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GavStar

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Everything posted by GavStar

  1. Ships, I can’t comment on EAA but hopefully can give you some help on the night vision side. My personal preference is for nv rather than eaa since nv is live and ‘feels’ very similar to normal raw glass observing. However as you have noted it’s generally much more expensive than the entry eaa systems. It’s at the very top end of your budget but for 2000 euros you can get a monocular fitted with an ex-military night vision tube. Anything cheaper just won’t give decent results. You will also need an ha filter and possibly a long pass filter (although as you view at dark sites you can probably skip the long pass filter). For 2000 euros you will only get a green tube and won’t have gain control either (which is useful to ‘tune’ out the scintillation that you often get when using ha filters). This thread gives the link to the French company that sells the Ex-military European nv options (Europeans can’t buy the USA tubes due to itar laws). There are only 4 nv users on SGL to my knowledge (me, PeterW, Highburymark and Alanjgreen) but there’s a fair few posts on it over the past two years if you search for night vision.
  2. Yes in the country by the sea as PeterW said. When I took the phone shots the sqm was 20.8, it later improved to 21.2 but by then Orion was behind my house. Happy New Year Gerry! Hope it’s not too cold where you are.
  3. Indeed I did Peter and it was awesome. Photographic like.
  4. 3nm ha filter. Here’s a recent pic showing my night vision monoculars attached to my c11
  5. I was using a ha filter which works really well visually with my night vision monoculars
  6. I’ve finally got the hang of my 16 inch Skyvision goto dob (been a bit of a journey with some initial disappointment but now it’s working really well). A rare clear sky last night so I couldn’t resist seeing what the dob and night vision monoculars could do on the horse head. Here is a phone pic of the eyepiece views (the actual live view was virtually identical to this). The 55mm plossl does show astigmatism with my f4 dob but visually I don’t really notice. Quite intoxicating to observe... A great end to a very successful year of observing for me. PS I also looked at some showpiece galaxies towards the end. Whirlpool, Leo Triplet and m81/82.
  7. I observed this last night in my 16 inch dob with night vision monoculars. Attached is a phone pic through the eyepiece - the image scale is a bit small (I use a 55mm plossl which is the best eyepiece with the nv monoculars) but the tail was clearly visible
  8. Rob, The hotel turns the lights off around 11pm and suggested I setup behind the hotel on a section of patio. It seemed to be fine for me - Sqm 21.6 as measured from my sqm meter.
  9. 1) My first scope was a Celestron 6SE, purchased in 2012 after my childhood interest in astronomy had been rekindled after getting some binoculars for a Christmas present. 2) After that (and a fair bit of research on SGL) I soon (in early 2013) purchased a TV85 and got hooked on refractors. I still have the TV85. 3) The 6SE was soon exchanged for a skywatcher Equinox 120 but that got sold quickly once I got... 4) A Tak FC100DF in early 2014 when they were still a pretty unknown scope. I kept this lovely scope until just a few months ago when I sold it to a fellow Walton Austro club member in an effort to scale down the number of scopes I have. 5) Also in 2014 I got a Televue TV60 for an ultra portable option. This was sold a few years later since I wasn't very keen on the focused. 6) In 2016 I purchased some Kowa Highlander 85mm binoculars. I enjoyed using these, but after side by side comparison with the FC100DF and binoviewers I preferred the Tak and the Highlanders went pretty quickly. 7) Later in 2016, I purchased the newly launched Tak FC100DL to go alongside my DF. Being longer it was trickier to mount than the DF and the views were very similar so when I subsequently purchased some larger refractors the DF stayed and the DL went. 8 ) In late 2016, I got a bit of aperture fever and made a significant jump to a TEC 140 - a lovely scope, so good in fact that I later upgraded it to something even bigger... 9) In 2017 I got into solar observing and purchased first a lunt 35mm (still got it) 10) And then a lunt 60mm (also still got it but now with doublestack filter) 11) I understood that Astro-Physics scopes were effectively not obtainable new, but in May 2017, a random internet search brought up that an Italian dealer, Skypoint, had a brand new 130GTX in stock so I took the plunge with the idea that I would compare with the TEC and sell the one I was less keen on. The AP is still with me - a very impressive and surprisingly portable scope. 12) I sold my Tak FC100DL shortly after getting the AP 130GTX, and then saw an opportunity to purchase the CFF 160mm F6.5. Unfortunately this scope was a disappointment given the price, it was badly out of collimator on arrival, had a noticeable ding on the OTA under the dewshield and generally I wasn't happy with the build quality relative to my TEC and AP so it went back to the dealer immediately for a full refund. 13) After the disappointment with the CFF, I decided to stick with my preferred companies and upgraded my TEC140 to a TEC160FL in late 2017 - an amazing scope which I always enjoy using and luckily I have reached my limit in terms of size of refractor ... 14) After thinking I was finished for telescope purchases, I purchased some night vision monoculars which had a big impact in terms of my scope preferences. I wanted some 'portable' aperture and decided to take a risk and get a C11 in early 2018 (the first non refractor purchase since my very first scope in 2012). It provides great views of galaxies and smaller nebulae and remains a much used scope for me. 15) I then embarked on a mission to get very widefield views. First I got a TS Optics 72mm. 16) Followed by a little Altair 60mm (which has much better focuser my previous TV60 and gives just as good views). 17) And finishing with a 72mm Altair which is basically the same as the TS Optics 72mm but with better mechanicals (TS got sold as a result) 18) Back onto the Night Vision theme, I purchased my third reflector in October 2018 - a Tak Epsilon 130d. A nice scope which worked well with NV but in the end I preferred refractors for widefield NV use and so it got sold a few months ago. 19) I really like my tv85 as a travel scope but just wanted a bit more aperture for future trips to the Canary Islands. Although indicated as being unavailable, I called Baader and discovered that you can still order a Bader Travel Companion 95mm f5.9. Mine arrived in late 2018 after a 9 month wait. This is a beautiful scope and made me feel comfortable selling my Take FC100DF. 20) The success of the C11 and night vision combo had prompted a bad case of aperture fever, which resulted in the purchase of a SkyVision 16 inch go to DOB. The sheer size of this scope was a bit of a shock to me and initially I found it a disappoint. However, I've now got more used to it and it resides at my dark site so is more convenient to use. Hopefully to have some fun with this on galaxies and Orion in the new year. 21) Then to challenge the Baader 95mm to my preferred travel scope role, an Astro-Physics 92mm Stowaway arrived in late 2018 shortly after launch courtesy of the Italian dealer, Skypoint, again. 22) I am so pleased with my standard C11, I purchased a Edge C11 which has turned out to be more of the same, but better. 23) My most recent (and final?) purchase is a Tak FSQ85 to replace my Epsilon 130d as a portable Night vision scope. The fsq85 is petzval and so gives lovely sharp stars to the edge of the fov (where I do get some fc with my other smallish refractors). A pic of my refractors together (except the fsq85)
  10. Walton Astro Group had an impromptu meet up last night to celebrate the first clear skies here for weeks! Rather on the chilly side but great to do some observing with good friends. After a few hours the kit (and us) were pretty frosted up. Here’s a shot of my visual setup in action. A double night vision setup with a C11 Edge and Tak fsq85 on a Panther TTS-160 mount. The Tak gave widefield 5-6 degree views with the C11 used for closeups and smaller objects. Dew strips everywhere!
  11. Mark, Thank you for this review. As you know, I also had a 130d specifically for night vision for about a year. It’s a great scope for night vision from light polluted sites since the ultra fast effective speed with the 55mm plossl pulls out the nebulae very effectively with narrow ha filters. In the end, my refractor preference meant I replaced it with an fsq85 which does a similar sort of job with night vision monoculars but with imo slightly cleaner stars. (With a reducer and 55mm plossl I can get to f1.9, so nearly as fast as the Epsilon) I’d be very interested to read any reports you post on observing with this scope and night vision!
  12. It will be interesting to see how quickly they get sold John, several people on Cloudynights who were going to buy have passed, and I haven’t seen anyone confirming they are buying at that price. As you said, I think many of them will remain in their boxes unused as a collectors item. A bit of a shame.
  13. Vat and customs duty at around 25% offset the exchange rate difference so the difference is about £200. Still disappointing the difference is this much.
  14. Just had an email from widescreen centre. Uk price is £1400 to £1500 (300 available worldwide, not 500). Clearly just for collectors not for actual use...
  15. When I was about 10 years old reading my space books (I think Jupiter only had 13 moons then ), I remember being fascinated by the Crab Nebula. Imagining those Chinese astronomers seeing and documenting the supernova nearly a thousand years ago really made me think and kickstarted my interest in astronomy (along with the 9(!) planets and the 1999 solar eclipse which at the time seemed ages away) However, fast forward to 6 years ago when I got my first telescope, m1 was a big disappointment - it was a small faint smudge at best and as it was called m1 I was expecting much better. I recently read that it has expanded and become quite a bit fainter than when messier logged it 250 years ago which I guess explains this. But about a week ago I was out at a darkish site (sqm 20.7) with my c11, night vision monoculars and ha filter and I at last managed to get a decent view of it. It’s been an object I wanted to properly tick off for a while so I’m very pleased nv has enabled me to do this. Here’s a phone shot I took of it at the eyepiece. For some reason I haven’t really observed the Orion region with a larger scope and nv at decent skies before and I was therefore pretty excited to get the opportunity that night. I don’t think transparency was that good but the views were still pretty decent. Attached are some other phone shots I took. In order the flame and horsehead, the monkey head nebula, inner region of the rosette, the jellyfish, cone and lowers. Plus a montage of nv phone images of various DSOs I’ve taken over the past 12 months with a variety of scopes large and small. A very rewarding early hours session, the c11 proving to deliver to goods once again. And a childhood ambition completed at last...
  16. 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:
  17. 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.
  18. 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
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. No wires with nv John . But I understand your preference.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
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