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David Levi

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Everything posted by David Levi

  1. Nice report John. I viewed the Saturn Nebula and M73 last night as well. I could just about make out the slight bulges on NGC 7009 that give it its moniker. I viewed them at 59x magnification but neither seemed to take more magnification very well. Not sure if that was the viewing conditions though.
  2. Excellent report. Sounds like a wonderful session. I was wandering around M16, M17 and the Small Sagittarius Star Cloud last night before the clouds rolled in. I'm jealous of your binary splitting power ?.
  3. Nice report. I'm interested to read your comments on using a Dobsonian mount compared with an equatorial mount as I can see that in the future I'll probably be going that way as well.
  4. I missed Europa, but the shadow of Io looks good. Going back out to see if I can see Io itself.
  5. Superb report John. I have nothing but admiration for you in the time and effort you've put in to giving us all this valuable information. Thanks.
  6. Yes Stu that would be the proof of the pudding. I'm happy with the ones that I have now that the whole set up fuss is over. Thanks to people like you who recommended them.
  7. @Beulah here are the binoviewers I mentioned earlier. https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p10297_TS-Optics-Binoviewer-1-0-magnification-zero-optical-path-and-erect-image.html I have the cheaper ones and use the 1.6x GPC together with a shortened focus tube adapter to achieve focus.
  8. I've recently started using a pair of TS Optics binoviewers for planetary, lunar and double star viewing. With Newtonian reflectors, on initial set up, it can take a bit of experimentation to get the binoviewers to come to focus. You may need to experiment with various spacers and glass path correction lenses to get the focal plane at the right position, correcting for the increased light path in the binoviewers. Teleskop-Express, and others I believe, sell a pair of binoviewers where the internal design means that the light path isn't increased and they should work with no adjustments like a normal eyepiece being fitted in the focus tube. After setting them up I have found that binoviewing is far more comfortable than using a single eyepiece.
  9. Great sketch. That's pretty much how I saw Mars last night.
  10. Looking at Mars now and when the annoying high cloud permits, some ill-defined grey smudges can be seen on the surface. The polar caps are more easily seen than my last view a couple of weeks ago. Observing with binoviewers at 160x magnification.
  11. A lovely report Neil. I'll have to add NGC6520/B86 to my observing list. I was looking at the same areas of the sky as you last night. I saw Pickering's triangle for the first time. As you say, the more you look, the more you see. It was probably there for me to see last year but I didn't have the experience to know what I was looking for.
  12. Nice report, a good read. Great spontaneity to get out and observe.
  13. My thoughts entirely. I don't want to wish my life away but I am looking forward to the longer nights.
  14. Not happy with the trees at my most common observing site in the Brecon Beacons, over the last few weeks I've been looking for a better location. I managed to find a hill top location with 360° panoramic views and last night was my first time trying it out in the dark. It's an extra 20 minute drive from Cardiff but it didn't disappoint. To take advantage of the site I decided to go after the Messier objects in Sagittarius. The good weather has led to a build up of muck in the atmosphere but despite this and the short not fully dark nights I managed to view all the targets. After setting up I had a look at the only object in view, Venus. It displayed a bright slightly greater than quarter phase at 125x magnification. Jupiter appeared next and presented a really interesting Northern Equatorial Belt. It looked like complete chaos there, very lumpy with contrasts of dark and light brown between the northern and southern edge of it. No red spot on show. By now Scorpius could be seen and the bright stars in Sagittarius were slowly making themselves visible. After getting my bearings comparing the finderscope view to S & T's Pocket Sky Atlas, I star hopped from γ Sgr (Alnasl) to M6, the Butterfly Cluster. I could imagine the butterfly shape of this pretty cluster. There was a particularly red star at the edge of one wing. From M6 I moved down to M7. At -35° declination it was only just above the horizon, perhaps half a degree. This must be the lowest Messier object. It appeared as a sparse dispersed open cluster. I'm not sure that it all fitted in my field of view. All objects were intially viewed with the Delos 17.3mm eyepiece giving 58x magnification in my telescope. On to the globular clusters (GCs). Star hopping from ε Sgr (Kaus Australis), I located M69. It's close to an 8 magnitude star. It could be seen directly but averted vision aided the view. From M69 I attempted to star hop to M70 but ran out of sufficiently bright stars in the finderscope comparing with the atlas. I initially failed to find this globular cluster but went back later when it was a bit darker and managed to find it after taking a leap of faith from my last map found star. It was a very faint cluster not helped by the murk close to the horizon. In fact it was a surprise that the murk didn't interfere with the views to a greater degree than it did. To get to the GC M54 I started at ζ Sgr (Ascella). There are quite a few magnitude 6 stars around this location which meant that star hoping was easily managed. It appeared quite bright and there was no trouble seeing it. The GC M55 is hanging about in the middle of nowhere. There is an asterism made up of omega, 59, 60 and 62 Sagittarii between the Sagittarius teapot and Capricornus from where it was possible to star hop to this large, faint globular cluster. The last Sagittarius globular cluster on my mental observing list was M75. I star hopped to it from the aforementioned asterism. It lies just to the side of a faint arc of stars. Looking up to the zenith the Milky Way was streaming across the sky. I hadn't expected to see it so obviously at this time of year. After all these faint globular clusters it was time for some stunning views of Saturn. The atmosphere was very steady by now and the planet took 200x magnification with the Cassini Division clearly visible as well as grey cloud shading on the planet. Mars had risen to a good height but I could not see any surface detail. Over the last few few weeks I've viewed it several times from my back garden and tonight was no different in that I thought that I could see some whitening at the poles. Before packing up I had a quick look at M13 in Hercules. It never ceases to bring a smile to my face. It was a warm still night on the hill top last night and the location is second to none but I'm just a little worried that it might be a bit too exposed if it's too windy, too cold or both.
  15. Sounds like an enjoyable session. I didn't notice any surface detail on Mars last night but maybe I didn't look properly as I assumed the dust storm would prevent me from seeing any. I continue to notice a slight whitening at the poles but not many people seem to be mentioning this.
  16. Looking good from Cardiff as well. Quite a steady view. The GRS is standing out well and the southern belts appearing as subtle shades of grey.
  17. Fantastic report Neil. What a great observing session! Hopefully the telescope will hold secondary collimation for a long time. Well done on seeing M4 from your garden. I've never seen it from mine. I haven't looked at Mars this year yet but from your report and others I'm looking forward to it as I've never seen any surface detail before.
  18. Excellent info Neil @Littleguy80. I'll look out for that effect some more. Thanks.
  19. It has taken me about 2 weeks of testing to finally get first light with my TS Optics binoviewers (the cheaper ones). The preparation has been quite involved. I bought a 2" to 1.25" compression ring adapter which enables me to remove the standard eyepiece adapter and gain some back focus. On inserting the binoviewers into the new adapter there was not enough outward focuser travel to achieve focus. If I used the original supplied eyepiece holder then there wasn't enough inward travel to achieve focus. I commandeered the Barlow lens from my 2x Barlow and with this fitted to the binoviewer nosepiece I was able to get focus with the standard 1.25" eyepiece holder. However, on testing the magnification with this set up I determined that the Barlow lens was giving me something like 3.2x magnification. I didn't find this very satisfactory and so I decided to purchase the 1.6x gpc (glass path corrector) to fit to the binoviewers. I guessed from my tests that I would be able to achieve focus with this together with the compression ring adapter. This turned out to be case. I checked this with the single eyepieces that I have and then bought a pair of 12.5mm Fujiyama HD orthoscopic eyepieces which together with the gpc will give me 128x magnification. Excitedly I set up the telescope with the binoviewers and aimed at Jupiter. The view was immediately pleasing. The GRS was at it's meridian and showing a lovely orange/red colour. I fine tuned the distance between the binoviewer eyepieces and the individual eyepiece focusers. The experience of using the binoviewers felt very natural and easier than monocular viewing. I have always found closing one eye to be quite a strain and now with both eyes open it was much easier and more comfortable to discern details in the belts of Jupiter. The NEB was quite dark compared to the SEB. There was a nice pencil line band just to the south of the GRS. The Fujiyama eyepieces seem to give as much detail and clarity as my Televue and Pentax eyepieces. The only drawback is that with a 42° aFOV you have to use the slow motion controls a lot more often to keep the object in view. On the plus side, sharing the light between two eyes makes Jupiter appear less bright and therefore easier to look at. The only other objective of the session was to find a double star to see how the binoviewers performed on this type of target. Looking up at the sky Arcturus was obvious and I knew that just up from it is the double star Izar. I didn't know quite what to expect with only 128x magnification as I don't think that I have ever split it with anything less than 166x magnification. The two stars were easily visible with the only binocular magnification that I had at my disposal. Not only that but for the first time ever I could see colour in the pair of stars. The brighter star was yellow in appearance and it's smaller companion was blue. I was really pleased to see these colours as I was not expecting it. I thought that the binocular view might make splitting the pair easier but I didn't think about the effect of the orthoscopic eyepieces on colour. Now that I think about it, is it the eyepieces, the binocular vision or a combination of both that has brought colour to this binary star for me? I obviously need to look at Izar with one of the orthoscopic eyepieces. I didn't think of it at the time. Anyway, I'm very pleased with my new binoviewers and look forward to using then as much as possible. I'll have to build up a new collection of eyepiece pairs to use in them.
  20. I was away from the eyepiece when Io emerged from Jupiter's shadow and so did not see this interesting event but it did surprise me how far away from Jupiter it was when I returned to the telescope. Now I know why. Thanks.
  21. Fantastic stamina John. The GRS is looking lovely and orange/red in my new TS Optics binoviewers with a pair of Fujiyama orthoscopic 12.5mm eyepieces giving me 128x magnification with the 1.6x glass path corrector. These are the only pair of eyepieces I have at the moment so that will be it for magnification tonight and for the short term future.
  22. Yes, the southern edge of the NEB was quite complicated last night. The extra field stars certainly spiced up the view. The conditions seemed reasonably steady but my maximum magnification to achieve satisfactory views was 'only' 166x.
  23. Nice report. I was looking at Jupiter and the Moon last night as well. Despite the haze Jupiter was incredibly steady. I pushed the magnification up to 250x but was more satisfied at 200x magnification. The GRS was looking nicely red and the NEB was quite dark. I could only just make out the dark north polar region with difficulty. The Moon terminator was interesting with lots of bright rocky islands floating in the darkness.
  24. Fantastic report. So well written. Clear and very interesting. £129 for a SQM from FLO at the moment I see. Hmmm.....
  25. I've just bought a pair of TS-Optics binoviewers. They arrived today together with the clouds. I have no eyepiece pairs for them yet but I intend to buy some cheaper plossl/orthoscopic/60' eyepieces. I'll see how my testing goes. My daylight test has already determined that I need my barlow lens to get focus. According to what I have read, the longest focal length eyepieces that you can use depends on which binoviewers you buy. The limiting factor being the binoviewer clear aperture. The field stop of the eyepiece you are able to use cannot be too much bigger than this. That means that for 1.25" eyepieces you can rule out using eyepieces with focal lengths greater than 25mm and sometimes greater than 20mm. I hope that I have got this correct, I'm no expert.
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