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About niallk

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    A bit of everything...
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    Cork, Ireland

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  1. Great stuff
  2. I star hopped with my 10" dob with a Telrad and a finderscope, but use Argo Navis push-to on my 15" to help find the fainter stuff. I still have a Telrad, but no finderscope (eases balance). AN can also identify objects as you come across them. It takes <1min to align, and is very robustly accurate - no fuss. The batteries last a long time, and I keep a pack of 4 AA batteries spare just in case. No motors => no major power draw. I definitely do feel that I miss that 'thrill of the hunt' and satisfaction of finding objects for the first time by hopping, though. However, I now see so much more on the all to infrequent nights that weather+moon+life combine to allow me get out with the scope! I can locate objects quickly, and then give more time to dwelling on them to tease out details. Tracking is something I really wanted for my 10" on solar system targets - so I bought an eq platform, which will also take the weight of my 15"... However I rarely use it for the 10" tbh, and Ive never used it with the 15". I find that I can track manually very satisfactorily at 420x and even higher - and I use wide fov EPs. I agree with the comment about a chair - I find sitting down really good when studying solar system targets - less subtle wobbling at the EP! The low altitudes of the planets over the next few years particularly lend themselves to sitting 😂
  3. I have to say I do like the look of the big Bresser side bearings, and the rings make it better to trim balance and focusser position. I did read comments somewhere that one may need to add counterweights at the rear to balance while shifting fwd in the tube rings - so that you can point to zenith without the mirror end bumping the base of the rocker box. The comments ran along the lines of the height of the bearing points on the rocker box being a smidgen low. Not sure if this might be specific to either the 8" or 10" model. I love my 10" Skywatcher solid tube (plus very happy with my mirror quality), but as Estwing recommends, if you think a 12" is manageable, go for it - you will no doubt love it
  4. Wow! Very impressive observing plus images! The other night I saw Io just on the limb - I could see it clearly as a sharp disk /ball. However, normally I can't see these Gallilean moons anywhere nearly so sharply against the black of space. I wonder if it is a contrast thing perhaps?? When Io had cleared some distance from Jupiter, I could no longer see it so crisply. Maybe I should try a neutral density filter or something (15" dob).
  5. Might also be worth a quick check for flight paths/contrails
  6. Very nice indeed! Out of interest, how do the views through the binos compare in the 6" f11 vs your faster/larger dobs?
  7. Perhaps you have read up (on Cloudy Nights in particular) - it would seem that the 15" and 22" UC hold collimation better than the 18" UC. If you have dark skies and observe from home, the 20" f/4 Classic is the one I'd look hard at... OR something like this on the used market - including Teeter/Webster etc. I think the 22" UC generally gets very positive reviews if you are set on a compact scope. Best of luck with your decision!
  8. Sounds great Barry : I only saw your note on the comets this morning, and never went looking. I ended up in my front garden under the glare of several street lights to avoid the sea mist, so I prob wouldn't have had too much luck on fainter stuff 😂 Nice catch on the Sombrero at such low alt - have only caught it the once, but a lovely sight to see with your own eyes! Looks like cloud tonight: I'll be having a few 🍺 tonight!
  9. Webster claim to be able to make up to 60"! I think the question might be: where do you get the funding for a 36+", and how long would it take to delivery! I've read about long waits for 'moderate' sizes...
  10. Great to have experienced owning a real big one though I'd say!
  11. Wonderful report Stu - great stuff! I missed it - cloudy that night
  12. I just caught Io as it approached the limb, followed by its shadow from 10:45pm last night - GRS also on show As Io reached the limb, there was a strong '3D' effect with the slight limb darkening and the trailing shadow: Io looked like a sharp ball - when far off disk I don't see it so sharply defined. It was a really captivating sight. One can really see the moon orbit Jupiter clearly in real time as it crosses the limb - just beautiful to observe! I observed until ~12:30am, and tried a variety of mags - from 65x to 560x. Conditions were good: jetstream was way north of Ireland, and it wasn't cold- I cooled my 15" scope for 3hrs in preparation and it paid off. There was some mist and dew, but thankfully no problems with the secondary - I tweaked the potentiometer setting on my Dew Guard and it seems to be helping these last few sessions. The scope was dripping wet by the end. For mono viewing, I settled on my 8E plus 2x PM for about 420x. There was some turbulence, but with patience, there were moments of stunning clarity that kept me coming back for more. Later on I got my binoviewer - 15mm TV plossls plus a 2.5x PM instead of a GPC, giving 250x or so... It was very interesting to compare the Ethos vs binoviewer: it seemed to me that colours were a little stronger in the plossls - especially the brown of the cloud belts. The blue-grey festoons (I saw two) from the NEB arcing down to the equatorial zone were more visible in the Ethos. The binoviewer seemed to show a barge in the northern edge of the NEB. In past years, I've seen very obvious dark maroon barges; this was more subtly dark brown to my eye. The NTB was visible, and the zone above it showed a yellowish banding - more obvious in the binos I found. The GRS was prominently visible, seeming a little darker to its southern edge at times. Nice turbulence visible following it in the SEB, and a 'v' shaped light area around the margins of the GRS and the SEB. The strongly brown band that angled up at the GRS that I recall from last year seems to have faded. The STB was also visible, but I didn't see any white ovals last night - I did last week on the 'other side' of Jupiter. No sign of the little red spot or whatever it is called. All in all, a wonderful night out on a single target - delighted to get the scope out.
  13. Sounds good!! I'd be on for that. Who knows about mirrors - I've seen Synta mirrors give better strehl numbers & PV than mine on Mr Rohr's website! To-date I've only ever looked through my own two scopes: I'm almost afraid to look through someone else's - ignorance can be bliss ... I've had great views some nights; frustrating views at other times - hopefully mostly seeing/cooling related. I've been watching Sat24 and trying to judge if this cloud overhead will pass out to sea in an hour or two, and we might get a bit of clear sky tonight. The jetstream is way off north too. We might be lucky: car packed, windows down and mirror fan on! Planning to pop down to the coast after I get chores done and the kids to bed, if the clouds shift EDIT: This was 'posted' last night Barry, but didn't upload properly; just saw that this morning!
  14. Fair play to you - fwiw, I think you got an enormous bargain there! I hope you have a wonderful time driving that through the skies! After getting the hang of it, collimation will become no big deal The laser I use is $139: The Glatter laser is highly recommended (not sure of the cost), and the target window is visible outside the focusser. For the astrosystems, you have to look up between the trusses at the inside of the focusser. The external target would be far more convenient for a large dob like yours, I imagine. Other people might be better placed to recommend a lower cost but quality laser. To me, laser is the way to go in the dark. I only use a Cheshire in the daytime in my solid tube. Hth, Niall