I was working in the yard today. I looked up around 5 pm and there was the moon, about 1/2 moon, smiling down at me from the daytime sky. Well, I had never looked at the moon through a lens in the daytime. So I finished what I was doing and went for the sky tools around 6:30 pm with sky very much in daylight. No where near sunset.
Time to pull out the scopes and play with the vaious eyepieces plus some new toys.
10X50 Binoculars - Gordon (Harbor Freight) - Binoculars are ALWAYS first.
Moon looked great though it was a little washed out against the daytime sky. That was to be expected. However it was a pleasant view through the binoculars.
Tasco Newtonian reflector, 3", 700 m F/9.2 with the .965" Focuser. I have Meade Plossil 40 mm eyepiece, about 17X and Tasco 12.5 mm eyepiece.
After fussing with the scope for a while to get it lined up I had the moon in the eyepiece. Got it focused and took a look. There seemed to be good view down the center but everything from about 1/3 out seemed to be hazy, almost like there was fog on the glass, but there wasn't. Could that be from the bright moon or from the bright background sky?
I pulled out my trusty Gordon (Harbor Freight) 10X50 binoculars. Got a real example of wide field of view of the binoculars compared to the much narrower FOV of the Tasco F9.2 mm reflector scope. 10X compare to 17X contributed I am sure, but I have to say I liked the wide view of the binoculars. But the 17X mag gave more detail of the craters.
Pulled out the 40 mm eyepiece and slipped in the 12.5 mm, about 56X. Moon was gone from view. I had to fuss around with the scope to get it back into the eyepiece. Here was where the value of a solid mount was revealed, as this scope does not have a solid mount. There is significant sway in the legs. I actually used the sway in the tripod to find the moon and eventually get it back into the eyepiece. I had to over shoot in two directions and lock things down so that it would shift back the other way and into the eyepiece. No solid precision here.
OK, got it! Cool. Lots more magnification. The moon just about filled the eyepiece. Still had that glow in the outer 1/3 of the eyepiece but the center was fine. More detail than the 40 mm eyepiece though I think the 40 mm Meade was sharper than the 12.5 mm Tasco eyepiece.
I quickly saw how fast the moon moved across the sky. I had to constantly keep adjusting the position of the scope to keep the moon in the eyepiece, especially at 56X. I can only imagine what it would be like to do this at 100X.
Pull out the Meade ETX 80, 80 mm F/5 400 mm scope - Eyepieces - 26 mm, 9.6 mm and 6.4 mm
I left the Tasco up and set the Meade next to it. I did not bother to turn on the computer or align the mount. I released the clutches and was operating fully on manual. The fact that I can do this with this GoTo scope was one of the reasons I purchased it.
There is no targeting scope on the ETX so I aligned it by eye. I actually left the eyepiece out and looked down the star diagonal and moved the scope till I could see the moon in the mirror. Cool!.
I slipped in the 26mm eyepiece, about 15X. Moved the scope around a hair each way till I had the moon centered. Looked great. The 400 mm FL Mead has a much wider FOV than the 700 mm FL Tasco. It gives a much more binocular type view. Very nice. The focus was sharper than the Tasco but I still had that sort of haze/glow in the outer 1/3 of the FOV. But the moon looked great.
OK pull the 28 mm eyepiece and slip in the 9.6m eyepiece, about 41X. A few minor adjustments and we are focused and centered. Great! Things are pretty sharp and there is no loss of brightness as the moon and sky are quite bright. That outer haze remains.
I decided to step back to the Tasco and do a comparison. Well, in the time I was fussing with the ETX the moon had completely left the eyepiece of the Tasco. So move it around and get it centered. Focused. And back to the Meade. The Meade has sharper focus at this setting but they both look good.
Back to the Meade. Had to recenter the moon. Man that bugger moves fast. I am begining to appreciate the automatic tracking the Meade ETX can do when I am using the computer.
Pull the 9.6 mm eyepiece and slip in the new Meade 6.4 mm eyepiece, about 62X. Focus is sharp, and much more touchy at this maginification. If this was a camera I would have noted the very narrow "depth of field", the range of in focus areas in the lens.
New Toys! - Barlow Lenses.
I had been poking around on e-bay and found some unbranded barlow lenses for $10. How good could they be? But for $10 I ordered a 2X and a 3X. The descriptions said they were made of metal and optical glass. And so, when they arrived I noted that the lenses do appear to be glass.
So, pulled the 6.4 mm eyepiece out and slipped in the 2X Barlow. Now I am about 120X. Well depth of field is even narrower but I can get sharp focus so at least the 2X is OK.
Pulled out the 3X barlow and put in the 9.6 eyepiece which should also give me about 120X. Slipped it in and, yes, it gave me a similar view but with a more comfortable view and maybe a little better depth of field of focus.
Pulled the 9.6 eyepiece and slipped the 6.4 eyepiece into the 3X barlow. Now we are at about 180X. Had to recenter which was not easy. Then focus. Very high magnification but the depth of field, the range of what was in focus was very narrow. But it worked.
I don't have any "quality barlow" to compare to but they were at least as good as the 2X barlow built into the scope and did not require the million turns to focus that the internal barlow requires. So, for $10 each I have a 2X and 3X barlow.
So cool looking at the moon during the day. Got the magnification up to 180 but not sure I like it that high on a daytime moon. 120 seemed pretty good. I would probably not go higher than that typically. Plenty of detail and reasonable depth of field of focus.
I had purchased a 1.25 adapter for the Tasco, which normally takes .965 eyepieces. I tried the Meade 26 mm 1.25" eyepiece. Could not get enough travel to focus. Same with the 9.6mm eyepiece. So it looks like the 1.25" eyepieces will not be able to be used in the Tasco telescope. But, based on what I saw today, I don't really think I would like the view in the Tasco much above the 56X I have now. So, no big loss.
The Tasco, F/9.6 clearly gives a more narrow FOV compared to the F/5 Meade ETX which has a somewhat narrower FOV compared to my 10X50 binoculars.
I like the wider FOV of the Meade compred to the Tasco.
The Mead ETX mount is MUCH more stable and solid compared to the Tasco. Getting things into the eyepiece on the tasco was tough because the mount moved around so much. Combine that with a smaller FOV and it became quite frustrating. A sold mount is IMPORTANT!
Both scopes exhibited somewhat of a haze in the outer 1/3 of the view. I am hopeful that was sue to the bright sky and the bright moon. I had not noticed this at all in the past in either scope when used at night.
Given a choice today, even used manually, I like the shorter F/5 wider view of the Meade.
Hopefully the sky will be dark and clear tonight and I can go out and play with my toys.
Edited by aeajr, 22 August 2015 - 07:42 PM.