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mikeDnight last won the day on March 15

mikeDnight had the most liked content!

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6,424 Excellent

About mikeDnight

  • Rank
    Brown Dwarf

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Interests
    Lunar & planetary , binary stars & comets.
    Visual astronomy in general and an advocate of sketching as an aid to observing.
    I also have a passion for refractors and optics in general, and have a deep interest in the history of amateur astronomy, the astronomers and their scopes and observatories.
  • Location
    East Lanc's
  1. Imagine that. No experts ruining the planet! When are they all leaving?
  2. I found the AZ5 acceptable for my 100mm F7.4 and it did carry the 100mm F9 reasonably well too, although it was at its limit. The SW AZ5 uses worm gears and not a tangent arm as with the AZ3. Also, the AZ5 allows easy observation from the horizon to the zenith without overbalancing or the clutches slipping. However, the SW AZ4 is better built and much stronger despite its lack of slow motion controls. I've used an AZ4 now for many years and love its simplicity and solidity. Like many mounts at the cheaper end of the market something's got to give, and with all of these mounts its the tripod, unless you opt for the steel version. My own AZ4 is mounted on an old but very solid Vixen aluminium tripod, and with the clutches properly set, I can observe at very high powers without fighting with the mount. Below is a pic of my 100mm F7.4 and my friends 100mm F9 both happily mounted on SW AZ4 mounts. ☺
  3. It doubles as a bit of a man cave. Whenever the wife gets fed up with the repetitive banter between me and my friends, the observatory offers a clean and somewhat cosy retreat even in the cold of winter, as its electrically heated. And yes, it has been known to act as a dining room of sorts on occasion.
  4. The 4" apo will take higher powers than the Mak while maintaining a sharper star image, and so may prove to have the advantage in double star observing despite its smaller aperture. Again, when it comes to lunar and planetary, its sharpness will not be beaten by the Mak, with the apo sailing along at 300-400X on some targets, while the Mak would struggle to keep up. It stands to reason then that the advantage of a good apo on both stellar and lunar and planetary, then that would also translate when it comes to solar observing.Having said that, the 127mm Maksutov is a remarkably good scope, which in my view is probably the best out of the SW Mak range. The 127 is also a great portable scope. Whether you'd use the Mak much after buying an apo only time would tell.
  5. So many wow's over 40years that I wouldn't know where to begin. What i would say though, is what I believe to be the biggest game changer for me over the last ten years, is the use of a cheap binoviewer. To see a pair of the cheapest Abbe orthoscopic eyepieces very noticeably outperform a single TMB Super Monocentric eyepiece was a real jaw dropping wow moment both for me and my friends.
  6. It was my decision to down size slightly that prompted me to move to simpler, but still high quality eyepieces. I was very happy using my Equinox 120, but after buying a Equinox 80ED, I found myself using the 80mm far more often because of its ease of use and set-up. The 80ED was superb, especially with a binoviewer installed for lunar and planetary observing. At times it even gave a better view than the 120ED. So after considering the advantage of the smaller scope, I thought it would probably be a good move to go for a scope that was somewhere between the two, giving a little more resolution than the 80ED but retaining its light weight easy set-up. When I heard that Takahashi were offering a light weight 100mm fluorite apo, I couldn't resist and have never looked back. The 100DC is just as comfortable as a grab and go scope as it is as a great observatory instrument. Simplifying my eyepiece collection has also liberated several thousand pounds that had been trapped in a the form of Televue and Pentax eyepieces. In my FC100DC F7.4, my collection of excellent but old five element super plossls give me just as much joy with their piercingly sharp images. ☺
  7. I know its a 80mm to 102mm under consideration, but perhaps the 120ED Pro should be thrown into the mix. They are no longer physically than the 102ED Pro and are terrific visual refractors!
  8. An 80mm apo is a very enjoyable scope to use visually, but you'll notice a significant improvement in both brightness and detail through a 102mm apo. There's never been a better time to buy an apo refractor, particularly in the 80 to 100mm range. Whichever make you're thinking of, you'll be very unlikely to be disappointed. For some, an apochromatic refractor of around 4" aperture is all the scope they need. The second hand market has some gems at times, so you may not need to buy new!
  9. I'm going to leave answering that apparently simple question to someone else John. As for the BAA. Definitely another thread!
  10. There's an almost endless banquet of telescopes available to the amateur today, and this may at times create some confusion for a newcomer to the hobby. So without going into all the intricate differences in designs and capabilities of every telescope, I was wondering what you would consider to be a "serious telescope"? For me, I've have some amazing times at the eyepiece of a 3" refractor and a 4.5" reflector, so on a personal level, I could play quite merrily with scopes of this aperture and not get fed up. Where does your heart lie and why?
  11. What's imaging? Observing through the telescope is all i've ever done and almost certainly all I'll ever do. I'm fortunate to have a couple of excellent visual observers to associate with locally (good friends), so observing is very much alive and healthy in my little world. I do think the skill of observers is on the wane though, as many today just assume you need to either have a large aperture scope to see anything of worth, or you need to live on Hawaii - neither of which is true!
  12. It's only a possible maybe for me at this stage on the Saturday.I won't be going to any talks though!
  13. That would look impressive, and be stunning on the Moon & planets. You've talked me into it Alan. I'm secretly hoping that Peter Drew will permanently loan me his 8.5" refractor, but I may be hoping against hope!
  14. If someone would Photoshop a nice German EQ and rotating tube rings on the image, I think I'd be happier.
  15. It does show some nice views Doug, but ive only used it a few times since it arrived. I find the OO dob mount an awful contraption though, so it puts me off using it. I've probably used it around five or six times so far.
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