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About ulfp

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  • Interests
    Astronomy and Aikido
  • Location
    Aarhus, Denmark
  1. +1 with the Baader MKIII zoom plus 2.25x barlow, with one caveat: Mine isn't completely parfocal, so when I zoom in from 20mm to 8mm I always have to readjust focus. After a while it's natural, and my fingers know precisely how much to move the focal point without looking. I agree that the 24mm setting isn't that good, so when I want low power I use a dedicated Baader 24mm EP. /ulf
  2. Well, it just goes to show that one should think things through. Turns out there's an L bracket that you have to use (thought it was for camera use), as well as unscrewing a screw on the mount so as to install the handle there instead. With that done, everything works, and the finderscope is the right way up. Would have been nice to have a manual point that out, though, since this was a non-trivial case of trial and error, at least for me. Ah well, everything works the way it should, now.
  3. True dat, however I intend that this scope more or less permanently has the Baader Hyperion Zoom installed--only at 24mm the AFOV is a bit limited.
  4. I've finally figured that. Fancy that didn't cross my mind. Funny that the (astronomy savvy) salespeople didn't mention that when I specifically asked whether this tool-chain made sense. Ah well, more money down the proverbial. Thanks.
  5. Hi All I've just received my Equinox from FLO (Thanks, took two days!), and all is in good condition. In fact it's a very nice piece of kit. The OTA's weight really surprised me. However, I've got a question/problem: My mount of choice for this is the AZ4, which means the "l-shaped" foot is inserted to the right (see picture). That means the finder dovetail ends up down and to the left....... which to me is not ideal. I've tried to see whether it is possible to switch the finder bracket and the foot, but that's not optimal, because the thread-size is different for each. Have any of you had this problem and overcome it? It's not an optimal position, but thankfully I got a right-angled finderscope--otherwise I'd be tearing my hair out at this point. It's livable, but.... I'll be sure to write up a first light report (once we actually have some seeable weather, it's been terrible for 9 days now). /ulf
  6. Oh, but I did! I was looking at veritable light-buckets. It wasn't until I caught myself avidly reading ATM threads I began to come to my senses. Also, I think that it wasn't until I'd really played around with my binoculars and the Heritage 130p (but especially the binocs) that I began to appreciate the levels of abstraction you actually see in the sky, how fractal it really is. No matter how much light-gathering I get there's always something *just* out of reach, so why not stick with what's immediately apparent. I also didn't understand how big some of the asterisms and other structures are, and that I'd need a wider field than many telescopes offer if I wanted to enjoy them. So, no matter the technology used, I figured out that I wanted a rich-field scope. But... for a second there I almost bought a 12" truss dob. I may get one next year, but for now I'll stick to the 'surface'. It's about the same reason why I didn't go for a GoTo setup. I spend much of my life with technology, so I'd like an analogue hobby, so to speak. And also to really learn how to get around. It's been fun with the binoculars and the Heritage, so I'm not worried there.
  7. Ah, you know exactly what I'm going through Re the cool-down time, true, but some of the scopes I was looking at had really horrendous cool-down times. If we're at -10C and the house is 22C, I shudder to think how long it would take a Mak-Newt to cool down. The Equinox, OTOH, should be able to do it much faster. Heh, clear dark skies..... it's been terrible for the past week, so with my luck we're in for an early winter
  8. I tried that approach, but the used market in Denmark is pretty thin. I also haunted astroboot and the other sites, but most of the interesting stuff was pickup only, so....
  9. Exactly! I've been looking at scopes where I thought everything looked fine, only to discover that that little eyepiece on the scope wasn't a plossl, but one of the big Naglers, which meant the scope was 1.5m long! Actually, I've seen some skywatcher charts that show telescopes in profile, with a person included. However, that's just to differentiate between types. It'd be great if they just included *some* form of scale. I think the ruler would be an excellent idea.
  10. Thanks. Yeah, the contortions I've been going through with the RDF on the Heritage convinced me that life was too short for back-pains.
  11. TL;DR: The following describes my journey to get my refractor. It's a bit long-winded, but describes my experience. Hopefully some of you can recognize some of the symptoms. -- So I finally pulled the "procrastination plug" and clicked buy (from FLO, natch). It was easy--I just thought about what I wanted, went to the website, and committed. Yeah right. I've never spent so much time agonizing over what to get. Even settling on the type of telescope has been an exercise, fun, but arduous. I've plumbed the depths of SGL, Cloudynights, and astronomyforum. I've gobbled up books like Nightwatch, Grab 'n Go Astronomy, Turn Left at Orion, etc. And haunted sites like FLO, teleskop-express, 365astronomy and the like. I've bought back issues of Sky & Telescope, Sky at Night, and Astronomy to read equipment reviews. The result? I want a dobsonian mount, 12" or better. Perhaps that's too big, perhaps a newt on an eq mount. No, wait, maybe the Explore Scientific Mak-Newt Comet Hunter. Or, maybe that'll be too big as well? Why not just get a straight Mak (90 or 127mm)? But what about the field of view if I want to look deeper? Huh, I need to get smaller f-ratios, to get a wider field of view, don't I?Hmm... what about.... what about... what about... <lather, rinse, repeat> until I was going blue in my face. So, I grabbed myself by the scruff of the neck, sat myself down, looked myself in the eye (quite a feat) and took three steps back. What are *my* first principles? 1. I have a demanding job 2. I have a two-year-old daughter and a newborn son 3. I live in a medium sized city in (Aarhus, Denmark), which means light-pollution is atrocious (I have, however, convinced my neighbor to turn of one of his security lights, yay!). 4. I'm 20 minutes away from acceptably darkish skies. With that in mind, what do I need? 1. A scope that can be set up in minutes. Ideally, just lifted out of the sitting-room (or kitchen) and brought outside, and ready to use within 15-30 minutes after cooling to ambient. 2. That can be transported easily, without fuss. 3. That can be taken with me when I travel, whether by land or air (the latter is not non-negotiable, but is a factor). 4. That can form the nucleus of whatever else may take my fancy. 5. That can help me learn the heavens. 6. AP sounds interesting, but probably not for the next year or so. I started out this process certain that the one thing I *didn't* want was a refractor. And yet, for me, that was where the arrow was pointing. So I decided to look at a few, and generally talking to people. And investigating refractors. Ay Caramba! Here we go again. Should it be an achromat (no), an apo, a semi-apo (what on earth is that, anyway (sales-talk)?). What kind of aperture? 152mm? 120? 102? Surely not an 80mm? BTW, I wish that pictures of telescopes on websites would have something to include scale. How big is it anyway? Again, having read around, and tried the field of view calculator on the Sky at Night website (which is absolutely brilliant), I came to the conclusion that 80mm would do me just fine for a looong time to come. So, it only remained to sort out the apo mess. FPL53? 51? Triplet or Doublet? I ended up in some weird corners on the Internet, even going so far as to do a preliminary analysis of who's who in refractor manufacturing, or, more specifically, who owns who. Realizing that it wouldn't make much sense buying a Tak or similar, it seems like most makes boil down to 2-3 assembly lines in China and Taiwan. I decided that weight was a factor, so I went for a doublet. I'm not experienced enough to appreciate a Tak triplet (yet), and while I would prefer FPL53, I wasn't adamant about it. At that point I'd boiled it down to a few, and the Equinox came out on top. In the midst of this entire process, I also agonized over mounts. While I'm sure that I'll get an eq mount at some point, for what I need now an alt-az would do the job nicely. I quickly narrowed it down to a choice between a Vixen Porta II and AZ4. I chose the AZ4 because I wanted the stainless steel legs. I know that it's probably overkill for this scope (and a bit against the grain re the 'grab and go' thought, but the stability and use with future scopes came into play as well. A dielectric diagonal and right-angled 9x50 finder rounded out the package. And at the end of the day I chose FLO since they gave me the best combination of features and price. I had no idea that shipping internationally was new, so I was a bit surprised to see that that was a 'new feature' of their service. I hope that this can give some input to those in the same situation as myself. So now I'm just waiting for DHL to arrive.
  12. Thanks for the encouragement, everyone. I was out again last night, and this time the seeing was much better. The Milky Way through binos is fantastic! Piero, thanks for that, that's some really nice work. I'll be sure to use it. Appreciated. /ulf
  13. Yes, but it was rather faint. Unmistakable, nonetheless. My first DSO as well
  14. I've been frustrated with Hercules and Lyra for the past couple of weeks. Basically, I had no problem finding Vega. No problem seeing the double star off to the left, but traversing into Lyra to find M57.... frustration. And I couldn't even pick out Hercules itself, let alone M13. So, I bought a pair of Celestron 8x56 binoculars, trekked with my 130p, tripod, trigger grip (fantastic invention) I went out to an industrial area where there's less light. I'm in Denmark, and I was observing from approx 23:50 to 01:50. Summer skies--pretty, but pretty light. The seeing last night was lousy, tons of shimmering everywhere, but a bit better than in my back yard. Anyway, this was more of a shakedown equipment test (or so I thought). Anyway, I set the binoculars up as well as the telescope, and started. Everyone should have binoculars. Not only is everything right side up, with no mirroring, but you can actually see the constellations. I have 5.8deg FOV, which is vastly easier than the telescope. One thing I hadn't thought about, poring over the maps, is how the size of the constellation translates to the sky. How big is Hercules anyway when you're standing on good old Terra Firma? Ignoring the telescope, I stuck with the bins, and managed to get all around Lyra (no M57, of course). So major goal reached. First time I've managed to do that. But try as I might, I couldn't find Hercules. And then something clicked. Follow the tail from Ursa Major to land on Arcturus. Continue on to Zeta Hercules..... Wait a minute, that's not Zeta H, that's something else, that's.... Corona Borealis (Alphekka), and mid way between Alpha CrB and Vega.... Yep, there's Zeta Hercules. I'm sure most of you have tried it before, but when it happens for the first time, it's like magic. Once I could see ZetHer, the keystone magically appeared before me. Wow. So, there's UrsMaj, there's Arcturus (Bootes), there's Alphekka (I didn't know the name at the time, just CrB), There's ZetHer, there's Vega, there's Deneb. Holy Cow, I traversed a large patch of the heavens without mapping aids!!!! Something actually stuck. No GoTo for me (at least for a year or so--when I'm comfortable I'll consider it. A bit like learning stick shift before getting an automatic, I guess). And like one of those stereoscopic images where it won't go away once you've cracked it, I could look away, drink some coffee, play with the dog, and when I looked back, yep, Hercules was still there. So why did I call it a failure? Because I didn't get to use the telescope. The reason was rather prosaic. I decided to slap a Telrad on it, which works great. Much better than the rdf. However, in my garden I have it on a table. I didn't have a table with me <facepalm>, which meant I was literally lying on the ground to star hop. The dew began to fall early, so it became very uncomfortable, very fast. So, I'll bring a little table with me the next time. The binoculars performed fantastically! Especially with the trigger grip. I bought those that Steve Tonkin recommends on binocularsky.com, rock steady grip, and vibrations dampen out really fast. But I'm very pleased, because for once I feel that I'm beginning to have a little glimmer of how to navigate the sky, and even more important, understanding the scales involved, especially wrt constellations. A fantastic evening, and finally all that poring over charts is beginning to pay off. /ulf
  15. I agree. I've read others' disappointments with their first telescopes. The Heritage is my first, and it's definitely a keeper. The light-gathering quality compared with portability just cannot be beat. Bonus: since it's so small, I can put it on a shelf, out of reach of my 2-year old daughter's inquisitive hands
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