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Everything posted by GavStar

  1. Mark, I think it’s poor transparency that nv struggles with rather than poor seeing?
  2. In my experience below f2.5 is really where I aim for nv emission nebulae observation. Once it gets to this point, I become more concerned with aesthetics of view such as edge stars etc
  3. I use a 0.7x reducer with my c11 edge very successfully and with flat field. I also use a 0.75x revelation rc reducer with my Ap stowaway, and a 0.75x ap photo visual telecompressor with my AP130gtx and tec 160fl, all with nice results. However the introduction of the 67mm Televue has meant less need for me to use reducers with my refractors since the 67mm produces enough reduction for nv. In addition, as you say, I do like the flatter fields and faster speeds of my fsqs which do seem to work better with nv than my other refractors (although they do work well).
  4. Great spot. Before I got the fsq130, I was very tempted by that 121sdq and with the 67mm plossl it would give a effective f2.2, very nice for afocal nv! With a 5 lens refractor there is a risk of miscollimation (fsqs have this issue sometimes as well) but it’s a lot lighter (and cheaper!!) than the fsq130 - I like it!
  5. On your first question, sorry I’m not sure, it seems to vary from reducer to reducer. Actually my most used scope for NV is currently my 103mm William optics Pegasus Binoscope with two nv monoculars but that’s another story In respect of the two scopes you link to, the first one won’t work work for visual nv use I think - it states in the link that it won’t work with 2 inch diagonals for visual use. Re the second one it may work but again I think you need to do some investigation regarding distances from focal plane etc to see if a 2 inch diagonal would work for visual (looks like you need a diagonal for comfortable observing)
  6. I’m not completely certain since I don’t image, but reducers/flatterners generally have a very short (55mm?) distance from the reducer to the focal plane which means that 2inch diagonals and eyepieces have much too long light paths for these to work, hence I’ve gone for petzval refractors where this isn’t an issue as I’m guaranteed to be at the right distance as long as it’s in focus. The key eyepiece to use with nv is the 67mm Televue to keep the effective speed as fast as possible and therefore for wide 4 degree fov for California, Rosette, North America, heart and soul etc a 650mm focal length fast scope like the 130fsq works really work. I enjoy the 85mm as it’s so much more portable but then I’m getting to nearly 6 degrees fov which is maybe a little large for this big nebulae objects. For the smaller objects like the horsehead, flame, monkey head, Pac-Man, and also galaxies and globulars I think you really need an 10 inch plus scope (I use a c11 edge (flatfield again!) and 16 inch dob) to be able to use high eg 67mm eyepieces to get the bright views but also get higher mag with smaller fov for these smaller objects. So for one scope maybe 130mm only but for two a c11/dob and a 100mm or less portable easy to mount refractor would be my preference with nv. re imaging circle, yes it’s nice to have a big one otherwise eyepieces like the 67mm May start to showing vignetting but it’s less obvious for visual only, more for imaging. Happy to answer any specific nv questions you have by pm?
  7. Two reasons, Petzvals are typically faster than other refractors which is important for nv and also I find when using the 67mm afocally having a flatfield gives better stars at the edge (you are often really pushing these long focal length eyepieces at these speeds). Yes I have a Takahashi fsq85 and fsq130 and they are both brilliant with nv but pricey as you say. There are other petzals eg by Sharpstar or askar that are significantly cheaper and would work well I think. https://www.365astronomy.com/askar-fra400-f-5.6-quintuplet-astrograph-apo-apochromatic-refractor-telescope.html https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p11518_TS-Optics-121SDQ-Apo-121-mm-f-5-6-Quintuplet-Flatfield-Apo.html I did have a Takahashi Epsilon 130d and it’s a nice scope for visual nv work but didn’t give the crispness of the fsqs. Once I got the fsq85, the epsilon’s days were numbered.
  8. For Grab and go night vision use my preference is a fast petzval flatfield refractor. What sort of budget were you thinking of?
  9. After all the cloud and rain recently, I managed to get another opportunity with this new Lunt setup. This time I stayed in double stack mode using the two front 60mm etalons and removed the pressure tuned etalon. I also used my baader mark v binoviewers instead of mono mode (which I didn't use in my previous outing). As noted in another thread today, there is plenty to see at the moment including a massive multi stranded prom to one side, another nice prom on the top, a nice dark sun spot and several other areas of good surface activity. With my 24mm panoptics and 1.7x gpc (nice thing about the Lunt diagonal is that I can attach the binoviewer direct to it and so can use the 1.7x gpc rather than the 2.6x gpc, giving a greater range of magnifications with my eyepieces) I was at about 30x mag, but could easily go higher. The live visual views fantastic, the best solar views I've ever had and nice and bright despite the double stack and binoviewers. The large prom is amazing with great detail shown by the lunt, I wonder if the ed doublet glass is helping here? The whole disk was in band as well due to the use of two external front etalons so I could relax and let my eyes drift around all the surface soaking in the views until unfortunately I had to pack up to do some work.
  10. @vineyard I’ve just measured the ota and it’s 23cm without focuser or internal etalon, 29cm with focuser no etalon, and 33cm with focuser and etalon. As Mark says I’m visual only for solar but maybe one of my local club members such as @PeterW may have a go at some imaging in triple stack mode at some point. @Highburymark Yesterday I initially tried the new modular scope in single stack mode with just one external etalon (and having removed the internal etalon). Even in this single stack mode the surface detail was good across the whole disk, the best detail I’ve seen from a single stack setup including the Solarscope 70mm filters I had. This got me pretty excited to add the extra external etalon for full external double stack mode and I wasn’t disappointed The triple stack mode showed nice areas of darker activity that were not clear in double stack mode. So even with a bland sun there’s still plenty of stuff to look at. Very much looking forward to when ‘proper’ activity starts. After a bit of experimenting I think I’ve found the perfect setup for my particular visual solar preferences. I prefer keeping to lower magnifications say max 50x but I know Mark you’ve had great success with much higher mags with your new Solarscope setup. I didn’t get to try my Baader Mark v binoviewers with this setup yesterday - hoping that those deliver even better results. I like it that I can reach focus with my gpc 1.7x rather than have to use a 2.6x gpc. My pan 24s with the gpc 1.7x are lovely.
  11. Solar observing has definitely played second fiddle to night time observation for me since I started this hobby in 2012. However as I’m now working from home all the time and my young daughters are at school, suddenly I have time during daylight hours for some solar viewing. Even though there hasn’t been much solar activity in the last few years I’ve had some really nice views recently with my lunt 60mm tilt tuned double stacked setup. Even better when used with my Baader mark v binoviewers. However, this setup does have a relatively small sweet spot and it got me thinking about upgrading. I have previously considered the lunt 80 or lunt 100 but the 80 doesn’t have an external ds unit available and the 100 appears to struggle with Uk seeing conditions. In addition, I really like the portability of my solarquest mount which wouldn’t support the 80 or 100 and I prefer full disk viewing than higher mag stuff. The recently launched lunt 60mm modular setup gave an opportunity I thought to get a setup that had a much bigger sweet spot by using it with the internal etalon removed and two external double stack unit screwed into the end. In addition, with the internal etalon in place it would give the opportunity of a possibly higher contrast triple stack view of the solar surface. I took the plunge and today the 60mm lunt modular and additional 60 ds unit arrived from telescope house. Conditions weren’t great but there was about an hour or so of decent viewing around lunchtime. First up was removing the internal etalon and going for 2 external 60mm Etalons screwed the the end of the modular scope. My solarquest mount handled this setup fine and the views were exquisite. Lovely detailed full disk views at 40x with a massive sweet spot. A definitive step up from my previous double stack setup. Even in single stack mode there was plenty of surface detail visible. Then I reinstalled the internal pressure tuned etalon for a triple stack setup. The conditions were getting a bit iffy by now unfortunately but it was clear to me that there was another good step up in surface contrast with the dark elements of the surface really popping up much more obviously than in the ds mode. Also the views were pretty bright despite the triple filtering. A good first go but I’m hoping for some more sunny spells this week to try it out further (some more solar activity would be good as well!) Here’s a pic of the setup today - very portable.
  12. I’ve just seen this topic. Given it’s been years in development I had basically given up on using my iPhone only with my az gti and sky safari in WiFi mode. However, I was out last night and decided to give the synscanlink setting a try with my iPhone. And it worked perfectly! I set up alignment with SynScan as normal, then opened SkySafari and connected to the scope and that was it. Great result!
  13. Ok, thanks for the update. Yes portability was a key factor for me, I really like the ability to use the Baader on my Az gti mount whereas even the Tak fc100df struggled a bit on this mount (and hence got sold!) Regarding cool down of my 160mm Tec, yes it does seem pretty quick, I think this is a characteristic of oil spaced refractors.
  14. Hi Space hopper, I was out using my Baader 95mm scope last week and thought how unusual (and nice) this scope is. Since it’s been over a year, I wondered whether you got one from Baader by now?
  15. Mark, Thank you for posting this. And I’m delighted that it’s giving you great results. After seeing your success, I’ve copied you! My double stack 70mm Solarscope filters arrived today. Here they are mounted to my tv76 and next to my double stack Lunt. The skywatcher solarquest copes with the heavier load fine which is good news..now I just need some sun.
  16. Here's an update on the current position of Night Vision Astronomy (or NV as frequently referred to in this thread) The biggest news is probably that earlier this year Televue launched a full night vision proposition including the night vision monoculars themselves as shown on this link http://televue.com/engine/TV3b_page.asp?id=36 This has prompted a surge in interest in NV in the USA and there are now around 100 users of NV astro gear in the States. As a result, this week CloudyNights has launched a specialist "Night Vision Astronomy" section on its forum (in the Equipment section) and therefore has separated NV completely away from the EAA section in which most NV posts were previously made. CN has recognised that NV is very different in its practical use than EAA, in particular being much more similar to traditional glass eyepiece observing in feel, and has little cross-pollination of ideas with EAA users. Unfortunately the Televue system is not available to non-USA observers due to US law, although the various adapters can be separately purchased by UK residents which I what I did. For European residents who wish to purchase night vision astronomy kit, the best place is probably a new French company that specialises in night vision astronomy as per the link below: https://www.ovni-nightvision.com/en/ The UK dealer for ovni is astrograph.net. This european option is more expensive than the US products (as so often is the case), but ovni do also sell second-hand units which are considerably lower cost. I purchased my first NV monocular in late 2017 and it has been by far the best astro purchase I have made. For an indication of what night vision astronomy is like, here are some previous posts I have made. Unfortunately, since the EEVA section was setup 15 months ago there have been very few night vision astro posts on SGL.
  17. In lockdown on the Isle of Wight , Mark. The tv85 was my first refractor and I’ve had some great observing sessions with it including one particularly memorable one in Tenerife.
  18. A new acquisition this month, a Takahashi FSQ130-ED, slotting into my existing refractors From right to left: TEC160FL, Astro-Physics 130GTX, Takahashi FSQ130-ED, William Optics 103mm Pegasus Binoscope, Astro-Physics 92mm Stowaway, Baader 95mm Travel Companion, Takahashi FSQ85-ED, Altair 72mm EDF, Altair 60mm EDF
  19. Here’s the solution posted by Yuri - seems straightforward and worked for the person whose rings got stuck
  20. It’s just a carry handle so you can use two hands. I have to say I don’t use it since the scope is surprisingly light to handle but I think the captain’s wheel looks
  21. Thanks for the suggestions. As mine is fine at the moment, I think I’ll leave it. If I ever get any issues I’ll probably install felt on the rings. More gratuitous pics you say?
  22. I’m a member of the TEC mailing group and a slightly odd query cropped up today. A poster mentioned that the tube rings on his TEC140 had effectively become ‘glued’ to the ota and couldn’t be removed. He wanted some advice on how to de-attach them. Yuri replied that he had only seen this once before in 800 scopes and he would provide some instructions to remove it (he didn’t say what they were). Another poster then stated that he also had had this issue and the only way he had managed to remove them was by giving the ota a good whack - not something I’d like to do! He also said the issue was worse when the tube rings had not been moved for a while so he now undid them every few months. When I got home this evening, I thought I’d check my TEC rings and to my surprise they had become pretty stuck. However, I managed to gently ease them off with no issues. On inspection, the padding inside the rings isn’t the usual felt but instead a sort of rubber that I can see could go a bit sticky over time. So I’m now going to undo my tube rings every now and then as a precaution. Gratuitous photo of my TEC160FL with the rings off this evening
  23. So just to clarify, I think you now have attached the adapter with 3 small screws rather than 4 and you use the resulting spare hole to attach the adm dovetail clamp with a longer screw you had available. This allows you to get the adm clamp level with the sensor since in the original setup it was 45 degrees out? Is that right?
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