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About davidmclifton

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    King of Prussia, PA
  1. I have been watching the same procession - absolutely beautiful in the mornings. Got hit with fog today though.
  2. I use GoSkyWatch on my mobile phone to point at a bright star, that gives me the name and then I can pick that in Two Star Auto mode. Works great.
  3. Hey Quantum, I am new to having a decent telescope but have been a long time owner of a fantastic set of binoculars. I would heartily recommend the Meade 9x63 set with astronomy roof prisms. They are these, I apologize looks like only used avail on amazon now but I bought them back in 2012 from amazon.com: http://smile.amazon.com/Meade-Instruments-Travel-Astronomy-Binoculars/dp/B00007GD7E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1443811642&sr=8-1&keywords=meade+9x63 - I am sure there are retailers for the same or similar in your area. For binocs I like the roof prism because it makes it a lot easier on the eyes. I also purchased a cheap binocular mount (litterally a metal stand that screws into the front of the bridge in the middle) and hook it up to an inexpensive tripod I purchased for a digital camera. This really helps make viewing with them an absolute pleasure - no arm tiring, and a good mount with adjustable height can get them at eye level whether sitting or standing. The flexibility to then pop them off the tripod and sit back in a comfortable lounge chair and look around with them is great as well. I used to go to star parties near my old house and I would have my binoculars out on a tripod right next to a fellow with a truly massive dob telescope and 95% of the time I would feel my views were the better of the two. Binoculars are so much easier to view through, really no eye strain at all, and for truly wide angle, the moon etc you can get some really nice views. I'll admit that I have jumped into a decent telescope, but in the lower price range I used to have a refractor and the binoculars...and I always used the binoculars. The refractor collected dust - just too much hassle to setup, without an equatorial or motorized tripod too much hassle to keep on a target - I'd pull the refractor out when I absolutely had to. The thing to keep in mind is that even if you had your own personal observatory sitting in your back yard with $40k worth of equipment, you would still need this good set of binoculars and it would still be better for seeing many interesting things in the night sky
  4. Awesome, I am really looking forward to trying this out - and at the cost of just a t-adapter and t-ring to get started it is something I don't even need to save up for.
  5. Every now and then I want to hit myself when I realize I have completely overlooked something. In this particular case the thing I think I have overlooked is my existing photography equipment - I happen to have a Canon Rebel T2i. In addition to being an amazing camera on its own, it also happens to do video and happens to also have software, available for Mac and Windows, that enables live viewing of the feed from the camera. The T2i's do have overheating issues with long run use but there are some options for mitigating and I think I can work around it. So I am wondering if I went this route with a simple celestron t-adapter coupled with the proper adapter for the T2i (Opteka seems to have one for $14 or others I have seen for <$10) would that perhaps serve the purpose I am trying to achieve? For planets would I need a barlow that works with this setup? If it would work, I am thinking this route maybe gives me a lot more flexibility with what I want to do in the future than the dedicated eyepiece cam does and it seems at about the same price.
  6. Reggie thanks so much for sharing that - I am definitely giving that one a look!
  7. I am thinking, going back to my original goal of making the telescope view more accessible, maybe what I need is something more like http://smile.amazon.com/dp/B0007UQNXG/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=1EQUQQQYIQAG3&coliid=I1GT20TXZTOOPV with some cheap plossl EPs with good eye relief. And a step stool.
  8. So I've been doing some more looking around and am beginning to wonder if my notion of showing live video of planets on a laptop or similar is really a way too big bite to chew on. I've been looking at some youtubes with live videos and the sense I get is that live video of a planet through just about anything seems to be very blurry - only by combining multiple frames across time does it seem reasonably clear images or videos come out. What I really was dreaming of is the ability to take what I see in my eyepiece and make that available to kids to see on a laptop screen - no desire to save images or otherwise change it. That seems like not really a thing that is really doable from what I can see without dropping as much cash as I spent on my telescope, if even then - or am I looking in the wrong places?
  9. Thanks Dave - at this point the clickstop is definitely sitting at #1 on my list, it seems so versatile and as you say it doesn't need to depend on getting another piece such as a star diagonal change ahead of time. That Mallincam looks awesome - to be honest I am kind of hoping for something cheaper on that component though. The EPs I want for a lifetime of observing as it were, the video cam I am at this point mostly thinking of in terms of satisfying the kids and very occasional use in the near term. Is there anything that would fit the bill at a lower price range? Is there like a price range or inflection device that separates "total Rubbish" from "hey I can see some cool details on jupiter"?
  10. Thanks for the suggestion YKSE. I hadn't really thought about the full interplay there. I was going to ask how the focal length interrelates to the field of view but I found this calculator: http://www.csgnetwork.com/telefov.html - it is old so doesn't have newer eyepieces but seems generally good for the purpose. I wasn't sure what exactly the focal length value is reduced to with the reducer, so I tried to do a little math knowing that it goes from F/10 at 2032 out of the box to f/6.3 with the reducer, so I *think* that means the focal length is dropped to an effective 1280-ish, is that right? So using 1280, it seems with the celestron 32mm plossl (which I guess has an AFOV of only 43 according to that tool?) I get 1.15. Some other EPs give some higher values, however you said for the C8 the highest FOV I could get would be like 1.3 - so is that like a hard ceiling which the calculator there just isn't taking into account or how does that limitation work?
  11. You mention the Panaview 32MM 2" EP. Unfortunately it does not seem to be much in the way of available in the US. The eye relief on it looks really great, not sure if there is something similar out there. My local shop generally has Celestron, ES, Meade & TeleVue. Is there a good option in that range for wide angle low power viewing that might be recommended from those lines?
  12. Thanks CodnorPaul, having that good connection to the OTA instead of needing a separate visual back does seem really handy. Do you just use the old visual back as a cap when you break down the scope for travel? I guess it would be possible to just leave the diagonal on but my OTA fits pretty snug into the carrying case as it is, if the diagonal protrudes back any further than the focus knob I think it would probably not fit.
  13. CodnorPaul - thanks so much for the response! I especially appreciate your first hand experience with the clickstop zoom. I had one question on your diagonal - I have seen there are these "dielectric" coating diagonals - any idea how that compares to the XLT or what would be a useful guide in making a decision between the XLT and say an orion with dielectric coating? TV also has their everbrite stuff - not sure if that is comparable (certainly the price is higher) or if it wouldn't make a difference on this scope.
  14. Let me start by saying I apologize for the long text - I wanted to avoid the usual trap though of having an extensive back and forth to answer the basic questions I should have answered in the first place in order to benefit from helpful advice. I am seeking some advice from more experienced observers - I have read a lot of advice regarding my scope and eyepieces here and elsewhere before taking the step to register so I could post. Most of the advice starts with "explain your setup and what you are hoping to achieve" and invariably those answers by previous posters are different from mine, so it has been difficult for me to sort through various conflicting bits of advice in this area. So I am hoping some more experienced observers would be willing to lend a few minutes to looking at my situation and helping with some advice specific to it. First the Setup, a recent birthday present from the wife: Celestron NexStar SE 8 (typical starting kit)1.25" visual back, star diagonal, and 25mm eyepiece that comes withThe celestron starter eyepiece kit (some cheap-o EPs, 2x barlow, filters) - http://smile.amazon.com/Celestron-94303-Accessory-Kit/dp/B00006RH5I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1443619499&sr=8-1&keywords=celestron+eyepiece+kitA telrad with 4" riser to make initial spotting and alignment easier (maybe I am weird but I like manual slewing sometimes for exploration vs goto)SkySync GPS (because I am lazy)Celestron Corrector/Reducer f/6.3 Model #94175Astrozap heated dew shield, dew heater control, eyepiece strapI also happen to have a pair of Meade 9x63 binoculars on hand which work great especially on my tripodAlso happen to have an AstroMaster 70AZ beginner refractor sitting around Adding to my setup, my location/light conditions: Want to do lots of back yard viewing, conditions are not great. It is not city but it is a suburban neighborhood. www.lightpollutionmap.info shows me as in the yellow to orange color ranges, where yellow is 3-6 and orange is 6-20, I would guess from my own experience I am right around the 6A couple times a month I can go to a local park, such as French Creek State Park, located here on the light pollution map (rated 0.4-1.0) - http://www.lightpollutionmap.info/#zoom=10&lat=4896225.7447&lon=-8436034.80525&layers=B0TFFFFTTA few times a year I would like to make the trip to a good dark sky spot within reasonable travel distance, the fairly well known Cherry Springs State Park (rated 0-0.25 in spots) - the dark areas around here http://www.lightpollutionmap.info/#zoom=10&lat=5121273.34976&lon=-8676130.97396&layers=B0TFFFFTTMy goals for viewing are: Planetary and Moon, love looking and would really like to be able to see as best detail as I can from this scope - I find looking at the planetary details and even the moon's craters (on nights when planetary viewing isn't great) to be fascinating, could do it all nightDouble+ stars - I find these to be great, understand probably not adding a lot to requirements here but thought I would mentionAs far as DSOs, basic galaxies and nebula. I obviously slew to whatever I can get my fingers on but I am most likely to spend most of my time wishing I could see more detail in spiral galaxies or like andromeda - those fascinate me the most.I would also love to get what is referred to on these forums as a "webcam" for planetary that would work well with my Macbook Pro - this is mostly for the benefit of the (very very many) kids in the neighborhood including my own 5 year old. Something where I could setup the laptop and they could look at it and see some decent detail (and be wowed that it is what is going on in the sky "right now") without dropping a pound of cash but also not just fuzzy garbage views.What I am not going to do: Astrophotography, recorded videography, etc - this scope is designed for live views and ease of use and that is exactly what I wanted in the purchase.I am hoping folks can suggest specific products that I could add to my wishlist...I am new so being told "get a EP with this relief and this mm" then leaves me in a mess trying to map that to actual products. My overarching goal here is to build a "wishlist" that I can use as a guide when opportunities surface to pick up new gear. I expect I may learn things that change my mind over time or change my priorities, but it really helps me to have a basis I am working from that I can then think about and validate by looking (literally) into different options at star parties etc. I am not looking to quick buy what I need cheaply - I want to try to make my future purchases be the things I will love to use for the entirety of my time experiencing the hobby. I have a pretty open budget - I want pieces that will last a lifetime (so TVs are absolutely on the table or whatnot). The obvious exception is the "webcam" as tech always changes in that space and so I am really seeking to fill a short term need with a lot of young kids around right now. Ok, with all that out of the way, on to my request for advice. I kind of lump it into four categories (can you tell I like lists? ) so let me ask the four questions: Q1: What would you recommend for a star diagonal that would provide better reflectivity than the basic one I have and suffice for all my future needs? I have 1.25" visual back now but if 2" is better for me long term I would love to hear about that - a lot of advice I see seems to say 2" but then "on your scope you won't get the benefit" - but will I get some benefit? if so probably worth it to me. Q2: What would you recommend for EP(s) to satisfy a desire to do quick, easy observing in my backyard lighting scenario? I am thinking for most uses I want quick setup with flexibility. I have been strongly considering a Baader 8-24mm quick stop zoom for the ability to put one eyepiece in and be able to easily switch between, but I am trying to weight that against getting 2-3 EPs that might better fit the bill albeit with more shuffling. The reason I separate this from the next request is to keep in mind the light pollution level I have in this situation and its impact. Q3: What would you recommend for EP(s) to meet my viewing goals and make use of trips to Cherry Springs and very good nigthts at the French Creek location? I have been looking at TV Delos or similar but not sure which best fit the objects I want to look at as listed above. Given this is really about maximizing experience in limited scenarios where I have great skies, I would really like to keep this area to no more than 2 EPs as I don't know I can justify more given the limited use. I really want to get that "space walk" experience type of feel and really want to be able to see planetary and galaxy detail. Q4: What would you recommend for a basic, not breaking the bank "webcam" setup that would fit the bill for sharing the experience with the kids (I could probably get a line of 20 of them - this neighborhood is chock full of children) with a decent enough view to give that "wow" feeling to somebody who hasn't had access to a decent amateur scope? Apologies again for the length and I absolutely appreciate any answers to even one of these questions - I am really open to hearing advice and learning from those with more experience observing who can share their thoughts on what really works well over the years of enjoying the hobby.
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