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How bad has 2021 been for clouds for you?


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12 hours ago, Incisive_Solutions said:

Haha I couldn't agree more!  

 

I have the Altair 60edf as well - god I love that little scope!  I have that one, the Altair 72edf, and my very favourite Altair triplet refractor, the beautiful Wave series 130mm - I have a Skywatcher 200PDS reflector as well but I don't love reflectors lol.  Hoping to get the Altair 152mm triplet at some point  - I'm just a refractor person!   I have a very small Lunt 30Ha, with the B600 filter etc, and the wedge, and my very first scope which I cannot get rid of - the so called 'Naughty Child' - the Celestron 130 EQ Astromaster! 

 

My absolute favourite is the all rounder Altair Wave Series 130mm triplet refractor - its the one I use most, followed by the Altair 72EDF - but the 60edf is my travel scope mainly.

 

Yeah, I like my Mak's and Newtonian, but they just aren't refractors. My heaviest 'frac' is the Altair 102mm Starwave ED-R. Towards the end of last year I discovered a way to get this out in only two journeys.

 

9ICu4rum.jpg

 

I used to mount it on a Porta II and a HAL-130 tripod with a half-pillar. This required several journeys and usually the use of a trolley. Then I discovered the Vixen TL130 tripod.

 

uPFacBWm.jpg

 

As I'm physically disabled this has changed things somewhat. The OTA plus dovetail at 4kg is still not exactly a grab and go for me, but it sits well on the Porta II/APP-TL130 combo. It easily holds its own against a 150mm Newtonian. I'm looking forward to using this combo more often when the astro dark returns.

 

 

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15 hours ago, Incisive_Solutions said:

Haha I couldn't agree more!  

 

I have the Altair 60edf as well - god I love that little scope!  I have that one, the Altair 72edf, and my very favourite Altair triplet refractor, the beautiful Wave series 130mm - I have a Skywatcher 200PDS reflector as well but I don't love reflectors lol.  Hoping to get the Altair 152mm triplet at some point  - I'm just a refractor person!   I have a very small Lunt 30Ha, with the B600 filter etc, and the wedge, and my very first scope which I cannot get rid of - the so called 'Naughty Child' - the Celestron 130 EQ Astromaster! 

 

My absolute favourite is the all rounder Altair Wave Series 130mm triplet refractor - its the one I use most, followed by the Altair 72EDF - but the 60edf is my travel scope mainly.

My two scopes are the 72EDF and a Wave 130.  I previously had a 200PDS.  If time and darkness is on my side I'll use both. If not it's the one best suited to the target.

On wednesday the 72 was the perfect scope for an unplanned, limited imaging session. My only criticism is it is a fiend to balance.  the 130 has plenty of mass to play with.

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50 minutes ago, Nightspore said:

It helps with balance, although it's still rear heavy.

Maybe try a counterweight at the front of the dovetail. Somewhere on the 'net are some stacking weights with 1/4" thread.

 

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4 hours ago, paulgrover68 said:

My two scopes are the 72EDF and a Wave 130.  I previously had a 200PDS.  If time and darkness is on my side I'll use both. If not it's the one best suited to the target.

On wednesday the 72 was the perfect scope for an unplanned, limited imaging session. My only criticism is it is a fiend to balance.  the 130 has plenty of mass to play with.

I definitely agree the 72edf is a fiend to balance!  I use it normally on my small ioptron mount - and that comes with a 1kg weight.  With what I add to it, I find I need half a kilo and couldn’t find a half kilo weight!!

 

so … don’t laugh but I put some pebbles in a sock and tied it to the weights shaft 😂😂😂.  It worked 😂

 

I now have bought some of those gym ankle weights you can buy and managed to get a half kilo one of those to use 

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4 hours ago, paulgrover68 said:

My two scopes are the 72EDF and a Wave 130.  I previously had a 200PDS.  If time and darkness is on my side I'll use both. If not it's the one best suited to the target.

On wednesday the 72 was the perfect scope for an unplanned, limited imaging session. My only criticism is it is a fiend to balance.  the 130 has plenty of mass to play with.

Got to say as well … the Wave 130 triplet is just a dream scope!  I can lift it on my own, it’s beautifully sharp, and is my absolute favourite all rounder.  My 200PDS, although bigger aperture, just can’t hold a candle to it.  
 

I’d really love the Altair 152 mm triplet as well, so might have to save up for that and the EQ8 mount too !!

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19 minutes ago, MarkAR said:

Maybe try a counterweight at the front of the dovetail. Somewhere on the 'net are some stacking weights with 1/4" thread.

 

 

I've considered that, although it adds to the overall weight. Kinda defeats the object of a light grab and go lol. I've learned to live with the rear heavy weight of the 60 on an AZ5 mount. 

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2 minutes ago, Nightspore said:

 

I've considered that, although it adds to the overall weight. Kinda defeats the object of a light grab and go lol. I've learned to live with the rear heavy weight of the 60 on an AZ5 mount. 

Maybe try rotating the focuser et al and moving the dovetail back.

 

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2 hours ago, MarkAR said:

Maybe try rotating the focuser et al and moving the dovetail back.

 

 

Not sure what you mean. The rotating focuser was a big reason why I bought it in the first place lol. 

 

RR8srXzl.jpg

 

This is really as far forward as I can place the dovetail in the AZ5, which has a Vixen-style mount. The long heavy dovetail does help pushing the weight forward. 

 

dvJTmPsl.jpg

 

I can get away with a lighter dovetail on my modified ST80 as the GSO rotating focuser doesn't affect the balance so much. Although it does still push the weight to the rear more than its stock focuser did. Swings and roundabouts.

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17 hours ago, Nightspore said:

Not sure what you mean. The rotating focuser was a big reason why I bought it in the first place lol. 

What I'm thinking is to mount the scope further forwards on the dovetail so that it protrudes under the focuser. That way you can clamp the dovetail in the mount with more weight at the front.

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1 hour ago, MarkAR said:

What I'm thinking is to mount the scope further forwards on the dovetail so that it protrudes under the focuser. That way you can clamp the dovetail in the mount with more weight at the front.

 

I'm not sure if it could be done or if it's practical to be honest. I think a heavy focuser on a short tube refractor is always going to have balance issues. My Evostar 80ED balances nicely, but the 72ED DS Pro, when used with light 1.25" accessories is almost perfect with the tube rings as far to the rear as they can go.

 

sdbaGqFl.jpg 

 

It all changes with 2" stuff though.

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  • 2 months later...

Reverting to subject of thread.... Here in north Shropshire, the last 12 months has been utterly dire for astro. My scope was last used for imaging 12 months ago. For many months there was nothing but a continuous never ending river of cloud going SW-NE right over the top of me here. Often, people north or south of here by about 30 or so miles would have very different conditions.

The only clear nights seemed to around full Moon. As I don't yet have NB capability, it's useless for me. The odd clear night was almost always when I wasn't free.

I can firmly rate the last year as the worst I can remember.

I finally had some clear skies last week, but I was away, not at home... 

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2 hours ago, RPK_Astro said:

Reverting to subject of thread.... Here in north Shropshire, the last 12 months has been utterly dire for astro. My scope was last used for imaging 12 months ago. For many months there was nothing but a continuous never ending river of cloud going SW-NE right over the top of me here. Often, people north or south of here by about 30 or so miles would have very different conditions.

The only clear nights seemed to around full Moon. As I don't yet have NB capability, it's useless for me. The odd clear night was almost always when I wasn't free.

I can firmly rate the last year as the worst I can remember.

I finally had some clear skies last week, but I was away, not at home... 

Much the same story - Cloud from SW for the majority of the year, now it's coming in form NE.   Maybe had 2 clear night a month.  My personal hate has been cloud free afternoons giving way to cloud filled evenings.

 

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I don't keep a track on clear nights etc. What I have done is calculate how much data I have collected since the beginning of the year. I then added an hour onto each 8 hours of data collected, for PA, focusing, dithering etc. My rough calculation is approx 480 hours of imaging time this year. Most of my imaging time came from June onwards, the next most productive period was Jan/Feb. From the end of February to the end of May was almost a washout.

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