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GavStar last won the day on October 1

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About GavStar

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  1. I would add that there is now a ‘prime’ night vision option for European astronomers, which wasn’t available when Alan and I got our night vision monoculars. Please see this thread:
  2. I’d call it real time visual observing since the experience feels just like using a normal glass eyepiece, but in essence yes. And no wires, computer screens etc which is also a key advantage for me.
  3. Not sure I’d call nv a one trick pony Peter...there’s loads of targets it’s great for (unlike a solar telescope). And of course you can go out looking for badgers at nighttime if it’s cloudy
  4. Its the pvs-14 as per this link https://actinblack.com/product/pvs14/ If you click the buy button it shows various different tube options. I have the Harder gen 3 white phosphor fom 2400 and also a photonis 4g white phosphor. The French company also sells Harder and photonis tubes - these are the two key European manufacturers of night vision tubes.
  5. PeterW’s nv device was secondhand and was around £2k I think. I’ve looked through his a good few times and been impressed by it. That’s the basis for my comparison for these secondhand offerings. As Peter has mentioned previously these monoculars are designed for military use and so are very robust. Peter has had his for several years with no issues at all. Mine were bought new and were significantly more expensive but I’ve done a side by side with Peter’s and his are pretty good! Mine have manual gain and white rather than green phosphor and have better light amplification and detail but the difference is not that significant. I accept the cost even secondhand means nv is not possible for many, but there are still a good number on this site that have pricey scopes, eyepieces, solar scopes etc for which nv (particularly with this new offering from France) may be of interest. And yes getting to a really dark site is great with normal glass eyepieces (and it’s great for nv as well as I experienced when I took my nv up Teide in Tenerife recently) But many people also struggle to get to dark sites and nv is a real benefit at very lp places as well. I had a lovely observing session on Wednesday from my sqm 18 back garden in London. Great to see heart, soul, helix, pac-man, m33, veil, North America and Crescent very nicely even with the bad skies.
  6. No wires with nv John . But I understand your preference.
  7. I have a case of Televue eyepieces and an nv monocular, so I don’t think it’s a brave statement, just my opinion from quite a bit of actual experience. And as John says, since nv doesn’t work on lunar and planets, it’s an additional tool rather than a replacement for glass eyepieces. however, I would say that 100 percent of my deep sky visual observing is done with nv now - I find it clearly better on nebulae, globs, galaxies and planetary nebulae. My point really is that I acquired a fair few Televue eyepieces - too many really and I think it’s a better approach to have a smaller selection of glass eyepieces and nv rather than a larger selection of glass eyepieces. If you’ve got several eyepieces I think it’s worth considering streamlining them and putting the proceeds in an nv monocular.
  8. Yes these nv monoculars are expensive but imo one night vision monocular at 2k euros is better value than a case of Televue green and black.
  9. A french company has just launched a night vision monocular specifically for astronomer users. Link attached. https://oculaire-vision-nocturne.jimdo.com/english/shop/ In addition to the usual (expensive) European nv tubes, they also offer second hand military surplus gen 3 night vision tubes from 2000 euros. Still not cheap but maybe this means night vision astronomy is more accessible for Europeans now.
  10. I don’t understand the ‘designed to fit in carry on luggage’ comment. The link indicates that with the dew shield retracted and accessories removed the length of the DZ is 595mm, which is significantly longer than the maximum 560mm allowed as hand luggage on virtually all aircraft now. Plus you would want the scope to be kept in a suitably padded bag so I find for travel scopes I need a length of 500mm or so maximum.
  11. Robert, Here’s some comparison Pac-Man shots (85mm Tak, 130mm AP and the 16 inch dob) A comparison with the Veil (Tak 85, tv85, c11, 16 inch dob) A crescent comparison (Tak 85, c11, 16 dob)
  12. Robert, I used my 95mm Baader refractor. Since I was also taking my 60mm lunt in hand luggage that was enough for me to South America!
  13. It’s this one: https://actinblack.com/pvs-14/
  14. My favourite scope to use with my night vision monoculars is I think my C11 which has given me some fantastic views with a 0.75x reducer and 55mm plossl (effective system speed f3.3). However, I had a dose of aperture fever last year and ordered a 16 inch goto dob manufactured by sky vision in France. It turned up late last year and as it was my first dob I was a bit shocked by the size and bulk of it. I had a couple of goes with it but struggled with the coma corrector spacing (I had the Es one) and was a bit disappointed with the nv views it gave since the edge stars were not great. The scope got mothballed for a few months. Then events happened which enabled me to take it to my dark sky site for further testing. I purchased a Televue paracorr which increases the f ratio of the scope a little but enabled me to be more confident about getting the coma corrector working properly. I set the scope up carefully following the paracorr instructions and with an ethos in non nv mode the views looked good across the field of view. However once I moved to the nv monoculars and 41mm panoptic the star shapes at the edge weren’t great. I was disappointed. I checked the paracorr instructions and I’d done everything right. I checked the collimation again and it was a bit out. After adjusting and redoing collimation twice I eventually got decent stars with the panoptic. Are nv monoculars more sensitive to non-accurate collimation than normal glass eyepieces?? I think using the night vision monoculars in afocal mode with an eyepiece does impact the edge of the fov to some extent. Anyway after a few hitches with the goto setup I eventually got everything working well. By this time it was getting very late so I only managed a few objects in Cygnus. But they looked rather nice - a step up in resolution to my c11 phone images I think and the visual views are also noticeably better. Here are phone images of the Pac-man, eastern veil and crescent nebula. I’m now looking forward to using this scope again despite it taking materially longer for me to setup compared to the c11.
  15. In July I went on a 8 day trip to Argentina and Chile to see the recent total solar eclipse with my dad. The eclipse was awesome with fantastic blue skies from our viewing location in Bella Vista in Argentina. Here’s a phone shot I did of the eclipse. However, this post is not about the eclipse. I’ve never observed the Southern Hemisphere night skies with a scope before, so I couldn’t resist also taking my 95mm Baader refractor with me. Coming from Europe my pvs-14 is also itar-free so I also took along my Photonis 4g intens with me. Unfortunately due to the trip scheduling, there was only one night I was able to observe which was the night of the actual eclipse itself - this turned into quite a long day! The skies were very dark at this pretty remote location in Argentina but unfortunately the hotel lights were quite bright bringing the sqm reading down to around 21. Initially I just scanned with Milky Way at 1x with the nv, both unfiltered and with my 5nm ha chroma filter. The Milky Way was just stunning unfiltered, with the heart of our galaxy directly overhead. The detail and contrast of the dark lanes with the white fluffy bits was something to behold. By a large margin the best views I’ve ever had of the MW. I also scanned with the ha filter attached and a little surprisingly for me, there wasn’t massive amounts of emission nebulae visible in the south. But what there was did rather stand out (in particular eta carinae, of which more later) as per this phone image I took at 1x mag. I then set up the 95mm Baader. I had limited time since it was getting late and I had to catch an early coach in the morning. Therefore I decided to focus on a couple of showcase objects. First up, using the 41mm panoptic, 0.75x reducer and 5nm chroma ha filter was eta carinae itself. The fov was around 3.5 degrees with a magnification of 10x. The object just fit into the fov but wow the view was just filled with nebulosity - one of my very best night vision views I’ve had, surpassing the vast majority of northern sky emission nebulae. Just above this was the so called ‘running chicken nebula’. Not as stunning or bright but still a lot of fun to observe. I searched around for the LMC or SMC but unfortunately they were too low in the sky and obscured by some trees. With it getting quite late, I went for my final showcase object, the Omega Centauri globular cluster. I decided to increase the magnification to 30x by using an 18.2mm delite (fov just over 1 degree). Even with the relatively low magnification, this globular looked incredible - like nothing else I have seen before. The eyepiece views were more impressive than the phone image since the core didn’t blow out. Coincidentally when I got home I stumbled upon an image I took of m13 using the exact same setup of 95mm Baader, 18.2 delite and nv monoculars. The side by side comparison (see final image of m13) did make me gasp - I didn’t realise that omega centauri was so much bigger than m13. Just shows what us northerners are missing... A great trip to see a fantastic total solar eclipse, topped off by a lovely few hours under the southern skies with nv. I don’t think I’m going to get another opportunity anytime soon but I certainly won’t forget the views I got.
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