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Everything posted by DobbyX

  1. 14/15th May 2330-0200 As a result of lockdown ennui, I bought and received my PVS-14 a few weeks ago, but only today I finally received the Rafcamera adapters to attach filters to its weird threads. My offering of a sprouting potato to the sky gods was fortunately accepted and today was blessed with clear skies. As the lockdown has caused both TNVC and Televue to be shut meaning their eyepiece adapters have not been available, I have instead picked up quite a few bits to facilitate widefield night vision observing. Among these were a Baader 7nm Ha, 610nm LP and a 3x Afocal lens for the PVS-14. Many thanks to Alan for his clear purchasing advice, getting me started. I had been going on short walks away from the streetlights with the bundled headmount, observing at 1x, but a) contrast hasn't been great as the sky under unfiltered NV has been pretty bright and b) the headmount is incredibly uncomfortable for me and causes bad headaches if used for more than 15 minutes. I am glad those problems are now solved. NV: ACTinBlack PVS-14 with Harder Digital Gen3 WP Bits: USGI 3x Afocal lens, Baader 7nm Ha, 610nm LP, Rafcamera ENVIS and afocal lens filter adapters Mounts: Team Wendy EXFIL LTP helmet with Cadex Low Profile NV mount & J-arm. AZ4 mount with 1/4"-20 on dovetail. First impressions I attached the Ha filter to the PVS-14 whilst indoors, as the filter adapter ring is pretty small and the threads fiddly. I put the helmet on, attached the NV, then went outside. Once I got away from the streetlights, I flipped down the NV and turned it on, looking northeast. Immediately, I was struck by the nebulosity of the North America nebula and around Sadr (IC1318). All I could think of was: wow. I had been reading about narrowband viewing in NV for ages but none of it prepared me or detracted from experiencing it myself. I had a similar wow moment a few weeks before at first light with the unfiltered NV, but seeing the nebulae just floating in the sky, contrasted and bright without magnification, was another level. Looking around, there were lots of patches of nebulosity scattered around and I had no idea what they were. As I had not planned a list of objects, I would immediately try and go for the Veil and look things up as I went along. 3x Afocal I couldn't immediately see the Veil at 1x, which wasn't surprising. I attached the 3x Afocal lens with Rafcamera adapter to the NV objective and looked again. It was difficult to see exactly where I was looking at, so I had to close the NV eye, find Deneb with my unaided eye, then refind in the NV and hop from there. I believe this a result of optical axis misalignment between the NV and eyes looking forward, not too noticeable at 1x but exacerbated by the 3x lens. Scanning down, the Eastern Veil popped out, clearly visible. Dwelling a bit, I picked up the patch around 52 Cyg but less obvious. At this point, I was so amazed that I had to pause and excitedly message some friends about it. I have seen the Veil a few times before, but only barely and through filtered 11-12" scopes. I had never expected that the view at only 3x would have been far clearer. Fiddling the gain up and down helped to bring out details - the image was brighter at high gain with scintillation, so it was easy to spot things, but as I turned it down, skyglow would dim but emission would remain, helping to distinguish between real and imagined nebulosity. I panned around Cygnus and revisited NGC7000 and Sadr. IC1318 seemed to have more contrast, probably due to the more distinct dark patch within. Previously I was able to pick both out unfiltered, but the dark regions were far harder to make out. With the 7nm Ha, the dark regions looked silhouetted. The 3x Afocal lens had some vignetting, but the filter passband shift and acceptance angle meant I had to centre objects to fully view them, thus vignetting wasn't a big problem. I looked around the northern sky in general but it is so difficult to know what you're looking at with a 3x strapped to your face, so you see these little patches of nebulosity all over and go: "Hmm. I wonder what that is". I looked for and found the Heart and Soul nebulae, both visible clearly, but not as bright as the Cygnus nebulae. A bright little patch next to Cassiopeia, I had to look up with some difficulty, but was found to be the Pacman Nebula. The smaller size made it stand out in NV, but identifying was tricky as DSO Planner was too cluttered to show it clearly. Imaging attempts I hooked up the PVS-14 to the AZ4 to try and get some pictures. They are pretty potato quality compared to some of the stunning ones others have done with NV, but were handheld for as long as I could manage (0.5-1 sec). The white phosphor gives visual views a bluish hue, which I have found to be quite natural for astro objects, the image of NGC7000 is most similar in hue to visual, although it is dimmer for the corresponding gain. North America Nebula (NGC7000) Sadr region (IC1318) Veil Nebula Pacman Nebula (NGC281) LP I think I spent an hour and a half with the Ha. I managed to swap filters to the 610nm LP, and this made the view considerably brighter, with less sky brightness than unfiltered for an overall 'cleaner' picture. I looked around for non-emission nebulae things. By this time Leo was far enough west, and I could clearly manage two components of the Leo Triplet at 3x. Again I had a go at M51 and M101, and again both were visible, but much better contrasted than unfiltered. M81/M82 were also distinct at 3x. Many of the nebulae that were earlier just floating around were simply not visible without the narrowband, washed out by the sky. The Milky Way starfield at 3x was very rich, and I did not try to identify particular objects. Unfortunately as the main road and streetlights are directly south, I could not observe many fun things. I hope to rectify this as soon as possible, especially with the upcoming summer objects. Thoughts Night vision has given me a complete refresh of the hobby. Being able to see so much with so little kit is a very welcome addition. It also makes me keen to take the heavy C11 outside, before and especially after adapters become available again. I had previously tried EAA with a Revolution Imager a few years ago, and I found it too fiddly for not significant value added, so I stuck to purely visual observing. The addition of NV to visual adds fresh perspective and motivation to once again revisit the frequented objects that became satiated, which I am eagerly going to try. On the practicalities of 1x/3x/5x widefield NV observing, I have found the helmet mount to be an excellent method. Eye relief and alignment can be adjusted, and held there. In addition, I found I can hold my head steadier than my arms, and my particular mount is solid with negligible wobble. Properly counterweighted, it is a very comfortable observing experience overall. I am preferring the helmet mount to an altaz, due to the latter's change in eye position with slewing, and can be uncomfortably low at high altitudes. However, I must consider investing in a sun lounger to reduce neck strain whilst looking at things near the zenith.
  2. Hunting for 3C273

  3. Revolution Imager held at the post office awaiting customs payment... How does one go about doing that?

    1. wxsatuser


      Go to the PO on the card, take card with you and pay the fee.
      The actual place they hold ours is the local sorting office not the PO in the town.

      They may ask for ID but whenever I have been to our PO the card is the ID.

  4. Completely replaced my eyepieces. 9, 14, 20mm ES 100 deg and 30mm ES 82 deg. No more soda straws.

  5. First night with the 20mm ES 100, all I can say is... wow

    1. rl


      I'm pleased you're pleased...you made the right choice. Regards, RL

  6. Bit the bullet... first 100deg eyepiece on the way

    1. Pig


      Nice one :-)Which one did you buy ?

    2. DobbyX


      ES 100 20mm :)

  7. How are you supposed to use dew heaters? Do you just turn them to maximum?

    1. Show previous comments  2 more
    2. faulksy


      the trick is to put them on before dew forms, what are you using them on.

    3. DobbyX


      That makes sense, I left the heater on low and came back after a few hours to see dew on the corrector plate. I turned it up to max but there was still big ring of dew around the secondary that wouldn't go away. I am using it on a C11.

    4. Fish


      On my C8 I just put mine on full from roof opening, never got too warm and not had any dew (touch wood ) .

  8. Finally saw the Veil... in a 12" refractor!

    1. Daniel-K


      Sorry to hear that ;)

    2. ronin


      ??? Cambridge, 12" refractor, Nothumberland perhaps ??? Seems a bit unlikely as IoA has copious amounts of light pollution (usually).

    3. DobbyX


      Yes, that the one! I used my own OIII filter and eyepieces ;). I couldn't see it at all without the filter.

  9. I just had my first opportunity to use my new CGEM 1100 after getting it more than 2 weeks ago from FLO. I am impressed enough that now I want to tell everyone about it. There will be annoyed people in the lab tomorrow. I upgraded from a C6 SCT on a non-GOTO CG-5 which I will still use a really convenient grab 'n go scope, but as I had hoped, the extra aperture really makes huge difference. I was observing from a non-ideal site with a building blocking up to 40 degrees altitude in the north, east and west directions, with lots of accompanying lights. However, the seeing was good after the clouds went away and it was warm enough to be in a t-shirt for the entire session till 1am. Skies were just about mag 5 NE limit towards the zenith with a hand blocking the offending lights. So, I was trying out lots of shiny new kit for the first time: the C11, the CGEM mount, a 2" WO dielectric diagonal and a 40mm WO SWAN 70° eyepiece. Setup took much longer than with the 6", as expected, and I stubbornly tried to perform a 2 star align without using a finder, before conceding defeat in a rapidly losing battle. However, after getting set up, I can see that having GOTO is really, really convenient, despite taking away a fair chunk of the fun. However the 11" is a bit too big to unclamp and manhandle, and it doesn't let you do that without losing alignment anyway. Onto the actual observing; I started with the same targets that I tried last week with the 6" for comparison: M13 - With the 6", this was quite fuzzy blobby, and contrast wasn't great due to the gibbous moon. Some of the edge stars resolved but the core was a single mass. With the 11", wow, looked stunning with the 40mm, with lots of the brighter core stars being resolved, the longer time spent at the eyepiece the more could be picked out. Even more so with a 15mm SWAN, although I noticed the collimation may need touching. M57 - GOTO put this dead centre slewing from M13, not that it is difficult to find, but I was impressed by the pretty quick slew speed. With the 6" and 25mm, I could just about make out a bright blob. Going up to 15mm with a UHC filter gave enough contrast and size to make out the ring. 11": Bright and easy. Ring structure was visible at 40mm and 15mm #nofilter. Some greenish colour was perceived too #nofilter. M27 - Once hard to find, but has got much easier since I got a Telrad on the 6". The structure was not really apparent, just about visible at 25mm with filter. 11": I had the 15mm with filter in and the GOTO placed it dead centre again after a meridian flip, but still took about half the time it would have taken to find it myself. Nice. Shape and structure easily visible. Pleasant star field too with the 40mm. M31 - In the direction of bright lights, but the core was easily visible in both. Sky was too bright to see much of the outer regions though. M33 - Couldn't see this in either. Was very close to building. Another meridian flip. M51 - Couldn't find this in the 6", even matching the field stars I was not able to see it. Sky was too bright. With the 11", I was able to easily see the two cores together. Albireo - Colours looked richer in the 11" Double Double - Much easier to split with the 11". Then I ran out of things that I had tried for in the 6", so I continued with some other objects, including more obscure ones the hand controller said was there, but then pointed at some trees or buildings after performing a meridian flip. Hooray for not looking up where your objects are and relying on GOTO. I know there is a horizon limiter but didn't bother to use it. Wild Duck Cluster: Went behind some trees contiguous with the building. M101 - Just about managed the core. Was very close to the building's lights. Mini coathanger - Looked like a coathanger, small. Coathanger - Couldn't fit the entire thing in the 40mm SWAN. Nice and bright though. Kemble's Cascade - Nice to follow with the 40mm. No way was I going to fit it all in one view. Then I had another few more looks at M13 and M57 before packing away, due to the need to work tomorrow, which I have completely disregarded by writing this all for the past 2 hours. Oh well. I am very impressed. The 11" is really nice. GOTO, I'll admit, is quite nice when it starts working, and so are wide AFOV eyepieces. I haven't tried a comparison between the stock 1.25" mirror diagonal and the 2" WO dielectric one, but I probably won't bother. I would like to be able to find things myself in the future, which you can apparently do with a park feature on the CGEM, but I will wait until next time after I have installed a Telrad mount. I will be moving down the road in a few months to a house with an accessible roof terrace thing which is shielded from the street and has a good view towards the south, west and north. Unfortunately I will be on the ground floor, but carrying it all up and down 2 floors isn't insurmountable. Hopefully, the views and object choices get much better then. Otherwise, I will be stuck begging for lifts to better skies.
  10. Upgraded to an 11" from a 6" 2 weeks ago... not a clear night in sight.

  11. Saw a meteor stretching about 40 degrees across the sky directly above. Occurred around 2:10-2:11am 06/7/10 and lasted about 2-3 seconds. Very bright, brighter than Jupiter that just happened to go behind some trees causing me to look around the sky in no apparent direction when It streaked across. Did anyone else from the North Hampshire/Berkshire region spot this?
  12. Actually, I as far as I know there are not many people that are interested, instead the job of using it has been thrust upon the unwilling hands of the boarders that reside in the school. I believe there is a CCD camera included and the whole setup is to be computer controlled. I am not sure about filters though, I will ask to find out; there are quite a lot of low pressure sodium lamps in the surrounding streets, they should help alot with that.
  13. No, a state grammar school in Reading. I spoke to my physics teacher who applied for the grant and he said I was welcome to come visit at any time to use the observatory . Now its a question of the weather and the somewhat abundant light pollution in the middle of Reading.
  14. Today I had my last exam, physics and it contained a fair deal of astronomy questions . This means I have reached the end of sixth form and I have left my school of 7 years. Now for the annoying part, only now have they received a grant to build an observatory in the grounds, meant to house a 16" Ritchey-Chretien and an apo astrograph. This has been in the works for several years and it is only now that they get around to doing it, just as I leave the school.
  15. I only just woke up an hour ago after staying up to see Jupiter and Uranus on my 6" SCT. Saw all four moons, one of which was very close to the disc of Jupiter, checked Stellarium and it turned out to be Ganymede. Saw the main cloud band but not the spot, was quite misty where I was looking from. I also saw Uranus, looked like a small, dim blue disc that looked quite obviously not a star. Morning made good use of my new 7mm TS Planetary. I never realised that Jupiter would fill up quite a sizable proportion of the view at high power.
  16. DobbyX

    M16 Ha

    It is a very nice image, well done.
  17. Majority of exams finished a few days ago, so with lots of free time I gave Saturn an attempt for the first time this night. Somewhat turbulent air, but even at the lowest power, 60x, the rings and disc are unmistakeable. I also saw Titan as a bright dot at about 10 disc widths away at medium power. Fantastic to see for the first time.
  18. Hello everyone, my name is James and I have been interested in astronomy for quite a long time. I live in Tadley. I used to own an overpriced Tasco 60mm refractor given to me as a birthday present ten years ago. It was pretty useless and I was left rather disappointed at the time. I am currently studying for my A levels, including physics, which has somewhat rekindled my desire for a decent telescope, and, having a bit of spare cash around, I recently placed an order for a pair of Bresser 10x50 binos. I hope to soon order a Skywatcher Skymax 127 Synscan Goto, when stock levels allow. I frequented these forums recently as a guest to look for advice on purchasing, and I decided I might as well register. Nice to meet you all.
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