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APM 150 ED Binocular, My Take

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#326 oldmanrick

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Posted 24 May 2021 - 12:02 AM

 

I have a question : to obtain x86 in power, I use two Nikon NAV-HW 12,5mm eyepieces (with their EiC-10 lens). They give me astonishing views, but because my eyes are too close and my nose too long (C'est un pic, c'est une péninsule...), I do not enjoy their full field of view. Any advice for very good eyepieces around that focal length (10-12mm) ?

I have the Docter 12.5 pair.  They are wonderful in both the 100mm Lunt ED, (same as APM), and the APM 150.  I find them one of the most comfortable eyepiece pairs I have used for both daytime terrestrial and astronomy.  I have never tried the APM 12.5, the Nikon 12.5NAV-HW, or the Morpheus 12.5.  I have other Morpheus pairs in 17.5 mm, 9 mm, 6.5 mm, and 4.5 mm sizes.  They are all good, and are very comfortable for me.

 

I acquired the Doctor pair by watching CN ads and while still expensive, got them for a very nice discount over buying new ones, and they are in excellent condition.  It may take a lot of watching, as they do not come up for sale very often.

 

Best wishes,

 

Rick


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#327 range88

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Posted 24 May 2021 - 02:42 AM

Interesting... for I'm quite sensitive to kidney beans effect frown.gif
How do they compare with Morpheus 12,5mm (at night) on that topic ?

Morpheus is better in this regard.


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#328 oldmanrick

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Posted 27 June 2021 - 09:20 PM

Last evening had clear skies and warm temperatures, so I pulled the APM 150 Ed out of the shop and set up in the driveway.  The Moon wouldn't rise until just after midnight so I planned on a couple of hours of relatively dark sky observing.  I used the Docter 12.5mm eyepiece pair  at 67X for this entire viewing session.

 

Seeing wasn't bad, though far from perfect.  There also seemed to be a definite lack of transparency, with a lot of after glow in the direction of the sun, and also in the opposite direction where the Moon would be coming up.  This direction was also over our small town, about 5 miles distant, and at first I thought most of the sky glow in that direction was coming from the town.

 

As time went on, the glow got larger and brighter, so I decided that it was definitely being caused mostly by the Moon, which was still well below the horizon.  Apparently there was a lot of humidity in the atmosphere, causing unusually bright and large areas of glow where illuminated by the Sun and Moon. 

 

This theory was further reinforced in that views were not very good, (muddy and dim), no matter where the target, except for the Moon, which was very bright and sharp after it had risen.

 

My initial objective for the evening was to get more familiar with the Nexus DSC unit on my APM fork mount.  After setting it up and aligning on two stars, it seemed to be away off when seeking other targets.  I must have mis-identified one alignment star, or had some other parameter erroneously set.  It is difficult for me to align in the dark, with having to take my glasses on and off to be able to read the Nexus and then look through the bino or the red dot finder.  Also Sky Safari Pro is not currently working on my i-pad so I had to use a planisphere to help identify things.

 

Anyway, I ended up just turning the Nexus off and free-lancing it for the evening.  Mostly explored the area around and within the Summer Triangle, and also near Polaris.  Not much remarkable to report here, as viewing was pretty bad, due to the humid atmosphere.

 

I'm finding that although the Nexus is a great device, and would be very helpful if I could master it, right now it takes way too much of my valuable observing time fiddling with it to get it set up correctly, and learning how to operate it in order to achieve the desired goals.  (Finding an object I want to view in the many menus, or getting it to identify an unknown object that I am viewing and want to know what it is).  I plan to keep trying as time permits, but at the current rate of progress, may take a long time to gain proficiency.

 

After the Moon was up high enough to be above the dirtiest part of the atmosphere, I spent quite a bit of time viewing it, mainly looking for Petavius Crater I had noted earlier, (post 305), that had the long straight thin shadow across the bottom.  I think I was able to identify the crater, but the shadow was not visible with the present sun angle.  It's amazing how much different the topography on the Moon looks when the Sun is at different angles and directions.

 

Rick


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#329 oldmanrick

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Posted 29 June 2021 - 10:38 AM

Yesterday the temp reached 105 F here, but after sunset, it quickly dropped to 80 then high 70's.  The air was very clear, with no clouds in sight.  A quick seeing test viewing communication towers on a local mountain top with the Canon 18X50 IS indicated that the lower atmosphere was quite good for seeing.

 

I decided to have another go with the APM 150, and try to make some more progress towards learning to use the Nexus DSC for guidance to find sought targets and identify others.  This time I took more care in making sure the proper time zone, date and starting parameters were set, and that I was using the right alignment stars.  I chose to use Polaris, as it sits relatively still, and is easy to find, and for the second star, I used Altair, the eastern tip of the Summer Triangle, as it was also easy to find, and quite prominent.

 

The Nexus read "alignment successful" on the first try.  To test it, I used the "Planets, Moon, and Sun" catalog, selecting Venus, as I had just seen it near the western horizon.  The planet had meanwhile disappeared behind some trees, but the Nexus led me to aim at a point in those trees that looked just about right for it's location.  I noticed from the catalog that Mars was fairly close to Venus, so selected it, as it should still be visible.  Swung the bino to its location, and there it was, not dead center, but well within the FOV of the 9mm Morpheus eyepiece pair I was currently using.

 

Next, I selected M31 from another on-board catalog.  It was quite low in the northeast, but it was getting dark enough that I thought I should be able to see it.  After moving the bino to the spot indicated by the Nexus, I took a pensive look through the eyepieces, and there it was.  Again not dead center, but close enough.  It was a very dim indistinct blob, as the sky was not very dark in that direction.  With this I was pleased, as M31 was almost all of the way across the sky in the opposite direction from Mars, and it was still within the FOV.

 

By this time the Nexus battery was getting low as I had not charged it recently, so I shut it down and did a bit of scanning.  I already  knew where the Summer Triangle was located, so aimed back up there, and found Albireo, as I wanted to view this nice double star again.  Separation was greater than expected at 93X.  Albireo was a bright golden-orange color with the "b" star contrasting nicely as a much smaller brilliant blue star.  

 

Next I went back to Polaris to see if I could split it as a double.  It was quite easy with good separation out to the tiny bright white companion.

 

A much better night than last time, and real progress made in learning about the Nexus.  The next challenge will be learning which on-board catalog to use to find the object that I want to view.  I'm not very familiar with most of the catalogs used, so this will be a long term task.

 

Rick


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#330 astrokeith

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Posted 29 June 2021 - 11:53 AM

Hi Rick,

I'm a big Nexus DSC user. Wouldnt be without it.

 

You might find that connecting a tablet running SkySafari helpful. Not so much for the brilliant graphical view of your position, but the ability to create your own or load others' Observing Lists.

 

The catalogues on the DSC are comprehensive but may be too large for Binos. Wher as there are many observing lists that have been created specifically for binos and telescopes in your class. For instance the TSP Binocular Program from Hell is a good example, but actually not too difficult with the big APM's


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#331 oldmanrick

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Posted 29 June 2021 - 01:39 PM

Keith, thank you for the encouragement and suggestions.

 

I have SkySafari 5 Pro installed on my i-pad, but since a recent software update on the i-pad, SkySafari won't start.  It just shows a message saying that it needs an update to be compatible with the latest i-pad updates.  It seems that no updates are available for SkySafari 5.  They probably want me to buy SkySafari 6.

 

Anyway, my preference would be to have all of the menus I need to use Nexus with the APM 150 on board the Nexus.  I often seem to have problems getting more than one electronic gadget to work seamlessly with another, and if not seamless, there are glitches which generally use up a lot of valuable time trying to solve them, especially in the dark when I should be observing.

 

Although somewhat peeved at the apparent lack of support, I will likely eventually get some version of SkySafari running again, even if I have to purchase a new one, as I do like the app.

 

As time permits, compatibility with the Nexus can then be explored and issues solved.

 

I've also had a suggestion to try running a Celestron Skysense unit adapted to my APM 150 for guidance on the 150 rather than the Nexus.  I'm going to have to determine how to solve any adaptability issues with installing it on the big BT before I buy one though.

 

I think your suggestion of linking up with SkySafari with the Nexus is a good one, if it can be made to work seamlessly for what I want it to do.

 

Thanks again!

 

Rick


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#332 ArsMachina

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Posted 29 June 2021 - 02:01 PM

Hello Rick,

 

if you like Sky Safari you will also like the StarSense app because it is made by the same software company.

Finally the StarSense app is a special version of Sky Safari and the look and feel as also the user interface are the same.

 

Jochen


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#333 oldmanrick

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Posted 29 June 2021 - 07:26 PM

Hello Jochen,

 

Thanks for the info.  I will get more interested if Celestron or someone comes out with a ready made mounting kit for either a tablet or a smartphone that will easily mount the starsense holder onto a variety of instruments including my APM 150.  It certainly looks like a nice system for finding stuff in the sky, but making a mount is too complicated for me right now, and I don't want to buy a telescope just to get a mount that would still have to be adapted.

 

If I can't come to grips with the Nexus, I may change my mind.

 

Rick



#334 astrokeith

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Posted 30 June 2021 - 02:52 AM

Keith, thank you for the encouragement and suggestions.

 

I have SkySafari 5 Pro installed on my i-pad, but since a recent software update on the i-pad, SkySafari won't start.  It just shows a message saying that it needs an update to be compatible with the latest i-pad updates.  It seems that no updates are available for SkySafari 5.  They probably want me to buy SkySafari 6.

 

Anyway, my preference would be to have all of the menus I need to use Nexus with the APM 150 on board the Nexus.  I often seem to have problems getting more than one electronic gadget to work seamlessly with another, and if not seamless, there are glitches which generally use up a lot of valuable time trying to solve them, especially in the dark when I should be observing.

 

Although somewhat peeved at the apparent lack of support, I will likely eventually get some version of SkySafari running again, even if I have to purchase a new one, as I do like the app.

 

As time permits, compatibility with the Nexus can then be explored and issues solved.

 

I've also had a suggestion to try running a Celestron Skysense unit adapted to my APM 150 for guidance on the 150 rather than the Nexus.  I'm going to have to determine how to solve any adaptability issues with installing it on the big BT before I buy one though.

 

I think your suggestion of linking up with SkySafari with the Nexus is a good one, if it can be made to work seamlessly for what I want it to do.

 

Thanks again!

 

Rick

I had heard about that compatibility issue. Definitely recommend SS6 upgrade - worth every cent in my book.

 

You are right to concentrate on what works and observing and not get too distracted by tech and connections problems. 

 

I do find I get good positioning accuracy from the Nexus DSC when,

 

  • The first orientation alignment (vertical for you ?) is indeed close to perpendicular to the azimuth plane. (or vertical if your mount is good and level)
  • the two alignment stars are about 90-120 apart in azimuth and 30 in altitude.
  • Centre the alignment stars as best you can. With your big field of view this really makes a difference.

It is possible to transfer an Observing List straight onto the Nexus DSC SD card. it needs to been the .skylist format but most are now days. 


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#335 Andeas72202

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Posted 30 June 2021 - 09:23 AM

Hello Rick,

 

in addition to what´s been mentioned above: using a reticle eyepiece of medium to short focal length really helps to fine-tune your alignment prodcedure. The good thing is: you only need one of those wink.gif

 

Best regards

Andreas


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#336 oldmanrick

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Posted 30 June 2021 - 07:00 PM

I had heard about that compatibility issue. Definitely recommend SS6 upgrade - worth every cent in my book.

 

You are right to concentrate on what works and observing and not get too distracted by tech and connections problems. 

 

I do find I get good positioning accuracy from the Nexus DSC when,

 

  • The first orientation alignment (vertical for you ?) is indeed close to perpendicular to the azimuth plane. (or vertical if your mount is good and level)
  • the two alignment stars are about 90-120 apart in azimuth and 30 in altitude.
  • Centre the alignment stars as best you can. With your big field of view this really makes a difference.

It is possible to transfer an Observing List straight onto the Nexus DSC SD card. it needs to been the .skylist format but most are now days. 

Thanks, Keith!

 

Seems like the SS developers would have a fix for this, as I'm sure that there are a lot of SS 5's in use.  Anyway I can't find it if they do.

 

Yes, I do carefully level the mount, then try to get good separation both vertically and horizontally for the alignment stars, and use a fairly short eyepiece pair with a small FOV for easier centering.  I think with a little more practice this will be very satisfactory for my use.  Interesting about importing observing lists via the SD card.  Will have to look into this. 

 

I think my biggest hurdle now is to learn the Nexus catalogs better, so I know where to look when trying to find objects or identify them.

 

 

Hello Rick,

 

in addition to what´s been mentioned above: using a reticle eyepiece of medium to short focal length really helps to fine-tune your alignment prodcedure. The good thing is: you only need one of those wink.gif

 

Best regards

Andreas

Hello Andreas,

 

Good suggestion!  I've been thinking about getting a pair of reticle eyepieces actually, as I think having two would be helpful when trying to adjust alignment to make merging of images easier.  Probably will start with one, then if I need to do another alignment on my Lunt 100 ED BT I can get another.

 

Thanks,

 

Rick


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#337 starzonesteve

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Posted 02 July 2021 - 12:38 AM

Rick,

 

I'd like to chime in here. I am a hardcore Nexus user/fan. All of the suggestions for improving accuracy and use so far have been good ones. I am grateful that I have an IPD of 59 and can't really use the APM 150, or I'm sure I would feel compelled to get one! Instead I use my APM 120 bino and love it. Lately I have had it on my Manfrotto tripod atop a Manfrotto dolly, which helps me easily move the whole rig. I generally keep it in my ROR observatory with my reflector. I have been using the 120 to scan the sky in low to medium power. When I find something interesting I ask the Nexus to identify it. After it has been identified I enter the object into the Nexus on my reflector for a high power look. It is a great way to find new objects to observe.

 

Anyway, the point is that you can use the Nexus in lots of different ways. Once you get the hang of it it can really enhance the observing experience. I would urge you to continue working with it. If you run into any snags or issues I count myself as one of the folks you can feel free to check in with to problem solve.

 

Steve


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#338 oldmanrick

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Posted 02 July 2021 - 01:23 AM

Thank you, Steve!

 

It's certainly encouraging to hear that there is someone else out there who has mastered the Nexus.  The way you are using it with your 120 and telescope sounds awrsome.  Do you use the SD card?

 

I'm definitely making progress.  Some of the things about it just seem non-intuitive.  For example, when I've entered an object to "find", the AZ arrow and numbers are fine, but the Alt arrow points down when the bino needs to aim higher, and vice versa. The numbers are again fine but just the arrow is reversed.  I've tried a couple to things that I thought should fix that, but so far no luck.

 

Another problem I have is with the "identify" mode.  Whenever I find something I want to identify, and press the "OK" button the Nexus crashes, (locks up) and I have to turn it off and back on and re-do the alignment to get it to function again.

 

Just taking the time to go into the manual again would probably shed some light on the problem, so I could get it figured out.

 

Also I need to learn the catalogs, and which one to use to find what I want.  Most of them are not familiar to me.

 

I can certainly see the potential for the Nexus.  If the operator can become efficient, the possibilities are awesome for the combo of the APM 150 and the Nexus.

 

Thank you again, Steve for the generous offer and advice.  I may PM you if I get stuck, if that's alright with you.

 

Rick



#339 astrokeith

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Posted 02 July 2021 - 01:45 AM

Thank you, Steve!

 

It's certainly encouraging to hear that there is someone else out there who has mastered the Nexus.  The way you are using it with your 120 and telescope sounds awrsome.  Do you use the SD card?

 

I'm definitely making progress.  Some of the things about it just seem non-intuitive.  For example, when I've entered an object to "find", the AZ arrow and numbers are fine, but the Alt arrow points down when the bino needs to aim higher, and vice versa. The numbers are again fine but just the arrow is reversed.  I've tried a couple to things that I thought should fix that, but so far no luck.

 

Another problem I have is with the "identify" mode.  Whenever I find something I want to identify, and press the "OK" button the Nexus crashes, (locks up) and I have to turn it off and back on and re-do the alignment to get it to function again.

 

Just taking the time to go into the manual again would probably shed some light on the problem, so I could get it figured out.

 

Also I need to learn the catalogs, and which one to use to find what I want.  Most of them are not familiar to me.

 

I can certainly see the potential for the Nexus.  If the operator can become efficient, the possibilities are awesome for the combo of the APM 150 and the Nexus.

 

Thank you again, Steve for the generous offer and advice.  I may PM you if I get stuck, if that's alright with you.

 

Rick

Looks like you have a set up problem. The Alt arrows shouldn't be like that.

I would suspect the encoder direction (or possible count number) is wrong. 

This may lead to the crashes perhaps.

Back to the manual!


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#340 oldmanrick

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Posted 02 July 2021 - 01:57 AM

Looks like you have a set up problem. The Alt arrows shouldn't be like that.

I would suspect the encoder direction (or possible count number) is wrong. 

This may lead to the crashes perhaps.

Back to the manual!

Keith, thanks.

 

I've checked several times to be sure the count numbers for the encoders match what I have set up in the Nexus.  Also when I rotate the mount in a full circle, the count comes back to zero.  Likewise, the alt encoder reads from zero when instrument is level to 90 degrees when vertical.  Perhaps you are thinking the encoders are missing some counts?

 

The Nexus only crashes when I try to "identify" a target.  I think in this case, I'm probably doing something procedurally wrong.  As you say, "back to the manual"!

 

Rick



#341 astrokeith

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 02:43 AM

Keith, thanks.

 

I've checked several times to be sure the count numbers for the encoders match what I have set up in the Nexus.  Also when I rotate the mount in a full circle, the count comes back to zero.  Likewise, the alt encoder reads from zero when instrument is level to 90 degrees when vertical.  Perhaps you are thinking the encoders are missing some counts?

 

The Nexus only crashes when I try to "identify" a target.  I think in this case, I'm probably doing something procedurally wrong.  As you say, "back to the manual"!

 

Rick

Ok, so if the numbers are good and its just the arrow, there is a fix.

 

In the Telescope setup section on the Nexus, at the bottom right it has options for 'DEFAULT ARROW' or 'REVERSE ARROW'. Just change you option for Altitude.


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#342 starzonesteve

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 07:22 AM

Thank you, Steve!

 

It's certainly encouraging to hear that there is someone else out there who has mastered the Nexus.  The way you are using it with your 120 and telescope sounds awrsome.  Do you use the SD card?

 

I'm definitely making progress.  Some of the things about it just seem non-intuitive.  For example, when I've entered an object to "find", the AZ arrow and numbers are fine, but the Alt arrow points down when the bino needs to aim higher, and vice versa. The numbers are again fine but just the arrow is reversed.  I've tried a couple to things that I thought should fix that, but so far no luck.

 

Another problem I have is with the "identify" mode.  Whenever I find something I want to identify, and press the "OK" button the Nexus crashes, (locks up) and I have to turn it off and back on and re-do the alignment to get it to function again.

 

Just taking the time to go into the manual again would probably shed some light on the problem, so I could get it figured out.

 

Also I need to learn the catalogs, and which one to use to find what I want.  Most of them are not familiar to me.

 

I can certainly see the potential for the Nexus.  If the operator can become efficient, the possibilities are awesome for the combo of the APM 150 and the Nexus.

 

Thank you again, Steve for the generous offer and advice.  I may PM you if I get stuck, if that's alright with you.

 

Rick

A couple of thoughts, Rick:

 

First off, Serge, who is the owner/inventor of the Nexus, has hands down the best customer service I have ever encountered in an individual running a small business. if you email him he will either swiftly email you back or call. He will put in whatever time is required to solve your problem. I own three of his units and I can't say enough about how meticulous he is about wanting his clients to be able to realize the potential he has built into the Nexus. It has gotten to the point where I will only contact him with a major unresolved issue because I don't want to bother him about something I should be able to resolve on my own.

 

I can definitely recommend spending a little time with the manual. The quick start is good when you first jump in. As your needs become more sophisticated the manual becomes essential. For the most part it is set up in a logical and comprehensive manner that is reasonably simple to follow.

 

The catalogues are incredibly comprehensive. If you are anything like me you will probably only use a fairly small portion of the available information. There is a simple way to go into the Nexus and disable any catalogues you don't use, so that you can maintain simplicity and ease of finding stuff in those catalogs that you do use. It is very easy to reenable these catalogues after you disable them, if you decide you want to broaden your search. 

 

You can also change the parameters of what the Nexus will or will not identify when you point it at something. For instance, the Nexus will go down to magnitude 30 when searching the database to identify something. I don't know about you, but I'm not looking for too many magnitude 29 objects with my binoculars. I typically set the limit around magnitude 12 or so to prune the database in a fashion that will make it simpler and more useful for me.

 

The Nexus repeatedly crashing when you ask it to identify something is odd. If I point at an area where there is nothing to identify it just says 'No object found'. I think that if you are unable to find a fix for this problem on your own, it is worthy of contacting Serge. He seems happy to help and I believe he looks at the encounter as an opportunity to troubleshoot and improve his product.

 

I have not had the occasion to use the SD card. I suppose I'm not that organized yet, and typically just use the Nexus' database.

 

PM me anytime. I am not a Nexus guru, but I am a big fan, and I have a moderate amount of experience learning how to incorporate it into my observing. I am very happy with it and can strongly recommend that it is worthwhile to spend the time to iron out any problems you have with it so that you can use it to facilitate what you are trying to accomplish.

 

Steve


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#343 oldmanrick

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Posted 04 July 2021 - 10:59 PM

Steve, I agree with you completely about Serge.  I worked with him extensively by email and phone to get the encoder kit put together for the APM Big Binocular Mount, as there was not one available.  He was very accommodating, although very busy, plus they also had the co-vid slowdown in Australia, so it took quite a while.  I recently read where Serge had been injured and was unable to walk.  For this reason, plus those that you stated, I am reluctant to bother him right now.

 

I was out again with the 150 last night.  Too tired from doing yard work to stay very late, but would have loved to, as seeing and transparency were very good.  Towards the end of my session I set the Nexus on the "identify" mode, found a bright star that I could not identify, centered it in the FOV, and pressed "OK".  Again the Nexus appeared to crash.  It did put an "identifying object" message on the display, and also a circle with a few dots around it which looked like a progress display, but nothing was moving in the display.  I waited a few minutes, and no change, so I pressed OK again and still no change in the display.  Eventually I pressed almost all of the buttons on the keypad, and still no movement.  Waited a few more minutes, packed up, wheeled the dolly into the shop, while leaving the Nexus turned on in hopes it would eventually identify that star.  Still no luck, so I gave up, turned it off and retired for the night.

 

In retrospect, I'm wondering if I have so many catalogs active that it just takes an awfully long time to search and find a target, as I read in the manual that it has to search through all active catalogs to identify and object.  I did set it to not recognize anything above magnitude 10, but not sure that applied to the "identify" function.  Maybe it's just taking that long to "identify", rather than crashing?

 

I was playing with the catalogs, trying to selectively turn them on and off, but never really figured out how to do it.  It appeared easy to turn them "all on" or "all off", but selectively turning a bunch of them on or off seemed difficult.  Also not knowing  which catalog would contain the object I was looking for makes it more difficult.  In the case of last nights bright star, I would assume the "Bright Stars" catalog would be the one, but I think I had all catalogs turned on.

 

Keith, I will try to find the place in the Telescope section the change direction of the arrow.  Haven't had a chance to try yet.

 

Thank you both for the help!

 

Rick



#344 astrokeith

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Posted 05 July 2021 - 02:45 AM

Steve, I agree with you completely about Serge.  I worked with him extensively by email and phone to get the encoder kit put together for the APM Big Binocular Mount, as there was not one available.  He was very accommodating, although very busy, plus they also had the co-vid slowdown in Australia, so it took quite a while.  I recently read where Serge had been injured and was unable to walk.  For this reason, plus those that you stated, I am reluctant to bother him right now.

 

I was out again with the 150 last night.  Too tired from doing yard work to stay very late, but would have loved to, as seeing and transparency were very good.  Towards the end of my session I set the Nexus on the "identify" mode, found a bright star that I could not identify, centered it in the FOV, and pressed "OK".  Again the Nexus appeared to crash.  It did put an "identifying object" message on the display, and also a circle with a few dots around it which looked like a progress display, but nothing was moving in the display.  I waited a few minutes, and no change, so I pressed OK again and still no change in the display.  Eventually I pressed almost all of the buttons on the keypad, and still no movement.  Waited a few more minutes, packed up, wheeled the dolly into the shop, while leaving the Nexus turned on in hopes it would eventually identify that star.  Still no luck, so I gave up, turned it off and retired for the night.

 

In retrospect, I'm wondering if I have so many catalogs active that it just takes an awfully long time to search and find a target, as I read in the manual that it has to search through all active catalogs to identify and object.  I did set it to not recognize anything above magnitude 10, but not sure that applied to the "identify" function.  Maybe it's just taking that long to "identify", rather than crashing?

 

I was playing with the catalogs, trying to selectively turn them on and off, but never really figured out how to do it.  It appeared easy to turn them "all on" or "all off", but selectively turning a bunch of them on or off seemed difficult.  Also not knowing  which catalog would contain the object I was looking for makes it more difficult.  In the case of last nights bright star, I would assume the "Bright Stars" catalog would be the one, but I think I had all catalogs turned on.

 

Keith, I will try to find the place in the Telescope section the change direction of the arrow.  Haven't had a chance to try yet.

 

Thank you both for the help!

 

Rick

Just checking...

Were you selecting catalogues is in the Find > Catalogues option? That selects which catalogues are used when matching an object your are typing in.

The identify catalogue selection is separate and done when you select indentify.

 

If you have too many or very large catalogues selected then the Nexus DSC will take a very very long time.

 

Start with none selected. Then add a few obvious ones. Good thing is it will remember your selection.

perhaps start with.....

Names Stars

Bright Stars

Common Named

Sun & Planets

Messier

Caldwell

 

Those binos will see done to mag 14. so select that as a limiting magnitude and keep it there?


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#345 oldmanrick

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Posted 05 July 2021 - 05:46 PM

Just checking...

Were you selecting catalogues is in the Find > Catalogues option? That selects which catalogues are used when matching an object your are typing in.

The identify catalogue selection is separate and done when you select indentify.

 

If you have too many or very large catalogues selected then the Nexus DSC will take a very very long time.

 

Start with none selected. Then add a few obvious ones. Good thing is it will remember your selection.

perhaps start with.....

Names Stars

Bright Stars

Common Named

Sun & Planets

Messier

Caldwell

 

Those binos will see done to mag 14. so select that as a limiting magnitude and keep it there?

Keith, thank you!  Your help is surely appreciated!

 

Now to your question:  I think for the final bright star I asked Nexus to identify, I was using the "identify" catalogs.  I didn't realize that there were different selections for "Find" and "Identify" operations.  I should have recognized that as it explains why the selection process was so different when I was trying to "identify" an object.  I think I had the catalogs set to "all on" which was no doubt too much for the Nexus to scan in a reasonable length of time.  The limiting mag of 10 that I had set probably was not in effect, as I think I was in the "Find" mode when I set that.

 

When in the "Identify" mode, while selecting the "all on" or "all off" for the catalogs, I didn't see an obvious way to make individual  catalog selections.  Will have to read the manual again.

 

I like your suggestions.  Now I have to figure out how to select those catalogs that I want, and to set the mag limit for the "Identify" function, or if it is set once for all functions, set it for 14 and be done with it.

 

More later,

 

Rick



#346 astrokeith

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Posted 06 July 2021 - 02:42 AM

Keith, thank you!  Your help is surely appreciated!

 

Now to your question:  I think for the final bright star I asked Nexus to identify, I was using the "identify" catalogs.  I didn't realize that there were different selections for "Find" and "Identify" operations.  I should have recognized that as it explains why the selection process was so different when I was trying to "identify" an object.  I think I had the catalogs set to "all on" which was no doubt too much for the Nexus to scan in a reasonable length of time.  The limiting mag of 10 that I had set probably was not in effect, as I think I was in the "Find" mode when I set that.

 

When in the "Identify" mode, while selecting the "all on" or "all off" for the catalogs, I didn't see an obvious way to make individual  catalog selections.  Will have to read the manual again.

 

I like your suggestions.  Now I have to figure out how to select those catalogs that I want, and to set the mag limit for the "Identify" function, or if it is set once for all functions, set it for 14 and be done with it.

 

More later,

 

Rick

You're welcome,

Selecting options on a Nexus DSC screen can be confusing, its not always the same. I think on this screen the left and right buttons move you "up and down" the list, while the up and down buttons select or deselect ! As does Enter I think from memory. ESC exits but saves.


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#347 oldmanrick

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Posted 10 July 2021 - 12:09 PM

Had the 150 out again last night, after some minor surgery on the fork mount.  The vertical motion was getting to stiff and sticky, so I dismounted the 150 and disassembled the vertical motion pivots of the mount.  I found that the three screws that hold the bearing block to the swing arms were tightened too tight.  They can safely be left tightened just less than snug, because the clutch knob and washers prevent them from backing out.

 

After cleaning everything up and re-assembling, the motion was very smooth and easy.  So easy that I could now tell that the COG for the bino was still too low.  To fix this I needed to raise the dovetail clamp by installing more shim material under the clamp.  Fortunately, I had some suitable screws that were long enough to get a purchase in the threads in the mount and hold the clamp firmly in place.  I made the new shim out of 3/8" plywood and placed it under the previous +/- 3/4" shim I was already using.

 

This allowed the big 150 to balance much better, although not perfect.  The mount still needed a small amount of tension on the altitude clutches to keep the bino from tipping back down from a position more than about 30 degrees up.

 

Due to the still imperfect balance, I've made yet another spacer to go under the dovetail clamp.  This one is made from a single piece of Southern Yellow Pine that I had lying around from construction of the shop.  It is all cut, drilled and painted black, but I have to wait to install it until the longer screws I have on order arrive.  It will raise the bino another +/- 1/2 inch in the mount.  If this is too much, I will either live with what I have now, find or make a slightly thinner board and make a new spacer, or make another 1/4 inch spacer to stack under the two I am using.  I would rather have the COG a bit too low than to high.  Time will tell.

 

The mount is now much easier to aim, provided that I keep the tension on the clutches just right.

 

I used Polaris again as the first alignment star.  Using the 4.5 mm Morpheus pair, it was an easy split to see its tiny double.

 

Also took a try at the double-double using the 4.5 and also the Docter 12.5 pairs.  I could see the elongation of the stars, but couldn't quite achieve a split on either one.  Seeing was not real good, plus we had quite a bit of wildfire smoke, so will try again when conditions are better.

 

Thanks to Astrokeith, I got the directional arrows on the Nexus to point in the proper direction.  Now when the numbers need to decrease, the arrow points down!  Thanks Keith!

 

I'm beginning to get more comfortable with the Nexus, and think that it will be a real help in quickly finding and identifying things as time goes on.  I still have a lot to learn about the catalogs, however.

 

This morning we are really smoked in by local wildfire smoke.  Hoping it doesn't last all summer!

 

Rick


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#348 oldmanrick

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 06:53 PM

Last evening the winds had blown in a direction that caused the wildfire smoke to thin considerably, plus I had just installed the new thicker spacer I had made to raise the COG of the BT in the mount for a more neutral balance.

 

The longer screws I had ordered for fastening the dovetail clamp to the mount, while passing through the spacer, were still a bit shorter than I would have liked, but did get enough grip in the threaded blocks that they seemed safe for at least a trial of the balance.  Turned out that the balance is almost perfect now.  The new one-piece spacer should do the job for the APM 150.   If I ever mount a different instrument in this mount I will no doubt have to go through this vertical balancing process again, to get operation as easy and efficient as possible.  I plan to order another pair of SS screws that are 5mm longer, as a few more turns into the threads of the moveable retaining blocks in the mount would be reassuring that the threads won't strip over time and stress of carrying the big 150.

 

After checking the balance, the skies were looking decent, so wheeled out the 150 and took a quick look at the Double-Double near Vega, which was nearly at the zenith.  The well-balanced mount worked much better at this high viewing angle than ever before due to the better balance.  I started out using the APM 30mm UFF eyepiece pair.  The stars looked like a beautiful widely spaced double, with a very small hint of elongation in  each pair at 28X magnification.  Next, the Docter 12.5mm pair showed much more elongation at 67X, but still not a split on either pair of stars.  I tried the 6.5mm Morpheus pair at 129X, and they actually were able to split the southernmost pair, showing a tiny black bar between the two stars when seeing was at its best.  The northern pair were very elongated, and almost allowed imagining a split, but not quite.  Last I tried a ES 4.7mm 82 degree  pair providing 179X, as I hadn't used these eyepieces much in the 150, and wanted to see what they would do.  To my surprise they were able to split both pairs during moments of best seeing.  Similar to the 6.5 Morpheus on the southern pair, the splits appeared as tiny black gaps, perpendicular to the elongation for each pair.

 

In the future I plan to try the ES 4.7s compared to the Morpheus 4.5s, back to back on these doubles.  Just too tired and too late to do it last night.

 

I didn't activate the Nexus last night, as I knew where the Double-Double was located without it.

 

More later,

 

Rick 


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#349 oldmanrick

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Posted 18 July 2021 - 02:58 AM

Two nights ago, (7/16), the wind had cleared the forest fire smoke out enough that I thought it worthwhile to roll out the APM 150 for a look at the sky.  The +/- 1/4 waxing Moon was still well up, so while dusk was gathering, I took a good look at it with the 12.5 mm Docter eyepiece pair, to revisit the Petavius Crater.  I think I was able to identify the crater, but the thin black line visible during earlier visits was not visible.  Probably the Moon was two or three days too far past the "new moon" for that shadow or whatever to be visible.

 

By now Vega was visible, so without setting up the Nexus DSC, I aimed at Vega and began an easy search for the nearby double- double.  Soon it was centered in the 1.22 degree FOV, but at 67X was unable to split either one of the doubles.  This called for more magnification, so in went the Morpheus 6.5s for 129X.  With these, I could split the southern double, and the other was well elongated, but couldn't get a clean split.  Since I had not used the ES 4.7mm 82 degree pair for a long time, decided to try them.  After a bit of tinkering and turning of eyepieces to get both barrels looking at the same spot, both doubles were split, the southern one quite cleanly, with a solid black bar between the two components, oriented perpendicular to the elongation.  The northern double was still quite sketchy, but during moments of best seeing, I could definitely split that one also.  It was not nearly as clean, however, as the southern one, but the tiny black separating bar was definitely perpendicular to the elongation.

 

Having a desire to compare the 4.7 ES with the Morpheus 4.5 pairs, I fetched the latter from their case in the shop and took a look. There was really very little difference between the two, as far as resolving the splits.  The Morpheus were slightly better as would be expected per the slightly greater magnification, (179X vs 187X).  The ES pair had noticeably less light scatter and spiking, but the Morpheus more than made up for this in the greater comfort and better alignment / image merging.  The ES eyepieces have always been problematic in both of my APM BT's to achieve perfect alignment, and thus merging, due to the shape and size of the "safety cuts" in the eyepiece barrels.  They just don't seat into the adapters or focusers consistently.

 

Following that exercise, I did some sightseeing around the area of Vega, and came across two more double stars.  Due to not having the Nexus operating, I'm not real sure of their identity, but going from memory and consulting Sky Safari 6 Pro, I think they were BD +37 3199, a mag 11 star with a 11.3 secondary component, separated by 1.7", and HD 172649, a mag 7.1 primary with a dimmer secondary, separated by 2.1".

 

HD 172649 was a much easier split even though the separation is listed as not being that much different.  Perhaps it was due to the greater brightness, or I could also have mis-identified one or both pairs.  BD +37 3199 was very dim, although I could see that the secondary was definitely slightly dimmer, and very close to the primary.

 

In retrospect, I believe I mis-identified both of these doubles.  They were easier to split than the Double-Double, but should have been at least as difficult if the separations given in Sky Safari are accurate.  Will have to find them again, using the Nexus for a more positive identification.

 

More later.

 

Rick


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#350 oldmanrick

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Posted 21 July 2021 - 10:39 AM

Had a very nice short session viewing the Moon last night with my youngest grandson and his family who are visiting from Alaska, while evaluating schools from which to make a selection for his youngest daughter to attend when she enters college next year.

 

The clouds that had been with us for most of the day were clearing out at dusk and winds had thinned the wildfire smoke somewhat, so that the Moon was very visible, although with a slight reddish tint from the remaining smoke in the atmosphere.  My grandson and his wife and oldest daughter were still up as dusk deepened, so I wheeled the APM 150 bino out of the shop and aimed it at the Moon to take a quick look.  Details on the Moon were clearly visible, so I installed the pair of Morpheus 9mm eyepieces which work well for viewing Luna.

 

One by one my three guests took their turn looking through the 150 at the moon.  Many wows, oohs, and other exclamations were heard, as the Moon filled most of the FOV.  They took turns viewing and describing different features they could see.  My grandsons wife spent the most time viewing.  She is really into viewing the night sky with big binoculars, and had previously spent a lot of time using the 100mm Lunt when here about three years ago, and sky conditions were a lot better.  I had hoped that sky conditions would be good for this visit, but no such luck.  At least getting a detailed look at the Moon is much better than no viewing at all.

 

We didn't view any other targets, although the three stars forming the Summer Triangle were faintly visible straight overhead as darkness progressed.  Our guests had to get an early start to visit Montana State University in Bozeman today, so couldn't stay up too late anyway,

 

All things considered, a very nice night.

 

Rick


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