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Nightspore

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Everything posted by Nightspore

  1. Some spectacular pictures there Rob. They remind me of the Atlas de-orbit burn I witnessed from my back garden. Of course, as November approaches there will be plenty of rockets in the night sky here. lol
  2. I originally acquired the 15mm Altair ULTRAFLAT in April 2019 for my 80ED DS Pro Evostar. It was a month later that I managed to get first light with the 15mm Altair EP. Fast forward a couple of years and it really hasn’t been used since then. There are various reasons for this situation. I initially bought the ULTRAFLAT eyepiece to solve a weight problem. Not my weight obviously as I’m a bit skinny. A 15mm focal length EP gives a 2mm exit pupil for 40x on the 80ED, which is a great mid-range magnification for the scope, particularly for many open clusters. At the time I carried the 80ED out in its supplied ‘Jason Statham’ hard case instead of a soft (and therefore lighter) bag. The case had provision for accessories, including eyepieces. Progressively over time the case seemed to get unnaturally heavy. I was taking a 15mm Celestron Luminos out in the case among other eyepieces and assorted accessories. I’m one of the few people who actually like the Luminos range. The eye relief and eye placement suit me and the overall ergonomics are very good. The 82° FOV and large field stop are outright luxurious. I even like the twist-up eyeguard and excessively shiny housings (well sort of). I can live with some of its peccadilloes like the slight edge of field brightening and occasional glaring. However, I just can’t live with its weight. The Luminos is 140g heavier than the 15mm Altair which is just over 200g. I have a much smaller 15mm GSO SuperView, and although I like it a lot, it just wasn’t the same. I even have a 16mm T5 Nagler which is very lightweight and the dreaded ‘ring of fire’ wouldn’t be a problem for rich field. I’m not a fan of long eye relief and can tolerate quite short lengths for lunar and planetary viewing. I’ve always considered the T5’s 10mm relief was ample for concentrating on high magnification targets but I wasn’t keen on it for low power sweeping. The Luminos was also unwieldy in the 80ED’s stock focuser which doesn’t rotate. The ULTRAFLAT series were apparently designed in the US by Mark Ackermann and are actually manufactured by Kunming United Optics. APM owned the exclusive rights for two years. They are now sold under a variety of brand names and housing liveries. Although the range has ‘only’ a 65° AFOV they were reputed to have a very flat, sharp field. It’s very similar in size and weight to a 19mm Tele Vue Panoptic and even resembles it in many respects. It had 5° of field over my 15mm TS Optics Planetary EP and was smaller and more compact. The barrel had no undercut but was equipped with Baader-style safety kerfs. Which is almost as good as a smooth barrel. I was quite impressed with the Altair when I first used it with the 80ED. It was easily rotated in the diagonal. The field was incredibly flat with a dark background and the colour separation and acuity were superb. As far as I could tell it was like this right up to the field stop with no discernible chromatic or spherical aberrations. I could detect no eye placement issues and the purported 16mm eye relief felt comfortable for rich field sweeping. However, the rubber eyeguard seriously started to bug me. There’s nothing actually wrong with it and it can be rolled down out of the way. For most people it wouldn’t really be a problem. I’m partially paralysed in my right hand and arm. So fiddling about with stubborn rubber eyecups can regularly involve getting greasy fingerprints on the eye lens. Recently I’ve discovered that I have a spare Baader lens cap that fits the eyepiece with the guard rolled down. This does change things a bit and I plan to use this lightweight eyepiece with small aperture grab and go refractors more often. I ended up with a 15mm TV DeLite for the 80ED. I replaced the stock focuser on the Evostar with a MoonLite rotating crayford. Then finally with a Sky-Watcher (Long Perng) rotating Crayford. Due to its light weight I intend getting the ULTRAFLAT out with smaller refractors, particularly my 60 EDF.
  3. You're welcome. I forgot to mention an old trick with cat's (or any slow scopes). By threading an 0.5x reducer directly into the barrel of an eyepiece it effectively doubles its focal length. The 25mm TV Plossl above basically becomes a 50mm Plossl. Depending on the individual eyepiece there may sometimes be some vignetting. Also it's possible the secondary mirror can be seen with very long focal lengths, although I've never seen it on my MCT's or SCT with a '50mm' eyepiece. 1.25" 50mm eyepieces are rare. In a scope with a 1500mm focal length this would now give a 30x magnification and an exit pupil of 5mm. Some larger SCT's have provision for a reducer-corrector to be threaded directly into the visual back. I have one for my 235mm SCT. I believe you can thread one into your scope. This effectively gives the scope a focal ratio of f/6.3. An 18 or 19mm eyepiece would give around a 3mm exit pupil. A 25mm Plossl would give a near 4mm exit pupil. Again, there may be some vignetting with eyepieces with wide FOV's.
  4. There's a lot of mythology about astronomical equipment, especially EP kits. This is often perpetuated on some forums (*cough* Cloudy Nights *cough*) by people who almost certainly have no actual experience with the items in question. The only negative thing I found with the Celestron Eyeopener Kit was that the filter threads were often incompatible with the supplied eyepieces threads. Which is why I recommended GSO filters which generally have universally compatible threads. Eye relief preferences vary and I'm happy with as little as 3~4mm for short focal length Plossls and orthoscopics. The chart above is about typical for ortho's. For wide field EP's anything much longer than about 13mm and I find I can have eye placement issues with some individual eyepieces. With an f/10 SCT you won't need wide field eyepieces that are excessively overcorrected for edge astigmatism, which is why I recommended the SuperViews. The requirements for faster scopes are more stringent. Oddly there are even differences between fast refractors and fast Newtonians. I find Celestron Lumimos eyepieces work quite well in refractors up to f/4.9, yet glare badly in Newtonian scopes faster than f/5. Secondhand eyepieces are an option but catadioptric scopes are generally optically more forgiving. It's not always about how expensive the retail price is. The 5mm eyepieces above are quite different prices, yet optically I can detect no difference.
  5. There's nothing actually wrong with the Celestron Eyeopener Kit. There is some misconception that all kits are rubbish. This is possibly due to the fact that the first Celestron kits often contained substandard eyepieces and were a marketing gimmick supplied with some old entry level Celestron scopes. The Plossls in later stand-alone kits were all perfectly decent and were manufactured by both GSO and Barsta (BST) at one time. I don't know about now though. The filters were OK but suffered from some thread incompatibilities. This 'Astro Essentials' kit has 'StellaLyra' eyepieces and filters which are actually manufactured by GSO. These are excellent value for the money and are distributed under several brand names. If you want a wider field on a 150mm SCT GSO SuperViews are an economical EP. I even use these in short tube achromats. I find them ergonomically quite pleasant to use. Bear in mind your SCT is f/10 and has a 1500mm focal length. A 15mm eyepiece will give 100x and a 10mm will give 150x. If you want to observe many DSO's you will need an eyepiece that will deliver at least a 3mm exit pupil or preferably greater. With SCT's all you need to do to calculate the exit pupil is divide the eyepiece focal length by 10 (which is the focal ratio of your scope). Altair used to sell the SuperViews at one time and I have a bino pair for my 127mm MCT. Unfortunately SCT's and MCT's aren't very good for rich field observing (due to their limited field of view). However they can excel at high lunar/planetary magnifications and for viewing brighter DSO's.
  6. Congratulations on the Meade purchases, they look great. I'm pretty sure those old Meade UWA 5000's were made by JOC and have the same lens groups as the ES equivalent focal lengths. I have one of the more modern 12mm 5000 HD 60° which supposedly have the same internal organs as the X-Cel LX range (Celestron). Both are 60°. Apparently you have to actually move your eyeball to see the field stop at more than 65° field. The only real differences between the UWA Meade EP's and the ES 82° series are that the latter have a rubber flip-up eyeguard instead of the weird Meade one and are filled with kryptonite gas or something. IIRC the Meade 82° EP's gained an almost legendary reputation and are virtually collector's items nowadays. I actually bought 9mm and 7mm Nagler T 6's to replace my 8.8mm and 6.7mm ES equivalents but actually tend to prefer the ES and thus kept them. The 8.8mm is one of my favourites and many believe it to be the best of the line. In fact, I was using the 6.7mm and 8.8mm early this morning on M42 and the Double Cluster. I had a superb view of the Andromeda Galaxy with the 6.7mm. I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy using those Meade 5000 UWA eyepieces.
  7. Thanks. I think it's been a fairly warm September and dewing hasn't been excessive. Yay for global warming!
  8. Thanks. I saw a lot more to be honest, including some nice views of the Double Cluster. It's getting higher and so better defined. There's a load of open clusters in and around Perseus and Andromeda. The TMB clones can vary hugely in price. I'm pretty sure they're all made in the same factory. They were originally intended to be reasonably priced planetary EP's. The TS Optics version, most probably made by BST, has a slightly better build quality but I can't tell any optical difference between the two. They all probably cost about a tenner to actually produce, everything else is mark-up. My TMB clones get out regularly.
  9. I managed fifteen sessions in September, five more than in September 2020. Interestingly all of September’s sessions were with one scope; my 72ED Evostar. September the 5th was its third year ‘first light’ anniversary. Coincidentally I also got first light with the ‘unusual’ 4.8mm orthoscopic on the 5th. I had some pretty good views of Saturn and Jupiter as well as splitting a fair few doubles. The 4.8mm went out with the 72ED the rest of September. I like the fact that it’s a small, very lightweight eyepiece, which is an important consideration for a grab and go rig. However, it does have some occasional chromatic and ghosting issues. Overall though I’d say it was a fair attempt at an orthoscopic eyepiece. I don’t know exactly who manufacture these, no doubt somewhere on the Chinese mainland, but I have seen them for sale at quite inflated prices. I reckon anything much over forty quid and it would be preferable to obtain a reputable Japanese orthoscopic. The main high power eyepieces I used were a 4mm TS Optics Planetary HR and a 3.2mm TMB clone. Although I did have a couple of sessions with an Orion zoom and a Baader Barlow. I got to give my 15mm Altair ULTRAFLAT a bit of a workout on the 29th. I originally bought it a couple of years ago specifically for my 80ED DS Pro as it was light and gives a 2mm exit pupil (40x). Apparently they were designed by Mark Ackermann in the US and APM had exclusive marketing rights for two years. They are actually manufactured by Kunming United Optics. I wasn't a great fan of the eyeguard although it can be rolled down and I've finally discovered a spare Baader dust cap that now fits it with the eyeguard permanently rolled down. For what they cost these are quite exceptional eyepieces, with a very well contrasted, sharp, and flat field. It definitely needs to get out more. On the 6th I got a nice view of the Alpha Persei Moving Group at 17.5x with a 24mm ES 68° eyepiece. Which was great as I hadn’t seen it for a while. As I swept the bottom of Cassiopeia with the 24mm ES I had a nice view of NGC 281 (aka the Pacman Nebula) and the Andromeda Galaxy. I made a mental note to take the broadband ES OIII filter the next time, especially for the Pacman. Conditions were very good and I believed the OIII would make the nebula a lot easier to define. Reverting to higher powered eyepieces I got to see a Europa/Ganymede conjunction. On Tuesday the 7th I went out for an hour at about 22:00 and split a setting Izar before searching for more doubles in Boötes. I went out on Wednesday at about 21:00 but I didn’t even set-up as the sky was basically a blanket of cloud. I’m seriously going to have to find a better weather app. I did go out early on the 8th though. When I say early, I mean at 04:30, to view Cr 70 (Serpent Cluster) M1 and especially M42 in what was essentially a winter sky but with summer type weather. I was seriously over the moon seeing the Crab Nebula and I’m pretty sure this is the earliest time of the year I’ve seen it. On the 20th I got my one hundredth session this year. This time I remembered the OIII and got good views of M27 as well as NGC 281. On the Equinox (22nd) I got to see the Petavius rille after initially packing up at the end of a session due to cloud, and then setting up again to see the Moon. The rille itself is only really observable two to three days after the Full Moon. The 23rd was my 103rd outing this year equalling the total number of sessions in 2020. On the 27th the conditions were very humid but the sky was cloud-free for hours. Naturally I had a pretty decent session, although splitting Mu Boötis was very difficult. The weirdest thing was witnessing an Atlas V rocket de-orbit burn from my back garden. Of course, I had no idea what it was at the time. The last session of the month, on the 29th, was barely an hour. I did get a very nice view of the Draconis 17 triple system and a bit later I glimpsed an Io transit shadow before everything clouded over. September is often very damp and humid with excessive dew problems. I’ve noticed the finder dewing a bit but as a whole it hasn’t been too bad for this time of the year.
  10. Most UK and German retailers export to the US as far as I know. I have accounts at all of the retailers listed below: UK: Altair Astro FLO Widescreen Centre RVO 365Astronomy Harrison Telescopes Germany: TS Optics Astroshop APM US: Agena Astro
  11. Most 'Plossl' eyepieces are basically a four element asymmetrical and have little in common with the original symmetrical design. There's an awful lot of gibberish talked about the design. Although Simon Plössl designed the original eyepiece for microscopes I believe. Clave and Tele Vue made their respective versions of the Plossl eyepiece more popular in the 1980's. Its chief advantage was good visual acuity with at least 50 degrees of field of view. They were never particularly cheap. TV Plossls aren't now. Eventually cheaper Chinese mass produced 'Plossls' became prevalent on the market. For some reason they tend to be perceived as an inferior eyepiece even though few entry level scopes are actually bundled with inexpensive 'Plossls'. 'Plossls' are easier to mass produce than orthoscopic eyepieces and have advantages over earlier designs such as Kellners and Ramsdens. There's nothing wrong with a good set of Plossls. Tele Vue have probably done the most to popularise wide angle eyepieces. Al Nagler's designs have been highly influential and most wide angle eyepieces made today probably owe something to them. I don't know the focal ratio of your 200mm Dobsonian but I'd start off with two or three Plossls giving magnifications of around 25x (or less), 50x and 100~150x. Then worry about wide angle eyepieces later.
  12. Atlas V: Rocket launch creates strange lights in UK sky Amateur stargazers in the UK were sent rushing for their cameras by strange cone-shaped lights in the sky created by a US rocket. The Atlas V, carrying Nasa's Landsat-9 satellite, launched at about 20:00 BST on Monday. About two hours later it performed a reversing manoeuvre, releasing two glowing clouds of vapour. Clear skies made for an out-of-this-world view of the stellar spectacle, visible above large parts of UK. Photographer Simon Woodley "couldn't believe his eyes" when he snapped the launch from South Shields. Mr Woodley was out taking photos of the moonrise when he saw the unknown bright light for "three or four minutes". "I went through the possibilities of comet or aircraft or even a laser beam. It was only when I got home I found out what it was," he said. Education charity UK Astronomy said the light was the rocket's deorbit burn, created as it fires its engines to commence its re-entry into Earth's atmosphere before burning up. Astronomer and science writer Will Gater said the glowing, tear drop-shaped clouds were a result of sunlight scattering off material released into space. op cit ~ BBC News Picture from BBC News I went out Monday with my 72ED between 20:30 and 23:30. I actually saw this in the north. I thought it was an aeroplane or a helicopter light distorted by the humidity. The picture above is not dissimilar to what I observed. I even saw it at 105x through a 4mm TS Planetary HR for a few moments. I can't remember the time but I'd say it was around 21:00. After less than a minute or so it seemed to move north west and slightly upwards before disappearing.
  13. The Galilean moons are very dynamic. I have observed a fair few transits this year, including seeing transit shadows.
  14. In 2020 I achieved one hundred and three observing sessions in total. Twenty five were with my Sky-Watcher 72ED DS Pro Evostar. I purchased the Evostar three Septembers ago ostensibly to replace my modified 80mm StarTravel grab and go scope. The 72ED is well balanced, compact, lightweight, and a very easy scope to set-up with my physical disability. Especially combined with a light alt-az mount and tripod. As a consequence it gets out a lot. Although it has an eight millimetre smaller aperture than the ST80 it contains an ED element making it a better and more versatile all-rounder. I now tend to use it predominantly with 1.25” accessories as it is then very well balanced on a Sky-Watcher AZ5 Deluxe mount/tripod. On the twentieth of September 2021 I carefully cleaned the 72ED objective with some Baader Wonder Fluid and a microfibre cloth and prepared to take it out for its thirty seventh session this year. Coincidentally this would also be the hundredth session in total for 2021. I was set-up by 20:00 specifically to evade a 99.7% illuminated ‘Harvest Moon’ rising rapidly in Aquarius. Seeing was about an Antoniadi II with slightly below average transparency. I decided to use an Orion 7-21mm zoom paired with a Baader 2.25x Hyperion Zoom Barlow as the combination is compact, lightweight, and the element threads perfectly into the Orion EP giving a range between 45x and 135x. This is basically around a 1.6mm to an 0.5mm exit pupil. Realistically, as the FOV is quite narrow at the lowest setting, it gave me a useful range between about 70x to 135x. I was out earlier than usual and pleasantly surprised to see Arcturus setting in the west. This enabled me to split one of my favourites, the nearby ε Boo (Izar), at 135x. The transparency wasn’t improving and I failed to properly split the ‘BC’ pair of Mu Bootis (Alkalurops). Cor Caroli and Mizar were easier. I managed M57 in Lyra at about 70x and split the Double Double and several other Summer Triangle doubles at various magnifications. Later I used a 19mm Tele Vue Panoptic to see M27 and as many open clusters as I could before the Moon became too high. I switched back to the zoom/Barlow combo to view the start of an Io transit and then observe the tiny blue disc of Neptune. I knew the rough location of Neptune in relation to the now quite apparent Harvest Moon which made it easier to find. I got another session on the twenty first and was set-up around 20:30. This time I managed to split the BC pair of Alkalurops at 135x with the Orion zoom. I could just about make out the individual stars in the pair so I decided to up the magnification to 175x with a 2x Barlow and a 4.8mm orthoscopic. Unfortunately by the time I’d swapped eyepieces conditions had deteriorated and I couldn’t re-acquire the target. However, I did get a very nice view of Iota Cassiopeiae at both 175x and 135x. The Harvest Moon was now in full swing at 99% illumination and I decided to turn back to Jupiter to witness a Europa occultation. On the evening of the Autumnal Equinox I set-up a bit later at around 21:00. I managed to split Izar again but the transparency was degenerating and I couldn't even find Mu Bootis. The seeing seemed better than the previous couple of nights enabling me to get a sharp 135x on both Saturn and Jupiter. I was so impressed by the drier and less humid conditions that I even tried several filters including a Lumicon Wratten #82A, a Baader Contrast Booster, and a Baader Light Blue 470nm. I’ve always found that light blue filters help reveal detail on Jupiter with smaller aperture refractors. I switched from the Orion zoom to a Takahashi 6mm orthoscopic in a Tele Vue 2x Barlow believing I might get even better surface detail definition. The biggest surprise was that as far as I could tell there was no discernible difference in surface detail between the Takahasi ortho’ and the Orion zoom. I’ve sung the praises of the Orion 7-21mm zoom before, but it really is that good considering it’s not what most people would consider a ‘high end’ zoom eyepiece. It's a distinct possibility that it contains one or more ED elements. Eventually it clouded over and I packed up my equipment and prepared to carry it back indoors. As I stood there, carrying both the tripod case and the bag containing the 72ED, the clouds suddenly parted and the effulgent Moon was resplendently revealed in the east. I had originally wanted to observe the Petavius rille and had taken an ‘Omegon’ (Long Perng XP-H) Amici diagonal out with me specifically for this. The Omegon is lighter than the Baader Zeiss specification prism I usually use for dedicated lunar viewing. It may not be quite as good as the Baader but it’s perfectly fine for occasional lunar viewing. There is often only a small window every month that enables the terminator to be in the right place to properly reveal the rille. I hastily set-up and used the Amici prism instead of the dielectric diagonal. Mission accomplished, I packed up again. I got the little Evostar out for two more nights in a row. Making Friday night the 104th session and so exceeding the total amount of sessions for the previous year. To date the 72ED has now been out for sixteen more sessions than in 2020. I think that’s pretty good value for a telescope that cost less than some of the eyepieces that I own. Astronomical images by courtesy of Photoshop Elements 2021, SkySafari 6 Pro and Moon Atlas
  15. Jupiter turns on its axis really quickly, I think around ten hours for a complete rotation. I've often watched the GRS slowly track across the surface.
  16. Nice colour and detail Paul. Jupiter's never easy even with visual.
  17. I think lions are pretty friendly until they get hungry lol.
  18. I've had 95 sessions so far this year, probably just above average. Only four this month. It's not looking good in the immediate future.
  19. You'd probably be better off contacting a local New Jersey astronomy club as this is technically a UK based site. Astronomy Clubs in NJ Good luck.
  20. Welcome to the Yard. You must have great skies. And interesting wildlife lol.
  21. If the fungus is on an external lens you may be able to clean it. Yeah, sometimes there can be problems with overseas returns. Brexit hasn't helped.
  22. Congratulations on your new scope. I'm guessing you're talking about a Sky-Watcher StarTravel ST120? I have the 102mm version, although there have been several focuser changes, and it now has a MoonLite. A lot of people questioned the sanity of putting a 360 quid focuser on a 170 quid achromat. But it's the largest refractor I can get out relatively rapidly. Any CA isn't really a problem for rich field, DSO's or observing double stars. You may find you need a fringe killing filter for lunar/planetary observing. A Wratten yellow or yellow-green filter can be useful.
  23. Difficult to tell but it looks like fungi or some form of mould. This is a known problem with some EP coatings I believe. If the EP was new I'd return it for a replacement.
  24. This unusual ‘alleged’ Abbe fully multi-coated orthoscopic has a focal length of 4.8mm. I say ‘alleged’ as I don’t actually know if this is indeed a genuine Abbe design. From what I can gather it has two lens groups consisting of a triplet and a single lens. So, the odds are it is an Abbe eyepiece and very probably manufactured in China. Mine has no brand name but these eyepieces have also been sold as Kson, Ascension, Apogee and University Optics orthoscopics. The eyepiece has no dust caps but it is supplied in its own plastic bolt case. The housing is almost exactly 50mm tall and appears to include the tapered barrel as an integral part of its aluminium housing. The barrel itself has a 28.5mm filter thread and is competently baffled. I discovered that my Baader, GSO and Lumicon filters all threaded fairly smoothly into the barrel. However, Meade and Barsta 2x Barlow elements were not easily threaded in all of the way. A GSO 2x short Barlow element threaded perfectly. The eyepiece features a flip-up rubber eye guard which is a rarity on most orthoscopics. I couldn’t separate the barrel by unthreading it and I assume it is essentially a monocoque design, which is also unusual in my experience. The housing is very light as a whole and feels a fair bit lighter in the hand when compared to both a 5mm Kokusai Kohki orthoscopic and a 6mm Vixen NPL Plossl. The build quality seems perfectly adequate even though it’s obviously a relatively inexpensive Abbe eyepiece. Especially compared to Takahashi and Ohi built orthoscopics which can cost up to three times as much as the forty quid (£39.60) I paid for this particular eyepiece. The AFOV is a claimed 48° which is a good 6° wider than most Abbe orthoscopics and I suspect the extra field is created by the deployment of a larger field stop than usual for its focal length. As it is purportedly a true Abbe the extra field is probably to aid target acquisition and would be expected to exhibit an amount of lateral edge astigmatism. There is a claimed eye relief of 4.2mm which is 0.15mm longer than a 5mm Ohi Abbe orthoscopic. I got first light with the 4.8mm using my 72ED DS Pro. The seeing was a good Antoniadi II~I but the transparency was distinctly below average. The orthoscopic gave a convincing sharp and well contrasted view of Saturn at 87.5x. Saturn was fast approaching transit and I could see a fair bit of detail on the planetary surface and the rings, including the Cassini Division. In fact, I thought the contrast was better than the 6mm Vixen NPL that I directly compared with the 4.8mm ortho’. I then turned to Jupiter. The detail was very well contrasted in the equatorial belts with excellent visual acuity. I occasionally witnessed some small amount of chromatic aberration around the planetary limb but it wasn’t particularly bad. I could sometimes detect an amount of scatter near the field stop and even some sporadic ghosting, although again, it wasn’t really a problem. Europa was right next to the limb and about to transit. I observed it once it was past the limb itself and could still see the moon above the surface of the gas giant for several minutes . Meanwhile the already poor transparency was getting worse. I decided to split some doubles while I could still locate any before the steadily encroaching cloud enshrouded them. The extra 6° of field helped me find Iota Cassiopeiae more easily, but it took a 2x Barlow to properly reveal all three stars of the system at 175x. The stars were all well defined and their individual colours were easily perceived. The expected lateral astigmatism was basically undetectable when using the Barlow. But even without the Barlow it didn’t seem particularly problematic and was far closer to the field stop than I expected. I split a few more doubles at 87.5x including the Double Double, Struve 2470/74, Albireo and Almach. I could also quite distinctly see the Ring Nebula, albeit often using averted vision. Eventually I turned back towards Jupiter and could make out the GRS pretty easily at 87.5x. Apparently orthroscopic eyepieces are expensive because it is costly to properly and accurately cement the triplet part of the element. The use of an inexpensive housing may be a way to keep the overall unit cost down.
  25. August seems to have been the month of the Maksutov sandwich for me. Right at the start I got to see a bit of the Saturn opposition with the ‘Middle Mak’ (102mm SkyMax). Little Mak, Middle Mak & Big Mak I then got ten sessions with my 72ED Evostar. On the 8th I got a good 140x on Jupiter and a nice view of the Andromeda Galaxy at 47x with the 72mm doublet. The 9th was brief and it rained on me, but I had some decent views of Jupiter and Saturn. On the 12th, the supposed Perseid peak, I witnessed a Europa shadow transit (I didn’t see many Perseids). I caught the Jupiter opposition briefly with the ‘Big Mak’ (127mm SkyMax), but a couple of nights later I had a really good Jupiter session with the 127mm. It was so bright I had to wear shades! Well, I used a polarising filter lol. Although it was a tad cloudy on the 23rd/24th I was surprised to get pretty detailed view of the Petavius Rille at between 150x and 220x (Orion zoom). The bigger aperture of the 127mm Mak (0.91 arc seconds Dawes limit) must have made it easier considering where the terminator was positioned. I expected it to be a bit bleached-out but the rille itself was quite detailed. On the 27/28th I saw Uranus with the Big Mak and even witnessed a rising naked eye Orion. Uranus was near the Moon so easier to find. Finally on the 28/29th I caught an Io transit from start to finish with ‘Big Mak’. Although in-between I split some doubles and had a pretty nice view of M57 at 62x with a 25mm Takahashi orthoscopic. All in all I managed seventeen sessions in August, only rivalled so far this year by seventeen sessions in April. Images by courtesy SkySafari 6 Pro & Moon Atlas
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