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About Nyctimene

  • Rank
    Star Forming
  • Birthday 27/07/52

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  • Interests
    Stargazing, music (lute, harpsichord, early music), reading, gardening, cooking, travelling, scuba diving, sailing
  • Location
    Germany, Odenwald
  1. Fed up

    .... or a non-driven frac! Up and running in no time, no alignment, no collimation, use immediately (although a bit of time might be of benefit), widefield for finding your way, and dead easy to swing all over the place and get to clear areas. Only 100% cloud stops me! That's been my way of increasing my observing time during the last three years (2017, up to now 86 observations). 7x50 bins in a drawer next the kitchen door to the backyard + PSA; or the 80/400 frac, or the Heritage 130 P Flextube (stored at ambient temperature in the shed); 26 mm ES 62° Widefield, 8-24 Seben Zoom; 2,25 Barlow; UHC. This morning, I made use of 15 minutes between clouds to separate Castor with the frac, and to spot M35 with the bins, and was at least a bit satisfied, when the clouds rolled in. A few weeks ago, I spotted some doubles through a layer of clouds; so don't give up. It just comes down to being out under the stars... Stephan
  2. I'll second Louis D; + 1 for the Skywatcher Heritage 130 P Flextube. It's lightweight, compact, can later easily be fitted to an AltAz mount (e.g. the new Skywatcher AZ 5). The quality of the mechanics is decent, (the focuser slop can easily fixed with some PTFE plumber's tape, and thereafter works well), and the optical quality is really good. Have a read on some experiences here: and here: It would serve you later as an excellent grab-and-go scope or travelscope. Stephan
  3. Hello from the West Midlands

    Hello and welcome from a German stargazer! A very good source on collimation is AstroBabys Collimation Guide; here's the link: http://www.astro-baby.com/collimation/astro babys collimation guide.htm Stephan
  4. Star party with cub scouts

    A lot of information on outreach is given in the CloudyNights forum: https://www.cloudynights.com/forum/60-outreach/?prune_day=100&sort_by=Z-A&sort_key=last_post&t There was a thread here on SGL some time ago: Hope this helps - and a warm welcome to the forum! Stephan
  5. I bought this scope this summer, and it's a joy to use! Lightweight, compact, intuitively to handle - and it gives suprisingly crisp and bright views. Together with a 26 mmf/62° ES eyepiece, I get a field of 2,5°; the Seben 8-24 zoom works quite well with it, and a small Baader 2,25x Barlow allows magnifications of 182x. With a 6 mmf eyepiece, you can push up the mag to 243x - still very usable for the moon, planets, double stars, globular clusters... Add a UHC filter, the Pocket Sky Atlas, the app SkySafari Plus with your smartphone or tablet, a redlight torch, and a stool, and you are prepared for many enjoyable nights (BTW, that's my actual grab-and-go set for this evening!). Here's the link to the huge thread on the CloudyNights forum: https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/463109-onesky-newtonian-astronomers-without-borders/ Neil English's review: http://neilenglish.net/a-newtonian-travel-scope/ and the SGL review: Hope this helps - and a warm welcome to this friendly forum. Keep asking, enjoy your way to the stars - and start an astro diary! Stephan
  6. Welcome to the forum from a German dobsonaut! Another vote for the combination of Telrad (Rigel/Red Dot Finder)+9x50 RACI (=Right Angle - Correct Image) finder + a 2" widefield eyepiece; in your case, with a focal length of 28 - 30 mm. I'm using this with my 18" Obsession, and it works really well. Take yourself time, stay with the brighter and easy to find objects (moon, Orion nebula, Double cluster, the Auriga clusters M 36, 37, 38 etc.), until you feel more familiar with them. It's helpful to scan the object's location first with bins. You bought a really good scope, a "lifetime instrument", as Dave said above. Within a few months, you'll have tamed your little "monster" (incl. collimation), and will be delighted to explore the winter sky. Keep asking here, and reporting! Clear Skies Stephan
  7. Night at the Breckland Observatory Site

    Thank you, Neil, for this wonderful, vivid and inspiring report - it brings back memories and feelings from my first steps in stargazing many years ago, a fountain of youth! Your new observing site surely calls for many more visits, including the use of some good bins (and, in the long run, of a bigger travel scope). Stephan
  8. New puppy naming challenge

    Chara, the Greek word for "joy"; is the name of the star Beta Canum Venaticorum; also the name of an optical interferometry observing array of the University of Georgia. Stephan
  9. Yesterday evening, I had invited my tax advisor and his astro-interested (but unexperienced) girlfriend for an observing evening; another young lady joined the group; and after dinner, we started to explore the evening sky with 8x40 and 7x50 bins, and three dobs (5,1", 8" and 18"), supported by a green laser pointer. None of them had looked through a scope before; and, as they all are living in a rather light-polluted area, I started with the basics. The Plough, the way to Polaris, extended to find Cassiopeia; Perseus, Andromeda, Pegasus; Summer triangle. The first look through the 5" was at the Double cluster; not as impressive for them, as I had thought. But then one of the ladies spotted the Pleiades, just rising, naked eye, and I had her point the 5" at the cluster. Many "oh"'s and "great", especially, when they found out how to spot the cluster with bins. Meanwhile, I had prepared the 8" for a look at M 15 globular at 100x mag; they were astonished to see the pinpoint stars, and even more, when I had them take a look through the 18" at mag 250x. But I was somewhat surprised - the most pleasure, as it seemed, they all took from looking at the sky just with the bins, which went from hand to hand (and I was eagerly supporting them to find objects with the laser pointer!). So they made their star-hopping ways to M 31; with the 5" to the Owl cluster NGC 457; later to Lyra; and I had them point the 8" at the Double Double, which was easily and clearly separated; M 57 (explaining the stars life cycle); M 81/82 still low down, and finally at Albireo. After about two hours, the sky was rapidly fogging up; and we finished this evening of "firsts" with a piece of cake and a cup of coffee. All were pleased (and the accompanying outdoor cat, liberally caressed, as well), and very grateful for the views. As it seems, all three are hooked; and are pondering buying some good bins and later a scope (the 5,1" Heritage, I guess). Very pleased about this evening, and so to bed. Stephan
  10. Hello from Berkshire

    Excellent choice with the scope, it will give you both years of pleasure. A warm welcome from a German dobsonaut! Stephan
  11. Picture No. 1: To the left, Cassiopeia just above the tree tops, above Cepheus with the nicely displayed pinkish-red Garnet Star (Mu Cep); to the right: Cygnus, with star clouds of the Milky Way. Picture No. 2: again Cassiopeia and Cepheus; the Double Cluster just above the trees in the middle; Kemble's Cascade to the left of it visible. Picture No. 3: the south-western part of Pegasus; the globular M 15 can be spotted; to the right, the "Job's Coffin" asterism of Delphinus. Picture No. 5: again the Cassiopeia - Cepheus region. Seems to be a fairly dark spot you've chosen - a good hunting area for your 8"; enjoy the views! Stephan
  12. Guy, congrats to this beauty; is the mount a DIY result? It matches very well; might be apple plywood as an outer layer, I guess. In this case, I'd really recommend the Maxvision 24/82°, as long as it is still available. This Meade 5000 clone/precursor will give you great views. The view of the North America nebula with the help of a 2" UHC (Astronomik, in my case) with the 8" (field of view 2,5° at mag 33x) was the best I ever had. Here's a report: The SGL thread for the Baader Zoom: Hope this helps Stephan
  13. Guy, the 24 mmf/82° Maxvision - an excellent eyepiece; I bought one this summer, and it gives great views with my 8" f/4 Hofheim Traveldob - needs a 2" (50,8 mm) focuser. The VX 6, as far as I can see, comes with 11/4"focuser, so it won't match. The 24 mmf/68° I had in mind is the praised Explore Scientific, which was sold by Teleskop Express here in Germany for 148 € this summer, whereas I paid just 98 € for the 26/62°. I'm not quite sure, what you mean with "powerful but usefull" - magnification, field of view, handling or what else? One of my most used eyepieces is the 8-24 Baader Hyperion Zoom Mk III, combined with a 2x Zeiss Abbe Barlow. Stephan
  14. Explore Scientific 26 mmf 62° LER. Weighs less than a 24/68, gives you the same field of view; good eye relief and sharpness; no kidney beaning; matches well with my 130/650 Heritage Flextube. And it's considerable less expensive. Stephan
  15. For me, in South West Germany (Odenwald): 2017 Jan - Oct: 77 observations 2016 Jan - Oct: 60 obs. 2015 Jan - Oct: 47 obs. 2014 Jan - Oct: 55 obs. 2013 Jan - Oct: 31 obs. So, an increasing number, partly due to the fact, that, during the last years, I'm observing even under less favourable conditions (haze/clouds; near full moon etc.) Seems to be rewarding. Stephan