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About Paz

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  1. I agree it varies a lot. I usually don't go over 100x with the ST120 in practice but it can go a lot higher. I remember winning views in my ST80 at 160x on one occasion. The maksutov is usually used up to 190x at night and up to 127x for solar white light, but can go higher. The vx14 can do 230x pretty much any time and 307x most of the time. I've got the facility to go to 525x but that is very rarely used. The brighter and more contrasty the target and the higher it is in the sky make a big difference to what is possible. I also do the same as others have referred to where you deliberately up the magnification past the ideal aesthetic viewing magnification level as some details can be more easily unpicked or star separations more accurately measured. I've never heard of a word to describe this but I think of it as technical observing if that makes any sense.
  2. Do you use a Zoom and if so, why?

    I'm interested to hear responses to this. I don't have zoom eyepieces but particularly when it's very cold I sometimes avoid changing eyepieces as my hands get cold quickly when out of my gloves and a zoom would reduce the need for changes.
  3. Thanks for posting, I've added these in my current hit list in sky safari.
  4. It's supposed to be cloudy where I am according to the internet but I can see Sirius twinkling through the window. I might try setting up myself later if it holds, it would be rude not to.
  5. Great report, a really interesting read. Something to consider when observing the moon with a maksutov is to pick a couple of good double stars that are easy hops from the moon and check them out, it adds another dimension to a lunar session without a lot of effort.
  6. Most memorable observing moment?

    I've many but perhaps the one I will not forget was when I was lifting my youngest son up to the eyepiece of the vx14 to look at the moon. I was about to put him down and he suddenly lunged back for another look, saying "... wait! let me see if there are any footsteps!".
  7. Show me your eyepiece cases

    I've rehoused my light set up from a small toolbox into the same kind of padded case as my heavy set up. Everything now has its own place so I can change things without needing any lights and everything is incubated and protected out into the field. Apologies for the little space left in the corner, that will be filled with a Barlow of some sort in due course for use with my microguide eyepiece for measuring things where a focal length shorter than 12.5 mm is useful. I haven't yet settled on what to go for. Here's the heavy set up for comparison. This has not changed for some time and I wouldn't be surprised if it never changes.
  8. I just saw the ISS!

    Yes it's something to try if you get a chance. My scope wasn't properly focused at the time and there was no time to focus it! I lost track of the iss in the end and looked up and reacquired it naked eye but it then disappeared (I assume into the earth's shadow) before getting down to the horizon.
  9. I just saw the ISS!

    I don't go out of my way to see the iss but have never tired of seeing it. Once I got it in view in my ST120 on an AZ4 and followed it manually across over 90 degrees of sky. It was very exciting like playing some kind of video game! It looked like a super bright multicoloured rugbyball shaped blob flying through the stars.
  10. The BST starguiders supertest!

    I have an 8mm BST only in order to cover a gap that Vixen SLVs don't do, but have found it to be a fine eyepiece.
  11. Thanks for the heads up. I've never tried following a variable star over time but will give this a go.
  12. Recording Observations

    I've always written notes when I come in from a session. What scope and mount, what ep's used, nelm and location. Then what objects and any comments on them. Sometimes I draw something but not nice sketches, rather schematics. Sometimes I will forget targets or thoughts before I write them down even if it's only an hour later. This is annoying but I don't like making notes in the field. I've recently acquired a microguide eyepiece and am looking forward to doing some amateur measurements and recording them, hopefully I'll be able to show proper motion in some high speed local stars and and orbital motion in some close doubles by comparing notes over time.
  13. I use a Hubble optics artificial star. It's just a torch with a thin metal plate with 5 pinholes from 50um to 250um in it. It won't beat proper stars under good conditions but it's helpful for collimating and the further away you can put it the better. It is also cheap.
  14. Thanks very much for the replies. I understand now it is just par for the course and it will only make a minor difference with my longest eyepiece which won't be noticed in the field. For completeness I ran the same test with my f15 maksutov and found the same effect. I don't want to go down the 2" diagonal route on grounds of weight size and cost, or the higher cost 1.25" route and am happy with the Altair diagonal for what it is, I'll be keeping it and look forward to lots of good times.
  15. I've decided to get a couple of better quality 1.25" diagonals for my small scopes - a Baader RACI diagonal and an Altair dielectric mirror. The Altair has arrived. It looks very good in terms of build quality but I could see when I opened it that there is a smaller aperture within the diagonal on the eyepiece side of the mirror and I wondered if that would restrict the field of view or effective aperture. This post is looking for advice on whether this restriction does restrict the view (I've tried to test this which I explain below), whether such restrictions are par for the course and are a common feature on other diagonals, why manufactures do this, and whether I should send this back and look for another one that is not restricted or accept this is par for the course and just get on with enjoying what looks to me to be a fine diagonal. To try to measure the issue I set up my ST80 just over 5 meters from a wall and put a ruler on the wall. The aim was to simply measure the distance along the ruler as a rough measure of the maximum true field of view using my 32mm plossl. I also got out my mainstay sky watcher RACI diagonal, Tak prism, and Celestron mirror diagonal (that comes with a C8). This involved ratcheting the focus right back. I noticed that my Skywatcher RACI diagonal has the same kind of reduced aperture in the same place as the Altair diagonal but the Tak prism and Celestron diagonals are wide open throughout. At the end of this post are some photos looking straight down the eyepiece end. In the first two pictures you can see the same kind of aperture restriction (Altair and Skywatcher) and in the last 2 pictures you an see no such restriction (Tak Prism and Celestron Mirror). I measured the following fields of view with a 32mm plossl and ST80.... Altair Dielectric - 12.3cm Skywatcher RACI - 11.7cm Tak Prism - 12.7cm Celestron Mirror - 12.7cm Is this a valid test to do? If not what would be. If it is then it does therefore seem to be clipping the field of view a bit in the Altair diagonal but not as much as much as my RACI diagonal (which I never realised was doing this). 12.3 is 97% of 12.7 by diameter and 94% by area. Measuring effective aperture by shining light through the eyepiece and out of the objective showed no measurable difference between diagonals but I didn't have a means of measuring this very accurately. Other notes from this test - I could see what I think was the metal rim of the filter thread of the 32mm eyepiece in the Tak and Celestron diagonals, but I could not see it in the Altair or Skywatcher diagonals. I then tried a 25mm SLV and all of the diagonals showed the same 9.6cm field of view. It therefore looks like it would only make a difference with my 32mm plossl, and it would make no difference with every other eyepiece I've got which are all field stops smaller than the 25mm SLV. I also had a quick look at an artificial star to compare scatter and how small/tight the point of light was with a 4mm SLV (I know this is not the ideal test but if all other things are equal except the diagonal it may show up something). I would say I thought the Altair, Celestron, and Tak all looked sharp/similar but I think the limiting factor for testing was my ability/luck with getting an accurate focus with the ST80 each time so I could not really distinguish between those. I do however feel I could discern enough to say the Skywatcher RACI prism showed a bigger point/spread and was not a match for the others. Any comments would be gratefully received. Altair Dielectric Skywatcher RACI Prism Tak Prism Celestron C8 Mirror Diagonal