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mikeDnight

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Everything posted by mikeDnight

  1. All Budget and cheap as chips, but together they give premium performance! 16.8mm Super Abbe Orthoscopics and Revelation binoviewer, with SW 2X Delux barlow lens. Also budget, but with premium performance is my (surplus to requirements) 4mm 82° Nirvana. Sharp to the very edge and high contrast, will give any Nagler a run for its money!!
  2. I've not used the 3.5 Delos, but find it hard to imagine that it could ever beat the superlative 3.5mm XW, which is one of the best high power eyepieces ive ever owned. The XW undercut is far less savage than those of Televues, and if any of the other Televue eyepieces i've owned are anything to go by, the XW is likely to give a cooler/purer image. The massive eye lens and long eye relief of the XW makes it a very comfortable eyepiece to use. And they are significantly cheaper!
  3. The refractor is really the better option if this is going to be a keeper. It will make a superb all round instrument offering spectacular, high contrast, rich field views while giving razor sharp high definition views of the Moon and planets. Perfect star images are still another visual delight! Triplets are completely unnecessary for visual only observing, as most modern ED refractors are essentially colour free. Some high end wide field eyepieces will add more false colour to an image that the ED's objective ever would! Some years ago, Sky & Telescope printed a review of three 5" refractors and a 7" Mak newt'. Over several nights from a dark site in the US, the two triplets and one doublet, along with the Mak, were pitted against eachother. Though slight, the doublet was found to give brighter views of DSO's than either of the triplets, and all three refractors, surprisingly, offered brighter views of DSO's than the 7" Mak. The refractor will never need recolimating or recoating and will still be in perfect working order in a hundred years from now. They look good set up in the corner of a room too, and you can drool over it on those stormy winter nights, knowing it will thrill you again and again on those clear, transparent nights. And as many of our clear nights these days seem to be when the Moon is in the sky, the refractor has a powerful edge and will massively outperform the 150mm F5 Newtonian on lunar and planetary targets. Parallaxer (Jon) recently bought a beautiful 102ED with great optics mechanics, so may be have a chat with him and get some feed back.
  4. It really depends on the kind of target, but for nebulous DSO's in my 100mm refractor, I feel between 30X & 40X gives a nice dark sky background that offers great contrast. Star fields can best be viewed at 21X. With the Moon I find anything from around 130X to 370X can offer amazing views, dependant on seeing conditions. With the planet's I find 180X to 250X a good power, with Mars and Mercury being an exception, as these seem to benefit from magnifications of anything up to to 500X, again dependant on seeing but also on disc diameter in arc seconds.
  5. Im really glad you rekindled your appreciation for our beautiful Moon, and had such an enjoyable session observing it. To me the Moon is the most wonderful object in our sky to observe. You rarely ever see exactly the same lunation where the shadows precisely replicate a previous observation, and the alien terrain is breathtaking, even in a good but small aperture scope it is spectacular. I like observing pretty much any kind of object, but the Moon has to be my favourite target of all. Fortunately for everyone else, its not around all the time, but if it were up to me I'd have it in our skies every night.
  6. I never used the twist up eye shield on my XW's and didn't experience a problem with my eyelashes touching the eye lens on any of them. I did get the blackout on occasion, but that was due to me letting my eye wander off axis. I'm not sure what to think of extendable eye shields. Perhaps I'm not keen on letting my eye touch the eyepiece body, as it can introduce some vibration when my big hooter touches the side of the side of the eyepiece. Eye shields are a good idea in principle though, as they help to keep the eye on axis and offer a measure of shielding from stray light.
  7. My budget set consists of five element pseudo Masuyama's. Each one is a jewel! 35mm, 2X 25mm, 2x 18mm, 2x 12.5mm, 2X 7.5mm and a 2X Ultima barlow (all but the 35mm are pairs for my binoviewer, but are superb on their owm)!
  8. Really John?! There isn't even room in your eyepiece case for just a tiny addition or two, or three?? Floppy says "They are really cute." But don't let me try and tempt you!
  9. I've had a fab night observing the Moon, which tonight showed a spectacular terminator. As the night went on, I decided to take a look at the tiny white spot Linne, after reading an article about its mysterious history. Madler described it as a definite crater, but most other seasoned lunar observers see it merely as a featureless white spot. Some make note of a tiny crater pit at the summit. Situated on the Mare lava plane of Serenitatis, Linne is an easy target to find. Attached is a sketch of tonight's observation of Linne, using an FC100DC Takahashi refractor and Vixen 3.4mm HR & 2mm HR eyepieces, giving magnifications of 218X & 370X respectively.
  10. Don't look at this then! It might not seem like much to look at, but its a massively impressive view and far better than I've ever seen through anyother eyepiece.
  11. Looking at the Moon right now - 1810 UT March 15, there are a couple of rille's visible that have eluded visual and imaging observers. These features I first noticed just over two years ago and have no real difficulty in detecting them each time I observe Werner in the southern uplands, a little north and east of Tycho. The rilles extend, one from each of the two central mountain peaks towards the southern wall. They can be seen over several nights, but look now if you can. Take a look and bag a real target of interest. I see these rille's with relative ease in my Tak FC100DC from 133X and up. ( Some images hint at these rilles in exactly the same position as my visual observations recorded them, so imaging them would be good, though may be challenging). Wilkins visually detected one rille using the 33" Maudon refractor but they are obvious in much smaller, sharp scopes.
  12. I had a 2.5mm LV and used it many times to great benefit with my FC100DC Stu. I think its a great eyepiece thats become unfashionable due to its narrow field, but at 296X in the 100mm Tak, it gave a useable image scale and a reasonably sharp view of Mars at only 4.8" arc. A very nice eyepiece IMHO!
  13. Hi Jack, There's something else you can try to bare in mind, and that is not to stare directly at the objectvyoure looking at. The retina in your eye will have areas that are more sensitive to light than others. The cells known as Cones are colour sensitive and are situated at the centre of the retina. Under low light conditiond they don't work too well, so astronomers tend to use the Rod cells that are situated around the central group of Cone cells., thesr are far more numerous and far more sensitive to low light conditions. Rods produce black and white images, so don't be troubled by a lack of colour! This means that to get a better view of a nebula in your telescope, you'll need to look at it slightly off axis. This is called Averted Vision and is a very effective was of seeing more detail. As well as using averted vision, you will need to shield yourself from any interfering stray light. When in dark conditions the eye releases a chemical called rodipsin (visual purple), which effectively super charges the light sensitive rod cells. Bright light will stop rodipsin from being released, so keep yourself and your scope away from direct light sources if possible. Relax your eye as you look through your telescope. By doing so it will naturally scan the object on view, allowing your brain to build up a more detailed image of subtle features. Averted Vision can also help in detecting fine or subtle detail on brighter lunar and planetary features too, as certain areas of everyone's retains will have their sweet spots where there is a higher level of sensitivity. Don't think about it too much, just let your eye relax and it will do the work for you.
  14. Two years ! You should be coming up for parole before long Neil, if you play your cards right. Just don't let anyone catch you talking to those with life sentences though!
  15. I find hand held red torches better, as they can be directed more accurately and are far less likely to irritate other observers who are trying to retain their dark adaption. Carrots are good too! ☺
  16. I'd need a bigger lens and the help of someone who is an expert in airbrushing!
  17. Here's a few sobering comments from a seasoned refractor aficionado from over the pond that may be worth pondering. However, having seen the 102ED F11 at Kettering over the weekend, I have to say it isn't as physically imposing as it sounds. And although in Paul's image above it looks a beast, I thought it was surprisingly small in the flesh, and not in the same mounting bracket as a 4" F15 Vixen or Unitron/Polarex.
  18. Before you buy anything, check out Bill Polini's excellent review on CN regarding the Baader Morpheus!
  19. Now there's an SGL calender opportunity for 2020 best avoided!
  20. I don't think you need to worry! A 150mm scope is a very powerful tool and could serve you well for a lifetime. Maksutov's have a well deserved reputation for producing sharp high definition views, so what you feel you may lose in light grasp and resolution, may be compensated for with finer definition and contrast.
  21. If its frustrating you you're doing it all wrong. Take a chill-pill! Forget camera's, computer's and accurate alignement; stick a low power eyepiece in your scope and go on a mystery tour around the sky.
  22. You could look out for an older Vixen tripod. I use an older Vixen tripod that is both taller than the SW aluminium version and significantly stronger in every respect. The Chinese aluminium tripods are too short, have too narrow a spread and use plastic parts, all of which weaken them. Vixen tripods are by comparison, much more substantial and very solid. I wouldn't part with mine, so if you see one for sale, grab it and run. I'm 6 feet tall and the tripod in the image below isn't fully extended. To me its as solid as any tubular steel tripod I've used and considerably lighter, and its all metal construction. When i bought my Vixen GP, the tripod came with the mount and was advertised by the seller as being a HAL (Heavy Duty Aluminium) tripod. That may be the case as it is definitely a substantial tripod, but is of a different design to the more modern HAL tripods that Vixen produce, which are of triangular section aluminium.
  23. I did manage a short session myself before tea. The sky was still bright at 5pm and there was almost continuous cloud, thinning at times with the occasional clear sucker hole. My real reason for looking at the Moon under such conditions wasn't really to observe its features, but to try a few new eyepieces I've recently acquired. Surprisingly and despite the wind and cloud, the view was really quite steady and the features sharp. I first wanted to try my 17.5mm Morpheus, which gave a lovely view at 42X, but as with all wide field eyepieces it revealed a little lateral colour, especially at the edge of the field, which was probably made more evident by the bright sky background. Fantastic eyepiece though! Then swapping the 17.5 for a 3.4mm Vixen HR I was amazed at the wonderfully sharp view despite the relatively high magnification of 218X. Again the conditions would suggest a poor view, but the view was spectacular. Finally, I attached my binoviewer to get my first view through a pair of 25mm Parks Gold pseudo Masuyama's. With a 2X Ultima barlow on the BV these eyepieces proved to be truly delicious. At a mild magnification of around 133X (the 2x Ultima amplifies 2.25x), the view was outstanding, with crisp colour free images and great eye relief. The magnification gave the impression of being much higher! I can't wait for a truly clear night with the Moon, and a Moonless night with the 17.5 Morpheus. I don't think I've ever been so content with my eyepieces!!
  24. I admire your determination to grab a quick session despite the odds Alan. The weather has been pretty rubbish since weekend, which I'm blaming on the Practical Astronomy Event which was held at Kettering. It was a great day with great scopes etc on show. There must have been a lot of astro gear bought to turn the weather so bad! Anyhow, you had an enjoyable session that you wouldn't have had if you'd not given it a go.
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