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About mikeDnight

  • Rank
    Brown Dwarf
  • Birthday 04/02/1962

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

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  1. mikeDnight

    First daylight observation of Venus

    That's an excellent sketch N3ptune, and there appears to be a good match for the shadings and brighter areas with those on the attachment you added. My scope is only small, so the image isn't overly bright and I rarely feel the need for filters. On your 200mm I'd imagine the brilliance of the planet could overpower the subtle cloud top features, so using filters is a wise decision. I believe Wrattan 11 & 14 yellow filters are good for Venus and I've had some success with Wratten 21 orange. Last year, when Venus was a very thin crescent, I used Wratten 80A blue filters just placed over the eyepieces in my binoviewer, and was very impressed by the apparent reduction in turbulence which noticeably sharpened the image. It's well worth experimenting to find what works best for you and your scope! Great Sketch!
  2. mikeDnight

    Venus evening of 22/5/18

    Attached is a daylight observation of Venus made on 22nd May, and along with the finished sketch is the original eyepiece drawing. It may be of interest that the 18mm Celestron Ultimas revealed the subtle cloud top detail more easily than my 16.8mm Abbe Orthoscopics. So, it may be worth trying different eyepieces with Venus if the detail is elusive.
  3. mikeDnight

    very first sketch M13

    Lovely sketch Mark. I've took the liberty of changing it to a negative, so hope you don't mind. It looks good! A template rather than a compass will get rid of the needle hole at the centre of the sketch, which might be worth considering for future drawings.
  4. mikeDnight

    Trying to decide on a mount for Tak60?

    That's right Chris, I just bought the head and attached it to a Vixen tripod.
  5. mikeDnight

    Trying to decide on a mount for Tak60?

    Personally I'd go for the AZ5 if I wanted an Altaz, but I'd prefer an EQ5 rather than the EQ3 as a g&g equatorial. The EQ5 is still light to carry, and if you attach a RA drive you can still override the motor using manual slow motions by loosening the clutch. With the EQ3, once the RA motor is attached, you can't use the manual RA as there is no clutch mechanism with the motor package.
  6. mikeDnight

    Jupiter Sketch 19/05/2018

    Nice sketch Dave. The first of many I hope! Thanks for sharing!
  7. I think the Tak Mewlon is a Dall-Kirkham Cassegrain. I can't be certain without looking it up but I think the figure on the mirrors is a parabolic primary, hyperbolic secondary, but I stand to be corrected on that if I'm wrong (corrected! - that's funny!!). I don't think its possible to create an all spherical Cassegrain without the use of a corrector of some kind.
  8. mikeDnight

    Jupiter May 18th 2018

    I've not had much joy with Jupiter so far this apparition. It seems to be lying in constant turbulence, so visible detail is very fleeting at best and often non-existent at worst. Last night represents the best view so far this year but its a long way from last years display. A few degrees higher it seems can make a massive difference! This is a poor view through the FC but I thought I'd share it anyway!
  9. mikeDnight

    Show us your Frac

    Ditto! They are truly excellent scopes!
  10. mikeDnight


    You'd be hard pushed to find any other 5" class apo that will beat it visually Jerry. It's a great scope and a great choice!
  11. My MEF focuser has been on for a couple of years or more and its worked flawlessly. I've never had a screw loose!
  12. mikeDnight

    Tak FC-100 - what will I gain?

    I agree that TV may have a placebo effect, which is in part down to the endless advertising campaigns. The advert that caused me to go for a TV NP101 said "It Is What You Want It To Be!" I fell for it! Please don't get me wrong, the 101 was possibly the best RFT I've ever used, but at high power it just struggled to deliver fine definition views. My friends Vixen 102 F6.5 ED soared ahead as a planetary scope, which unsettled me greatly, as I'd paid £3,100.00 for the TV while my friends scope cost about two thirds less. I have to admit I've never seen a flimsy scope produced by Vixen. In fact I'd class Vixen as one of the finer scope manufacturers, at least the old green and white ones were. And I'd defy anyone to dent an old Vixen tube by squeezing it, unless they are Shrek! Though Vixen used aluminium castings similar to Takahashi for their lens cells and focusers, they were extremely well made and could carry some hefty eyepieces without issue. I've not looked through the more modern incarnation of Vixen scopes, but I did get chance to fiddle around with one at a show last summer, and felt the modern focuser wasn't in the same league as the older 80's and 90's stuff. I've use 2" eyepieces many times on an old FL102 F9 and on a 102 F6.5 ED, so they did take 2"fit. Also, the FL102 was quite old yet it's lens, just like most Vixen and Tak fluorite lenses that were uncoated, was still pristine. Fungal growth will only attack a lens if its capped while still wet. Deterioration of fluorite is largely a fallacy. Old Vixen and Tak scopes were in my mind in exactly the same league, with Vixen being the more affordable, and I'd still be very happy to buy an old uncoated Vixen or Tak without losing any sleep over it.
  13. mikeDnight

    Tak FC-100 - what will I gain?

    I genuinely doubt there's any placebo effect! Takahashi are highly regarded because they are one of the very few manufacturers, if not the only manufacturer, that offers truly high end optics off the shelf. No year to a decade waiting list from Tak! Having previously owned two larger Tak fluorite refractors and foolishly selling them, i first roughed it for a year with a TV NP101, highly regarded by many but it didnt come close to a Tak in performance. I then spent six years with 120 ED's, beginning with a Pro and later two Equinox. All three were superb and far superior in performance to the stupidly expensive Televue. I did yearn for a fluorite refractor again, and after I learned that Tak has once again started production of a 100mm fluorite, I had to have one. To my eye there is a purity in the image produced by a fluorite lens that somehow seems to be lacking in most other refractors. Interestingly the SW 100 and 120 ED doublets give a very clean cool fluorite view, which was probably why I love them so much. To get the Tak I was willing to sell all the astro gear I possessed and immediately stuck everything on AB&S. As you might guess, everything I would have liked to have kept sold first, so gone were my Naglers and Ethos. As it happened, the 120 Equinox, although sold, was still in my possession for a couple of weeks after my FC100DC arrived. This gave me a fine opportunity to put the two scopes to the test in a side by side comparison. As I've said, the 120 Equinox was an amazing scope, giving piercingly sharp star images, bright views of comets and DSO's, and easily capable of whopping the socks off an 8 or even a 10 inch reflector as far as sharp lunar and planetary views were concerned. So it really does seem counterintuitive to drop in aperture, given the already great performance of the 120ED, but the very first view of Jupiter, which was high in the spring sky three years ago, confirmed I'd made the right decision for me. In the Tak while looking through cloud, Jupiters equatorial belts appeard to stand out almost in 3D as if theyed been braided around the planet. The colours in the Tak were richer and the more intricate detail was more easily discernible than in the 120 Equinox. This same effect was observerd on the following night when the sky was cloud free. Star images in the Tak were perfection, with the out of focus rings on both sides of focus as identical as I've ever seen in any telescope. I was happy to let the beautiful 120 go to its new owner after that without any real regrets. I would have liked to have kept both, but financial constraints, limited space and my owner were all factors that made keeping both impossible. I genuinely don't feel any snobbery about owning a Tak but I do feel a large measure of contentment. I'm in a nice, warm, comfortable place having only one good scope, and the benefit has been that I do a lot more observing these days than ever before. My scope is only small in aperture but performance wise, its up there with the best. As things stand at present, I can't ever see me parting with it!
  14. mikeDnight

    Tak FC-100 - what will I gain?

    I know Takahashi dont seem to advertise like many other manufacturers do, so may be thats why it may appear they are relatively unknown outside Japan. However, in the strange world of the refractor they always seem to be a hot topic of conversation. Another strange thing about Takahashi, is that they rarely offer anything but the most basic info about their scopes, and very rarely speak up themselves, but rather they let their fans bash out the intricacies, good or less good, between themselves. I remember minimalist adverts in astro mag's back in the 90's that said little more than "TAKAHASHI". Unlike the loud double page spreads of Televue and Meade, Tak were much less in your face, showing how confident Tak were in their brand.
  15. mikeDnight

    Tak FC-100 - what will I gain?

    I did find the FC100DC gave a noticeably more detailed view of Jupiter's belts and zones when I first bought it. However, my Equinox 120 was an amazing all round performer. As I'm primarily a lunar and planetary observer, I felt the Tak was all the scope I'd need to observe the things I like the most. It's also a lot lighter to carry and easier to mount than the Equinox 120, and as such I use it far more often than I did the Equinox. The Tak has the better colour correction but the difference between it and the Equinox is not that great, so colour wise you'd only fractionally improve your lot. I have been amazed at just how bright some of the dso's are in my FC100DC, but that could be due to me pushing it to its limit. If I were a visual dso observer I certainly would not replace the 120ED with an FC100. The FC will give some very good views of dso's but a 120ED will beat it. Is the Tak FC100 optically superior to the 120ED? Yes! Is it worth the increased cost? Well to me it is! Do you get a thousand poundsworth more in performance? No! Takahashi's FC100D series of refractors are probably the best 4" class refractor currently in production, with the DL as the pinnacle, so if you're after a 4" apo, then look no further. If youd like a little more aperture, then grab a 120ED as they are superb and hold their own against some of the finest high end apo's.

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