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About joe1950

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  • Interests
    Astronomy, Optics, Physics, Electronics, Amateur Radio
  • Location
    New Jersey - near Phila, PA
  1. 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?
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!
  8. 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!
  9. 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!!!!
  10. 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!
  11. Yes, great report ASSA (Luke)! You really can't change physics and get more resolution or contrast from a given scope with binoviewing. However the eyes and the brain are integral parts of the total system and binoviewing seems to help relax the strain on both to a degree. I certainly can benefit from less strain on the brain! Excellent planetary observers have trained their eye over time logging a many hours at the eyepiece using monovision and can detect detail the casual or first time observer just can't see. In the long run I guess it comes down to what you as an individual feel best with and get the most out of. Over the past few weeks I have seen detail I have not seen before using the binoviewer. But I ask myself, with patience and persistence could I have seen as much or more using monovision? Binoviewers do add more glass and thus more scatter and reflections to the level of which depends on the quality with which they are made, optically and mechanically. Over the coming weeks I'll do more observing, both binoviewing and monoviewing with Jupiter and Saturn in the evening sky, albeit rather low and not optimal. Again I thank all for their very informative and interesting contributions! joe
  12. I'll definitely agree that binoviewing adds a level of difficulty in some set-ups. With my 127mm Mak, I use the lowest power magnification I can go to and that still gives a large image. I did try the Mak without any nosepiece or Barlow and could reach focus in that manner, but I don't know if there is vignetting of the full aperture as a result. Last evening I had the 80mm refractor on Jupiter with the binoviewer and what a fantastic image! Detail and contrast galore. I have a 150mm f/6 DOB that I have to reconstruct. I calculate that if I move the primary forward by 40mm, the binoviewer will work with a nosepiece Barlow. It will still give me nearly 9mm of 100% illumination, which for the planets, and moon, should be fine. I'll likely arrange two sets of mounting holes for the mirror cell, one for monoviewing and one for binoviewing, as some of the AP crew are known to do! Nothing comes without some sort of price tag, does it?
  13. Thanks all, very much. I’d say the general consensus by most is that binoviewing has real advantages if you can get past the mechanical challenges of the unit. And, it’s certainly true, they appear to come in two flavors... reasonably priced but not flawless, and very expensive! Nothing in between. Last evening I was out with the C-80ED refractor. I would honestly have to give the nod to binoviewing. The brightness of the planet appeared to be on par with views using a single eyepiece. The contrast was higher and the visible belt detail was better. The differences are not huge. But, the differences coupled with the added comfort are a plus in my eyes, at least. I haven’t used the BVers on anything aside from the moon (where they are excellent) and Jupiter. I may have mentioned that deep sky objects are an exercise in futility from my location, by any means. With respect to the eyepiece issue, I’ve been using Meade Series 4000 Plossls, that have no undercut at all. They seem to be more manageable as long as you don’t over-tighten them. Plus they are inexpensive yet work well. Since most binoviewers are used with a Barlow/relay lens, longer focal length eyepieces are called for (12mm and above) and Plossls are much more comfortable to use. Also, with some eyepieces, you can unscrew the barrel, turn it upside down and re attach it. The undercut ends up in a position at the end of the barrel and is not a factor in the tightening process. I’m so happy many have responded and provided wonderful information and experiences. Binoviewing is certainly not for everyone or every situation. But for someone such as myself who only has access to the moon and planets it appears to be a way of teasing out a little more detail in the view, Thank you!
  14. Thank you Louis! I’ve never had a zoom eyepiece but I should try one at some point. When I started way back in the 1960s, there weren’t many choices and the quality was not there. I’m sure today’s offerings are improved. Good information Vonddragonnoggin. I agree the difference in quality is partly in the ease of focusing and merging. With the one BVer, an Astromania which appears under several labels, 1.25” eyepieces are used. I’ve found that avoiding eyepieces with undercuts makes life a little easier with this model. And as you say, tightening them in place often causes worse alignment issues. Another binoviewer I have is a Paul Rini modified Nikon microscope unit. It is lighter and easier to use, and the microscope eyepieces are press fit into their holders. Merging the image is no issue with this unit and it is very sharp and has good light throughput. A little trick I’ve found useful is to place a Bahtinov focusing mask over the front of the scope. Then using one eye open at a time, center the focusing line for each eye as needed. It won’t work with both eyes open as the brain makes things look better than they are. But doing it with one eye then the other gets the focus of each right on the money. It’s a little extra prep work, but pays off by not having to fuss with the individual focus later. Thank you both very much!
  15. Very good point, Richochet! Thank you.
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