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About Highburymark

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  1. ......particularly from here in cloud covered London.
  2. Great picture - a tangible feeling of expectation and excitement. One of the better feelings life has to offer.
  3. Slower than a C6 at F/12, and presumably diffraction spikes if you want to image. Good price though
  4. It makes an excellent travel scope - and if you are going to dark skies, those extra 8mm make a difference. It's relatively fast at F/6.25, but the optics/CA control are very good indeed - I would recommend it without hesitation
  5. Hi Jose - amazing set up you have - I lived in Barcelona for a year back in the late 1980s - just about my favourite city - Welcome to SGL!
  6. I'm with Mike on this. First, I share the experience of having my best ever view of Mars with a 3-6 Nagler zoom which I used as a travel eyepiece for a few years - but I am now settled with 3mm and 4mm Delites - as sharp and bright as any planetary eyepiece I've tried - light and comfortable too with decent fov and 20mm eye relief. To be honest, the differences between top EPs are often so small that it's more personal aspects like comfort which seem to make the difference.
  7. I had a C6 first - maybe the problem was that it was only my second telescope, and the first was a superb Meade Maksutov, which was a hard act to follow. The optics on those Meade scopes were very good indeed, rather better than the electronics. I did a lot of research before I later bought my C8, and it was users in the US in particular who reported varying quality of SCTs - how the best were outstanding, and if you found one, you should hold onto it.
  8. Agree with all the advice but I think there is a variation in quality between the best SCTs and the rest - less so these days than 20 years ago perhaps but still apparent. One I had appeared to be perfectly collimated yet never provided sharp stars. A C8 Edge I had was a lot better, though couldn't compete with an excellent apo-like Mak on Moon and planets. Yet some SCTs deliver amazing images. Perhaps a degree of inconsistency is inherent to the design?
  9. I've held back posting reports on night vision this year as Gavin and Alan have done so comprehensively, and I've had limited opportunities to get out, but I've had ten decent sessions in the past few weeks, and now seems like a good time to share a few thoughts, particularly after the lively exchange of views on NV in other threads.... On that issue, I think it's important to consider the different observing situations we all find ourselves in. My north London skies are about as challenging as it gets. Most nights, it's very difficult seeing even two clear stars in the areas of exposed sky to get my go-to mount aligned in the first place. Even once my eyes have adapted to the 'dark', I can only see 8-9 stars through the murk - that's how bad things are. I decided to invest in NV because it transforms everything for me. I have a back injury, no car or regular access to dark skies. The idea of having a large telescope to take to dark sites is an unachievable dream. But that doesn't stop me enjoying reports from those who have those options. This hobby is about sharing our passion for the night sky, and anything that helps us do that is to be encouraged, I think. Of course NV is not cheap, but at around £3.5k for a PVS-14 with a Photonis Echo tube (haven't tried one but should be plenty good enough for astronomy), it's about the same price as an entry level double stacked 60mm Lunt solar scope, or an Orion 16" dob (1/10pv). Many on this forum have a case of eyepieces which cost more. Though, to be fair, the best NV devices are more expensive than this - around £6k for a spotless Photonis 4G. What night vision offers urban stargazers like me is the opportunity to see deep sky objects previously only visible from dark sites. Benefits many times greater than the incremental gains from simply trading up to a larger telescope. From my back garden, I've seen the Heart and Soul, North America, California and many other nebulae for the first time - sometimes with a near full moon, and floodlights beaming from a school at the end of my garden. Mostly they are fully formed images without averted vision and with minimal 'scintillation', and the experience is little different to looking through glass - though I don't always see the level of nebulae detail shown in Gavstar's awesome phone shots. Objects around the zenith are obviously far more distinct. Cygnus especially memorable a few months ago. The views of M42 through a 4" refractor are always astonishing - so bright that it's possible to pump up the magnification. Without doubt the most impressive thing I've ever experienced in astronomy, even though my location means Orion is always placed over the centre of London. M31 is brighter and more detailed with NV through a 3" frac in London than through a 6" scope I took to a dark site in Spain. But there is a limit to what NV can do. Some nights, I can only just pick up the faintest signs of nebulosity in objects like the Rosette or Heart and Soul. The key factor I think is transparency, rather than just light pollution. On these evenings, the narrowband filters are packed away, and I go after star targets with an IR-pass filter- Messiers 35, 36, 37, 38, 41, 44, 52, 67, 103 all showed nicely the other night. Clusters are lovely. Stars so numerous that star hopping becomes very difficult - so I bought a little AZGTi mount which works beautifully. I'm still experimenting with the set up. I don't think I'm getting anything like the best from the device yet. I need to speed up the system further to tease out more details of nebulae. So will try a decent focal reducer soon. And I can go narrower than my 7nm ha filter. I'd like a faster scope than my F7.4 and F6.25 fracs. Perhaps an F3.3 Epsilon - we shall see. All more money. But am able to sell off a lot of eyepieces which I just don't use much any more. I think it's also worth noting that no matter how significant the improvement with NV, there are small halos around the brightest stars - you can see them on photos or YouTube videos - so at the end of a session it's nice to remove the monocular, slip a Panoptic 24 into the Tak, and spend a few minutes drinking in the tack sharp stars of M45. Even in London, there's nothing to match the Plaeides through a nice frac. I don't think NV threatens any other form of astronomy in any way. Because it's possible to see the Horsehead from light polluted sites (I've never seen it by the way) doesn't diminish the achievement of anyone who's seen it with no powered assistance at all. Though they will have had different types of assistance - either a large telescope, pristine skies, or a great deal of experience in astronomy - or all three. And I remain very envious of them.
  10. Excellent reasons! Fully justified. Though looking at the pictures you don't need to justify it.
  11. Worrying - just another publisher finding the challenge of moving print publications online difficult. Thing about a lot of US mags is the well established titles have strong global subscriptions, which hopefully will mean S&T is safe, whoever may buy it.
  12. Lovely looking scope - I considered it as well before realising that because I already have 80mm and 100mm refractors, perhaps a new 90mm refractor wasn't the most imaginative way forward. Triplet, good for imaging and visual, and I presume aircraft cabin friendly - it's the perfect travel scope.
  13. You're right - the strategic thinking behind these products is bizarre - a so called 'double stack' 60mm telescope featuring an inbuilt Quark for £700, undercutting the actual Quark by £400, and a double stacked Lunt by thousands.The couple of people I've spoken to who have briefly glanced through the Solar Scout 60 have said they're ok, but certainly not a quantum leap over the PST or Lunt 50. But there's so little comment from users online. I think everyone wants to see the entry cost of ha solar to come down, so hopes are still high for this product - but without a larger base of credible reviews it's difficult to know if they present value for money against other proven scopes
  14. Particularly Gavin's posts from end of 2017 on (which were the reason I got into night vision), then Alan's posts from spring/summer 2018 helped demystify NV greatly.
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