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Everything posted by mikeDnight

  1. So you too remove the lens cap and inhale deeply? I thought i was the only nutter round these parts.
  2. I think your motives are sound Rob. There have been true classics over the years that still have a faithful following and that still grab my attention no matter how often I see them. Unitron is the brand I still lust after, even though a modern apo or ED is likely to be a better scope in nearly every way, apart from looks. Its an illness! When I first saw through a SW120ED I thought it was the nearest thing to the views through a Takahashi FS128 I'd seen. It was very Tak! Probably in buying a Tak you are ensuring a truly high spec lens from Canon Optron, where as the SW ED hasn't got the same guaranteed quality control. The difference may be the SW may display a little more SA and CA, but unless you like to heap on the magnification way above 300X to say 500X or even 1000X, you're unlikely to notice a world of difference.
  3. 8' by 12' sounds just about right. When my wife gave me the go ahead for an observatory I made it 8' by 7', which is good for my 4" refractor. It's amazing though how tight it can get when there are three people in there, so I would increase the size if I could. I'd also build a dome rather than a ror as it is at the moment. But I'd always build it square or rectangular, never round, as having corners realty improves the useable space. You might be able to get an idea from the pic's below how cramped it might get, and how welcome the corners are for storage and seating.
  4. It's an interesting question which I've thought about many times. A couple of decades ago there was a noticeable gap between a good refractor and a really good refractor. Takahashi, Astro Physics, Vixen, and the new boy on the block at the time TMB offered some of the best scopes you could get. Today that gap has closed considerably with undeniably superb scopes coming from China. I've observed with my Takahashi refractor alongside supposedly lesser apo refractors, but have been completely happy with the "lesser apo" refractor. So why pay all that money for a Tak? I suppose its because I feel I deserve the technically finest optics I can afford, just because I love the hobby so much. What it is not though is snobbery. All i ever wanted was a good 4" refractor. I'd be happy with a classic 4" F15 Unitron or a beautiful 4" F15 Vixen achromat, but it makes more sense today to aim for a much shorter 4" apo, especially as i don't limbo so easily these days. The truth is I wish everyone were able to have the scope of their dreams. When a friend of mine told me in 2002 that he paid £1000 per year to be a member of a golf club, and that he also had to pay another £15 each time he wanted to play a game, it kind of put things into perspective for me. A really good scope didn't seem to be that expensive after all, especially when you consider that once it's paid for its yours for life. Just don't read eyepiece threads!
  5. I have seen this before but can't remember the reason for the warning. It's probably perfectly safe, although I'd be inclined to enquire about it from the manufacturer or possibly return it out of principle.
  6. Thanks John. Yes I agree they underestimate a scopes capabilities. I've often heard it said that a 6" is limited to mag 13, yet Leslie Peltier saw mag 14 in his 6" F8 achro, and that would have had uncoated optics. It would make an interesting experiment for observers to really push their scopes to see just where the true magnitude limit lies. I suppose under laboratory conditions dark adaption isn't a factor, or that if an electronic sensor of some sort is used, it lacks the necessary rodopsin.
  7. Here's a sketch of M57 as observed through a 100mm apo just for you. ☺ It takes time to get properly dark adapted, but with carful observation and the use of averted vision its amazing how the detail comes into view. Here's another nice object, M1 the Crab nebula, and again the finer detail flickers in and out of view when using averted vision. This sketch was made using a 128mm apo. Below is the old classic that's worth searching for, The Messier Album and John Mallas with his beautiful 4" Unitron refractor.
  8. Hopefully things will get better as Venus grows in apparent size and gains altitude. ☺
  9. Here are a few of my own sketches which might inspire you to have a go at sketching. It really isnt as difficult as it might appear. You can sketch with a normal graphite pencil, take an image of the drawing, then convert it into negative on your tablet or computer. ☺ M27 Dumbbell nebula M
  10. I haven't been observing Venus so far this apparition, but I've just done a search of some of my past observations of the planet. Perhapse the sketches below might be of interest. Of course, when it comes to Venus, sketching detail is generally drawn with more intensity than the subtle reality.
  11. Hi Joe, Venus does indeed show subtle variations along its terminator. These are often more easily detected as the planet grows in size, and particularly when it displays a crescent phase. Not everyone is able to see it, and those who can will admit it takes careful study, as you yourself stated in your case. The late great british planetary observer and author Richard Baum proved the existance of the features through experiment many years ago. Richard studied Venus at length and made many beautiful observational sketches. Below: Richard Baum. There have been numerous threads and sketches here on SGL discussing the features seen on Venus cloud tops, but also there have been many sketches posted, which may be something you might like to do a search for.
  12. Anything by Stephen James Omeara could be good, as he often includes sketches made at the eyepiece. Another old one, which you may be able to obtain second hand, is The Messier Album by Mallas and Kramer. John Mallas made complementary sketches using his 4" F15 Unitron refractor to Kramers 12" reflector photographs, and the book is still valuable despite being decades old. Do you sketch Kostas? It may be that you could compile your own personal sketch book of deep sky objects as seen through your own scope, which could be far better than much of what's out there. Some of Mallas' sketches bare little resemblance to the views as seen through modern eyepieces, while Omeara's sketches, though relatable, often include unrealistic linear markings not seen in reality.
  13. I think that if you can keep fresh in your mind the feeling you had when you first looked through a particular eyepiece, You'd be able to pick out those special jewels that, for whatever reason, makes them stand out ahead of the rest. With the Naglers, my absolute favorite was the smooth barreled 7mm, which i prefered optically to the later version. Then the 13mm, 20mm and of course the 31mm Naglers stand out as special to me.
  14. I'm really looking forward to reading about your adventures with this beauty Michael. It's a very handsome looking scope, which is a bonus, as you can stare at it lustfully when its raining.
  15. I've just had another session with the 72mm but this time i used a Tak prism and an old but immaculate 35mm Ultima. It's a patch made if not in heaven, then for heaven. Glorious peppered star fields to die for. Turning to the Moon, I decided to use my Vixen High Resolution eyepieces. They were great, displaying razor sharp views even with the 1.6mm giving ~263X. Testement really to the scopes good optics.
  16. It was initially two books, if books can be thought of as equipment. The Observers book of Astronomy by Patrick Moore, and Guide to the Moon, also by Patrick Moore. My first scope was a 60mm Prinz Astral 500, which gave me my first real views of the Moon, planets and Sun spots. I imagine the Prinz Astral refractors are responsible for ignighting many an astronomical flame in the hearts of budding young stargazers. I was 18 years old when I got bitten.
  17. A 2" mirror diagonal may be useful if you buy a bigger scope in the future, but with the 72mm ED it could be overkill. Id probably go for a 1.25" diagonal. For example, the 35mm 1.25" eyepiece I have in my 72mm as its lowest power gives 12X magnification and a 4° true field. Any wider and I'd have to tie a plank to my backside to stop me falling in. Plus at such low power the sky background can be quite bright. It's often better to observe deep sky targets such as the Messier objects while using a medium range eyepiece. I find the 17.5mm and 12.5mm Morpheus to be ideal, with the 12.5mm being my prefered eyepiece in the 72mm.
  18. Thanks for sharing your experience with your FS60Q and Tak Erfle Malcolm. It's always a pleasure to read enthusiastic reports about beautiful refractors. I haven't yet used a 28mm Tak Erfle, but I believe from reports I've read that it is a significantly better choice than the 30mm LE.
  19. I was using Baader Morpheus which are 1.25" and have a 76° apparent field. I've owned 100° Ethos but find I can't see the entire field without rolling my eye unnaturally, so 70° apparent field eyepieces are more comfortable to use for me. Again, personally, I'd suggest 1.25" eyepieces and a good quality 1.25" diagonal. When I first got the 72mm ED I used a 2" diagonal and 2" Hilux eyepiece, but today I replaced the 2" mirror diagonal with my Takahashi 1.25" prism diagonal. With a 35mm Celestron Ultima giving aprox 50° and 12X the view of the surrounding countryside and cottages is really quite breathtaking. On the night sky and from a dark site the star fields should be really pretty.
  20. I was admiring some glorious star fields a couple of nights ago using my newly acquired SW 72mm Evostar ED and 17.5mm & 12.5mm Morpheus eyepieces The views were awesome, especially through the 12.5mm which give a darker sky background, and enhancing the visibility of the Orion nebula. Then turning the 72 on the Moon, and using nothing more exotic than a good quality super plossl, the views were as sharp as a tack. The 72 ED is a delightful scope to use. I'm not sure I'd bother with a goto. I'd rather invest in a nice sky atlas and a simple Altazimuth like the AZ5 and just enjoy exploring the sky.
  21. No its a genuine Vixen pier Alan. It suddenly appeared earlier this year when my wife wasn't looking. I thought it would provide a more space saving option than a tripod in the house, as I tend to leave my Tak on a mount rather than putting it in a bag or case. The reasons for doing that are 1) It allow as any moisture on the tube after a night's observing to evaporate fully. 2) It gives me something to admire when its raining cat's and dog's, and 3) I'm inherently lazy, and found that if I do put my scope away in its protective bag, I often can't be bothered to mess around unzipping the bag to get my scope and then having to dry it off again before it goes back into the bag. Then finding somewhere to put the bag where its not in the way. With the scope already on an EQ in the house, I can grab the tube assembly in seconds and carry it out to the observatory.
  22. Here's my 72mm ED addition to the family on a Unitron Altazimuth mount.
  23. Thanks Dave. I think it was worth waiting until a worthy scope came along to sit atop of such a lovely classic mount. I would have liked a Unitron but beggars can't be choosers, and the 72mm is probably a better scope in reality. I'm happy you're happy that your mount has finally found a new lease of life.
  24. Your Telementor looks great on the Unitron mount Stu. It would look the part in the corner of a study.
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