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Getting back into astronomy after many years. Really tasted the thrill as a youngster: eg
Jupiter Saturn conj of 1981 viewed through a 4" refractor
Splitting the double on the 'tip of the sword' of Cygnus - which as I recall were red and green.
Naked eye all night sessions in Spain and New Zealand.
For the last couple of weeks I have been getting off to dark skies a few miles from where I live and using 8x32's and I have just bought some used Celestron (Echelon) 16x70's which came a couple of days ago - since which time, in accordance with the Laws of Physics, the skies have been cloudy!
I am probably going to get an Orion parallelogram tripod, but there are long waiting times - in the meantime would love to know of any advice people may have on monopods / heads and a mount that will fix to the Echelons.
Date: 8 Jan 2018 Binos: APM 16x70 ED (Monopod) Filters: 1x Castell UHC
Last night saw another lovely black sky but the "Helm wind" had kicked up from the Pennines
After popping out and back in from 7-30 thru 10-30, I decided that the Dob would not be coming out or more accurately the shed roof would not be opened tonight
Not wanting to waste the sky and with my new binos ready and waiting inside, I switched plan and got myself (& the binos) ready.
I fitted my new 1.25" Castell UHC filter inside the left eyecup. I added my 2x camping mat dew shields, fitted the monopod & trigger and finally stuck my ipad into into waterproof case.
I got all my warm gear on and took everything outside onto the garden table.
My plan was to use Sky Safari on the ipad (I had added new "equipment" to cover the binos so it was displaying a target circle to the FOV of the binos) and setup on Orion...
M42 - showed as a nice bright cloud, I seemed "bigger" than last time out. I tried switching from one eye to the other to see the UHC difference but I did not find it easy to tell (I was wearing "old" contact lenses as an alternative to my glasses and my eyes have changed in the last 18 months to make close up reading easier without my glasses so this ruined the test). Individual eyepiece focusing definately helps.
Rosette - found easily. I recognized the star cluster in the centre as I had spend a long time on this target with the dob the previous night The nebula was faint but visible, it really is a good size!
Cone - onto the christmas tree cluster (easy) but no nebula was seen.
Seagull neb - I found a definite patch in the right area. Can you see the seagull neb in your binos?
M46, 47 - two nice clusters left of sirius.
M48 - another good one
M67 - easy and bright
Beehive - A biggie, stay a while to count the stars...
Scanning Leo, there seems to be either regular fuzzies or the fainter stars are appearing as fuzzies. Should I expect to be able to see faint messier galaxies in Leo with binos?
Pleiades - Lovely and bright. Getting higher for my neck!
Crab M1 - Got it. I failed on this last time out. But bagged it twice tonight. Was it the UHC or just better control of the monopod?
California neb = no. nothing.
M37,38,36 - trio of clusters. nice as they are all different. There was more stuff in this area (I forgot about the flaming star), need to come back but my neck...
M31, 110 & 32 - Onto Andromeda, easy. Big but not as nice as last time out. M110 was much fainter tonight and M32 took some staring to get it.
Into Cassiopia ...
Double cluster - lovely. shame its so high. There was plenty going on in the vacinity too. Something nice to the lower right? Just "too many things to identify" and my neck...
Carolines Rose - Center on CapH and there's Carolines rose in the fov.
Onto the Plough...
M51 - easy
M101 - harder to locate but I found it. Dimmer than M51
Owl neb - Faint but there. Is this the UHC benefit or is it always seen in binos?
Overall an enjoyable session. A few misses on my part but you can't get everything unless you make a list before you go out!
Quite a few questions above. Would be grateful if anyone can comment on some of them
1. DEW SHIELD
I've completed a pair of dew shields for my 16x70 binos. I used a 10mm thickness Mountain Warehouse camping mat paired to some 50mm Valcro with additional strong glue to keep them stuck together.
For the first one, I used the full 50mm overlap on the Velcro to hold the ends together but they were quite hard to pull apart. So, for the second one, I used 50mm on one side of the Velcro and cut-down to 25mm on the other side of the Velcro.
Time will tell which is the best solution, then I can make up a "third one" to be the same as the best of the other two - if needed!
2. FILTER HOLDERS
My APM binos have 20mm of eye relief so I hope to make some filter holders from some of this matting.
I have some spare old 2" Skywatcher UHC and O3 filters in the loft, so I plan to experiment to see if I can construct something from the camping mat to fit them over the eyepieces of the binos.
After removing the rubber eyecups, I am left with a 2" diameter eyepiece which matches the circumference of these 2" filters.
So, I am making a 40mm wide & 210mm long camping mat "roll" that will fit exactly around the eyepiece. The ends wont overlap, they should just meet up and i will wrap the whole thing with Gorilla Tape to hold it "in a circle". This circle should then just push down over the eyepiece to hold the filters in place.
I will use some folded over gorilla tape segments to make a "rim" that the filter will "sit on" ( at a distance of 10mm from the top ) when pushed inside.
As the 2" filter is way more than the 30mm of the bino eyepiece lens, then as long as I dont block the central 30mm of the filter, the view should be unobstructed.
The glue is setting at the moment, if successful then I will post up some pics... (Blue Peter would be proud!)
I have had my APM 16x70 ED binos for a week now and they are proving to be very good. However, the single weakest point are the supplied lens caps, they just love to fall off (its impossible to remove the binos from the case and have the lens caps in place when the binos come out of the bag! ).
Having measured the diameter of the lens as 84mm, I have purchased two Keiser 85mm lens caps (as the closest larger size that I could find).
I have stuck a layer of trimmed "Gorilla Tape" to the inside edge of the caps and now they are a nice fit, needing significantly more pull to get them off than the originals
[Pic shows Keiser 85mm caps with added Gorilla tape around the rim]
However, it is still impossible to get the binos out of their supplied bag with both lens caps in place (the bag is too tight!)
So, I have fitted some sticky Velcro squares to the binos (two on each lens) and I am using the "other" part of the Velcro as a strap to hold the lens caps on - I can now remove them from the bag and have the Lens Caps in place
[Pic shows the Keiser caps on the APM binos + the sticky velcro pads]
[Pic shows the velcro securing strips in place]
Finally, I have at last received my Amazon Basics tripod "with pistol grip" so I have removed the pistol grip and added it to the end of my Manfrotto Monopod and I am at last good to go...
I am taking my first tentative steps into binos for night sky viewing...
Having done some research over the past couple of weeks and nearly going for Helios Apollo 15x70, I came across the black Friday sale at APM and went for the 16x70 ED instead.
As a glasses wearer, the extra eye relief will be great. I had seen that others had upgraded from Apollo to APM ED and also with a better case for travel and £100 off decided to go for it...
i plan to buy a monopod and trigger grip and hope that the 0.5kg weight saving will add up to an easy to use pair of binos.
i will need to discover if my choice of binos that do not accept filters was a good one or I may need to knock up some way of holding/fixing filters at the eyepiece?
i will also be making up some dew shields for the cold nights. How long should I make the dew shields?
I will be taking them to darkest Arizona next year for some Milky Way viewing at new moon so I have a few months to learn how best to use them
i will post some pics when they arrive from Germany...