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What a difference a 9x50 Finderscope makes for this Urban Amateur!

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#1 jpcampbell

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 04:23 PM

Last night I logged my 25th session since February, but I'm not sure I've had a more pleasant experience star hopping since I started than when I went out last night with a brand new Orion 9x50 RACI on my 6 SE. I always enjoy my sessions, but too often over the past three months with the 6 SE I've found myself muttering, "Where the (heck) am I?". The RDF that came with it was very poor and impossible to align without a shim. I fixed that thanks to posts here by those who had the same problem with it as I did. Once shimmed and capable of aligning with the scope,  that did me for a while, but when Orion and Canis Major were out of the FOV of my balcony, I found myself struggling to find enough bright stars to navigate the constellations in my FOV. Binoculars helped me get a sense of the stars in the field, but it was less than ideal. After a couple of frustrating sessions, I went out and got a 6x30 RACI. That was a major difference. My back and neck where very happy, and I could see and get to many stars and areas of constellations I was interested in.

 

Yet it didn't take me long to realize that even the 6x30 was a mismatch for the 6 SE in my light polluted sky. I still found myself muttering the same "Where am I?" question (though not as often) on nights when transparency was poor and even stars as bright as 3.5 were a struggle to see with my naked eyes. That meant less stars in the finder. What's more, even if I landed on a star that was in the finder, the field was reversed and the dimmer stars were not in the finder, and though seen in the eyepiece, they were reversed and didn't match what I saw in my atlas or Stellarium. I was often confused.

 

By last week I said that's enough! Time to get a 9x50 RACI. What a difference! The field is wide enough and it gathers enough light that I can see pretty much what I can see in my 10x50 binoculars, which is all I need. I don't think I uttered the "Where am I?" question once last night. I was always able to quickly figure out where I was and know where I was going. I don't use Goto except when I want to track an object, but it was immediately apparent to me that if you live in heavily light polluted skies a 9x50 finder will be a great help with alignment since it's hard to get enough bright stars to align with for many of us with narrower fields of view.

 

So my beginners lesson? Make sure you get the finder that matches your scope and your sky. A 6x30 isn't useless, but its limitations will be quickly revealed in Bortle 9 skies in a 6 inch or greater scope. If I could do it all over again, I wouldn't have wasted any time getting a 9x50 finder when I got the 6 SE. Then again, I wouldn't have known what I know now. I guess I like learning things the hard way. ;-)

 

Oh, and the 6x30 finder? Well, it's on my Celestron/Vixen FS 80, where it's a good match for the aperture.

 

 


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#2 Cali

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 04:59 PM

Agreed jpcampbell. There are evenings I spend more time looking through the Orion 9x50 RACI than I do through my scope.

 

- Cal


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#3 Asbytec

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 06:27 PM

I've used a straight through finder for so many years it took a while to get used to a 9x50 RACI. I'd recommend getting Sky Safari for star hopping in night vision mode. You can flip the field of view to match whatever scope you are using. First get close with the Finder, then switch to a low power eyepiece and approach the target through your main scope. You'll have to flip and zoom in the FOV when you go to your main scope. It's easier to see it in Sky Safari than trying to mentally flip the image in your head. I've had some difficulty star hopping during a full moon. So I agree. You want to see more stars. 


Edited by Asbytec, 12 June 2019 - 06:28 PM.

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#4 hcf

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 07:55 PM

And if you still find yourself muttering  "Where (the heck)  am I"  once in a while, you can always build yourself a "Where Am I" gizmo:

 

https://www.cloudyni...sual-astronomy/

 

which will work with all of your scopes smile.gif


Edited by hcf, 13 June 2019 - 02:41 PM.

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#5 dmgriff

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 11:39 AM

A pair of UpClose 10x50s and a 9x50 raci have helped me, also, in my efforts.

 

Good viewing,

 

Dave


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#6 Chesterguy1

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 12:03 PM

I concur with the others. A 9 x 50 RACI is really a nice addition to many scopes. I have a 6 x 30 straight thru on my 90mm refractor and it is both uncomfortable to see through (neck problems) and the more limited aperture makes it difficult to see anything except on the darker nights. I can see many of the brighter Messiers in the 9 x 50. I use a 9 x 50 RACI with my 120mm, 8" and 15" and it seems well mated to all of them--and just a bit on the large side sitting abreast of the 120mm.

 

Chesterguy


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#7 jpcampbell

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 01:15 PM

And if you still find yourself muttering  "Where (the heck)  am I"  once in a while, you can always build yourself a "Where Am I" gizmo:

 

https://www.cloudyni...sual-astronomy/

 

which will work with all of your scopes smile.gif

Wow, hcf! As a Linux sysadmin for many years this is very impressive. If I wasn't so determined to keep computers out of my observing sessions I'd be all over this. Actually, I'm thinking that when January/February comes round I might have to do something and might look into EAA if I can't handle the cold. One aspect of observing I very much enjoy is being away from all screens, though admittedly I make an exception for Stellarium on a tablet, since it's very useful. I will be coming back to your post again in a few months. Very cool set up. 


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#8 erin

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 01:40 PM

I just got one too. Bortle 8 skies here. I love using the RACI with a red dot finder too. Killer combo for starhopping. It almost makes it too easy......almost wink.gif


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#9 hcf

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 03:47 PM

Wow, hcf! As a Linux sysadmin for many years this is very impressive. If I wasn't so determined to keep computers out of my observing sessions I'd be all over this. Actually, I'm thinking that when January/February comes round I might have to do something and might look into EAA if I can't handle the cold. One aspect of observing I very much enjoy is being away from all screens, though admittedly I make an exception for Stellarium on a tablet, since it's very useful. I will be coming back to your post again in a few months. Very cool set up. 

With an added piggyback battery the camera is completely wireless now. A raspberrypi,usb router or a laptop has to be nearby but not connected by wires to the cam. Setup takes some time (and a laptop), but it can be done before fully dark. During observing all you have is a tablet with sky safari and a wiimote. You click the wiimote, sky safari shows where you are pointed to after 10-30 seconds (depending on how powerful the computer running the plate solver is) . Once you set it up, you don't have to use it if you don't need it. But sometimes even with the RACI in LP skies you can get lost during long hops (target far from the naked eye visible star) . You can use it to get your bearings then instead of restarting the hop. For other times or when you are closer to the target, just use the RACI.

 

And for those zen nights when you just want the sky and glass, just leave it at home smile.gif



#10 WyattDavis

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Posted 15 June 2019 - 06:33 AM

I just got one too. Bortle 8 skies here. I love using the RACI with a red dot finder too. Killer combo for starhopping. It almost makes it too easy......almost wink.gif

+1



#11 vtornado

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Posted 15 June 2019 - 11:58 AM

I just got one too. Bortle 8 skies here. I love using the RACI with a red dot finder too. Killer combo for starhopping. It almost makes it too easy......almost wink.gif

You can remove the rdf from its base and hot-melt, silicone glue or two sided tape it to the mounting ring of your 9x50,

You don't need another mounting shoe on your scope.

add a digital angle meeter, and a degree circle and you have a star-hunting-machine


Edited by vtornado, 15 June 2019 - 12:17 PM.

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#12 hcf

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 02:16 PM

You can remove the rdf from its base and hot-melt, silicone glue or two sided tape it to the mounting ring of your 9x50,

You don't need another mounting shoe on your scope.

add a digital angle meeter, and a degree circle and you have a star-hunting-machine

 

These triple finder mounts have also dropped in price lately, for mounting both a RDF and RACI on one mount point.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/173881689743



#13 jcj380

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 08:06 AM

I used two-sided 3M "Command" spongy tape to mount an RCF base on my ST120.  Seems to work ok on drywall, so I assume it won't leave marks on my OTA when I eventually pull it off.


Edited by jcj380, 18 June 2019 - 08:07 AM.



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