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Everything posted by DevonSkies

  1. Have you seen this on several occasions, or just the once? It could simply be some high cloud causing light scatter.
  2. Thanks for posting those pics. I'd be tempted to fit one of these to my ST102, but it would cost nearly as much as the scope!
  3. So I took my Startravel 102 grab-and-go scope out last night to take a look at Jupiter at about 10pm-10.30pm. Despite the less-than-ideal equipment (the 102mm f/5 achromat works best on wide fields), I had a nice sharp, albeit small, view of Jupiter in my 5mm BST eyepiece between the clouds. As usual the two main cloud bands were visible, but this time, after observing Jupiter several times over the last few months, I finally saw the Great Red Spot (or should I say Great Beige Spot). Result! The ST102 didn't deliver much contrast, but it was definitely there. I tried a Baader Contrast Booster filter to tame the CA, but apart from removing the violet halo I'm not convinced it made much difference. I really need a decent planetary grab-and-go. Yes, my 10" Dob is great on the planets, but it takes well over an hour to cool and it's a pain to keep nudging the mount at high magnifications. I'm very tempted by a SW100ED.
  4. Could also be astigmatism in your eyes. Try observing with the other eye - does the pattern look different?
  5. My Skywatcher 250PX Dobsonian, like many SW Newtonians, comes with 1.25" and 2" eyepiece adapters. Unfortunately these aren't threaded, which leads to a problem if you want to use 2" filters with a 1.25" eyepiece. I have found a solution to this, which might be of use to others who have a SW Newt with a 2" focuser. The solution is to replace the 2" eyepiece adapter with a 2" extension tube of the correct length, combined with a low-profile 2"-to-1.25" adapter. I looked at a few options and settled on the Revelation 35mm self-centering 2" extension tube: http://www.telescopehouse.com/accessories/eyepiece-adaptors-and-extension-tubes/revelation-self-center-35mm-extension-tube-2.html This is the same length as the original 2" eyepiece adapter, and it is threaded to accept 2" filters. It fits straight into the focuser and replaces the original 2" EP holder. I then added the Revelation 2"-1.25" self-centering adapter: http://www.telescopehouse.com/accessories/eyepiece-adaptors-and-extension-tubes/revelation-self-center-adapter-1-25.html The two adapters combine to make an extension tube with exactly the same length as the original 1.25" EP holder. Both adapters are threaded, so a 2" filter can be fitted to either part. I chose the self centering adapters because they have a low profile and therefore don't alter the amount of focus travel available with the SW focuser. I hope this will be of use to someone else! Note: apparently some earlier SW Newtonians don't have a standard 2" drawtube fitting, so this method won't work. So it's worth checking your focuser has a standard 2" fitting before spending any money! Ed
  6. Yes, the Starwave 102 f11 does look like a good alternative (maybe even better). I notice Astroboot have a TAL 125 Apo in their Bargain Zone at the moment - out of my price range though! Optical Vision (the importers) still list the 125 on their website, but maybe they are just clearing out remaining stock.
  7. I contacted a couple of dealers today (Rother Valley Optics and Harrison Telescopes) who recently listed the TAL 100RS on their websites. Both told me that the TAL is no longer being imported! Sounds like bad news for anyone looking for one of these highly-regarded achromats. Guess I'll have to save my pennies for a SW 100ED instead.
  8. Thanks, that's good info. I have this padded bag for my ST102: http://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/geoptik-padded-case-for-100mm-refractors-f750.html and it's actually oversized for the scope - in fact I'm sure an ST120 would fit. I'm wondering if I'm taking that bag on holiday anyway, I might as well fill it up and put an ST120 in it!
  9. Thanks, both. That's a useful page. We have a caravan, so we usually do a few trips away each year. Hopefully I can plan at least a couple of them to be in nice dark sky areas! (Sadly I won't be able to fit the 10" Dob in the car with the family, so the 4" refractor will have to suffice!) cheers, Ed
  10. I was just wondering if anyone knows of a good UK dark sky map, either online or in print? I've seen the Philips Dark Skies Map, but these don't seem to be available any more (apart from some expensive second hand ones on Amazon). I've tried searching online, but haven't come up with any thing particularly useful. I'm interested in researching dark sky sites for holidays. Any suggestions? Thanks Ed
  11. Looks good. How do you find the size/weight compared to the ST102? Does it still make a good grab-and-go?
  12. What you describe sounds like "field curvature" to me. That's where the point of focus changes as you move from the centre to the edge of the field of view. Can you get the outer part of the field of view sharp by adjusting the focus? If so, then it's field curvature. It tends to depend on the eyepiece used. Unsurprisingly, more expensive eyepieces tend to exhibit much less field curvature. I tried a BST 25mm eyepiece on my Skyliner 250PX (f/5) and it had terrible field curvature. Couldn't get more than the central 30% sharp. I replaced it with a Celestron X-Cel LX 25mm and the focus was then perfectly flat across the field. My other BST eyepieces show some field curvature, but I can live with it. Hope that helps, Ed
  13. Not an expert, but I think you need an equatorial mount for deep sky imaging to eliminate image rotation. So that means the Skyliner is out.
  14. I decided to have a go at adjusting the grub screws with an allen key. They do indeed seem to directly regulate the friction on the struts. It felt as if one strut was too tight and the other too loose, so I have adjusted both screws so that the friction feels about the same on both sides and the scope slides up and down easily. I won't know until I take it outside and let it cool fully whether further adjustment is needed. I'll try it again next time the sky is clear.
  15. Do you mean the plastic thumb screw? I know these need to be loosened to slide the tube up and down. But there is also a small headless grubscrew on the opposite side of the assembly. That's the one I was wondering about. A Google search throws up a few threads from people who've had similar problems with struts seizing up. I've also emailed the retailer, and will see what they suggest. Thanks.
  16. Hello, I recently bought a Skywatcher Heritage 130P Flextube mini-dob. I find when the scope is cold, the sliding struts become very stiff, so that collapsing the tube down after a session is very hard. In fact, it's so hard I'm afraid of breaking something! It feels like one strut is stiffer than the other. I have tried silicone lubricant, but it didn't help. When the scope is warm, it slides up and down fine. I was wondering if any other Heritage owners might have experience of this and have some tips to help? I notice there is a grub screw in the plastic assembly where the strut slides up and down. Is this anything to do with adjusting the tension? Thanks, Ed
  17. Hey, capturing the Orion nebula on an iPhone is pretty impressive! Well done.
  18. lol... the Mak is on the shopping list, but it's going to have to wait! Honest!
  19. Just ordered myself a cheeky little Heritage 130P Flextube. Been looking at these for ages, and thought it would make a handy grab-and-go for caravan holidays. I don't really need another scope (I have the ST102) but for such a low price I couldn't resist! I guess there's no cure... Ed
  20. Only just spotted this thread! I use the Revelation Quartz Dielectric 2" diagonal on my ST102, and I find it to be excellent. I bought it from Telescope House: http://www.telescopehouse.com/accessories/diagonals/diagonal-dielectric-99-quartz-2-4109.html In terms of 2" eyepieces, I have the Skywatcher Panaview 32mm, which gives a massive 4.4 degree FOV on the ST102 (it will be a bit less on the ST120). It's great for wide-field clusters, giving a similar FOV to big binoculars. I also use this EP on my 10" Dob to good effect. http://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-eyepieces/skywatcher-panaview-2-eyepieces.html Hope that's some help, Ed
  21. Great fun reading through this and seeing what people have kept, what they have sold, and what they wish they hadn't sold! Reminds me of the list of cameras I've had over the years! Just 2 scopes here at the moment (SW 250PX and ST102), but I can already feel the slippery slope approaching!
  22. Thanks. I'll look forward to hearing how you get on!
  23. I do wonder whether I actually should have got the ST120 in the first place. I was undecided between the two when I made the purchase, and decided on the 102 because I thought it would be more portable. But in the end the ST120 is only 10cm longer and 2cm wider, and for DSOs one needs all the aperture one can get! I'd be interested to hear how you think it compares to the 102 when you get it. Will you have the chance to compare side by side?
  24. I think a goto/tracking mount would be a good idea. If you are viewing planets they will drift across the FOV in no time. How about a Skymax 127 on a synscan AZ goto mount? I've never used one, but I hear they are good for planets and lunar. Available for around £350. Just a thought!
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