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About spike95609

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  1. I shouldn't think you'll be disappointed with your choice. I've never used the LightQuest but I gather they're a step up from the already impressive Apollo's, and with its superior optics and true aperture (i.e. they actually measure 80mm and not 73mm) I suspect there won't be much difference in performance between it and the Stellar 25x100. The "other" tripod I referred to was the Horizon 8115, but I see you've ordered a more sturdy head - there's nothing wrong with the legs, it's just the head that comes with it that lets it down.
  2. It can be done but as others have said be aware of the sheer size and weight of these things. The Stellar 100mm binoculars are 380mm long and 240mm wide, and they weigh 3.6kg, which isn't so very bad as far as these things go but still it's an awful lot of bulk to be carrying around, not that the 80mm is so very much smaller than that. Observing on a tripod can be an uncomfortable experience as you come up to the zenith, but if you're okay to suffer the neck pains or not go above 60° for any length of time, then I'd recommend spending a lot of money on the tripod because it makes things a whole lot easier. I got a Manfrotto 475b tripod and 502ah fluid head, which back in the day set me back about £350, but it was completely worth it because it's very tall and completely solid. I'm 5' 9" and can stand underneath it at the zenith without bending my knees, and there's still plenty of height to spare in the legs. I've mounted a 5kg binocular on it and once you tighten the horizontal and vertical locks on the tripod it doesn't move at all. Now this is an important point because I had a go with a friend's reasonably solid but much cheaper tripod, and it was such a pain as you're constantly wrestling with the controls to keep everything where you want it. The tripod and head weigh about 6kgs, you can get travel versions made from carbon, but they are more expensive. Also get a tripod that is rated to carry weights much heavier than what you want, because most of those are rated on the assumption that this weight will be flat and on the level, not pointing vertically with the weight offset at an awkward angle.
  3. I just about got it on Monday night with my 10". It took a while to find as it's in a difficult part of the sky for star hopping, but after about 20 minutes of messing about I managed to see a large and very faint blob where it seemed reasonable that it should be with my 10mm SLV; it was just bright enough that I could be sure I wasn't imagining it, but no more than that. Such a shame if it's broken up, the reports I'd seen made me think I was going to see a second shadow in daylight.
  4. I agree that anything over 10x50 would need a tripod, and by the sound of it that would be a bit too much baggage for your requirements. You could get away with a 15x70 mounted on a monopod, the extra magnification and aperture will certainly open up star clusters, but it's bulky and heavy, and wouldn't so much slip in your bag as fill it. If you don't want to spend a lot (say under £200) then 10x50 is your best bet as it will show you a fair amount and will be very easy to carry around. If you are happy to spend perhaps a few hundred more then you might want to consider 10x42's instead as they are obviously smaller and lighter, but the higher quality optics will be clearer yet show you just as much. This is because better optics generally result in true aperture - they genuinely mean that they give you 42mm of light gathering, whereas budget 10x50's are not actually 50mm but are closer to 40. Either way if you don't go down the image stabilising route a monopod would be a good investment as well to steady the view, you'll see a lot more than way.
  5. If the secondary is centred in the focuser but you can't see the mirror clips then yes it's out of alignment. Slacken off each of the three little screws on the secondary a bit and then move them around until you can see the clips spaced evenly around the edge of your view. This will confirm that the secondary is angled with the focuser to look straight down the tube at the primary. When tightening the secondary screws back up, do each screw a fraction of a turn at a time until all of them are tight, otherwise you'll knock it out of position again. After that it's just a case of moving the primary around until you have the dot inside the circle.
  6. First slacken off the three screws around the secondary a little, otherwise you won't be able to turn the centre screw at all. When you turn the centre screw the secondary mirror should move fairly quickly up and down the tube. Just adjust it until it looks centred with the focuser, i.e. the gap between the mirror and the edge of the focuser is equal on both sides. Then with your cheshire, make small adjustments to each of the little screws until you can see all of the mirror clips holding the primary mirror (there may be 3 or more of them depending how large your scope is) spaced equally around the edge of your view. The best way to think of these screws is as a three-way balancing act, propping up the mirror, so when you tighten them up don't do each one tight in turn or you'll knock everything out of alignment again. Just turn each one a fraction of a turn at a time until they all become tight, and you should still be able to see the primary mirror clips spaced equally about. Then it's just a case of using your cheshire to get the dot in the middle of the circle.
  7. There's no other sensible way to lift it in one piece without holding on to the handles. They are fairly solid though as there's a 10mm thick steel bar inside them which screws into the base. That said the metal component of it stops I reckon about 10mm along the length of the plastic handle, which isn't much of a problem because a lot of the weight will be resting on your index fingers and the metal will be under them at that point and therefore supported. Although I think the possibility of a stress failure in the plastic is pretty low, and as the bar is so short I think you'd have to apply pretty extreme pressures to it to risk a fracture, I would still only really want to rely on the handles for short hops now and again, relocating the scope from one position to another, rather than carrying it that way all the time.
  8. I've just measured it and it's a little bit wider, 53cm I make it.
  9. Speaking as a 250px owner, it's a terrific scope, and hits a great balance between price, power and portability. I've never used a flextube dob, but I wouldn't think there's any difference in optical quality, it should be the same mirror surely? I went for the solid tube because space wasn't an issue, and naturally there's no messing around with shrouds or worrying if extending the tube has an impact on collimation or not. I check the collimation now and again, and as I just take it into the back garden so it never gets bounced around in a car, I haven't had to adjust it once since I bought it 4 years ago. The solid tube is also lighter than the flextube, and even though it is pretty chunky, if you have an average amount of strength about you it's not a problem to lift it around. I lifted it in one piece from one end of the garden to the other a couple of nights ago, weight isn't so much of a problem as sheer bulk in that instance as it keeps hitting your legs as you walk. But doing it the sensible way and carrying it in two pieces it's perfectly fine. I'm 5' 9" and don't have any problems with the height of the scope other than bending knees. Even when pointing vertically, it's bang on 4 feet from the floor to the eyepiece, so the shorter you are the better I'd guess. As for collimation, when I was deciding whether to buy the 250px or the 200p I got very worked up about collimation and imagined it would be a lot harder. As it turned out, the basic process is the same for any dob, and as I said I've only had to do it once. Make sure the spider vanes are equal (mine were), then move the secondary up or down the tube until it's level with the focuser, then adjust the secondary until you can see all the mirror clips on the primary spaced equally around the edge, and finally get the dot into the centre circle of the primary. If you've never done it before it sounds rather complicated, but take each process one at a time and understand what you're doing and it's quite simple really. Providing you're comfortable with the weight (not that an 8" is all that much lighter), you'll enjoy this scope and may not want another. My skies aren't awful with light pollution but they're certainly far from brilliant, nevertheless I've managed to glimpse about 150 galaxies with this thing so far, which is much more than I thought it would do. I don't feel the urge to upgrade to something bigger. Sure a 12-16" would show more, but it also starts to cost a lot more, weigh significantly more, and carrying it between doorways and over tables like I have to becomes a problem. If I had to move something like that about, I'd probably talk myself out of using it and decide I wanted to watch TV instead, whereas I can comfortably set up my 10" outside in a couple of minutes and still marvel at what it shows me.
  10. I haven't had the opportunity to look through any other high end binoculars, but the original Swarovski EL 10x42s were something to behold. When I was testing it against my Vanguard Endeavor's, I found that sharpness is really the wrong term as you can get any decent pair of binoculars to get a sharp focus. What it really comes down to is resolution, and as they were 5x the price the grind on the Swarovski lenses naturally goes further and much more fine detail leaps out at you. It's a subtle but noticeable thing. It took me time to figure out what it was; looking at the moon they were both sharp but I just had the idea that the Swarovski's were revealing more. In daylight I realised it was the resolution when I started looking at saw dust that insects had dug out of a dead tree some 15 yards away; with something so small and fine you could clearly see the higher quality lenses were dragging out more fine detail; even though the overall image seemed pretty much identical at a glance. Is it worth £2,000? If you are happy to throw that much money at it then yes, if not then you'll be completely happy with something less.
  11. Very pleased to say that I got 46p last night. I managed to get out in the early evening before the moon came up, and it was reasonably easy to find at the top of Auriga. It didn't appear wonderfully bright in the scope but obvious enough with direct vision at 38x. I had a go with my 10x42s and was very surprised that it stood out fairly well as a faint smudge in them. I then went and tried my 15x70s for comparisons sake, but by this time the moon was coming up and it started to get washed out. First comet I've seen for nearly two years!
  12. I started off using a pair of binoculars and the Sky and Telescope Atlas. You're limited in what you can see with binoculars of course, but the wide field of view will make it harder to get lost, and with some decent glass you should be able to detect many of the brighter DSOs in the sky. Another advantage of binoculars is that everything is the right way up, looking through a telescope the world is upside down and back to front - not the easiest way the learn star hopping. Also you could try restricting yourself to just a couple of constellations in the same area of the sky per session, that way you can to memorise what the constellation looks like so you'll know it next time. Jumping around from one part of the sky to the other might end up confusing you.
  13. I shouldn't think you'd be disappointed with the 200p, it's cheap, simple to use, and even under light polluted skies has enough power to start venturing into the difficult to see stuff, like deep sky objects. Plenty of people find that it's all they ever want from a scope. As to accessories, I agree that it's best to see how you get on with the basic kit before throwing any money at it. What you are given is enough to get you going, and over a few sessions you'll start to figure out what may be lacking, and what new eyepieces you need to plug the gaps. This way you can make an informed (and economical) decision about what you need. There was lots that I was sure I'd need when I first started, but after 4 years all I really ended up getting was a couple of filters to bring out nebulae (don't use them very much), and while the four eyepieces I've got nicely cover the range of pretty much anything I'd want, really it's the 32mm and the 10mm that get by far the most use.
  14. I'm not surprised they cancelled the Overwhelmingly Large Telescope because no matter how large a telescope is, someone can always make a bigger one, and in terms of adjectives where the hell can you go from there?
  15. I think it all depends on what you'd like your telescope to achieve. A 6" will give you nice views of the planets, the moon, and some of the brighter deep sky objects like galaxies, nebulae and star clusters. This is generally considered the ideal scope for someone who is just starting out and would like to know if this is the hobby for them without having to spend too much. If you think you're likely to develop an interest in deep sky objects, then the more aperture the better as these things are very faint and you need the extra inches to tease them out. Going down this road starts to become a balancing act between how much power you would like, how much you're prepared to spend, and how much you can physically lift, as the larger you go the cost and weight dramatically accelerates. I went for the 10" as it's a very nice balance between all three. If you intend to make this a hobby for the long term though, I'd recommend stretching just a little bit further to get an 8" scope as it doesn't cost all that much more, and its significant amount of extra light gathering power means that it could well be the only telescope you'll ever want.
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