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Trying out some mods, and first go with a Nagler


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It was really blustery last night here in Cambridgeshire, but clear skies were promised and I was desperate to get out with the dob to try out some of the mods I’d made over the Summer, namely:

  • Fully flocking the OTA (massive thanks to my wife’s more slender hands for helping me with that)
  • Swapping out the straight-through finder for a Telrad coupled with a lovely Antares 8x50 RACI
  • Attaching handles to the OTA to make it easier to heft about, and storing the OTA and mount separately to make it quicker to set up and pack down
  • Using my Hotech laser collimator, together with the excellent Bob’s Knobs secondary screws, to collimate after set-up
  • Use the Type 1 Nagler 7mm that I recently picked up (very) used, as my first wide AFOV eyepiece

I went out just after 9.30pm, with the waxing crescent moon dipping towards the west through the trees.  Over in the south, Mars, Antares, Saturn and Graffias look wonderful at the moment.  Saturn was my first target to get my eye in.  In the 7mm, the Cassini division was clearly visible despite the slushy seeing, and dark markings on the surface stood up to direct vision.  I could see the shadow of the planet against the rings and there was a pleasing entourage of moons (although I left my tablet inside so didn’t get to see which were which).

Stars were beginning to pop into view in most directions now, so Albireo got my attention next.  The view in the Nagler was stunning – nice and wide, without having to constantly nudge the dob, and the colour contrast was very intense, although the star images were not as sharp as they appear in the fracs at lower magnification, which is perhaps to be expected.  Still, best view of Albireo that I’ve ever had.

The double double was next, to test both my collimation and the Nagler.  All components were really sharp and easily visible in the nice wide field.  I’ve always been disappointed with this object in the past because I’ve found it difficult to frame well, but the field of view was perfect to give the context and the magnification (and collimation!) sufficient to see all 4 components.

I’d sneaked a look through mainly cloudy skies at M13  couple of nights ago, and was excited to spend some more time looking.  It was unimpressive in the 32mm Plossl, but in the 7mm Nagler it exploded into a swarm of stars, with tendrils stretching off in various directions and numerous dark lanes criss-crossing it.  Fantastic sight, and on a calmer night will definitely be back to sketch it. 

As I lifted my head up from M13 a gorgeous, orange Perseid streaked across Aquila leaving a nice smoky trail – I’d say it was a little brighter than Mars, so call it mag -2.  Keep looking up at this time of year, people – some lovely meteors to see!

Over to Hercules’ “lesser” globular now – M92.  Such a shame that this is overshadowed by its brighter cousin as it’s a wonderful object.  Resolved to the core, it appeared heavily mottled and quite irregular with many intertwined lines of stars.  In fact, it almost seemed to have a spiral structure.

Interstellarum gives an intriguing name to the open cluster NGC6811 – “Hole in a Cluster”.  This obvious concentration of stars against the rich Milky Way background appeared to have some dark channels running through it, but I couldn’t really discern the “hole” that I presume gives it its name.  Does anyone know how it got this moniker?

Over to M27, the Dumbell Nebula, next.  I was stunned by the sight in the 7mm Nagler – it was so much more than just the apple core.  There was structure all the way through, and some bits of the core were noticeably more nibbled than others.  I could see several superimposed stars – not sure if one is the central star or nor.  But like M13 this is definitely worth coming back to sketch through this lovely eyepiece.

Finally I took a look at Barnard’s E in Aquila, as I’ve never really gone after dark nebulae.  Unsurprisingly, even in the 32mm Plossl, it didn’t really jump out but I could discern an amorphous void in the stellar background in that area.

It was a very pleasant, very casual evening’s observing under warm Summer skies that actually weren’t entirely dark by the time I’d finished.  I used my iPhone SQM for the first time and recorded a peak of 19.86 overhead – no idea how accurate that is, but the milky way was visible fairly easily down through Aquila and the great rift was clear.

The mods I made were great successes.  The combined Telrad / RACI method is so intuitive and comfortable.  It was nice to have a properly collimated scope for a change.  There seemed to be slightly better contrast with the flocking.  And that Nagler?  Well, I can see a very expensive set of purchases on the cards in the next 12 months. 

Clear skies all.

Paul

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UWA-fever is coming!! :D 

Awesome report Paul and very happy that your modded dob with 7mm are working well!

Maybe some new E-labelled eps in the future??  :hiding:

:D

Edited by Piero
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1 hour ago, Piero said:

UWA-fever is coming!! :D 

Awesome report Paul and very happy that your modded dob with 7mm are working well!

Maybe some new E-labelled eps in the future??  :hiding:

:D

Yes, I think it's rather contagious!  But we agreed that top quality glass in an investment ,right?  And therefore completely justified.  Especially with interest rates on the floor; I mean what else would a sensible person do with their cash?  It really is the only prudent option.  :headbang:

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11 minutes ago, FenlandPaul said:

Yes, I think it's rather contagious!  But we agreed that top quality glass in an investment ,right?  And therefore completely justified.  Especially with interest rates on the floor; I mean what else would a sensible person do with their cash?  It really is the only prudent option.  :headbang:

Personally, I don't even care of the investment thingy.. If something is really wanted, can add another level of experience and one's finances are okay with it, I don't see why not! And if acquired second hand, that's even better!  :thumbsup: 

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Great report Paul :icon_biggrin:

I was just able to make out the central star of M27 with my 5.1" refractor tonight @ 171x. It was "coming and going" with averted vision so I'd have thought your 12" dob would have pulled it out. Our skies seem similar from your description of how the Milky Way looks.

 

Edited by John
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That's an excellent report and happy to hear good news about your 7mm. I got one some time ago and quite happy with it. In all honesty it had taken me a while to get used to the eye relief and placement but now I'm familiar, it has given me great views.  

Edited by Special K
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