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About Paz

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    Sub Dwarf

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    Midlands, UK
  1. It is interesting how easy it is to type words like "binoculars" or "telescope" by accident!
  2. I have the pro version but agree it isn't really necessary. All it does for me is take up a huge amount of memory in my phone! I would recommend the HR diagram, that is great.
  3. I saw the US Space Force logo has been launched. Everyone is talking about the resemblance to star trek but I was looking at the star patterns and wondering if they represent real constellations. Nothing came to mind, what do you think? https://mobile.twitter.com/SpaceForceDoD?ref_src=twsrc^google|twcamp^serp|twgr^author I also was also wondering what will they call trainees... the term "Space Cadet" wasn't a complimentary term when I was young!
  4. Here's some notes from a couple of sessions. I was hoping to accumulate more notes from observing in good conditions so as to be as fair as possible but I've realized that poor conditions (light pollution and wobbly seeing) and unfavourable circumstances (short sessions, don't always have cooldown time, don't always have time to dark adapt) defines most of my observing so my comparisons need to be considered in that context. Session 1 I had a session on the moon. The conditions were thin cloud coming and going - most of the time the Moon was observed through thin cloud with the odd black out and the odd spell of clarity. I did half of the sesion with the 102ED-R and half of the session with my ST120. I used a dielectric mirror diagonal with a Baader Mk4 Zoom plus 2.25x barlow and also 10mm and 4mm SLV's so going up to 179x with teh 102 ED-R and 150x with the ST120. My first conclusion was how hard it is to actually compare scopes - which I've never tried to do pro-actively before. Getting 2 scopes ready and swapping them around takes a lot more time and effort! Also as I had to look through one after the other I could not compare side by side. This meant some differences may have been missed. Colour Fidelity The moon looked black/grey/white with the 102ED-R, my notes say "I think some CA but you have to look for it". In comparison the ST120 shows a purple tinge to the lunar surface and a yellow halo off the limb that you don't have to look for, however I don't find it a problem. Field Curvature I think the 102ED-R showed less field curvature, I notice field curvature particularly when observing the moon. Resolution Neither scope obviously showed more detail but this was very hard to judge with the conditions. However the 102ED-R felt like it spent more time in accurate focus. I was wondering which would show more detail - the 102ED-R has better quality glass and a slower f ratio on its side but the ST120 has aperture on its side. Scatter I noticed that the 102ED-R controlled super-bright and high contrast features well. In this session the toughest targets on the moon were the inner lips of crater walls just as they were getting lit up - they bleach out more in the ST120. Handling The 102ED-R is easier to handle - lighter and an easier shape to carry. Session 2 A session looking at double stars and comparing with the MC127 Maksutov. This time I had both scopes out at the same time on different mounts so I could compare quickly. However I had a Baader prism diagonal in the Maksutov and a Altair dielectric mirror diagonal in the 102ED-R most of the time. I used Polaris to test ability to see a fainter secondary, and Castor to test ability to control bright targets. It was again cloudy with thin cloud coming and going. Light Gathering The MC127 clearly showed the secondary of Polaris as being brighter. It also showed dimmer field stars around Castor. I think this is just a case of brute force/aperture. Cooldown The 102ED-R was much less affected by tube currents from the start although the Maksutov caught up over time. Brighter targets were noisy in the Maksutov while it was cooling. Focusing The focuser of the 102ED-R was much better than the Maksutov system. I really noticed the mirror flop and lack of a fine tuning facility in the Maksutov by having the scopes out together to test back to back. I had never particularly noticed it much before. Controlling Bright Stars The Maksutov showed a nice but more noisy image of Castor. The 102ED-R showed cleaner images of Castor with the stars looking like smaller points. with more clear space between. Colour Fidelity Castor looked whiter in the Maksutov and slightly warmer in the 102ED-R. Star testing showed fairly colour free rings but not 100% so. Summary The Maksutov suffered from not being cooled down but the Maksutov can go deeper and is better on faint stars. Spherical Abberation Star testing showed lots of thin concentric and equidistant bands then a broader black ring then a broader outer ring. Refreshing my memory reading Harold Suiter's star testing book this is a sign of spherical abberation however I recall the same thing more so on my ST80 and ST120. Overall I think if the Mak was cooled down, dare I say it would stretch out in front of the 102ED-R in terms of image quality. I predict that on very faint targets the ST120 will also do well in comparison to th 102ED-R. The 102ED-R has not blown the other scopes away but it has the disadvantage of smaller aperture. However having said that it is very easy to handle and to use and I have realized through recent experience that the quality of view matters but so dose practicality. The things that have impressed me more so far are it's light weight, accurate focuser, having 2 finder mounts, and that it is not that bothered by cooldown problems. It is also a better general purpose scope - it can do DSO's or lunar caters and everything in between. All these things facilitate more observing time. If you factor in the cost of the scopes the MC127 and ST120 are I think better value for money but the 102 ED-R is better all rounder. It will be interesting to see which scopes get picked after a while when the novelty has worn off. I ever get good conditions I may be able to do some better comparisons.
  5. Thanks - the chances of me sticking to no purchases this year is not looking good!
  6. That is good advice as it would get even more benefit out of the scope. I have to date only used 2" eyepieces with my dobsonian. I have 31mm and 22mm Naglers which are a bit chunky. I am supposed to get through 2020 with no astro purchases but secretly I have been fantasising about getting a 2" diagonal as it would not cost much in the scheme of things and it would connect a good scope with some good eyepieces! Who knows if I will be able to stick to my principles!
  7. That's a nice set up you have there. The Porta 2 is good, I use it a lot. I agree the Altair is a good looking scope, which is useful in this country where due to the weather you get a lot more time to look at your scope that you get looking through it!
  8. My twist locks both work fine but I have realised I don't really like the twist lock design. I have found that it is quite fiddly getting my fingers on the 1.25" twist lock to lock it. Out in the field in the cold and dark everything needs to be easy to do. I therefore bought a Baader click lock. This is slightly easier to access but still not straightforward, and this I didn't like because you put big twisting forces on the draw tube when you tighten it which I am not confident the draw tube is really designed to take. So I have gone back to basics and I'm using a traditional compression ring adapter. I have put a long screw on it so it is easy to tighten and this works well.
  9. I followed this thread with interest as I have had half an eye on getting some dedicated warm boots. I happened to see some Sorels on eBay at a reasonable price and decided to give them a go. I've tried them out and have to say they are very good for keeping warm when standing around in the cold. Far warmer than anything else I've worn before.
  10. Great report. I don't get dark sky opportunities very much and your report is a good write up of what it's like, it brought back some memories of mine.
  11. I have mostly enjoyed wondering about what I am looking at more than enjoying an aesthetically nice view. However in the early days if reading about observing I read a lot of reports from north America where many observers have clearer skies, better conditions and huge scopes, so my expectations did have to adjust to what is possible from the UK which is not so good.
  12. Great report and a very productive time. I have the same issue in only really being able to go for brighter objects from my back garden where I do most of my observing. Things like fainter nebulae are not possible and with galaxies I can only see a few of the brighter ones as faint smudges.
  13. In daylight a good tip for keeping safe is to have the scope in the shade of a building to your right of you as you look towards Venus so that you are in a shadow that can only get bigger over time and the sun can't accidentally hit your scope.
  14. I agree with the idea of getting out there and observing even in sub optimal conditions and taking those half chances where you set up and sometimes find yourself immediately packing up because the cloud has just rolled in. At the weekend I set up as Venus was doable. It was low and the seeing was poor, it was also cloudy on and off. I got maybe 15 minutes of wobbliness on Venus before the cloud rolling in became too bad. I looked around for anything else before the cloud cover was everywhere and got 5 minutes on M45 and then I was clouded out. That is a fairly typical outing at the moment.
  15. That sounds like a better prospect than my set up - I will look that up!
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