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Thought people may like to see my recent custom design for my SkyWatcher Heritage 130p...
As a big Apollo misson geek, and not being a fan of the stock astronomer names wrap on the 130p, I decided to get creative.
I used a great moon wall sticker just £6 from Ikea (https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/p/kinnared-decoration-stickers-moon-00448463/) as well as some matt vinyl stickers from Redbubble, one for each Apollo mission patch.
Below is pics of the mod in progress and the end result - would love to hear what you think!
Found various threads on here and other forums about flocking dobsonians/newtonians but couldn't find specific images of disassembly of the very popular SkyWatcher Heritage 130p flextube and flocking of the OTA.
So having ordered some DC-Fix black velour sticky back material (can be got from various places including FLO) I thought i'd share some photos of the process from start to finish as it may help someone else in the future...
Images below with notes...
1. Focuser and shield flocking
This was the easy bit. A strip stuck inside the focuser, and just unscrew the shield, draw round it, cut the material and align and smooth down. In the last image above you can already see the significant improvement on reducing reflections comparing the flocked shield to the unflocked tube...
Notice my version of Bob's Knobs on the secondary mirror which are just black steel M4 25mm knurled thumbscrews bought off ebay for about £7 - along with the thumbscrews already on the 130P primary mirror this makes any fine collimation easy and completely tool free!
For full stealth mode I've also painted the edge and rear of the secondary mirror, and any exposed screw heads with blackboard paint to reduce reflections.
2. OTA disassembly and tube before
Note the cutout in the lower primary housing and the top ring. This aligns with the ridge of the tube seam, and means there is only one way to reassemble the telescope tube and mirror and one place for the handful of screws (4 at the bottom, 3 at the top). You'll also need an allen key to remove the 3 bolts for the dovetail mount. Simple!
Now you're ready to Flock 'N' Roll! 👍🏻
3. Flocking the tube
You'll need approx. 50cmx29cm of the material to do the tube in one go, starting along the seam. As others have described just take your time here, peel off about an inch of the backing and get the edge aligned with the tube seam stick down firmly and smooth out any air bubbles.
Then slowly keep peeling more backing (rip and remove if the excess gets in the way) and smooth down as you go, turning the tube and affixing the velour material.
4. Finished flocking and close up during application so you can see contrast/reflection comparison of before and after.
All in all only took around an hour so not a hard job as long as you prepare and concentrate! I ordered one sheet of 45cm x 1m material which was plenty, however if your not as confident you'll get it right first time then order 2m so you have more to spare if you need to start again.
Looks great, so as always I now just need clear skies to go play and see the difference it makes!
Was looking for a simple and sturdy 3-legged stand or table to raise the height slightly of the Heritage 130p when viewing on the lawn away from my garden table and so my 7yr old daughter can stand and observe easily.
Suddenly came across this thread on Reddit which seemed to have the perfect solution from our Swedish friends at Ikea... https://www.reddit.com/r/telescopes/comments/doi3n5/skywatcher_heritage_130_or_awb_onesky_ikea_kyrre/ (see pictures below) and also discovered some more customisation ideas for the same stool in this thread from across the pond...https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/463109-onesky-newtonian-astronomers-without-borders/?p=9734431
The UK Ikea store sells the stool in plain solid birch (£10) or stained black/blue (£12) and delivery is just £3.95...have a black one on order (wont arrive until 5 June though) and will report back when I, have it... https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/p/kyrre-stool-black-70434976/
Anyone else used one or made something similar for this fab little scope?
Computar 2.6mm F1.0 CCTV lens
This high quality ultra fast ultra wide angle CCTV lens is great for use with a highly sensitive CCTV camera for video recording meteors. These ultra fast lenses were discontinued by Computar several years ago and are now very rare. They originally sold for over $300 each.
Excellent condition. Lenses free from scratches and internal dust. DC auto iris tested and working.
£85 + £8 postage to UK mainland
This will be a thread detailing some of the changes and additions I will be doing to my ASC/Weather Station project. This is version 2.0 as I'll be making some very big changes from the initial project and I think continuing on in the existing thread would not have made much sense.
So, I still want to use an APS size sensor as after seeing the quality and light capturing capabilities of the now defunct Opticstar DS-616C XL camera and Meike lens I simply cannot go back to using a smaller lens/sensor combination. One thing is certain, I won't be paying £400 or potentially more for another APS astro sized camera so with that in mind I plan on heavily modifying a Nikon D50 DLSR and use the same lens. I chose the D50 primarily due to it having a CCD sensor (ICX453AQ) very close in specs to the one in the Opticstar (ICX413AQ) and the fact that I got a hold of a fully working body for £25.
Now there's a few issues with going down the DSLR route which I plan on addressing as follows:
The oversized camera body can be stripped down to bare essentials and fitted in the existing case with some moving of parts around Uncooled, the sensor is quite noisy so to cool it I plan on using the existing Opticstar enclosure with the TEC and hopefully get it purged with Argon to avoid dew formation. Also, since the box will need to be completely sealed to achieve this, there's simply not enough room inside for the main board to which the sensor connects to. The only way around this is using an 39pin 150mm long FPC extension which I managed to find and will be arriving shortly. This means I can have the sensor completely sealed with enough slack in the connection to place the mainboard anywhere I want. The D50 uses the NEF file extension as a "RAW" file format but it's not truly RAW and a heavy median filter is applied to all long exposure images to smooth out the noise. It works great for day to day shots, but in an application such as mine it'll most probably eliminate or severely affect my stars as most of them at the FL I'll be using the camera at will be a few pixels across and the Nikon median filter is very aggressive with such small features. The way around this is what's commonly known as Mode 3 on Nikons. Nikons have a additional Noise Reduction mode which takes the long exposure light first then straight after an equal length dark with the shutter closed, then applies the dark on the light and you get a further noise reduced image which again works very well, but not so much for AP. With mode 3 you essentially have the NR feature on and take an exposure but then immediately shut down the camera after the light has finished exposing. What this does is it causes the camera to dump a REAL RAW image onto the SD card without applying the median filter OR the Noise Reduction process. This obviously results in a much noisier image as expected, but all the stars will still be there and the image in this way can then be dark-subtracted and processed to my liking. I'll post some test shots I've taken to illustrate this. The D50 uses a hybrid shutter, both the CCD electronic shutter and mechanical shutter are used depending I think on the exposure length. If a high enough exposure is used, from what I understand, one can use exclusively the electronic shutter, but for longer exposures the shutters work in conjunction. Now I know the ICX413AQ in the Opticstar is more than capable of taking long exposures solely with its electronic shutter despite the fact that in its datasheet they recommend a mechanical shutter for proper use. So, my thinking is since the D50's sensor is similar to the ICX413AQ the only thing preventing the camera from being able to take any exposure using exclusively the electronic shutter is that its mechanical shutter is in the way and I don't think that the camera would prevent the CCD electronic global shutter itself to still open and close when required. However, this is all a theory at the moment and the only way to confirm it is to test the camera with the sensor outside when the FPC cable arrives. More on this later... In terms of capture software available, the D50 is actually very poor and I could only get digiCamControl to see and control the camera via USB. But I won't be using this as when the camera is hooked up to the PC its SD card is identified as a storage drive and the camera can be used as it would normally with the images appearing on the drive after being written to the SD! Since I'm using my VB app to process the images I would just point the app to that folder and should work. That's all I can think of for now but if and when new ones come up I'll add them here.
Next I'll be describing some of the other changes planned.