihelion, bearing in mind the Sun is the size of the small white circle within the larger black occulting disc, Ison's glow has increased to almost the size of the Sun itself! How is it possible for it to have enough material to create such a glow given its tiny size?I showed a colleague this image today at work and he was astounded. He said he'd never seen the Sun like that - he'd never realised just how beautiful a star really is. Whatever happens to this comet now, there's no doubt it's been inspiring!
  12. I spotted Lovejoy with the bins in the evening at about 7 p.m on Nov 22nd and 23rd, no bother. Certainly as bright as M13 which is a little way to the west (and not dissimilar in appearance). Also a shedload of bright speedy dots hurtling along what I can only assume is the satellite superhighway, tracking from the west through the general region just below the plough. Never noticed that through my scopes - must be the wider fov!
  13. Great advice by all above, thanks! - I got back to TH and they were very helpful indeed. Even though I'd bought the bins through Amazon they sent a courier to my address to pick up the faulty pair and deliver new ones, which had clearly been extra-carefully wrapped and proved to be perfectly collimated. It worked out well because it gave time for my metal L-bracket to arrive... Now if only I had the strength of character to get up early enough to train them on some of these comets...
  14. By the way if you're interested to know the level of detail visible on Jupiter when using the 150PL, I've seen (with the 8mm BST) all 4 prominent bands, festoons, the GRS, and also the shadows of the moons tracking across the planet's atmosphere as they transit, so you're in for some great treats this winter! But it does take time at the eyepiece (and unusually good atmospheric conditions) for the higher level of detail to become apparent...
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