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About Ricochet

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  1. If it was me I would probably drop the 15mm and 12mm. The 15 is too close to your best eyepiece, the 14mm, and I can't see when you would choose to observe an object using the 15 instead of the 14. You'd be better off with something in the ~20mm range to split your 14 and 32mm eyepieces. You like the performance of the 15 in the barlow, but this is effectively a 7.5mm which is pretty much the same as your 8mm. Again, there is no need for both. The 12mm is also too close to the 14mm in my opinion. 14-11-8 gives more even splits than 14-12-8. However, the better eye relief of the 12 may swing things in its favour in practice.
  2. ST120 v 130PDS

    That will be pincushion (and/or barrel) distortion curving straight lines. Field curvature is curvature of the focal plane and results in the edges of the image being out of focus when the centre is focused. I think that there should be a 2" Baader click lock that can be fitted directly to the standard focuser draw tube. There is also a mounting kit to fit a Moonlight focuser to the 130pds.
  3. The finder you want to accompany a red dot finder is the skywatcher 9x50 RACI. Even the widest 2" eyepieces are too narrow in an f6 8" dob to replace the finder in my experience.
  4. Fed up

    How does it move and how long between observations? Have you seen this movement on more than the one occasion or is the moving star no longer there?
  5. Yes, the "3x" will be a Barlow. You put the Barlow in the focuser and then the eyepiece in the Barlow to use it. TAL telescopes are pretty well regarded and it should give good results with the eyepiece and Barlow supplied. You may or may not be able to use modern eyepieces with it without modification depending on which telescope you have. Have a look at the focuser. If it has a thumb screw at the end to secure the eyepiece then it should take modern 1.25" eyepieces but if the focuser simply holds the eyepiece by friction then I think you may find that there is not enough infocus to use anything but the original eyepieces.
  6. ST120 v 130PDS

    The collimation on a solid tube Newt shouldn't move that much so as long as you get it right the first time a 30 second check and minor adjustment at the start of each session would be all you need. Of the two I'd probably choose the 130pds.
  7. Are you sure the "yard" is only 8'x4'? That seems quite small, especially when you're trying to fit a 4' long telescope into it. If it is that width then with 4' walls you're limiting yourself to altitudes over 45° which seems to me to be quite limited, especially if you own a piece of land large enough to be described as a field. I think you would be much better off trying to source/make a suitable cart to easily transport your telescope into the field which I assume will have much better sight lines.
  8. I've got a neodymium filter and while it can be used to increase contrast on the moon and Jupiter I see no use for it at all as a light pollution filter under any sort of lighting. I've also got an Astronomik CLS which on certain targets under certain conditions can be useful but is not a magic bullet that can be left in the focuser at all times and will not replicate getting away from the lights. If the objects you are looking at are open/globular clusters then the best filter (aside from a tank of petrol) is probably just more magnification. So long as you keep the exit pupil over 1mm in order to limit diffraction and maintain the brightness of each individual star, more magnification will darken the background sky and increase contrast. UHC and OIII filters are the best to get for nebulae and will be useful useful from both light polluted and dark sites.
  9. Do you want a telescope that can sit on a desk for storage purposes or are you thinking that you will set the telescope up on the desk and look out of the window with it? You really should observe from outside if at all possible and so a tripod based setup is likely to be more useful in that situation. The Skywatcher Heritage 130p fits your description of being able to sit on a desk, but then when you take it outside you need another table or raised platform to use it on otherwise you will be left sitting on the ground. For tripod-based portable setups Skywatcher's new manual AZ5 and electronic AZ GTi ranges might be of interest. It really depends on what your definition of potable is. Is it something that you can carry outside in one go? Something that you can take somewhere in the car? On a flight in hand luggage? On a trek up a mountain?
  10. It looks a bit like a Skywatcher Explorer range OTA on a Celestron Astromaster type mount. I would imagine that the mount is the weak point and that for that sort of money you're better off buying something else. FLO sell a 150p on EQ3-2 for £310, which is a slightly bigger telescope on a mount that I think should be more sturdy. However, I don't like Newtonians on EQ mounts for visual use so I would be inclined to go for FLO's 150p + az4 bundle or an 8" dob instead. If you give us an idea of your budget and what you want to do with the telescope I'm sure you will get lots more suggestions.
  11. Reusing @Red Dwarfer's picture because it shows all the parts I want to talk about: When setting up your telescope in the oculars plugin on Stellarium (blue bordered buttons in top right) you will have the options for both horizontal and vertical flips. You will want horizontal flip but not vertical for your SCT. You can also set up a RACI finder as an eyepiece by ticking the "binocular" option. M57 (green dot) is easy to locate because it is almost centred on the line between the "bottom" two stars in Lyra. It is quite small so you may need to up the magnification a bit depending on which eyepieces you have, M27 is quite susceptible to being washed out by light pollution or atmospheric haze so a dark, clear night is best. I prefer the simple star hop from Sagitta shown below. It is almost upwards at a right angle from the left hand star (red line) and both star and nebula are within the field of view of a 9x50 finder. As nebulae are extended objects you probably want to keep the exit pupil above 2mm, which is a 20mm+ eyepiece in an f10 C8. Both should be visible as naked eye objects but if you want/need to use filters then you will probably need to increase the exit pupil/eyepiece focal length to compensate.
  12. Starguider 12mm or Xcel LX 12mm ?

    I don't think there is a lot in it. Maybe a touch optically in favour of the LXs for astronomical use but they have been reported to be susceptible to internal paint flecks falling onto the lenses. Usually I'd say Starguider as I found them a bit more comfortable but if you've already got three LXs you might want another to match. If I remember correctly the 12mm Starguider was parfocal with the 7mm LX I had.
  13. Have a look through the classifieds. There have been quite a few ES68/Maxvisions come up recently.
  14. Judging from the previous photos you can slide the bar that is currently serving as your vertical axis over to get the telescope as close as possible to the centre of the mount. Once that is done turn the telescope to the horizontal position and slide it back and forth in the rings until it is well balanced. You can also twist the scope in the rings to angle the focuser up slightly. At low elevations that will be a bit more comfortable and it will also allow you to look through the finder more easily. You will want to roughly line up the finder and telescope on a distant object before nightfall. Find the furthest thing that you can see with the telescope and then adjust the finder to match. You will then have to do this again at night on a bright star or planet. I would not use a green laser. A red dot finder will do pretty much the same job without affecting pilots or drawing unwanted attention to you.
  15. Sorry, when I said uneven I meant unlevel. A bit of unevenness will be ok for a dob, so long as you're not trying to set up on a slope. A manual alt/az mount/tripod suitable for an 8" Newt will probably cost your whole budget.