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Scytale

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About Scytale

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    Chelmsford, Essex
  1. 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?
  2. 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...
  3. I had a similar experience recently when I wrote down my list of targets using a red pen. Oops!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Recently I've been trying to observe the Leo triplet of M65/M66/NGC3628. On my first attempt I saw absolutely no sign of anything faint and fuzzy, but I did notice shortly afterwards that my scope had dewed up. After clearing the dew, I didn't try them again, but I was easily able to observe either M51 or M101 (I don't remember which). I tried again last night, and I can't say I succeeded. I maybe had the odd period where there was something fuzzy in the region of M66, but it might have just been my imagination. And there was absolutely nothing in the region of the other two. Admittedly, there was some thin cloud around, and it's in the worst direction for light pollution for me (although I thought it would be high enough to avoid the worst of it), but I thought I would have been able to observe it. There was a very light dew on the scope when I finally gave up, but it was definitely clear when I started. Is this something that should be observable with my scope? Do I need to find some darker skies, or should it be visible on a really clear night?
  11. I guess they are probably of a similar quality to my current binoculars, so the larger size will be an improvement. So I've decided to choose them. I'll try to remember to post what I think about them when they arrive (and there's finally a break in the clouds!)
  12. So I've been with my current employer for ten years, and I get to choose a gift from a list of mostly uninspiring items that are generally of no use to me. One of the items is a pair of Bushnell Falcon 10x50 binoculars, which would be the obvious choice if I didn't already have a pair of Olympus 8-16x40 zoom DPS I binoculars. The Bushnells are bigger, but will they be better? And will they be any good for astronomy?
  13. Ok, that makes sense. Thanks for the replies everyone. I think I'd definitely want one high quality eyepiece, and the budget is somewhat flexible so I just need to decide how large a scope I am comfortable with. I'll not be rushing, as I'll need to wait an appropriate period of time before I effectively replace what was a Christmas present.
  14. Thanks for the replies everyone. Goto would be nice, but I've generally done ok so far with finding things. Usually if I fail to find something, then when I check Stellarium on my PC then I quickly see where I've gone wrong. (I still need to get it set up on my phone). Tracking can be a bit of a pain with the TS70 mount, but I'd hope this would be easier with a Dob. alanjgreen, you've recommended a similar magnification eyepiece to the one that comes with the 200p. Do you think this would be more use than a different magnification eyepiece? Or is the one that comes with the scope worth replacing immediately? Just noticed that the focal length is the same on both the 200p and 250p. I had assumed a 10" scope would also be 25% longer and a bit too unwieldy, but maybe it's not The issues are with the mount mostly. At most azimuth angles the tripod legs get in the way of the knob for tightening the altitude setting when looking at objects high up. I've tended to just rotate the whole mount on the tabletop with the azimuth tightened. It's also unbalanced on the mount when pointing high up so I need to tighten the altitude setting, and the angle changes when you tighten the knob. So I have to aim below the object I want to look at and then tighten the knob to try to get it centred in the eyepiece. Or put something under one of the legs to correct for the shift. It's not particularly stable either, which makes it tricky to get it precisely focussed because the image wobbles when you adjust it. It came with a 45deg diagonal, which means I need to kneel on the ground to observe objects that are high up. I could buy a new mount and star diagonal (which I may well do, as it's very portable and I'll likely take it on holidays), but I suspect I'll want to upgrade soon anyway.
  15. My wife bought me a Celestron Travelscope 70 for Christmas, which is great because it's got me obsessing about stargazing. But it's also quite challenging working with it, and I feel I'm outgrowing it very quickly. I've started thinking about buying myself a new scope, maybe an 8" Dob. How would everyone here spend £500? Which scope would you choose and what eyepieces and accessories would you buy?