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Observing the Moon with very good seeing - and observation report


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Last night it was perfectly clear and a very comfortable 15 degrees or so, so I carried my 4" APO and Berlebach Castor II mount to a small local park. I sometimes observe from a parking lot where I live, however, I thought a grassy area would be a better place to observe than on an area of asphalt after a hot and sunny day. Setting up only took a couple of minutes, and pointing the telescope towards the Moon showed very promising views despite the scope had just been taken out of its flight case. Observing double stars later that night revealed the seeing was probably 9/10 on the Pickering scale!!

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TeleVue 2X barlow and Baader VIP barlow comparison

This was also my first time trying out my new Baader VIP 2X barlow, and it was, as expected, sharp, high contrast and everything else you'd want a barlow to be. After spending a while on the Moon with the VIP, I decided to switch it out for my TeleVue 2X barlow instead. Build-wise these are obviously two different animals, the TV being simply the lens, a nosepiece and the eyepiece slot, whereas the VIP offers much more flexibility to change magnification and much more. I even tried replacing the lens element with the nosepeice on my prism, which also worked great.

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This image is taken with my OnePlus 7Pro through my 18mm Baader Classic Ortho and VIP barlow yielding roughly 80X magnification.

Comparing the two optically was tougher to say the least. However, to my eye it seemed like the colors through the VIP were slightly warmer than through the TeleVue. It was difficult to say whether the contrast in either one of them was better than in the other, and the same goes for details and sharpness.
So optically, I didn't prefer one over the other. However, I think the higher price of the VIP is well worth the money, as it offers so much versatility compared to the TV barlow which is... just a barlow I guess:laugh2:

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Now an image taken with a 10mm Baader Classic Ortho and VIP barlow, at 143X, roughly centered around Plato.

Observing Plato revealed the A craterlet easily, however, I wasn't able to convince myself I saw neither the B craterlet or the C, D pair. The contrast on the lunar features looked amazing though, and I spent a good while studying the crater floors around the terminator. I often think back to my lunar observation with my two previous reflectors and can't ever recall seeing the same sharpness, contrast and 3D-like details, that I'm seeing with my APO.

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Same magnification as the image above, but now centered on the southern hemisphere.

I spent the majority of the night at 143X magnification or even higher with the 6mm ortho, giving 238X!! At 238X the image still remained sharp, however, it didn't reveal any details I couldn't already see at 143X. It's also worth mentioning, that it's more comfortable using the 10mm than the 6mm due to the eye relief. For double stars, later that night, the 6mm and VIP worked wonders though!

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Finally, an image of the southern hemisphere with the 6mm and VIP barlow. Difficult to capture with a phone at this point, due to the exit pupil and brightness of the image.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my lunar session as much as I enjoyed the session itself! It was great to get out with the scope for some observing, and I was quite surprised with the seeing conditions. Hopefully this summer will allow for more nights like these since the astronomical darkness is already gone here in Denmark, so I look forward to observing the Moon, planets and double stars:thumbright:

Victor

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9 minutes ago, Stu said:

Nice write up @Victor Boesen, and great photos 👍👍. I managed a bit of a session and the seeing was very good here too.

Thanks Stu! It's so rewarding when the seeing plays along. Only downside during the summer is the Moon is quite low here, especially when close to 100% illuminated. Didn't seem to matter much yesterday though:thumbright:

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Great report Victor, your scope is looking very handsome on the Castor.! 🙂 I also bought a VIP Barlow when I bought my Baader Zoom Mk4 recently and I’ve been meaning to do a head-to-head with my Seben Zoom + Baader classic Barlow which has been my main combination up to now. Trouble is I have a long list of head-to-heads and comparisons I’d like to do, not making much progress! 

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Great report to read. I've often wondered about the vip Barlow. I don't have a decent Barlow but sometimes use 2" 2x powermate and a 1.25" 2.5x powermate.

The versatility of the vip is a big plus and if it is on a par for the views it is tempting.

Could I ask what is the actual lense component in amongst all the T2 bits, does it just connect in like a glass path corrector would for a baader binoviewer?

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Thank you both!!

45 minutes ago, RobertI said:

Trouble is I have a long list of head-to-heads and comparisons I’d like to do, not making much progress!

I know the feeling:laugh2: Weather really isn't any help either I can imagine!

27 minutes ago, Paz said:

Great report to read. I've often wondered about the vip Barlow. I don't have a decent Barlow but sometimes use 2" 2x powermate and a 1.25" 2.5x powermate.

The versatility of the vip is a big plus and if it is on a par for the views it is tempting.

Could I ask what is the actual lense component in amongst all the T2 bits, does it just connect in like a glass path corrector would for a baader binoviewer?

Thanks you! Judging from the brief comparison I did, I was not able to detect any optical disadvantages between the two, so the VIP should perform equally as good as your powermates. The barlow element of the VIP is located inside a T2-1.25" nosepiece, but can be removed to reveal another thread. I'm not sure what type of thread, and Baader actually don't mention the thread type either:icon_scratch:

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However, for some clarification, you may find the following diagram, from Baader, of the barlow useful:

VIP Barlowlinse Astro T2 System

@Piero and @Littleguy80 have also done some great threads about their modifications to the barlow to fit their needs. Here are two of them, which I found helpful:

https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/372569-baader-vip-barlow-tips-and-tricks/

https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/301743-baader-vip-baaderzeiss-barlow/#comment-3301809

Victor

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Yes, the VIP element cell can be removed from the 1.25" baader nosepiece and screwed onto this other adapter (# 2458199) on the side where the writing "Tak adapter m43" is located: https://www.baader-planetarium.com/en/accessories/adapters-imaging-accessories/astro-t2-system/baader-m43a-x-0.75--t-2a-adapter-(e.g.-for-takahashi).html 

Then, this tak adapter can be connected via T2 to any 2" Baader nosepiece / reducer. 

Advantages of this configuration for visual use are:

  1. the change in focus position when the VIP is used or removed is minor. Also, adding spacers does not change the focus position much
  2. it is more solid, as it slots into the focuser via 2"
  3. the barlow can be used with 2" diagonals without hitting the mirror or prism

 

Optically, the Baader VIP is excellent and I prefer it to the TV powermate 2.5x or Bresser SA telextender 2x I had (which were both very good BTW).

It's the only tool I found that it can kind of improve the views when used. Here is a comparison when I used the VIP with some eyepieces. 

  • Zeiss zoom D-vario 25.1-6.7mm + VIP => reduced CA, FC, astigmatism at the edge. Contrast and transmission unaffected (=superb).
  • Docter 12.5mm UWA + VIP => the feeling is to have a Docter of shorter focal length. Contrast and transmission unaffected (=superb).
  • Vixen SLV 5mm + VIP => Oh boy.. this was just a tad behind the Vixen HR 2.4mm. Quite shocking.
  • Nagler T6 9mm + VIP => I have not yet checked this on planets, but stars appear tighter in my Tak refractor.
  • Delos 12mm and 8mm + VIP => Slightly more contrast, slightly tighter stars.
  • Nikon zoom MC1 21mm-9mm + VIP => tighter stars and seems to offer slightly more contrast.
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  • 1 month later...

A fruitful date with the Moon... The images have great merit considering their low altitude... The views of the ED and APO refractors on the Moon are second to none, a delight, which they perhaps lose in resolution and detail due to the smaller aberture, they gain in contrast and sharpness... Congratulations @Víctor Boesen

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5 hours ago, Chandra said:

A fruitful date with the Moon... The images have great merit considering their low altitude... The views of the ED and APO refractors on the Moon are second to none, a delight, which they perhaps lose in resolution and detail due to the smaller aberture, they gain in contrast and sharpness... Congratulations @Víctor Boesen

Thank you very much, and very well said!!

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36 minutes ago, badhex said:

Not sure how I missed this before @Victor Boesen - wonderful report! Also love the pictures - I can never manage to get good phone pictures!

Thank you Joe :thumbright: I was also pretty happy with the images as it is usually pretty difficult to capture the details with a phone. So the posted images are a few among many taken :laugh2:

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