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Found 20 results

  1. rotatux

    My new DIY sun finder

    From the album: Equipment and sites

    Designed on electronic paper, then printed and cut, all in a few hours.

    © Fabien COUTANT

  2. I recently did a lot of research into RACIs. I wanted one with a quality prism where I wouldn't see a line. I wanted the flexibility to change eyepieces. I wanted a wide field and the ability to focus easily. I wanted rings and a synta-fit (Celestron/Skywatcher) bracket. The Stellarvue seems to fit the bill but the price is huge, especially when you include the seperate rings/bracket. Likewise, Baader do a good RACI but the price is high. I was considering building my own finder based around a GSO prism diagonal (which gets great reviews and doesn't cost a lot) and some parts from Teleskop Service but then I found the Antares Versascope 10 x 60 RACI. Having been very pleased with the quality and price of their 2" twist lock 99% diagonals, I thought I'd take a punt. I didn't even have to import, as this can be purchased in the UK from Rother Valley Optics for £99.99. This is half the price of the Baader and less than half the Stellarvue. So is it half as good? Definitely not. What you get is a quality 1.25" prism, a decent aluminium 227mm FL 60mm diameter OTA, a very long dew shield, nice neat low-profile 6 point tube rings combined with a synta bracket, and a reasonable quality, surprinsingly wide-field eyepiece with non-illuminated crosshairs. The daytime views are pin sharp with no lines or other artifacts, so the prism is definitely good. The night views are really nice. Definitely not as sharp and snap to focus as my other 'finder', the Explore scientific ED80 with 21mm Televue Ethos eyepiece, but the price is 10% of that combination - we're comparing it to an ED triplet here! The field is very wide which I found surprisingly pleasing to view. The stock eyepiece appears to give the same TFOV as my ES Maxvision 24mm 68 degree, which gives 7.2 degrees. This is something of a puzzle in as much as I can't find any details of the provided eyepiece anywhere online, nor marked on the eyepiece itself. The sales listing indicates a 25mm eyepiece which is a little confusing as it would give x9 mag rather than x 10, and neither the AFOV or TFOV are listed. From looking through it,I'd guess it's about x9. The dew shield is so long that I haven't had any issues in a few nights of use. Rotating the dew shield also focuses the scope which is very easy to do. There is lots of focus range, although I found that my ES68 24mm was just ever so slightly short of focus - a little extender ring would fix this nicely. The prism is attached to the scope via an Antares 1.25" Twist-lock, which imeans you can easily unlock and change the angle of the eyepiece to the scope. The prism has a thumbscrew to hold the eyepiece. The eyepiece, whilst a little plasticky in the casing, has decent optics and positively refused to dew up despite being left uncovered for hours. Somehow the plastic/rubber eyeguard outer assembly seems to resist dewing (note it hasn't been THAT cold recently, but that didn't stop my binocular eyepieces from dewing up on the first night). The cross hairs work fine, and I can't imagine needing illuminated ones in UK skies (I'll check this next time I'm at a proper dark site. The tube rings were very easy to align to my scope, and as they are low profile they don't tend to get banged about. This scope can be used as a little independent scope of it's own (I've used it out of my bedroom window) and it can be used for guiding. All in all I'm very pleased with the views, the ease of use as a RACI finder and the truly excellent value for money. If you're in the market for a versatile, quality RACI/guidescope, I think this is a real cracker; personally I would now find it very hard to justify paying double or more for the better known equivalents, given that I'm at a loss as to what they can do that the Versascope does not.
  3. I've been looking for a cheapo solution to attach the cheap and ubiquitous red-dot finder to my Celestron 20x80 but didn't like the official clip thing that Celestron sells. Bad reviews complaining of it easily snapping, and to me, overpriced. After much research and counting of pennies, I went for this all steel, no-snap solution, costing a whopping £6.90 (with free shipping). From the top: 1 x 20mm Dovetail to 11mm Rail adapter. £2.69 with free shipping. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/20mm-Dovetail-to-11mm-Rail-Mount-Weaver-Picatinny-Rail-Scope-Mount-Rail-SA089-P15/32800225228.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.b0d14c4dzyuqK1 1 x Picatinny/Weaver 20mm Rail Base Adapter (used to attach scopes to rifle barrels) . £5.11 with free shipping https://www.aliexpress.com/item/20mm-Picatinny-Weaver-Rail-Mount-Base-Adapter-Tactical-Hunting-Rifle-Gun-Scope-Mount-Converter-Laser-Sight/32792605686.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.b0d14c4dzyuqK1 1 x bit of thick plastic to act as a shim. Anything will do.
  4. I recently purchased a lovely set of binoculars by Orion,but while I was waiting for them to be made,I was looking at other equipment that's used by astronomical minded people,when I came across a laser pointer that was attached to the guys rifle... That gave me the idea to upgrade the 20x80s by using at weaver barrel attachment to mount a laser and a finder scope to the cross bar of the big bins tripod mount. lol...I know laser are used on telescopes for pointing at the stars. But I haven't seen anything on attaching equipment to the big binoculars except a small finder (which was drilled into the side of his housing...crazy!). anyway, I'm new to this and can only improve with help and advice from fellow star gazers... Clear skies all!!
  5. A very nice quality TAL finderscope which has been nicely converted to fit a standard Skywatcher shoe (not by me!) Cross hair is intact, good condition generally. Looking for £25 Plus postage. PayPal fees paid or bank transfer please. Cheers, Stu
  6. This is a very nice Lumicon 80mm mega finder or potentially a rich field scope. Optically it is in excellent condition and cosmetically very good too. It has a nice, smooth rotating helical focuser, with locking screw which as a decent range on it. It has a 1/4" photo thread on the base so can be fitted to a photo tripod etc, or adapted to fit Skywatcher show with extra parts. Looking for £90 ono plus P&P via PayPal fees paid or bank transfer. Will include a basic Skywatcher RACI Prism for another £10 Also advertised elsewhere.
  7. Hi there, I’ve decided that I want to add a finder capability to my 15x85 Binoculars so I’ve been searching the web for a suitable mechanism to mount something to the central shaft of the bins. Difficult to believe that there isn’t something out there already designed for this purpose. My preference is for using a laser pointer rather than an RDF. Hoping you guys can provide some inspiration? Paul.
  8. Seems a waste to ditch a perfectly good finder scope in order to replace it with essentially the same thing, that has ability to mount a camera to. Is there a way to modify a 9x50 finder scope into a guide scope?. I'm speaking specifically about the 9x50 that comes on the Edge series SCT's. Thing is, I don't even use it for it's intended purpose, I find my Quickfinder more useful for that and don't even mount the finder scope any more when I go out. The EP of the finder is smaller than what's needed (less than 1.25"), can it be removed and an EP holder cobbled onto the body? I suppose focusing it would be part of the problem, too.
  9. I'm looking for a mounting bracket similar to the one that comes with the 8SE for the supplied basic red dot finder, it is to go on a tube ring which already has five screw holes in it along a flat section (presumably for guide scopes etc). The holes seem to have odd spacing, from centre to centre they are 11mm, 19mm, 19mm, 11mm, and between holes it is 5mm, 12mm, 12mm, 5mm, according to my approximate measurements. I just want to be able to fit my existing red dot finder to this scope as well as my 8SE, but for the life of me I don't seem to be able to buy that little mount that comes with the 8SE, curved base or not (I need a flat base or one that can fit either style). Thank you in advance!
  10. I have had this for a few years but recently put it into use. The finder has an 80mm OG and 300mm focal length, a neat little portable refractor by itself. It comes with an attachment plate for mounting, not rings. The scope attatches easily to the plate for removal and remounting. It is heavy being 2.5lbs! Focusing is by a locking helical tube. Mine came with a right side up prism and cross hair 1.25 eye piece (for 12x mag), but the latter can be used as a straight through viewer - or any other 1.25 you wish. To compensate for the weight, including eps I use, I fitted a small child's bicycle pannier bags to the mirror cel end of my dob which were weighted with balancing scale weights. Using the finder was great. Bright image and cross hair made finding moderately bright stars easy, smooth zoning from RDF to Lumicon to main scope with ep for 20x. The Lumicon with cross hair ep gives about 3 deg FOV. It is heavy though. I have seen adverts for a 50mm OG version. I chose the 80 to get brighter views (hello Polaris!) and the model as wider FOV eps can be used if no cross hair site needed.
  11. Picture the amateur astronomer. He's (yes, in this case, it's a male) sometimes still faffing about, hasn't quite got the finder thing completely sorted - he's managing, and having fun, but... well... He's got an RDF, he's got a Rigel, he's got a nice 9x50 illuminated RACI. He wishes the RACI were a bit, well, more 'mucho', as bino use has gotten him star-hopping in correct-image mode, and he feels that is probably the route he should take. He's got an Ercole mount, he's got a TS INED70, he's got a TV Panoptic 41mm to use besides his other scope(s). Soooo....add a nice Baader 2" Amici Prism Diagonal, and what do you get? An effective upgrade from the 9x50 RACI? The RACI provides 50mm aperture with 9x magnification and 5° TFOV. The combination of TS INED70, Baader 2" Amici Prism Diagonal, and 41mm Panoptic provides 70mm aperture with over 10x magnification and over 6.2° TFOV. Stick the new combination on the Ercole, opposite the main observing scope...the RACI is replaced? Is the amateur astronomer overlooking anything in these considerations, or is it a plan? There is, of course, the question of whether any but the most (prohibitively?) expensive amici prisms will deliver performance suitable for astronomy; but keeping in mind this is meant to 'merely' be a replacement for a Synta 9x50 RACI, could an offering from Baader be expected to deliver a worthwhile improvement (in combination with the other named components)? In any case, the Baader model BA2956152 is incoming, and the amateur astronomer will be more than happy to share his future experiences. To be continued.
  12. Hi all, Bit of background info first. Having problems auto aligning my Meade 8" LX90GPS. Works at home Liverpool, but not at my site in Hadnall. Doesn't do LNT, not level and never finds north, just spins around like a dalek! Thought LNT module was duff or damaged in transport. Tried everything, then noticed my phone was off north too, tried two other phones, none of the three ever showed same north at same time, even after calibration. Then to my amazement one of the phones suddenly flashed up High Magnetic Anomalies. Moved 20 metres away and ok. So upshot is that under the ground below where I can view from is either a metal dump or electric cables or some other magnetic force. Can't dig it up, decked over. Can't move further away it's beyond my fence line!!!!! So now to finders.. Can't get on with the red dot LNT module for alignment, too flimsy and to big a dot and useless for auto align as above. So want a decent optical finder, to sight and alugn manually so criteria are About £100 all in. Not straight through back can't contort any more.... So need RA but is RACI really better than just RA for the extra cost. 6x30 is it too small mag, maybe 8x50, 9x50 or look for used 10x60 or is that too big. Any ideas or what else do I need to consider, some say EPs are fixed, is this ok or not. Looked at DIY, but the mounts are soooooo... expensive too. Hope this makes sense and look forward to your help.
  13. Don't blame me for the silly pun, Tele Vue actually used it in their ads back in the days when they were written on paper. Now that you are enlightened by this piece of trivia in the history of advertising, here's the topic. My urban observing spots are surrounded by public lamps so I need complete blackening in my finders as well as my scopes, or arcs of light and various shapeless flares will show when I don't aim high. Little stars in a 30mm scope can't compete, star-hopping is made difficult. This is how I do the blackening. I start with the amici prism. Cleaning it with alcohol proved necessary, some grease was on the exposed faces. Next I paint the rough surfaces with a sharpie. And the rough edges, too. When all non-polished places are black, funny, it's actually possible to make the prism look all black from a certain angle. Then its housing was not cleanly put out of its mold. I don't like finding uneven stuff, so I rectified it even it if was not important for the finder's function. 40-grit did the job in a couple minutes. The plate side is rough from the 40-grit paper but is now planed, the plate will screw onto it without leaving gaps. From its usable angles the prism now looks like that: a clear window with black sides that will absorb stray light. Larger amici prisms for full-size scopes might require the same treatment; practicing on cheaper stuff makes it less intimidating. The housing is garnished with blackboard paint. See how the inside and the barrel are darker than the surface with the screw holes. This paint is water-based, doesn't smell, dries in minutes, and can be removed from places it covers by accident, just scrape it and rub with a wet towel, not a trace will remain. But it sticks hard enough to not chip over time. Have you seen you school's blackboard chip? The sharpie also cures the objective lenses' rough edges disease. Another funny effect, when the side is barely half-blackened, the untreated edge already looks gray, as if black could reflect on other things; this is promising for the final effect! The promise is kept! In main scopes or finders, this black ring will kill off nearly all the light that touches it, I can guarantee it from experience! The dewshield (made in the proper length by Sky-Watcher, by the way, congrats!) is also painted. See how the bare anodized aluminum ring at the rear is shiny. I don't paint that area or the doublet won't enter. Its own layer of sharpie paint plus the blackboard paint would be too much. Where are all those white dust specks coming from? The retaining ring is a treacherous spot in telescopes because the total area is large even if the thing is narrow, can't leave it shiny, especially at those grazing angles! See the difference with the threaded outside of it. Not an essential job in a finder but done it a minute, so why not? The eyepiece lenses were white on the side, too, Before the sharpie touch, the objective was that white and bright, but you'd be surprised how quickly the non-yet-painted part turns dark gray when you start painting the rest. The inside of these retaining rings will receive the blackboard touch. Now that's how things should look! Both the lenses and their bevels are coated in black. The bevels seem a bit shiny from this angle but their absorption of bad light is vastly better. The eyepiece is a simple Plössl, only two cemented doublets with rounder bellies facing each other, mounting them right is foolproof, unlike other optical designs. You can improve the contrast in unexpensive and simple eyepieces with a good blackening. Costs nothing, proportionate to the thing's price. The eyepiece is fully-multi-coated, by the way, more congrats to Sky-Watcher for taking accessories seriously. Another improvement: the tiny original screws are replaced by homemade larger screws. Those white plugs are used in the assembly of furniture, but only one tool store had them, and only once. I bought the two packs they had, can't find them anymore, anonymous packaging. They include a piece of threaded 6mm rod of the right length, just had to plane the tip. I superglue a stainless washer at the top, and fill the space with O-rings. Only those at the outside need to be glued, the others are pinched between them. Just seeing the screws makes the advantages obvious, compare with the two original plastic screws. Hard to grab with gloves, or even without gloves for that matter. Now the flocking. The foam side of adhesive velcro is ideal for small areas. I don't glue it to the tube because that would make replacement messy. Instead, I glue it on a strip of paper. Then I fold it into a loop, and tape it. It's not round now but it will when it's forced inside the tube. That might be a useful trick when flocking larger tubes; glueing directly onto the tube allows no mistake, and can force you to leave a poorly applied flocking if it sticks too hard. Can't remove that thing but I need to adjust it! GRRRRR!! The finder is so short, only two rings did the job. Do not put that too close to the objective or it will enter the light cone. So, a few millimeters are not flocked but that's okay because the tube was already painted flat black, and all the rest of the finder is treated. Sky-Watcher put a sensible baffle in the back. There, the light cone is not eaten up by the foam, we have a clear view of the optics' edges from objective to eyepiece. The criteria are the same for bigger refractors. Before any flocking and blackening was done, the inside of the eyepiece was that shiny, the reflection on the side is very bright! Pic taken through the completely assembled finder. It was very tough getting a pic at the same angle, the flat camera objective is hard to position as accurately as the eye with its round cornea, but it's clear the lateral reflections are much dimmer. Again, picture taken through the complete finder even if it might look like the eyepiece was removed from the tube. Before the black-ops job. After the ninjas came. Sorry if the shot is blurry but the brightness comparison still stands. The area around the pupil is darker, and even the inside of the eyecup is darker since I applied a little blackboard paint there, too. It's shiny on the top picture but matte here. And if the difference does not impress you, see how the tests shots were made: with this setup, flashlight at an angle, and only one inch from the dewshield. Note how a few extra O-rings between the objective cell and the finder bracket keep it from playing. Another set of O-rings between the prism housing and the bracket complete the task. Finders moving fore and aft, and allowed to rotate lose alignment. Thanks to the firm push of these rubber rings, the tube is held tight but free to be adjusted. I had to buy a few O-rings for something non-astro, but of course you have to take the whole box. Not liking to leave tools unused, I looked for ways to make these rings profitable. One of the useful tasks was as loosened screw safety. This finder won't fall off to the ground. She's not missing anymore.
  14. I intend to make one out of thin foam sheet (as available from The Works or similar stationary type shop), just wondering how long it should be. It should just slot over the end, perhaps be held in place by the dew heater tape or a piece of elastic.
  15. Hi! I am afraid that I am on the scrounge for information again from the good people of SGL - one day I hope to be able to give back to this forum as much as I am receiving in these early days. But for now I am mainly all take! I am starting to look at guiding for my astrophotography having read a few posts here and there about using a webcam as a guide camera. There is no way at the moment I can afford a dedicated guiding system - scope & camera. I know from reading other posts to questions similar to this that I can use PHD together with EQMOD to run the mount and that you can use a webcam in certain situations as a guide camera. My question is: do you keep the original lens on the webcam and use it Afocal; or do you take the lens off and direct the light straight onto the chip as you do with imaging with a webcam? I wanted to try this system with my CG5 Advanced GT (this mount has the auto guide port) to see if the other equipment I have (laptop, power pack etc.) can handle it before I start to spend out on more advanced stuff at some point in the future. I have a 6x30 finder scope on my C8 but I also have a 20x50 Mirador spotting scope that I thought I could mount on the main tube if that would be better to use as a guide scope. I appreciate that the magnification on the spotting scope is a bit high but I am using what I have got in order to save money! I hope to be getting a second hand DSLR soon which I will be using for imaging rather than the Philips SPC900NC which I am using at the moment. The SPC900 could then become my guide cam (if it doesn't need its lens ).
  16. Ok, so here it is, I’m quite fed up with clumsy thumbscrew adjustment of my finderscope, so I’ve decided to get a guidescope mount that provides proper alt-az adjustment. So I’m looking for recommendations for a lightweight guidescope mount. I have looked at the Skywatcher offering, but this is a whopping 900 grams I’m thinking I’d like something closer to 500g or less if possible. The intention is to mount my 80mm Altair Astro Maxi-Finder on this device. Note the mount will be used for classical finder scope activity so the resulting kit doesn’t need the tight tolerances that would be required for an AP setup. I'm not to sure about attachment requirements. I'm assuming that attachment will be something along the lines of: Scope Standard Vixen dovetail bar Dovetail clamp Guidescope Mount Dovetail attachment Finderscope Kind Regards Paul.
  17. Last part of my spring clear out - See anything you need just drop me a line and we can sort it out for you. Payment by Paypal or pick it up in Edinburgh in person and save the p&p. Cheers gang - 9x50 Unbranded metal RACI finder with Skywatcher compatible dovetail with rings - £35 + p&p - Unbranded Red Dot Finder (moulded plastic) £5 + p&p - 1.25” Celestron star diagonal £15 + p&p - 2” TS mirror star diagonal with brass compression rings £40 + p&p Extended slow motion control for RA/DEC on EQ mount (never used) £8 + p&p
  18. Hi there, I am contemplating getting an 80mm scope to replace my existing 9x50mm RACI finderscope. However this got me thinking about how to mount the 80mm scope onto the Edge. Dual dovetail plates are out, because I use a Kendrick ZapCap and I don't fancy cutting a section out to accommodate another dovetail bar. I really like the look of the Altair Astro ultralight guidescope rings. Has anybody ever mounted these to an SCT using the existing attachment points on the rear mirror cell?
  19. mitchelln

    Telrad view

    From the album: Telrad

    Telrad finder on Sky-Watcher 300P flextube
  20. I have decided to buy a red-dot finder when I was finally fed up with not knowing which star the telescope is actually point at, due to my right-angled optical finder scope. Most of you probably know how confusing a view through a finder scope can be, especially when you are pointing at a rich star field with most bright stars being roughly the same brightness. This becomes an issue when you want to starhop to your destination and you choose fairly dim star as your starting point. This is no big issue with a simple straight-through optical finder, because you can align the star to a centre of a cross with both eyes open. However, this becomes a problem with right angled finder scope, due to the reasons I mentioned earlier. So, to get the initial star hopping alignment more easily, I decided to get myself something that would help me with that. Since using two optical finders seems idiotic, I thought that some kind of projection finder scope would be in order; two options came to mind – either getting a Telrad or Rigel finders, or getting a simple, though much cheaper, red-dot finder. Since I just wanted a simple solution, red-dot finder it was. I have chosen the Baader Sky Surfer III finder, primarily due to its ability to regulate the brightness of the projected red spot, which seemed handy. When I finally got it, it has occurred to me that there might be a problem – I wanted to use the red-dot finder the same way I use my optical finder, and that is, removable with a simple turn of a screw (no literary pun intended). However, although the body of the finder could be mounted to a plastic mount with a typical Synta mounting end, there was no mounting shoe supplied with it, and since I wanted to use both red-dot and optical finder at the same time, I had to purchase a mounting shoe separately. Other mounting options were pretty much permanent ones, which is not really practical when you regularly transport your telescope. When I got the red-dot finder finally set up on my telescope, I have noticed that the projected red-dot is not working perfectly when turning around the brightness adjusting on/off button. It was regularly working, and then not working. Even though I changed the battery, the problem persisted, so I was frustrated and ready to send the finder back to the supplier. And then I though, since it had cost me only the equivalent of some £9, I just thought „to hell with it“, and decided to try and fix the problem myself. As it eventually turned out, one of the cables inside the electronics was faulty, so after replacing it, the finder scope finally worked as it should have, although it did not give me any confidence in this finder’s build quality. Furthermore, there are no dustcovers for the finder, which means that you will occasionally have to remove the dust from the projection lens mechanically, or, as I did, make some dustcovers on your own. After you finally get the red-dot set up and working, you should align it with your scope during the day, because, the adjusting screws for both axes work a bit awkwardly. You have to combine adjusting with your thumb with a screwdriver, which seems complicated enough, and now try to do that at night. Luckily, once you align it, it stays aligned quite well, and some occasional deviation from the alignment is no biggie, since the finder scope does not magnify, and is basically for rough alignment. So, setting it up, getting it to work and aligning are quite complicated processes, but once done, you are ready to go and basically no additional tweaks are needed. I like the way the red-dot finder is easy to use – you just turn it on, align the projected dot with what you want, and turn it off again. Nice and easy. The combination of a red-dot finder and an optical finder is unstoppable, and using the two in tandem allowed me to find objects that were too complicated or confusing to find using the starhopping method. Upsides Simple to use, intuitive Great in combination with an optical finder Adjustable brightness of the projection dot Battery life Range of mounting options Very cheap Better than those plastic 30mm optical finders Downsides Poor build quality Difficult to align Difficult to set up The plastic mount flexes a bit No dust covers Projected dot poorly visible in daylight
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