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More Fun with an ST80 in a Red Zone

refractor observing report Orion
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#1 Sarkikos

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 08:15 AM

Last Sunday night, the night before Labor Day, I took my ST80 out for another observing session behind my house.   Like my previous night with the little scope, it was mounted on a MicroStar on Vanguard Auctus Plus 324AT tripod, which has a crank-up elevator column.  Once again, a GLP was my only finder.  Years ago I upgraded the focuser to a 2" GSO Crayford.   And of course I took along my iPhone with SkySafari Pro and a camping stool.

 

Earlier that day, I removed the 2" GSO Crayford focuser.  I needed to take off the little dovetail block that was screwed onto the OTA so I could have room to put the scope in rings and a longer dovetail.  (I already had these, so nothing new to buy.)  I also wanted to rotate the focuser to a different position.  These changes would give me more control over how I position the OTA on a mount.  

 

Now I have a longer adjustment range backward and forward, and I can rotate the OTA in the rings if needed.  Many observers also say that having a scope in rings - rather than a dovetail attached directly to the OTA - will dampen vibrations.  Probably true, but it does add to the total weight of the setup and can reduce the portability somewhat, since it can require a larger equipment bag.  

 

Previously I had a Baader 1.25" RACI Prism Diagonal in the focuser.  This time I went with an Olivon 2" RACI Prism.  Of course, it would give me a natural orientation:  not upside down, not reversed right to left.  I intended to use the 2" diagonal with my 21 Ethos.  I like to try these new setups inside the house before venturing outside.  

 

Well, I tried it.  Even with the ST80 in rings and longer dovetail, the 21 E was just too big and heavy for the little ST80.  I had a longer dovetail I could have installed, but the one on the scope was just the right size.  Also, I'd have to remove the focuser and rotate it on the OTA to get the focuser knobs out of the way of the longer dovetail.  I didn't want to go there.  Enough is enough.  Besides, the 100 degrees AFOV of the 21 E would make the field curvature of the scope even more obvious.

 

So I opted for my Meade UWA 24mm instead.  The Meade weighs about a third less than the 21 E, and is not as bulky.  I had removed the bulbous shroud from the Meade UWA years ago.  At that time I cut a ring out of the shroud to use as an eyecup.

 

The Meade worked out very well in the ST80.  I did have to push the scope all the way forward on the dovetail in order for it to balance.  This Meade UWA 24 eyepiece would give me 17x, 82 degrees AFOV, 4.7 degrees TFOV and a 4.8mm exit pupil.  Not bad.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 06 September 2016 - 08:32 AM.

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#2 Sarkikos

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 08:21 AM

The night was clear and the seeing was decent.  I have seen it more transparent here, but it was not too bad for a late-summer night.

 

I observed from about 10pm to 2am, about four hours.  For most of the session, I was picking through areas of the sky I had already visited with the ST80 a few days ago, so the going was not as easy.  Still, since I stayed out later, I was able to bag 49 more DSO I'd never seen before through the ST80.

 

Here they are, sorted by constellation:

 

M 110 Elliptical Galaxy in Andromeda
NGC 7686 Open Cluster in Andromeda
NGC 956 Open Cluster in Andromeda
NGC 7009 (Saturn Nebula) Planetary Nebula in Aquarius
NGC 6738 Open Cluster in Aquila
M 36 (Pinwheel Cluster) Open Cluster in Auriga
NGC 1502 Open Cluster in Camelopardalis
Kemble's Cascade Asterism in Camelopardalis
M 30 Globular Cluster in Capricornus
Stock 24 Open Cluster in Cassiopeia
NGC 225 Open Cluster in Cassiopeia
King 14 Open Cluster in Cassiopeia
NGC 146 Open Cluster in Cassiopeia
NGC 189 Open Cluster in Cassiopeia
NGC 133 Open Cluster in Cassiopeia
NGC 637 Open Cluster in Cassiopeia
NGC 654 Open Cluster in Cassiopeia
Berkeley 62 Open Cluster in Cassiopeia
Berkeley 4 Open Cluster in Cassiopeia
King 16 Open Cluster in Cassiopeia
NGC 7510 Open Cluster in Cepheus
Markarian 50 Open Cluster in Cepheus
NGC 7063 Open Cluster in Cygnus
NGC 7026 Planetary Nebula in Cygnus
NGC 7082 Open Cluster in Cygnus
IC 5146 Open Cluster in Cygnus
NGC 6871 Open Cluster in Cygnus
NGC 6888 (Crescent Nebula) Bright Nebula in Cygnus
Biurakan 2 Open Cluster in Cygnus
NGC 6883 Open Cluster in Cygnus
NGC 7027 Planetary Nebula in Cygnus
NGC 6543 (Cat's Eye Nebula) Planetary Nebula in Draco
NGC 6229 Globular Cluster in Hercules
NGC 7243 Open Cluster in Lacerta
NGC 7209 Open Cluster in Lacerta
Stephenson 1 Open Cluster in Lyra
M 34 Open Cluster in Perseus
NGC 1245 Open Cluster in Perseus
NGC 1545 Open Cluster in Perseus
NGC 1528 Open Cluster in Perseus
NGC 1513 Open Cluster in Perseus
NGC 1582 Open Cluster in Perseus
Harvard 20 Open Cluster in Sagitta
M 71 Globular Cluster in Sagitta
M 75 Globular Cluster in Sagittarius
M 45 (Pleiades) Open Cluster in Taurus
NGC 6940 Open Cluster in Vulpecula
Cr 399 (Coathanger) Asterism in Vulpecula
NGC 6882 Open Cluster in Vulpecula

 

That makes a total of 98 DSO for the ST80, after I take out the two double stars I saw last time.

 

I tried several times to tease out M76 (Little Dumbell), but no luck.  It was lost in the light pollution in the north east sky.  I'll have to try again when it culminates on a transparent night.  I know I've seen it here through my C5.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 06 September 2016 - 08:58 AM.

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#3 Joe1950

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 08:52 AM

Excellent write-up, Sarkikos. I live on the border of a red/light gray zone and have an 80mm f/6.5. Gives me something to try for. I'd be happy with just a handful of the brighter ones.  :)


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#4 tomykay12

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 11:26 AM

My ST-80 did impromptu outreach last nite, showing my visiting son in law the crescent Moon and Saturn; two things the ST is NOT noted for, lol. It is just so compact and easy to set up on a Bogen tripod that a moments notice is barely needed, and observing begins within minutes. We were in the front yard right at dusk, and several other people strolling by got to look as well. Fun scope. White zone.


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#5 ghostboo

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 07:19 PM

I live in the red zone too. Your post is motivating for ST-80-aholoics such as myself! I'll give your list a try if our clouds cooperate but doubt I can get anywhere near what you listed.

 

I was out in the yellow zone last night with my ST-80 trying something new to me. I put my DSLM (Lumix GX8) on the little 80 on an SLT mount. Was trying to get the Triffid Nebula. I figured with an alt/az mount, I could get maybe 15 second exposures...stack them, and see but the wind picked up after I set up my stuff so had to limit it to six second exposures. Still not bad for a single unstacked six second exposure. CA not too bad either.

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Edited by ghostboo, 06 September 2016 - 07:29 PM.

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