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About Rainmaker

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    Star Forming

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    Cross country skiing, alpine skiing, mountain biking, road cycling
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  1. Rainmaker

    Show Us Your Binoculars.

    We found that a single OTA of 150mm aperture with binoviewers splitting the light was quite noticeably dimmer than the 120mm binoscope. Having said that, there are still advantages to binoviewers if your targets are sufficiently bright. Remember that an actual measurement would not show is as it is the 'binocular summation' that our brain is responsible for that makes the perceived brightness so much more, there is also a perception of an increase in the image scale that comes with binocular viewing. The comfort factor of viewing with both eyes means I can sit at the eyepieces for a couple of hours without eye strain rather than a few minutes if using a mono-mode setup.
  2. Rainmaker

    Show Us Your Binoculars.

    Hello Stu, we have been testing a bit, here is a post that I made on another site, copied here: After 4 hours of swapping between the Bino-TSA120 and TOA150 (with and without Baader MkV binoviewers) the results were very interesting and very close to the mathematical calculations.... We looked mainly at M42, M44, M45, NGC104, NGC3372, NGC4755. This is not meant to start any wars between the binoscope/binoviewer/monoscope aficionados and is by no means a technical/theoretical or mathematical comparison, just Phil and I enjoying some scopes under the nice skies at his bush property... In short: We compared separately with similar magnifications, similar exit pupils, and similar True Fields ( as best we could given our selection of eyepieces- Panoptic 24s, Tak Abbe18s, Tak LE24s, Nagler16, Nagler 26). High magnification comparisons were not on the table due to our eyepiece focal lengths..... we will try to remedy that next time.... ..............The Bino-TSA has the light gathering of a "TOA160"+2"BBHS with single eyepiece. (160 is intentional) ..............TOA150 retains (as expected) its advantage in limiting magnitude (in mono mode) of faint stars (the Bino-TSA optically is subject to the same Limiting Magnitude as a single TSA) . ..............The Bino-TSA shows a slightly higher contrast view than a mono TOA150, (a definite plus of viewing with both eyes) ..............The Bino-TSA had a definite 3D quality to the view compared to a very flat view in TOA in mono mode. ..............Adding the Baader MkV binoviewers and Panoptic 24s to the TOA150 enhanced the 'depth' in the view but dimmed the view way below the Bino-TSA , the image brightness in the TOA+MkV was now similar to a TSA120 in mono mode. When did a star count of very faint stars around Eta Carinae, the TOA was able to resolve 11 stars to the Bino-TSA with 9 stars , so those two stars were below the LM of the 120mm objective but at the same time the Homunculus Nebula around Eta Carinae was more visible in the Bino-TSA. Viewing the Trapezium stars and 'wings' nebulosity of M42 showed a marked 3D effect in that the 'wings' seemed to reach toward us. This effect was not shown by the binoviewers. Lastly, looking at the core of NGC104 (47Tucanae), the Bino-TSA with Tak Abbe 18s which gave an Exit Pupil of 2.4mm easily resolved stars in the core of the GC whereas the TOA in mono mode with Nagler 22 and an Exit Pupil of 2.38 could not resolve the core. Changing to the Tak LE24 in the TOA brought the result much closer. (this is more of an indication of the benefit of less glass is better if the glass is of high quality) Knowing what I know now about binoscopes, I would love to look through a binoscope made out of a pair of TOA150s.... The real Positive for me is that the floaters in my eyes do not show up at all when using the binoscope.
  3. Rainmaker

    Show Us Your Binoculars.

    My new binoculars in preparation for this year's planet viewing, especially for Mars
  4. Rainmaker

    Show us your Frac

    Thanks guys, I am hoping to get some 'First Light' later this week, it has been raining since I bought the second TSA and the tripod !!!! For anyone interested, the project worked out well and quickly thanks to Mr Tatsuro Matsumoto of EMS-Matsumoto who built the EMS-ULS system for me in a few days, and Range from Shanghai, China, who designed and made the cradle and adapters to hold everything together. The cradle is a work of art and includes a 'D' series dovetail built into the bottom of it. It weighs even less than expected (2180grams). The total weight of the Bi-Tak is 15.5Kg + eyepiece weight. So actually lighter than my TOA130NFB. The beautiful EMS-ULS units have helicoid adjusters that allow for fast and easy IPD adjustment. The EMS unit on the right side TSA has collimation adjusters built into it which allow image merging on the go.
  5. Rainmaker

    Show us your Frac

    Thanks John, This is the current setup though it will change a little once I build a top-mount for the AZ-EQ6. The binoculars weigh in at a svelte 15.5Kg so for field use another 5kg c/w is used to partner the 10.5Kg one in the photo.. The tripod is the Takahashi Em400 tripod rated at 450Kg !!!!
  6. Rainmaker

    Show us your Frac

    My Takahashi TSA120 F7.5 Triplet Super APO & Friend, now permanently joined at the hip ! .... The " Bi-Tak 120 "
  7. Rainmaker

    Nexus DSC First Light

    Nice setup! I have been using the Nexus DSC for nearly two years now, never a problem with it. I use it on my 18" F5.6 Dobsonian.
  8. A friend recently advertised his "Planet Killer" for sale and I couldn't resist ........ TEC MC200mm F15.5 , although #213 built in 2003, she is as new condition both optically and cosmetically. With a mere 26% central obstruction, the views are more refractor like than some refractors I have used. Using it with Zeiss binoviewers and Takahashi Abbe & LE eyepieces this scope has shown me my best ever views of Saturn which at the moment passes at an altitude of 76º in the evenings.....
  9. Rainmaker

    which planet killer?

    Interesting idea, I previously had an Istar 150mm F10 which was a very nice scope .... I now have a TEC 8" Mak Cass and having used a TOA150 and a TOA130 extensively, I think it would take a 7" Apo refractor to match the views of the 8" TEC Mak. I use mine with Zeiss binoviewers and Takahashi LE and Abbe eyepieces.
  10. Rainmaker

    which planet killer?

    I would think the 7" Maksutov would be the best option of those three for a 'planet killer' if you have reasonable seeing conditions and the patience to allow the Mak an hour to cool to ambient.
  11. I think a red dot finder would be nice. I use the Baader SkySurferV. It merely superimposes a red dot over the sky, simple in the extreme. Also I suggest you get a 40mm Televue plossl eyepiece which gives you 9x so the scope acts as the finder.....
  12. I just ordered one to bolt to my TOA as a nice little finderscope..... and I don't even have a gold belly button brush.....
  13. Rainmaker

    Show me your eyepiece cases

    Merry Christmas from my little Elves
  14. What were you going to wash it with that made you so worried? Even just pouring distilled water onto the mirror will clean most dirt off and will not harm the surface. Much more damage is being done to your optical coatings by airborne sap, fungal spores etc. My mirror is 23 years old and still has the original coatings in near perfect condition.....
  15. IF it is just a few bits, just use a blower to move them, if the surface is more extensive covered with dust or dew marks, remove the mirror cell and wash it. I clean my mirror every six months, but mine is a truss scope. My procedure is simple, I lift the mirror out and set it down on an outdoor chair on a 45º angle in the shade, I then hose it down with the garden hose at low pressure with a constant stream until all loose material is washed off (3 minutes) I then use a spray bottle with some warm water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid and spray the entire surface and keep it continually wet to dissolve any sap etc, The mirror is then rinsed with a continual stream of distilled water (about 10 litres) I then cover the chair in a cloth so that the cloth does not touch the mirror but keep dust and bugs off and leave it to air dry...... this ensures that there are no marks from drying I don't subscribe to the theory that a dust covered mirror gives the same image as a clean one..... test this under high magnification if you don't believe me....

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