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Bad Skies Great Time.


mikeDnight

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When letting the pooch out into the garden I noticed there were stars in the sky. Excitedly I carried my new mount outside, a Vixen APZ, and attached the FC100D. Then rushed back in for my eyepieces. I had a couple of new eyepieces to play with tonight, the first a 3.5mm XW and the second a 4mm Tak TOE, and so couldn't miss this opportunity. 

 Once everything was ready the clouds moved over, but there were suckered holes to look through and I still managed to have a great time.  I first used mt 30mm Ultraflat to take a peek at M42. I love this eyepiece as its a jewel, giving exactly what it claims, a flat field across the field.  I then aimed at Sirius and swapped to the 3.5mm XW. Yuck! The star danced in a rainbow of colours. Obviously the scope hadn't cooled sufficiently. A few minutes passed and everything settled down, and a perfect Airy disc stared back at me. Unfortunately a telegraph wire cut through my field of view and created an annoying spike across the field. The seeing still wasn't great and no pup was visible to me.

Then I suddenly remembered I had a 4mm TOE to play with. I grabbed the eyepiece, attached it to the scope and aimed at Jupiter, which at this point was not only tickled by cloud, but also nearing the tree tops and the edge of my roof line. Despite this terrible situation,  I brought the scope to focus and was very impressed by the intricately detailed view of the belts.  The 4mm should be excellent when the planet is better placed.

Now a quick comment about the mount. The Vixen APZ was an absolute joy to use. It glides when pushed and its slow motion controls are precise and effortless. I really enjoyed this mount, in fact I think I love it!

Just to give you an idea of how poor the sky actually was I've included a few pic's. Never the less, I had a great time star hopping. 

20240211_215229.thumb.jpg.75436b9d6052b8da308d2d29297df6a7.jpg20240211_215605.thumb.jpg.8241584356b90daac1f279e81dcb07bd.jpg20240211_215159.thumb.jpg.205030077e3b73f93f30977cbf018c38.jpg20240211_215126.thumb.jpg.0fe6484a32284f6ac54c1b3470bf0fa3.jpg20240211_215657.thumb.jpg.25c9d5078a29e1bd92ad68f031512765.jpg20240211_215525.thumb.jpg.d0ff162e76b61878aceab04e62bd3324.jpg

Edited by mikeDnight
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Some nice atmospheric pic’s there Mike and interesting comments on your very sleek looking APZ mount, I take it the Alt / Az friction is adjustable and slo mo knobs can be removed and cables fitted? 
I wonder how my Tak FC-100DL would fare on that mount? 

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2 hours ago, jock1958 said:

Some nice atmospheric pic’s there Mike and interesting comments on your very sleek looking APZ mount, I take it the Alt / Az friction is adjustable and slo mo knobs can be removed and cables fitted? 
I wonder how my Tak FC-100DL would fare on that mount? 

Atmospheric it definitely was, although it was relatively calm at ground level. I'm glad you like them!

It was my first time out with this mount and I loved it. The friction is adjustable using grub screws, but last night it didn't seem to matter what I put on it, or even if I removed things, the mount held perfect position. Yet it moved with a gentle push in both altitude and azimuth, and without stiction. The slow motion controls were smooth and precise even at high power, and strangely pleasing to use, which is probably due to me using an AZ4 for 9 years. 

I avoided this mount for years, because in pictures it looks too lightweight and a bit toyish, but its nothing of the kind. It's a hefty, well built piece of equipment. The price also put me off, but last week I received a notification from Bresser UK that the APZwas reduced by over £100. As luck would have it, before I could place an order, an APZ came up on AB&S cheaper still, so I grabbed it while I could. I was considering the Rowan 75 but that's expensive and has no slow motion controls, so it was a no-brainer really. I'm really glad I bought it. I have no doubt the APZ would handle the FC100DL, the mount has a load capacity of 8kg which I think is 18lb's or there abouts. You could check Bresser UK to see if their reduction is still on.

Edited by mikeDnight
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12 hours ago, mikeDnight said:

When letting the pooch out into the garden I noticed there were stars in the sky. Excitedly I carried my new mount outside, a Vixen APZ, and attached the FC100D. Then rushed back in for my eyepieces. I had a couple of new eyepieces to play with tonight, the first a 3.5mm XW and the second a 4mm Tak TOE, and so couldn't miss this opportunity. 

 Once everything was ready the clouds moved over, but there were suckered holes to look through and I still managed to have a great time.  I first used mt 30mm Ultraflat to take a peek at M42. I love this eyepiece as its a jewel, giving exactly what it claims, a flat field across the field.  I then aimed at Sirius and swapped to the 3.5mm XW. Yuck! The star danced in a rainbow of colours. Obviously the scope hadn't cooled sufficiently. A few minutes passed and everything settled down, and a perfect Airy disc stared back at me. Unfortunately a telegraph wire cut through my field of view and created an annoying spike across the field. The seeing still wasn't great and no pup was visible to me.

Then I suddenly remembered I had a 4mm TOE to play with. I grabbed the eyepiece, attached it to the scope and aimed at Jupiter, which at this point was not only tickled by cloud, but also nearing the tree tops and the edge of my roof line. Despite this terrible situation,  I brought the scope to focus and was very impressed by the intricately detailed view of the belts.  The 4mm should be excellent when the planet is better placed.

Now a quick comment about the mount. The Vixen APZ was an absolute joy to use. It glides when pushed and its slow motion controls are precise and effortless. I really enjoyed this mount, in fact I think I love it!

Just to give you an idea of how poor the sky actually was I've included a few pic's. Never the less, I had a great time star hopping. 

20240211_215229.thumb.jpg.75436b9d6052b8da308d2d29297df6a7.jpg20240211_215605.thumb.jpg.8241584356b90daac1f279e81dcb07bd.jpg20240211_215159.thumb.jpg.205030077e3b73f93f30977cbf018c38.jpg20240211_215126.thumb.jpg.0fe6484a32284f6ac54c1b3470bf0fa3.jpg20240211_215657.thumb.jpg.25c9d5078a29e1bd92ad68f031512765.jpg20240211_215525.thumb.jpg.d0ff162e76b61878aceab04e62bd3324.jpg

Nice write up Mike.

Any chance of dome pics taken in the daytime?  I could hardly see them on my phone they are so dark.

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32 minutes ago, paulastro said:

Nice write up Mike.

Any chance of dome pics taken in the daytime?  I could hardly see them on my phone they are so dark.

Here you go Paul. Inc video. Sorry about the traffic noise. Its not normally so noisy round here!

The APZ can be motorised and can use star book according to instructions. I don't need either. Very little damping time needed, even on my Vixen AL tripod. ~2seconds!

The counterweight can be removed and a counterweight arm can be attached to balance heavier scopes if needed.

 

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Edited by mikeDnight
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4 hours ago, mikeDnight said:

Atmospheric it definitely was, although it was relatively calm at ground level. I'm glad you like them!

It was my first time out with this mount and I loved it. The friction is adjustable using grub screws, but last night it didn't seem to matter what I put on it, or even if I removed things, the mount held perfect position. Yet it moved with a gentle push in both altitude and azimuth, and without stiction. The slow motion controls were smooth and precise even at high power, and strangely pleasing to use, which is probably due to me using an AZ4 for 9 years. 

I avoided this mount for years, because in pictures it looks too lightweight and a bit toyish, but its nothing of the kind. It's a hefty, well built piece of equipment. The price also put me off, but last week I received a notification from Bresser UK that the APZwas reduced by over £100. As luck would have it, before I could place an order, an APZ came up on AB&S cheaper still, so I grabbed it while I could. I was considering the Rowan 75 but that's expensive and has no slow motion controls, so it was a no-brainer really. I'm really glad I bought it. I have no doubt the APZ would handle the FC100DL, the mount has a load capacity of 8kg which I think is 18lb's or there abouts. You could check Bresser UK to see if their reduction is still on.

Thanks Mike

I must admit I've seen this mount in passing but never payed much attention to it but now you've spiked my curiosity,  I've always been on the lookout for something similar to the Skytee 2 but with a bit more quality and not forgetting Slo Mo controls!!

Also glad that you mentioned it can be motor driven as I was confused with your picture with the fuse in it 🤣

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2 hours ago, Deadlake said:

How does the APZ deal with a heavy EP on the back, what happens with the balance?

The heaviest eyepiece I have at present is my 30mm Altair Ultraflat, which is of stainless steel construction. Not sure what it actually weighs though,  but it isn't light! The mount doesn't budge when removing the eyepiece no matter what the angle. I'm pretty confident it would easily handle my Maxbright etc without any problem. So far the mount has kept perfect balance!

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9 hours ago, mikeDnight said:

Here you go Paul. Inc video. Sorry about the traffic noise. Its not normally so noisy round here!

The APZ can be motorised and can use star book according to instructions. I don't need either. Very little damping time needed, even on my Vixen AL tripod. ~2seconds!

The counterweight can be removed and a counterweight arm can be attached to balance heavier scopes if needed.

 

20240212_121801.jpg

20240212_121822.jpg

20240212_121835.jpg

20240212_121849.jpg

20240212_121949.jpg

20240212_122011.jpg

20240212_121919.jpg

 

Many thanks Mike, much appreciated, your pics look a lot better with the lights on 🙂.  The mount looks good with your Tak.

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