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Everything posted by SuburbanMak

  1. After a bit of tinkering yesterday I realised that if I removed the draw-focus tube the aperture left is a nice tight 1.25”. I didn’t expect to be able to achieve focus as I’d taken out a good deal of length and this was indeed the case when I tried a standard Skywatcher diagonal. The Tak prism however has a shorter light path and is held nice and snug, certainly secure enough for minimum glass EPs. Very pleased to achieve focus with a 32MM TS Optics Plossl and Baader Classic Orthos of 18, 10 & 6mm. This set plus a Barlow give a good working range of magnifications - estimate with the length I’ve removed I am now working at f15 so this would mean 35x, 63x, 114x & 190x. All I need are some clear skies - got the very briefest of holes late last night and was able to see tiny Jupiter and Saturn through cloud with the 32mm, just enough to confirm it was all crisp and working before the cloud thickened. Turning behind me I was able to get a short view of Mizar which was splitting beautifully from 35x & up and more importantly showing some nice airy discs and even diffraction rings. Better order those plus-fours, we are in business…
  2. Super old spotting scope - I think most of the optics manufacturers were diverted to wartime duties and did quite well out of it - Broadhurst & Clarkson opened additional factories and showrooms during WW1.
  3. Yes I think it is one of those - will be getting from another SGLer the next time they are in my neck of the woods. I had figured “Ultra Wide” might be an overstatement by modern standards…
  4. Thank you - one of the RAS eyepieces I have a line on is a Charles Frank Suoer Wide which I believe is a 44mm.
  5. This chap looks absolutely splendid - that is definitely the look I was going for!
  6. And another for the Baader, super piece of kit.
  7. Of course it’s far from really being “first light” - this thing is about 120 years old! Having managed to get this really quite large scope riding on an AZ GTi through the highly scientific means of shoving some foam rubber into some 80mm Skywatcher rings, I was eager to get out for a quick first look last night. For now I have only the terrestrial tube which is a very long compound affair that rights the image and based on the size of the moon image I’d say is delivering around 60x magnification - am quite sure I’ll get better performance with more suitable eyepieces. I have ordered a RAS - 1.25” adapter which is being made by Barry at Beacon Hill Telescopes (who is btw a lovely fella with whom I had a fascinating chat along the way) . I have a couple of RAS thread eyepieces on the horizon too & will spend many happy hours combing the auctions for more (there’s a widefield called “the Comet” that was made for the 1910 Halley apparition that I’d love to get my hands on) along with an approprIate finder scope (which is much needed as this is a major pea-shooter), period diagonal and even a brass Herschel wedge, though not sure I’d be brave enough to actually use that one… Meantime the signs are very promising however. Great views of the moon and not a hint of CA to be seen (this thing is about f16 and 4 feet long!) Although a bit cumbersome due to length, at 3.7 kg it’s surprisingly light for all that brass. The tube reminds me of those WW1 shell casings you see turned into umbrella stands. Focussing is pretty smooth with a draw tube for rough focusing then a lovely brass R&P for fine. Saturn looked magic, tiny but clean separation of the rings and occasional hint of the Cassini division. A couple of moons visible. Jupiter was showing both equatorial bands with the N more prominent and the 4 Galilean moons were gratifyingly sharp. I was glad of the relatively low altitude of the moon & planets as straight through viewing is a bit tough on the back with this length! Did try a star test - round but fuzzy rather than rings. I’ll reserve judgement until I can do this with a reference modern EP (Baader Classic Orthos will go nicely with this scope I think). I have a suspicion that the objective is a gem. Overall it’s great fun to use and looks amazing! I’ll add to this thread as I observe & build this fabulous old OTA out into a period rig. I may have to grow a giant moustache and observe in tweed plus fours whilst smoking a pipe to complete the experience.
  8. Great report & good to see you back out there. M57 is definitely a highlight - like a perfect smoke-ring hanging in space.
  9. Here are those hit&hope shots with the DSLR…
  10. Super report thank you on areas that I’ve been touring recently. Like you i’m struggling to pick out M4 despite it being theoretically easy to locate. Oddly I have M71 in that bracket too - some good additional target descriptions here.
  11. A c.1900 Clarkson 3’inch f16 refractor. Will need a more permanent mount solution…
  12. You make a good point, it is in fact not quite accurate to describe it as an impulse purchase - more a quick decision to buy. When I was at school a few of us cleared out an old darkroom to start a photo club - it had gradually become a physics-lab chuck-hole and buried deep at the back was a Broadhurst & Clarkson 3inch frac, brass with black crackle paint and on a “library mount”. I was able to borrow it for a few weeks and despite the awkward mount remember some great views of the moon & Jupiter. So I’ve actually been hankering after one for 35 years…
  13. I think so yes - rough focus with the tube then a relatively small amount of travel on the R&P for fine focus. Looking forward to trying it.
  14. EBay urges got the better of me and I’m expecting delivery of this c. 1890-1900 Clarkson 3 inch next week! Will be a bit of a project to get this one pointed skyward & doesn’t appear to come with astronomical eyepieces, if anyone has any RAS threaded EPs for sale let me know…
  15. Normally my offers to take the teenagers in my life out observing are met with a cursory “yeah maybe” before they return to their various screens. To my pleasant surprise however, tonight’s offer was taken up enthusiastically by both 16 & 15 year old boys + one “she’s not my girlfriend” extra. I think the idea of a midnight beach excursion did the trick & we duly set off post barbecue for Lepe beach on the Solent arriving just after 11. My plan was to seek out a nice low horizon and put the lights of the South coast ports behind me in an attempt to pick out the most Southerly Messier objects. Would’ve worked too had it not been for a fairly dense bank of sea mist hanging between the mainland & the Isle of Wight. I could pick out Antares with maybe 5 degrees to spare below but it was locally murky at first & although it cleared a bit later, by then M6, 7 etc had slipped from view, another time… Meantime we had great fun with Mak 127 on the moon - lunar X & Y plainly visible tonight and increasingly good views of Jupiter and Saturn, massive hits with the youth-club and “not my girlfriend” suitably blown away by the view. ST80 was on widefield duty with a 31mm Hyperion Aspheric - really is a joy to sweep the Milky Way with this rig, optically a bit flawed but a magic experience nevertheless. Lined up M13 & M31 for them and as it cleared a bit I got to have another look at the Lagoon nebula (M8) which was looking superb despite the murk. M16 /17 and M20 visible but not as good as my last session given the reduced transparency. I did manage to pick up the globular M28 so advanced my Messier tally by one but there’s no rush. I took my rarely used Nikon D90 down with a nice 20mm Nikkor lens and although I couldn’t see what I was doing shot a few 25s Milky Way exposures - based on the results for almost zero effort I’ll probably keep this in my go bag from now. Throw in a stunning moon-set, 2 ISS passes and a couple of cracking meteors along the way & it all added up to a memorable summer night in a magical setting. Lovely to share what’s normally a fairly solitary pursuit & have the grudging admission that my obsession is in fact, “slightly cool”.
  16. Agree - the Hubble and amazing AP images are stunning but not always helpful in at the eyepiece identification. I just bought “Observing the Messier Objects with a Small Telescope” an e-Book by Philip Pugh in which he describes and illustrates the view with 70mm Bins and a Mak 127 (same as mine). Am finding that a really useful prep resource. Also Stephen O’Meara’s “The Messier Objects” is great too for realistic tips.
  17. Nice reports and glad mine was of use. Its a fantastic area of the sky - going out for another look tonight & no work tomorrow, fingers crossed for good conditions…
  18. Sorry to hear that but glad you got a couple. I guess when you look South there’s whole lot of England down there to mess up the view! Although Southampton & Portsmouth are bright it is at least then empty beyond. If the conditions look good later I plan to head down to the New Forest coast and put the port lights behind me - see if that buys me a few degrees lower… Forecast looks good next few days so fingers crossed
  19. Thank you - it’s all quite close together in fact am sure you’ll have a great session.
  20. Having waited in vain for the clouds to clear on Tuesday night, it was great to get out and finally see some stars last night! I'd picked out a new spot to try on the South Downs just outside Winchester, on a well made farm track that runs due South just across the A272 from Cheesefoot Head viewpoint car-park. In the daytime this is an airy downland spot filled with wild flowers and Skylark song, by night it offers a super horizon from SE. round to NW. with the pretty but invasive lights of Southampton port and Fawley refinery 15 miles or so S - SW. Lightpollutionmap.info says it has an SQM of spot on 21, a worthwhile improvement for a ten minute drive over my rugby pitch site at 20.27 and only a fraction lighter than Farley Mount - and minus the third of a mile carry through slightly eerie Yew woodland! I got up there about 11.45 - just in time for an ISS pass which I caught to the NW along with my first definite noctilucent cloud sighting to the N. Seeing was quite steady and transparency good outside of bands of thin high cloud that cleared as the night wore on. There was some haze that mingled with LP over the coast causing extinction below 10 degrees or so. I'd planned a recce session in the Sagittarius area using an ST80 and a couple of new filters - Baader O-III and ES UHC to try on the nebulae. After aligning on Arcturus and Altair I toured the region finding the UHC really helpful in cutting through the low-down murk. Many first views with the Lagoon Nebula M8, Eagle & Swan Nebulae M16/17 and Trifid Nebula M20 the standout highlights, the first of many visits I'm certain. All observations were made with a Baader Hyperion 24mm (21x) and Baader Classic Ortho 18mm (28x) and interchanging filters and natural view to tease out the detail. Later I switched to 2 inch mode and used a 31mm Hyperion Aspheric (16x) for some panoramic views. All stunning stuff! M16 elongated cluster, Hercules like shape, double upper L of “keystone”. UHC brought out dark lanes crossing. M17 prominent orange star above, glowing nebulous area below right of faint trapezium asterism. Dark tendrils with AV. M8 - epic. Bright clusters multiple dark areas and glowing patches. O-III enhanced the cloud to 20% width of fov in 18mm M21- arrowhead cluster M20 - stunning star spangled glowing nebula with dark lanes. Fuzzy cloud wider with O-III. M22 - bright compact glob. Triangle with centre star asterism to L. Diagonal pair to upper R. [RACI view] M4, 6, 7, 19 too low in murk over Southampton to pick out. Widefield (31mm Hyperion, 2-inch) on M8, 20, 21 stunning field. M24 bright blue beehive like M16/17 In same field. Wow. M18 - rich field, pronounced "V" to R. It was after 2 by this time, so I took a quick tour around M57, a squint at part of the Veil Nebula with the O-III filter (warrants much more time!) and grabbed a great view of M31 which was easily visible naked eye at this point. With the 18mm I was for the first time able to pick out M32 & M110 - bonus! I resisted the temptation to switch to Jupiter & Saturn, by now quite high to the South, packed away and enjoyed a last sweep of the Milky Way naked eye and with 10x50s - vertical and almost visible to the horizon (barring those port lights!). Rolled back down the hill after a lovely shirtsleeves session in a super new spot. Mainly today I am drinking coffee...
  21. Now raining in Winchester - stuck my head outside and could just see Altair & caught an ISS pass through the clouds. Proves it’s all still up there but not to be tonight I feel…
  22. On the day I have found the Met Office cloud cover forecast to be pretty accurate: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/uk-cloud-cover-forecast/#?tab=map&map=Cloud&zoom=9&lon=-1.19&lat=50.99&fcTime=1626177600
  23. I've been getting Messier withdrawal having focussed on the planets last month, (noted that Saturn and Jupiter were looking much better placed now on my way back from a party Saturday night). Am plotting a tour of Sagittarius and Scorpius with my as-yet-unused UHC & O-III filters on board.
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