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mikeDnight

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mikeDnight last won the day on January 7

mikeDnight had the most liked content!

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About mikeDnight

  • Rank
    Brown Dwarf

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • 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. The AZ5 has slow motion controls in both altitude and azimuth but it isn't as beefy or as solid as the AZ4 Dave. I've had both mounts, and although I found the AZ5 to be reasonable for carrying my lightweight FC100DC, it wasn't as solid as the AZ4. I find the AZ4 on a solid tripod to be a very good Altaz. I use a Vixen GP mounted on a steel pier as my main work horse, but I also use a AZ4 on a heavy duty Vixen aluminium tripod as a light weight grab and go, and it is remarkably solid. If you fancy a solid altazimuth with slow motion controls, you might like to search for a second hand Vixen Polaris or Super Polaris mount. I've just given a Polaris mount to my friend Derek for use with his Sky 90. The weakest of these is the AZ5! Derek with his Sky90 on VP AZ5 AZ4 Vixen GP
  2. Hi Jon, Most of my observing is lunar and planetary, mostly because my site tends to be misty and not because I have no interest in dso's. Obviously, even if my site had really dark skies, a 4" scope will have limits with regard to light grasp. However, I've found by blocking out stray light from entering my eye from surrounding light sources by using a dark hood or blanket over my head and eyepiece, I can attain a really good level of dark adaption. Rather than rushing from one dso to the next, I will spend some time observing each, even upto an hour depending on the intricacy or difficulty of the target. I think you'll find the 102ED to be a surprisingly good fuzzy finder. TeleVue designed one of the world's most popular 4" refractors as a visual rich field/deep sky scope, so if they ere not very good on dso targets, I think TeleVue would have dropped them decades ago. I've attached a few dso sketches made from home on the outskirts of Burnley on the Lanc's/York's border. All sketches were made using a 100mm F7.4 apo. M82 M33 M97 M78 M42 M57 M27 M45
  3. mikeDnight

    Evening 16/2/2019

    I had a similar experience Alan. My wife was watching some rubbish she'd recorded on the TV, so I set my 100mm scope up in my observatory, rolled back the roof, and spent a good hour or more sitting comfortably as I just toured the lunar surface. The cloud was extensive but fast moving, and there were plenty of sucker holes that allowed some wonderfully sharp views. Even when cloaked in cloud the moon gave a pretty good show. It would have been so easy not to have bothered as the conditions looked pretty abysmal, but it was well worth the effort. As I sat back in my high back swivel chair with my binoviewer tilted horizontally for comfort, I slowly and repeatedly scanned the terminator admiring the "magnificent desolation", with no real purpose in mind other than to simply enjoy the view. It was a great evening and immeasurably better than anything they could put on the TV.
  4. Thanks for the correction Paul. So the manufacturer's felt the scope was worthy enough to warrant a top class focuser. That's got to be a good indicator! ☺
  5. As Paul mentions in his short review, "you have to look for the false colour"! You mentioned earlier Jon, that the colour in the SW Star Travel didn't bother you much. Well the colour in the Astro Tech is in a whole different league to that of the Star Travel. Does this mean you're going to become the daddy of a new 102ED? Shall I break out the cigars?? Just take a look at it once again....... And don't forget that happy chap who owns it! The tube assembly looks physically larger in the pic than it does in the flesh, due to perspective.
  6. There's always the Star Wave ASCENT 102ED F11 if you want that tad better colour correction, but I'm sure the Astro-Tech F7 will do amazing things, and with a wider/richer field!
  7. I think paulastro has the original version of the Astro Tech 102ED. I've used it numerous times and the one thing that strikes me when thinking about it, is that nothing strikes me! In other words, if the CA were objectionable I would definitely have noticed it. If the star images were anything but perfect it would have jumped out like a sore thumb. And if its lunar and planetary performance was In anyway lacking, I would definitely have noticed it! Consider also that Paul's scope had its focuser replaced with a feathertouch by its original owner. It must have been very highly thought of as noone would go to that expense for a mediocre scope. Also, Paul regularly observes with me using his AT ED alongside my Tak FC100DC and the two scopes get along fine. There is no rivalry between the two and they play pretty on all targets. I think a 4" ED is an excellent scope for a serious observer who likes a portable, easy to use, yet very capable all round wide field/lunar/planetary/binary star instrument. Often excelling well beyond their aperture class, a 4" refractor could be the only scope you'll ever need! Whether its the only scope you'll ever want is another matter! Just a quick point on glass types. Years ago manufacturer's didn't necessarily disclose the glass type used in their scopes. I've used a few old Vixen ED's long and short and they were all superb! Today it seems everyone worries a little too much about things they really don't need to worry about. Strehl for example: could anyone really tell the difference between a strehl of say .97 and .99? What i do know is that if you want to add colour to a refractor image, use a Nagler eyepiece and look at the Moon. I wonder how many good apo's have received bad press that way?
  8. mikeDnight

    Vixen HR comfort

    It's been a while since I've observed any doubles with any seriousness Dave, but if seeing allows, I may just give them a go again! I'm not sure how a 2mm will do but it will be enjoyable to spend an evening or two finding out.
  9. mikeDnight

    Vixen HR comfort

    Considering you took those images with a hand held Samsung phone, they are spankingly impressive. Who in their right mind would try doing this with a 4" refractor, a 2mm eyepiece and a 2X VIP barlow giving 820X? I'm ever so glad you're not in your right mind! May be you'll win Stu's imaging challenge!?
  10. mikeDnight

    A Valentines Moon 14th Feb

    Very nice images Frank! I particularly like the image of the Alpine Valley, as when its enlarged a little, it shows the central rille running along the valley length as it appears visually in my FC100DC. Not as a dark line as many imagine it looks, but as a broken white line. Also, the view shows Elgers rille which runs across the valley width and into the mountains at either side. This is often overlooked visually but is an easy rille to see. It's also interesting when lighting allows, to trace Elgers rille as it traverses the mountains all the way to the shores of Frigoris, dividing and twisting along the way. Excellent!
  11. mikeDnight

    Very excited 44 year old XT8 owner greetings

    I was an excited 44 year old once also! Ive been excited ever since I was eighteen and still am now I'm 57. Time Flies!! My wife thinks I'm a bit bonkers and humours me. She thinks I'm still a teenager in my head. She's right, and I'm glad I've never grown up! Welcome aboard M. You'll love it here!
  12. mikeDnight

    Sirius B and E/F stars - what does it take!?

    I had a great view of the nebula as well as the E & F stars in the Trapezium this evening, despite the nearness of the Moon, using a 16mm Nagler & 2X Ultima barlow in my 100mm Tak.
  13. mikeDnight

    Wanted 12.5mm Celestron Ultima eyepiece

    I'm looking for a matching 12.5mm Celestron Ultima to make a binoviewer pair with my existing one. If you have one you don't use please send me a PM. The winged eye cup in the attached pic is not essential, though it would be nice! Thanks! Mike
  14. Fluorite scopes have been produced for decades and even the older ones are still going strong. There's such a lot of nonsense talked about by the empty headed, and when you think about it, we never see any of these perished fluorite optics. I'm sure I wouldn't be alone in kicking off big style if my fluorite lense suddenly turned into a bad cold and flopped from my tube assembly. Some of the early Takahashi FC refractors that had uncoated fluorite elements are as good today as they were when they were first made, and still demand a high resale price. Vixen fluorite refractors used uncoated fluorite elements as the rear element in their Steinheil FL 102, but they are still highly sought after. Personally, I think the FL102 is one of the very best fluorite refractors ever made, bested perhaps by Takahashi's FC100DL F9 which has a hard multicoated rear fluorite element. If you can find a Vixen FL102 F9 then grab it and run. You'll never regret it! Alternatively, any of the 100mm or 102mm Takahashi fluorite refractors will WOW you again and again. John already mentioned the Tak FC100DC or DF F7.4 so if a second-hand fluorite doesn't appear, you might consider the light weight but stunning FC100D.
  15. mikeDnight

    Vixen HR's VX10

    Sadly not! I used the 5mm LE with my FS128. I sold the eyepiece very soon after buying it as the ghost image of the Moon irritated me so much. I enjoyed using the Hi LE's with the FS128 and bought a second 3.6mm after selling the first, for use with my FC100DC. The second 3.6mm Hi LE also had ghosting, though not as strong as the 5mm LE.I've since sold that too! May be I'm just not well suited to the LE, as after buying the 30mm for use with my FC, I found the eye lens situated too far down the barrel for comfort. Then there was the rubber eye cup that also restricted the view even further. The 30mm soon got the elbow after my friends 32mm volcanoe top erfle knocked the socks of the Tak 30LE with regards to both comfort and edge correction. As a consequence I'm a little cautious about Takahashi's reputation for great eyepieces. I could be wrong, but I am under the impression the LE design is a pseudo Masuyama, the same as Celestron Ultima's, Orion Ultrascopic's, Parks Gold and Baader Eudiascopics. All of the latter I value highly and have not as yet noticed any ghost images, so what's different about the LE I have no idea? I wait to be educated by those who know better than I!
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