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About Stu

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    Hyper Giant
  • Birthday 05/12/69

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  1. Variations on the California

    Lovely report by the way Iain, and great to see your kit. Best of both worlds there
  2. Variations on the California

    Which eyepiece did you use Mark? I have a 24mm Pan but am thinking a 32mm plossl may be better?
  3. Variations on the California

    Me neither! I have a Lumicon Hb around somewhere, might 'chuck' it in the little Heritage and see what it can do.... somewhere dark of course!
  4. Perfect alignment there Richard, very nice.
  5. New Apo on the block

    Yes, they are on AA's website at £2k, makes the €1499 TS look attractive even though I prefer the Altair design. Question is, are the optics the same?
  6. is there a "best" scope design?

    Just thinking about this slightly more.... ....There is an argument that there is a preferable design at different apertures. Not a hard and fast rule and open to much debate but.... Up to around 5", refractors are of a manageable size and can give fantastic, high contrast views of anything from widefield targets to planetary and lunar. From around 6" to 9.25", SCT and Mak designs remain relatively compact and manageable, providing significant aperture and resolution in a package that can easily be mounted on an affordable mount. Maks in the 6" to 8" range, and in my opinion the C925 is the higher end of the more portable SCTs. Excellent planetary, lunar and doubles scopes, particularly for imaging, but also very capable on the smaller DSOs. Mak-newts and other types fit in this category too. From 8" to 12"/14", solid tube dobsonians make a lot of sense, manageable size and excellent aperture per £. Great on a wide range of objects. Of course there are large SCTs in this range which make great observatory scopes, permanently mounted. From 16" upwards, Truss dobsonians are transportable and able to be taken to the darkest sites to give best Deep Sky observing capabilities. Plenty of exceptions to the above, but perhaps a starting point for deciding on a different scope type.
  7. Looks like our very own @F15Rules has had one in the past...
  8. I've just viewed the S&N section with Pete Lawrence and it is clear that he is using a front mounted Ha etalon objective filter as suggested by Ken. Solarscope on the Isle of Man make these; very expensive but very good (having looked through Helen's 70mm) http://solarscope.co.uk/sf-range.html These are used in conjunction with a blocking filter at the rear to provide the necessary light reduction. Not to be confused with a deep sky Ha filter used in conjunction with Baader film which will only show white light features.
  9. @Horatio, please do not follow this advice. Acrylic sheet is optically poor and putting two sheets (or four surfaces) in the way of your view will reduce the quality of the views. Baader solar film is designed to be used without other protection and is actually quite tough. If making your own filter, follow the instructions very carefully. The foils should not be tensioned in any way as this spoils its optical properties, a loose fit is best. Inspect it before every use and make sure that it cannot fall off or blow off during use. EDIT Make sure you get the visual film which has higher blocking properties than the imaging version.
  10. Actually I still get plenty of pleasure from viewing in white light. The sun is not particularly active at the moment as it is near its minimum, but there are still active regions to see every now and then. I use a Herschel Wedge with my scope, and find it gives better results than the film or glass filters. You can see finer detail and, in my experience, use higher powers so the detail around the active areas and in the granulation can be stunning at times when the seeing is good. There is always more to see in Ha, but I will always have a soft spot for white light
  11. is there a "best" scope design?

    A small (say 4") refractor properly used under a dark sky can give lovely results, particularly for the larger objects up there like open clusters or nebulae such as the Veil. That said, a decent aperture dob (such as the 10" suggested by John) will give you much better results on a broad range of deep sky objects. Any scope will struggle with light pollution except when viewing the moon and planets; get it to a dark site and it will show you far more.
  12. New Apo on the block

    It's a very interesting looking scope. The TS variant looks excellent value; I'm intrigued to know if there are optical differences (even if just better QA) to the Altair or if the price difference is purely the focuser? For visual the TS makes more sense with the smaller focuser.
  13. Don't be confused into thinking that a standard H-Alpha filter used with Baader Solar film will show you prominences and other H-Alpha surface features such as filaments. You need a PST or similar dedicated Ha scope with the necessary very narrow bandpass in order to show these features. I'm not sure why Pete was using such a filter, perhaps it helps to emphasise some of the white light aspects in a similar way to using a continuum filter. I would save your money for a dedicated Ha scope.
  14. is there a "best" scope design?

    The simple answer to your question is 'no' there is no one design which is better than all the others. I'm a bit of a die hard refractor fan, but in your position I would probably buy a decent sized dob. With your minivan, portability is not an issue and you can presumably get it out under dark skies where it will show you some amazing sights.
  15. Binos anyone

    Nice one Alan. Been getting some bino action in myself recently so I know where you are coming from. Lying down and staring up is so much more relaxing than some of the contortions we get ourselves into with a scope, isn't it?!