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Everything posted by Moonshane

  1. hi Wurzil I am a total novice but have the same refractor as you. I currently have the 25mm that came with the scope (in my view this is my best lens and the most comfortable to use - see below), a 40mm plossl and a 5.2mm ED. I also managed to negotiate a free 'ascension' barlow from the seller of the scope. I find the barlow useful and have recently also considered a zoom but now reckon that there's nothing better than building a small supply of decent quality eyepieces. First of all, don't rush in and buy something for now. I think this is a waste of money. let's face it, astro targets are going to be around long after we fold our tripod for the last time! Better to save for a bit longer and get a good/better quality eyepiece. Personally, I am from the sounds of things like you - I don't want to and don't have the funds to, buy £100+ eyepieces but from looking online there are lots of good eyepieces in the £50 approx. range. I am about to order some Paradigm ED lenses which seem good quality from reviews in the states, and meet my eye relief requirements (I wear specs) and also my viewing preference (I take off my specs once the target is in view) as they have twist up eyecups which helps block extraneous light. These come in well below £50 each. Others might feel that other eyepieces are better but these are not so expensive you hate them every time you look at them when not used too much! Back to performance of the lenses I have. The 40mm plossl and the 25mm are great for general use and with the barlow there's not too much loss of detail. Don't forget with a barlow you can also insert before the diagonal to get 3x but I am not sure if there's a major loss of light this way. The 5.2mm is useful on my scope only for splitting double stars as the detail is not great and the light somewhat dim. On the moon it's OK but again the above all applies. I now know why as using the 0.85 rule referred to above, my scope's max is 7mm. Thankfully I have ordered an 8mm Paradigm so this should work ok on the planets and maybe I will also occasionally use the 5.2 on planets when seeing allows. The 5.2mm is actually slightly better (due to the 0.85 rule again) on my f5 150mm XLT reflector as the max on that scope would be 4.25 when seeing allows. I have to say I am absolutely delighted with this scope. I have managed to see the double double, ring nebula, split castor and of course the orion nebula. I also managed to see the triangulum and resolved at least 4 stars, and saw four stars on Sigma Orionis (just) with the 5.2mm (albeit dim and blurry!). andromeda is visible but from my garden very faint and wispy, better in the 6 inch newtonian. pleiades is great with the 40mm. Hope you find these direct comparisons with your scope useful. If I were you, I'd probably get a lens at about 7-8mm and one to bridge the gap between this and your 25mm, maybe a 12-12.5mm. Possibly a cheap barlow would be useful as this would be useful just with the 12.5mm and the 25mm. With these you will be able to see most things viewable with your scope. Bear in mind, all this is said with the mind of an astronomical baby/numptie compared with others on this forum! cheers Shane
  2. Great stuff everyone - thanks so much for your kind suggestions. I reckon that I will be using a hybrid of some of them. Just off shortly to make a wooden tripod - I am quite handy anyway but my father in law is a joiner (!). I also like the idea of the diver weights and will probably rig up a 'hanger" for one on each leg just below the spreader which will hopefully give the best of both worlds. In terms of mount I have a Vixen GP and a Celestron CG-4. my scopes are a both celestron XLTs - I have the 120mm refractor (for which I am making the wooden tripod) and the 150mm refractor (which I bought as an OTA off this forum) and which I will use on the standard steel 1.75" tripod legs set low. I reckon the GP will be used as my normal mount when using one scope but if I invite a mate round I'll probably use the CG-4 with the reflector and the GP with the refractor. does this seem sensible? I stress that taking images is a long way away for me - it's really a proper investment. I have a perfectly good 'camera' in my mind which records all the amazing things in the sky quite well enough for now 80) Also, is there anyone near Stockport that would be willing to meet me and confirm I have got the hang of collimation? I have followed some online guides and think I am getting it right but there's nothing like an expert to check things over before you base your future assessments on a dodgy footing! cheers again Shane
  3. thanks a lot alfi I think you are right although I am thinking now about making some wooden legs and salvaging the tripod parts like the hub etc that way I can get it high enough for my own purposes (I am 6'4") and also a lot more sturdy / attractive. yes, I'm a modifier by nature! from the looks of your reply and some of the other posters, I'll fit right in!
  4. Hi all I am a complete novice but appreciate that the better the mount, the heavier the equipment that can be used / the more stable the viewing etc. Is my logical thinking way off in wondering whether adding more counterweights would make a less stable mount, more stable? does it work like this or would more weight just create a mount more likely to break? I currently have a CG-4 which is the one I have in mind and use for a 120mm Celestron refractor but am also considering the purchase of a Vixen GP as a stronger mount for (eventually) a larger Newtonian. Sorry if this is a stupid, and probably badly phrased question but I am sure you get my drift - no pun intended. thanks for an guidance. Shane
  5. hi John I am a complete novice too but bought a Celestron 120 XLT refractor which is on the supplied CG-4 equitorial (eq) mount. I am used to 'normal' mounts being previously a keen birdwatcher and still a keen photographer but found the eq mount quite easy to use after just a couple of sessions. for visual use, all I do is point the axis of the mount (my tripod has a useful 'N' sticker on it) to the north (I just use a compass as I am such a numptie that I have not even managed to find Polaris yet - what an admission!) and then away you go. with the scope/mount balanced (important - read the manual that comes with it) release the clutch tabs (or whatever they are called) and get used to how the thing moves about on the mount. Just use the finder scope to find what you want (make sure the finder and scope are aligned before you start searching - also important and in the manual) and then lock the clutch tabs and use the manual gears (usually just one of them most of the time but the other occasionally) to keep things in the eyepiece. I have already seen all the things you mention in a couple of months (which means about 3 clear nights of course!). The Orion nebula is truly lovely no matter what scope you use. Don't worry abut the mount, you'll get used to it but I agree, buy the best quality mount you can. A motor/GOTO can be useful but you don't really need it for visual use and I like the idea that I am learning the skies (slowly) rather than learning how to punch (e.g. Polaris ha ha) into a keypad. Each to their own though. I have already concluded that a larger mount and larger aperture newtonian reflector will supplement the refractor and if you can afford both in time then I think it's a good idea. There's always another birthday or Christmas coming up! Another thing to consider which I don't think others have mentioned yet is eyepieces. They can be more expensive than the OTA on their own. I think the general consensus is that three are best - low, medium and high power but a lot of people also seem to suggest a zoom is a good idea. just something to think about. oh, and make sure you get a good quality moon filter - it really makes your eye ache when looking at the almost full moon without one - I know, I tried it - won't do again! I final word on what to expect which you hinted at. You may initially feel disappointed in what you see as everyone sees the hubble images and expects something similar with a good scope. Think about what you are seeing with your own eyes and you don't really need all the spectacular colours to be amazed! anyway, I've waffled on enough. hope this helps from one newbie to another! cheers Shane
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