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I had the good fortune of finding a copy of the September Sky at Night magazine on the first day of my holiday in west Wales over the last week.  Monday night turned out to be much clearer than expected and despite the lighting on the caravan park I was treated to very good skies.  I got a real kick from setting up the Helios Apollo 15x70 on a mount and working my way through Steve Tonkin's Binocular Tour.

I managed M13, 30 Herculis, the Tau Coronae Borealis group (beautiful with it's triple in the middle), delta Boötis and Harrington 7 (my first sighting and a real delight) with ease.  I had no problem locating H V 38, but I could not even get close to a split.  Two days later I went up into the Elan Valley International Dark Sky Park.  Needless to say, it is very dark!  One of the very best views of the Milky Way I've ever seen, and the skies were so transparent that the fainter constellations became slightly confusing to pick out.  However, despite having looked up the position angle, I still couldn't get anything other than a single point of light.

I know its a challenging one and I hope perseverance and favourable conditions will crack it.  I was wondering has anyone else had any joy splitting H V 38 in a 15x70?

Clear Skies,

Dave.

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Hi Dave, nice report there. Interesting to hear about the dark sky park - and it is strange when the constilations seem to get lost amoung the milky way. (I never like to brag, but my semi rural location can be like that on a good night)🤗

I no longer have my 15x70s and was never really into splitting doubles with them.  I will take a look at it though, maybe with the St80.

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Thanks mark81.  I grew up in rural Worcestershire and the skies were pretty good there.  Then I moved to West Bromwich - all bets were off!  The skies where I am now are suburban to semi rural, but nowhere near what I took for granted as a kid.

I'd be very interested in hearing how you get on with H V 38 with the ST80.  I do a lot of travelling (one of the reasons I love binocular observing so much) so I'm thinking of procuring an inexpensive grab-and-go scope.  The Skywatcher ST80 is on the short list, but I have been leaning towards towards the Skywatcher 90mm Mak-Cas for its longer focal length with doubles in mind.

Edited by daveintheshire
typos
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Yeah, st80 not the best scope for doubles - great for low power wide field views - clusters mainly.  The Mak is the way to go. Lots of power in a real compact setup..

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Yes, but it was a few years ago. It's a real challenge, mainly because of the magnitude difference. I'll give it another go next time I get a chance and report here.

Also, I concur with what @mark81 wrote about the Mak. I've had an ST80 and, while it's fine for open clusters and stuff, it has too much CA to be particularly useful at high magnification unless you stop it down with the lens cap (has a cap-able central aperture) - and then it's not very bright. I have the 90mm Mak and it's lovely for Moon, bright planets, Sun (with filter!). It's also very easy on eyepiece quality, but my favourite is a 12.5mm Orthoscopic: lovely crisp images. Does need to be properly collimated, of course, and the factory doesn't always do a good job of it.

Edited by BinocularSky
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Update: Had a go last evening at about 22:30 UT - too late; it was already too low and 10th mag stars at that altitude were extincted from my location.

Edited by BinocularSky
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