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Posts posted by AndyWB

  1. All of the above ment I didn't manage to see much else, had a go at locating m51, m57, m81 and m82 with no luck

    So pretty disappointed really. . Hoping for better luck next time

    Stick with it - I still find M51 oddly hard to locate, M57 is tricky the first few times 'cos it's so small, and M81 and M82 aren't exactly easy to navigate to either.

    M31 - much comes down to how dark it is; if sufficiently dark it will fill your lowest power eyepiece from side to side. Last night, from a light polluted location - well, it was a bit pathetic really.

    Regarding the RACI - my Skywatcher one comes with 2 screws and one sprung-loaded screw, so it should always be tight. I've found with it that the position of your eye over the eyepiece is critical - moving it makes the crosshairs appear to move. However, it's close enough to get things in the field of view of the eyepiece.

    Finally, if you like Albireo, try Almach (Gamma AND); I saw it for the first time last night, and I think I prefer it!

    • Like 1

  2. For maximum aperture and portability (under 50 cm when dew shield is retracted), here's another option.

    That's an interesting option, thanks, and interesting to hear about the tripod issues. I did wonder how well that would work - I've no experience on my part, so again, the forums win through!

    Andy, I had a pretty similar wish list when I decided a few weeks ago that it was time to get back in to astronomy. I initially thought the 70mm starwave was the way to go but I eventually settled on a SW Equinox 80ED that came up for sale second hand. The case is well within even most restrictive airline hand luggage dimensions and will fit the scope, 2" diagonal and 3x 2" EPs comfortably inside.

    The biggest sticking point was the mount and eventually I settled on an AZ4. I plan to take the AZ4 head in the hand luggage and just have the ali tripod in the hold bags so it doesn't add too much weight. It seemed to me the best compromise between aperture, weight and portability although I must admit I've yet to actually try it yet!

    Yeah, I'd wondered about carrying the AZ4 that way too - or even just dismantle, wrap in bubble wrap, and put the in the hold. That head is a solid lump, and I really like the AZ4. It's the tripod itself I think I'd worry about more - I've the aluminium legged one.

    Not too worried about the holiday security, and the thoughts here are really about two specific things; 1) I'd like to explore the southern hemisphere a bit, and 2) the 2017 total eclipse in the USA. Both would be holidays about the astronomy. If I'd a family, yeah, that'd be different.

    Worth consideration? Absolutely, what do I know about scopes with glass in 'em, and once again the  forum's knowledge comes to help. John's thoughts on aperture tickle one of my fears, but Olly's comment on wide field of view is kinda what I think one of the advantages would be. 

    The other part of it is just having something more or less keep in the car. I've been away with work a few times recently and had moments of 'That's a lovely moon. It's a shame Premier Inn don't have scopes'.

    Definitely worth a ponder, and I'll have another look at the dimensions of an ED80 (thought that they were bigger) and that TS ED 90 looks interesting too.

  3. Right, the only way I'll deal with this itch for a refractor is to run with it, and something smaller and more portable would be good. I don't get on with bins that well, either, without a tripod...

    So, I'm wondering if anyone has any recommendations? To give you an idea, I've been thinking along the lines of:

    • William's Optics ZenithStar 71
    • Altair Astro Starwave 70

    Basically, I'm thinking small enough for a flight case/overhead compartment, and possible camera tripod mounting (though the usual mount would be an AZ4). Oh and I'd prefer a 2" diagonal; it seems to me that such a scope would make a nice wide field instrument. 

    Use would be visual, but some day I guess I might try imaging. (On that note, it it worth getting a field flattener with the scope - I notice the WO is available as a bundle - or is that something worth keeping until later?)

    Anybody got any thoughts, or any other suggestions?

  4. I won (!) a 10mm Hyperion - but in both my f/5 and f/4.7 scopes, it is not good. It shows a lot of coma. I actually tried all of the 5/10/17 and 24mm ones, and none of them were as good as the much cheaper eyepieces I already had. I'd recommend avoiding in a scope of that speed.

    In my little solar scope, which is f/12 ish, they were fine - a nice eyepiece actually. 

    I find the eyepieces branded "BST Starguiders" over here in the UK much more acceptable, and much cheaper. (I'm not sure what they're branded as in the US of A, but I think they're available). I've also got a Maxvision 28mm, which is also a 68 degree eyepiece, but works fairly well in my f/4.7 dob. I'm not sure how available those are in the US, but if you can lay your mitts on them, I'd choose them over the hyperion any day.

  5. I have a BST 5mm that gives x240 with my 10" scope. It does get used - but rarely, and mostly for splitting doubles. I've also got a 6mm Vixen SLV which is used a lot more; it's pretty much my prime planetary eyepiece.

    I did do a bit of a shoot-out of the two of them on the moon once; I felt that the 5mm showed smaller craters, but that the 6mm actually felt sharper, more contrasty. Normally, I think the SLV outperforms the BST, but not always.

    I would suggest trying to get a 6mm, and only go for a 5mm if you're still hankering after more power later.

  6. The 8" Skyliner has a focal ratio f/5.91 and the 10" f/4.7. It says ""fast" objectives, those with low f/ratios, are harder to manufacture well, and thus they tend to make fuzzier images unless you've paid a premium for top-quality optics". Would these telescopes be considered premium optics under this situation?

    I don't think it's really as much a question of the telescope optics quality as that a fast scope will show up any weaknesses in an eyepiece much more. A really expensive fast scope will still show up weaknesses in the eyepieces much more too. And it's not just about cost. I use BST Starguiders in my f4.8 10" scope, and they're fine. A much more expensive (and in some ways much better) Baader Hyperion - doesn't work well at all. This is just that they're difference designs, I guess.

    (EDIT: Well, I think the BSTs are fine, but some people seem more picky about small amounts of aberations like coma than others. I'm on the 'less bothered' end of the spectrum)

    A 10" will be better than an 8", provided that the eyepieces aren't too hammered by the focal ratio. The 8" is much more tolerant, though. Either works well, though I think the 8" probably offers better 'bang for buck'. With either, though, aperture is secondary to getting your scope out under dark skies! My 5" in the country beats my 10" in town for deep space objects.

    • Like 1

  7.  I saw Andromeda the other night with a full moon for the first time, it was just a smudge. So I want to see it again on a new moon and again with, hopefully, the right scope. Then work through the Messiers. That's my current medium term plan really, I get out when I can but not for long so it should take me a while.


    Fortunately, I have passed through that stage already and come out on the other side. I have realistic expectations, I think. I enjoyed looking at Andromeda smudge above, just knowing what it actually looks like. I have the book "Turn left at Orion" that I think gives me a good idea of what to expect too. 

    For the Andromeda Galaxy, you might well find your binoculars a good bet. It's BIG, and the field of view of the binos is probably useful. Also, as you realise, it's worth trying on a dark night. If you can see it naked eye, it's going to look spectacular through bins or a low power scope.

    (Yes, it looks good through a big scope too - you just can't find it all in the field of view, though).

    I'd suggest that an 8" or 10" dob could last a lifetime as a visual scope, providing you can store/transport one (they're pretty big). Later, if you're looking at astrophotography, well, then refractors seem to really be in their element. Don't underestimate them on planets, too - that aperture gives resolution too. My 10" gives lovely views of Jupiter and Saturn - though yes, there is a lot of nudging.

    All that said, I'm considering getting a small refractor - simply for portability in a 'shove in the car just in case' kind of way.

    • Like 1

  8. Okay, so this may be a bit weird, but I keep finding myself looking a small refractors, and then wondering why? I was wondering if someone could help me with this curious phenomenon? Is it just a case of shiny kit syndrome? Am I alone in this?

    Currently I have a 10" dob for big nights out in the country, and a littler 5" dob for scuttling out the back of the flats with. I've got a wee Lunt 35 too, which does a nice job for solar. So why the heck do I keep looking at dinky refractors? The 5" will still beat small refractors for DSOs, and having looked through a few white-light solar scopes... I prefer the H-alpha of the Lunt.

    Yet I keep looking at things like the WO Zenithstar 71, or the Altair Starwave 70ED. I don't do astrophotography (though, eventually, one day I may). I don't have an EQ mount. I don't have anything against mirrors, so what gives?

    I actually managed to have a look through a Zenithstar 71 at a star party recently, too. Naturally, my dob was beating it on the detail it was showing in Andromeda (no dark lanes in the 71mm) - but it did seem ... crisp. I kinda got what people meant when they say refractors punch above their weight.

    The main reasons I can think of are that:

    • it'd potentially be airline portable, if I stuck to the 60-70mm f/6 kinda range.
    • a wee refractor like that with a 2" diagonal and a nice low-power eyepiece would have a fantastic field of view. 
    • it wouldn't have to cool for scuttling outside
    • there's a space in my flight case alongside the Lunt, and it looks lonely.

    None of that seems adequate justification for scope number four - so can anyone help me with what the hell I'm thinking? Or do I just have a problem?

    • Like 1

  9. I then turned to M42 which is one of the brightest and was rewarded with a slight haze around the center cluster of stars.

    Much depends on conditions. How transparent was the sky? Any light pollution, including that darned Moon? Was it even faintly approaching dawn, or still dusk?

    With the same telescope (my 10") and the same eyepiece, looking at M42 I've seen it as both a hazy arc with the 4 stars of the Trapezium, and I've seen it as a huge, mind-numbing, billowing cloud of stuff, with dark lanes in it, and the glow of the Running Man nebula (NGC 1973/5/7) nearby. The only things that could've changed were 1) my dark adaptation, and 2) the sky I was looking through.

    Keep trying! Oh, and one thought - could looking at Jupiter be ruining your dark adaptation?

  10. Good point, happy-kat. It would definitely be a social thing between the 4 of us. No tripod, but a sturdy garden bench. Though I know plenty about astrophysics, I'm definitely a novice with astronomy (i.e. is a x2 barlow an important bit of kit?) 

    No, not really. It'd be useful for planets - I find a 5mm eyepiece is about the maximum power useful for my 130p (That would match a 10mm with a x2 barlow) - but we're going to have a few months waiting on Jupiter coming around, and not much planetary to look at until then. I wouldn't worry about that too much - stick with the 10mm and 25mm it comes with, and enjoy the wide fields of view of the Andromeda Galaxy, etc.. In my opinion, magnification is usually overrated; what you want is aperture for light gathering and resolution...

    I really like my wee 130p. You can fit it to a tripod - I have an AZ4 that I use sometimes - but the tripod cost more than the scope did originally. It's good bang for buck.

  11. (am I seriously considering a second scope before I've bought my first???!!!)

    I did - that's why I went for the Heritage 130p, and I've now got a 250px as well. You can't get away from the fact that the tubes for a 200mm plus scope is going to be fairly large, and that makes it hard to scuttle outside with it. I reckon the 130p sees more nights out, even now, though the 250px probably sees more time out.

    Anyway, I got it 'cos it was cheap, would get me started, and give me a feel for what I wanted in the next scope.

  12. For what it's worth, I found this at the beginning of August in my 250px, and had the same experience as Olly - I didn't realise its size. Having just viewed the Saturn Nebula, I was expecting something like that. When I realised my mistake I swapped to my widest field eyepiece, added an Oiii filter, and it popped right out.

    I really liked it. 

    • Like 1
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