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Everything posted by spaceboy

  1. Looking down on a pair of Salt and pepper pots was my thinking behind the nickname. You often get one or two holes in the salt shaker (in this case the 2 brighter, orange (which itself could be the salt) and blue stars to the edge) and several in a pepper pot, being the main body of the cluster.
  2. So would this be correct? The amount of times I've observed this cluster and I've never made the connection. ? A good excuse to observe it again me thinks.
  3. LP has slowly killed the hobby for me over the past couple years. It was never great living so close to a large town centre but it was the installation of LED lights towering another 7' above where the original sodium lights once pinnacled that brought the largest impact. It took several attempts to get shades installed but the problem is they are so high there's no escaping night vision blindness. For this reason my kit over the past year has been slowly disappearing so I can relate to your search for an ideal scope to keep your hand in the hobby. For me it has always been my ST120 AZ4 combo. I know achro aren't for everyone but I find I only get distracted by CA when I choose to look for it. Yes it does impact on planetary views but I just use filters to help with the contrast.
  4. Good point and a again another consideration for the survival of the human race. If we were ever to get to another planet in the hope of colonization we have to get on with each other and control our cravings first. This seems to be something we seem unable to do even on the habitable planet we have now so it's as if we as a species is destined to become extinct no matter what technology we are able to adapt for exploration of the cosmos. Things would be in limited supply to begin with and we all know how hunger in particular can turn any saint in to a sinner.
  5. I'm not sure how accurate this is but I was watching this YouTube vid and it really got me thinking just how far we are from ever sustaining human life. We do after all need at least a star to support life and with our closest star being such a mind blowing distance away what real chance do we have of continuing the survival of the species?! I mean we need a goldilocks planet that just happens to have a habitable surface along with copious amounts of H2O, orbiting a sun like star of which is still in it's "youth". And when I say youth I mean it's still in nappies as the journey time to such a star system could be in the thousands to millions of years even with anything near speed of light capabilities. I suppose if we could at least get human DNA to a distant deemed habitable planet in the hope that future technology could some how gestate it in to some representation of what we know as human. My guess is what ever the case there would be a necessity for some sort of self supporting Adam and Eve AI android to get the ball rolling. Whether we could ever create each component to make the journey I have no idea. Harsh space conditions and natural decay being a major drawback in travelling such vast distances over many light years. But then there would also be a need to carry along with it other forms of life including plant and insect etc. I'd also think it would take many millions of years for life to evolve to live on a new planet. Just because it is habitable doesn't necessarily mean it would sustain life and each species would have to adapt to it's new environment which in itself could also be evolving. When you look at all involved I think it is safe to say that anything beyond gaining a few extra years moving to Mars / Titan there is little chance we can sustain the human race indefinitely which kind of begs the question why are we looking for habitable planets ?? I mean unless we are some how able to encode the building blocks of life in to light photons which we can somehow control either side of integration, we have absolutely no chance of getting anywhere in space, in time or in one piece anyway. And before anyone says it is to find possible intelligent life to help us in our quest for intelligence or immortality as a species I would argue that we ourselves have shown no desire or reason to bring back Neanderthals. I know there is so much that cannot be answered here so it is more intended for light chatter on what the future could hold for the human race and what difficulties are involved. It does to me seem that the universe first makes it difficult for life to exist and then even more difficult for it to be sustained indefinitely. Which when you think the universe doesn't for all intents purposes "exist" with out some form of consciousness to acknowledge it, so what is it's point in it's being anyway??? This is obviously assuming that consciousness itself only exists in living creatures. Consciousness or acknowledgement of being could of course be a separate entity to that of the physical world and that the body for us at least is merely a vessel of interaction?
  6. If it is the standard EQ3,5,HEQ5, 6 with drives then yes that is correct. There were HEQ5 & 6 with syntrek handsets (often white unless orion branded which were black) that had stepper motors and a basic drive function which all you needed to do was purchase a synscan controller to upgrade them to goto. You can upgrade to stepper motors in an old black EQ6 but the synscan kits cost around £300+. Depending on the market it can sometimes better to just buy a used EQ6 Pro. The advantage of stepper motors are only really seen in slew speeds and long exposure imaging. Manual mounts don't really need quick slew speeds as you can disengage the clutches anyway and then fine tune with the motors. As for imaging you can still get some exposure out of manual motors just not to the length you can with stepper motors.
  7. If your saying the scope itself is OK then I wouldn't loose any sleep over it and first chance you get do a star test just to make sure all is good. If all your concern for is the included eyepiece then they are a POS to begin with and really only intended to get you up and running until you can afford better quality eyepieces.
  8. Truly superb collection of scopes Matt There is something about refractors that I love and the view I feel are by far the best offered by any scope design, ALTHOUGH I have to say the pics posted disappoint me somewhat. The 180 looks right on the edge of manageable and certainly demands a mount of substantial load capacity. Then you see the 254 and it game over unless your in the prime of your life. It's just a shame that the one scope design that offers the jewel in the crown for night sky views goes from a practical grab and go Evostar ED120 or TMB 115 to your back ain't got a prayer in only an additional 130mm aperture. By the time you get to a 16" dob it could be considered quite the handful but a 12" can be managed by most with a little effort. Eyepiece position remains comfortable and in the case of dobs no concerns for expensive mounts to become the make or break. Sorry if this is going a little off topic. It's just I like me fraks and it's a shame that I can never own one what would in a practical sense equal the resolution / light grasp on my 8" newt. I do agree that a good quality refractor can out perform a larger newt in the quality of view even if it is a slightly less bright in comparison.
  9. ? WTH !!! Am I correct in assuming this is an introductory price Ste?? If so do you know how long this will last?? If it is the set price how long can the 120ED remain at £1100 I wonder? I bet the 120ED used prices are no doubt going to suffer if all the reviews are correct about how good the 150ED is.
  10. @John are you going to SGL star party? I can't really do the whole camping thing due to conflicting term holidays but always enjoy popping along for the day. I'd love to see and maybe look through the ED150 if FLO still have it on loan. A bargain no doubt but still a lot of saving for me to gamble on a scope I have only seen on a web page.
  11. Can you loosen off the objective and give it the old gentle tap all the way around to re-seat everything? Hypothetically talking of course as this is a loaner.
  12. I know on this occasion the courier should get 40 lashes but it's a shame they don't follow Bresser's thinking with their collimateable cells on refractors. Admittedly I'm not 100% sure their new 152 ED has a collimateable cell but I'm positive they do on the 127 ED. Thinking about it I am sure the APM 152ED has a collimateable cell. I guess cost has a lot to do with it and SW wanted to offer a 6"ED to us poor folk but personally when it comes to collimation in refractors I'd rather save that bit longer and pay that bit more and know I can correct for these little alignment issues that inevitably happen over time rather than forking out for a pro to do it or even worse just settling for a slight slip in performance.
  13. I'm showing 300g on my scales. That's a homebrew dew tape and dew shield so may differ a bit from commercially available tapes/ shields. Thanks again mate.
  14. Sorry to be a pain John but I can't recall you ever saying you needed dew prevention despite having plenty fraks. Could you do the same pic with some thing like dew tape weight wrapped around the objective or even a camping mat extending the dew shield? Not sure if you have these ? If they put their logo in near the same place as the older fraks then it does seem to sit far better in the rings than my collimateable EVO150 did.
  15. OMG those camera mounts really are more hassle than they are worth. If they aren't working loose and scraping through the finish on a scope they are poking holes through flight cases. I wouldn't mind but how many people actually use the dam things???. First thing I do when ever I buy a scope is take them off! Have to say while others may see it as a plus I'm not particularly a fan of metal dew shields. With a huge lump of glass and a tube of steel extending past that I have always found scopes to sit right back on rings to balance and in doing so putting the observer on their knees for the best part of the night searching for night sky objects. With my EVO150 I stuck a lump of lead focuser end to help center that balance. Having a tall UNI-28 tripod really helped. Also disappointed to hear the objective cover is a single piece. Having the advantage to stop down the aperture can come in handy at times. No deal breaker as it is possible to make an aperture mask but surprising that it is included on most other scopes SW offer yet in this case they chose not to. Is the focuser rotateable by any chance John? I see they haven't employed their usual ota/ focuser adapter despite retaining their usual white DS focuser.
  16. If you still have the lunt wedge I'd be interested to hear your thoughts. I know the 150ED is a little on the large size for a 1.25" wedge so I'll leave it to your discretion if you think it a wise idea or not John.
  17. I'd be very interested to hear of a side by side comparison between the SW ED150 and APM 152 ED. In my mind the chances are the glass and optical performance is going to be the same but the ED150 is priced considerably more favourable and similar to what I have seen used APM 152 ED sell for. I have to say I have been tempted to go with a single scope set up for some time and the ED150 would be a high contender if the views are anything near the ED120. I imagine with more cost effective ED glass and 30mm extra aperture there is going to be some noticeable CA. Using a SA filtered, fast achro I can say during the course of observing CA can be tolerated by my eyes almost to the point I have to look for it. I'm not sure if this is due to the scope reaching ambience or that my eyes adapt to the dark ?? What ever the case, at £1620 it's a steal if you have a suitable mount to begin with
  18. Had both and preferred the 22 T4. Far more immersive experience due to the larger eye lens and I liked the click lock eye guard to help eye positioning.
  19. Sorry for any confusion Paul. What I meant if you had the choice of just the ED120 or all three together 200P,EVO120, ST120 would you choose the single ED120 or the three scopes. Depending on used prices you could have all three scopes for probably less than a good ED120 can fetch by itself. My reasoning behind the threads are because I stupidly sold my ED120 to fund a solar mod which I then got cold feet on due to the solar minimum being upon us. To then have cash burning a hole in my pocket over xmas means if I am to replace the ED I have some saving or even kit chopping to do. I want to be clear in my mind to making the right choice as I always seem to sell kit at a loss and then find myself 6 months down the line paying back out for the same thing again, often at a premium. Oddly the one scope I would honestly find the hardest to part with is the one totally dismissed by all but a couple members. That being the ST120 which is by far my most used scope due to it's size if nothing else. It serves me for grab and go (garden and holiday), solar and lunar. Not to great on planets though I know the ED120 is pretty small but if an ST120ED was out there I think I'd be all over it.
  20. Following on from a previous thread I though I'd throw a curve ball in to the mix. It is clear the poll suggests that the better choice for a single scope is the ED120 but as always budget becomes another deciding factor. By my math even a used ED120 £600-£700 costs marginally more than all three EVO120, ST120 & 200P would do (used of course). The 200P obviously goes deeper and the ST120 suits grab and go while the EVO offers up better correction over the faster ST f/5. Would the ED120 still be the first choice of those who picked it out for a single scope? It's often said there isn't a magic bullet in scope design so is it better to have a choice over a single scope if the cost is very near equal ? I think whether 3 or 1 a case of quality over quantity will be argued but I'll be interested to see which way the vote goes given the 200P wasn't exactly out of the running in the last poll.
  21. At 10-8 between the ED and 200p I hope there are going to be a few more members willing to participate in the vote even if they don't offer up a reason. I didn't think it was going to be so close to call. I know the ED is a superb scope having owned one (and want another) but I thought the aperture king rule would have already pulled the 200P out ahead. I admit refractors are far more versatile than newts so maybe this has swayed the voting?
  22. While I have re-greased my AZ4 so it's probably a tad smoother than out the box, I can't say I have any sticktion issues. I admit I did when I first had it as it is kind of intuitive to think, the less tight the clutches are, the smoother it will move, but I actually found too loose and that's where issues arise. If the clutch is slightly tighter you may need a slight bit more force to move it over say a giro mount, but the action is dampened nicely and so it isn't sticky. I agree balance is key to any friction AZ mount and this isn't always easy accomplished with smaller scopes. I have to say I always enjoyed using my AZ3 albeit for daytime solar (hopeless for night time observing above 55-60°) so I have no doubting the flexibility of slow motion control would win over many a manual mount, and if the AZ5 performs well on a beefier tripod then there is no competition. Sky watcher do seem to take customers comments on board so maybe there may be a version II come out with a better tripod or even M10 thread in replacement of the 3/8" in the future ?? Is there anyway to tap the thread out to M10 so it can drop straight on to a 1.75" tripod or are the bases hollow cast and there is a lack of meat on the threaded part ??
  23. This is an interesting thread. When the AZ5 came out used prices seems to fall off on the AZ4 yet it would appear the AZ4 remains the heftier mount of the two. I've certainly never had any problems using my ST120 on my AZ4 at higher mags and I even used a 150P for some time with no issues. Granted it doesn't have slow motion controls but when it's well balanced I've never felt the need for them anyway. I guess it is always assumed a later version number means they are a better mount. I have no doubt it brings a far better capability to the table over the AZ3 which would in all fairness be it's direct competition regards the use of slow motion controls and lightweight portability. As for a comparison to the AZ4 it's probably not in the same bracket. An AZ4 would probably be better compared to a Giro II, mini or similar I guess?? Did you not have an AZ4 @nightfisher
  24. That looks a great bit of kit and I bet the views will be breath taking. As others have said, take care on those steps. I don't personally feel the steps are the problem but more so the ground. May pay to pave the area at some point. Would probably make carting the dob out easier also.
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