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kilix

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About kilix

  • Rank
    Star Forming
  • Birthday 23/10/85

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    287831676

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Slovakia
  1. Hello, I want to share my feelings of the amazing night of observing I experienced last saturday. So, it all started when I took my SkyMax to my grandparents' house, one cousin, grandma, my mom and two aunts wanted to see Saturn, so I finally yielded to the year-long pleas I aligned the GoTo using Arcturus and Polaris, then onto Saturn, which was really nice. For me, nothing new, but Saturn is stunning no matter how often you view it. For the audience, it was (I believe according to all the "WOWs" and "OOHs") a remarkable experience. Of course, I did not spend much time at the eyepiece, but the conditions seemed to get better every passing minute, from a shaky image, barely any details visible at 100x, we soon ended with steady image at 160x magnification (2x barlow and 18mm BCO). The conditions improved in about 30 minutes significantly. I've managed to see the darker north pole of the planet and also the often elusive Cassini division. But again, as with everything with astronomy, once you see the Cassini division and you know what to look for, it gets easier to spot next time. The night was very warm at about ~22°C and the air was steady, with no air movement whatsoever. A plan for a solo observing session started brewing in my mind. After about an hour of steady traffic at the eyepiece, I packed the gear and went home. At home I started the realization of my plan - I made a night's lodge at the terrace behind my house, took the SkyMax out, did not bother with alignment, put in lowest power EP (Meade plossl 32mm) and got totally lost in the vastness of the Milky way. A larger bottle of beer also helped to fine-tune the experience After about 30-40min, when my eyes completely accomodated to the darkness, my brain could barely comprehend what it is looking at. Thousands of stars popped into the eyepiece and after each movement of the scope, it took my brain at least 5 seconds to fully comprehend the view. I do not know how much time I spent there just scanning around the Milky way and I could not care less. I did not search for anything specific, I did not have any observation plan (as I have most of the time), nor did I look for any Messier objects. I tried to see the Veil nebula thou, but no success, even with my UHC, no results. After a long while, I felt my eyes getting tired, so I lied down to sleep, but well, I was wrong. No sleep was coming because naked-eye view was perhaps even more stunning then the view through SkyMax. The Milky Way seemed to shine almost as if it were a cloud being illuminated by spotlights. I've never seen it like this before. Dust lanes were clearly visible, the dark gap between Deneb and Sadr was obvious, the glow of the Galaxy was such, that I was half-expecting a car to pass behind my house (cars passing produce similar lighting effects above the roof of my house). The 4th magnitude stars of the delphinus constellation seemed as bright as Betelgeuse or Vega during normal nights. I don't know how long I kept staring naked-eye at this, but I think, that I spent at least 3x as much time gazing naked eye than looking through the telescope. I came to the realization, that I really have a good life, when I can spend a night under the stars with a scope and a beer and thoroughly enjoy myself, with all the day-to-day worries and insecurities of life almost completely erased from my mind. It was almost a meditation, that evening. So, that's about it, I mainly write it here so I can return to this report after a year or so and resurrect the feelings later. I know it's not the standard type of report with bags of Messier objects observed and double stars resolved, but this is what I like about astronomy the most - there is no proper way to do it - if you enjoy it, you're doing it right.
  2. A bright idea NOT

    yeah, a proper crowd-funding-space-battle ensues. First of its kind.
  3. The 25mm EP which comes with the Mak is not of terribly high standard, that is true. Personally, I will purchase 24mm ES68 one day, but that day will come when I have more money to blow on astro stuff. As for 32mm, I use Meade Super plossl, which is nice and usable (nothing to complain about with this EP) and is also in your budget. I believe you can't really go wrong with a plossl from a decent manufacturer in this price range, especially when used with a f/12 Mak. I don't feel that I need a 24mm (or 25mm) EP at the moment. Even the 32mm gets only used to get an occasional nicer "overall" look, or when searching for objects and not much more.
  4. M63 Tidal Streams.

    I've never seen anything like this O_O EDIT: I have a lot of studying to do now, thanks
  5. finally some first-hand experience and info on this scope! I am considering it too, as a replacement for my ST80 (but maybe I'll keep them both). How do you rate the build quality of the focuser?
  6. 1) let the scope cool down 2) don't look out the window from a building, go outside. The heat exchange is insane and ofc your image does not resolve any details. Also, being in Bucharest I imagine that it's pretty hot outside these days, so I would avoid concrete surfaces for serious observation. The concrete absorbs heat during the day and then radiates during the night, ruining observations with heat blur.
  7. and btw, the refractor on the image you posted here certainly is not a wide field instrument, it seems to be pretty long with small aperture, so the FOV will be quite narrow, narrower than your dob. On the other hand, this guy is going to have extra wide field of view: small frac
  8. no, it's all about focal length. Your eyes are only 5mm big 'circles' and yet you see like 120°, hows that possible? The angle I highlighted here in red governs the field of view. If you think about it and take this example for the eye - your retina is pretty close to the lens of your eye, so the angle is wide. In a long and narrow refractor the angle is narrow. The same applies to newtonian reflectors. Slow mirror - at say f/10 - means, that the light converges at a sharper-narrower angle, which means that the FOV is smaller.
  9. I did 3 modifications - 1) I poured epoxy resin into the gaps on the plastic leg holders, where the plastic connects to the steel leg. One rivet on each side of the leg is not sturdy enough and pouring epoxy there helps a tiny bit. 2) I poured concrete into the lower, extending part of the tripod legs. This helps to bring the center of gravity a bit lower. First you need to drill out the rivets on the locknut holders, then the bottom part of the leg pops out. You can then pour concrete into the lower legs. After the concrete solidified, I also made an epoxy "stopper" on top of the solidified concrete in the tripod leg, so in case the concrete starts to crumble, there is no possibility that it will leave the lower legs, and any concrete dust or small particles are held there by the epoxy stopper. The tripod now feels a lot less flimsy and seems solid (but that is just an illusion, the quality of the plastic parts is crappy). 3) I made a modification to the leg spreader - as I've seen here: synscan tripod mod Basically, you make an extension to the center tray holders, so the center tray can be mounted as low as possible. This also helps to stabilise the legs a bit more lower, which helps to reduce the oscillation a tiny bit. all this helped a bit, but not by much. Overall, the vibration seemed to go from ~3secs to ~1sec. There seems to be a lot of members who claim that hanging a weight (about 1kg) from the center tray also helps a bit. But I did not try it, I am relatively happy with the state of the tripod as it is now. Still, that tripod is by far the weakest/cheapest link of the telescope. During winter all three locknut holders cracked and I had to repair them. First one cracked, because I overtightened the locknut a bit, but the other two cracked by themselves. The cheap ABS plastic of this tripod is very sensitive to cold temperatures. At least most of the money went into optics, that's what I keep telling myself EDIT: the scope must not shake when you are not touching it. Mine does not shake at all, only when I touch the focuser, or when I touch the eyepiece by mistake. Also, it did not shake before I made all those modifications, it only vibrated for a few seconds when I touched it or when I was focusing it. Those modifications helped minimize the time it needed to settle down.
  10. Turn the map the other way...

    Your reports encourage me to do similar session, well done! I like how the last session made you optimistic and enthusiastic, I know that feeling, it's great Too bad that we still have clouds here and it's not dark before 22:00, so a nice 2hour observing session will surely make me a zombie at work the next day. The forecast seems good for thursday night, so I guess I will make a zombification sacrifice to see the veil and take another look at M13 with bigger magnification. I did not try it last time, I see that you went with BGO6, so that's 150x with your scope. I only used BCO18mm, which makes about 80x mag in my scope. Veil nebula seems to benefit the most from OIII filter, which I don't have, but I have UHC, which should provide also some contrast boost, so I am curious how will it turn out. I agree on orthos, they are excellent EPs for not a lot of money! I especially love the way they show the Moon - natural colours (no sepia tint) and extra sharp view, jaw-dropping sights.
  11. Turn the map the other way...

    yeah, but add a date 09/2017 to M36, M37 and M38, as they are below the horizon now
  12. Turn the map the other way...

    Great report, enjoyable read. I kinda miss a bit more thorough description of M13 - did you resolve individual stars? How did it look like? M13 was my target for the night between fri/sat last weekend and I could barely see with great effort that it indeed is not a nebula, but a star cluster. My aperture is almost the same as yours. M13 was a bit dissapointing, I expected it to be more like M36-M38 with clearly visible stars, according to all the M13 hype I read here Also - I am inexperienced observer, so that may be a factor too. I feel your struggle with constellations/night sky orientation. What helped me a lot is a planisphere and a determination to identify at least 1 new constellation whenever I am out and I see new stars (like this weekend, as that was my first session in May and the sky changed a lot). Don't need scope for that, only time and patience.
  13. Good setup time

    wow, you certainly don't need to setup the scope 5hrs prior to observing. If I see your history correctly, you have Esprit 80, which is a triplet, but still, it should be thermally equalized in no longer than ~30mins. Maybe owners of triplets can come here with exact numbers. Also, it's not winter anymore, so thermal equilibrium is not as big concern as it was before. Most importantly - when you setup the scope during daytime, make absolutely sure, that all the covers are on and never leave the scope unattended. My Mak (which contains a lot of glass) can equalize in about an hour during winter. That is more than 25°C thermal difference.
  14. If you buy a Mak, maybe in the future you will consider wider fields and a bit more pleasant view of objects in context to their surroundings. That's why lot of people who own a Mak, also have some fast refractor. Not for big magnifications, but exactly the opposite, as a Mak is not suited for smaller magnifications and wider FOV. With a fast refractor, it's a nice combo. Mak is a specialist instrument for planets and lunar observing. Sure, it will show you the brightest nebulae and brighter clusters too. Or some faint fuzzies like M66, M82, those can be viewed too, but it's nothing spectacular in a long FL 5" instrument. Manual tracking can be a pain in the beginnings, I also vote for GoTo on a mak, if at least a bit possible
  15. I use only PC version of Stellarium and a planisphere. I have some kind of SkySafari or similar app on my phone, but I ended up not using it at all. I find it too much hassle, it messes up my night adapted vision and the benefit it provides is questionable. The reason why PC version of stellarium and a simple planisphere is enough for me right now, is the fact, that I plan my sessions beforehand and I tend to not overdo it with objects to observe, 5-7 objects per session is a reasonable maximum for me. My sessions tend to be shorter than 2 hours. Also, I am a green observer, I tend to enjoy easy-to-find objects, as all is pretty much new to me. Also, GoTo helps a lot, so I don't need any fancy apps/maps, but still I enjoy galaxy or nebula hunting sessions with my ST80 on a manual AZ3 as much as I enjoy my GoTo-powered SkyMax (maybe I enjoy that ST80 even more than that GoTo scope, but don't tell anybody, it was too expensive to admit that ). The exception to this 5-7object rule are double stars, which one can observe 10+ double stars per session, but I have GoTo for that, don't search for them manually.
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