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Anyone used a spotting scope for astronomy?

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#76 Kimmo Absetz

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 02:35 AM

This has been posted before, but I believe is useful to repost on this thread also, as the question about aiming was posted earlier. Here are instructions for a simple but effective aiming device, which works extremely well in daylight but rather nicely with the night sky as well.

 

http://www.birdforum...t=aiming device

 

Kimmo



#77 DRodrigues

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 03:20 PM

Has anyone tried to barlow a Pentax spotter?

Yes, have a look at http://www.pt-ducks....2.5x_magnifiers

I specially like barlow cells on spotting scopes. Will write a test to several in the future...

With barlow cells you can even use 2" eps with spotting scopes...

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Edited by DRodrigues, 24 June 2016 - 03:21 PM.


#78 MartinPond

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 04:36 PM

This has been posted before, but I believe is useful to repost on this thread also, as the question about aiming was posted earlier. Here are instructions for a simple but effective aiming device, which works extremely well in daylight but rather nicely with the night sky as well.

 

http://www.birdforum...t=aiming device

 

Kimmo

 

Excellent idea to toss in this thread.

"Shotgun" sighting techniques are one of the joys of short-tube / spotter use.

Quick and efficient.  Best from 15----40x.

 

Longer barrels can still use the trick, though I use the

'azimuth-first' trick for long barrels.   It's easy to line up the

left-right axis first, and then train up and down with a lower power EP to find.

Then you slip in the higher power.



#79 BillB9430

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Posted 26 June 2016 - 11:30 AM

Has anyone tried to barlow a Pentax spotter?

See the third and fifth posts in this thread:  http://www.birdforum...ad.php?t=249576

 

A low cost "shorty" 2x  Barlow hits the little pin in the bottom of the eyepiece "well" in all the Pentax PF scopes, preventing the Barlow from seating far enough to reach infinity focus. The above post describes a simple-to-do modification to the Barlow cell that allows full insertion and infinity focus. The purpose of the little "pin" in the bottom of the Pentax PF scope eyepiece "well" is to catch notches at the bottom of the Pentax zoom eyepiece so it won't rotate in the scope when "zooming" if the eyepiece collet is not fully tight. - Bill


Edited by BillB9430, 26 June 2016 - 11:32 AM.


#80 mdowns

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Posted 26 June 2016 - 11:56 AM

My experience with spotters pointed astronomically has only been with low end models. With my celestron 100 ultima ed spotter and the zhumell 118mm I removed and pitched the supplied zooms. In thier place I used 1.25" adapters and had much better results. With the celestron I used a 26mm tv plossl and the zhumell a 40mm plossl. Both were fine for viewing stars though the 118mm did a betterjob as a rft because of the 40mm. I could'nt really get a good planetary image but both dellivered decent stellar views and I in fact set up the zhumell many times for quick views of the milky way.



#81 MartinPond

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 09:25 PM

Just mask it down a bit for good planetary use.

Plenty of light.



#82 Dlhudgens

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Posted 04 July 2016 - 10:42 PM

I use a CELESTRON REGAL M2 80ED SPOTTING SCOPE for both birding and for grab & go night sky observing.  My regular camera tripod handles the scope in horizontal mode, but angled/vertical viewing just doesn't work.  Due to weight and no counterbalance, the scope won't keep the image in view when I let go of the scope.

 

Do any of you have a light weight, portable tripod that works well for you?  Any suggestions would be appreciated.



#83 MartinPond

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Posted 05 July 2016 - 12:11 AM

There is a tricky price range/jump on newer tripods.

 

An older one I really love for the 80mmx400mm or the telephoto->spotter conversions

is the Sony VCT-20a.  The parts need a good WD40 cleaning, but it's a beauty.

It isn't super-high, so I need to sit for some views, but it's an elevator pod

(long riser), so it points anywhere, and it's light and solid.

Sort of a 'mini-Bogen'.

 

Over 60x you will want something really burly anyway.  

It might be worth the cost, or the time to restore an old Quickset Husky.



#84 Mark9473

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Posted 05 July 2016 - 02:44 AM

My regular camera tripod handles the scope in horizontal mode, but angled/vertical viewing just doesn't work.  Due to weight and no counterbalance, the scope won't keep the image in view when I let go of the scope.

 

Have you tried your tripod in "sidesaddle" configuration?

http://www.cloudynig...-sidesaddle.JPG

http://www.cloudynig...02255_thumb.jpg



#85 Dlhudgens

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 07:54 PM

Thanks, Mark, for the "sidesaddle" idea.  I had not thought of that.  The two jpg images were helpful in seeing what you were talking about.  Both tripods are different from the standard style camera tripod I have been using with my spotting scope.  There appears to be two "adjusting handles" on both tripods.  Is this a particular type of tripod I should research?



#86 MartinPond

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 11:14 PM

That's a very top-grade Bogen in the pics! All-Pro.

For the same thing new you would need a few hundred $$.

Looks like a great used find, though.



#87 Mark9473

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 03:00 AM

Thanks, Mark, for the "sidesaddle" idea.  I had not thought of that.  The two jpg images were helpful in seeing what you were talking about.  Both tripods are different from the standard style camera tripod I have been using with my spotting scope.  There appears to be two "adjusting handles" on both tripods.  Is this a particular type of tripod I should research?

 

I don't know. It's a typical pan & tilt head. My cheap Slik tripod also has this type of head with three adjustments.

As soon as you have a handle to put the camera in vertical orientation for portrait shooting, you're good to go.

You may just have to see in which direction it goes to +90°.



#88 Dlhudgens

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 11:24 AM

The key thing for me is for the mount to hold the scope in position and not let it slide or drop from where you position it.  I'm guessing that your experience is that the tripod/mount holds the scope on target and doesn't wonder off center.

 

Thanks for the feedback.  (Need all the help I can get.) 



#89 mdowns

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 11:41 AM

I have a basic celestron alt /az with slo mos that I bought used for 50 bucks. Worked great on the 118mm as well as an orion 127mm mak. I see them often for sale in that same price range both here and on amart. Holds the scope very well with no slippage if tightened a little.The slo mos make scanning a breeze.



#90 Mark9473

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 05:16 PM

The key thing for me is for the mount to hold the scope in position and not let it slide or drop from where you position it.  I'm guessing that your experience is that the tripod/mount holds the scope on target and doesn't wonder off center.

 

Thanks for the feedback.  (Need all the help I can get.) 

 

Yes it does work. I've used my 80 mm apo in that way.

The one thing is that the scope needs to be balanced around the pivot point.

But the inherent unbalance of the tripod head itself is largely eliminated by putting it in side-saddle.

 

How well it works, will depend on how closely balanced you get the scope, and what kind of tension settings the tripod head has.

If you want to just point the scope and let go, and not need to tighten any of the clamps, then you may be disappointed.

A video fluid head would be better for that purpose, or a small astro mount.



#91 Rich V.

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 12:23 PM

Thanks, Mark, for the "sidesaddle" idea.  I had not thought of that.  The two jpg images were helpful in seeing what you were talking about.  Both tripods are different from the standard style camera tripod I have been using with my spotting scope.  There appears to be two "adjusting handles" on both tripods.  Is this a particular type of tripod I should research?

 

The photos Mark linked are of a Bogen/Manfrotto 3-way photo head.  With the head pivoted to the "portrait" or vertical mode, the scope rests at a point near the alt axis of the head.  It's now balanced and stays where it's put...

 

The same can be done with a 2-way video head but it requires a "plate" of aluminum or wood or whatever that positions the scope next to the alt pivot point.

 

Here's an example; I fabricated an aluminum plate that holds the scope alongside the alt axis.  The plate also creates a nice, flat attachment area for a finder.  These photos are of my relatively heavy 80mm f6 on a Manfrotto 3063 video head. A spotter would be much lighter.  The continuously variable viscous clutches make for smooth movements without having to lock the axes.  I use the scope this way up to around 200x and it's quite solid with damping times less than one second on a Manfrotto 475 tripod.

 

Rich

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#92 Dlhudgens

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 12:42 PM

Thanks to all for the ideas and explanations.  Your points will help me both as I research and make decisions.  Sometimes just being able to rule things out or rule them in is a real time saver.  



#93 Oscar56

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 01:21 PM

MarkV:

 

My panning head will not pan to 90* vertical due to the bubble level obstruction. Your solution may solve that problem. 



#94 Peacock

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Posted 13 July 2016 - 01:11 AM

I just purchased a Demo Vortex Razor 11-33 x 50 scope - for terrestrial use, but also interested to see how many Messiers it can pick up. Will be interesting. Triplet ED objective and dual speed focusser. Rah!



#95 Dlhudgens

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Posted 13 July 2016 - 10:12 AM

I am not an expert or even moderately experienced. What I can tell you is a much more experienced friend recommended that we spend one night observing with binoculars only.  I was amazed at how many Messiers we could view. Most were around Scorpius, Ophiuchus,and Saggitarius (based on our sky in early July).  Your scope would see these, but don't expect a Hubble type view with colors and detail.  My favorite was M8...enough detail to really enjoy the view.

 

For my spotting scope, the key is to be able to keep it on target after I find the target (thus the discussion here). A second key thing is to find the target.  My spotting scope does not have a finder like a red dot. Pictures in this discussion have given me some ideas for adding a finder.

 

I do have a 6 inch dobsonian telescope, but sometimes I just want the easy setup with my spotting scope at the end of my driveway.  (Mosquitos here won't let me view for long, so I need to be quick.) Note: I have even been able to view Saturn with my scope and see the rings with separation from the planet.

 

I'm sure others can offer you more detailed advice. Good luck!



#96 tccz

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Posted 04 August 2016 - 10:39 PM

I have been looking at different spotting scope these days, mostly for long-distance wildlife viewing.

 

When I am studying this post, I suddenly realized that the 2.2 degree fov of pentax 20x60 doesn't look shabby compared with the spotting scope with its zoom eyepiece, and the two eye viewing is way more comfortable. (with the limitation on magnification).

 

I need to study pentax 20x60 again to see how people think of it as day time viewing apparatus.



#97 Rich V.

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 04:57 PM

I use my WO 22x70ED binos for daytime spotting use a lot.  They have a nice 3° FOV at 22x and CA is very well controlled. Two-eyed viewing is so much more relaxing and natural compared to mono vision.  

 

Rich



#98 tccz

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 07:25 PM

Hi Rich, I wish I could've gotten into binoculars/astronomy earlier so that I won't miss this model. Nowadays it's not easy to grab one 22x70 in the market.

 

I use my WO 22x70ED binos for daytime spotting use a lot.  They have a nice 3° FOV at 22x and CA is very well controlled. Two-eyed viewing is so much more relaxing and natural compared to mono vision.  

 

Rich




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