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About Piero

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    Brown Dwarf

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  • Interests
    Amateur astronomy, bioinformatics, software engineering, mathematics, languages.
  • Location
    Cambridge, UK
  1. Berlebach Report 112

    The advantage of not having the tray is the reduced weight. It is quite heavy and bulky: 1.1kg. I would add the spread stopper https://www.berlebach.de/?bereich=details&id=170&sprache=english or leg spread stop (which can be selected on the tripod page as a custom item) when you place the order. The former will fix the leg spread angle to ~23 deg, whereas the latter gives you 4 angles. If you get the spread stopper, you will also need to order the UNI leg brackets. Berlebach can install both for you for free. Marion at Berlebach is a nice chap and will help you on this if you need. My UNI 19 was ordered with the spread stopper. Without any stopping mechanism, there is a chance that a leg will spread too much. As a consequence, your telescope will be at risk.
  2. Thank you but I'm fine with large toys. Only looking for a couple of small snipers!
  3. I currently have 7 eyepieces + 2 barlow. Two of my eyepieces are zoom. Said this, I would still get a 4mm and 3.3mm Vixen HR if they existed!
  4. Berlebach Report 112

    I think that you will be happier with the UNI 4 than the Report 212 using your scopes (150 newton but also the skymax 102) in terms of stability. Sure, 5kg is heavier than 3kg, but both are certainly within your physical capacity. Add a bit of wind or the vibrations when you adjust the focuser, your telescopes will remain rock solid. If you get a ~100mm refractor one day, the UNI 4 will still be a very fine tripod, assuming you observe with an extension pillar and an adjustable chair.
  5. Just read this nice report! I also like the views of those targets at low power. They offer a lovely context! It was cloudy over here so no observing unfortunately.
  6. The Phantom Galaxy (M74) in Pisces is the only Messier I haven't (yet!) been able to spot with my TV-60. I'm sure I only need a bit darker skies for that. Still, very challenging target for a small aperture.
  7. I've seen M1 a few times with my TV60 here in Cambridge. It is a bit easier to find it with the Tak-100. A filter helps, but it is not impossible to find it filterless under > 19 mag skies in my opinion. Once found, I generally use medium power eyepiece though.
  8. Berlebach Report 112

    It seems a very nice solution to me!
  9. A quick update on this. After careful thought, I asked Marion at Berlebach to fit a 3/8"-16 (UNC) bolt instead of an M10 one on the top attachment of the tripod. Generally this would be 7mm long, but I asked to install one which is 15mm long instead. The reason for this is that, in my opinion, the AYO II 3/8" connection has a larger surface contact than the AYO II M10 connection, when this mount is used on a photo tripod. The 3/8" platform is nearly as large as the AYO II base. In contrast, the M10 platform is smaller (on photo tripods, not on Vixen GP/ HEQ5 tripods!), also because the end ridge on the M10 socket needs to be removed. It could be that this does not affect stability in the field, but as in my case the M10 socket is not required, I decided that I will remove it from the mount and connect the mount to the tripod directly via 3/8". Also, if I understand this correctly, an M10-15 is very close to a 3/8"-16 (UNC), and in particular, the latter (male) can fit in the former (female). If so, a bolt of 15mm should be enough long to connect other M10-15 mounts, just in the case that this will be needed in the future. Alternatively, Berlebach sells a 3/8"-to-M10 adapter. In the latter case, I will probably have to cut off part of the bolt, but this is not a big deal. Therefore, my future AOKSwiss AYO II will be used in 3/8"-16 (UNC) mode. The AYO II can be connected via an M10 socket to Vixen GP/HEQ5 tripods, or 3/8"-16 (UNC) bolt to photo tripods; see the following thread for reference: Therefore, for me, the M10 socket of the AYO II will be removed, exposing the 3/8"-16 (UNC) female connection to the photo tripod. Doing so, the AYO II will be 400g lighter (~3.0kg in total). This will be exactly like CN member Andreas' configuration (aside from the TEC140):

    I thought to share also what Mr Beat Kohler told me for other users: - M10 threaded hole is about 10mm deep - 3/8"-16 (UNC) threaded hole is about 8mm deep After the threaded part, there is an empty space, so the bolt on the tripod top attachment can be longer than the lengths indicated above. See internal design here as a reference (image from AOKSwiss AYO II website: http://www.aokswiss.ch/ayo/ayo_ii/main_ayo_ii.html ):
  11. Vixen HR 2.4mm

    I find this paragraph by W. Paolini very important: "When testing the Vixen HR eyepieces, given the extreme magnifications they would produce, methodical preparation was a must. Simplistic common sense led my expectations to present a probable outcome of poor performance. However, skill and experience taught me that much preparation was needed prior to taking this excursion into ultra-small exit pupils and demandingly high magnifications. My preparations included: thoroughly acclimating my eyes in preparation for the dimmer views, utilizing my most precision optics, ensuring the optics were precisely collimated, fully thermally acclimating the optics prior to observing, and finally to patiently wait for skies where both stability and transparency were up to the demanding task. " ...and continues... "As I detailed in my many observations, taking quality optics to these extreme levels with the Vixen HR precision eyepieces allowed me to enjoy familiar lunar and planetary targets in rewarding ways. The impressive image scales of these very high magnifications made the targets exceedingly easy to observe, resulted in views of lunar landscapes with highly accentuated dimensionality, revealed more details on crater floors than I would have noticed otherwise, and even revealed additional details relative to the color and brightness variations in the atmospheric bands of Saturn." This last text was also my experience with the 2.4mm HR.
  12. Vixen HR 2.4mm

    I agree.. Vixen has been rather naughty to tease us with those short focal lengths, without offering anything more usable at that level of quality.
  13. Vixen HR 2.4mm

    There are a few comments about the comparison between the HR 2.4mm and XO 2.5mm on CN. The common opinion seemed that the HR is really right there, but with additional comfort. It's a great eyepiece. On my TV60, it showed me a level of detail at 150x on Jupiter that was only matched by the Zeiss zoom and Docter, but at a lower magnification (~110x). And at 150x, it gave an image that was nearly as bright as my previous 5mm Vixen SLV (which was a good one). On my Tak 100, I use my 2.4mm HR on Solar and Lunar observation, when the seeing is sufficiently stable and is superb. It also barlows very well, easily up to 2x (~1.2mm). Above that, the view starts to soften a little bit, possibly due to the seeing. That is 616x though!. Said this, a view of the Moon at those high mags is impressive in my opinion. Longer focal lengths for the Vixen HR line would be like having a set of ZAOII I reckon. I'd love to have a 4mm and a 3.3mm, or a 10-8mm to barlow with the Zeiss barlow..
  14. Vixen HR 2.4mm

    Congratulations! They look great and they should work well on your fast Borg! I think my "race" for eyepieces has come to an end unless Vixen extend their HR line to longer focal lengths.
  15. Very beautiful setup and congratulations for building the mount!