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About joe1950

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    Astronomy, Optics, Physics, Electronics, Amateur Radio
  • Location
    New Jersey - near Phila, PA
  1. Thank you Louis! The one I have is a Nikon, from a Nikon microscope and the fellow I got it from says it is coated, but not easily seen. It may be an older version with what he called 2-layer coatings. The eyepieces from AmScope also have a light 2-layer coating on them. He says the folks using microscopes with these BVrs and eyepieces must have very natural color reproduction so the dyes they used are identified properly. In any case, the Nikon has excellent light throughput, no apparent scatter or ghosting or internal reflections. So whatever is on there is working for me! Plus it is lightweight with the smaller eyepieces and build. I also have my son's Arcturus BVer and they are close in performance. But the Arcturus is heavier and larger. That is definitely AR coated. Here is my new to me, Celestron Omni XLT 102 ED (that's a mouthful!). I really like the scope and it is just right for the mount. Together, as one piece, I can carry it out, move among the trees and back in. Much heavier and it would be a strain. Views of Jupiter, even down in the weeds as it is have been excellent. I've seen several belts and structures and a couple festoons and white oval storms. Seeing has not cooperated and if the planet was higher I'm sure it would be that much better. This all with the binoviewer. If I try a mono eyepiece I don't see half the detail. but I'm sure I'm out of monovision practice and it would be better given time. The binoviewer is just so much more comfortable and the detail is right there for the taking. Why struggle? This scope is probably a cousin of my C80ED, made before 2010 and sold under other brand names. It uses Ohara FPL-53 glass and CA is invisible in my old eyes. So If I can't see it, it isn't there!! I think it's dark blue because they used the same tubes for the Meade version and just slapped on the appropriate logo. I would have preferred the white accents with the OTA being that Aston Martin Pearl Grey, Yum! That's what the Astro-Tec 102 scopes uses but they have a white tube and grey accents. I love that really classy James Bond grey! So, I'm all set! I figure I'll use the 102 for normal sessions and when the planets are about, and the 80mm for quicker take-outs and when it gets cold outdoors. All the best! joe
  2. Even though the atmospherics havn't cooperated, and the altitude of Jupiter is dismally low (down in the weeds as we say), I'm getting good views of it with the new (to me) Celestron Omni XLT 102 ED, f/8.8. I was fortunate to get a Vixen mount and a dual-speed focuser by way of trade and kindness of a friend who thins the herd at times to my advantage. I'll get a photo posted soon. It's been horribly hot outside and I can't even walk out there for a few minutes to take a photo. The weather broke today, but some rain still falling. How it works here is we will have a week or more of a heat wave...90° or more for 5 or 7 days in a row. This last one was a week long. Oh and there is high humidity. Very high. And unending bugs of all type. The weather will cool as a front comes through, with thunderstorms and an occasional tornado (nothing like the midwest) and it may be cool for a day or two, maybe three. Then a new heat wave starts. But more to the point. Two nights ago I went out in the sultry weather and Jupiter was visible albeit through haze. I brought out my kit of mono eyepieces which are identical to the BST Starguider ED versions sold here in the UK. Excellent EPs for the price. I have all but the 25mm. So, as a check, I tried monovision again with a couple different focal lengths, and I couldn't see half the detail I had with the binoviewer. That, I found upsetting. Perhaps my eyes are spoiled with binovision. Maybe if I ever decided to return to monovision due to, say a weakness in one eye, it would take a while to readjust. Plus, these great eyepieces I struggled to collect are sitting doing nothing. I wouldn't sell them, for fear I may need them at some point. It is one of the conundrums of binoviewing! Let me close ( ), by describing my binoviewer. There are actually two but one belongs to my son. The one I use most is a converted microscope stereo viewer made by Nikon. It has a nosepiece converted to 1.25" for direct use with a scope. I have 2 Barlow/transfer lenses, running at about 2x, but giving different magnification at the eyepieces. One is a Baader 2x and the other is a Burgess 1.8x. Both are very good. The eyepieces are 23mm diameter microscope eyepiece and they fit into a spring held tube, which is very accurate for alignment. I always get registered views. The pairs I have are 10X (25mm), 16X (15/6mm), 20X (12.5mm) and I'm waiting on a pair of 25X (10mm). $23 for the pair and they are all metal and very good. These are made by a company called AmScope and are said to be 'Achromatic, Japanese Industrial Standard.' The eyepieces and the binoviewer are sharp and show no false color, and the eyepieces have, I would guess, about a 55-58° field. The thing is, and I've checked and checked, NOTHING has ANY antireflection coating on them! At least none that I can see. This includes the binoviewer and the eyepieces. Despite that, the light getting through is at least as good as the other (Arcturus) viewer, and I see no internal reflections or ghosting! Do microscopes and parts not use antireflection coatings? Everywhere I look at microscope eyepieces, not a word is mentioned about coatings. There are a lot of, shall we say, paradoxical experiences in using binoviewers, and this is certainly one that befuddles me! Thank you. joe
  3. Excellent report Alentejo! 8” f6 is a great scope and would show a lot with a binoviewer. Plenty of light available and fine detail. Some try binoviewing and change to it totally. Some like it but go back. If you can do both and find which kind of objects you like with each, you’ll have the best of both worlds. Thank you for the very nice comments, my friend! I’ll have to admit, Pingster, if I had an eyepiece kit consisting of premium eyepieces, I would be reluctant to ditch them or buy a second of each. That could get rather expensive. But the experience is so compelling to use binoviewers, it’s hard to give up once you’ve seen the wonderful views. Thanks Pingster!
  4. Very good points made Moonshane! The comfort difference is huge and very likely a significant part of the reason more detail is seen. Both the eyes and brain are operating in a more normal mode. I always prefer magnification on the lower side. The sharpness and contrast are stunning. Overpowering a scope, while some like to reach the upper limits, is just too mushy for my liking. And, depending on the quality of the scope, of course, getting the correct focus becomes more difficult. Another plus for binovision is that at a given magnification, the object you're observing appears larger. Very nice eyepiece kit! The TV Plossls have extraordinary light throughput which matches up well with a binoviewer. At the longer focal lengths Plossls are comfortable. But the Panoptics are gems, indeed! I've never had the pleasure of using the Maxbrights. I would say that mixing your viewing between monovision and binovision is a good idea. Kind of like keeping in shape for either. Some try binovision and have difficulties, likely caused by mechanical deficiencies with the viewer, and drop it for good. Others like it so much they won't do any monoviewing. I'd like to keep both options open but I don't know how it will end up. The sky here is so poor, lunar, planetary and some doubles are really all I can do, and they lend themselves to binoviewing. So we'll see. Thanks very much, Moonshane! All the best! joe
  5. Thank you, Rusted. I have to admit, I was concerned about its existence. Good to hear, Peter! Sounds like the traffic folks are doing some thinking! I've been a crossing guard for the last four years, even though retired. My post was very, very busy as both students from the high school and middle school crossed there. Over last summer, the principal of the middle school decided to move the starting time up to coincide with the high school to gain 20 minutes of additional instructional time per day. The police dept, who I worked for, was strongly against it citing the traffic problems it would cause. They went ahead with it anyway, and sure enough when I started back there last September, it was total chaos. I eventually wrote an extensive email describing the dangers this changed posed and the traffic officer tried to get it changed, but the school administration and board refused to budge (and admit an error). It was so bad, I had to resign after the year was over. I feel very badly for whoever is posted there next year. Louis, that is probably in the Pocono Mountain area. It is a great sky there and I wish I was closer, but with age I seem to travel less. When Neil DeGrasse Tyson was a youth in the NY school system, they went on a field trip to that area because of the dark skies. Young Neil was said to look up at the sky and say, "Wow! It's just like the Hayden Planetarium!" Looks like the next several days will have unsettled weather. Joy. Hazy, Hot, Humid with thunderstorms. Really oppressive, and throw in the insect menace, it's no fun. New Jersey has a very nice and comfortable average climate. However the conditions are never average! Cheers. I'll post some pix of the new (to me) 102 soon. I had it out once and it was excellent. joe
  6. Thank you for the kind words, Rusted. You know, the last two or three weeks have seen an unusual number of clear evening skies! One in particular was extraordinary. But we’ll pay! We always do. So, yes, I can confirm through the use of empirical observation, the existence of those two extraordinary and lovely objects. What I can’t confirm and am growing suspicious of, Rusted, is the existence of that which is called the Milky Way! Now I have an open mind. I’ve seen photos of this. But even when the skies are totally clear, I’ve not seen it in decades! Not a trace. It may have existed at one time, but where did it go?
  7. I’ll report for last night and tonight, trying not to drag it on. Last night I tested a couple filters with the binoviewer viewing Jupiter. I really have to say I did not feel there was any advantage using them (medium blue and light yellow). I’m not a filter person anyway. It may require practice to notice differences, or maybe they work better in larger scopes, with more light. Today, the new (to me) scope arrived! It’s a Celesrptron Omni XLT 102 ED. It’s very nice, good condition and sat okay on my Celestron Alt-Az scope. It’s an inexpensive but decent mount. With the 102 mm on it, the shaking and moment of inertia swaying were not bad at all. I took it out tonight. Very hot and humid, and the bugs were everywhere. Seeing was 4/5 at best. Again, a lot of boiling and image animation. In fact, looking at Jupiter’s moons, they appeared to be moving around. I did use the Binoviewer on the scope, had no problem with reaching focus, with plenty to spare. The view of Jupiter was simply amazing. I was able to see more belts, more belt detail and detail between the belts. I was amazed. It was the best I’ve seen Jupiter in many, many years. It’s still a grab and go scope. But I was correct that anything larger and/or heavier might be stretching the limit. So, I’m very happy with it. I’ll post some photos. Thank you, joe
  8. A flash of lightning usually freezes me as well, Rusted. You know, I've watched some vids on lightning. What an interesting topic that is. Seen in ultra slow motion, numerous 'feelers' come down from the cloud to the surface. When the best path is found, sometimes as close as 50' from the strike point, the main strike follows its path, and none of the others! Fascinating. Peter, I have an adjustable bracket and they help a great deal, I just get lazy and do it the hard way. Also, I found an app that allows for full control of the focus, shutter and ISO. Called 'YAMERA' for iPhone. There are many others. I find the settings don't jump all over the place as they sometimes do when on auto mode. Let me share one more observing session, from last night. Conditions: Good transparency, 4-5/10 seeing with obvious image animation, Jupiter at 26° altitude, the moon a little higher, but only 10° to the west of Jupiter. Scope used was the Bresser 127mm Mak, f/15, Arctutus binoviewer, (2) 12.5mm Meade Super Plössls. The moon had the boiling type seeing but the detail observed was simply outstanding at 152x. I was able to see 3 craterlets on the floor of Plato, although they were in and out; but definitely visible. They are not easy objects from my location. Jupiter too exhibited exceptional detail, when seeing permitted. Both NEB and SEB had excellent detail and contrast. At the equator, some lower contrast detail was also visible. Last year I used this scope extensively on Jupiter which was at about the same altitude. Good detail was observed, but nothing like the detail I witnessed during this session. It was noticeably better using binovision. I have to say, these results have me pretty much sold on the advantage of a binoviewer, even with a lower cost model, at least as seen through my old eyes and processed through my average brain. My new 102mm scope is delayed an extra day. I believe UPS wants to drive it over more road ruts and potholes a little longer. Of the three major shipping companies, none of which are held in high esteem, they are the least favorite, IMHO. The very best to all! Thank you for posting and reading! joe Update: 7/14 Now, the scope delivery is back on schedule! Supposed to be clear this evening. We'll see. The heat and humidity are oppressive. Typical for this time of year. And endless mosquitos, the New Jersey state bird, are waiting for anyone who ventures out, day or night. My next thought is to try binoviewing on the moon and planets using some light color filters to see how they react to using both eyes. With monoviewing, I have to say color filters have minimal effect in my experience. But possibly they would be better performers with a BVer. The best for the upcoming week!!! joe
  9. That sounds like a great technique, Louis! I will definitely do that next time I use the phone for images. My hand was dancing all over the place and even when I had the moon in view it was moving all over the screen. So much for steady hands! I'm surprised a few came out with any sharpness at all. I guess the brightness of the moon kept the shutter speed fast enough to freeze the motion, but I'd rather use your technique and take no chances! Thank you very much Louis.
  10. Thank you, Stu! It does work well. Though my hand shakes holding it since there is nothing to hold it against. I have one of those brackets and next time I'll use it. 6AM here! Can't sleep at night and can't stay awake during the day. My clock is out of sync.
  11. Thank you so much Stu... and everyone! Interest has been wonderful for this topic. Often my topics are so bad I have to reply to myself, just for the numbers! . I took a couple pix of the areas I was looking at last evening; the Plato area and the Straight Wall and Lunar Highlands. These are only single frame images taken with a handheld iPhone, so nothing special, no stacking or the like. I'm not an AP-er by any means. The images some of those folks get are unbelievable! Thanks again Stu, and all! joe Just an added tidbit about the Straight Wall. I read a while back it isn't an actual wall, but rather a slope. Kind of disappointing, actually. It is a fault line, but not a straight drop. I can't recall the actual grade angle, but the article said if you were at the bottom of the wall, and helped by the lower gravity of the moon, you could walk up it if you were so inclined (no pun intended). I'd rather it was a straight drop. Much more alluring.
  12. I ventures out again last night with the 80mm refractor, bringing a 4mm Vixen eyepiece to do some monovision and the Nikon binoviewer. Seeing was unsteady. Starting with the moon, I made an attempt to see any hints of craterlets in Plato, a difficult task from my experience. Plato had just come into daylight and the floor was 90% illuminated. With the single eyepiece, I may have glimpsed one of the three largest, just about in the center of the crater floor. Results were not buch better with the binoviewer, but there were a few more occasions where I thought I may have seen the central one. In either case, nothing was readily evident. They are often difficult in a 6" reflector for me and a smaller instrument with just average conditions is asking a lot. The difference with the moon was much more comfort in viewing and a small but noticeable increase in the color dynamic with the binoviewers. The seas, especially appeared to offer more levels of color/grays with the BVers. In one view, I counted 50 shades of gray! Joshing, couldn't resist. But there were more tones evident with the binoviewer. Jupiter was a different story. With the single eyepiece I could see the north and south equatorial belts without problems and shading at the poles. There was a hint of a thin belt in the north temperate area. With the binoviewer the NEB and SEB showed definite edge detail and some internal structure during moments of good seeing. The polar regions had a darker tone to them and the thin NTB, a thin light colored belt was easier to see. There was just more detail apparent, at least to my view, with the binoviewer. Different observers have different ways of observing and seeing detail is a personal experience based in part on how your eyes and brain interpret what is offered. Long established planetary viewers have trained their brain to pick out detail others simply cannot see and might have no interest or use for a binoviewer. Experience counts in planetary observation and results are not the same for everyone. I know some very experienced observers who have used binoviewing for a while and returned to monovision, feeling there was no real advantage. At this point, comparing the two closely, I'd have to give a definite nod to binovision. Foul weather has arrived today and I have the feeling it will be around for a few days. Thanks for reading and the very best to all!
  13. That is an important factor for many situations, Steve. At my location I'm very limited to planetary and lunar observing and thus far the small prism size has not been a factor. In fact, the converted microscope unit I have is a Nikon brand and nothing is antireflection coated! Yet they seem every bit as bright as the fully multi coated Arcturus model! Some aspects in the use of these are counterintuitive but somehow they work! That is an excellent suggestion, Rusted, and I know exactly the mount you are speaking of! In fact I have plenty of the PTFE pads from an old DOB. A little woodworking and you have an excellent mount. Thanks again, a far better option!
  14. Thank you very much AdeKing! Everyone who has one has nothing but nice things to say and the seller assured me this would be no different a sample. It will arrive in a few days. Yes, Stu, it is f/8.8 but the quoted weight is 8-9 Lbs, so hopefully the mount I have intended for it will do the job. If not, I'll go to the home store and get the essential for a pipe mount. I've been in the hobby since the 1960s and had never built a pipt mount until about 2 years ago. My son has it for his refractor and I must say it is one of the sturdier mounts I've ever used! Heavy though, so I may use the next size down if I end up making one. But I think the mount I have should do nicely. Thank you, Stu! The William Optics BVers are quite nice from what I hear, Steve. The major differences with the economy models vs the deluxe units seems to be mechanical rather than optical. But the WOs use a good system to hold the eyepieces and rate well! Rob, I don't blame you in the least! Even before I retired, I would make the same promise to myself when I would make a substantial purchase. I've often wondered if anyone else would make similar resolutions? Anyway, I have to try extra hard this time. Retirement seems to be heading in the direction of being a luxury. In my case it was somewhat of a forced issue since the newspaper I worked at for 45 years was being bought by a large group and layoffs were iminate. So if I ever start talking about a big purchase I ask that someone will step forward and put their foot down. I do feel the new scope will complete my kit nicely. Thank you all very much!!!!
  15. The moon this evening is at 1st quarter and the sky clear. Two things that don’t happen often at the same time. It seems from waxing crescent to mid gibbous, the clouds are abundant. I went out with the Bresser 127 Mak and my Nikon (converted microscope) binoviewer. Compared to the other I have, the Arcturus model, it’s smaller and lighter. It uses microscope eyepieces that fit nicely into the spring pressure tubes and I have a pair of 10x, 16x and 20x (25mm, 16mm and 12.5mm) The Mak, with a generous 1900mm FL, has to be held down if anything. And with a Mak or SCT, focus can be easily reached with or without the Barlow/transfer lens, if it focuses with a moving primary, which most do. Seeing was average with some animation of the image. I’d put it at 4-5/10. Nothing to write home about. But the sky transparency was a bit above average for here. In any event, the moon was spectacular! Endless numbers of craters of all sizes were easy. Features such as rills, cracks and trenches were everywhere. And there was so much detail within larger craters, one could easily spend significant time just on one. I really can’t recall seeing this much detail and stark contrast on the moon in some time. I believe the binoviewing helped quite a lot! I have observed the lunar surface in all kinds of conditions. Often seeing has been so poor one could get seasick from the image motion. But I believe, and this is just a totally non-scientific observation, that binoviewing somehow mitigates the effect of seeing conditions allowing more detail to, shall we say, show through. The seeing conditions are made not better by using the binoviewer, but detail that would be otherwise obliterated with monovision, gets through using two eyes as opposed to one. I know, you think I’ve visited the spirits cabinet, but I’ve noticed this on many occasions and on both the moon and Jupiter. All I can say for sure is that tonight’s session had average seeing conditions yet I saw an immense amount of sharp detail. Sometimes it was moving, but it was there to see. With this scope, as with most, it has a rather noticeable upper magnification limit. Exceed it and the image quickly loses that amazing sharpness and brightness. Empty magnification, some call it, and with the f/15 Mak it’s easy to reach. Thanks for reading! All the best to you, my friends! joe BTW: In my retirement I’ve been living a rather austere lifestyle. I have deep pockets but they are quite empty. In spite of that I’ve made one more scope purchase; the last hobby related purchase I’m making (had I a nickel for every time I’ve said that, I’d be quite well off). I got a used, Celestron Omni XLT 102mm f/8.8 OTA. It is an ED type, and uses O’Hara FPL-53 ED glass. These are not sold new any longer and were popular purchases up to about 2010. It’s the big brother of my C80ED as well as the Orion (US) ED-102. They come available now and again at great prices. These scopes aren’t on the level of TeleVue, Takahashi, Borg or Astro Physics fluorite triplets. Getting one of those, I’d have to live out near the street curb in the carton it was shipped in. But they are excellent scopes for a fraction of the cost. I reason that a 102mm refractor, is likely the largest refractor I can navigate outside, between the trees and back in the house. I haven’t received it yet, it’s traveling from the West (they say Best) Coast to me here on the East (they say Least) Coast. I’m looking forward to it. And this is the last hobby related purchase I’m making! Maybe a cheap eyepiece or something will slip through, but this is it for me! Cheers!
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