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mikeDnight last won the day on March 15 2019

mikeDnight had the most liked content!

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6,804 Excellent

About mikeDnight

  • Rank
    White 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. The Mak is a great scope, but the refractor should be able to deliver equally high mag views with even sharper star images, along with great definition and contrast. But Mak's are relatively low cost, so there'd be no harm in having one as a complementary scope. Generally the price of a refractor can be viewed as a measure of its optical quality or complexity. Often, the better optic will be able to be pushed to a higher level of performance, where the lower quality lens will generally begin to lag behind by comparison.
  2. There's a very noticeable jump in performance between a good 5" and a 4" refractor, but if the 130mm demands more effort to set up, would that potentially mean it would be used less? Also, a top quality 107mm apo is a formidable scope in the right hands, and would be so much easier to set up and take down at a moment's notice. APM have a well deserved reputation and that should be considered carefully before deciding on the 130 just because its more aperture. My old FS128 would take around ten minutes to set up on its permanent pier in my garden. I'd have to uncover the mount and carry out the power pack, then go back in for the refractor which was big and looked more like a 6" in its build, then I'd go back in for my eyepiece case; then when I was tired and frozen I'd have to go through the whole process in reverse. As a consequence, there would be times when I'd look for excuses why not to observe. Conversely, since I've had my FC100DC, I've done more observing over the course of each year than I've ever done. The 100mm can be set up in two to three minutes and I'm observing. It's quite liberating really, and despite the smaller aperture I'm still seeing amazing things and having a great time. You may find with the 107mm APM that you wouldn't use a Mak much.
  3. The FS128 is the only telescope I deeply regret selling. If I could afford it, I'd buy your beautiful FS128 off you in a heart beat. May be your heart is telling you something, like mine did, but I didn't listen to mine. If I could rewind the clock, knowing how I feel now, I would never have let it go. Mars is going to put on a great show this year Nicos, so you might miss a perfect opportunity to really see your FS128 shine. Just thinking out loud!
  4. That's a fantastic, set-up Stu! The Vixens always stop me in my tracks whenever or wherever I see them. In 2005 I was at the Astronomy Centre in Todmorden on an open evening event. I was using the Vixen FL102 in the main dome, as out on the moors it was wild. Everyone who looked through that scope on that night was wowed by its stunning planetary performance. Often, my passion for the Vixen would rub some members up the wrong way - just a little; hard to imagine i know! (This was always light hearted banter and never anything nasty), but the Vixen did have its loyal followers and nothing would sway them, much to the annoyance of the reflector and SCT users. One elderly man came over to the Vixen late in the evening, took a long hard look through the eyepice at a glorious Saturn with open rings, and standing back said "I've looked through all the telescopes tonight. Why is this one 'so much better' than the others?" Fine praise indeed from someone with no axe to grind. Of course me being me, couldn't resist rubbing it in a little, but i always position myself for a quick get-away, just incase Tony, a giant of a man who was in love with his Meade SCT, got it into his head to kill me. It was all good fun! Happy days!! I love the Vixen green curtain backdrop too. It's very telescope showroon ish!
  5. I'm pretty certain you'll get lateral colour with any wide angle eyepiece. It's just the nature of the beast. There's noticeable LC with my 17.5mm Morpheus but I don't notice anything around stars, just the moon; but its not a lunar eyepiece. My narrower field pseudo Masuyama's are free of false colour. Horses for courses I suppose.
  6. I've always liked the look of the Tal EQ as it looks a bit retro compared to today's girly white things, many of which don't even have slow motion controls. The only thing I've never been keen on on any mount are tangent arms, and the Tal uses tangent arm controls from what I remember. Still, tangent manual controls are better than no manual controls. Also, just look at those setting circles! What a great find!!
  7. The last time I used the 10" Newtonian Paul, was to observe Mars when it was around 5" arc, and despite the greater resolution of the 10", the 100mm Takahashi gave a better defined view of the albedo features. Others may feel differently but I know what works best for me.
  8. I got a really poor CSE in maths in 1978, yet despite that, there's at least seven of us so far! Sorry! I forgot to include myself! 7+1=8
  9. I enjoyed this a couple of years ago and its even better placed now, so will definitely be there with possibly three others. So there'll be at least four folk there. Should be good!
  10. I'm glad you found what you wanted Martin. I wasn't sure which thread you were looking for so I sent you a selection of sketches, in the hope I'd include the right ones.
  11. Hi Mike any chance of posting the link to one of your posts where you showed some sketches you did? I can't seem to find it, I want to show my wife what you can see with a 100mm Tak.

    I think you were commenting on someone buying an Altair Astro refractor.

    Thank you,


    1. mikeDnight


      Hi Martin,

      Gosh, I'm struggling to remember which post it was as I've posted so much lately. What i can do though is send you some images of the sketches I've made using the FC100DC. The chances are the pics you're looking for will be among the images I send. I'm mainly interested in lunar and planetary these days but I've also made quite a number of deep sky sketches too, so I'll send you a mix.

      Kind regards,


    2. mikeDnight


      Hi Martin,

      Below are a number of sketches all made using the Takahashi FC100DC, and all were made under reasonable to good conditions. For the deep sky observations I took every precaution to block out stray light. My little observatory has blacked out walls and floor and when observing outside the observatory, I use a blackout blanket over my head and eyepiece to maintain dark adaption as far as possible. When I find a deep sky object I study it for some time, rather than quickly moving on to the next. That way I allow the subtle detail to reveal itself.

      The Moon:








      The planets:







      Deep Sky:







    3. Martin13


      Wow, I really love the sketches.

      Thank you for sharing them with me Mike.


  12. That did it for me too John. I'd stare longingly at the pic of Patrick's 5"refractor in the "Observers Book Of Astronomy". His reflectors left me cold, but that may have in part at least, been because Patrick promoted the 3" refractor equals a 6" reflector myth. I still have that book 40 years later and i still look longingly at his 5" frac'. Its an illness!
  13. That's a wonderful report and a kick up my rear to get moving sooner in the morning. I did look out around 4am but it was quite cloudy and went back to bed. It's easy to chicken out when there's the slightest excuse! ☺
  14. Sometimes it's nice to have a complete rethink. For me its a gentlemanly pursuit that should be a pleasure and not a chore. I totally get the decision to go totally solar, and you may very well be completely happy doing that. But then on those mild spring evenings when the Moon is high in a beautiful clear sky, or you feel like a quick look at Jupiter, Saturn or Mars, then a nice 4" refractor is a light weight but powerful tool to have in your armoury. Great for solar too!
  15. Thanks guy's. Comfort is important. Anything that improves you comfort and removes unnecessary distractions will increase your observing experience, and you'll see more. The attached sketch of IC474 took me an hour at the eyepiece. It is currently the most difficult object I've seen in my 100mm scope. If I'd have been uncomfortable I'd have given up after a few minutes, convincing myself the nebula is beyond my scopes ability. flipping the sketch below you can now compare the visual with the accompanying image. notice the flame nebula next to Alnitak! see sketch below:
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