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Everything posted by Basementboy

  1. Hi @Marki – wondering if you've had the chance to use this 150ED yet and if so whether you've posted any reviews. I'd be very interested to hear
  2. I don't believe I have the hand pad, no. I think the motor drive is just for tracking. But I can check again when I go back at Christmas.
  3. It is great! And no, I don't have the hand paddle – what's the hand paddle?!?
  4. Haha – uh ... why would you be LIVING with him?
  5. Hi, as another newbie it took me a while to figure out what this post was about. I live in London (also south facing) and it can be a struggle to see much, so was intrigued. Just Googled PVS-14 and it seems it's a monocular night-vision lens costing £2k+, correct? How does it work? Do you strap it to your head and then look through the EP? Plus various filters?
  6. Any idea what the glass would be on this scope?
  7. Shame. I find it to be much nicer in many ways – smoother action, more reassuringly solid, generally high levels of attention to detail – than some of the newer scopes I've seen!
  8. No kidding? Wow, what are the odds. Yep, that's the system – set latitude, level with the bubble, aim the forks at Polaris and go ... I haven't tried switching on the tracking but that's the next thing. As you say, it was a bit of a pain to keep Jupiter and friends in view, particularly for my parents who are telescope illiterate (though quite nice people nevertheless). Any guesses what something like this would be worth today? Not that I have any intention of ever selling it.
  9. On a recent visit back to Toronto to see my parents, I finally cornered my Dad about his old telescope – bought in the 1980s, shown to me once as a kid for about seven minutes, then packed away in the basement again: far too expensive and complicated and cool to ever actually, like, use! But after getting into astronomy during lockdown, suddenly I needed to see what this old scope was all about. And it's a beauty, in my opinion – a Meade 2080 8" SCT. Probably top of the line in the early 80s, though I know it wouldn't command anywhere near the same value now (any guesses?) – but it really is a lovely piece of equipment. The tracking action is smooth (with little tension adjusters and slow-mo dials), the focuser is good, the views are great. I think the coating on the front lens has worn away somewhat, but I didn't notice it when actually looking through the scope (though admittedly all I had time to observe was Jupiter and Saturn – my Mom has Parkinson's and we spent a long time trying to help her see the planets). It even comes with a little compass. The whole thing is solid as hell (and pretty heavy, obviously). It also sits on a tracking drive that I couldn't be bothered to test out on this trip: I'm only interested in visual astronomy and it seemed like too much of a pain to learn to use. But assuming that still works (and why wouldn't it, if it's been simply sitting in a box for 40 years) then I reckon Dad has himself a pretty nice setup. We just got a family cabin in the woods so I'm going to drive it up there and set it up where he might actually use it for a change. And the cherry on the sundae – it comes with instructions on ... drum roll ... cassette. Pictured here with Dad in his lair:
  10. Hi, I'm looking at potentially fitting an Ercole with an M10 coupling to one of Skywatcher's steel tripods, which is 3/8" Is that OK? The Ercole says it can be attached to photo tripods via the 3/8" thread, so is that basically fine? I guess I'm not quite clear on what M10 is Thanks! Chris
  11. Hi Stu, bit late to this, but as someone who has been using an AZ5 on a Skywatcher steel tripod I can attest that tube length matters a lot in terms of wobbling. Supposedly the payload with a steel tripod should be around 9kg (from the AZ5's stated capacity of 5kg), but my 6.4kg 800FL refractor wobbles a lot (and my 6" Newt unusably so). It helps a bit to toggle the mount into the more vertical of its two positions, but even so the OTA jiggles. Incidentally, the mount itself also struggles a bit to hold the weight – you have to turn the screw extremely tight to hold it in place. But it's a great mount otherwise: the slow mo controls are really precise and the action is smooth without much backlash. It would be great for a Mak or anything shorter (or lighter).
  12. Oh that's handy – thanks! Based on the exact times I was observing, it looks like it was Ganymede's shadow ... and if I'd waited until 1:56am I would have seen Ganymede itself transit. That's somehow just a wonderful thing to know. Thank you
  13. Yes, in fairness to the 9x50, I haven't really used it in situations where I actually need it – and in London I really will.
  14. Good point – I haven't really had it out in London yet. And star-hopping in the city has indeed been difficult with an RDF. Glad to know it has a future...
  15. Yeah I'm still at the stage where I'm perfectly satisfied with the "hits". As for the transit/shadow issue, I was so excited I forgot to count whether the number of moons had reduced to three. As it was a black dot, I'm guessing it was probably a shadow. Just as cool in my book
  16. After what I think I'm right in saying was five straight months in London during which it rained at least once every day, I finally got a chance to try out my TS Optics 115 triplet and 6" OOUK Newt under some dark (and warm!) skies in Suffolk for a camping weekend in the Ferrariat. The AZ5 having been successfully adapted to reduce vibration (thanks again to the SGLers who helped me figure out that the trick is to mount the arm vertically!) and the heavy SW 3/8 steel tripod heaved into place, I pointed the refractor at the big bright star low in the sky....... I had never seen Jupiter before. So that was pretty special. Four moons, at least six bands and what I think was a moon transiting across the surface?!?!?!? Or possibly a shadow transit. Anybody know how to tell? Saturn meanwhile was the whole reason I got into astronomy in the first place. It is the planet of my dreams. And in a telescope it looks exactly like a glow-in-the-dark sticker on a child's bedroom ceiling. It's like a comedy planet. Hard to believe it's real. I have to admit: it was Jupiter that was the better sight. It was huge and spherical and jaw-dropping. So there really is an unimaginably vast storm planet up there above us ... DSOs: Ring Nebula, Dumbell nebula, Whirlpool and Pinwheel. Swan was too low. First sighting of Andromeda, too, which I can't see from London and was, predictably, best at lower magnification. Great Hercules cluster was VERY cool, particularly in the Newt and at high mag (I've got a 5mm Hyperion that's dark but good) in the refractor. Dozens of visible stars and a real sense of the 3D clustery-ness of it. Only drawback was that I struggled to use the 9x50 RACI. It's almost TOO magnified for a relative beginner like myself: I got lost a lot. Am I the only person who finds the RDF sufficiently intuitive? All in all, a great time. Now to move to a country with better weather. I hear the Atacama isn't bad.
  17. Aha!!! Sorry for the delay, but I just got a chance now to try this .............. and it worked Well, mostly. It has reduced the vibrations noticeably. Some remain but it's a big improvement for such a small adjustment. I suspect it explains why the AZ3 was, somewhat surprisingly, shaking less – because the clamp is directly above the centre, so all the force goes straight down into the tripod. Whereas the AZ5, when angled out, has to bear a lot the force in the arm. So when it's readjusted into a more vertical position then the tripod can take more of the vertical brunt of the weight. A thousand thanks Top Team! Off tomorrow to Suffolk in the Ferrariat for some hopefully dark – and now less wobbly – skies!
  18. I suspect so – I play drums and the bigger ones vibrate longer
  19. Dastardly! Yeah I had considered the Skytee ... it's just a weight issue for me, given I need to carry my gear to the roof for any decent views. But – we struggle on ... Thanks John, appreciate it
  20. Is a single-screw clamp more prone to vibrations?
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