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About mikeDnight

  • Rank
    Sub Dwarf
  • Birthday 04/02/62

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. New Apo on the block

    It is hard to imagine the 5mm aperture increase offering any significant advantage in light grasp or resolution, and to best the SW 120ED in performance will be a big ask at such low prices. I would imagine the 125 to perform at a similar level to the 120 but still a worthwhile scope to own. At similar apertures, it is the optical figure that makes the most obvious difference in performance, and high levels of figure cost time and money. All will be revealed when these new scopes are pushed to their limit on planetary. I found the 120ED to reach its comfort zone at around X70 per inch where most scopes level out at X50. By comparison a Canon Optron lens will sail along at X100 to X120 per inch, but the cost would be double that of the 125mm ED doublet. It's exciting, and time will tell just how the 125 really performs alongside a FS128 at high power on a steady night.
  2. Attached are some pics of a new 125mm ED doublet being sold by different vendors that make great claims. Apparently, there is a review in AN ( which I haven't read ), but in which Ade Ashford to make the remarkable claim that this new ED is better than the Tak FS128. Ade makes the comparison of this scope with the Tak from memory which sounds alarm bells to me, and undermines the accuracy of the comparison. He claims the Tak FS128 gives a warm image, which also leads to a big ? mark over the review, as the Tak FS128 is as ice cold as ice cold gets. Any warmth would be due the the eyepiece type used. Naglers for example give a warmer cast than the XW's, and also introduce more lateral colour. It would be good to get some hands on experience views of this new 125mm F7.8 ED from experienced observers if anyone has managed to get their hands on one yet. The attached images seem to show that this is the same scope being offered but that the AA version has a different focuser.
  3. Spiral Cluster

    Another excellent sketch Richard. I thought it was a photograph at first glance.
  4. No dew heater tapes in use? Your thought please

    Hi Alan, No the Polaris doesn't replace the AZ5. I saw the Polaris advertised cheap and couldn't resist. I knew there wouldn't be an unresolvable problem with it and it took me just 6 minutes to rectify the backlash. It's buttery smooth in both axes now with zero backlash. I still love the AZ5 for its light weight design with slow motion controls as I can easily carry the whole set-up with no real effort.
  5. No dew heater tapes in use? Your thought please

    Hi Stu, Having used the GP's in altaz mode I found them smooth and solid, but they need a bit of jiggery pokery to get them into the altaz position. A couple of weeks ago I bought a Vixen Polaris for this very purpose. It was advertised as being only fit for spare parts, but after just a slight adjustment, it was soon back to perfect working condition. I think both mounts are a great way to get a cheap high end altaz. I'm sure Paul feels similarly. The beauty of the FC100DC & DF is that the GP and Polaris don't need the counter weight to balance the scope.
  6. No dew heater tapes in use? Your thought please

    Hi Alan, I've never ever used a dew heater tape so am unqualified to comment on their effectiveness. Many times in the past I would bring my refractors in from a night's observing with the tube, and even the lens caked in ice. I simply let them thaw out uncapped over night, and there was never any problem. However, with my latest scope, the Tak FC100DC, I got to thinking that if I dress up warm then why not dress my scope up too? So I made a extendable dew shield from black flexible plastic, lined it with black felt and bought some Velcro strip to link it together. On most nights it works perfectly and the objective has never actually dewed over. On the freezing nights I wrap a length of foam rubber camping mat around my scope as well as the dew shield, just to help keep the ice at bay. It works! Attached are pics of my naked scope, then semi dressed followed by fully clothed.
  7. How to get in trouble with my partner

    You should point out to her that the black bags match perfectly with the black hearth and fire surround. I think its all tastefully set out. What's not to like?!
  8. Personally I think the 5mm XW is one of the finest eyepieces available. I find with my 4" refractor that the E & F stars in the trapezium show up more easily in the 10mm XW, but atmospheric turbulence can wash them out easily. You'll have a ball revisiting your favourite DSO's with your new 5mm XW. Enjoy the adventure!
  9. Which book/atlas?

    Hi Paz, Here are the Webb Society's double star charts, which are laminated for field use. I think they cost around £10 for the set and are well worth obtaining from the society if doubles interest you.
  10. Which book/atlas?

    Sorry, I mistakenly showed the wrong atlas, though it does contain numerous double stars. The Webb Society does offer double star maps as separate sheets, which may be of interest if you contact them.
  11. Which book/atlas?

    The Webb Society publish a good double star atlas which may be worth adding to your collection.
  12. The Untidiest Cables competition

    You should get at least some bonus points for having a tube ring fetish.
  13. The Untidiest Cables competition

    I don't suppose that even if by adding these pics together I'd stand any chance of becoming a member of the untidy league?!
  14. Binoviewing with a 'weak' eye

    Hi Mark, May be exercising the weak eye by using it during mono viewing occasionally may prove beneficial over time, and perhaps regular bino viewing could ultimately help your eye to focus better. However, if it detracts from your observing experience, then I think I'd stick with your quality occulars for mono viewing.
  15. I think you'd be fine with mild steel. My pier is 3mm square steel bedded in postcrete and its super solid. It would easily carry a 6" F15 refractor or a 12" F5 or 6 Newt. Infact i can pretty much swing from it without any problems.