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  1. Hi all I’m getting back into the hobby after some time away I always seemed to spend a lot of time switching between eye pieces so this time I was thinking of having just 4 ep to choose from as opposed to 12. I have a an 8”sct and was thinking of getting the Explore Scientific 82° im considering the following 30mm 18mm 11mm 6.7mm first do you think these particular e/p will work well with this scope and does the choice above sound sufficient. regards Lee
  2. Hello there My budget for eyepieces is $1,000. I started off thinking I would get a Celestron eyepiece kit for about $200, for example. After trying a few out, I soon realised that I wanted eyepieces of higher quality. My mindset is that I'm investing $2,000 in my telescope, a Celestron 9.25 SCT, and I want to be able to extract from that scope the very best views that I can. Wishlist - I'm looking to buy 3 eyepieces maximum (not including a Barlow) Ideally - if possible - I would like to get eyepieces that I can use on both my telescopes, but my priority is toward the 9.25" as that is the bigger investment. Both my telescopes have 1.25" barrels. * Cassie - A Celestron Newtonian. Aperture = 130mm, FL = 650mm, FR = f5 Max useable magnification between 250x and 307x * The Cubble Space Telescope - A Celestron SCT. Aperture = 235mm FL = 2350mm, FR = f10 Max useable magnification between 460x and 550x I don't feel comfortable spending more than about $300 on each eyepiece I want these eyepieces to last as long as possible. I try to look after thinbgs if I can. Decent eye relief if possible I will purchase a Barlow separately Field of view - something 60% + Usage - My observing will be probably 80% solar system planets & moon, 20% deeper sky objects I'm not that in atsrophotogarphy. I have a little Celestron NexImage 10 with which I am hoping to make some videos and stacked images of Jupiter, Saturn and detailed imaging of Pluto ( ) I really just want the WOW factor right now. Enjoying the thrill of Saturn;s rings, tracking Jupiter's 4 main moons, detailed lunar observing etc. Questions - So what would be your suggestions or advice, please? I have been looking at the Tele Vue Delos & Delite range. The Nagler range looks nice but I'm note sure if I need 82' field of view. A bit pricey, too. Explore Scientific's offerings are a possibilty. What's the deal with zoom eyepieces? Does that mean you can have an eyepiece that will do the job, for example, of a 6mm, 7mm, 8mm and 9mm eyepiece all in one? Is there a trade off?? What's the catch?? Regarding Barlows, I was thinking of just keeping it simple and getting a decent 2x lens without spending crazy money. Something in the $150 range. Or would I need a high end Barlow to complement the better eyepieces I am hoping for??? Overall, I'm looking for 2 or 3 eyepieces and 1 Barlow with a $1,000 budget. Any thoughts, ideas, advice or opinions all gratefully received, thank you.
  3. For sale is my lovely Explore Scientific APO ED 102mm triplet refractor. Lovely condition, great optics that are unmarked and blemish free, views are stunning and pin sharp. Selling due to lack of use, as a recent change of job keeps me away from home quite a bit, so its not getting any use. Comes with: Essential 102mm triplet APO refractor Tube rings with integrated carry handle Vixen dovetail 2 inch visual back / adaptors and focuser Aluminium case It is the essentials model so didn't come with any finder or diagonal. Price is £450 ovno due to condition and inclusion of vixen dovetail. Payment accepted is cash, cheque or bank transfer (which is easiest) or PayPal if buyer pays fees. Pick up only or can meet half way by arrangement - don't really like sending optics through the post. Thanks for reading and if you have any questions then please pm me and we can discuss in more detail.
  4. Apo F8 & Dob F4.7 tests https://www.cloudynights.com/articles/cat/user-reviews/comparing-the-masuyama-25mm-52°-25mm-65°-and-26mm-85°-r3122
  5. Reason for sale: bought it intending to do imaging with my Dob, but have instead acquired a separate dedicted imaging setup. The Coma Corrector is AS NEW, having been used only once to test if it works visually (it does!). There is a full description at: http://bit.ly/1OPa6hu, but to summarise: * 4-element optics. * Incorporates helical focuser (so that, once it is optimally positioned, focusing does not move it). * T2 and 48mm adaptors included (unused) UK retail price (Telescope House) is £249 £200, to include insured UK mainland postage. Payment by transfer of funds (net of fees) or cash on collection, GBP only. (Also advertised at UKAstroB&S)
  6. Together with a number of other owners, or potential owners, of the Explore Scientific 80 APO who have posted on SGL, I have been searching for a simple way of being able to use the more common, nay almost universal, Synta shoe, thereby significantly expanding the range of finders, trackers and other accessories to be fitted. Nothing seems to be available commercially and the suggestions I read all seemed to require some careful "bodging" of the OTA. Also most didn't allow easy reversal to the ES fitting. I was hunting through the aluminium extrusions section in a local DIY store when I came across exactly what I needed. A top-hat sectioned extrusion. As in the first photo. A spare Synta shoe (AKA FLO "Finder Mounting Shoe or equivalent) fitted across this perfectly and with another section of the extrusion fixed "top-to-top" it gave a section that could, after a bit of trimming, slide into the standard ES shoe. As in the second and third photos. Result, a slide-in, solid as a rock adapter that allows the use existing finders and also leaves the telescope itself untouched. Cost less than €10 and I have enough extrusion to make another 10 adaptors. Time to make about 30 minutes. David
  7. Hi, I've been eyeing an Explore Scientific 12" dobsonian for a while (primarily due to easier collimation). But a few days ago I noticed there was a 20% sale at my local retailer on Explore Scientific's 16" dobsonian and I am thinking I should just go ahead and get one. The big question is, is this too big of a telescope for a first timer (don't really have any experience with observing DSOs and planets)? Only experience I have prior to this is a 70mm skylux from Bresser (My dad bought it for me 15 years ago) which I've used to watch the moon primarily. Any advice or thoughts are appreciated Edit: Been lurking on this forum for a while, soaking up information. This forum is great for newcomers!
  8. I am selling my ES 34mm 68* 2" as it has too big exit pupil for my telescope. Optics are pristine and there is not even little mark on the barrel. The price in total, 140 127 GBP, includes shipping within the EU and PP fees. Thanks for looking!
  9. I've searched the internet (or CN and SGL) and found mixed info about these... Do any of you own ES 52, how good are they really? Are they premium simple design like TV plossl, with nice premium coating? Or they are just some nothing special eyepiece with ES stamped on it? I can't seem to find any on used market, so no one is selling them. There doesn't seem to be much hype about them now... I also found some huge review here, from someone who signed up just to make that review, it does seem a bit odd ...
  10. Help! I am wanting to take up astrophotography and recently sold my Celestron 5se as this was not giving me the results I want. I have been researching scopes over the last year or so and have made a short list based on what I can afford and what will give me the results I am after and of course build quality. My short list in no particular order is Explore scientific 80 triplet William optics z61 Skywatcher 100ed My dilemma is which one to go with. All the reviews are equally as good although 1 or 2 negative notes on the skywatcher but not enough to put me off. Whatever I go with will most likely be a second hand unit as I hate buying items like this new. The exception may be the Williams as not too many come up on the used market. Is this a good sign I ask? Can anyone give me a steer as to which scope to settle with?
  11. Hello fellow watchers Thanks to a few members on here I purchased a Skyliner 200P with BST Starguider eyepieces a while back. I absolutely love tanking the stuff out and sit in my spot all night long and enjoy gazing around. As a member in my previous threat about the BST Starguiders suggested, I also bought myself a Explore Scientific 68° Maxvision 40mm to sweep around the night sky. It was delivered last night and oh boy, this thing is huge! I mean I knew it had to be bigger... but that big? NICE! Now here's the thing... As I took it out of the bag I noticed that the plastic shroud doesn't stay flat on the EP... It kind of makes a small wave... I attached a picture. Is this normal? Is this "expected behavior"? Or did I just manage to get a plum? I saw that many people are taking apart the entire shroud to save weight and etc. but I don't think this is the thing I really want to do to a brand new EP. What are your thoughts and experiences on this? And another thing I just noticed... FLO and Explore Scientific are out of stock of Maxvision EP's... Did the pull the plug on producing them? I really wanted to get the whole set after holding one of them in my hands
  12. Having downsized to exclusively 1.25" eyepieces for financial reasons, I found myself missing widefield views. Recent price hikes mean the Ethos range are well out of reach, so I looked into alternatives. First up on my budget list was Burgess Optical TMB 40mm 68 degree afov. I purchased this used last year and it is a very nice, relatively compact and lightweight eyepiece. In comparison with the grenade that is a 41mm Panoptic it is positively slender! I've yet to use this under a dark sky where it would excel, but so far have used it to get a decent fov in my C925 from home and have been pleased with the results. I found this comparison with a 41mm Panoptic on line which makes interesting reading. I would be surprised if the differences were as marked as is described here. The description of a flat field also puzzles me, I understand it to be related to field curvature i.e. Where the focus point is consistent across the field, rather than related to increased magnification towards the edge. Any thoughts? http://ejamison.net/equipment_reviews6.html Next up on my list was a used 20mm Explore Scientific 100 degree. Last night was the first time that I had a good chance to use it, and I was pleasantly surprised. Looking at a variety of old favourites such as M45, the Double Cluster and other OCs such as M36, M44 etc, the contrast was impressive, sky background dark and star shapes consistent across the field. I guess the Tak at f7.4 is not a tough test, but these objects certainly looked great even under skies that were at best mag 19.35 on the trusty SQM. Finally, I could not resist a new 30mm ES 82 degree. This has yet to have much of a run out except from the back garden, but I have every expectation that it will deliver good results. Hopefully I will get away camping to Dorset or Devon camping for a week or two this summer. Effectively the 20, 30 and 40 go head to head with the 21mm Ethos, 31mm Nagler and 41mm Panoptic. It is curious why There is a 1mm difference in focal length across all of these eyepieces, given that the ES at least are pretty much direct copies I don't understand why they would differ? I'm sure that ultimately the Ethos range will have an edge under good conditions and in faster scopes, but for the moment I am content with what I have. I need to sort some foam for a case to put them in to add to the Show Us Your Eyepiece Case thread .
  13. Hi there astrofriends, I write this partly to express some frustration, and partly to warn others about potential problems with this product. Last week I ordered an Explore Scientific 12" (305 mm) f/5 Ultra light dobsonian from astroshop.eu, as these were on a significant sale (~ 83% of the price a few months ago) and I was hooked. The package arrived very swiftly in exactly one week. No complaints with this one. On opening the boxes everything seemed well packaged and fine. However, when opening the main parts, rocker box and mirror box, I found tens of metal shards everywhere, of the kind produced when one drills on metal, many were very small others were pretty sizable (several mm). These where in every possible corner, burrow and small cavity that you can imagine. I proceeded to vacuum clean as careful as possible every one of them. I was naturally anxious though that these shards might have damaged the optics during transport and, indeed, upon close inspection I found a small scratch on the main mirror. To make things worse, I even found two metal shards several millimeters in size *inside* the paper wrapping the secondary mirror, which, to my horror, but not surprise, also has a scratch. Obviously, an email has been promptly sent to astroshop.eu about this (I will do the same to Explore Scientific shortly). I understand that I might have been utterly unlucky, but as a recent review in Cloudy Nights also tells of the problems with metal shards in a scope of the same family it might be possible that some productions routines have been a bit careless (to say the least). Please, if you are considering buying any of these scopes think twice. Best, /H.
  14. I saw a pretty clear sky on Monday 8th Febuary. I decided to set up the new ( new to me!! ) 300 mm Skywatcher truss tube dobsonian in the back garden and get some practice collimating and give some of my new ep's a workout. I love the fact that I can be set up in just a few minutes with this scope - for me that is a big plus. After purchasing a new SUV ( not entirely unrelated to the purchase of aforementioned new scope ) I will be heading out as soon as I can to the resevoir my astronomy group use which has darker skies than my back garden can ever hope to provide. Despite my record set up time the clouds had rolled in. Never mind - I shall get to collimating. With my old 6" and 8" reflectors it was an easy task as even after a night out in the wild they held collimation brilliantly. The larger aperture of the 12" means a lot more movement of the primary mirror while handling it. For this task I have a cheap laser collimator I purchased from E-bay. It seems to work well enough for visual astronomy and certainly provides crisp and clear views. This was also done very quickly and for my perseverance the cloud gods rewarded me with an hour and a half of relatively clear sky which was a nice surprise, especially in Edinburgh, Scotland. Indeed to see anything but clouds this season is a real win. I've pretty much only got a South-Western view ( besides the zenith ) which is great at this time of year as one of my favourite winter objects is in full view - M42. Zeroed in my Telrad and wee RACI finder and aquired it with my SW 28mm Nirvana ( Thanks Lorne ) and it was great to see pin sharp stars and some nebulosity at 53x magnification. Changed up to my ES 100 degree 20mm and the view was really stunning at 75x. Next in I used both SW Nirvana 16mm and 7mm. The 7mm gave me 214x and although a lot of people ( quite rightly ) think that is too much on a nebula I would have to disagree - the effect was almost like being in that cloud of dust and gas and I could see the trapezium stars like never before. After that I chucked on my new 4.5mm TV Delos at 333x and although this was far too much power for the atmospheric conditions in the seconds of clear seeing the dark gas was really visible against background. It was fair zipping across the fov but a worthwhile observation nevertheless. My girlfriend Jahmila has been getting more interested since popping up to the resevoir at the end of last year and looking through one of the guys telescope at some star clusters and double stars. She had asked if we could have a look at m45 so back out came the 28mm Nirvana. Now, some of these eps weigh a fair bit so after some advice from you guys I purchased magnetic taxi plate holders - 2 of them weigh just over 500 grams and this seems to be enough to balance out the scope even with the 28mm monster which weighs in at a mighty 1000 grams. We had a look through and the massive 82 degree afov ( which provides 1.53 degrees of actual sky ) and really let us see a lot of the open cluster and also gives you that "spacewalk" feeling I keep hearing about. That ep and the Explore Scientific 20mm at 100 degrees afov ( or 1.3 degrees tfov ) really give you the impression of being in space as the fov is so wide you don't notice the edges at all. That was enough cold for Jah though so I began using M45 to look for any coma which is the reason I wanted to upgrade my ep's having purchased a big, fast scope which can be very unforgiving on some eyepieces. Skywatcher Nirvanas have 72 degree afov and are really crisp and clear almost right out to the edge with maybe a little coma in the last 5 percent. To be fair I just do visual and had never noticed coma before as I tend to keep things quite well centred. The same with the ES 100 degree - Fantastic views and great contrast with a little coma present in stars at the very edge of the field. The Televue Delos has a 72 degree apparent field of view ( 0.21 degrees tfov ) with zero coma present. I noticed that it makes the background very dark compared to the others which makes for a nice contrasty view but I would need to use this ep on the moon and planets more to see how it performs on the objects it's meant to be used on. I am delighted to add these 4 gems to my collection as it will really help me bring out more detail in some of the DSO's which I will be looking for over the next month or so. I purchased everything in my collection, including my 80mm travel refractor and 305mm dob, second hand from Astro Buy and Sell, Secondhand Astronomy Equiptment on Facebook and from the classifieds here on SGL. It's always worth having a browse through these sites because you never know what you will find. Astronomy doesn't always need to break the bank if you are patient. For any of you that know me, you realize that I am in no way an expert in anything astronomy related - I am only in my 2nd season ( and what a terrible season it has been so far ) but I wanted to post regarding these ep's on a fast scope as I know it can catch some people out, especially when you are starting to upgrade your kit. I was caught out with some Hyperion ep's which work well on my wee travel frac but were just terrible on my 8" newt and not exactly cheap either. I am selling through some other, now, unused ep's to fund a light shroud and some other accessories ( tables, ground and insulating sheets, dew shields and observing chairs ) which will make observing sessions more comfortable in the future so I will be sure to keep you posted on how useful they turn out to be. Keep looking up All the best Andy
  15. For my 16" Meade ACF F8, I'll be buying a Moravian G4-9000 camera with KAF-9000 chip. The KAF-9000 chip is 36.7mm square, a big chip! on paper the Explore Scientific 3" 0.7 reducer/field flattener could work well right to the edge, but has anyone tried it with Meade ACF telescopes? Also, I'm wandering what is the light cone of the Meade 16" ACF F8, will I get a lot of vignetting with that chip? I have a friend who has tried a KAF-9000 with his Meade 12" ACF F8 with very acceptable results. Thank you for your time.
  16. Heyyy its meee kronos and i have been wondering about getting a filter...I really want the best contrast and brightness i can on my nebulas(i want to view M42 M57 M27 M31 M81 M82 and lots more) with my future 8" dob. Is this filter really going to help me? https://www.firstlightoptics.com/uhc-oiii-visual-filters/es_uhc_filter_125.html If it just a matter of quality of the filter itself can you suggest a better one in the same price range? Or will not the uhc filter help me in general .IF so can you reccomend another one? Also is this https://www.firstlightoptics.com/uhc-oiii-visual-filters/uhc-filter.html this https://www.firstlightoptics.com/uhc-oiii-visual-filters/es_uhc_filter_125.html https://www.firstlightoptics.com/uhc-oiii-visual-filters/baader-uhc-s-filter.html this better?
  17. After a long light Swedish summer I just had my first night with my new Explore Scientific ED127 (+ 0.79x TS reducer/flattener) and got this snapshot (1 x 5 min at ISO1600 on a Canon 60Da without darks etc) of what other people call the great wall of the North American Nebula - I just accidentally framed it a bit differently. So, to me it really looks like an angry bull puffing out some of it anger.
  18. Hi all , The visitor from outer space was Seth the nephew , 5 and I got a shot of him beside the 200P ... The second shot is from a new lens that arrived today ES 8.8mm 82 degree beside 3 kit lenses of similar focal length for scale .
  19. Summer at these latitudes (60N) means we do not have any useful darkness until August. There is no reason to grieve, as this gives us in the North plenty of opportunities for reading, planning and preparing (and also sleeping). In thinking and preparing, I decided not to prioritize my explorations of astrophotography during the next observing season (August till May) because that will possibly mean having to engage in upgrades beyond my means. Instead I decided to prioritize another interest of mine and dedicate my scant observing time to delve further into visual variable star observing. This provided the necessary framework to put some other decision into place: the replacement of my collection of cheapo plössl eyepieces with a couple of much better ones. As my astrobudget is fairly limited I could not aspire to get green letters on black velvet for now, even with my philosophy of prioritizing quality before quantity. What I was looking for was low and moderate magnifications with relatively wide fields for my fast Skywatcher 200 mm f/5. After a lot of reading articles and reviews around the internet, eyepiece simulation in Stellarium (very recommendable tool!), price comparison, and building upon my experiences with my cheapo 32 mm Plössl (giving 31X at 1.6 degree FOV, my most used eyepiece!), I settled for the Explorer Scientific 82 degree line. I settled for a first purchase of the 18 mm and the 11 mm eyepieces (others will follow if things go well with these two). These will give 56X and 1.45 deg FOV, and 91X and 0.9 deg FOV, respectively in my Skywatcher 200 mm f/5. These magnifications and FOV give ample opportunities for finding suitable comparison stars in fields of different star density. I estimate that a good deal of DSOs will be seen fairly OK in the 18 mm too. In combination with the Baader MKIII coma corrector I also estimated that abaxial aberrations at edges shouldn't be too big a problem. I also have a good 2.5X TeleVue Barlow (bought from a member of this forum), with which I can push the 11 mm to 227X for the odd planetary observation, when seeing allows. I considered the 24 mm seriously, but decided against it because that would give me 40X at 2 degrees FOV, which I considered too wide for work in crowded Milky Way regions. I also thought about the 14 mm and 8.8 mm as good options, but decided for the 11 mm at this stage. I bought the eyepieces from astroshop.eu for about 300 EUR both. These arrived today, in perfect condition and perfectly packaged (including a bag of candies!). See below . All in all I am very happy and think I did a good purchase. Now looking forward to first star light in late July with the first pseudo-darkness! Cheers!
  20. This weekend I managed 3 nights of viewing with my new grab and go/travel set up. This consists of: Explore Scientific ED80 Apo Triplet standard version (not alu essentual or carbon) - used from AstroBuySellUK - £375 + P&P Manfrotto 405 Geared Tripod Head - used from Wex Photographic, £160 inc P&P Redsnapper RSF324 photographic tripod - new from Redsnapper, £110 (before discount - use code RED10 for 10% discount) + P&P Firstly the tripod. This has 4 sections and scrunches down into to a really small thin carry case. No problems getting this into hand luggage. It's light (1.8Kg) but sturdy. The locking mechanisms on the legs are extremely solid. It's rated for a 12Kg max load - way more than you need. It has interchangeable rubber feet and ground spikes. The spikes are handy for anchorage. There's a hook on the bottom of the centre column which worked really well for hanging a weight from. I used a kilo or so of play sand, inside a pair of zip lock type freezer bags (one inside the other), hung from a carrier bag. The tripod is strong and stable. It goes very high, even without the centre column extended, I found it high enough to view comfortably at the zenith. Without the counterweight, there is no vibration problem at x20 - x40. Around x 80 there is vibration, but this is easily fixed by hanging a weight off the hook. As above, I used sand, but I think you could use a bottle of water in a carrier bag just as well, so that's one less thing to transport on a plane. The Manfrotto Geared Head is an absolute joy to use. It has 3 axis, pan, up down, and tilt. You don't need the tilt at all. The other pair of axes work perfectly as an Alt Az set up. The head weight 1.6Kg so helps weigh down the tripod but isn't too much to blow your flight allowance. It's also fairly compact, and would easily fit in hand luggage. The movement of the head is super silky smooth. It has adjuster nobs which you can rotate for fine control. In my opinion, they are smoother than the worm gear fine adjusters on an EQ3-2. The adjuster nobs also have a thick rubber collar which you can twist to unlock the axis completely and spin the head round quickly. You can do a 180 turn in about a second in this way - very convenient. The head has no problem at all holding the 4kg+ combined weight of the Triplet, diagonal, Televue 2" eyepiece and a Red Dot Finder, even when pointing at the zenith. No slippage, no danger. I am sure you could use the cheaper Manfrotto 410 Junior gear head with lighter doublet ED80s. They would probably hold the ES triplet fine as well, though I haven't tested this. The Explore Scientific ED80 Triplet. It weighs 3.4Kg without the eyepiece. This is the standard version, which comes with a really nice and hugely solid flight case. You need never worry about your gear in here. Importantly, it also has a heavier-duty Crayford Focuser with an 11:1 fine adjuster. You don't get this on the Alu essential model. It's a very smooth and strong focuser, which operated beautifully with a heavy 2" set up including a Televue Type 4 Nagler that weighs almost half a Kilo. It also has a longer dew shield than the Alu essential, which is useful because I wouldn't want it shorter than this. Finally, it has a very nice di-electric 2" diagonal with some carbon fibre in the body (not sure if it's all carbon). It's a 480mm Focal Length F6 so is great for wide field views. The Triplet does not come with a finderscope, but with a scope with a field this wide, I'm not sure a traditional finderscope would help much at all, as the field of view through a finderscope is so narrow. Instead, I fitted a standard Red Dot finder (by Ostara). To do this, you have to remove the existing finder shoe which only fits a handful of Explore Scientific/Meade accessories. The ES RACI finderscope is expensive so there's not much reason to keep the original shoe. Changing the shoe is a bit of a faff, so if you can find a used one which has had the shoe changed, that's a bonus. To change the finder shoe: 1) unscrew the whole back section of the focusser. To do this, you remove a little screw from the body of the scope, just behind the focusser shoe. This reveals a little black set screw which is a little hard to see. 2) Remove little black set screw. You need the right Alllen key (Hex key) to undo this - the smallest one in my tool kit, I think it's a 1mm. 3) Simply unscrew (twist anti-clockwise) the whole back half of the scope from the front. You need to do this because the bolts which hold on the finder shoe are held on by nuts on the inside of the scope, which fall out once unscrewed. 4) Unscrew 4 x finder shoe bolts from the nuts on inside of scope. Make sure these nuts fall out of the open end of the scope so they go nowhere near the triplet lenses at the front of the scope. 5) Screw on a Synta (AKA Sky Watcher/Celestron) shoe - but note that you need a Synta shoe with wider screw holes than a normal Synta shoe. The "Synta shoe for SCTs" fits fine. However, the original bolts that held on the original shoe have heads which are too tall - if you use them, they will stick out of the inside of the Synta shoe and stop you sliding on your finder. Hence you need some M5 type screws (just with slightly flatter heads than the originals). You can re-use the original nuts on the inside of the scope though. You only need 2 bolts to fit a Synta shoe, so you can re-fit the other 2 original bolts and nuts to plug the holes. I found the Red Dot Finder perfect to use on this scope. I'm sure Telrad users would be happy on this scope too. Using the scope itself: I tested it with the following: 42mm 2" Revelation - x12 mag, 6.1 degrees TFOV 30mm 2" Moonfish - x16 mag, 5 degree TFOV 24mm 1.25" Explore Scientific Maxvision - x20 mag, 4.1degree TFOV 17mm 2" Televue Nagler Type 4 - x28 mag, 3 degrees TFOV 12mm 1.25/2" Televue Nagler Type 4 - x40 mag - 2.1 degree TFOV 6mm TMB Planetary II - x80 mag - 0.6 degree TFOV The scope is an absolute beauty to use. The views are sharp with pinpoint stars edge to edge. Absolutely no chromatic aberation or coma that I could detect. The wide star fields you can get with a scope of this short focal length are stunning. What I did find however, was that the view was better at x20 and above. I believe this is due to the increased contrast caused by higher magnification. x16 was better than x12, x20 was better than x16. Above that magnification there was little difference - everything looked great. Double stars: I managed to split Mizar at only x28 mag using the Nagler Type 4. It was only just split, but it was clearly split nonetheless. This really is a fine set of optics. Red giants: Arcturus looked particularly fine. You can actually see that it is a bigger disc than all the surrounding stars. The Garnet Star (Mu Cephae) looks really interesting, quite red). Clusters: The double cluster is really stunning, crisp with many pinpoint stars, even fairly low to the horizon. I found the object was best around x40, though x 28 was nice too. Globs - M13 was clearly visible at all mags, though not much detail. I need a shorter focal length eyepiece to increase the magnification. I tried the TMB Planetary II but it revealed only a little detail and some barely resolved stars; also the field of view was narrow and the view not so great in general, especially towards the edges which were a little fuzzy. I'm sure this is to do with the quality of the optics in the eyepiece, especially when used immediately after the mighty Televue Type 4s. Not really a fair contest when you consider that the RRP of the Televues is ten times that of the TMB. Planets - Saturn was beautiful and crisp and stunning, even low to the horizon and viewed at just x 28 and x40. At both mags, the rings were clearly visible as separate entities from the planet. I didn't have time to study it as it dropped behind tree cover. Nebulas - M42 is well below the horizon which is a real shame as I suspect it would have looked great. I did not manage to get a view of the Elephant's trunk Nebula - but then I can never see it in the 9.25" SCT from home either, even with a broadband filter (Orion Skyglow) - I put this down to light polution. Galaxies - there is only one in view at this time of year from this location - M31 (plus it's satellite), but I ran out of time to make an attempt at locating this. I doubt that galaxies would be a strength in this scope due to limited aperture, but it has surprised me on other objects so you never know. Portability - In one word, excellent. One night I actually left the scope set up on the mount, just collapsed the tripod legs and carried the whole rig into the house for the night, then had a quick view through an open window. I carried the rig out again the next night. At around 7kgs all in, this is really easy to do. Truly grab and go. Even setting up out of the carry case takes less than 5 minutes. All in all, a high quality and very pleasing scope. The views are generally sharper than my 9.25" SCT. I wouldn't have thought that such a small scope (3.1" i.e. 80mm) would be capable of so much, but the extremely high light throughput and quality optics clearly do their job. The only trouble is, my mighty 9.25" SCT isn't going to see anywhere near as much use!
  21. Back in this thread I was looking for a planetary EP, dismissing barlows on the grounds of an unrequired increase in eye relief and the faffing around involved. The forum faithful persuaded me otherwise and the imminent relase of the ES Focal Extenders at a price well below one of their EPs, had me flexing the plastic. The main reason I folded, was because these are not barlows. They are, like the Meade Tele-Extenders with which they share a common heritage, what is often refered to as a Televue Powermate clone. I'm not actually sure that the concept is actually a Televue innovation, but as TV have been selling more of them, for longer than anyone else, lets run with the assumption that it is theirs. The important bit, is that unlike a barlow, which extends eye relief, a Powermate/Focal Extender doesn't. Instead of there being two (sometimes three) elements in one group that create diverging light rays to achieve their magnification, the focal extender employs a second group of lens elements to turn the magnified diverging rays, back to parallel. This prevents the increase in eye relief. The disadvantages are three fold. For starters, four elements are never going to be as cheap as two. Focal Extender prices start roughly where mid to higher price barlows leave off. Second, with a barlow, you can normally unscrew the lens element holder from the barlow body, which is handy. If you screw these elements directly onto the front of the eyepiece, you get a 1.3-1.6x increase in magnification instead. Indeed a less mentioned effect is that if you screw in an extension between the barlow body and the element holder, you can get a greater magnification than the native 2x (or whatever) of the barlow. You can screw it into the nose piece of your camera adaptor to provide a magnification increase for DSLR imaging etc. Barlows are quite versatile. A Focal Extender's magnification is fixed by the relationship between the two lens element groups. Even if they unscrew, the fact that the light rays emerge in parallel (telecentric) from the second group, means that even if they were a foot further away, they would still only provide a 2x magnification. Finally, a Focal Extender moves the focus point inward by it's own focal length*, which may be an issue for scopes with limited inward focuser travel. This issue, I have only seen mentioned a couple of times, so it presumably a non-issue under most circumstances, as reported by most users. I'd love to add my own experience to the pot, but my ES Focal Extender arrived whilst I stood under crystal clear, Alpine mountain top skies with nought for company but skis, the cloud being anchored at home where the Focal Extender had arrived. T'was always thus. My point is that Focal Extenders are not necessarily superior to Barlows. If you're into a bit of planetary webcam imaging, or a glasses wearer suffering from tight eye relief EPs, then a barlow may well be a better choice than the addition of a shorter focal length EP. If, like me, you are purely visual and are looking to add some planetary flexibility to some UWA EPs with ample eye relief, then the Focal Extender is a better choice. I see a lot of 'buy 'x', you can't go wrong' type statements, but I personally think there's a bit more latitude in individual requirements, than statements like that allow. The ES 1.25" 2x Focal Extender cost $79 plus $15 shipping from the USA. Import duty added £31.31, making a grand total of about £87 delivered. I say about, because the vagries of exchange rates, plus Paypal taking it's foreign currency exchange cut fuzzies the total slightly, but it's definitely south of £90. That is about half the price of a 1.25" 2.5x Televue Powermate, but only about a tenner less than a UK sourced TV 1.25" 2x Barlow. The value of this deal is therefore very dependent on your requirements, as mentioned above. As also mentioned above, I've only been back in the country a couple of cloudy nights, so I'll add my viewing impressions later. In the mean time, here's some piccies coupled with first impressions of the product: The ES packaging has changed, Whereas the ES 82s arrived in a plain black box with an ample expanded foam, clamshell inner, the Focal Extender has cranked it up a notch. The hefty foam remains, but the box is much thicker card, that by nature of it's wrap around magnetic fixing, is also now a double thickness. Gone is the plain black, all surfaces now resplendent in artwork by Will Tirion, the base of the box carrying a history of his work. A nice touch to add to seriously improved packaging. I would also note that, the box is only a shade smaller than that which carried the hand grenade weight and portions of my ES82 30mm EP which is a LOT bigger. If the Focal Extender arrives damaged, it won't be the fault of the packaging. On the subject of weight, the Focal Extender, in common with the ES82s, feels pretty dense in the palm. The combined weight of it, plus the 11mm ES82 tips the scales at a not inconsiderable 520g. Half that of the 30mm ES82, but double that of the 11mm alone and so worthy of note to Dob users in particular. Come to think of it, the weight, combined with the leverage of the complete assembly may challenge lighter EQ mounts. Here's a piccie of the pairing relative to a Skywatcher 20mm Super Plossl, which barely registers on the same scales! Artificial light and the resulting image tweaking in GIMP, has rendered the sheen of the element coatings invisible. Close inspection through a Canon 50mm f1.8 as magnifier, shows the coatings to be entirely even and resolutely green in hue. If inspection in daylight shows otherwise, I'll add it to my first light report. Likewise, with only LED spots and hammer-head flash, it's hard to show the element groupings, but other details are clear. The lack of blackening to the filter thread is disappointing, in line with all of the ES EPs I have. Liberal application of a black marker will be required to amelioate reflections, although the acid test will be actual use. Hopefully Jupiter will still be around when the cloud clears... To complete this phase of the review, I see from my original thread that I pre-ordered the Focal Extender on the 21st of December in a pre-Christmas fit of fiscal bravado. It shipped, almost a month to the day, on the 22nd of January. Notification of the 'comandgeddit' from the PO sorting office, was recived on the 4th of February, which is within the 10 working days norm. What I find interesting is that the Focal Extenders finally appeard on the ES website, well after I had ordered mine. The example on their website is number 28. Talk about mine being hot off the press..... TBC. Russell *I stand to be corrected on this one and indeed any other points!
  22. Hi all, I have finally decided on starting building a fixed focal length collection. I settled on the Explore Scientific 82° range but due to only having a Baader Zoom 8-24mm and a couple of cheap EP's that came with the scope, i just wondered due to starting from scratch, what selection of EP's would be the best? I'm thinking starting with 3 EP's from the range, but really can't decide...If anybody has any guidance or suggestions to make this easier, that would be great Thank you for reading this and I appreciate any feedback. Dan. @Spanners360
  23. Hi guys, this is my first post and i apologise in advance if this topic has been discussed before. I am having some issues with my explore scientific iexos 100 mount, i cannot seem to get it to line up with whatever star or other object i am looking for. For example I sent it to look at the moon last night, being December 29th, when it had finished slewing to what the mount thought was the correct coordinates for the moon, the mount was facing far away from it, so i tried to do 3 star alignment and every star i sent it to, it was facing nowhere near where it was meant to be facing. Does anybody use this mount or has used it before, could you please help me out with this issue please. Thanks.
  24. Hello everyone, Bit of a backround: I've been a keen stargazer when in my teenage years, then couldn't pursuit my passion, but recently, in my forties, it hit me again, as I moved and life is good (South facing large garden, obstructed only from the North by our house, but then I just move the scope further and viola!). Started with 90mm refractor, but was always thinking of reflector. Long story short, I've got my SkyWatcher Star Discovery 150P GOTO a week ago. Bought it second hand, very good condition, and good mirror. Have got two nights stargazing, cought cold and I AM LOVING IT. Now I would like to get me a nice wide angle ep for DSO spotting. The scope is 150mm / 750mm f5. I've done some reading obviously, and Explore Scientific 82 degree series have all good reviews and fit within my budget. I can afford only one, and apparently the best for DSOs is the one that gives 2mm exit pupil. Now, for my scope that would be 10mm piece, and that is not within ES 82 degree range, so it's down to 11mm (2.2mm exit pupil) or 8.8mm (1.76mm exit pupil). My question is: which one would be better for my rediscovered passion? I'm gonna be using that ep for faint mostly. Thanks to everyone in advance for any kind advise.
  25. Dear all, Recently I purchased one of these dobsons from ES following the good critics I read in several forums. The Gen II includes some improved features with respect to Gen I, 2 Nylon pad brakes, Virgin Nylon alt and azimuth support bearings (instead of plastic), counterweight bar included with a couple of 1kg counterweights, a classical ES dovetail for the finder. Some of these improvements were demanded by Gen I users, and are highly appreciated, but there is still some minor improvements that the final user has to apply. I will describe them lately. The set up is very fast, less than 15 minutes, though the assembly of the upper cage needs some patience the first times is done. Regarding the optics, It is superb, though in my opinion the 75mm minor axis secondary is too big (other similar modes in that range use a 63mm one), it provides full illuminated views on my ES 100 degree eyepieces, the stars in the background seen in clusters like the NGC457 are astonishing. The main mirror cell support is a mix of support concepts, a nine point mirror cell support with a couple of rubber wheels at 90 degrees, and 3 glued slings to the mirror laterals screwed to the back of the mirror cell support, provide lateral support for the mirror. The collimation as in Gen I is done from above in less than 5 minutes. In the first light in semirural skies the views confirmed the good optics, as I said specially in star clusters the amount of stars which could be seen in the background increased with respect to my 200PDS, the globular clusters were literally smashed, and small planetary nebulae like M76 showed internal details. Coming back to the cons, as in any Chinese made product there are quality problems not solved in this Gen II, the paint coatings from the secondary cage just jumped when I changed the position of the truss brackets. When I tried to open the main mirror box for the first time, the scratched the yellow paint from the altitude bearings, a tolerances problem which I solved adding 2mm nylon washers between the altitude bearings and the mirror box. More improvements to make on your own are to make a plywood cover to prevent moisture on the main mirror while waiting for the night, to put foam pipe covers around all the tubes, they make the winter usage of the scope more comfortable and at the same time help with the vibrations damping (which even with a heavy ES 20mm 100d EP where almost insignificant). One more thing to add is a PWM motor controller, the fan only work at full speed, and there are so many nights when the temperature gradient does not fall fast and the fan speed can be left at a lower regime to save batteries. In brief, the ES12'' Gen II, it is the Dobson truss scope with the lowest price in that aperture range, the optics is damn good, the mechanical improvement done in the GEN II, improve a lot the vibrations, and the movements of the scope, though a better control on the tolerances and the paint process should be done. I attach some pictures taken at home and while the first light. Cheers. Mario.
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