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A Pleasant Evening with an ST80 in a Red Zone

Orion refractor observing report
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#1 Sarkikos

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 11:17 AM

Just last night I took the ST80 out for a viewing session behind my house.  I live in a bright red zone with plenty of ambient glare.  The ST80 has a 2" GSO single-speed Crayford upgrade.  I put a 1.25" Baader RACI prism diagonal on the scope.  I know that Amici prisms are not optimal for high power observing.  But I intended to use low to medium power.  I really don't like the reversed view of refractors and Cats.  I do like the natural orientation, same as my eyes when I look up at the sky.

At this time I don't have the scope set up to handle heavy 2" eyepieces.   I used to have it in rings and dovetail.  But about a year ago I attached the small dovetail directly to the OTA to lighten the scope.  I'll have to work out some other setup so it can handle 2" eyepieces without becoming unbalanced.

A green laser pointer was the only finder.  The scope was mounted on a MicroStar on Vanguard Auctus Plus 324AT tripod.  It has a crank-up elevator column.  I also brought out my iPhone with SkySafari Pro and a camping stool.  I put a few eyepieces in an Orion Padded Bag and hung the bag around the tripod.  In the bag were an Orion Ultrascopic 35, Pan 24, DeLite 7 and Nagler Zoom 3-6.

At first I tried the Ultrascopic 35, but it was too bright for the red zone skies.  Next I tried the DeLite 7.  It gave a darker background, but the TFOV was a bit less than I wanted for this evening.  Then I put in the 24 Pan.  Just right!  The NZ 3-6 never saw the focuser. :grin:

The GLP worked out very well for finding objects.  It only took a few seconds to align it with the ST80.  I consider the GLP a warm weather tool.  Much below 40 degrees F and the laser - or its battery - will die.  But when the weather is warm, it's much more convenient to use rather than a QuickFinder and RACI optical finder, and is lighter and takes up less space on the OTA.

I was outside for about two hours.  In all, I located and observed over 50 objects with the ST80!  I found most from memory.   SSP on the iPhone helped me find some of them.  Most of the objects were bright Messiers.  The objects included open clusters, globs, a couple galaxies, a couple widely-spaced double stars, a few bright nebulae and a few planetary nebulae.

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 31 August 2016 - 11:18 AM.

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#2 t.r.

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 11:37 AM

Blasphemy!!! You can't have that much fun with an ST-80 in a Red Zone! (said the CN Police) :grin:


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#3 Sarkikos

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 11:39 AM

Here are the objects I observed last night with the ST80:

 

M 2 - Globular Cluster in Aquarius

M 8 (Lagoon Nebula) - Bright Nebula in Sagittarius

M 11 (Wild Duck Cluster) - Open Cluster in Scutum
M 13 (Hercules Cluster) - Globular Cluster in Hercules
M 15 - Globular Cluster in Pegasus
M 16 (Eagle Nebula) - Bright Nebula in Serpens
M 17 (Omega Nebula) - Bright Nebula in Sagittarius
M 18 - Open Cluster in Sagittarius
M 20 (Trifid Nebula) - Bright Nebula in Sagittarius
M 21 - Open Cluster in Sagittarius
M 22 - Globular Cluster in Sagittarius
M 23 - Open Cluster in Sagittarius
M 24 - Sagittarius Star Cloud - Star Cloud in Sagittarius
M 25 - Open Cluster in Sagittarius
M 26 - Open Cluster in Scutum
M 27 (Dumbbell Nebula) - Planetary Nebula in Vulpecula
M 28 - Globular Cluster in Sagittarius
M 29 - Open Cluster in Cygnus
M 31 (Andromeda Galaxy) - Spiral Galaxy in Andromeda
M 32 - Elliptical Galaxy in Andromeda
M 39 - Open Cluster in Cygnus
M 52 - Open Cluster in Cassiopeia
M 56 - Globular Cluster in Lyra
M 57 (Ring Nebula) - Planetary Nebula in Lyra
M 92 - Globular Cluster in Hercules

M 103 - Open Cluster in Cassiopeia
NGC 129 Open Cluster in Cassiopeia
NGC 457 (Owl Cluster) - Open Cluster in Cassiopeia

NGC 663 - Open Cluster in Cassiopeia

NGC 752 - Open Cluster in Andromeda

NGC 869 (Double Cluster) - Open Cluster in Perseus
NGC 884 (Double Cluster) - Open Cluster in Perseus
NGC 957 - Open Cluster in Perseus
NGC 6210 - Planetary Nebula in Hercules
NGC 6618 - Open Cluster in Sagittarius
NGC 6633 - Open Cluster in Ophiuchus
NGC 6709 - Open Cluster in Aquila
NGC 6818 (Little Gem Nebula) - Planetary Nebula in Sagittarius
NGC 7662 (Blue Snowball Nebula) - Planetary Nebula in Andromeda
NGC 7789 (Caroline's Rose) - Open Cluster in Cassiopeia

Collinder 463 - Open Cluster in Cassiopeia
IC 4665 - Open Cluster in Ophiuchus
IC 4756 - Open Cluster in Serpens

Melotte 20 - Open Cluster in Perseus
Stock 2 - Open Cluster in Cassiopeia
Stock 23 - Open Cluster in Camelopardalis
Trumpler 1 - Open Cluster in Cassiopeia
Trumpler 2 - Open Cluster in Perseus
Trumpler 3 - Open Cluster in Cassiopeia

Beta1 Cyg (Albireo) - Double Star in Cygnus

Epsilon1 Lyr (Double Double) - Variable Double Star in Lyra

 

I probably also saw the Coat Hanger asterism and M 71, a globular cluster in Sagitta.  They are both right around the corner from M 27.  But I didn't enter them into my notes, and now I'm not sure.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 31 August 2016 - 12:47 PM.

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#4 Sarkikos

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 11:42 AM

Blasphemy!!! You can't have that much fun with an ST-80 in a Red Zone! (said the CN Police) :grin:

 

No, the CN Police would only give me a ticket if I used the ST80 for planet/lunar!

 

On the other hand, I could be cited for improper usage of an Amici prism.  :thinking:

 

:grin:

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 31 August 2016 - 11:43 AM.

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#5 deepwoods1

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 12:16 PM

Good for you! An under appreciated scope for what it CAN DO. I have to keep the rings on for 2" eyepieces. 7*fov with a 40mm and darker skies panning through the Milky Way is a pleasure. Clear and steady skies for all. Unless you need rain, then let it rain during the day.


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#6 MarkGregory

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 02:00 PM

Good work.  You are an inspiration for anyone who owns an 80mm scope.  :bow:


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#7 RussL

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 03:19 PM

Way to go. I keep telling folks you can do a lot with an ST80.
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#8 Peter Besenbruch

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 05:22 PM

 

Blasphemy!!! You can't have that much fun with an ST-80 in a Red Zone! (said the CN Police) :grin:

 

No, the CN Police would only give me a ticket if I used the ST80 for planet/lunar!

 

On the other hand, I could be cited for improper usage of an Amici prism.   :thinking:

 

Even then, not so much. They would have come down on you harder for using the ST-80 for examining evidence of ancient Martian civilizations at 1200x with your Amici prism. For that kind of work, a standard Celestron diagonal would be better.

 

That and a case of beer...


Edited by Peter Besenbruch, 31 August 2016 - 05:22 PM.

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#9 NHRob

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 06:38 PM

I'm sorry but, you must be mistaken.  

There's no fluorite in your optics! 

Shame on you.  Your observations are worthless 


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#10 tomykay12

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 06:45 PM

ST-80 with a 2" focuser is definitely a joyful thing...It really makes the scope.


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#11 Sarkikos

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 06:54 PM

Yes, indeed.  I have a 21 Ethos I'm itching to use with the ST80.  The 21 E would give me 19x, 5.2 degrees TFOV and a 4.2mm exit pupil.  

 

But before that, I'd have to work out the inevitable imbalance problem.  The 21 E does weigh 2-1/4 lbs.  Maybe that's a bridge - or a cantilever - too far.

 

I guess I'll have to find those 80mm rings and longer dovetail.  A couple years ago, I had even attached a little barbell weight to the end of the dovetail to counterbalance heavy eyepieces.  That did make the setup heavier, but at least the ST80 was balanced on the tripod.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 31 August 2016 - 06:59 PM.


#12 WyattDavis

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 07:16 PM

Mike, you are a beast -- very inspiring for us beleaguered urban astronomers! I am having my own case of renewed ST80 love and in fact just ordered the GSO 2" focuser to put on it. I am about to move to a condo in a white zone (from a house in a white zone on the other side of town) and am wanting to get set up with something I can get out with quickly and easily. I am going to take a run at your list shortly. Thanks for the report.


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#13 Sarkikos

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 09:00 PM

Got to love the ST80!  I've had mine for nearly seven years.  It's still here, while other astronomy gear has left me.

 

Mike


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#14 ghostboo

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 10:11 PM

Thanks! Loved reading about your evening with the little scope that could. I use mine far more than all my others combined so just bought the focuser upgrade for "Booger". I am addicted to this scope. If I want to look at the moon and planets, I might end up using my Mak but the ST-80 is my buddy for everything else in my light polluted driveway. 

 

Brian  


Edited by ghostboo, 31 August 2016 - 10:12 PM.

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#15 mountain monk

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 11:11 PM

That list in genuinely inspiring--good show!

 

Dark skies.

 

Jack


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#16 spongebob@55

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 09:26 AM

I just copied your observing list.   Next time, would you organize it by constellation?!   :lol: haha.

Thanks from a guy in a white zone!

Bob



#17 Sarkikos

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 10:16 AM

I thought about putting the list in constellation order, since that is my preference, too.  But it would have been too labor intensive.   :grin:

 

I generated the original list on-the-fly, as an object list in SkySafari Pro on my iPhone, while I was observing the objects.   I sent the list in csv form attached to email so I could access it from my desktop computer.  I loaded the file into Excel.  The constellations were listed together with object type in one column.  It would have taken some time to separate the constellations from the object type.  So I just saved it as a text file to edit and sort in that form.   

 

I wish SSP would allow object lists to be saved in Excel or csv files with the data already separated into columns for official designation, common name, constellation, object type, etc.  But that's not the way it does it.  

 

Mike 


Edited by Sarkikos, 01 September 2016 - 10:24 AM.


#18 Sarkikos

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 10:22 AM

I will continue to add objects to the SkySafari Pro list when I have opportunity to observe with the ST80.   I'll probably start an Excel spreadsheet file to keep track of what I've seen.  That's what I've done for my other observing projects.

 

Mike



#19 SpaceJamer

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 10:41 AM

Mike, you are a beast -- very inspiring for us beleaguered urban astronomers! I am having my own case of renewed ST80 love and in fact just ordered the GSO 2" focuser to put on it. I am about to move to a condo in a white zone (from a house in a white zone on the other side of town) and am wanting to get set up with something I can get out with quickly and easily. I am going to take a run at your list shortly. Thanks for the report.

Do you happen to a link? I'm also impressed visually with 80ST but still tweaking it for AP.  

 

-James



#20 WyattDavis

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 08:37 PM

I got my 2" focuser here:  http://www.scopestuff.com/ss_frc2.htm

 

It is a 90 second swap out - three screws and a perfect fit. And, it is MUCH nicer than the stock unit. It arrived today/on a Cloudy Night. Looks like a clear night or two is coming this weekend, so first light shortly!    


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#21 ghostboo

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 11:42 PM

I got my 2" focuser here:  http://www.scopestuff.com/ss_frc2.htm

 

It is a 90 second swap out - three screws and a perfect fit. And, it is MUCH nicer than the stock unit. It arrived today/on a Cloudy Night. Looks like a clear night or two is coming this weekend, so first light shortly!    

Mine is on the way. Should be here by Tuesday and can't wait to get it on there! Did you notice any collimation issues?  This video explains how to use the slight play in the focuser to tube connection (with screws loose) to collimate it after removing focuser. Around the 19 minute mark is where he talks about this. Hoping I don't need to mess with it but it looks pretty easy if I do.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=Ylb7xnc_03U



#22 Sarkikos

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 05:59 AM

I scanned through the video at work this morning - no sound here!  I don't exactly understand the purpose of the folded piece of paper, though I can guess.  I'll have to listen to the video later.  

 

What I do to collimate refractors is just put in the refractor collimator, put the cover on the objective, and shine a bright light into the side of the collimator.  Next I push the objective cell in firmly and evenly, and screw it on.   If the objective cell has collimation screws, I screw on the focuser as well.  Then I look in the collimator to see the rings in the image.  I adjust the collimation screws until the the rings in the image are concentric.  Done!

 

If the objective cell does not have collimation screws (the ST80's objective doesn't have them) then I fudge around with the position of the focuser until the rings are concentric.  I carefully retain that position while I tighten down the focuser screws, meanwhile looking through the collimator to make sure the rings in the image remain concentric.  

 

With some scopes, I've also had to fudge the objective cell a little to collimate, if the focuser won't give me enough movement.  Another possibility in some scopes is to use a drill to lengthen the holes in the OTA for the focuser retaining screws to provide more movement for collimation.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 02 September 2016 - 06:53 AM.

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#23 Sarkikos

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 06:11 AM

By the way, the 35 Ultrascopic - which I thought gave an image too bright and washed out for my red zone skies - provided 11x, 4.1 degrees TFOV and 7mm exit pupil.  That would probably be a border line setup even for a dark site.  

 

The 7mm DeLite darkened the background nicely, but gave a narrower TFOV than I wanted.  It gave 57x, 1.1 degree TFOV and 1.4mm exit pupil.

 

The 24 Pan, which I felt was just right, provided 17x, 3.9 degrees TFOV and 4.8mm exit pupil.  Nice!   :grin:

 

Like I said, the 21 E would give me 19x, 5.2 degrees TFOV and a 4.2mm exit pupil.  But it also weighs 2-1/4 lbs!  :(  I'd also have to use it with a 2" diagonal, adding more to the weight and the length of the accessory train.  I have an Olivon 2" Prism Diagonal that provides a natural orientation.  No reversed image!

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 02 September 2016 - 06:56 AM.

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#24 PXR-5

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 08:42 PM

I love my little booger also :)

The 24pan works perfectly with it. :)

Edited by PXR-5, 02 September 2016 - 08:53 PM.

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#25 Peter Besenbruch

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Posted 03 September 2016 - 02:10 PM

Like I said, the 21 E would give me 19x, 5.2 degrees TFOV and a 4.2mm exit pupil.  But it also weighs 2-1/4 lbs!  :(  I'd also have to use it with a 2" diagonal, adding more to the weight and the length of the accessory train.  I have an Olivon 2" Prism Diagonal that provides a natural orientation.  No reversed image!

 

​Field curvature alert! That and the risk of back strain, trying to heave all that weight. ;)


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