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About Ricochet

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  1. How does the motor drive work? Can the scope be moved manually without the motor or is it also required for slewing? Satellites move very quickly and it will not be able to move quickly enough to keep up. In addiction, trying to use ra and dec to locate a satellite is going to be difficult considering that satellites have constantly changing ra and dec coordinates and that the scales on your mount are quite inaccurate. I would suggest it is better to learn the constellations if you haven't already and use something like heavens above to look at where the arc of the satellite will take it in advance.
  2. 7mm Celestron X-cel LX. Optically as new, no internal specks of dust or loose paint. Scratch on nosepiece from thumbscrew. Includes both caps, bolt case and box. £45 including UK delivery.
  3. Have a Google for astrobaby's collimation guide. The website is/was down but there are pdf copies floating around. This will at least give you an idea of the process even if you don't want to take on the task by yourself the first time you do it. As for people showing you the ropes at the Astro club I expect the biggest problem will be having too many people wanting to help.
  4. The only reason to get any 2" eyepieces is to get a wider true field of view than a 1.25" barrel allows. Until you've got some experience using your new eyepieces you won't know whether you need a wider field for the targets you enjoy looking at. A 32mm plossl has the widest true field of view for a 1.25" eyepiece if one of those is in your set.
  5. "Traditionally" the 50° Plossl was considered "wide" and so when manufacturers started making eyepieces with wider fields of view the marketing departments came up with new exciting terms. The Panoptic clones (68°) were "Super Wide" and the Nager clones (82°) were "Ultra Wide". Meade tried to come up with some new terms for even wider fields of view but those lines haven't been popular and I don't recall any other manufacturer trying to use those terms so they can be ignored. The boundaries are a bit fuzzy but you could probably say something like 50-65° - wide 65-80° - super wide 80°< - ultra wide Of course these days every scope comes with a cheap 50° eyepiece or two as so people don't consider that wide any more. Wide probably only applies to the old SWA and UWA terms. If we're trying to come up with a definition of what should be considered wide then 65° is also about the point at which you can concentrate on everything in the field of view so you could say that anything wider than that is "wide". However, in this section of the forum I would suggest that most of the times when someone suggests a wide angle eyepiece what they really mean is "Buy an ES82°".
  6. What sort of astrophotography are you looking to do? Planetary or DSOs? I'm sure the imagers can advise you better than I, but while planetary imaging can be done on an alt/az mount, the long exposures for DSO imaging are best achieved with good quality eq mounts. A common recommendation for a starter eq mount is the Skywatcher HEQ5 but this in itself is double your budget before you even start at looking at scopes to mount on it (130PDS or ED80). It is possible to do DSO imaging more cheaply. There are no eq and eq3 challenge threads in the Getting started with imaging forum. Have a look through those and look at the results that people are managing to get and with what scope/mount combinations. These may or may not be of the quality that you aspire to. If not it is better to know now and save up for better equipment than to waste money on something that can never do what you want of it. You should also get a copy of Making Every Photon Count and read it thoroughly several times before making any purchase.
  7. What is your budget per eyepiece? Do you wear glasses and need long eye relief to accommodate that? Also, what eyepieces are "fairly decent" ones that you already have?
  8. Is the black part a little bit wider than the silver part of the barrel and maybe a bit rubbery? If so you're looking at the lens cap. Pull it off to reveal the Barlow element beneath. If you can already see the lenses from the bottom end of the Barlow this isn't the problem.
  9. I had both the 24mm Meade SWA and ES68. As far as I could tell their lens structure and optical characteristics are identical and the only difference is the outer shell of the eyepiece. Even the focus point is identical and if the coatings have been changed I didn't notice any difference between the two. Any aberration I saw in one was also present in the other. I found the large eye cup on the Meade makes proper eye placement more difficult and the hole is a bit too small in my opinion. However, the fold up eye cup on the ES wasn't tall enough for me and required "hovering" over the eyepiece which was fine when observing astronomical targets from a seated position but unusable during the day with my spotting scope. As a result I kept the Meade but the waterproof and Argon purged nature of the ES68 make it the superior eyepiece for night time use where you don't need to keep physical contact with the eyepiece and are less likely to be affected by reflections on the eye lens. Also, the barrel on the ES68 is not responsible for holding the lenses in place and so you won't end up with a pile of lenses and spacers should it be unscrewed.
  10. Not at all. What you need for extreme magnification is extreme aperture. And to be in space as the atmosphere will often be the limiting factor. An apochromatic refractor might be capable of high magnification relative to its aperture but that is not the class of refractor you are looking at. An achromatic refractor will suffer from chromatic aberration. In a high focal ratio scope this will be relatively well controlled and allow high magnifications. However, in a low focal ratio scope, such as the one you are looking at, it will ruin high magnification views and the scope is best suited to low power wide field views.
  11. You have to use the Barlow lenses to get any effect. Using just the tube does not change the focal length of the telescope and will not provide any additional magnification. It will work if your focuser has enough inward travel to accommodate the extra length that the tube adds to the focuser.
  12. Yes, screwing the Barlow lenses directly to the eyepiece as your are doing should result in roughly 1.5x. With a Barlow the magnification is related to the distance from the focal plane of the eyepiece so reducing that distance reduces the magnification and increasing the distance increases magnification. This also means that while the Barlow is called a "2x" Barlow the actual magnification will vary from eyepiece to eyepiece.
  13. All zooms tend to be wide at the short focal length and narrow at the long focal lengths. For this reason I would prefer individual eyepieces to cover those longer focal lengths. The place where a zoom comes into its own would be to cover the high power viewing where the atmosphere is getting in the way. You would need a Barlow to get the usual 8-24mm zoom into this area, probably a 1.5x if it is the Skyliner 200p you have or a 2x in the Explorer 200p. Quality wise I've heard it said that the Baader clickstop is optically as good as the Starguider range but I have no first hand experience with an decent zooms.
  14. I actually don't know, it's just the instructions that I have seen for cleaning a lens. What I actually should have said is centre to edge, although on a small eyepiece lens that might be difficult. I would guess that the reason for wiping straight from centre to edge would be to reduce the damage caused if you were to wipe a piece of dirt across the lens and scratch it. The strokes would be shorter and hopefully at the end of the stroke the dirt would be released instead of being swirled around the entire lens first.