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First Half Light with a Mewlon 180


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My partner thinks all telescopes look the same so she does not know how many I have as long as I don't bring them out together.

Yesterday she went out on the razzle so I took advantage of the situation and paired up my new Mewlon 180 and 60CB on a Giro Ercole and thought I'd try and find the crescent moon.

I started at 5 o'clock with a gin and tonic and then set up the scopes. The idea was to find the moon with a pair of binoculars, note it's position and then find it with the 60CB and a new 2" Stellalyra 45mm eyepiece and then hopefully the Mewlon with a Tak 28mm Erfle would not be a million miles off.

20 minutes later I caught the moon in the binoculars. Invisible to the naked eye, Stellarium indicated it was roughly 20 degress to the left and 20 degrees higher than the sun. I simply could not find it in the 60CB. To cut a long story short, the next half hour was spent sighting the moon in the binoculars, loosing it, eventually finding it in the 60CB only to have it invisible in the Mewlon finder. Eventually, using a distant tree, I figured out how how much off the 60CB and the Mewlon finder were and was able to compensate by offsetting the 60CB in order to get the Moon in the Mewlon finder. The next problem was the Mewlon was off focus, so the moon was invisible even when it was in view. And the Mewlon, unlike a rack and pinion focuser where you can very quickly snap to the focus point, has quite a large focus range achieved by turning the focus knob about 5000 turns! By which time of course the moon has drifted out of the view. 

To cut another long story short, I got there in the end!

It was low contrast, still a very bright sky, still could not see the moon with the naked eye but I was surprised at the detail visible in the Mewlon. I can't compare it with anything, never having observed the moon in these conditions before but I genuinely was impressed at the detail. 

Some time later, when the moon did become naked eye visible, I was able to put in a 12.5mm Tak Abbe and start to recognise some features - see pic. Seeing was surprisingly good despite the moon being so low over Belfast. Lots of caveats but I thought the Mewlon gave a stunning view, can't wait to observe it in better conditions.

Next, I waited for about half an hour until I could see Vega. I did what I thought was a star test to check collimation. The out of focus star showed perfect concentric airy discs either side of focus. So I think collimation is spot on despite being transported half way round the world. The finder was also perfectly aligned. I put the Erfle back in and star hopped to M57. Now this is not a long way, but surprisingly difficult given the very narrow FOV of the Mewlon. But the Giro Ercole makes it very easy to star hop, having the dual setup I think makes the Ercole even smoother to slew. That being said it still took me a good 20 minutes! Very satisfying to see M57, all be it very feint but definitely donut shaped with the 'hole' in the middle.

Next I thought I'd try for M13 but despite it being 10.30 it was still day light and I couldn't see any of the stars in Hercules to give me a starting point. Besides, I was expecting my partner back at 11 :) Actually, I lied at the start. My partner has been extremely tolerant with all the packages arriving from FLO and positively encourages me in this hobby :)

Some might query my sanity in spending such a long time trying to star hop or randomly guess where an object is, but for me, this is all part of the challenge and enjoyment of this hobby. And I get such a feeling of satisfaction when I do eventually find what I'm looking for!

So in summary; the Mewlon, 60CB and Giro Ercole make for a great star hopping combination. It's a joy to use. The time it took me to find anything was down to the bright sky and my inexperience, not the equipment. The Mewlon is a lovely scope to use, perfect finder alignment and collimation out of the box and initial observations in adverse conditions make me feel it will give stunning views.

If you've got this far, thanks for reading!

Malcolm

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46 minutes ago, MalcolmM said:

Next I thought I'd try for M13 but despite it being 10.30 it was still day light and I couldn't see any of the stars in Hercules

I was out the other clear night here around 10.30 and, as you say, it's still daylight. I had to wait till 11.45 till I could make out the stars of Hercules with the naked eye and get glimpse of M13 through the SD81.

Your Tak combo looks the business.

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Great report @MalcolmM, and what an excellent setup. I enjoyed my Mewlon 210, and I bet the 180 is pretty close in a much more convenient package. I agree that the Ercole’s seem to work better with two scopes on them, smoother and balance easier to find.

Your fourth paragraph did make me chuckle; been there, done that 🤪🤪🤣🤣

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7 minutes ago, Stu said:

I enjoyed my Mewlon 210, and I bet the 180 is pretty close in a much more convenient package

That was something else I meant to comment on; to me the Mu 180 looks enormous but it's actually very easy to work with and the finder/handle makes it a dawdle to carry round and attach to the mount.

Malcolm

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5 minutes ago, MalcolmM said:

the finder/handle makes it a dawdle to carry round and attach to the mount.

All finders should be like that! Rock solid 👍

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25 minutes ago, MalcolmM said:

That was something else I meant to comment on; to me the Mu 180 looks enormous but it's actually very easy to work with and the finder/handle makes it a dawdle to carry round and attach to the mount.

Malcolm

It’s great isn’t it… light weight (for its size and aperture) plus an amazing finder, which just never goes out of alignment and is a lovely handle. It also doesn’t dew up at all👍

As you’ve already discovered, this plus another Tak refractor is just an awesome combination for an extended session… the refractor for wide(er) field and Mewlon for high magnification.

The only minor downside is that it usually needs anything up to an hour to cool down properly. It’s usable but doesn’t give its best until then. 

Enjoy 😀

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8 hours ago, HollyHound said:

The only minor downside is that it usually needs anything up to an hour to cool down properly

I was not aware of this the other night but I think our house was actually colder than outside plus for the first hour I was only looking at sky :) But I have heard they take a good bit of time to cool despite the open tube.

Malcolm

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Just now, MalcolmM said:

I was not aware of this the other night but I think our house was actually colder than outside plus for the first hour I was only looking at sky :) But I have heard they take a good bit of time to cool despite the open tube.

Malcolm

I usually put mine outside before I’m ready to observes anyway and let it cool, but indeed if it’s already cool from where it’s being stored, this will reduce the time.

It’s useable, but without cooling, mine has lots of aberrations. After 30mins, they’re reduced significantly, but won’t be perfect until an hour. Once cooled though, it’s stunning, particularly on the moon 😍

In case you haven’t seen it, there’s a great write up here on the M180C (and loads of other scopes too)

http://www.scopeviews.co.uk/TakMewlon180C.htm

Welcome to the Mewlon club 😃

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39 minutes ago, HollyHound said:

I usually put mine outside before I’m ready to observes anyway and let it cool, but indeed if it’s already cool from where it’s being stored, this will reduce the time.

It’s useable, but without cooling, mine has lots of aberrations. After 30mins, they’re reduced significantly, but won’t be perfect until an hour. Once cooled though, it’s stunning, particularly on the moon 😍

In case you haven’t seen it, there’s a great write up here on the M180C (and loads of other scopes too)

http://www.scopeviews.co.uk/TakMewlon180C.htm

Welcome to the Mewlon club 😃

Thanks @HollyHound, I'll have to find something to keep it in while cooling outside! Yes, I know that website. It makes for great reading. Helped push me towards buying the Mewlon :) But I do admit to making up my mind on the Mewlon 'cause it's a Tak and looks fab and then doing the selective research just to try and justify my choice :)

Malcolm

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Great report @MalcolmM 👍

The M180 is a great scope, I am surprised by just how sharp it is when cooled and the contrast it delivers is superb.

As the tube is short it’s easy to handle and comfortable to look through - I think it’s a great all rounder.

My FC100DZ and FS128 are worried 😱😂

I rest this on the spider vanes to cool mine down.

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1 hour ago, dweller25 said:

My FC100DZ and FS128 are worried

Yes, I was expecting it to be much more unwieldy than my 100DC but it's not! But at the end of the day, it's not a refractor :)

Malcolm

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Good report and such nice scopes that i think must compliment each other very well.

I like the lightweight tripod and mount, but if you were to ever think of an upgrade i'd really think you'd benefit from something like the new Rowan AZ75.

And to use the Nexus DSC to easily find stuff and push to it. 

Star hopping is all well and good, but clear skys are in short supply and you don't need to take 20 mins to find an object.

I think you'd find the Nexus a game changer.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, MalcolmM said:

Yes, I was expecting it to be much more unwieldy than my 100DC but it's not! But at the end of the day, it's not a refractor :)

Indeed it is not, but (as you've found), pairing the M180C with a refractor makes an excellent and versatile setup 😁

4 minutes ago, Space Hopper said:

I like the lightweight tripod and mount, but if you were to ever think of an upgrade i'd really think you'd benefit from something like the new Rowan AZ75.

Agreed, I use mine on the AZ100, but I'm sure the AZ75 would be more than up to the job... I just need to add a Nexus DSC too now to get "push to" capability (encoders already built in) 👍

62BE5EA8-86FE-4A2F-AC33-B592A9D55049.jpeg

Edited by HollyHound
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9 hours ago, Space Hopper said:

Star hopping is all well and good, but clear skys are in short supply

Very true. I'll see how I get on with darker skies before committing to more expenditure but the Rowans do look very nice.

Malcolm

 

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9 hours ago, HollyHound said:

Indeed it is not, but (as you've found), pairing the M180C with a refractor makes an excellent and versatile setup 😁

Agreed, I use mine on the AZ100, but I'm sure the AZ75 would be more than up to the job... I just need to add a Nexus DSC too now to get "push to" capability (encoders already built in) 👍

62BE5EA8-86FE-4A2F-AC33-B592A9D55049.jpeg

That's a great looking setup with the bigger frac. That must be absolutely rock solid! I've always erred on the light weight and portable but that does come with a cost in stability and vibration!

Malcolm

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One of my Astro dreams is to look through a Tak reflector. I’ve seen some incredible images of Jupiter on Twitter from a 250 Mu

I had no idea they had handle finders, that is a sensational idea. My frac finder likes to move about 90° before every session on the 76DC.

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Great read and I see a Mu in my future Ive been reading up on them. Whilst I also own an Ercole I put goto drives on an old EQ5 and once polar aligned I leave it outside. I've been able to find Jupiter during the day this way which is absurd when you think about it. I do prefer the Ercole regardless. 

I have an FC100DF and at times wish for a brighter high mag. view than the FC100 gives on the moon. Im half way to going all out to a TSA120 but think the Mu180 might be a at least as good on the moon without compromising the FC100. Your report is very helpful in this regard so keep them coming.. 

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4 hours ago, StarryEyed said:

Great read and I see a Mu in my future Ive been reading up on them. Whilst I also own an Ercole I put goto drives on an old EQ5 and once polar aligned I leave it outside. I've been able to find Jupiter during the day this way which is absurd when you think about it. I do prefer the Ercole regardless. 

I have an FC100DF and at times wish for a brighter high mag. view than the FC100 gives on the moon. Im half way to going all out to a TSA120 but think the Mu180 might be a at least as good on the moon without compromising the FC100. Your report is very helpful in this regard so keep them coming.. 

I have a 100DC. I'll try and do a comparison sometime between it and the Mewlon.

Malcolm

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5 hours ago, StarryEyed said:

Im half way to going all out to a TSA120 but think the Mu180 might be a at least as good on the moon without compromising the FC100.

I’d also been thinking about getting a TSA120 for a good while, but since getting the Mewlon 180C, I’ve not felt the need. Having it alongside my FC-100DZ does indeed give a good combination.

The refractor cools very quickly and is ready to go almost straight away, so can be used whilst the Mewlon cools.

The TSA120 may get much closer to the Mewlon, and one day I may check that out, but for now I’m more than happy with having these two as a pair for those longer sessions 👍

46 minutes ago, MalcolmM said:

I have a 100DC. I'll try and do a comparison sometime between it and the Mewlon.

I love the view through a good refractor, but it’s still only 4 inches of aperture and so that’s where the Mewlon takes over. It goes significantly deeper, brighter and just that little bit more detail.

Refractors do have a certain “classiness” to the view and of course can give great wide field views.

Again, the two compliment each other perfectly 😀

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@StarryEyed I got a quick session last night with the 180 and the 100DC after a night out! Moon was low and seeing very turbulent so not the best conditions for a comparison, let alone my wine impaired vision! 18 Abbe in the Mu and 7.5LE in the DC. What stood out for me was 1) despite its bulk, the Mu is just as easy to handle as the DC, arguably easier with the built in handle 2) the Mu gives much brighter views (as you would expect with ~3 times the light gathering power) 3) I can't say anything popped out in the Mu that I couldn't see in the DC (probably due to the poor seeing conditions) but fine rills for example were much easier to see and simply stood out better 4) no obvious difference in contrast between the scopes, I'm not sure what you would expect in this regard 4) the combination of Mu and DC on the Giro Ercole is really easy to use, even when I upped the power beyond what the seeing allowed, it was easy to track.

A quick look at the Ring Nebula. Again despite the late hour it was virtually daylight! But much more obvious in the Mu and the donut shape visible. In the DC dimmer and no obvious donut shape.

The stars, in particular Vega, didn't seem quite as sharp in the Mu. This was a very hurried observation as I was heading in. Not sure if this is a refractor/reflector thing or whether I need to double check collimation or whether I imagined it. By this time I had an Erfle 28mm in the DC (x26) and 25mm Abbe in the Mu (x86) so potentially an unfair comparison!

Hope this is of some help!

Malcolm

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