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About chops

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  1. Although these were reviews of £50, £70 and £80 binos and I could objectively compare them to Helios Apollo 15x70s, I’ve since bought a pair of Helios Stellar II 10x50s and find them superb. Whilst I can’t objectively compare all together (because I gave the £50 and £70 binos, along with Astro books, to friends who‘ve since started to enjoy astronomy with them), I can confirm that the Stellar IIs are brighter, sharper, have a wider field of view (6.5^) are more solid and generally more pleasant to use than the (much) cheaper binos. The Stellar II 10x50 are still useful as ‘grab and go’ observing tools and so are used often, whereas the 15x70s are best on a parallelogram Mount. I bought the Stellar II at £169 retail price, from ‘Sneezums’, whilst travelling in early February 2020, through Bury St Edmunds and used them for bird watching as well as star gazing. Collimated perfectly, bright, clear, wide, with little chromatic abberation, and well weighted, the good eye relief is also one of their strong points and was appreciated by two spectacle wearers who used them with me on their first night in early Feb, although one preferred to remove his to view our few targets (hand held, from a wheelchair, trying to view almost vertically to zenith looked tricky). Back home in Cornwall, they perform even better against the darker skies. I realise they’re available cheaper from FLO, but I thought Sneezums a great shop, worth supporting, with good stock of astronomy and binocular gear - and I commend it to East Anglian observers once this Cv lockdown ends. @BinocularSky has reviewed the Stellar IIs before and I have nothing to add to his typically thorough and excellent words* (to which I’ve linked below), other than to concurr with the positive areas as well as the disappointingly lose eyepiece focus adjusters, which also feel inconsistent between eyecups and through their focus range. The difference with the solid feel of the much more expensive Helios Apollo’s eyecup focus mechanism is obvious. So, they’re now my preferred 10x50, although the lightweight and inexpensive Helios Naturesport Plus are still regularly used (if nothing else, they’re much easier for my children’s hands to hold). *Binosky’s review is here: http://binocularsky.com/reviews/Stellar2_10x50.pdf
  2. Hi RedCanary Afraid I've not used it a hell of a lot recently; it's been consigned to my 'solar' scope, as I concentrate on using some of the 2" EPs. However, I had no complaints and it was a 'go-to' EP for a long time. hope this helps in some way, however late the reply.
  3. 6mm arrived well packaged, safe and sound, I gave it 'first' light with its new owner last night and had great fun splitting stars like Rigel and Sigma Orionis easily, seeing E&F in the Trapezium, some good lunar views as well as a reasonable view of Jupiter. Not bad for mediocre (at best) viewing conditions. I think I'll like this EP. Thanks AmpleAmp
  4. A beautiful, detailed, image. Thank you. I stumbled across the same neb last night, whilst looking for M36-8 in Auriga.
  5. Phew - I was worried there was a fad for stripping your lens coatings with volatile fuels
  6. Assuming you're still OK with PayPal, I will take the 6mm please.
  7. inspiring report... but I can't fathom your Gasoline puzzle.
  8. Thank you for the wonderful encouragement. I sometimes prefer to watch (sorry, observe!) the moon through cloud; as Astro Imp said: it lends a real mood to the experience ... it's more dramatic with a deep sense of perspective on the scene, especially if it's fleeting high cloud. Thankfully, afocal has become easier with an ExSc 18mm 82 degree (thanks to Rad on AstroBuySell!) - even though the eye relief isn't huge, I suspect the exit pupil and large ocular helps (although I've not calculated what they are). I wonder if there are any 2" smartphone holders to just drop it on. Next challenge - maybe I'll try stacking. I did it once with Jupiter, nice results but hassle compared to the simplicity of single shot afocal! Here's another moody, cloud shot.
  9. Some shots from last night and tonight, for anyone interested in the simplest imaging techniques:) 15th Jan - Theophilus etc also Clouds across the moon 14th Jan - Piccolomini
  10. thanks for the report Steve, looking forward to your 10x50 conclusions (not that I'm buying any more just yet..). I finally got clear skies to the north last night (have been looking more southwards on the rare occasions it's been clear recently here and also not blowing at 60mph), so ogled Catalina with the 10x25 and 15x70s, both rested on a window cill from inside (more comfortable than wet grass 'eh!). What a lovely green hue it is - and popped into the 10x25s within a couple of seconds of looking for it; so much simpler than my previous attempt, hunting around with a telescope in high winds and scudding cloud obscuring it, which had prevented me from seeing Catalina the night before. Binos rock - straight to the reward, no messing'. Clear (and still) dark skies to you too.
  11. What an image. Pure class, thank you - it's a feast for the eyes. Would you be willing to share some details about the exposures / frames etc, assuming you have them still, in order to motivate and encourage (I intend to try some 'proper' imaging one day but, for now, am saving up data in the headspace and £ in the wallet for when I'm ready). I tried an OIII filter a couple of days ago (viewing, not imaging) on Rosette and, for whatever reason, it made very little difference. I suspect the seeing wasn't too great that night.
  12. I've had my second attempt at solar photography today... I say 'attempt' - it's just a iPhone held afocally against an eyepiece.
  13. Thank you Steve - and I'm still snorting with laughter at the funniest 'HNY' of 2016 "If the incrementing of the 4th digit of the ISO 8601 date format holds special significance for you (and even if it doesn't), then I wish you a prosperous one, replete with superb observing opportunities." I look forward to using your viewing plan one evening... IF the skies 'play ball' (checking my 2014/15 diary I'm not mistaken - definitely cloudier this year), happy new one to you.
  14. Here's a link to, what I believe, is his galley / blog on phase, including a link to his paper. A really insightful article to read - and remarkably affirming for him (many congratulations if you read this)! I suspect we rarely get to see Sculptor in the UK? http://www.pbase.com/strongmanmike2002/new_galaxy_discovered
  15. Thank you Steve, wonderful report. I assume your verdict comment 'I got one' means you kept a pair of Lunt and indicates they really are Binocular Sky recommended, to the point that you now use them personally? Shame I can only justify a single pair of 15x70 and, what's more, my most recent pair of HA seem better built than the previous two HAs (FLO replaced, because the hinges had a problem and couldn't support their own weigh, meaning the IPD kept reducing of their own volition. Thanks again to FLO for arranging. Besides, the Helios Naturesport Plus 10x50 keep coming out too often, plus I'm saving for a wide field EP for the Big Dob. No that there's been much in the way of clear skies in Cornwall this winter. Happy New Year all!
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