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  1. Date: Friday 30th November 2018. 1930-2200hrs Scope: 20” f3.6 Lukehurst Dob with Paracorr (fl = 2089mm & f4.1). Eyepieces: Ethos 21mm (x100), Ethos 13mm (x150). Night Vision: Plossl 55mm (f2 x38), Panoptic 27mm (f4 x77) attached to PVS-14 with Photonis 4g INTENS. After five months of concentrating on nebula (Sharpless objects mainly), the time had come to return to my first love – Galaxies. I have been waiting patiently for M33 to make its way into a prime spot over my observing shed and for the moon to go away. Finally the opportunity arrived after what seems like two weeks of clouds & rain! I took two sets of eyepieces down to the shed My Ethos case for conventional viewing... My NV (Night Vision) case with longer focal lengths to attach to my PVS-14 NV device... With the help of my Nexus, I soon had M33 centred and let the battle commence! Ethos13. First up was the Ethos13. Wow, the galaxy was much larger than the 100 degree fov allowed by the E13. I could see a large “S” shape clearly with no averted needed. I settled in and started to look for other arms or some of the many “patches” of bright nebula within the galaxy. As arms and nebula hot spots were seen, I moved to sketch them on paper. After a few trips, it was obvious that I was just “in too close” and needed to step back with the lower magnification of the Ethos21. Ethos21. In with the Ethos21 and peer in. Wow that’s better. The galaxy scale was sufficiently reduced to enable me to see the whole thing. M33 was dominating most of the 100 degree fov and nudging was still required to get around to focus on each section of the galaxy. The main arms were there and also decent snippets of the other arms. I could see several “hot patches” and once again I started to make a sketch of the view. Plossl 55mm & PVS-14. Now it was time to see what the PVS-14 and 55mm Plossl could do. (I have had my night vision since the end of April and learned on M101 that the key to seeing arms with NV is to get the focal ratio as fast as possible, this is achieved with the 55mm Plossl which acts as a x0.5 reducer). I played with the manual gain setting while looking at the main arms to find the position where the arms were showing at their best (too much gain overpowers the view so it needs to be less than the max). Once I was happy, I started to look and sketch the view. What was immediately noticeable was how the arm that runs out to NGC604 was much less visible that with the Ethos. The arm at the other side was much more visible and the several bright Ha patches shimmered on the face of the galaxy. There were fewer snippets of other arms but several Ha hot spots stood out clearly. [The dashed line shows an “assumed” arm rather than a “seen” arm. I got the impression that the arms were there but it contradicts the glass view] Conclusions. Welcome back to the mighty Ethos21! It provided the most enjoyable view and enabled me to get up close and personal with M33 in a way that the Plossl55 and Night Vision had not. The experience of seemingly hovering just over the surface of these large galaxies is just amazing and makes my day everytime! The amount of spiral arms on offer to the observer who is willing to spend time at the eyepiece is astonishing. Its hard to beat M33 and M101 Supplemental. I found that I had really missed the E21 and headed on afterwards to the Pleiades to see more of what I had been missing . The Pleiades and the Ethos21 are made for each other, the view was stunning with great views of the nebulosity surrounding the bright stars on offer. After not using the E21 for nearly six months, I can only conclude that the Ethos21 is one hell of an eyepiece and I need to remember that Clear Skies, Alan
  2. Ethos21/Panoptic24&bino comparison Having purchased an Ethos21 in the last Televue sale, I have been solely using that eyepiece on the cold Jan/Feb nights as I have a 2" eyepiece heater tape and if I dont change eyepieces then I can keep my nice thick gloves on. However, my Baader MarkV binoviewer has been calling to me when I see it sitting in its case with the various eyepiece pairs. I have been really enjoying the Ethos21 since I got it. The 100 degree view is hard to step away from once you have experienced it but the comfort of two eye viewing should not be underrated! This week I had the first forcast multi-hour clear spell with the temperatures not too low. So I decided the MarkV was coming out to play... I had been wanting to do a comparison of cyclops and binoviewer before we get deep into galaxy season so I could determine my weapon of choice for the galaxy sessions to come. Scope used: CPC1100 Eyepieces used: Ethos21 (cyclops, single eye mode), Baader MarkV binoviewer and pair of Televue Panoptic24 (two eye mode) Target: M51 Whirlpool The first target was M51, high at the zenith. First up were the Panoptic pairing. M51 was big and bright, the dark areas between the dust lanes were nice & black. The lanes looked like two shimmering circles. NGC5195 was bright with both a core and surrounding gas. The bridge was not to be seen. I quickly remembered how comfortable two eye viewing is and love the way you can "stay" at the eyepiece for as long as you like. Yes, I did miss my binos over the last 2 months. Swap in the Ethos21. No change in size of the galaxy was noticed. (The binos do cause extra magnification on an SCT as you rack the mirror in for focus.) The dark areas were just as dark. The shimmering circles were still shimmering circles. I was struggling to see any real difference between the two views. Verdict: score draw Target: M101 Pinwheel After a good time with each eyepiece, it was clear that the Ethos21 had edged out the binos on this target. Both showed three blotchy areas within the outer galaxy, presumably clumpy groups of stars. But the dark areas between the lanes were more defined with the Ethos enabling me to trace out some basic arm shapes more easily. Verdict: Ethos 1-0 Target: M81 Bode's galaxy This was another well matched contest. The galaxy was big and bright (brighter than on many occasions, it can rival M82 when it is this bright!). I was struggling to pull anything extra out with the Ethos. The galaxy was equally great with one or two eyes. I centred the nearby double double and played with the focus. The tight double is only splittable at this magnification on "good" nights. The Panoptic24 split them both easily and with a little fine focus the ethos achieved the same result. Verdict: score draw Target: Jupiter & GRS! My final target for the comparison was Jupiter. I had noted the GRS transit times and the time was right! Ethos21 up first. I really struggled to settle my eye to the eyepiece, the planet was so bright that I was being blinded! I fitted the Baader Neodymium Filter to the diagonal and tried again. (I like this filter on Jupiter, it dims the view and brings out the blues in the clouds). This time I could get my eye settled. When I had the moons focused then I fine focused on the planet and there was the GRS (first time this year). The colours on the planet were not the same as last year, the GRS was more of an orange spot and the band colours seemed different to what I was expecting based on my memories from last year. The outer edges of the planet were in hairdryer fuzzy mode but the planet was showing detail well! (at last!, its been a poor year for Jupiter viewing so far ) I swapped to the Panoptic24 pair. The view was instantly better and much easier to digest. I had found the brightness of the planet forcing me to pull away from the eyepiece in cyclops mode. Now, I could settle and more fine lines in the cloud system started to be noticed. The lovely blue structure in the banding popped out and it turned into a lovely view at quite low magnification. I would be interested to hear if anyone else thinks the colour tones have changed from last year as for me it seemed very noticeably different? Verdict: Panoptic24 pair 1-0 Final Summary: I am happy with the overall results as it confirms what I was expecting. The Ethos21 really is a great eyepiece, comfortable to use on DSO and the 100 degree experience is not to be underestimated. The little bit of light loss with the binos did make a difference to the end view on the larger galaxies there for us to view. The panoptics really are good on tight stars and excellent at splitting doubles. They held their ground against the Ethos on the DSO and with very good results. On the planets, the binos won out easily, you really need to study them before the fine detail is noticed by your eye. With two eyes your brain is on and working with you which is a real advantage on the brighter objects. I didn't want the Ethos to kick my other kit out to graze so I am happy in the knowledge that there is a place for cyclops & binoviewing. I look forward to repeating the comparison with the 20" as there will be no shortage of light coming into the binos on these same objects and I may be able to afford the tradeoff of light loss against eye comfort, we will see... Until then, the Ethos21 will be the tool of choice for galaxy season and I will sit at the eyepiece knowing that I am seeing all that can be seen! Any comments appreciated, Alan
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