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The Skywatcher 100 ED APO thread ...

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#701 BlueMoon

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 08:48 AM

A little something different for my 100ED friends. Ursa Major, The Big Dipper, has been in a good position in the NE. Other than the usual attraction of the binary Mizar and Alcor in the handle, I haven't paid it a lot of attention due to working on other observations. Well, I was messing around with Stellarium the other night to set up an observation area and took a look in "the cup". Holy Moly! If you ever wanted to push your 100 to its limits this is the place. Galaxies. Lots of galaxies and in fairly close proximity to each other (99% are within "the cup" formed by it's 4 "corner" stars). Magnitudes from around 11.5 to 14 or so. (My Stellarium is set up to filter out anything above 14 mag.) The image is scaled so it's hard to read the labels, but all those red ones are DSOs. If you decide to dive in there for a challenge you'll need a good seeing night and your best eye piece(s).

 

Clear skies and happy hunting!

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#702 Mike in Rancho

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 04:06 PM

Will for sure have to try that out.  I can find the dipper!  A few night ago I got my first look at Markarian's Chain for the next monthly challenge - well, the D5300 got a look.  Pretty awesome.  It's been high thin clouds or clear but hazy (bad seeing) so all I have really done is figure out where I wanted to center the image and mark my camera rotation.  First time I am doing that - and the 100ED focuser does not rotate on its own.  But, in Stellarium it showed that I was better off angling the camera to get a better string of galaxies corner to corner.  I could use the FR instead, but...I'd like to try this one at 900mm.

 

Changing lanes - what do you folks like to use for a manual mount?  I'm thinking about something I can just toss in the yard rather than the whole HEQ5 haul-out and setup.  This would be for the 100ED and visual, or, my 90mm Meade achro which is similarly shaped and sized, albeit very light, if the 100 is otherwise busy imaging at the same time.

 

I'm also torn between alt-az and EQ.  Az mount of course is square up, easy to move around and target, but then...movement will necessitate scrambling for two different knobs.  An EQ I understand decently well now because I have to get AP right for the imaging, but still a bit awkward and unintuitive to swing it around.  And I figure I can plop it down about anywhere with a reasonable pointing towards Polaris.  Once targeted, I'd only need to turn the RA knob.

 

It would have to take a Vixen bar of course.  Other than that, it's just a spare mount so nothing crazy.  It wouldn't need upgrade capability for motors, but that might be unavoidable for any kind of halfway robust mount?


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#703 BlueMoon

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 06:08 PM

Markarian's Chain is awesome and beautiful AP target I'd agree. Hope you get some great shots. Thanks for the nudge too. I'll have to work out an observation for it soon. waytogo.gif

 

As for a manual mount, I really like my Vixen Porta II and it's my "go to" for "grab n go". It handles the 100 pretty well for low to mid power work, but high power mags the damping takes few seconds. It's not terrible but it's one of those things you either live with or not. With the 72mm it's rock steady. The slo-mo controls work well. I also have a Tele-Optik Giro GR2 DX alt/az similar to this one: https://astromart.co...67/506508-4.jpg which is buttery smooth in movements but not as portable. It needs counterweights to be hauled around and has no slo-mo controls.

 

Alt/az or EQ? Hmm. If I were just observing then a "quick and dirty" polar alignment would suffice for a session. My CG-5 GEM is that way. The polar alignment scope is outdated so I just get close to the NGP and call it good. I can use the RA motor for ad hoc tracking and nudge an axis if it get too far off. I'm still more in the Alt/Az camp though. (I just put myself on a waiting list for a Losmandy AZ8).

 

The 100 on the Porta II on a Tall+ tripod. I'm 6'2" and in retrospect I could have just gotten the standard tripod and been okay. Though it is nice for those nights I feel like standing fully erect (read: have to stand up because my back is bothering me) instead of sitting. I added the slo-mo cables and fabricated a simple aluminum "L" bracket with a WO Vixen dovetail clamp to replace the stock clamp. I like the weight of my scopes to bear down on the clamp rather than applying leverage sideways. The head/tripod weighs 15# and is a one hand carry. The 100 weighs about 10-11#. Scope in one hand, mount in the other and 5 minutes or less to setup.

 

Clear skies.

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#704 PKDfan

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 12:06 AM

Hi Bluemoon! That looks very nice! I need a quick and dirty setup for short sessions. No counterweight! I would like to know if I could use my eqm-35pro tripod, as I like its sturdiness.
I will have to do some research to see if mine is compatible with the porta II.
But it will have to wait for awhile as I desperately need a Baader clicklock for my 100ED. Thats my next Agena Astro purchase.

Now if only my skies will allow a little observing.
I'm desperate to really test my new Nagler, a 12mm type2 which is practically new. So far with a quick lunar view it seems excellent. Need some dso time but with these insane weather changes up here in 53°north its like if you miss a good night, you might see another good night a month away.
I hope this spring amd summer is a litle more constant in its weather pattern.
At least its warmer now!

Take care and be well!


Clear 100ED skies & Good seeing
Edit typo

Edited by PKDfan, 08 April 2021 - 12:09 AM.

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#705 BlueMoon

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 08:04 AM

 

That looks very nice! I need a quick and dirty setup for short sessions. No counterweight! I would like to know if I could use my eqm-35pro tripod, as I like its sturdiness.

Thank you PKDFan. t's nice for just getting out and setting up quick. No hassles. waytogo.gif

Here's a pic with the Porta II head on my EQ-4 steel tube. If you want to measure the diameter of the socket where your GEM fits in the hub, I can check it against mine to be sure for you. Some of the newer EQ tripod hubs have a removable pin for orienting the GEM on the azimuth axis. It just unscrews. If yours is like that, your EQ-35M hub should be fine I think.  On my EQ-4, which is about 14 yrs old, the azimuth pin was cast as part of the hub so I sawed it off flush with a hacksaw. The Porta II bolts up flat to the hub. As I still use my CG-5 on that tripod, I drilled and tapped a new hole where the old cast-in pin was. I bought a stud from the hardware store for the azimuth pin. It was an easy mod to do and now I add or remove the stud depending on the mount I want to use. On mine, the original mounting bolt for the CG-5 fit the Porta II, a 10x1.5mm as I recall, and it's a bolt-up. CG-5 comes off, the Porta II goes on. I added a spare 10# counterweight right below the hub resting on the spreader just because I had one laying around. The whole thing is solid as a rock.

 

I hope you get some good skies soon. With Spring being here, I have a whole list of observing I'd like to get done too!

 

Clear skies friend, be well.

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#706 Mike in Rancho

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 12:44 PM

Thanks! waytogo.gif  I saw the Vixen Porta when I was browsing Agena and OPT.  I still haven't decided on az vs eq, but, good to know about vibration calm down.  I tend to be a little handsy when visual observing.  Also, despite being fairly coordinated (so he says), I am liable to bonk my face on the EP a time or two trying to hover in the right spot over the thing.  I'm sure it will be more in terms of mount+tripod, but maybe a little more solid would be better for me.

 

Plus, the other reason for the extra mount is to go full height, so I can test out different spots and try to "peek" over my block wall at things on the southern horizon.  The HEQ5 and its marks on walking stones are generally all set up for the tripod's shortest leg position.


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#707 Challenger75

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 03:03 PM

I also have an ED100, and no matter what I did the single-speed focuser would not hold the weight of a typical 2" eyepiece & diagonal. I spent hours redoing it a couple of years ago, including grinding the flat on the tube. I placed it in a freezer and tested its vertical lifting power. It worked great, but a year later it was back to not functioning well at all. There's an excellent fix that costs $160.

 

I ordered a GSO dual speed focuser:

GSO brand: https://agenaastro.c...speed-96mm.html

Scopestuff brand: http://www.scopestuff.com/ss_frc2.htm

 

You have to also order a Synta shoe for you finder scope, but I have to say this focuser is excellent - and I have Moonlite's.

 

Do not get the "Linear bearing" version.

 

Here's a pic on my ED100:

 

attachicon.gifED100-6.jpg

I'm new to this and my ED100 is being delivered today. I read that someone has used the linear bearing one, however you recommend not to. Why is that please?



#708 BlueMoon

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 04:32 PM

Glad to see you joined us. waytogo.gif

 

There is nothing wrong at all using a linear bearing focuser. I know a few folks, including myself, who changed the stock Synta focuser, which is of good quality, for a linear bearing type. Generally speaking, the linear bearing handles heavier loads a bit better than the stock unit. Folks will tell you that you can adjust and tweak the stock focuser to get better performance from it and that's true to a point. But if one is using a heavy camera or perhaps binoviewers as I was, the linear bearing simply worked better. I used the ScopeStuff item and it worked just fine.

 

The only downside is that the GSO linear bearing focuser which seems to be the most popular only allows for 2 inches of draw tube outward travel. The stock Synta has 4 inches. This can cause issues with reaching focus with some eye pieces. In my case, I added a 2"x2" extension and it solved the problem. I used a Tele Vue but there are others available: https://www.televue...._page.asp?id=92

 

Clear skies.


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#709 SteveG

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 08:48 PM

I'm new to this and my ED100 is being delivered today. I read that someone has used the linear bearing one, however you recommend not to. Why is that please?

As Jeff noted, the 2" travel is too little. I put the standard Crayford on mine, and it is really nice, much better than the stock focuser, and it's rotatable.

 

ED100-6.jpg


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#710 Challenger75

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 06:47 AM

As Jeff noted, the 2" travel is too little. I put the standard Crayford on mine, and it is really nice, much better than the stock focuser, and it's rotatable.

 

attachicon.gifED100-6.jpg

Thank you!



#711 Jond105

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 01:36 PM

I’m not going to lie. I put the GSO regular crayford on another scope of mine. I never had issues with it. If you can’t afford the moonlite it’s the way to go for a nice upgrade to the scope.
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#712 Challenger75

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 03:10 PM

Received my 100ED in yesterday. Very impressed with the quality of the packing and condition of contents. Everything was mint and the focuser is butter smooth. I attached my Nikon Z5 mirrorless. However, even tightened down, there is still a smidgen of up and down play. With that said, the focuser held focus just fine. I did take the recommendations on upgrading the focuser to the GSO Linear version as I will mainly be doing photography and with that comes a little more weight on the end. I have extension tubes so achieving focus should not be a problem.
 
The night started out perfectly in a Bortle 2/3 clear sky and I was looking forward to a whole night of imaging. It was so dark I almost couldn't see my hand. In fact, a meteor went streaking by and I could actually see it disintegrating. That's how clear it was. However, about 30 minutes into the session, a fogbank suddenly rolled in off the sea and shut us right down for the night! We couldn't believe it! I had just started imaging M100 too. I had planned on taking 60x 2 minute subs. Guess this is what we get for living in the Northeast on the ocean! Ugh!! I did manage a shot of Orion and a couple of M100. The optics look great and spot on. I was going to post a couple pictures, however, I don't see a quick link to just add a picture with having to put one in a gallery first or link to a URL. 


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#713 BlueMoon

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 03:24 PM

Glad to hear your off to (mostly) good start. Fog? Yep. I grew up in the Aleutian Islands, I can tell you about fog.

 

Bortle 2/3 in Rhode Island. I'm impressed! I used to drive I-95 corridor up the eastern seaboard with occasional stops in RI.

 

 

I was going to post a couple pictures, however, I don't see a quick link to just add a picture with having to put one in a gallery first or link to a URL.

To attach pictures, when your composing a post, click on the "More Reply Options" button in the lower right hand corner. It will open up more options including adding images. The TOS describes how big they can be: "Image posting size restrictions are 1600X1200 px (maximum 500kb)" For myself, I usually resize a single picture to 800x600 (or less) or if I have 2 or 3 to post, 400x300 or there about.

 

 

Clear skies (well, at least not foggy ones!)


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#714 Mike in Rancho

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 04:18 PM

That's great, Challenger.  Looking forward to your images!  waytogo.gif

 

 

Glad to hear your off to (mostly) good start. Fog? Yep. I grew up in the Aleutian Islands, I can tell you about fog.

 

There are people there?  Gads I thought it was just polar bears, seals, and volcanoes.

 

I suppose Idaho feels downright balmy to you!


Edited by Mike in Rancho, 10 April 2021 - 04:00 AM.

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#715 BlueMoon

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 04:28 PM

 

There are people there?  Gads I thought it was just polar bears, seals, and volcanos.

I suppose Idaho feels downright balmy to you!

Not many any more I'm afraid. I grew up on Adak Island, with a volcano to the east on Great Sitkin and another to the west on Kanaga. Sitkin was always active with steam rising from a minor caldera. Kanaga wasn't at the time, but had an eruption some years after I left. Seals, yep. Killer whales, yep. Polar bears, thankfully no but a lot of caribou.

 

Idaho is wonderful ...


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#716 Mike in Rancho

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 04:02 AM

Not many any more I'm afraid. I grew up on Adak Island, with a volcano to the east on Great Sitkin and another to the west on Kanaga. Sitkin was always active with steam rising from a minor caldera. Kanaga wasn't at the time, but had an eruption some years after I left. Seals, yep. Killer whales, yep. Polar bears, thankfully no but a lot of caribou.

 

Idaho is wonderful ...

Wow.  I looked that up.  Talk about BFE...

 

If you were into it back then...skies pretty dark up there?


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#717 BlueMoon

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 06:34 AM

 

If you were into it back then...skies pretty dark up there?

Oh yeah. If there was a 0 in the Bortle scale, it would be there. The catch is having the weather cooperate so you could see that kind of sky. Where I grew up the island is named "The Birthplace of the Winds" and it lived up to it's name. The Aleution Islands form a "border" between the cold water of the Bering Sea on the north and the warm waters of the Japan Current on the south. LOTS of cloudy and wet weather.


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#718 Challenger75

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 07:43 AM

Here's a few pics. Always nice opening a box for a brand new scope! The Orion pic is screenshot of an unprocessed RAW. I just brought up the brightness some.

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  • rrScreenshot (1299).png

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#719 BlueMoon

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 09:52 AM

Sweet! The 100 looks right at home on that mount. I like the telrad out on the tube too and they are really nice for star-hopping which is how I navigate. Might give it go I think. I used one on my dob and now I keep bumping my head on my 50mm finder scope on the 100 (short mounting stalk). waytogo.gif


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#720 Mike in Rancho

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 02:20 PM

Telrad?  This is something I do not know.  I was wondering where your RACI was, then noticed that military-looking rectangle and tried to figure out if it was on the scope or in the background lol.

 

Other than that, looks awfully familiar!  Though I put both caps back on the polar scope right away, as I have ended up with dirt and dust in there.

 

Cool M42 as it is going away from us.  What are the details on the image?  Couple dust bunnies on the sensor.  Some tracking errors.  But a pretty darn good start for an unprocessed sub of first light!  waytogo.gif


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#721 Challenger75

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 04:50 PM

Telrad?  This is something I do not know.  I was wondering where your RACI was, then noticed that military-looking rectangle and tried to figure out if it was on the scope or in the background lol.

 

Other than that, looks awfully familiar!  Though I put both caps back on the polar scope right away, as I have ended up with dirt and dust in there.

 

Cool M42 as it is going away from us.  What are the details on the image?  Couple dust bunnies on the sensor.  Some tracking errors.  But a pretty darn good start for an unprocessed sub of first light!  waytogo.gif

Well, I m not one to keep the caps of the polar scope either, but if you noticed the blue sky, Polaris wasn't out yet. Settings on the image: ISO 1600 and I believe 2 minutes. I was testing a few exposure times and I'm not at my computer to firm. Also, I do not have a FF/FR, could have some bearing on the look of the stars toward the edges. Dust bunnies would have been taken care of if this was a final image, but again, it's an single unprocessed screenshot just to give a look of the optics out of the box. I didn't bother even to do a stack like I usually do because of the sudden turn of weather. Darn weather!


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#722 therealdmt

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 08:38 AM

Changing lanes - what do you folks like to use for a manual mount?

 

I'm also torn between alt-az and EQ.  Az mount of course is square up, easy to move around and target, but then...movement will necessitate scrambling for two different knobs.  An EQ I understand decently well now because I have to get AP right for the imaging, but still a bit awkward and unintuitive to swing it around.  And I figure I can plop it down about anywhere with a reasonable pointing towards Polaris.  Once targeted, I'd only need to turn the RA knob.

I use a SkyWatcher AZ4, which is also sold as the Orion VersaGo II. Mine is on a SkyWatcher "heavy duty" steel tripod with 1.75" steel legs. The thick steel legs are frankly overkill and leave my setup a bit on the heavy side. The positive aspect though is that the scope is pretty much rock steady (well, except in the wind). I typically view with the legs extended, which for a lot of people is a big no-no due to resulting unsteadiness but is fine with this setup, and if I’m viewing from the ground, I don’t even need the spreader bar/eyepiece tray (though I do kinda need it for high magnification viewing from my deck). 
 

SkyWatcher and I think Orion now sell the mount with the lighter aluminum leg setup in the US, which I’ve read is a bit underkill actually, though it can be steadied up by not extending the legs and adding an extension pier you can order from FLO in the UK (great service).

 

At least with the AZ4, there’s not really much scrambling for two different knobs — you just tension both knobs semi-tight (semi-loose?) and then steer the scope by the handle (or even just by pushing on the focuser) across the two axes simultaneously. The altitude axis needs to be tightened a bit extra when pointing near zenith though. It’s not perfect — there is a bit of stickiness to it at times would be my only complaint. I think I came across a mention of someone taking his AZ4 apart and re-lubing it with a higher quality lubricant of some sort, but it hasn’t bothered me enough to go back and look it up.

 

Anyway, I like it — it’s super simple, with just the two oversized tension knobs and a handle to it — and you don’t even need the handle! Exactly what I wanted, though I can certainly understand other people wanting more features

IMG_5975.jpg

IMG_5983.jpg


Edited by therealdmt, 12 April 2021 - 12:55 AM.

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#723 therealdmt

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 08:40 AM

IMG_5982.jpg

 

IMG_5981.jpg

 


Edited by therealdmt, 11 April 2021 - 08:42 AM.

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#724 BlueMoon

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 11:18 AM

 

Mine is on a SkyWatcher "heavy duty" steel tripod with 1.75" steel legs. The thick steel legs are frankly overkill and leave my setup a bit on the heavy side. The positive aspect though is that the scope is pretty much rock steady (well, except in the wind). I typically view with the legs extended, which for a lot of people is a big no-no due to resulting unsteadiness but is fine with this setup, and if I’m viewing from the ground, I don’t even need the spreader bar/eyepiece tray (though I do kinda need it for high magnification viewing from my deck).

I love that tripod model. My recommendation to anyone who can get hold of one at a reasonable price is to do so. I've mounted just about every scope I've owned on my EQ-4 steel leg (an earlier version  of that model) with the exception of a 10" dob. It never fails to be rock steady even with the legs extended.

 

Nice rig!


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#725 Mike in Rancho

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Posted 11 April 2021 - 03:10 PM

That looks pretty cool.  No problem following things with an alt-az as the sky moves?  I can totally see me losing the target and having to keep hitting up the RACI.

 

Too bad on the overkill/underkill tripods.  Though I think I would lean towards overkill if we can't get just plain "kill."


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