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Nicola Fletcher

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Nicola Fletcher last won the day on December 3 2023

Nicola Fletcher had the most liked content!


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    Wicklow, Ireland

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  1. Thanks @AstroKeith! The price is very close to the new price - plus I have a voucher for FLO so I don’t think I’d save anything from new. I appreciate you letting me know!
  2. A very warm welcome and I hope you enjoy rediscovering the night sky!
  3. I love how, when I joined as an absolutely clueless - ahem - person, people were so helpful and I could tell that very experienced members were happy to take the time to answer my basic questions. Now, it's a friendly place to spend some time reading about lots of different astro goings on, and occasionally chipping in if I feel like I have something to contribute. There's almost no backbiting or snide comments, and they are not tolerated anyway. SGLers are also amazing at helping to solve issues with kit or observing etc. I would have been lost several times when I couldn't get my new scope to come to focus or my new mount had a misaligned worm wheel or whatever you call it. Mostly, I feel like SGLers are people I would really get on with in person, and I very much enjoy our conversations!
  4. Thank you all very, very much for the replies. This is absolutely brilliant. I think I am pretty much sold on Ethos. I really like Televue and all of my other EPs (apart from the Baader zoom) are Naglers and Panoptics. @The60mmKid, interesting question about the zoom. I’ve definitely used it at 24mm and I think I still didn’t like it compared to the 22mm Nagler, but I haven’t compared it to any of the 1.25 higher power TVs that I have. I’ll do a proper comparison next time. I appreciate the very different focal lengths of the two scopes which will have different requirements. I’ll try to sort out the dob first. Thank you @Don Pensack for your advice - I’ll go for the 10mm and 6mm first, then treat the Mewlon to the 13mm! I KNEW this was going to be expensive!
  5. Hello all, I'm looking for a (relatively) high power, 2”, widefield EP for my 12” dob primarily, but also for my new Mewlon 180C. Given their relatively narrow field of view, I think Ethos would be my preferred EPs for this. For the dob, I mainly use a 22mm Nagler and a Baader 8-24mm Zoom. The scope is f/5 and I don’t use a Paracorr. I’m not overly impressed with the zoom in the dob - it’s fine in my refractors but the image seems grainy in the dob, and not as nice as the views with the Nagler which are wonderful. With the Mewlon, I’m planning on using a Baader 2” visual back, Baader 2” BBHS mirror diagonal, 22 Nagler and 41 Panoptic. To stay with 2” for both telescopes, I was deliberating between a 6, 8, 10 or 13mm Ethos. I could get a Powermate as well to maximise the value from one EP. I’d really appreciate your advice on which to go for!
  6. I suppose I’ve just done that (maybe), by buying a Mewlon 180C. I’m hoping for a semi-grab and go that is excellent on planets and bright DSOs. Those are my favourite targets. I know I’m cheating a bit here because I already have a mount and EPs…. Let’s see how close I am when the oceans of cloud eventually clear!
  7. Couldn’t agree more with @Mr Spock. I have the Altair Starwave 102 ED-R which is the same as the Starfield from FLO and also I believe TS optics offer the same scope. It’s superb, giving wonderful views, with solid construction and a great focuser that allows you to mount two finders at the same time. I won’t part with mine even though I have a Takahashi FC100 (and I also have a 12” dob which of course beats all of them but is much more of a pain to set up!). Mine goes on an AZ-EQ5 or, more commonly these days, on a Giro Ercole Mini with a counterweight, mounted on a Gitzo tripod for a superb grab and go option. Lack of slo-mo controls doesn’t bother me in the slightest.
  8. Welcome to this great hobby, and congratulations on your scope! It’s a very nice one - I had the opportunity to look through one at a star party last year and was very impressed. When I was starting out, people on this forum recommended the BST Starguider series of eyepieces as an excellent upgrade from those supplied with the telescope, at a price that wouldn’t break the bank. A link to their page on FLO’s website is https://www.firstlightoptics.com/bst-starguider-eyepieces.html. I love these eyepieces even though I now also have some of the more expensive ones. You could get one of the range of higher power eyepieces to start and see how you get on, such as the 6 or 8mm? Personally I don’t much use barlows but a 2x would double the magnification you would get with each eyepiece. Beware that the ‘seeing’, ie atmospheric turbulence, can affect your views of the planets, depending on the night. So if you don’t get a great view on any given night, that could be a reason why. I find that continued viewing of Jupiter (over say half an hour or an hour) can result in moments where it looks really clear and I can see lots of detail, and then periods of time where it looks a bit fuzzy. This can get worse as you try to use higher magnifications so don’t be tempted to use very high powers thinking it will give you a better view. Good luck!
  9. At last, the Mewlon has landed! I ordered it from Robtics.nl which had one in stock, and somehow the tracking with the delivery company went awry and the box was sitting in the rain outside my front door while the tracking insisted it was still in the warehouse in the Netherlands. Anyway, both the box and scope are absolutely fine - and it’s just as well packed as you would expect from Takahashi. It’s a beautiful looking scope and a perfect size. I’m really looking forward to first light with this. Thanks for the inspiration @JeremyS. As my other half said, ‘It only took 7 months for you to get bored with the last new scope!’
  10. What a lovely story Stu. I was lucky enough to experience the same as a child, when my parents moved to a house in the country (their friends thought they were nuts) and I’ll never forget the skies on clear nights. Whenever we used to come home after dark, we would all stand and look up. I remember visitors doing the same. The skies really were magnificent. Ive had an interest in the night skies all my life because of that, but I really got into astronomy after I got my first telescope. Since then it’s like an obsession, and I think my continued amazement at dark skies and the peace of sitting outside staring upwards, together with a hankering for the next wow moment, is my big draw to the hobby. I’m a bit of a nerd, and I like the precision and perfection that the hobby allows. I also absolutely love good equipment, and I enjoy collecting good scopes and eyepieces. There are multiple joys associated with this hobby and I can’t pin it down to one!
  11. @Mr Spock, I also chose this scope as it fits easily in the boot of my car. Last month, I drove it 5 hours to the Dark Sky Reserve in Kerry, looked at fog and cloud for 4 days and then drove it home again! But if you have the opportunity to take yours on holiday (I plan holidays around dark skies and new moon these days!) it would be wonderful.
  12. I know what you mean - when the moon is full here it’s so different - you can see right down through the fields which can be nice as wildlife is much more visible. I have never been overly interested in observing the moon before I got this scope, but I must say I’m getting very interested in it because the moon is so amazing through the dob. But moonless nights are fantastic - just standing looking up at the sky full of stars can be as good as using the scope (especially when I take a break from fruitlessly searching for an object!). And now that galaxies are not just little smudges of grey will make observing at this site even better.
  13. Thank you! The skies are still great, but they were even better when I was younger. I don’t know how anyone could have failed to be interested in the night sky If they saw the skies here about 20 years ago. I know I’m very lucky to live here and have such a great observing site. I imagine @Captain Scarlet’s sky is even better in Cork! I have never used a SQM Magnus, but the skies here, especially to the south, are so dark and full of stars at new moon (on the occasional evenings that the sky is clear)! Thats a good description of M42, it was 3D. I still can’t stop thinking about it and Bode’s galaxies.
  14. Last night had a pretty good forecast here in Wicklow, so I set up my 12” truss dob on my family farm, which has dark skies (Bortle 4, but I think only because of Dublin to the north). I’ve had the dob out a few times since I got it in December but this was its first proper session. It has a new shroud, from Shrouds by Heather, and I was also looking forward to trying out my new Astronomik UHC filter. The scope is very easy to set up and collimate using a laser collimator and the supplied tool that lets me collimate it from the eyepiece. It took me about 30 minutes to set up and collimate it. Here it is waiting for sunset: I really need to get a fancier surface to set it up on - an empty sheep feed bag has been serving me well so far! First up at about 7.30pm was Jupiter, looking really beautiful with quite a bit of detail in the equatorial belts. I moved on quite quickly as I was keen to try it on DSOs which I haven’t had much chance to do due to the presence of the moon every other time I have set it up. First up was M31, the Andromeda galaxy, with M32 and M110. They were so bright and M110 was a lovely sight in the same field of view as M31, with a very obvious core. M81 and M82 were unbelievable, far more beautiful and detailed than I imagined they would be, just fitting in the same field of view with a 22mm Nagler. It was difficult to move away from them, and they were my favourite objects of the night, but I was keen to see M42 so I eventually moved to it, initially without the filter and then with the UHC. Wow, what a sight it was! With the filter there was so much structure and detail, and for pure aesthetic appeal, I liked the unfiltered view. It was difficult to take it all in. I really must attempt to sketch it next time - I find M42 challenging to sketch. Lastly, I had a quick look at the double cluster in Perseus, but by this stage I was so cold I was starting to drop things so I packed up everything into the car for the short drive home. it was a very memorable night with this really nice telescope.
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