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Lockie

150PL on old Meade pillar mount first light

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With it being Christmas day it was tempting to just stay in and drink wine! Then again it happens to be one of the clearest nights in quite some time so first light just had to be done.

Now I carried this setup as a whole due to me needing to bodge the OTA to the mount, so I braced myself and managed to move the whole setup the few metres needed to clear the garage and open up the sky. I will be ordering some wheels with a locking mechanism for the legs I think.

Anyway, once out I looked around and could see good old Orion well placed above and beyond the street lights, so I used Betelgeuse to check collimation and look at the optics Fresnel rings inside and outside of focus. I used a 25mm Plossl for this and needed to tweak collimation just a touch, but I was really pleased at how identical the defocused star looked both inside and outside of focus. Well defined uniform rings either side which is very promising :)

Once set I of course trained the finderscope on M42, the Great Orion nebula and could immediately see the familiar green grey, well mainly grey arc of gas surrounding the tight trapezium stars through the main scope. Contrast was impressive considering the four local street lights and plethora of xmas lights. Let's put it this way my expectations were initially low. But I was pleased with what I could see and there was a decent amount of nebula on show. What was more impressive to me were the stars! They were 'refractor' tight....going from my distant memory of once owning ED refractors. I would really like to put this scope next to an ED apo and actually remind myself of the difference, but tonight all I could think of is how tight and sharp the stars were, and how dark the back ground sky was once I got the mag up to around 100x.

Anyway, I started off at 48x with the 25mm Plossl and the trapezium was piercingly sharp, the surrounding stars and nebulae gave great context. After enjoying that I moved up the mag..... 20mm plossl, 15mm plossl, then 12mm at 100x, at which point the faint E component of the trap came into view. As I moved up the mag the sky got darker and the Orion nebulae started to pop even more, and my dark adaption was also increasing probably. 

Next object was the seven sisters M45, and to be fair I really needed a 32mm plossl for this which I don't currently have. I feel this object is much better at really low mags and with a wide FOV. Not the strength of a scope with 1200mm off focal length, better for 20x binoculars. 

Looking around and being a bit rusty about what's where, I did have a go at M31 but I might have needed to move the scope further from the house to see it clear of the roof (that's my excuse for not being able to find it anyway :D

Other than that I had a quick scan around near Taurus and saw a beautiful but faint carbon star which was a treat. 

At that point, content that the scope was a gooden I then decided to venture back in for wine and rubbish crimbo telly :)

 

 

150PL.jpg

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I meant to add! The mount was easy to operate and rock solid. It tracked fairly well with a rough PA, enough to keep objects in a low power eyepiece for a good while and at 100x for a good minute. Really pleased with the mount. 

p.s my house above is not lit up by a camera flash, but by the street light next to the house lol

Edited by Lockie
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Sounds like a worthy job planned to fit locking wheels to those legs as you'll be wanting to take that scope out again real soon.

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2 minutes ago, happy-kat said:

Sounds like a worthy job planned to fit locking wheels to those legs as you'll be wanting to take that scope out again real soon.

For sure :) It was a pleasure to use once out. The only pain was obviously moving it which the locking wheels will solve. 

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Well done Chris, I did almost 'nudge' you to go out in the clear weather and give the scope a go, but thought that was unfair! Now you're making me feel that I should have been out there! Anyway well done and sounds like that's a great setup, and getting the E component just like that shows how good the scope (and your eye) is.

Do you think my Skytee (on 2" legs) would handle a 6" F8 ok?

Edited by RobertI
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24 minutes ago, RobertI said:

Well done Chris, I did almost 'nudge' you to go out in the clear weather and give the scope a go, but thought that was unfair! Now you're making me feel that I should have been out there! Anyway well done and sounds like that's a great setup, and getting the E component just like that shows how good the scope (and your eye) is.

Do you think my Skytee (on 2" legs) would handle a 6" F8 ok?

lol don't feel guilty on xmas day mate, you've done good this year with observing :) I did need to double check what I was seeing when I spotted the E component. It's much fainter than the first four components as you know, but it was so well defined it kind of popped out at me! The whole street is lit up like a literal xmas tree so I was surprised to see the neb at all to be honest :D 

Edited by Lockie
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2 minutes ago, Lockie said:

Do you think my Skytee (on 2" legs) would handle a 6" F8 ok?

The f/8 was absolutely rock solid on the Meade pedestal mount, not even a sign of wobble. I don't think a Skytee would be too far off it. I did own one once and it held a 1200mm focal length Bresser 127L pretty well. 

Honestly these 150mm f/8's are a steal for 185 quid if you can mount them!

Edited by Lockie
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Thanks Chris, it's getting more tempting. :)Just out of interest, can you reach the primary collimation screws while looking through the eyepiece?

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42 minutes ago, RobertI said:

Thanks Chris, it's getting more tempting. :)Just out of interest, can you reach the primary collimation screws while looking through the eyepiece?

I'm afraid not, it's a case of making small adjustments and seeing how it effects the defocused star. Not as easy as an f5 but it only took an extra minute. On the plus side I expect it will hold focus for a long time, It's not a worry :) 

Edited by Lockie
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Glad you got First Light and are as pleased as I thought you would be.
Clear Outside said it was solid cloud so carried on imbibing (which is not normal for me at all) and then looked out at 8pm,
nd it was of course clear unlike my head by this point.
I didn't trust myself with expensive astro kit, so I had an hour with the binoculars, wonderful stuff indeed.

It was so quiet and the sky was darker than normal, everyone at home and no cars moving about I suppose.



 

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10 minutes ago, Alan White said:

Glad you got First Light and are as pleased as I thought you would be.
Clear Outside said it was solid cloud so carried on imbibing (which is not normal for me at all) and then looked out at 8pm,
nd it was of course clear unlike my head by this point.
I didn't trust myself with expensive astro kit, so I had an hour with the binoculars, wonderful stuff indeed.

It was so quiet and the sky was darker than normal, everyone at home and no cars moving about I suppose.



 

Thanks Alan, and you're not alone, I had a few last night. Very sensible going with the bins if you were a bit wobbly lol I was rewarding myself for cooking for 8 on xmas day. We only have a small oven so it took some co ordinating. A nice relaxing end to the day getting out under the stars with wine :D 

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