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About Scytale

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    Chelmsford, Essex
  1. Yes, I hadn't thought of that. That does help. A lot of the problem is that the diagonal/EP weight shifts the centre of gravity of the OTA quite considerably away from the mounting point, so any tripod is going to struggle. While doing some Googling, I came across this (actually I think I first found it because someone on this forum posted the link a few years ago - thanks whoever it was). I made a similar modification (not as neat as that one so I won't post a pic!), and it makes a massive difference. For the first time I was able to switch to my highest power EP and find my target still in the field of view. The only gripe I have with the tripod now is that the head is a little bit stiff. Hopefully it'll loosen up with use. (If anyone else is going to try a similar mod, then I had some difficulty finding somewhere that sells T-nuts, but found some at modelfixings.co.uk)
  2. I looked at that one Alfian, and it looks identical to the one I ordered apart from the branding. I received it today. It looks and feels much higher quality than the original one. But setting it up fully extended, it still feels quite shaky. That's not necessarily a problem as I've been using the current tripod on a tabletop, and will probably carry on using a table. I find the altitude handle is quite big, and tends to prevent you from aiming the scope above about 45deg unless you raise the central column. The most serious issue I've had is that if I switch to a heavier eyepiece, it points at a different altitude angle, which makes it really difficult when I switch to my highest magnification. I suspect a lot of this is because the scope is unbalanced due to the diagonal/eyepiece weight shifting its centre of gravity. Perhaps I need to find a way to mount the scope so that is more balanced. I'm not sure whether I'll keep it or return it at the moment. I want something portable, so it's easy to take it somewhere dark. But I guess I wouldn't be too interested in using high magnification in that case (it's not worth travelling somewhere dark just to look at the moon or planets), so maybe I shouldn't bother getting something that's light.
  3. Thanks for this. I updated it and saw a very slight shift in position. Now if only there was an equivalent option for the mobile version...
  4. Unfortunately, I have a Windows phone. The choice of apps is rather limited, so no SkySafari for me. Good to know the desktop version is spot on though. I'll keep trying to spot it.
  5. I've been trying to observe comet 41P recently, but I've not had much luck so far, and I'm not certain that I'm looking in the right place. I have Stellarium on my phone, but it gives a different location to Stellarium on my PC. My phone version currently has it between HIP50533 and HIP50688, whereas the PC version has it between HIP55485 and HIP56216. I'm pretty sure that my phone version is wrong - I've previously noticed a Messier object not quite in the right location with it. But how accurate is the PC version? Will it be exactly where it states, or will it be a degree or two out?
  6. Thanks for the suggestions guys. It's a tricky choice because I want something as light as possible without being flimsy. I've ordered one from Amazon (a Mactrem PT55). I'll give it a try when it arrives, and return it for something sturdier if it turns out to be too shaky. I'll let you know what I think of it once it arrives.
  7. I've finally had enough of putting up with the tripod that came with my Travelscope 70mm, and I want to buy something better. I'd like something that is still quite light, but a lot sturdier. The Travelscope OTA, diagonal and heaviest EP I have weighs about 1.5kg. Any suggestions?
  8. I had a very clear sky two nights ago, and managed to see M65 and M66. No sign of the third, but I wasn't really expecting to see that one. I also tried M101, but there was no sign and I think I'm just going to have to find some darker skies for some of these galaxies. The view was definitely clearer with the 8.8mm EP, but it's a bit too heavy for the mount to be really stable. I've been trying viewing with a coat over my head, but it tends to cause vibrations so it hasn't helped me much yet. I definitely need a new mount...
  9. I had a similar experience recently when I wrote down my list of targets using a red pen. Oops!
  10. Managed to get out for a quick session just as the moon was rising. I was able to observe both M81 and M82, although they were very faint. I didn't spend too long on them, as the sky was lightening due to the moon, and it's quite uncomfortable trying to observe at the zenith where they were. It was interesting to see M82 as something other than a grey fuzzy patch. I tried M51 and M101 afterwards, but I think the moon had risen too much by then and/or there was too much cloud. This is probably the next thing I need to do to improve my observation sessions. I've been pretty busy lately, so haven't been out long enough to have to deal with dew, but with the moon waning I'll be trying this.
  11. I have the same scope. While I do see a fair amount of colour fringing, I've only had a chance to observe Jupiter when it's been quite low on the horizon, so I'm hoping that most of this is due to the atmosphere and not the scope. I found that the prism diagonal that came with my scope was terrible. You could try viewing without the diagonal to see whether that makes an improvement. You might not be able to focus without the diagonal - if so try holding the eyepiece out of the end of the tube. Or if the scope came with a barlow (mine did) you could try that, although the barlow is likely to be pretty bad too.
  12. That's an excellent sketch, and I think for M66 matches what I thought I briefly saw. I've got a few options for darker skies - the south west looks a bit darker for me, so it may be easier in a month or two. And certainly would be with a relatively short walk into the countryside. I'd probably need a new mount though - I need to have the tripod set to the minimum height on a tabletop to get acceptable stability. Not sure why I haven't tried M81/82 yet, but they'll be on my target list for the next moonless session.
  13. Thanks for the replies guys. I guess this means I just need to defeat the clouds and light pollution. I'm still using the 20mm eyepiece that came with it for this. I have bought a Revelations Astro star diagonal though, which has made a massive improvement to the views I get. I do have an 8.8mm ES82 (bought more for use in my next scope). I didn't try using that one as I thought it would it make it dimmer, but I guess it would make the LP dimmer too? I'll try it next time. I like a challenge! It would be nice to complete the Messier list with this scope, but I expect I'll upgrade before I complete it - anything below Sirius is pretty much swamped with LP where I live, and some of the fainter galaxies in Andromeda are now too low in the sky by the time I get out to observe.
  14. It was a weird kind of cloud. To the naked eye it looked pretty clear when looking at the zenith, and the cloud wasn't apparent unless looking much lower down.
  15. I received these and have tried them out a few times. Honestly, I'm a little bit disappointed with them. Neither the Bushnell or the Olympus pair that I already had seem capable of focussing a star to a single point. While the view is a little bit brighter with the Bushnell, the optical imperfection seems tio be slightly worse. They also have a cheaper feel, and the lens caps are prone to falling off. I'll hold on to them for now as a dedicated pair for astronomy, but at some point I'll be looking for a better pair.
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