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munirocks

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About munirocks

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    Vacuum

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    Bourne End, UK
  1. Every time my wife and I go by Windsor Castle we share the same running joke. At the statue of Queen Victoria one of us will say, “Is that Queen Victora?” And the other answers, “No, it’s just a statue of Queen Victoria.” Now, when looking at a picture of M31 on a screen, is that M31? No, it’s just a picture of M31. If you want to look at picture of M31 on a screen you might just as well stay home and look at a better hand-tweaked, stacked, long-exposure photograph on t’internet. However, if you want to see the real M31 you can look through an eyepiece, and use your retina to personally intercept photons that left M31 and started their journey through space 2.5 million years when our ancestors decided to come down from the trees more often. To me it’s analogous to looking at paintings on-line or in a book, as opposed to standing in front of the actual painting in a museum and seeing the fine texture on the paint that was last touched by the artist themselves. It’s not the same experience to me, not by a long shot.
  2. I just came across this old thread. When I look at planets they are almost never on a sharp velvety black background. They always have at least a little haze around them from light scatter in the atmosphere, the eyepiece, or the mistiness/floaters in my own eyeballs. I was viewing Mars a few weeks ago through my ETX 90, with a 13 mm Ethos, and the planet was showing noticeable haze around it so I switched to a 12 mm Brandon. The haze was much less, which improved the view. Maybe my dodgy eyeball multiplies whatever haze is being produced by the atmosphere or eyepiece, but the difference was noticeable, and Brandons are supposed to be famous for suppressing "narrow-angle scatter", whatever that is. I'm not sure if the extra darkening could be accounted for by the extra magnification (12 mm instead of 13 mm), but the Mars view was cleaner in the Brandon. Mine wasn't expensive. £100 used.
  3. To my knowledge, the 1.25" Powermates are available in 2.5x and 5x, and the 2" Powermates are available in 2x and 4x. T-rings are available but not necessarily swappable between the various Powermates, so make sure you get the right T-ring adapter.
  4. My experience was bad, terrible in fact. I ordered a new one, a 50th Anniversary model no less, four and a half years ago and it had multiple, severe quality issues that they couldn't sort out in five attempts. After 18 months of waiting, returns, hassle, worry, and eventually confrontation I got my money back. After I told my story over on the CN Questar thread, only one person there has bought one in the last three years, and they didn't report back. So can they still make them like they used to? Who knows? They couldn't for me. Worst experience and biggest disappointment ever.
  5. It's an ETX90, Jim, but not as we know it.
  6. I've just seen the travelling Museum of the Moon exhibition in Leicester, and I highly recommend it. It's a high resolution 7 metre diameter 3D model of the moon that you can walk around, and it's simply gobsmacking. I took along my Vixen 2.1 x 42 super-wide angle binoculars, and Pentax Papilio 6.5 x 21 close-focussing binoculars and spent hours looking it over - great views of both near side and far side. I think it's in Leicester for another week, and in Glasgow for an extended period starting some time in May. If you're into lunar observation you'd be crazy to miss it.
  7. People do buy them for some of the reasons mentioned in the original post, but they also have a peculiar combination of features no longer found on other scopes, like fast setup time, usable setting circles, clock drive, 25-hour battery life on a simple 9-volt battery, lever to switch between main scope and finder without leaving the eyepiece, lever to switch between barlowed and unbarlowed view without leaving the eyepiece, lever to reroute the light path to the camera or another eyepiece, table-top legs so you can polar align and do a session sitting at a picnic table with a cup of hot chocolate. People like the whole package. To compare the Questar to a simple dumb optical tube with a larger aperture and better optics but no other features or mount is to miss the point entirely. All the more reason to lament the fact that my order, a special Questar 50th Anniversary model that was supposed to be the quality flagship, was a shambles. It had astigmatism, scratches on the optics, ill-fitting components, badly-formed metalwork, faulty eyepieces - all spread over more than 15 months and five attempts to manufacture it. I finally gave up and got a refund, as it became painfully obvious that... well, I don't know if the people who knew how to make them have retired and it's the end of an era, or if my scope was just a production glitch (actually five major glitches). I don't think anyone over on the Cloudy Nights Questar forum has been brave enough to order one and find out, after I gave a detailed account of my experience there, in the Ordering a Questar thread.
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