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What did you observe with your classic telescope today ?

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#4076 Paul Sweeney

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Posted 02 November 2018 - 06:53 AM

Yesterday started as a typical November day here in Germany: heavy overcast, cool and dreary. But, at 5 PM, the sun broke through and we a peerless blue sky! My weather app said it would stay clear until 7 PM, so I was out with the Vixen 80L at dusk. Mars and Saturn were both low in the sky and the turbulence was too much. I could make out the polar cap and some vague markings on Mars, and very little detail on Saturn. So I swung up to Vega, and split the double double at 80x. I found M57 in the not quite dark sky, checked out some doubles in the area, and then found M56, which was just a faint blob. The clouds were coming in from the South-west, preceeded by some high haze, so I gradually aimed further and further East. I picked up Neptune through the haze, and moved on to Uranus. That was a tough one, and I only got it a minute or two before the clouds covered it. By 7:30 PM the sky was overcast again. It was a good 1 hour session!grin.gif


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#4077 Bomber Bob

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Posted 02 November 2018 - 09:07 PM

Don't know about y'all, but getting to observe at least once a week puts me in a better mood...

 

Tonight my trusty 1950s Unitron 142 started the session right before sunset with Saturn & Mars.  A strong cold front passed through around 1400 local, and the two planets were practically twinkling, so the views were lower power (120x with the spectros PL10) and brief.  Cassini's Division popped in occasionally, along with two belts.  Mars revealed less -- steady polar cap, the faintest marking, and that's it.  I did notice the disk has orange in it compared to my Edmund 4" F15.

 

Took 30 seconds to swap the 1.25" Baader prism with the spectros 35mm barreled prism -- one tube out, another tube in.  Used the Big 40mm Kellner to set the Uni at 30x, and match it to the 5" F5 Triplet (The Thing) + RKE 21mm.  

 

Both scopes got The Ring before 1900 local -- not even an hour past sunset -- and Lyra is perilously close to The Swamp's light pollution dome.  M29 was tough for the 3" but brilliant in the 5" (I counted 14 bright stars).  Lots of interesting star fields east of Sadr, plus a close faint Double Double, and a cool tight visual triple.  Middle star is the brightest, and breaks what would be a straight line into a very flat triangle, with a faint star at < 6" on either side.  The west member is yellow, the east member is fainter and red, while the middle is bright & orange.  

 

I wound up sweeping with The Thing, finding something interesting, then "zooming in" with the 142.  With the spectros Kellners, the Uni's stars are incredibly tiny -- smaller than The Thing's pinpoints.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 03 November 2018 - 08:11 AM.

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#4078 Bomber Bob

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Posted 03 November 2018 - 10:30 PM

Big Green versus The Thing (Too Bad Halloween is Past)

 

Temperature  54°F (12°C)

Humidity 87%
Dewpoint 50°F (10°C)

Seeing  7-8 DSO / 5-6 Planetary

 

First Light with my restored Ralph Dakin 4" F10 refractor [https://www.cloudyni...06#entry8928948], and as soon as I centered Saturn, I remembered why I kept this scope.  Despite the wobbly skies, Cassini was sharp & black, and three belts broke out intermittently at 167x (OR6).  A good thing, because Mars was disappointing.  It was like looking at it through a turbo-fan.  Had to drop down to 100x (PL10), and small as it is, not much to see...

 

Deep Sky was much more rewarding.  Set both the Dakin and The Thing (5" F5 triplet) to about 30x.  Had both scopes at the north end of the yard, and after quick seeing checks of the Double-Double & The Ring, I went south to Delphinus for my favorite doubles, and then further south to tight doubles (at that power) in Equuleus & Aquarius.  Moving time!  The Dakin on the Tak EM-1S is at least twice as heavy as the Edmund 4" F15 on the same mount, so I had to stop twice before set up at the extreme south end of the yard.  The Thing on the Polaris felt light as a feather!  M39 wasn't dazzling.  Checked my tablet, and sure enough, thin patchy haze at the mid-levels.  It was clear to the east, so I observed M31 in both.  At 30x, The Thing had the edge with its huge field of view.  But at ~ 100x, the Dakin's darker skies & better resolution won out.

 

Transparency returned, and DSO seeing was at least 8/10.  Too many awesome views for a play-by-play.  If you haven't observed NGC 7243 in Lacerta, give it a try.  It's described as sparse, but with 4" or more of aperture, low power, and dark skies, I wouldn't call it that.  (But then, I like clusters with red stars.)  I like to go from it to the NGC clusters in southern Cepheus, follow these east to M52, and then enjoy all the sights in Cassiopeia -- could spend hours in that constellation!

 

Naturally, I ended with the Double Cluster.  It is fantastic in the Dakin.  True, my APM 152 F8 ED beats the Dakin, but as I pointed out on another thread, at 10x the cost, it bloody well better!  The Thing's large field puts lots of space around the pair, but the Dakin shows more & fainter members -- especially those tight doubles.  

 

BIF:  I also had to deal with surface-level smoke & haze.  Half my neighbors were grilling (Bama vs. LSU tonight), and the other half were burning wood in their fireplaces.  Okay, Yankees can stop gasping.  It got down to 40* last night.  We're just a few weeks from 90* humid days, so tonight feels like Ice Station Zebra for us Swamp Dwellers...

 

BIF2:  The Lafayette doesn't have enough back focus for a 1.25" prism diagonal.  A mirror might work, but I don't have one.  Wound up using it straight-through with the Meade RG ER20, which limited its use tonight.  I'll put the .965" adapter back on, and see how it does with that format.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 03 November 2018 - 10:40 PM.

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#4079 DMala

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Posted 07 November 2018 - 11:22 AM

After some rain during the day, yesterday the sky cleared around midnight, a bit late for my original plan to test the night vision (NV) PVS-7 both with 2" eyepieces (hand-held) and in prime focus in a 2" diagonal. As breeze gusts were still sending down rain drops from the trees, I also did not want to get my equipment too wet, so I took out my Televue Pronto only for a quick preliminary acquaintance with NV in prime focus mode, using the 2" step of the C-ring adapter. Reaching focus was not an issue. At this stage I do not have any 2" filters, therefore what follows just documents the light pollution conditions at my North NJ site. At a first and hasty (as the wind was dropping bursts of water drops) NV partial sweep of the narrow NW slice of sky not covered by trees, I did not pick up anything relevant. I then made a more careful check with SkySafari and with my Pentax 8x40 binoculars, and localized the Andromeda galaxy right at the edge of the tree line, actually at a quite favorable viewing angle (around 75 deg maybe?). In the binocs depite the bright color of the sky, the view was better than what I would have expected.

Therefore, I went back to it in NV mode and took a rudimentary pic just holding my Galaxy S5 phone by one of the PVS-7 eyepieces, without even removing the eyecup.

I then ran back inside before the Pronto would get even more wet.

I think that this first glimpse under the effects of light pollution is promising for much better views, once I get the proper filters for both prime focus and afocal use. 

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#4080 Augustus

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Posted 08 November 2018 - 09:05 PM

10" Starfinder tonight:

 

M31 - Could just barely see NGC 206 as a fuzzy patch.

 

M57

 

Double Cluster - Flocking the scope seems to have improved not only the contrast of the stars against the background but also the richness of the colors.

 

M103

 

M13

 

M56 - Barely resolvable.

 

Albireo

 

Mars - Mare Cimmerium visible.

 

Uranus - Small bluish disk. Titania just barely visible - my first time seeing a Uranian moon.

 

M45 - Could sort of see a faint nebulous patch around Merope, but it might've just been glare/dew.

 

M76

 

NGC 1245

 

NGC 7479 - Faintly visible.

 

NGC 772/NGC 770 - Faintly visible with averted vision, could just barely tell 770 was separate.

 

NGC 891 - Faintly visible with averted vision.

 

NGC 906 - Slightly easier than 891, was able to confirm by checking the star field in Stellarium.

 

NGC 1514 - Invisible without UHC. With the UHC, a small faint cloud surrounding the central star.

 

The motor drive is not fully engaging and the latitude adjustment is off, need to fix that.

 

 

 

 


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#4081 Paul Sweeney

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Posted 12 November 2018 - 06:26 AM

Last night I was out early with the Vixen 80L. Clouds were supposed to move in, so I wanted to get some scope-time before we got socked in. The clouds arrived early, so between them I checked out Mars, which was boiling like mad. I could only tell that it was no longer round. I also hit M15, the double cluster, and some doubles through the holes in the clouds. Then I had a big opening to the west, and was turning that way when I saw a bright flash, as bright as from an Irridium satelite. Then, about 10 seconds later, a dimmer flash, maybe as bright as Vega. Ten seconds later, another brilliant flash. This went on, bright and dimmer flashes, as it approached. I picked it up in the finder, and then in the scope itself, and followed it until the tube hit the tripod, the scope aimed straight overhead. I could not acquire it again because of the clouds. It had stopped flashing before it reached the zenith, so all I saw in the scope was an orange peanut, like a really close double star. Anyone have an idea what type satelite I saw? The time was about 7:30 or so. Did anyone else see it?


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#4082 AllanDystrup

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 03:25 PM

     Waiting for Gemini to rise for a study of some galactic H-II clouds at the left foot of Castor...

 

     Meantime, there's a half moon cruising towards the W, so I point my 4" refractor at the terminator while I wait. The transparency is around medium due to a high humidity (90%) and a dew-point just one degree below the current temperature (6 dg C). The seeing is a little wavering but all-in-all rather good, bordering on excellent in moments. I enjoy a cruise down the terminator at 80x magnification in a field that just frames the whole moon, then I "zoom in" using Barlows for 160 and finally 320x.

 

     I lean back and just enjoy the sunrise over Ptolemaeus…   -- Hard to describe in words, so here's a couple of smartphone snapshots, raw from the phone and no processing at all (apart from downsizing to fit within CN restrictions):

 

MOON-A.jpg
MOON-B.jpg

 

Allan
 


Edited by AllanDystrup, 15 November 2018 - 03:26 PM.

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#4083 AllanDystrup

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 03:29 PM

Moon-01.JPG

*click*

 

   -- Allan


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#4084 AllanDystrup

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Posted 16 November 2018 - 08:37 AM

.

     One final smartphone snapshot from yesterday evening's warm-up on the half moon: I spent some time strolling around (visually) on the Apollo 11 Tranquility Base in the S. Mare Tranquilitatis. As mentioned, the seeing was wavering and this is a 1 pic snapshot, so not as clear as it was visually (at times). I have enhanced the contrast of this pic a wee bit, but no other tricks or treats on this one :

 

MOON-C.jpg

 

     The area is quite interesting with the carpet of Imbrium ejecta to the NW, and the long Rima Aridaeus between Julius Caesar and Agrippa; I also spent some time on the crater chain just E of J. Caesar.

 

   -- Allan


Edited by AllanDystrup, 16 November 2018 - 08:53 AM.

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#4085 rcwolpert

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Posted 16 November 2018 - 10:45 AM

Great photos with the iPhone. They inspire me!


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#4086 Pete W

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Posted 16 November 2018 - 11:23 PM

I finally got the Sears 6339a out under the stars (and moon) in the backyard.  When it arrived from PA it needed a good cleaning so tonight was first light after the disassemble and reassemble.  I was expecting it to need significant collimation, but was surprised to find that it wasn’t too bad even after the lens was removed, cleaned and reassembled.   In fact, at 200x adjusting the cell screws didn’t seem to do much.  I could see that the cell was shifting as the screws turned but the in-focus or out-of-focus images didn’t dramatically change.  I’m used to collimating short f/ratio newts; are long focus fracts more forgiving?  I’ll give it another look when I can increase the magnification.

 

Anyway...mostly a quick tour of some doubles:

 Polaris: used while collimating, the companion was surprisingly challenging, faint.

Gamma  Andromedae:  the color contrast really popped! Easy at 40x, pretty at 120x

eta Perseus:   primary was dramatically orange, the companion’s color was a very subtle gray blue.

iota Cass:  I don’t observe this enough!  An asymmetrical “Mickey Mouse” with the bright primary between the two fainter “ears.” All three were easy at 120x...becoming my favorite mag with this scope.

Double-double:  sharp and well-resolved at 120x.  

Andromeda galaxy: fuzzy oval with the tiny M32 on the edge.  The typical view of Andromeda. 

 

Considering the degraded coatings on the objective I’m pretty pleased so far.  I’m looking forward to getting the scope under dark skies to check out DSOs.


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#4087 AllanDystrup

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Posted 17 November 2018 - 08:56 AM

.

     Another night out, and still waiting for the winter constellations to cross the meridian; Still the half moon is up there, so I get caught up in another lunatic session with the 4" classic and a 8mm wide field EP.

 

     The terminator has moved a good 200 km west from lunar day 8 to lunar day 9, so that Ptolemaeus is now in full daylight, whereas there's a beautiful sunrise in progress over Plato at the N rim of Mare Imbrium:

    

Moon 2018-11-16 01.jpg
*click*         

    

     I start my sweep along the terminator from the cratered N pole area, past the great lava plains of the E Imbrium Basin, across the Apennine mountain range:

    

Moon 2018-11-16 02.jpg
*click*

    

    Then I continue over the great highland peninsula with the conspicuous crater trio Ptolemaeus-Alphonsus-Arzachel, all scoured by Imbrium basin ejecta and secondary crater chains.

       

     From Ptolemaeus I decide to make a detour east to the landing site of Apollo 16, just N of the crater Descartes. After Apollo 16 sampled (among other selenelogic  features) the Descartes ejecta (light color on my photo) it was later concluded that these were not of volcanic origin as had been presumed by many researchers.

 

     Finally, from the highland peninsula I continue down the south polar highlands, past Deslandres all the way to the south pole :

    

Moon 2018-11-16 03.jpg
*click*

 

    

   -- Allan


Edited by AllanDystrup, 17 November 2018 - 02:10 PM.

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#4088 AllanDystrup

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Posted 17 November 2018 - 03:29 PM

.

     Just for kicks I took a short (19s) video through the iPhone5 to illustrate the wavering seeing at 160x mag.: https://youtu.be/MAHcL40uEi8

    

     I then stacked the video (30% best frames) and obtained the following image:

    

Moon-Stacked.jpg

 

     The quality is rather good I think, for a such a short stack obtained in only medium seeing. -- Surprisingly good actually, for an already outdated iPhone camera.

     Normally I don't bother going down this astrophoto-route, unless I really need the extra resolution for a specific moon study.
     Not that it's difficult, but it does add some extra overhead when you're just interested in documenting in a general way your impression from an observation.

 

     The beauty of "phonetography" is exactly the ease combined with the "good enough" quality obtained from a live "point-and-shoot" at the eyepiece.

 

   -- Allan


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#4089 Bomber Bob

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Posted 17 November 2018 - 05:10 PM

Tiny Tak Smack Down

 

The current mid-level clouds are supposed to be gone by 2100CT.  I hope so:  Got everything ready for a shoot-out between my 1984 Takahashi FC-50 F8 fluorite APO and my 1960c Swift 838 F14, with my 1964 Sears Model 6336 riding on the EM-1S as a reference scope.

 

Swift 838 vs Takahashi FC-50 T02.jpg Swift 838 vs Takahashi FC-50 T04.jpg

 

For the first time in 12 years, I won't have my furry Observing Buddy out in the back yard with me:  KC had to be put to sleep.

 

KC - 200902S01.jpg


Edited by Bomber Bob, 17 November 2018 - 05:14 PM.

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#4090 deepwoods1

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Posted 17 November 2018 - 05:18 PM

I’m sorry for your loss of your observing companion. That sucks. 


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#4091 Bomber Bob

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Posted 17 November 2018 - 05:43 PM

Thank You.  It's been a week, and I'm just now at the point where I can talk about him.

 

Note the hinged "cradle" for the 838.  IIRC, Carol mentioned these were on eBay, and I got two pair.  They're actually meant for some sort off stage lighting contraption, but fit the 838 like a custom part -- but way too small for the FC-50's tube.


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#4092 terraclarke

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Posted 17 November 2018 - 06:44 PM

Tiny Tak Smack Down

 

The current mid-level clouds are supposed to be gone by 2100CT.  I hope so:  Got everything ready for a shoot-out between my 1984 Takahashi FC-50 F8 fluorite APO and my 1960c Swift 838 F14, with my 1964 Sears Model 6336 riding on the EM-1S as a reference scope.

 

attachicon.gif Swift 838 vs Takahashi FC-50 T02.jpgattachicon.gif Swift 838 vs Takahashi FC-50 T04.jpg

 

For the first time in 12 years, I won't have my furry Observing Buddy out in the back yard with me:  KC had to be put to sleep.

 

attachicon.gif KC - 200902S01.jpg

I’m so sorry for your loss JW. It’s so hard. I know, and I feel your pain. We had to put down Daisy, our little 12 y.o. female Bichon last month.


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#4093 Bomber Bob

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Posted 17 November 2018 - 06:51 PM

I've known folks who never got another dog after their first final trip to the Vet.  It's rough.  What made it worse with KC is he didn't have a terminal illness -- but a severe case of hip dysplasia.  He was in continuous gut-wrenching pain, and we couldn't be selfish, and keep him lingering on so we didn't have to make that decision.  

 

I can relate to Rolo's thread (https://www.cloudyni...nd-tough-times/), and the peace & pleasure of observing has gotten me through some tough times, too.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 17 November 2018 - 06:53 PM.

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#4094 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 17 November 2018 - 06:54 PM

Edit:

 

Bob:  My condolences on the loss of your beloved KC.  Losing an animal friend is tough.  

 

Jon


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#4095 Joe1950

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Posted 17 November 2018 - 08:20 PM

So very, very sorry, JW. I lost my best buddy and observing partner the beginning of October. I'll never really get over the loss and his companionship.

 

I was so distraught I haven't been out with the scope since.

 

I just rescued a little fellow of the same breed, not to replace him, but to carry on the great work he did being my friend. 


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#4096 Pete W

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Posted 17 November 2018 - 08:46 PM

JW, I’m sorry to read about your pup.  A sad time, but thinking back on all the fun and companionship over the years can help.  We lost our molly pup 10 years ago...thinking of her now doesn’t make us sad, but grateful for all the silliness, exuberance and joy that she gave us; things only a pup can provide.


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#4097 jcruse64

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Posted 17 November 2018 - 09:33 PM

Sorry to hear about your Buddy, JW.


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#4098 steve t

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Posted 17 November 2018 - 09:34 PM

JW, I'm so very sorry to hear about the loss of your obsering buddy. 

Steve T 


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#4099 Bomber Bob

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Posted 17 November 2018 - 10:39 PM

Thanks Y'all -- I appreciate your support.

 

Managed to get in my first Tak2Tak shoot-out:

Temperature  47°F (8°C)

Humidity 90%
Wind Speed Calm
Dewpoint 44°F (7°C)

Seeing = 3/10 -> 7/10

 

Before moving the FC-50 to the shed, I did a quick (7 min) collimation using my old laser.  Later on when I star tested, it required very slight adjustments.  At 0Z the mid-level clouds were racing from west to east, and the Moon was the only object visible.  Used this time to get familiar with the "new" fluorite APO.  I've read lots of complaints about the TAK focuser.  I found it to be smoother & more precise than my Vixen FL80S.  Unfortunately, I discovered that the set of tubes & adapters that came with mine didn't give enough in focus for a diagonal prism -- so straight-through -- which limited my targets.

 

On the Moon, I couldn't see any difference in resolution up to 150x.  I was pleased with the glare control in the F8, such that background skies were always as dark as those in the F14 achromatic.  But I spent more time observing our satellite with Big Rosie at 170x with the Nagler 7.  BIF:  My guess was right, it took 3 of the Vixen extension tubes when using the Baader 1.25" prism diagonal.

 

Altair star test, and the FC's color is as close to what I see myself as I can imagine -- much more natural than the 838.

 

By 2Z, Mars was in the clear, and what a delight -- in all 3 scopes.  My Royal 76mm F15 was TAK sharp at 200x, and the 2 Taks gave very fine views for their apertures at ~ 130x.  The Royal was closer to the APO's Pepto Bismol + Tang powder disk color than the 838, which had a hint of red mixed in to make it orangish.  Same few faint surface markings in each.

 

Random star field checks confirmed that the FC has undetectable false color, and that the 838 isn't too far behind -- at ~ 40x.

 

Overall, I'm thrilled with both Tiny Taks.  They deliver the views with enough differences to justify having identical apertures -- rather like my two 4" refractors, and my 80mm APO & 76mm achromatic.  Just a few nit-noids about the FC:   I don't like all the doo-dads required to use standard accessories (that is so Zeiss!).  I don't like the twist-lock eyepiece adapter.  What's wrong with a thumbscrew?  Depending on positioning, the short OTA means exhalations are more likely to fog the lens -- a longer dew-shield would help.  But the hardware & mechanicals are exemplary; and, far as I can tell, the views are flawless.

 

My 838 is a complete kit, and stays in the shed for quick peeks & solar observing with a Lunt wedge.  The FC will ride along on my APM 152 ED for tube balance; and, I will use it for wide-angle deep sky observing & imaging.

 

Y'all, Big Rosie on the Tak EM-1S is nothing but fun.  Grab & go, but with Gibraltar stability, and highly accurate manual & motorized tracking.  Ideal seated observing heights, too!


Edited by Bomber Bob, 17 November 2018 - 10:55 PM.

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#4100 rolo

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Posted 17 November 2018 - 11:16 PM

Really sorry about KC. I never new it was so painful to lose a pet until my little Biscuit passed away. BTW I'm pretty sure the extension tube on the FC 50 comes off so you can reach focus.

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