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Posts posted by BazMark

  1. Went out this evening from 10pm - 12am, and had fantastic time.

    Got Mars at 250x clear as a bell with markings on planet and Ice cap just visible.

    Did some Bino Viewing whilst waiting for Saturn to rise. Even whilst low in the sky I managed some good viewing but boy when it rose to a nice height just before midnight I managed excellent focus with my 6mm TMB clone. I even managed to clearly see banding in the ring system.

    I then tried the 10mm SW plossl barlowed to 5mm. I managed reasonable focus but lost clarity and could no longer make out the banding on the rings.

    I tried my 16.8mm ortho barlowed to 8.4mm and got a nice crisp image and though a much smaller image could just make out banding in the rings.

    So all in all a good evenings viewing.

  2. Yep, your right. I didn't read your post right. Apologies!

    You were still viewing at a much higher mag than the Meade though.

    166x compared to 38x. That will magnify the atmospheric disturbances as well, so it could still be down to too much mag for the conditions. You could wait for Saturn to rise higher so you will be viewing through less of it.

    Don't forget the cool down time that te Mak needs too. I find that mine needs between half and three quarters of an hour to cool down and it makes a dramatic difference to the quality of the view.

  3. If I'm not mistaken the ETX 70 has a much shorter focal length. 350mm? If this is the case then you would have only been viewing at around 78x even with the barlow.

    With the 127Mak you would have been viewing at about 333x with the 9mm and barlow which is pushing the 5" mak too far under UK skies. The 9mm without the barlow is about the limit most of the time, but even that will vary with atmospheric.

  4. A couple of weeks back on one exceptionally clear evening I mannaged to push my 5" Mak to 416x with a 3.6mm EP (the only time I've ever mannaged it) and got a view of Jupiter not too dissimillar in size to your example of Saturn viewed on my laptop placed on my lap (for refference). Unfortunately, by the time Saturn should have been visible the sky had become murky and I couldn't even see it with the naked eye.

    To clarify my earlier comment, I usually get my best (detailed) views between 90x and 180x, depending on the atmosphere, with my scope (127 Mak). I don't want to give false expectations if anyone is considering purchasing one.

    Cheers Zaine, thats great for 8" with a 7mm EP. Id be blown away if I saw that.

    Don't forget Ainsley, that to get a similar magnification with an 8" SW Dob though, you would need a 4mm EP as the Dob's focal length is almost half that of Zaine's scope.

  5. I deffinitely agree with your comments on the exagerated views some expect when you look through the EP. Sadly it appears that many are under the impression that they will see huge Hubble type views of the planets and even stars and are very dissapointed when, having spent fairly large sums of money only see pee sized or smaller (at arms length) images. Personally, Saturn thrills me even when clearly seen at only 25x.

    A couple of weeks back on one exceptionally clear evening I mannaged to push my 5" Mak to 416x with a 3.6mm EP (the only time I've ever mannaged it) and got a view of Jupiter not too dissimillar in size to your example of Saturn viewed on my laptop placed on my lap (for refference). Unfortunately, by the time Saturn should have been visible the sky had become murky and I couldn't even see it with the naked eye.

    As for the GoTo, I quickly got fed up waiting for the scope to slew to targets. I just wanted to get viewing as quick as possible. It did help me get to know the skies. But it could be argued that you can do that with skymaps and a pair of binoculars.

    Another consideration for a potential buyer would be if they are buying for a family who are likely to be viewing together. There could be advantages to the GoTo scopes in that they track objects once set up correctly and you haven't got to keep nudging a Dob between viewers.

  6. I did that on Sunday. Had a cracking early evening just after sundown with unusually clear skies. Got my scope up to an incredible 416x with a SW 3.6mm super plossl, on Venus , Jupiter and Mars still with worthwhile views and good focus. I was amazed considering the negative reviews the higher powered SW plossl's seem to get. I'd like to have tried a quality high power eyepiece to see the difference. Anyhow, I stayed up late to see what I could see of Saturn only too find it had fogged over. Everything was milky and washed out and I couldn't even see Saturn. Patience is the word in this hobby.

  7. Atmospheric conditions can be a funny thing. I had the best views I've had in a long time this evening. I set up quite early though and was viewing Venus and Jupiter just after sundown followed by Mars a little later. The seeing was so good here for a while I was able to push my scope right up to 416x and still have a good view of all three of my targets. Unusually good was Venus with a clear half moon presentation and even mars presented as a clear disc at 416x. I was amazed! All fogged up now though. :)(

  8. Is it me, or are the skies exceptionally clear tonight in SE UK.

    I've just been out observing Jupiter, Venus and Mars and had the clearest views of all three I think I've ever had. I was even able to achieve pretty good focus with a 3.6mm SW Plossl on all three planets which is saying something as I don't even get to use my 6mm TMB clone that often with my 127 Mak. I was out three nights ago and I couldn't even achieve decent focus with a 10mm plossl on mars.

    Though I was able to get good focus tonight even with the 3.6mm there was next to no detail to be seen on Mars, though I was able to catch a glimpse of the ice cap briefly. Jupiter and Venus were just amazing with a crisp half moon phase of Venus and clear banding with subtle colouring on Jupiter. M42 was real clear too with all the stars crisply defined within. Can't wait to get out later and have a peek at Saturn.

  9. I think the SW 10mm EP isn't as bad as many people think. Granted there are better EPs but it does the job. Seems to me many beginners to astronomy are more interested in going for the highest magnification they can get with their setups rather than the most useful for the viewing conditions. I know I was like that before I got some good advice on SGL. Some nights you just can't use 10mm, no matter which brand or model EP you have.

    Just my 2p on the subject.

    My experience with the SW 10mm EP has been similar to this but with the Skymax 127 like yours. I don't have a better 10mm EP to compare it to but I seldom have a problem focusing it most times I use it, which isn't that often I'll admit as I tend to favour my Kson 16.8mm ortho both on it's own and also with a 2x Barlow. But the view it gives me fits nicely in between the 89x and the 178x I get with the Kson. The longer focal lengths of the Maksutov's usually make them more forgiving of the budget EPs.

  10. I can't edit my previous post for some reason but I should have said '2x Barlow.'

    The basic cheap one I had with my SW1145pm wasn't very good. But the Skywatcher 2x Deluxe one that I got as part of the 'DEAL' with my current scope is pretty good. I can't compare it to any others, but many favour the TAL Barlows. If I had £36 to spare I'd certainly try one to compare it.

  11. Just a good quality barlow would be a good starting point as you would then have 26x, 52x, 76x, and 154x

    A 3x barlow on it's own will only give you three different mags as 3x 25mm will give you a mag only marginally greater than your 9mm on it's own, and 3x 9mm will give you a mag that may only be useful when the seeing is really good.

    This is my experience anyway. Better quality EPs than the ones I have may allow for slightly greater mags than I achieve with my 127mm mak

    As for the particular EP and barlow you mention I'll let someone else advise you as I have no experience of them.

  12. Where stars are concerned you may find more enjoyment hunting out some of the double stars like Alberio in Cygnus, Mizar & Alcor in Ursa Major, and the 'Double Double' in Lyra. This latter one took me some time but it's fascinating when you do manage to resolve them with the right eyepiece. Something else to look for if you haven't tried it yet is the Ring nebula in Lyra. It will only be small because if you magnify it too much it becomes too faint to see in the 127mak, but nevertheless it's still peculiar to see this little 'smoke ring.'

  13. I upgraded from a Tasco 70mm scope to a SW1145pm a couple of years ago and the difference was amazing even from a light polluted back garden in the middle of town. From a dark sight I can only imagine how much better the views would be. I don't own it any more but sometimes I wish I still did. I miss the wide field views it produced compared to the very narrow view of my Mak.

  14. If it were my Bro in law he'd probably have the OTA stuffed full of socks. He doesn't waste a scrap of space when packing his car.

    A couple of years back, whilst visiting his parents in Redhill, Surrey, with my Sis and their two grown kids and all their luggage stuffed in a Vauxhall Vectra, he purchased a 32inch LCD TV in the Jan sales. I was thinking, 'How you gonna get that home.' But he did it!

    He took the packing out of the box and packed the TV back in the box with soft clothing and rolled up the holdalls that the clothes were in and stuffed them under the chairs I believe.

    If I were him I'd probably get a 200p in the car with all the family somehow.

  15. Yeah. Knowing me it'll fall apart, though I would still be able to mount the scope on my SW GoTo.

    Seriously though, if it doesn't come apart easily I wouldn't force it. Looking at it I'm thinking if I pack the base without the scope to one side of the car boot without the scope attached I can pack the rest of our gear around it. There's another little nook I can put the scope in.

    I don't have the scope yet but I'm hoping I might before I next head off to visit my Sis in N.Wales.

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