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About AlexK

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    Astronomy, Android programming, Scuba diving, Windsurfing.
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    California, USA

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  1. You forgot to clearly state your instrument and mount models (you can add its description to your forum signature, see mine below? Or if you don't know at least make a photo of it and attach to the post). Without that it's hard to judge which (or if) Telrad riser would be more beneficial in your situation and most of advice will be just guessing. In general, however, the riser or not depends on your pointing and observing flow. So in fact in addition to the above you need to answer the following as well: Are you using the EP diagonal? How you are pointing your SCT to invisible
  2. You want stacking. 8m is a nonsense with the 200mm. I'm getting stars down to 9.5m with the 1.2mm (!) smartphone aperture at 10 seconds (10-12) shots stacked: http://fo.kukarin.com/storage/originals/83/f9/m97crop.jpg
  3. I guess the 130P is the "Heritage"? They have a well know flaw in the stock RDF shoe. It's not parallel to the optical axis, so an arbitrary RDF may not have enough vertical adjustments freedom to be aligned with the EP view.
  4. The RDF/Telrad sole idea is in the largely unobstructed straight-through view of the sky provided, which allows you to place the pointing dot/reticle between stars you see naturally naked eye around your target. With most any right angle solution you are losing that benefit as the prism/mirror will shrink your field of view to a useless (for a beginner) key-hole size surrounded by the ground/OTA side background view. It might be especially confusing if the sky view is also mirrored. If the straight-through view is truly a pain for you (bad neck, back, sholder what have you) there are 3 dr
  5. Totally logical when you have some education about the modern battery tech, a little bit about the modern "global" economy, and ever heard about the second oldest profession "marketing" (you know what's the first oldest one, which gave birth to that second, right? ). I.o.w., the DSLR camera batteries tech is not a high-tech anymore. It's reached its technological limits all the way to some ~90% profit like a decade+ ago. You are paying more for the HazMat shipment insurance than for the battery manufacturing expenses. Which means that OEM battery is the same as a nonOEM, the only differe
  6. Can't comment on your particular "brand", as you forgot to provide any links, and just generalized your experience. But I've got a bunch (6) of quite cheap noname batteries for my oldish EOS 600D like 4 years ago. They're still performing fantastic. To generalize: with the Amazon service, just watch for "free returns" widget on the right, and if you've got junk, just mail it back and try another piece.
  7. Edmund Scientific Astroscan is an unbeatable instrument in that category. I'm taking mine even into carry-on only "expeditions". The most notable one being the Totality of 2012 in Australia, where I spent 6 nights with it on the top deck of the rocking in the South Pacific scuba diving boat anchored at the Great Barrier Reef discovering Southern sky goodies for the first time. Its ball mount is perfect on your laps when in the chair, recliner, or just on the grassy ground, as well as on your chest with the shoulders straps adjusted right when standing upright. Or you can throw a trivial plywoo
  8. Thank you, Jonathan. The "windbreaker" is how we call here a windproof layer of clothes (usually the outmost, like a parka) which is eliminating air intake/escape. I have a zippered double front flap, wrist and hips constriction corded, nose high collar with hood rubberized shell, in which I can almost lay down into the strong wind. The most efficient piece to fight the cold for me is my long micro-fleece balaklava. OTOH, the cold and heat sensation is very individual, have you heard about the MIT developed device attached to your wrist and sending waves of heat and cold using a Peltie
  9. A hemispheric dome shape is used to minimize the material it is built from to reduce the weight as you want to move it around rather easily (by hands in the distant past). The OP idea looks like just a round shed with the removable roof, not really a dome. So for a shed, there might be cheaper and more practical and convenient options (e.g. a ready to use plastic garden storage shed, just don't attach the roof completely). Migt be cheaper as well (surely, unless you can find a used/broken/defective tank, though a used one might be smelly ) For the actual rotating dome-like roof, the
  10. Not sure it's allowed to give a feedback on this "sad" thread (I seem to be ruining the other "happy" thread doing that recently ). Just let me know. But I used to observe in -30C winters in Siberia and know what that entails very well. So: Refuel. Get a decent piece of high calorie long burning meal (e.g. prior to all day diving in the Pacific I'm taking a serious chunk of well done ribeye with spaghetti for the brunch on the way to the diveshop). That would give you 3-4 hours of good inner heat source. For the short boost a sip of hot chocolate with milk from my 0.75L thermos saved m
  11. I can't see Napa Valley hills from my 55 yards observing tower (50km distance). So the visibility is poor for planets while DSOs are not worth it in 10km vicinity from San Francisco downtown, the Moon is already high as well, and there are no "urgent events" in the sky either, so the scope stays put, but as it's warm and sunny I'd rather go surfing
  12. Yup. A MAK is very universal, has a good repurpose and resale value, and that AZ-GTi mount is quite a decent piece on its own and also highly re-*. So it's for any further hobby development in multiple directions with the wow-factor (a conversational piece at any outdoors party) persisting in both I'm still keeping my 20 y/o ETX-125. Perhaps, it's time to re-seat it to AZ-GTi... (Added the "Sky Watcher" to my list above)
  13. I'm with Louis. if the birthday is close, you might be out of luck. Just checked the Amazon and they don't have anything decent in stock in the $500-$1000 range. Just some China semi-garbage. I bet speciality shops are the same. So if I would be in your shoes today (my wife gave me a telescope for the birthday too some 20 years ago, it was very romantic ) I would just look on the websites Louis has mentioned above for a most expensive piece with "Orion", "Celestron", "Meade", "Sky Watcher" in the name and either with Dob/Dobson word in the name or with the tripod visible on the image. These br
  14. Which "way"? I'm just explaining to Alan how the high-tech market works. My initial point was that a high priced sophisticated looking (PCB with "microchips"? Wow!) piece of electronics does not necessarily means the best solution you can apply to a specific problem if at all. "Cheap" means "Very easy to manufacture all the way to having a bucket of these for just a buck" mostly because of the mass production scalability (these circuits are printed, including with the "resistors ink" in about 1 minute per PCB). Alan has missed the point obviously, so I felt a bit of explanation is in order. No
  15. The company in UK doesn't mean they employ a local PCB factory as that would mean the price of that board will sky rocket to around $100 retail to maintain the profitability. At max they are soldering wires and that's it. I can right now draw that (or frankly anything) PCB in CAD with resistors populated and email it to China along with a $40 check. Within a month (OK, two, due to COVID) they will send me back a dozen or two of ready to sell pieces neatly individually packaged in the box. I just need to advertise it available from a UK seller to hook you
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