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About Vondragonnoggin

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  1. I can see color in nebulae rich in OIII and Hb using UHC or OIII filters. My scopes are too small and my eyes too old to see color in nebulae without the filter though. Filter brings the S/N up in OIII and Hb enough to faintly see some of the colors. I strongly suspect I’d have to start observing from Bortle 1 skies to see more colors without filters or see the colors stronger than I do under light pollution.
  2. There are variable camera projection eyepieces available that have height adjustment. You put the 1.25” eyepiece in them and attach the camera via the T threads on top of it. Like this one from Teleskop Express - https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p215_Eyepiece-Projection---Prime-Focus-Adaptor---1-25--to-T2.html You need the T thread adapter for your camera and they recommend using Super Plossl eyepieces that drop in the adapter from 9mm to 15mm depending on how much magnification you need.
  3. Hi Chris. I understand completely your need for lighter scopes. My back is trashed from three back injuries when I was younger. I use scopes that are 15lbs or less now exclusively and much prefer the easier ones and a lightweight tripod. I have two Startravel scopes. A 120ST and a 150ST. The 120ST is 8.8lbs and the 150ST is 13lbs for bare OTA. I really like them. By far though, when I feel less energy, (which is a lot these days it seems like) I go for a grab n go with some decent views in my AT72ED refractor I bought used. It was about $250 used I think but it’s my most used scope. Bought it about 6 years ago I think. They discontinued the model and replaced with an AT72EDII, but you can still find the original used ED doublet for very reasonable prices. It’s all of 5lbs (2.26 kg) and 12” long (14.5” with dew shield extended). For such small aperture it has provided very pleasing views of nebulae, globs, open clusters, lunar, and planetary. The best thing for me is I keep it on a photo tripod with geared center column I can crank the height up and down on and sit comfortably if needed or stand and observe. I use a fluid head on the tripod. I understand budget too. Used scopes and mounts are options. I would look at those first or if you can save a little more for new you can stay in a reasonable price range. If looking at a small achromat, then whatever purchase, do yourself a favor and get a sturdy mount for it. The viewing experience will be completely worth the extra time spent looking for a used mount that is sturdy vs a new shaky mount or poorly made mount that is offered as a combo package with scope. The Bresser 70/350 on this photo tripod with geared column and fluid head should sturdy: http://apm-telescopes-englisch.shopgate.com/item/333631353936 It comes with a carrying bag and three eyepieces and everything you need to get started. Not a bad deal at £109 If you can save for one of these filters for the little F/5, it will improve the views on higher power brighter targets - https://www.firstlightoptics.com/achromat-semi-apo-filters/baader-semi-apo-filter.html I use one of these in my F/5 scopes and have had some very good results with it. It won’t take away the chromatic aberration completely but will lessen it and keep the colors normal looking instead of the yellow tinge some of the other chromatic aberration reducing filters give. I think you’ll get much more pleasing views with a used ED doublet around that size that is a little longer on focal length though. It will give better high power views. I know you have a restricted budget, but might be worth it to save a little longer so I will suggest some of these other mounts and telescopes to give you an idea of what to look for used that would be a great little setup. Buying a used 70-72mm ED will save some money, but new options might be these listed: The Skywatcher Evostar 72mm ED should be very close to it in performance - https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p10419_Skywatcher-Teleskop-Evostar-72mm-f-6-ED-Apochromatic-refractor.html TS Optics 70mm ED should also be very similar to it - https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p1151_TS-Optics-70-mm-F6-ED-Travel-Refractor-with-modern-2--RAP-Focuser.html Maybe keep an eye out in the classifieds for used 70-72mm ED doublets. The amount you will take out a lightweight refractor that size will be a lot. My most used scope by far. A 130p is also nice and light but in my opinion would need to be the explorer version on regular mount and not the tabletop dobsonian Mount. Unless you have a comfortable table in your viewing area already or a suitable height bar stool to set the tabletop scope on. I’m suggesting the 70-72mm refractor because of zero time needed to acclimate to temperature changes and no collimation needed and it’s small easily managed size. I take mine out even if only 30 minute window before clouds roll in. It’s just that quick and easy. Mounting should be easy with such a small scope also. Any of the small alt-az mounts will work with it. Vixen Porta II or Orion Versa-go or Explore Scientific Twilight I Vixen Porta II - https://www.firstlightoptics.com/alt-azimuth/vixen-porta-ii-mount.html TS AZGP Mount - https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p8069_TS-Optics-Altazimuth-Mount-with-Fine-Adjustment-and-Quick-Release.html , TS GSAZ Mount would both be suitable and lightweight. - https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p1753_TS-Optics-Altazimuth-Mount-GSAZ-with-fine-adjustment-and-tripod.html Skywatcher AZ5 would work - https://www.firstlightoptics.com/alt-azimuth/sky-watcher-az5-deluxe-alt-azimuth-mount.html Skywatcher AZ4 would also work - https://www.firstlightoptics.com/alt-azimuth/skywatcher-az4-alt-az-mount.html A nice photo tripod with geared center column and fluid head combo is this Oberwerk 5000 series tripod and head combo that supports up to 7.2 kg. Would be great for any 72mm ED doublet telescope. - https://oberwerk.com/product/oberwerk-5000-series-tripod-and-head-combo/ The very wide views available at low power are great also for sweeping the Milky Way and getting the extra wide cluster and nebulae views. Put a low power eyepiece in and everything is very easy to find. Almost like having a super finder as your scope, but capable of cranking up the magnification also and still getting good views. Good luck on your decision, whatever it is.
  4. I think we had a long thread years ago in the BV forum at CN on best metal tape to use for taping undercuts. APM used to supply some rubber o-rings that would fill up the undercuts, but straight barrels are best. Even the concentric ring will get caught in the wrong part of the undercut and tilt them sometimes causing alignment issues. The trick of turning the eyepiece while loose in the collet until you get best alignment, then just barely tighten to keep it from moving was primarily for straight barrels that aren’t perfectly circular. You’d never notice as a single eyepiece in a 1.25” adapter but you definitely notice this in a BV or binocular telescope when trying to align them perfectly. High powers you really notice things like that. Must be loose tolerances for eyepiece barrels. Probably less an issue with higher priced eyepieces but I have a lot of less expensive Chinese made eyepiece pairs.
  5. I prefer binoviewing but started astronomy with 12x50 binoculars. I later bought 25x100’s, 10x50’s, 12x60’s, 8x42’s, then two Binocular telescopes that take regular 1.25” eyepieces - a 70mm with 90° oculars and a 100mm with 45° oculars. I started collecting eyepiece pairs to use in the Binocular Telescopes. Later bought a Williams Optics Binoviewer and some of my best planetary and lunar views to date are with the binoviewers. One thing I noticed about the WO BV I bought used - clear aperture is only 22mm so limits low power eyepieces to those with field stops that don’t exceed the clear aperture and that they are functional but can get finicky with barrels that have undercuts or super high power views getting merging and focusing to be smooth. A trick I learned with the binocular telescopes that also works with binoviewers is to leave loose in the ocular collet and rotate one until easiest alignment is found, then tighten the thumbscrews and none too tight. Just enough to prevent from rotation. I think my eventual solution will be a much nicer BV with at least 27mm clear aperture. The WO BV is very entry level. Even at entry level they provide me the best lunar and planetary views I’ve had. The 8th of June at 260x on Jupiter was stunning. Sometimes a wider view with a single eyepiece is nice though. The biggest high power complaints I see from others are focusing both sides of a BV and merging. I imagine this gets easier with more precise and better quality binoviewers. The complaints usually come from owners of the entry level systems. Binoviewing is much like any other equipment aspect of amateur astronomy - the higher quality will get less issues and provide a better experience. I had to be sure of binoviewing first with the used WO BV before committing to a better one. Now I’m sure and hope to upgrade this year sometime. Not in a hurry though because the entry level BV does provide some great views already. Not all binoviewers are created equal and not all eyepieces work in them well. My advice would be to save for some quality BV’s from: Denis Levatić (Denis sells BV’s out of the CN Classifieds and does custom work and very reasonable prices, he is in Croatia) - https://www.cloudynights.com/gallery/album/9553-binoviewers-models-i-superchargemadeadaptmodify/ Denkmeier - https://www.denkmeier.com/ Earthwin - http://www.earthwinoptical.com/index.html Siebert Optics - https://www.siebertoptics.com/SiebertOptics-blacknightbinoviewers.html Baader - https://www.baader-planetarium.com/en/accessories/optical-accessories/bino-viewer/mark-v-großfeld-(giant)-binocular.html Denis Levatić will also Supercharge your current Williams Optics, TS, or other entry level BV’s for reasonable prices. Just contact him and see if it can be done for yours. Im hoping to buy some of his Supercharged Zeiss BV’s. Siebert also does Supercharging service for entry level BV’s. The service consists of increasing clear aperture and collimation plus making sure all functions work well and I believe adding concentric ring to oculars for better hold. Check with Denis or Harry Siebert for specifics
  6. A couple research papers https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5122960/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1191920/ https://iovs.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2182682 https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binocular_summation https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0042698978902067 There is a lot of material on the web regarding binocular summation and increased visual acuity. Some interesting reading.
  7. Yeah but it completely caught my eye spelled like that! Effective eye catcher.
  8. No matter if it’s regular no filter viewing, moon filter viewing, or binoviewer two-eyed viewing, finding a way to get into Lunar viewing is great. There are a lot of features to explore on the moon and it’s a much better option than being annoyed by the moon and not viewing while it’s up.
  9. I think binoscopes, Binocular telescopes, and binoviewers are in a different category really. Two zooms in a Binocular telescope, binoscope, or binoviewer is a very nice solution. I have 100mm and 70mm Binocular telescopes. I also have binoviewers. Single hand held binoculars with zoom function tend to be junk unless you go for something like the Leica Duovid which has two magnifications and not technically a zoom and also unfortunately about $2500 to get real quality and a usable FOV. I tried some other zoom handhelds and they were absolute garbage. The biggest drawback and commonality seems to be the very narrow apparent field of view and secondly the idea that a 10x-30x zoom range is at all practical in a handheld. Most people have an upper limit to handholding of 10x-12x max. A wide apparent field of view zoom that was consistent in the magnification range or at least only had a variation from wide at 60° to Maybe 70°, and magnification variance from 8x-12x, and came in at substantially less than the very expensive Leica Duovid would sell like hotcakes.
  10. Binoviewers are going to be dimmer because they split the light with 50% going to each eye. Still have the resolution of your full objective but now 50% the brightness. For someone as sensitive as me to light contrast, even a 72mm scope at low power on the moon with a single eyepiece like a 28mm is too bright. If I use binoviewers on the 72mm scope it’s like a small binocular and very tolerable plus harder to get lowest power with binoviewers using a 1.8x GPC (which is what my Williams Optics BV’s have) so smaller exit pupil and still dimmer image. If I move up to my 150ST which has a low profile adapter and linear bearing short focuser, I can use the binoviewer with a 1.25” diagonal and not have to use the GPC. Gets pretty low power with a pair of 28mm RKE’s in the BV. Still a little bright for me at that low power in the 6”. Again though, I can put the GPC back in and go higher power on the moon and the smaller exit pupil takes care of the brightness issue.
  11. I’m also light sensitive. Anything with high contrast is really harsh to me. I use 40 watt lightbulbs at home because of this. Lumicon ND13 (13% transmission) for low power views is the one I have somewhere. I’ve misplaced it though so I just wait until my scope is thermally equalized good and crank up the magnification on the moon to dim the view as long as the seeing supports it. Moon & Skyglow is good also. I actually prefer the Moon & Skyglow on Jupiter though. It’s Great for both Jupiter and the Moon though. It does dim the view a bit and provide better contrast. Gotta find that filter. Just recently renewed Lunar viewing interest with my binoviewers. Ive seen it posted a lot of times that the moon when viewable in the daytime is just as bright as at night so no filter is needed but none of the people posting that have light sensitivity issues. It’s the contrast between dark and light that brings out the sensitivity.
  12. The only decent one I know of is the Leica Duovid. https://us.leica-camera.com/Sport-Optics/Leica-Hunting/Binoculars/Leica-Duovid Not really a zoom though. Two magnifications.
  13. Denis has a few threads showing various BV’s taken apart and some steps he’s done. He also lists BV’s in the classifieds he’s already “Supercharged” (increasing clear aperture to accept eyepieces with wider field stops). I have a William Optics BV and it was cheap used but works ok, but definitely has given me the incentive to save for a better BV that will take my pair of 24mm 68° eyepieces without vignetting. When you get a good BV, the planetary and Lunar views are really rewarding. Last clear night I had was the 8th of June and I spent two hours out on Jupiter alone. Had some really good seeing and took my 6” mak to 260x I spent the first hour straight on the moon. I see much more detail at less magnifications with two eyes.
  14. While considering the solid tube for dual mounting is interesting, I personally find big newts awkward for visual use on GEMs and starting AP with a 1200mm focal length newt on a GEM after doing visual with a Dobson base is a bear of a switch. The GEM needed for such a big tube will be costly. I’m more a fan of barn door trackers and slr lenses for starting AP or a 60-80mm refractor at F/6 on a beefy enough GEM to have a capacity of over twice the weight of the 60-80mm refractor. Going from manual dob to AP is drastically different. You could ease into the process with a goto dob and some EEVA activities though.
  15. Some places in Texas still have dark skies but the big cities in Texas are no different from light polluted big cities everywhere. Since you have a 2x barlow already and the very nice 25mm Plossl, you are getting a 12.5mm equivalent when using the 25mm in the barlow. You might try an eyepiece in the 14-17mm range. Barlowed would give 7-8.5mm equivalent with more eye relief than the current 10mm Plossl. I find the Skywatcher 10mm is a good eyepiece but do not like the short eye relief and prefer larger eye lens with longer eye relief. Barlows increase eye relief unless they are telecentric design power amplifiers (focal extenders). A good 17mm is a nice jump down from 25mm and should have adequate eye relief as well. For a next jump in magnification, an 11mm would be good. In a barlow it would be a 5.5mm equivalent. Three eyepieces and a barlow giving you 25mm, 17mm, 12.5mm, 11mm, 8.5mm, 5.5mm magnifications. Plus your 10mm as well and 5mm with the 10mm in a barlow. if the barlow has the lens element that unscrews and can be screwed directly on the bottom of an eyepiece barrel, it will give 1.5x amplification. So you have magnifications for the following focal lengths - 25, 17, 16.6, 12.5, 11.3, 11, 10, 8.5, 7.3, 6.6, 5.5, 5 millimeters All out of 4 eyepieces (25, 17, 11, 10) and a 2x barlow Another option would be to get a Televue 2.5x Powermate. Three eyepieces (25mm, 17mm, 11mm), a 2x standard barlow with lens element that can be screwed directly on the eyepiece for 1.5x, and a 2.5x Powermate will give you a very large number of magnifications. Focal lengths of 25, 17, 16.6, 12.5, 11.3, 11, 10, 8.5, 7.3, 6.8, 5.5, 4.4 millimeters. All those and you never have to use the Skywatcher 10mm Plossl to get any of that. You can tuck it away in a drawer.
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