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David55

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About David55

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    West Sussex, UK
  1. After having an 80mm refractor and 200mm dobsonian for a number of years, I felt the need to get something more portable, so bought some low cost 8x42 Bushnell binoculars. They were pretty good, but I found that the effort of keeping them steady was rather tiring, so summed up the courage to buy a pair of Canon 10x30 image stabilised bins. How fantastic are these? The quality of the glass is great and the focus pin sharp. But when the stabilisation button is pressed the view is taken to another level. It's as if the view first snaps into focus and then snaps to a stationary view. More stars become visible, clusters begin to resolve and the moon takes on a 3D feel. The weight is low enough to use for long periods at a time and there are the usual advantages of binoculars viz everything is the right way up and the field of view is wide enough to find targets easily. In my opinion, the view is not that much worse than through my 80mm refractor at low magnification. The main drawbacks being that, obviously, the magnification can't be changed (so not much use for planets) and one can't leave it aligned on a target to show other people the view or glance at a star guide. So I'm really pleased. If I was to start astronomy again, I'd get a pair of these and a 200mm dobsonian as a good price/performance combination. Job done. If anyone is thinking of getting these I'd strongly recommend them.
  2. Oh, by the way. Don't. Forget to look at Saturn. It is in the south eastern sky about 25 degrees elevation and easily visible after about 10pm these nights. Once you've seen the rings......
  3. The 200p pretty much hits the optimum price/performance point. The lenses that come with it are ok to start with but can easily be improved upon with a wide angle, say a 32mm Panaview and a high magnification lens, say a Williams optics 6mm SPL. But the best thing to get is a Rigel systems Quikfinder or equivalent so that you can align your scope towards what you want to see very quickly. It transformed my viewing and is so important if, like me, you find it difficult to get your brain around the upside down left right view of the dob. Also, if you have a smart phone, download one of the free inclinometers. If you are also using a software programme which will tell you the elevation angle of an object, it is easy to set the scope to that angle for a particular object using the inclinometer and then move left and right to find what you want. Works for me most every time.
  4. I want to connect a Canon SLR to my scope. I'm aware that the 1.25" adapter unscrews so that I can connect a Canon T-Ring. But the T-Rings seem to come with either a 42mm/1mm pitch thread or 42mm/0.75mm pitch thread. Can anyone tell me which is the right one for my 200p? Thanks, David
  5. What a fantastic night it was. I started at 11pm and carried on until about 2:30am. It was cold and the seeing was as good as I can remember at any time this winter. A magical night, wherever I looked there was a new target. I focussed mostly on the galaxies in Virgo, Leo and Coma Berenices- who knew there were so many? Eventually it was all a bit much and my feet were getting cold, so I packed away, only to notice that Mars was now high enough in the sky to make an observation worthwhile; so out with the 'scope once again. But today my left eye- my observing eye- is puffed-up and red, which I can only assume comes from staring though five glass lenses, two mirrors and eighty million light years across the universe. Anyone else suffer from 'astronomer's eye' or suffer other maladies from this hobby?
  6. ecw199: I have the 200p on a dobsonian mount, but went for the Rigel rather than the Telrad mainly because it meant that I didn't need to buy a riser as the Rigel window is already high enough without. If you go for the Telrad I'd certainly suggest a riser. I've never experienced the problem of seeing the red circles that others have mentioned, but have to say that having the Rigel made all the difference to ease of observation. And I'm sure the same would be true if I'd gone for a Telrad. Whichever you go for, get it quickly and take your hobby to a new level! (Crikey, I sound like an advert!)
  7. I have the S&T Pocket Star Atlas as well, but to be honest I find the Luminos app on my ipad much more useful. It tells me where to look in simple terms (ESE, 35 degrees elevation), I can zoom in to see more detail or out for a wider view and I can switch to nighttime mode to save my night vision. A star atlas is nice to look at in the lounge, but, in my opinion, far less useful on the front line. Just my view....
  8. Yes, the glasses are a bit of a problem. I need them to see the stars with my naked eye and to use the Rigel, but if I wear them, I can't read the star maps. In everyday life I use varifocals, but these aren't much good for astronomy because the focus changes depending on where I put my eye on the ocular and which part if my glasses I'm looking through. So I have to keep taking my glasses on and off. Maybe I should get my eyes lasered. I still find the Rigel invaluable (I'm sure the Telrad would be similar), if I can see a star close to my target in the sky, I can lay-on the scope very quickly. It also helps to have a wide angle eyepiece, I use a 32mm Panaview, to make sure the target is in my field of view and then swap to increasingly higher magnifications until I get the view I want.
  9. I use the Rigel. It fits nicely between the focuser and finder of my Skyliner 200p and is easy to use because it stands tall. Worth mentioning that it comes with 2 bases to fit different circumference tubes, so I can swap the Rigel between the 200p and my smaller ETX80 refractor as required. It is definitely worth getting one of these as it makes target acquisition so much easier.
  10. I have the Williams Optics 6mm SPL eyepiece and am very happy with it on my 200p dobsonian. The relatively wide angle saves having to jog my telescope too often. The image is sharp on days of good seeing, right across the field of view. Would recommend it.
  11. I have look at all of the astronomy magazines in the newsagent each month and choose the one with the most interesting articles.
  12. My ETX 80 refractor is a goto scope, but to be honest I've not used that capability for 6 months, it's just too much messing around and I know my way around the sky pretty well without it. It's true though that even in my wide-ish field 6mm Williams Optics lens on my 200p, Jupiter takes only about 30 seconds to cross the field of view,. I should think that much more magnification would make careful study of the planet pretty difficult, even if the seeing is ok. Now, perhaps mounting the base of the Dob on a 52 degree wedge and a motorised azimuth would work...
  13. Good thinking. Now I've got a good reason to buy another eyepiece! So what is the ultimate EP under £100?
  14. I have the same dobsonian and a 6mm Williams Optics SPL EP. I'd say that I can make good use of it about 30% of the clear nights, the rest of the time the atmosphere just isn't up to it and I'm forced to go down to 9mm for a sharp image. So for me a smaller EP would just get used even less.
  15. For my 200p I've found that a 2" 32mm Skywatcher Panaview, a 12.5mm Meade Series 4000 Plossl, and a 6mm Williams Optics SPL cover most of my needs for both deep space and planetary viewing. The 32mm is wide angle and great for finding objects and viewing clusters. The 6mm gives about as much magnification as the English climate can support and the 12.5mm sits nicely in between, with enough eye relief to be comfortable whilst providing a crisp clear view. And as a bonus,they are all so different I size and shape, which makes using them I the dark easy.
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