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About chiltonstar

  • Rank
    Brown Dwarf

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  • Interests
    Wildlife photography + astronomy of course
  • Location
    Wessex/N. Berkshire Downs
  1. ED80s give lovely views of doubles even if the resolution is a bit limited. I have mine on my SkyTee2 along with the Mak 180 and always start with the little frac. Chris
  2. I have found a combination RDF (Rigel) and a RACI fairly indispensable, and in fact I often use my ED80 on the same mount (SkyTee2) co-aligned as well as an extra finder to see fainter objects. To cut the weight of an add-on focuser (which I agree is very helpful) I use a Baader helical focuser - very light, relatively cheap and doesn't extend the fl too much. Comments about storage: I store mine outside mostly in a large B&Q storage box which has a seal around the top, with 3 or 4 silica gel sachets so that the scope is kept dry. That way, the air inside the scope is dry too (important). If you store it inside (humid, warm air) you risk internal fogging (bad for optics) when you take it out into the cold night air. Chris
  3. With the 180 Mak, a 7mm EP is giving x385 - I wonder if this is probably near the limit for the scope (50x per inch of aperture), so the scope optics may predominate over EP optics? Mine certainly starts to run out of steam over x350, although this is sometimes helpful for doubles. Chris
  4. Worth mentioning (re the cooling issue of Big Maks) that an insulated cover helps enormously (threads here and on "another forum"). Worth doing - mine is ready to go very quickly and the dewing is very much slowed down. On a good night, mine gives beautifully sharp star images at x270 and x350 with clear diffraction rings I've never seen when I've peered up an SCT, or in the short time I had a 150mm newt on loan while its owner was Stateside. Chris
  5. As above, two nights of superb lunar viewing here too with my 180 Mak - two passing dog-walkers enjoyed the view as well last night, although the dogs got bored! Chris
  6. Another one for Rigel + RACI combination. Works well with my Maks, and the RACI makes star-hopping so much easier as things go the right way when you move the scope (I agree with Olly). Chris
  7. Until Vega and the D-D are quite high in the sky (>15 degrees up) I find the seeing often quite poor in this (E) direction. Once up a bit higher, and the D-D are clearly separated with any of my four scopes and a delight! Persevere! All of us who looked at Saturn last year will be aware of the problems of near-horizon viewing. Chris
  8. Many thanks for this Ken. I've joined the group, downloaded and installed the software and thus far, I am impressed. Something to play with on the (many) cloudy evenings! Chris
  9. Coming back to (astro) spectroscopy after a year or two in the wilderness, I've been trying to get corrected spectra using VSpec. The spectra are objective prism using an high-quality H&W spectrograph prism on an ED80. In terms of sharpness, it appears to work well and I get half band widths of about 0.7 nm at 486.1 nm H Beta (see examples attached, uncorrected). However, as the spectra are prism generated, correction with three wavelengths is necessary to linearise the wavelength scale. All works well until I try and use the response curve profile to correct another spectrum - it always crashes in the same way, with an "unexpected error". Is this an issue because of the non-linear scale (even though they've been linearised or something else ? Anyone an expert?? Should I be switching to RSpec therefore (VSpec is not the easiest software to use after all)? Chris
  10. Three double stars in one issue, with 39 Bootis as the main pair. The separation of the pair is currently an easy 2.6 arcsec. Using my 180 Mak (insulated) with a 10mm Baader Ortho EP giving x270, the view was very similar to the simulation below using Aberrator. To me, the colours were close to silvery white, certainly no obvious colouration. Anyone else see colours in this pair? Other doubles mentioned in the same issue are Xi Bootis (which I had a look at at the same time as 39 Boo), which is a well-separated pair with a strong colour contrast - yellow-white and purpley-brown to me. Also mentioned is the nearby glorious Izar - always stunning with its strong orange-blue colouration. An image taken with my scope attached as well. Chris
  11. Good fun Stu! I use my ED80 for similar quick sessions sometimes when I've got an early night, or we've got guests wanting their glasses refilled. I'm surprised that Algieba was bleached out with the 62mm - with 80mm the pair are definitely orange. Chris
  12. Good to see that someone had a decent sky; haze and cloud here, although the brighter stars were visible, even a galaxy or two in Virgo. Chris
  13. It is worth adding that the reduced aperture issue mentioned above (127/150/180 Maks) has been discussed in (laborious) detail on "another forum", and that current 150 and 180 Maks have effectively the full aperture I believe, but not the 127 Mak. Measurements with my 180 Mak (3 years old) indicate an effective aperture of 179-180 mm, and this matches observations from other users, whereas my 127 Mak measures at 119mm. I would agree with others though that the 127 Mak is a very good performer with near diffraction limit resolution, and very portable - it is now my grab 'n go scope of choice. Chris
  14. A nice report - some beautiful doubles there! Although the seeing was good here (I managed a few pairs), the transparency disappeared as the temperature dropped to freezing leaving only the brighter stars visible. I was serenaded by a vixen though in the field in front of me, which had my observing companion (cat) on my lap shaking with fear! Chris
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