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Everything posted by mikeDnight

  1. Imagine that. No experts ruining the planet! When are they all leaving?
  2. I found the AZ5 acceptable for my 100mm F7.4 and it did carry the 100mm F9 reasonably well too, although it was at its limit. The SW AZ5 uses worm gears and not a tangent arm as with the AZ3. Also, the AZ5 allows easy observation from the horizon to the zenith without overbalancing or the clutches slipping. However, the SW AZ4 is better built and much stronger despite its lack of slow motion controls. I've used an AZ4 now for many years and love its simplicity and solidity. Like many mounts at the cheaper end of the market something's got to give, and with all of these mounts its the tripod, unless you opt for the steel version. My own AZ4 is mounted on an old but very solid Vixen aluminium tripod, and with the clutches properly set, I can observe at very high powers without fighting with the mount. Below is a pic of my 100mm F7.4 and my friends 100mm F9 both happily mounted on SW AZ4 mounts. ☺
  3. It doubles as a bit of a man cave. Whenever the wife gets fed up with the repetitive banter between me and my friends, the observatory offers a clean and somewhat cosy retreat even in the cold of winter, as its electrically heated. And yes, it has been known to act as a dining room of sorts on occasion.
  4. The 4" apo will take higher powers than the Mak while maintaining a sharper star image, and so may prove to have the advantage in double star observing despite its smaller aperture. Again, when it comes to lunar and planetary, its sharpness will not be beaten by the Mak, with the apo sailing along at 300-400X on some targets, while the Mak would struggle to keep up. It stands to reason then that the advantage of a good apo on both stellar and lunar and planetary, then that would also translate when it comes to solar observing.Having said that, the 127mm Maksutov is a remarkably good scope, which in my view is probably the best out of the SW Mak range. The 127 is also a great portable scope. Whether you'd use the Mak much after buying an apo only time would tell.
  5. So many wow's over 40years that I wouldn't know where to begin. What i would say though, is what I believe to be the biggest game changer for me over the last ten years, is the use of a cheap binoviewer. To see a pair of the cheapest Abbe orthoscopic eyepieces very noticeably outperform a single TMB Super Monocentric eyepiece was a real jaw dropping wow moment both for me and my friends.
  6. It was my decision to down size slightly that prompted me to move to simpler, but still high quality eyepieces. I was very happy using my Equinox 120, but after buying a Equinox 80ED, I found myself using the 80mm far more often because of its ease of use and set-up. The 80ED was superb, especially with a binoviewer installed for lunar and planetary observing. At times it even gave a better view than the 120ED. So after considering the advantage of the smaller scope, I thought it would probably be a good move to go for a scope that was somewhere between the two, giving a little more resolution than the 80ED but retaining its light weight easy set-up. When I heard that Takahashi were offering a light weight 100mm fluorite apo, I couldn't resist and have never looked back. The 100DC is just as comfortable as a grab and go scope as it is as a great observatory instrument. Simplifying my eyepiece collection has also liberated several thousand pounds that had been trapped in a the form of Televue and Pentax eyepieces. In my FC100DC F7.4, my collection of excellent but old five element super plossls give me just as much joy with their piercingly sharp images. ☺
  7. I know its a 80mm to 102mm under consideration, but perhaps the 120ED Pro should be thrown into the mix. They are no longer physically than the 102ED Pro and are terrific visual refractors!
  8. An 80mm apo is a very enjoyable scope to use visually, but you'll notice a significant improvement in both brightness and detail through a 102mm apo. There's never been a better time to buy an apo refractor, particularly in the 80 to 100mm range. Whichever make you're thinking of, you'll be very unlikely to be disappointed. For some, an apochromatic refractor of around 4" aperture is all the scope they need. The second hand market has some gems at times, so you may not need to buy new!
  9. I'm going to leave answering that apparently simple question to someone else John. As for the BAA. Definitely another thread!
  10. There's an almost endless banquet of telescopes available to the amateur today, and this may at times create some confusion for a newcomer to the hobby. So without going into all the intricate differences in designs and capabilities of every telescope, I was wondering what you would consider to be a "serious telescope"? For me, I've have some amazing times at the eyepiece of a 3" refractor and a 4.5" reflector, so on a personal level, I could play quite merrily with scopes of this aperture and not get fed up. Where does your heart lie and why?
  11. What's imaging? Observing through the telescope is all i've ever done and almost certainly all I'll ever do. I'm fortunate to have a couple of excellent visual observers to associate with locally (good friends), so observing is very much alive and healthy in my little world. I do think the skill of observers is on the wane though, as many today just assume you need to either have a large aperture scope to see anything of worth, or you need to live on Hawaii - neither of which is true!
  12. It's only a possible maybe for me at this stage on the Saturday.I won't be going to any talks though!
  13. That would look impressive, and be stunning on the Moon & planets. You've talked me into it Alan. I'm secretly hoping that Peter Drew will permanently loan me his 8.5" refractor, but I may be hoping against hope!
  14. If someone would Photoshop a nice German EQ and rotating tube rings on the image, I think I'd be happier.
  15. It does show some nice views Doug, but ive only used it a few times since it arrived. I find the OO dob mount an awful contraption though, so it puts me off using it. I've probably used it around five or six times so far.
  16. Hi Glob, Unless we're really fortunate, I think most amateurs are affected by either street lighting or flood lighting to some degree. It helps if you can find pleasure in observing things that wouldn't normally be your number one choice. I know a few astronomers who used to be keen deep sky observers, but because of the massive increase in both light pollution and aircraft vapour trails destroying our view, some now lean towards lunar and planetary observing from town. There's still a great deal to see even with a small scope in the deep sky, if you can find a way of blocking out the light sources that affect you most. Ive found that the biggest problem for me is the light entering my eye from my surroundings. Covering your head and eyepiece with a blackout hood of some sort will massively improve your dark adaption. Some on SGL have constructed high fences that act as light shields and wind breaks, while others have built small observatories, the simplest being a run-off roof shed. Personally I love the moon and planets and find them to be an endless source of interest and wonder. They are dynamic and you never know what delights you're going to see if you observe carefully. And light pollution doesn't affect them to the same degree as it does the deep sky. Attached is a pic of the flood lights thoughtfully placed by the council, which light up a football pitch near to me. Nobody uses the pitch at night! Thankfully they do go off at 10pm. My answer to the problem was to build a small run-off roof observatory, from which even deep sky objects can be observed successfully despite the lighting problem.
  17. I'd certainly like to observe through a DZ over a few nights, as I'm intrigued as to how any 4" refractor could possibly give a better visual image than that produced by the DL. Perhaps imaging is where the DZ will shine over the other versions. In any case, my little DC is staying right where it is!
  18. There are a good number of Takahashi FC 100 fans here on SGL. With the introduction of the new FC100DZ F8.2 by Takahashi, I'm wondering how others feel about this new scope? The DZ has a retractable dew shield, which is a positive move, but other than that, I'm at a bit of a loss as to any advantages over the DC/DF or the DL. It may of course be that Tak are phasing out the F7.4 and F9 models, or could it be Canon Optron calling the shots?
  19. The Orion nebula appears green in a 4" and the colour intensifies as aperture increases, especially when you're well dark adapted. Also, the double cluster in Perseus is a colourful and pleasing object to study. One of the pass times I enjoy, is choosing a constellation, and examining each of its more obvious stars for binaries and their contrasting colours.
  20. That crossed my mind too Scott. The old Vixen custom D would handle a 100mm F7.4. I suppose that if the mount is Tak quality, it may be worth buying the full outfit just for the mount?
  21. You could try constructing a decking area from which to observe, and which could double as a seating area for every day use.
  22. Remaining comfortable and dark adapted under a black-out hood for upto an hour can be a challenge, but I've seen some difficult targets by doing so. I also find that just gently nudging the field fractionally and regularly, can draw my eyes attention to the faintest wisps of nebulosity. And letting my eye scan the field naturally rather than forcing just one area of the retina to do all the work, can help me to remain visually relaxed.
  23. My wife often tells me that patience is a virtue, seldom possessed by women and never possessed by men. You've just proved her so wrong! Patiently waiting for a Vixen FL102 has definitely paid off. The AZ4 has been spray painted Rob. The mount is easy to strip down and its surface lends itself to spray painting, so it's easy to get a close match to Vixen or Takahashi colours. Below is one I painted to closely match both my Vixen tripod and Takahashi clam shell. It's not an exact match with either, but I like it better than the standard black of the AZ4. I also have one in a duckegg blue colour, which seems to go well with the blue on my Tak.
  24. Definitely one of the best 4" refractors ever made! Congratulations on finding such a gem of a scope Rob.
  25. I'd say that things are just starting to get interesting at X150 Rob. Personally I'd choose a 5mm over a 6mm for your excellent refractor. A 5mm Pentax XW would give stunning views, but I wouldn't leave it at that. I'd suggest you also buy the 3.5mm. Your scope will cruise along at 100X per inch on the Moon on a good night, because it is such a high quality instrument. I'm quite comfortable with short eye relief eyepieces, and so I'm fond of the Vixen HR eyepieces, and find even the 2mm comes in handy. I've even barlowed it on my Tak FC100DC with pleasing results. I never consider exit pupil or eyepiece calculators. If it works for me I'll use it! I do like bino viewing though, and get amazing views using cheap longer focal length eyepieces along with a barlow, that are every bit as good as the views through high end mono eyepiece views. Stu mentioned above, that he'd seen the alpine valley through his 100mm refractor, and I too have seen it several times through my own 100mm scope. Your Vixen will definitely show it also Rob, when the lunation and a steady atmosphere allows. To me I appears as a subtle, broken white line, just slightly brighter than the mare floor of the valley. The best I ever saw it was when I was using a pair of 15mm Vixen Lanthanum eyepieces in my barlowed binoviewer. So don't be afraid of pushing your scope well over the 50X per inch limit. It will thank you for it!
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