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About blakemulder

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    Astronomy, Cycling Time Trials, Ham Radio, stuffing my face with choccy
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  1. It wasnt the one in the picture (or this one) but another one of his reflectors which I remember was huge! I was on his book list so all his new books came to me straight from the publisher - he sent me a postcard that was drawn by his mother and I have other letters and sighned books. Regret not having the scope though!
  2. Firstly thankyou so much for the helpful replies, the addition of the electic focuser has made a huge improvement now that I can achieve focus without the wobbles, and its reassuring to know that a change to quality eypieces will make a noticable improvement too. Ideally I would like to get the EQ2 mount adjusted and leave it set up in the garden and just bring out the scope when needed - I'm assuming even with a warterproof cover the mount is going to suffer from damp air - I'm not short of space - i have a 160ft garden but not the funds for an observatory to go with it!
  3. Spaceboy that is a really helpful post, thankyou. I will check out those eyepieces and nice to know I can improve the views through this scope. Yes those "floaters" are problematical, and I wonder, from your experience, what, realisticly, is the highest USABLE power that would be ok to use on the brighter planets with this scope using the BST Starguiders?
  4. Thanks for the reply, some of the positive reviews I have read came from users of this very site! I reasoned that people writing reviews here would be somewhat impartial! Perhaps I was Naive? Otherwise how does one know a "good" review from a "bad" review? - Are you suggesting theres no point to this part of the forum? - Dont believe what you read? I made every effort to get as much information as possible before deciding on my purchase - sorry you didnt like my write-up - as you can tell I dont write for magazines!
  5. Its been many years since I last looked through a scope - but since my early years I have been interested in the night sky - when I was about 6 or 7 I started corresponding with Patrick Moore - he was such a kind, generous man.. I think I was about 9 or 10 when he invited me to his house for the day - I didnt have a scope then so he offered me one of his! only I didnt have a lorry to get it home! My interest has never gone away, but with all the other distractions life throws at us its a hobby that I come back to that generally coincides with the frequency of the sunspot cycle! Im now 49 and find that once again I want to point a scope at the heavens - So I decided I wanted a sope mainly for the planets and wanted the bare minimum that would keep me interested - and if I didnt get on with it I wouldnt have spent a fortune on another useless ornament. I spent weeks reading reviews on scopes on the net, and had pretty much decided on a 8inch dob - they get universally good reviews and are a pretty safe bet - but knowing how OCD I am with my road bikes and spending more time maintaining them than actually riding them, i was concerned that my dob would spend more time with a colimator in the eyepiece whilst I tried in vain to align the optics to micrometer precision than using it in anger - so for my sanity I decided on a no maintenance refractor with a long focal length. The Evostar 90 EQ2 seemed to have a lot of praise including comments such as "Jupiters red spot being visible with better eyepieces", "polar caps on mars visible" etc - praise indeed for such limited aperture. On the basis of these reviews I spoke to Neil at Tring astro. Now I dont have any affiliation with this company, just they are local to me and I much prefer going to a shop than ordering blind from the internet. Neil was cautious about my decision, pointing out that the EQ2 mount was not very stable, the achromatic objective showing some colour, limited aperture etc but the reviews were so positive i thought it would make a good starter scope and it was looking like a bit of a bargain - indeed one reviewer said it was as good as scopes costing 10 times the asking price! I duly placed an order and the scope arrived the next day... Wow - this scope is well packed - an outer box, an inner box, then individual boxes for all the components... Putting the scope/mount together was pretty straightforward - but the setting circles have cellophane on and it doesnt want to come off! When I attached the slo mo controls things didnt improve... The outer plastic has been cut too short! not pretty... So, the scope is set up and I'm still pretty excited to have a look through - and I had clear skies! The scope resides in my out house and its chilly in the there - this scope doesnt need cool down time! but wait! I have a sheet of astro film so I appoint my wife to knock up a suitable attachment for the scope and I can test it in the daytime and get familiar with the scope without fumbling in the dark! So, filters for scope and finder in place, scope is in the garden and here we go for a first look at the.sun. 25mm eyepeice - rack focus out - sun snaps into sharp focus and the sunspots on show look glorious - view is great! as the sun slowly drifts across the field of view I realise my scopes mount is not set up properly - as I adjust the declination control its pretty obvious this EQ2 mount could best be described as "agricultural". The RA controls is actually pretty smooth but the declination is truly ropey. I then switch to the 10mm eyepiece looking forward to a visual feast, but focusing the scope on this mount is a real problem - at 90x its nigh on impossible to get this thing sharply into focus, and the previous bright display has dimmed significantly - maybe this is because the astrofilm just doesnt let in enough light to use a higher powered eyepiece - Ok, I already know whats going to happen when I use the 2x barlow - the image is so shaky I'm never going to achieve focus - and crikeys this image is reallly dull. I leave the scope where it is as the clear skies are forecast overnight as well - venus is really bright and its still quite light outside - the view is crisp in the low power eyepiece - switch to the 10mm and the first thing to notice is the chromatic aberation - really quite noticable and boy this scope is hard to focus! everytime I adjust the focuser the image is dancing all over and its an excercise in frustration - I go back to basics and check that everything is tightened down ok, and I already made sure the tripod is as low as possible. I swing the scope over to jupiter and the view once again through the 25mm eyepice is really sharp - very satisfying - the 10mm eyepiece - when I can get the scope close to some form of focus - reveals two distinct bands - I spend quite a lot of time trying to pick out more detail - didnt one of the reviews I read say they could see a lot more detail than this? Maybe the laser eye surgery I had some years ago has affected my sight, but hang on Jupiters moons are present and I swear I can see a shadow of the closest moon on the planets disc - The view of the moon, again in the low power eyepiece, snaps into view and its great to see my old friend again in this detail - even the 10mm eyepiece shows good views - when I can get some sort of focus - I'm left thinking the OTA might actually be quite qood but the 10mm eyepiece still leaves a lot to be desired - yet reviews I have read say its rather good in this scope - something doesnt seem right here. Next idea I have is to convert a webcam so I can take some pictures that will at least give hubble a run for its money, right? It takes me half an hour to convert not one, but two old webcams I have into something that resembles those of others I have seen on the net - but I begin to doubt these are going to work - life is never that simple. And much to my suprise they work! (well, kind of) More time spent researching on the net and I think I have a partial answer to at least some of this setups problems - an electric focuser - I duly order one from FLO and it arrives the next day - great service! After a bit of head scratching its fitted in 10 minutes - I set the scope up and have a look at my neighbours chimney at the bottom of the garden - OMG! This device is just amazing - with the 10mm eyepiece in i can actually get a tight focus! Ok, the image still isnt that bright - but no more wobbles when I look through the scope - Its clear this little device is going to get me out of a hole, as I had been thinking I bought the wrong scope... Next day the sun is out and, filters in place, have a look at the sun - the focuser is working great! - the image remains steady and all is almost well with the world - So I've had the scope 2 weeks now and waiting for the weather to improve so that I can give it another test - questions remain but in summary... Neil at Tring astro was dead right in his comments - but my next scope choice was more than twice what I paid for the Evostar 90 - you know my wife has a saying - never just make do, if you can afford the item you REALLY want then get it! I hate it when she is right! which is most of the time... I wonder if better quality eyepieces would make a significant impact or is the cost of better eyepieces false economy (the scope was, afterall, under £140) WOW the electric focuser is a godsend - I'd say that the EQ2 mount is virtually useless at high power without it - I cant understand the reviews I have read stating how sturdy the EQ2 mount is/how much you can see with this scope - Did I buy a lemon? I dont think so - the OTA shows promise but I'm hoping, now that I have that damn fine focuser, the limiting factor is the 10mm eyepiece. I think the bottom line is I need to evaluate whether its financially viable to upgrade the eyepieces/add motor drive etc or simply save my pennies and beg/borrow/steal the finances for a better scope and keep this one for my Son, who is 7, and a chip of the old block. Whilst his peers are into gaming/computers etc he has asked for a microscope for his birthday! Please understand this write up is based only on my limited knowledge/time with this scope, I do feel my experinces so far do not echo the fine reviews I have read on the Evostar 90, but still I am having a lot of fun and that must surely be a good thing! I welcome your comments/suggestions and..clear skies to all!
  6. Thankyou for that explanation, should this be adjusted all the way in then? it turns by hand!
  7. "Take up endfloat on worm drive" Ok, lets pretend I dont know anything about engineering, mechanics and structural load analysis and give me that again in terms that even a newbie can understand!
  8. What effect does it have when its adjusted? Any help kindly appreciated Blake
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