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Whistlin Bob

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Everything posted by Whistlin Bob

  1. @nfotis- I don't, but thank you for bumping @alexbb's review into the front page as I missed it the first time- and it's very interesting!
  2. Strange conditions tonight in the aftermath of Storm Arwen. Nothing doing earlier in the evening, but by ten the sky was quite clear. Got the 8 inch dob out and used Betelgeuse to set up. Had a look at the Pleiades to start, nebulosity clear, really nice view. M42 for first time this season at 8mm, nice tight view of trap. Then it clouded over. Forecast wasn't great, went in to put the kids to bed etc, came out to pack up and the sky was now pristine! I decided Go Big or... well I'm already home, but I got my 14" out. M42 40mm with UHC, superb view, Full shape clear, with patience I could even make out some of the fainter bits near the back. Running Man also seen and all the little jewels around Nair Al Saif. I spent a long time here. The first time each year feels like a revelation. Next up to Alnitak area for some more subtle attractions. The star was easily split even with that filter and eyepiece. I could make out the central dark neb in the flame with some confidence, but no other detail. The bank that the Horsehead sits in was definitely there, confirmed with a dob wobble. Did I see the HH? I've only had once at home where I was sure. Definite hint of darkening in the right place. Tried to relax and enjoy a really nice view with sigma o top left and lots of small sharp stars down to Alnitak (the filter does a good job of tightening the stars up). I reckon this time I'm going to have to call it a 'probable' rather than a 'definite' on the HH. Ngc1981- under-appreciated (by me at least) pretty little cluster among the riches. Over to the zoom for some tighter views. Sigma Orion lovely. 2x4 stars readily pulled out. Core of M42 at around 200x bright and spectacular, a fov full of textured reflection nebula. Trapezium sharp at the core, e and f seen but not distinct, drifting in and out of view. Rigel- crisp view with mask, easy split, little companion at 11 o'clock Switched to 30mm ep. Pleiades in 14"- diamonds in the mist. Gorgeous view- stars bright pinpoint white, with misty textured reflection nebulosity between them. Sky was quite weird by this point- long thin banks of cloud with mostly poor transparency, but a few patches full of stars. To the east, the darkest bit of sky for me, Mirach was shining steadily, and was that patch of fuzz M31? Yes it was!!! M31 Core very bright. M32 very obvious nearby. Dark lanes picked out and seen well. M110 also visible without av. Can just about get all 3 cores in 30mm fov. The galaxy was almost vertical in orientation by now- drifting the dob up and down and taking my time , I could see some sort of presence across 3 fields of view. Incredible object. Wow. M33- not as spectacular, but a good view. Unable to discern spiral, but core was obvious, and with extended viewing most of area became clear. After some time and effort I was able to see NGC604- a faint spot appearing only with averted vision. A nebula in another galaxy. I am agog!!! Sky was deteriorating fast now. I moved up to Caroline's rose in Cass. Hard to see due to diminishing transparency, but seeing steady and hints of it were there. It was late and cold now, but Sirius was approaching it's southern high point so I tried to split it. No chance- it was like a disco glitterball! Seven years in this hobby now, and this was one of the best sessions. It's very confounding- you have to put in the effort and make the opportunities happen, but also have the patience to let it come to you. Last night's forecast was very unpromising- yet these were some of the best views I've had of stuff I've seen many times before.
  3. Based on reviews and reports I've read either of these scopes will give you excellent planetary views and support a growth into DSO observing. I would have a slight preference for the Bresser simply because I've had a play with the ten inch version and the build quality was excellent, but I don't think you can go wrong with either choice. On the eyepiece subject I have the X-Cel 7mm and it works very well in my SW 8 inch (similar to both of these) giving 170x magnification, so well inline with @Stu's guidance.
  4. Me too! Plus Sky Safari. I wanted to find objects myself and this combination made it pretty easy.
  5. Yeah, I've found that tricky too. The solution for me was to take a leaf out of the visual observers book and put an rdf plus the finder on the 72, whilst aiming it, and then take them off to reduce weight once I'd got the framing right.
  6. This is a good chin scratcher... As it's most used and not favourite, number 1 is my Baader Hyperion Zoom 8-24. All my other eyepieces are fixed focal lengths and give better views at their length (although the difference can be pretty marginal), but the convenience of zooming up and down in seconds to get the best view for the conditions and object makes it pretty unbeatable. Next would be the Aero ED SWA 30mm 68 degree. The wider views that it gives on big targets are fantastically immersive, and on targets like the double cluster there's a fair degree of colour. At a recent club meeting it held it's own against some much more expensive competition. This stopped me lusting after buying some exotic 82 degree or hundred degree monster. Ok, that last sentence is a complete lie, but it's enabled me to keep my money in my pocket a bit longer without feeling I'm hugely missing out!! Number 3 would then be my binoviewers (not strictly "an" eyepeice)- which are the William Optics version that came with 20mm SWAN eyepieces. I have to barlow it up (it came with 1.6 and 2x barlows that drop nicely into the focuser) to reach focus, but it gives me fantastic planetary and lunar images, and bright apparently 3d views of clusters. Here's my eyepiece case: The ones that didn't make it are: Celestron LX 7mm - It's very tight between this one and the bino viewers- it's a good bit better than the zoom at 8mm. Nirvana 4mm - This gives epic lunar views when the seeing is good. But at 412x in my dob the conditions to support this are pretty rare. Stella Lyra RPL 40mm - RPL stands for Really Perfect Lens, which means the marketing people have got hold of it. I guess "Pretty Good Lens" isn't as snappy. The 30mm has a wider apparent FOV and is a nicer view, but for low magnification on faint targets it's really good. It also doesn't have the annoying undercut of the Aero!
  7. ....oh, and as for trying a small newt instead, I can confirm that the Star Adventurer definitely can't cope with a 130pds. Tried that too. It's not just the weight, it's the size and shape. Shame, because optically the 130 is fantastic.
  8. Good luck if you do go ahead with it. I do have both a 72ed and a Star Adventurer and the comments above are more or less reflective of my experiences with it. I do a bit of mucking round with vintage lenses- the 72 blows them out of the water for optical quality, probably for the reasons @vlaiv says. However- it isn't perfect optically. When I use it with a mono camera the focus and sharpness in blue is significantly poorer than green and red, and this can lead to a blue bloaty appearance in stars. There lots you can do in processing to mitigate this, so for me it's not a deal breaker, but there's a reason truly apo diffraction limited optics cost quite a bit more than the 72! The other question about whether your mount can handle it- it's pretty marginal, but it can. I mainly use mine on an HEQ5, but I've tried it on the Star Adventurer as well using an Altair 183c. The read noise is very low on these cameras, so you can stay with short subs and get away without guiding- doing 30 seconds gets me good results. I think there's still a bit of risk for you as the DSLR will be heavier, but hopefully you'll get away with it. And if you ever decide to upgrade your mount and camera, you'll find that the 72 rocks at narrowband!!!
  9. I have the same set and completely agree- the moon is stunning in them. I need at least one Barlow to reach focus, so I don't get it quite as wide as you will have had it, but I have both of the ones that WO supply for the set so I can do 1.6x, 2x and 3.2x. With both I get 225x and the view takes my breath away every time.
  10. I'm always very impressed by anyone who can sketch in the dark- never mind at -5 C!!! Great stuff.
  11. Hmmm. Despite having a 6 year love affair with my 200p, that's probably a good decision. I had a play with a mate's Bresser 250 last year and it's much better built than the SW. Just remember you'll probably want to budget for a RACI finder as well.
  12. Same for my grandmother who was from rural Suffolk, but born thirty years later. I still remember when she became involved in my cousin's upbringing and promised 'we're gonna learn 'im to talk proper'. Bless.
  13. Good luck both @Highburymark and @Stu with it this season. On 29th March this year, I did a little dance around the garden after seeing it for the first (and so far only) time. I was using my 14" dob and a 4mm Nirvana eyepiece and this bought it out just enough to be sure (in my 7mm it was getting lost in the glare). Admittedly, this is a large instrument, but my Southern view is through the heat and light dome of 70k people, so local conditions are not great for me. My son (14) who follows quite a few of my astro foibles was pretty nonplussed by my excitement at the little dot shimmering under a diffraction spike. Some things just don't translate!
  14. This! I've had lots of fun doing this. The image below was taken with a 2nd hand 600d, with the IR filter removed, on a Star Adventurer, using a second hand 135mm lens off eBay for about £25. And this one used the same lens on an Altair 183c fan cooled camera. So it's definitely possible to do things on a budget- but as others have said, the mount is probably the most critical part.
  15. For once all my weather apps were in agreement that tonight was a non starter- so it obviously stands to reason that when I put my head out at 8pm it was pretty clear... Trust your Mk 1 eyeballs above all else!!! From my log: 10/10/21 14" Jupiter- superb view. Best in binoviewers with Polarising filter. 7 bands with some detail in them. GRS quite clear. Stunning. A good start. Dbl Dbl- ok split. Bit wobbly. M13 terrific view in binoviewers, despite being low in the sky, resolving into the core. Around Deneb: Ridge of pelican clear in 40mm with Oiii. North America nebula: lots of nebulosity, Cygnus wall and shape clearly seen in Oiii- Terrific view, and yet naked eye it looks a bit murky! The Veil. Spent a long time on this. Just a spectacular and awesome view. East and West and Pickering's triangle clear in 40mm. Witches broom sharp and gradually fading to right. Western veil bright as heck at the tail, alien head bit a little trickier to see. Really wonderful. M27 Dumbbell nebula. Swapped 40 for 30mm because it dewed up but kept the Oiii in. Small in 30mm, but really clear and distinct. Mid layer seen as well as apple core, no hint of outer layer. M31- ok view, but struggling to see outer edges and dark lanes not particularly clear. M32 easy, but m110 rather trickier. Oiii was obviously doing a good job of mitigating the conditions. M45 Pleiades- lovely, nebulously clearly seen around key stars. Some texture in fainter nebulosity between them. Then finishing with some doubles in Cygnus. I've recently bought the Cambridge star atlas, with a plan to work through some of the highlights by constellation: Albireo- gold and blue at 24mm superb sight. HR7293- nice even pair, slightly gold in colour 16 Cygni- another even pair, again slightly gold in colour. Broad split at 24mm Al Fawaris- much closer uneven pair. Main star white. Fainter companion at 2.4" hint of yellow. Quite tricky to split. And that's me done, but so good to get out and have a proper session; it's been weeks!!!
  16. Yeah- this is one of those showpiece targets that just gets better each time you return to it. My preferred combination for this is an aero 30mm ep with Oiii filter (mines a Baader one that I originally bought for imaging). In my scope (1650mm focal length) it means the eastern and western sections fill the view. They're really obvious to spot, but by relaxing and scanning round the fov the little wisps and stray filaments gradually emerge, especially between Pickering's triangle and the witches broom. I always find myself imagining the violence of the event that created this vast structure, and the forces that have lead to the different shapes that we see, and which will continue to evolve and dissipate.
  17. This has clearly struck a chord with many members. I have high blood pressure, and took to measuring it after various activities to see what effect they had. Nothing lowers it as effectively as a good observing session. For me, that objectively validates everything you said. It is a wonderful hobby.
  18. Here's my effort. Actually it took a couple of goes. Starnet++ always leaves a few artefacts, but this one seemed particularly bad, so I kept the stars in and used masks to protect them during the process. I did a little bit of reduction, but decided I really liked the big clouds of stars as part of the image, so less than I usually would. Approximate process was- - Combine Channels in SHO - Rotate 180 degrees - Neutralise Background and Colour Calibrate - Mask the brighter bits and very gentle NR with MLT - Stretch with Histogram transformation - Mask the stars of and use Curves/Hue and SCNR to get get the colour to my liking. - Reverse the mask and saturate/reduce the stars - Take a Luminance image and use it to mask of the darker sections; use USM and a tiny bit of LHE to bring out detail. - Use Dark Structure enhance to bring out the Dark Nebulae.
  19. My SW 200p dob had been stored in these sort of conditions for 5 years now with no apparent ill affect. Does this change your requirement for a short tube/compact size and weight? If you get away from that, then a dob would match your other requirements superbly- great optics, lots of light grasp, superb on many targets and very straightforward and easy to use, but big and agricultural.
  20. Yes- very good review. As I already own the eyepiece I was interested in whether the reviewer had a similar experience to me- and as I primarily use this eyepiece for lunar in an 8" dob I have to say I absolutely concur- the views of the moon are outstanding with this combination for me. I also use it for the same purpose in a 14" f4.6 dob. Unless the seeing is excellent then the view is generally a bit softer, but that's not surprising all things considered. It's still always worth a go. The other task that I use it for is splitting really tight doubles. The images are often magnified beyond what is an attractive view, but it has given me a few splits that were proving hard to get in other eyepieces. All in all I agree with the reviewers opinions and world definitely recommend.
  21. Not sure- but I use the SW CC and I've also had the problem on a 200p that I use for imaging, so I wouldn't be surprised if it affected the 150pds as well.
  22. I don't think you'll see a big improvement- it's surprising how dirty a newt mirror can get without apparent impact visually. That said, if you don't know what the source of the muck is, it might be better to get rid of it than risk damage to the mirror . A very careful wash (primarily using the gentle sloshing of water over the mirror) and rinsing with de-ionised water afterwards can assure you that you're getting the very best out of your instrument.
  23. I'm an occasional BV user and am mostly in agreement with what has been written so far. The one point I would add for the OP (and he may well have discovered it for himself from the initial post), is that whilst I find Cyclops viewing best for most DSO- the brighter/larger globs are a major exception to this. I use mine in a 14" dob and the views of M13, M3, M92 etc etc are just stunning. But I definitely wouldn't want to use them for everything.
  24. A full moon and thin cloud right across the sky, but had a happy hour going after some appropriate targets for the conditions in the 8 inch dob: Jupiter- all wobbly, but could see 6 bands and hints of detail in them. Saturn - bit wobbly, but could see the Cassini division. Double double- easy split at 170x Izar- bit rough, but clearly split Iota Cass- easy split in 7mm- white and blue, hint of gold Albireo- lovely as always Owl cluster- nice clear view despite the murk. Mizar- nice easy split M14 faint as you like but deffo there IC4665 faint open cluster. The gloom was thickening by this point, but I wasn't expecting to get anything, so still a nice surprise. Really is difficult to beat a medium sized dob with it's very rapid setup time on nights like this.
  25. After several years of imaging with Newts I've bought a little frac in search of wider fields of view. A couple of different takes on the Cygnus Loop taken last Tuesday. Techie stuff: SW72ed with Stella Lyra 0.8x flattener on an HEQ5, with an asi1600mm using Baader UNB filters. It's a 2 pane mosaic with 45 mins per pane per channel and combined as Ha into red and 50:50 Oii and Sii into green and blue. Processed in Pixinsight.
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