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AdeKing

First Lunar Session with Binoviewers 24/02/18

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Last night was the first chance that I've had to use the new to me William Optics Binoviewers that I've had for about a month or so.

I decided to set the ST102 up on the Tele-Optic Giro GR2 that I received in the post from @Highburymarkon Friday though in hindsight first use of the mount coupled with an OTA with Binoviewers probably wasn't the smartest move and it took me ages to get the setup to balance at an altitude where I could observe the moon. It would probably have been more sensible to have used the SkyTee but I had a new mount and I was jolly well going to use it!

Once balanced I decided to stick with the WO 20mm eyepieces and TAL 2x Barlow giving me somewhere over 100x magnification but how much over 100x I haven't quite figured out.

Armed with my trusty copies of Rukl and "Discover The Moon"  (because I'm still a novice) first targets were Clavius and Longomontanus which kept me capitated for ages trying to see how many small features I could pick out on the floor of Clavius and then taking my time to inspect the crescent of impact craters on the floor of Clavius. Onto Longomontanus, the crater floor was very dark but I noticed a pale area NW of the crater centre with two peaks forming bright white spots like cats eyes looking back at me. 

Moving to the north and into Mare Nubium showed me the Rules Recta was clearly visible as a long straight line oriented roughly NNW - SSE just to the east of Birt and Birt a, but at the magnification I was using I could see no evidence of Rima Birt despite trying for some time.

Moving west my gaze settled on the flooded crater of Kies with a clear promontory extending south and a low but broken crater rim to the northwest and west. I thought that the outline of Kies resembled a stags head with antlers. Rupes Mercator was clearly visible as a NW-SE aligned line of hills and peaks to the SW of Kies.

Next target was Bulliadus to the north of Kies with the prominent craters of Bulliadus A and B but as the main crater was very close to the terminator and so the crater floor was deep in shadow with just the western wall brightly lit.

To the NNW of Kies a brightly lit feature caught my eye, a perfectly circular crater with a straight line extending SSE from the crater and a bright spot to the NNW this feature had a bright white rim and "handle" giving the impression of a magnifying glass.

Moving north into Mare Insularium and Copernicus which is one of my favourite targets and which was close to the terminator and had a brightly lit terraced wall and half the crater floor in shadow but three brightly lit peaks near the centre of the crater. The double crater of Fauth and Fauth A with its distinctive keyhole shape was clearly visible.

Finally I moved NE towards Plato and spent a few minutes viewing Montes Teneriffe and Montes Recti and Vallis Alpes before packing up and going inside to defrost.

I was very impressed with the first Binoviewer session, I  didn't have too  many issues getting the views to merge but did have trouble getting the focus on both eyepieces to match  using the helical focusers and is something that I clearly need to spend some time on. 

The view through the Binoviewers was wonderful, it really did give the impression of flying over the surface of the moon and the comfort of being able to relax and use both eyes together is something that I am keen to repeat and will hopefully use for White Light solar as I'm sure that I detected more detail than when I have viewed in Cyclops mode.

The Giro mount performed well though I need to spend some time marking the dovetail to make balancing easier. I'm not sure that the mount was the most sensible choice for first use with Binoviewers but that's something for another thread.

Thanks for listening to my ramblings, it's the first time that I've written an observing report so I hope that you're still awake.

Ade

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A great write-up of what sounds like a fascinating evening. Glad you are enjoying the WO binoviewers.

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Thanks Peter,

A thoroughly enjoyable evening and I decided against the 45 minute trip to Durlston in the end.

I really wanted to try the BV and the Giro and didn't trust one of the visitors not to unintentionally knock it and have the objective end crash into the tripod.

Ade

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Great stuff Ade, an excellent read.

I'm a relatively recent convert to Binoviewer observing for anything other than solar, and have had a couple of good sessions this week. I find they really help reduce the impact of floaters at high power.

One suggestion I might make is to make a counterweight to go under the front of the scope like in this picture. With binoviewers you it doesn't matter how far forward you out the scope, they will always lose balance when towards the zenith, so this method works very well. I can have the clutches completely loose and it holds balance in any position.

IMG_7417.JPG

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1 hour ago, Stu said:

Great stuff Ade, an excellent read.

I'm a relatively recent convert to Binoviewer observing for anything other than solar, and have had a couple of good sessions this week. I find they really help reduce the impact of floaters at high power.

One suggestion I might make is to make a counterweight to go under the front of the scope like in this picture. With binoviewers you it doesn't matter how far forward you out the scope, they will always lose balance when towards the zenith, so this method works very well. I can have the clutches completely loose and it holds balance in any position.

IMG_7417.JPG

Thanks Stu, I've been looking to your counterweight on your WL solar thread and trying to work out how it's been cobbled together.

I can see part of the Skywatcher L-shaped adaptor attached to what looks like one of the SkyTee clamps.

Is it just a conventional counterweight under the OTA with a M20 threaded bar or is it a smaller diameter bar than that?

From first use I can see that I have a bit of a learning curve with the Giro but I'm liking the mount already and it's more stable than the one I had cobbled together from camera head parts.

Ade

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@AdeKing as I recall it is made up of a this counterweight kit plus, as you correctly said, the arm from a Skywatcher L bracket.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/adm-counterweight-kits/adm-dovetail-counterweight-kit-d-series.html

I think I had to reverse the black knob which then screws into the end of the threaded rod, with a large washer there for support. Looking at my bracket, the clamp is not an ADM but looks like TS. Can't remember why, maybe the TS holes worked better.

You could, of course, use a standard CW bar, but actually I like the ability to fine tune the balance by just spinning the weight.

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Well done Ade, I've tried binoviewers a couple of times but just can't get on with them, wish I could seeing all the reports from folk loving them.

Only got a " cheap " Revelation pair but I don't think investing in a more expensive pair would help.

Just been looking at the daylight Moon through the 152mm and it looks great, spect it would look even better through binoviewers :rolleyes2:

Dave

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That's a great report, you started with Clavius which to me is one of the stars of the lunar landscape and carried on with some more great features.

Good luck and clear skies.

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21 hours ago, AdeKing said:

Thanks Stu, I've been looking to your counterweight on your WL solar thread and trying to work out how it's been cobbled together.

I can see part of the Skywatcher L-shaped adaptor attached to what looks like one of the SkyTee clamps.

Is it just a conventional counterweight under the OTA with a M20 threaded bar or is it a smaller diameter bar than that?

From first use I can see that I have a bit of a learning curve with the Giro but I'm liking the mount already and it's more stable than the one I had cobbled together from camera head parts.

Ade

Here are a few pictures to show what I've done. It helps to have a long dovetail so you've got room to move things around, and to have a long enough section ahead of the front tube ring to put this on.

I think I had to drill the dovetail clamp out a little to match the holes on the Skywatcher bracket. Plenty of ways to skin this cat, but this one does work for me.

IMG_7432.JPG

IMG_7433.JPG

IMG_7434.JPG

IMG_7435.JPG

IMG_7436.JPG

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6 hours ago, Stu said:

Here are a few pictures to show what I've done. It helps to have a long dovetail so you've got room to move things around, and to have a long enough section ahead of the front tube ring to put this on.

I think I had to drill the dovetail clamp out a little to match the holes on the Skywatcher bracket. Plenty of ways to skin this cat, but this one does work for me.

Stu,

Thanks for the photos, they make things a lot clearer.

I really like the idea of the being able to fine tune by spinning the threaded counterweight up and down the threaded bar too.

I've just been pricing this project little mod up.

I've got the Skywatcher L-Bracket already and have a spare stock SkyTee 2 clamp that I removed as soon as I got the skyTee and upgraded with the recommended ADM version.  The clamp that you have looks identical to my SkyTee one.

The only things I really need are the threaded rod and counterweight with matching thread.

According to the ADM site the thread is 1/2" 13 tpi and I notice that FLO sell the counterweight with the threaded hole so its really only that and the 1/2" threaded bar that I need.  I should be able to pick up the threaded bar locally (I hope) or eBay if everyone local is metric only.

I don't really want to buy the ADM set new then immediately cannibalise it.  

I noticed that ADM do a version where the bar is attached to the side of the clamp, but its only in the D flavour clamp and all of my dovetails are Vixen so thats a no-go.

I didn't know that these counterweights were available with full size clamps, I'd only previously seen the mini dovetail system ones.

I already have various pan scale weights drilled and threaded for attachment to a Baader clamp, but as you state, approaching the zenith the counterweight needs to be offset from the vixen dovetail as I found out using my previously cobbled together dovetail weights.

I'll update with my progress.

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On 25/02/2018 at 16:29, Davey-T said:

Well done Ade, I've tried binoviewers a couple of times but just can't get on with them, wish I could seeing all the reports from folk loving them.

Only got a " cheap " Revelation pair but I don't think investing in a more expensive pair would help.

Just been looking at the daylight Moon through the 152mm and it looks great, spect it would look even better through binoviewers :rolleyes2:

 

Sorry to hear that you don't get on with binoviewers Dave.

I thought I would have problems but I managed to borrow a pair of BV's from my friend @prusling for about six months last year before I took the plunge and got my own pair, so I knew that I would get on with them.  

I don't have problem merging the images, except with a pair of Celestron 15mm Plossls which were purchased separately a couple of years apart and are obviously different enough to stop the views merging.  The 9mm, 12mm and 32mm pairs that I have all behave perfectly though. 

On 25/02/2018 at 16:58, Astro Imp said:

That's a great report, you started with Clavius which to me is one of the stars of the lunar landscape and carried on with some more great features.

Thanks for reading the report and feeding back to me Alan, its the first report that I've written so I'm glad that you enjoyed reading it.

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47 minutes ago, AdeKing said:

Stu,

Thanks for the photos, they make things a lot clearer.

I really like the idea of the being able to fine tune by spinning the threaded counterweight up and down the threaded bar too.

I've just been pricing this project little mod up.

I've got the Skywatcher L-Bracket already and have a spare stock SkyTee 2 clamp that I removed as soon as I got the skyTee and upgraded with the recommended ADM version.  The clamp that you have looks identical to my SkyTee one.

The only things I really need are the threaded rod and counterweight with matching thread.

According to the ADM site the thread is 1/2" 13 tpi and I notice that FLO sell the counterweight with the threaded hole so its really only that and the 1/2" threaded bar that I need.  I should be able to pick up the threaded bar locally (I hope) or eBay if everyone local is metric only.

I don't really want to buy the ADM set new then immediately cannibalise it.  

I noticed that ADM do a version where the bar is attached to the side of the clamp, but its only in the D flavour clamp and all of my dovetails are Vixen so thats a no-go.

I didn't know that these counterweights were available with full size clamps, I'd only previously seen the mini dovetail system ones.

I already have various pan scale weights drilled and threaded for attachment to a Baader clamp, but as you state, approaching the zenith the counterweight needs to be offset from the vixen dovetail as I found out using my previously cobbled together dovetail weights.

I'll update with my progress.

Good stuff Ade :) 

I already had the ADM so yes, I understand not wanting to cannibalise something new. The benefit of that kit is that it has a thread in the end of the rod that conveniently matches the thread on the Skywatcher bracket. If you just get standard threaded bar, you would need some other way of attaching it to the bracket, or the facility to tap a threaded hole in the end.

I look forward to seeing progress :). I must say it does make for more relaxed observing.

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2 hours ago, Stu said:

The benefit of that kit is that it has a thread in the end of the rod that conveniently matches the thread on the Skywatcher bracket.

Thanks Stu, I did wonder about this when I was inspecting your photos earlier this evening, I thought it looked like the thread going into the clamp was different.

Ade

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16 minutes ago, AdeKing said:

Thanks Stu, I did wonder about this when I was inspecting your photos earlier this evening, I thought it looked like the thread going into the clamp was different.

Ade

These might help to explain more, I just took it apart quickly to show how the threaded rod attaches.

IMG_7450.JPG

IMG_7451.JPG

IMG_7455.JPG

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20 minutes ago, Stu said:

These might help to explain more, I just took it apart quickly to show how the threaded rod attaches.

IMG_7450.JPG

Looking at the latest photos, it almost looks like the parts were made to be put together that way.  I'll have to see whether I have a 1/4" tap in my set.  I'll probably make a mess of drilling and tapping a hole in the threaded bar, but I'll give it a go if it saves me some hard earned cash.

Ade

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