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There are two main flavours

ST80A - A astronomical. tube rings, right angle diagonal

ST80T - T terrestrial. fixed short dove bar with camera tripod thread holes, 45 degree erect image diagonal

 

 

 

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Picked up a used ST80 on EBay as a wide-field companion to a SW Mak 127, and had only been able to point at terrestrial targets, align the RDF etc until last night presented an opportunity for a quick

ST80 = "Every home should have one"

Good to  know, particularly as I have an Orion one en route to me right now ! I also intend to recycle the stock diagonal and RDF from a mak , which are otherwise unemployed due to upgrades. I ha

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Follow up - have got out with the ST80 twice in the last few days - especially when the session is short or motivation to set up low it's a great option. Have been really impressed with its optical capability, here are notes from those sessions which given the full moon  have focussed on double stars - but also got a lovely unexpected view of M13! Am finding that the ST80 is great for figuring out where stuff is, then I can revisit later with the Mak for a higher power view. Took it out on the AZ GTi and its a great pairing, the scope's light weight seemed to tax the mount less than the 127 Mak + finders and that, coupled with the wider field (& some wise alignment tips from @ScouseSpaceCadet, thank you sir), meant that goto performed beautifully. Can see its only a matter of time (and money) before mounting them side by side... anyhoo, for what its worth here are some slightly random observing notes from my first real sessions with this amazing value piece of kit...

25.2 - 8-9.30pm 

ST80, BH Zoom, Steady seeing. 97% moon transparency: occasional high-level milkiness. 

N. Aligned Sirius Aldebaran

Goto Mars, accurate - nice gibbous disc but tiny.

Goto Uranus - probably, faint, greenish, maybe - not a point, not a disc. 

M45 - bit disappointed then realised I still had the Barlow on from Mars/Uranus - gorgeous view without, fantasised I might be seeing nebulosity... 

M42 - got stuck here for a while, wasn’t in the plan but crisp trapezium & loved the wide field. 

Mintaka - double-ish, very wide. 

Sigma Orionis - fantastic system. Double + a cluster. 

CM145/H3945 - Winter Albireo a bit moon/LP washed but clear orange- blue colour contrast. Felt good to find using RDF & star map. 

Sirius - no split. 

Beta Monoceros clean split triple at 50x - ST80 looks like a very good 96 quid ;)

Almach - lovely view at 12mm  (33x). Orange primary, white close secondary. 

M40 - I think, check the chart. Bit non-descript. 

Eta Cassiopeia  - split-ish, one for more mag/app. 

Went back to the night’s highlights: M42 - Sigma Orionis - CM145.  

Very satisfying hour and a half & home in time to be sociable. ST80 is going to get a lot of use! Crisp wide fields, scanning slowly up the sword of Orion from M42 to Sigma Orionis stunning. 

 

27/2  00:30 - 02:30 . ST80, Baader Zoom 8-24mm, moon if anything more dominant than earlier. 

Trudged back out to the park for  second session, late/early with an ST80 quick set-up. Skyscape radically changed from earlier evening session - lots of constellations in the “wrong” place. 

ETA Cassiopeia.  Yellow Orange spikes, clean white 2nd. Lovely. 

Fruitless searching in Cass for Sigma & Struve 173 . Got a bit lost. 

Retreated to Mirphac. Hopped to Double Cluster - lovely in wide view. Fantastic frame at 14mm (28x) , cheered me up. 

Castor - split but only at 50x.  Tried for Algieba but lost in the moonlight, looked at Regulus against backwash of moon. 

Thought about jacking it in, cold, moon obliterating Leo, Cancer & then some, got a bit aimless - figured may as well complete a 360 by star hopping. 

Back to Arcturus then Vega. 

Checked Safari & confirmed Hercules keystone.  Orientation very unfamiliar compared to summer! 

Brainwave: Hit Goto on M13 - perfect! A fuzzy at last despite the moon & a first for me, wanted to see M13 for ages.  Occupied more space in keystone than I’d expected. Got the Barlow out and looked at all mags - thought I saw the odd hint of a star/twinkle mid lower left with averted vision. Best view though at about 40x  - nice glow and framed by keystone stars.  This is going to be fantastic in the Mak. Looked for a long time! Spent a bit of time orienting naked eye between Vega & Arcturus so I can locate easily again. 

Had a punt at M57 the ring nebula but no chance, all moon washed + now 2.30 am, getting cold & tired. 

Finished night, appropriately , on Alberio - stunning pair, gold & green/blue both quite bright.  Wrapped up warm and looked for a long while. 

Walked home cold & happy through friendly, silent moonlit streets to a big Laphroaig. Amazing couple of evenings. 

Edited by SuburbanMak
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