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Everything posted by JulianFR

  1. I bought the 120/AZ3 combination. Personally, the well known limitations of the short tube refractor are no problem for me... It is a trade-off between cost, ability, aperture and portability. Yes there is some CA and it's not best suited to high magnification, but it is also for me a very satisfying visual (I don't do AP) instrument. I used it last night on wide star fields and DSOs and was very happy with my night's viewing. But the mount... For me AZ3 is light, versatile and the slow-mo controls are certainly helpful. But it can be a bit clumsy and clunky, especially at high elevations. So I have just bought an AZ4... And used it for the first time last night. A much better mount and actually a joy use. Possibly there is not much difference in viewing between the 102 and the 120 (though personally I prefer having that bit extra aperture). But there is a demonstrable difference between the AZ3 And AZ4. I don't want to waste the AZ3 though and plan to convert it for my binoculars.
  2. I really like your drawing... It's a discipline/art I would love to be able to do.
  3. Yes, I had a great night as well catching my favourite DSOs (ie those I can easily find) and a couple I haven't managed before. I wasn't able to take the larger scope out sadly but I enjoyed using the ST120 on new AZ4 so I was VERY happy.
  4. Yes, it was super clear for a change. BTW I missed out explaining what was very low on the horizon in my original post ... I was referring to M4, close to Antares (which is itself quite redly resplendent isn't it). Actually, I couldn't make out any structure in M4 with the ST 120 but it is such a thrill for a beginner like me to track down these DSOs.
  5. What a lovely, moonless night! Would have been perfect for the Dob, but I wasn't able to get out till late... So thank goodness for grab-n-go. So I wad out with the ST 120 and my new AZ4 (and was very pleased with that mount!) So tonight I got to see M57, M51, M3, M13 and (though it was very low on the horizon) ... And the Milky Way!
  6. Well done. I STILL haven't found the Leo Triplet. I'll keep looking though.
  7. That is so cool. And probably beyond my expertise! How did you do that and from where did you get the extra components?
  8. I asked SGL about this a couple of weeks ago. I also struggle to find M101 with my 300 Dob (and M51 actually). The answers were the same of course ... LP, diffuse, low surface brightness etc. I felt better that others find it hard too and it's not just me. I did actually find it last night but didn't find it that satisfying so I turned to my other nemesis DSO, M51 ... Which I did actually find. And enjoyed watching as more and more detail appeared to me. I went back to find M101 ... But no luck!
  9. Thanks Peter ... That looks just right. I guess my L-bracket will fit on to the adapter (I'm a bit slow about these things).
  10. I've just bought an AZ4 mount to replace an AZ3. It seems a pity to waste the AZ3 so I wondered if it would be possible to use it for my binoculars. Is that possible without some amazing and for me impractical metalwork/engineering conversion? My binoculars have the usual threaded adapter socket between the lens barrels. At the moment I mount my binoculars on a camera tripod but it's not very satisfactory.
  11. Just an update... I did clean the focuser assembly... And was taken aback by the 'grease' inside it. This gunk was more like thick, non-adhesive glue than grease. Bizarre stuff really. I replaced it with lithium grease.... Much better!
  12. What's the formula to calculate the difference in light grasp from an 8" to a 12" ?
  13. It arrived yesterday... Pity I didn't realise I would also need a dovetail adapter for my ST 120! No instruction manual annoyingly but I guess putting it together wasn't too complex. It is certainly big and heavy ... I thought it would be the same size as my SW SupaTrak mount. Nope, it is MUCH sturdier, though that is good of course. It will be less easy to move as a grab n go unit with the ST 120 but a lot more stable than my AZ3. Looking forward to using it soon!
  14. Looking forward to trying to spot them... Though I'm not sure I will be able to positively ID them and not just mistake them for background stars.
  15. Similar for me Dave... Beautifully clear night with the moon not rising till around midnight, so it would have been great for the 12" Dob but I had to be up at 6am so couldn't make the mist of it. Still, I was out till late-ish with the ST 120 and had some lovely views, though they would have been 'stellar' in the Dob.
  16. I have to say I find the focuser on my ST 120 quite 'sticky' and imprecise. Looks like this could be a common ST issue then. Are there any solutions apart from stripping it down and re-greasing (I'm rubbish at DIY)? It would be nice to have a bit more fine control over the focuser, but without spending more cash on a micro-focuser.
  17. I went for BSTs as my first upgrade and am very happy with them and think they are excellent value for money.
  18. Thanks all... Decision made the and I'll order it this w/e from FLO.
  19. Last night in the moonshine I picked out M13 and M57 using the Mak (I thought given the moon I would concentrate on the planets, so the Mak would be best). Both were quite faint, especially the Ring Nebula of course... But M13 was also much duller and less defined than I'm used to with the big Dob. I assume that's because of a combination of the strong moonlight and the Mak's much more limited aperture and light gathering power.
  20. Thanks again... Seems like the AZ4 is the one to go for. I did see the AZ3 conversion link before. Looks good but DIY is not my strong point. Also, as I mentioned, the AZ3 is loose in the Alt plane and difficult to keep in the right place. I've tried tightening the main bolt but it is already immovably tight and won't go any further.
  21. Thanks for the quick replies. I see there are two versions of the tripod... Would you go for the aluminium or the steel-legged version?
  22. I wondered if anyone has experience of using an AZ4 mount... And if so whether they are recommended. My SW ST 120 came on an AZ3 mount and while I like it in some ways (light and useful with the slow-mo controls) it can also be a bit of a pain... And it has started moving downwards of its own accord so the object shifts quickly out of view; it wobbles on the alt axis. So I was wondering about an inexpensive and still easily portable alternative like the AZ4. Or maybe a second-hand something else. The AZ4 doesn't have fine controls though does it?
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