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APM 150 ED Binocular, My Take

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#176 oldmanrick

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Posted 05 May 2020 - 09:32 PM

We have similar terrestrial turbulence most of the time along the Sierra Nevada.  It's compounded by what they call the Sierra Wave that rises and flows over the mountain tops. It's great for glider pilots, not so much for high mag viewing.  tongue2.gif   Got to get up pretty early to get a clean daytime view here through 7 miles of air and it deteriorates quickly for the rest of the day as it warms.  Even at night, through the thinner atmosphere, it's usually only around 2-3 AM on a lucky night when the atmosphere might get really steady.  Good planetary or lunar viewing is a matter of luck mostly, but good planning helps the odds a bit. 

 

Turbulent mountain air is a good reason to favor wider field, lower mag views that tend to be less frustrating.  I do better with smaller apertures, too.

 

Rich

Rich, though we are in the mountains here, there is often an unexpected phenomenon on warm summer days.  Late in the afternoon, if the wind is calm or very gentle, and probably within an hour or so of sunset on the ridge tops such as the one where I saw the deer, the atmosphere quickly stabilizes and seeing gets very good.  It was on such an evening that I observed that deer.

 

There is another mountain South of us at about the same distance as the one to the East that has a fire lookout and a battery of communication towers at the top.  I often set up while the sun is still shining on top of this mountain and look at it to judge the quality of "seeing".  This has been a good indicator of seeing possibilities after dark.  It does not always hold true, however, because some times the air seems about perfect while the sun is still hitting the mountain top, and turns rather turbulent again after dark.

 

I don't quite understand this, but theorize that it has to do with the air temperature still being warm enough to not be moved much by the warmer earth below, once the sun leaves the lower elevations.  After dark the air cools more than the ground, and turbulence again ensues?

 

Where I grew up in the Oregon Coast Range, we had a mountain ridge running N & S just to our West.  I recall one occasion when we were visiting my parents there and an approaching storm was causing strong winds before any precipitation arrived, so that the ground on that ridge was dry.  I was outside after dark getting something out of our camper when the electricity went off and all house lights and outside lights went off.  I didn't know this until turning off the lights in the camper and stepping outside.  It was very dark and I noticed a reddish glow in the low overcast along a good stretch of the ridge top to our West.  It was obvious enough that I thought there was a wildfire burning somewhere out of sight down on the other side, and reflecting in the clouds.  After watching it for a while, there were a couple of miniature lightening bolts from the low clouds overhead down to the ridge top. After this the glow faded somewhat, so the static discharge must have eliminated some of the glowing, which I assume was caused by static electricity build-up.  I later talked to a meteorologist about it and she knew just what it was.  She even had a name for the phenomenon, but I don't recall what it was.  Your mention of the Sierra Wave reminded me of this.  I'll agree that those conditions would not be beneficial to optical seeing!

 

Rich said:

"Turbulent mountain air is a good reason to favor wider field, lower mag views that tend to be less frustrating.  I do better with smaller apertures, too."

 

Smaller apertures and low magnification may reduce frustration when viewing in the mountains, but just think of what you are missing when everything comes together and you get stable, clear air with higher magnification and larger apertures!

 

Rick 


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#177 oldmanrick

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Posted 05 May 2020 - 09:57 PM

(snip) "I still much prefer using both eyes, and it remains one of life's great mysteries that after all this time I still have never even looked through any top quality binoculars with magnification of 20x or above."

 

I'm a bit more limited than most people on here because I would only really want such binoculars for non-astro use.

 

I insist upon very good quality ( at least as good as my Nikon 10x42 SE ), no larger than 80mm aperture, centre - focus, straight through design, effective eye relief of at least 16mm, AFOV of at least 60 degrees ( preferably 65=+ ) and at least 20x magnification.

 

On paper, that appears quite a reasonable set of requirements, doesn't it?

 

On many occasions over the past 20 years or so I've thought to myself:

 

"Why oh WHY couldn't Nikon have manufactured both 15x60 and 20x80 Superior Es?"

 

I'm absolutely convinced that both of them would have been "perfect dream" binoculars for me personally.

 

Kenny

Kenny,

 

I greatly enjoyed your post.

 

I can relate to the kind of terrestrial viewing you described in the first part of your post.  I very much enjoy similar viewing achievements myself.

 

I too, much prefer using both eyes, but I think you should try looking through quality binoculars at much over 20X, under excellent seeing conditions.  To me it is a whole different world than that seen through even an excellent scope.  Two eyes make all of the difference for me.  That's why I do not as yet own an astronomical telescope, only binoculars.

 

I also have a Nikon 10X42 Superior E, and agree with you that it is a very good binocular.  Nikon binocular optics just seem to naturally suit my eyes.  +1 about the 15X60 and 20X80 Superior E!

 

Clear Skies!

 

Rick



#178 KennyJ

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 02:48 AM

Rick,

 

Over the past few hours both you and I will have been reminded ( yet again ) of how seemingly disproportionately long it takes to type out what could probably be conveyed via spoken words in two minutes flat.

 

At least that is true for a two - fingered (apology for a)  typist as I am! lol.gif

 

Even more frustrating though is finding the right words even speaking by mouth to even begin to describe or explain all sorts of little signs that may suggest or hold out promise for more experienced observers by virtue of having become almost hypersensititve with regard to them.

 

It may just involve a combination of being keenly aware of what kind of day it's been weather wise, how hot it's been, what type of clouds are showing, which way the wind is blowing and it's speed and direction, how exceptionally clear that hilltop communication tower over to the east appeared an hour before sunset, how the animals are congregating in the fields, even how loud the birds were singing that morning around sunrise.

Another promising sign is the appearance of a rainbow.

I can guarantee that if a rainbow can be seen very distinctly, somewhere not far away will provide incredible, almost 3D viewing conditions.

 

As with having a kind of built - in compass that tells us which direction we are facing without any maps or sat. navs, or immediately noticing the appearance of something in the sky or at the top of a hill that is not usually present, people "like us" may regularly pick up on all of these kind of signs within fractions of a second, whereas the majority of people remain blissfully unaware of them.

 

It's a not dissimilar situation for me as regards binoculars themselves.

I can tell within 30 seconds of picking them up and looking through them for the first time whether or not I like them enough to have considered buying them, even in the imaginary scenario of "money being no object".

 

Likewise more than 55 years of playing guitars has helped develop an almost "sixth sense" whereby I can tell within 30 seconds of picking any guitar up whether or not I would ever wish to spend much longer trying to play it, regardless of it's price or renowned quality, but I'm not sure I could ever really explain my reasons to anyone else.

 

Kenny


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#179 oldmanrick

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 10:50 AM

Kenny,

 

Very well put!

 

I certainly agree about the typing, and how long it takes to find and type the words to say what I want, and then I often fall short.  

 

I think I somewhat share the ability you described to evaluate a binocular within 30 seconds of picking it up, assuming proper views are present to evaluate it.  

 

You can probably imagine the battle I had with my conscience and rationality in making up my mind to shell out the substantial sum of funds required to become the owner of the APM 150, sight unseen!  Now the big 150 is settled in at home, paid for and comfortably at roost on its perch atop a nice tripod in a weather protected shop, and I have no regrets.  I would do it over again without hesitation if the need and ability arose.

 

Unlike you, I fancy my ability as a typist, but probably would do better if I used two fingers as you describe.  I spend more time correcting than typing.  I'm surprised that you are an accomplished guitar player, yet use only two fingers to type.  I'm just the opposite, I try to type with all fingers, but am the most fumbling, buzzing note, guitar player you can imagine!  I do think I can tell very quickly if I like the "voice" of a guitar just by plunking on it a bit, but evaluating playability and action is entirely a different matter.  I used to be a little better when I practiced a lot, but could never get my fingers to accurately go where and when needed to make good music. 

 

I certainly agree with you that the subtle things that cause a knowledgeable and discerning person to favor one brand or copy of something over another, are very difficult to describe, either in print or in speech.  And as the years roll by, it doesn't get any easier!

 

Cheers!

 

Rick 


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#180 range88

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Posted 08 May 2020 - 06:58 AM

A little distraction:

I'm offering my virtually new 150ed for $4500 on classified, I consider it a bargain but it won't sell.

I'm now curious whether this equipment holds value well...I'm curious how much money people are willing to pay for this kind of equipment. 



#181 Mr. Bill

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Posted 08 May 2020 - 05:22 PM

Maybe a bad time for buying/selling.....sounds like a good deal.



#182 ihf

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Posted 08 May 2020 - 11:51 PM

It might be bad timing: I have not been able to drive to a dark site this year and use my existing equipment. Why order anything new? Now the pictures in this thread convey in my mind the image of a horse drawn artilery and a matching private firing range. Fascinating, tempting and intimidating!


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#183 CharlesStG

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Posted 13 May 2020 - 07:28 AM

A little distraction:

I'm offering my virtually new 150ed for $4500 on classified, I consider it a bargain but it won't sell.

I'm now curious whether this equipment holds value well...I'm curious how much money people are willing to pay for this kind of equipment. 

Everything sells -- at a price, unless it's oil these days, in which case, you have had to pay someone to take it off your hands.

 

As I see it, there are three possible issues with your particular sale:

1. If they are sold to someone outside China, they are going to be expensive to ship as an added cost to the buyer, and where can the buyer go if they need servicing?

2. They may be exactly the same as the APM binocs, but as they don't have the APM brand, it must sell at a price proportionate to its own brand and that is quite unknown.

3. I suspect that with the introduction of the long hoped for APM 150 SD version, being priced only about 25% higher than the original price of the ED version, and including 90 degree eyepiece holders preferred by most astronomers, it may make it harder on valuations of the ED. Of note, is that the 150 ED version is now on sale from various US sellers at $500. less than last year.

Of these three issues, I suspect not having the APM brand is the greatest consideration altering perceived value.

 

Generally speaking, I think these APM binocs will hold their value a bit better than the Intes-Micro brand of optics which were brought to market by APM and others, mostly due to the fact there are no mirrored coatings to degrade and the coatings used on the outer lenses are hard broadband which are very durable, too, and there are US dealers who can service them, unlike Intes-Micro which has gone out of business. I find Intes-Micro optics selling for about 40% of new in excellent condition. APM binocs should do better, but it might be a stretch to think they will go for the 80% one sees for Baader Morpheus eyepieces.

 

Anyway, that's my 2 cents...


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#184 faackanders2

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Posted 13 May 2020 - 09:30 PM

Maybe a bad time for buying/selling.....sounds like a good deal.

US and world economy is down.  Not many people buying anything except for food, with many struggling to pay for rent/mortgage being furloughed or laid of from their jobs, or fear of that happening.  Many parks and dark sky sites are closed,



#185 oldmanrick

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Posted 13 May 2020 - 10:22 PM

Agree, the uncertainty of the economic situation and our future well being would put a damper on some folks desire to buy an expensive item such as this.

 

Just glad I have my 150, and not contemplating selling anytime soon.

 

Wishing  clouds would stay away so I could use it more!

 

Rick


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#186 SMark

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Posted 13 May 2020 - 10:27 PM

US and world economy is down.  Not many people buying anything except for food, with many struggling to pay for rent/mortgage being furloughed or laid of from their jobs, or fear of that happening.  Many parks and dark sky sites are closed,

On top of all that, I have things on order from Japan and Korea that can't even be shipped yet. Everyone is waiting for the economy to start back up again. 


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#187 Mr. Bill

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Posted 13 May 2020 - 10:38 PM

Let's just be thankful for what we have on hand and enjoy the night sky (the rising summer MW)

 

flowerred.gif


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#188 oldmanrick

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Posted 17 May 2020 - 11:25 AM

Cloudy here again last night!

 

At least there are other things besides the night sky to view, and for which to be thankful.

 

Just before dark last night I noticed a small band of elk emerging from the timber and working their way onto and across the west end of the big meadow to our West.  There were 10 animals in that bunch, mostly cows and last years  young.  Using my Lunt 100mm with 17.5mm Morpheus eyepieces, looking through the front window I thought I could see small nubs on top of the head of one of them, where new antler growth was starting, indicating it was a bull. 

 

Just before it was getting really dark, I caught a glimpse of more movement back in the timber in a different area than where the first band of elk had emerged.  Watching the spot closely I made out several more elk making their way slowly and cautiously towards the meadow.  This band consisted of 8 animals, but it was just too dark to see much detail through the 100mm BT.

 

I needed to let my two dogs outside, so while out there I rolled the big 150 BT out of the shop, to a point where it had a clear view of the meadow.  I had the APM 30mm UFF eyepiece pair installed, so all I had to do was pull off the objective cover and eyepiece caps and start viewing.

 

Wow what a difference in the view in the failing light compared to that provided by the 100mm!  Much clearer and brighter view.  I could easily see the small antler growth nubbins on two of the elk in the first band, and on one of the new band of 8 that had just arrived.  The 150mm optics certainly do their job in gathering light.  Of course the 100 was slightly handicapped by looking through the window glass, but the difference was really significant.

 

I get a lot of enjoyment watching the wildlife around home with binoculars.  There are often various hawks, and occasionally a falcon hunting, mountain bluebirds hovering, looking for a bug to go after, meadow larks sitting on a fence post singing away, rock chucks around the edges of the meadow, an occasional coyote, as well as numerous deer and elk.

 

Yes, if one looks for it there is always a view for which to be thankful.

 

Rick


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#189 oldmanrick

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Posted 29 May 2020 - 12:56 AM

Clear sky to-night!

 

I was tired tonight after working in the garden today plus pulling water hoses all around the yard, and was planning on turning in early.  Along about dusk, the alto-cumulous that had been building earlier in the afternoon magically disappeared, and the sky looked so good that in spite of weariness, I just had to roll the APM 150mm binocular out of its place in the shop and have a look.

 

Last night I had tried to find Venus, just after sunset, but must have been too late, as the only planet I could see was Mercury.  There were heavier banded clouds near the western horizon, which may also have been obscuring Venus.

 

To-night I rolled the dolly farther out the driveway to provide a better view West, down the valley.  Just got the 150 leveled and set up with the APM 70mm UFF eyepiece pair installed, and started scanning the western horizon.  Very soon there it was.  Very nice crescent shape, though a bit wiggly from looking through so much atmosphere.  I only had time for about two minutes of viewing before the Planet disappeared behind the horizon.  I was surprised at how large the crescent looked at 28X magnification.

 

Swung the bino upward and eastward to find Mercury, and there it was in all of its fat crescent glory.  Studied it a bit then had a look at the moon, after resetting the dolly to get a leg out of the way of the observing chair.

 

Luna was so spectacular at 28X that I swapped in the 129X Morpheus 6.5mm pair.  Very spectacular!  I spent a good 45 minutes just moving along the terminator, studying the rugged topography.  Some very rugged and mysterious shapes in that area, especially near the center.  Last night I had tried the 4.5mm Morpheus pair, and they gave a great view at 187X, but the seeing seemed better tonight and I think more detail was visible with the 6.5 pair, although I didn't do a comparison.  The 6.5 pair is definitely more comfortable in the 150 bino.

 

The shadowed part of the Moon had a very good "earth glow" tonight.  I could see a few details at 129X.

 

At that point I called it quits and packed it in for the night.

 

And now it's 'way past bed time!

 

Rick


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#190 range88

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Posted 13 June 2020 - 11:17 AM

An update my 150ed has been sold for $4300 all fees included. The buyer is very happy with the equipment. I'll draw my conclusion now.
The 150ed is a very powerful instrument at low to medium magnification, definitely a better choice than Fujinon LBT 150 in nearly all aspects. But size and weight is still intimidating, and its incompetence of high magnification made me sell it fast.
I do not recommend it to anyone who do not have a semi permanent place. And do not hold unreasonable expectation at high mag, The 150sd is better in this aspect, but a DIY matsumoto ems apo bino blows them all.
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#191 ArsMachina

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Posted 13 June 2020 - 01:17 PM

Yes and no.

Matsumoto EMS Binos are wonderful instruments, I did build and own one, but then sold it as quick as you the 150ED :-)

 

The problem is the very limited availability of usable APO refractors, especially those with great aperture and short focal length.

I did not find one that would suit my needs.

The 140mm Televue petzval would be nice, also the 150mm Borg.

But where to get a good pair of them?

 

If you are not after wide fields but high magnifications, perhaps for planetary usage, an EMS Apo Bino is very fine.

Another big advantage of an EMS Bino is, that you can separate both tubes for easy transport and setup.

 

But I am after wide fields and moderate magnifications, so the the 150SD is the way to go.

 

Jochen


Edited by ArsMachina, 13 June 2020 - 01:21 PM.

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#192 oldmanrick

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 10:33 AM

Range88, glad to hear you were able to sell your 150ED, and that the buyer is happy.

 

Jochen, it must be difficult waiting for delivery of your new 150SD.  I even get impatient waiting for your and other user reports.

 

In my case, relating to my 150ED, sure, I wish it did better at high magnifications.  It would be great if it provided a clear sharp image out to 500X, but it doesn't.  I've successfully achieved pleasing views with it out to 187X using the Morpheus 4.5's viewing the Moon.  I feel that is about maximum for my instrument and my ancient eyes.  I tried a pair of Vixen HR 3.4's in it, but they were just too much magnification, losing too much image quality to suit me.  The lower powered wide-field views with the 150ED are spectacular.  They are much better at spotting nebulosity and faint fuzzies than my Lunt 100ED.  The APM UFF 30 mm eyepieces really excel at this.

 

Rick


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#193 ArsMachina

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 11:24 AM

Hello Rick,

 

I am not too much interested in high magnifications.

High magnification also mean quick moving objects through the eyepieces and I hate tracking hazzle :-)

I prefer lower mags and enjoying the observed object moving slowly through the field of view.

That is my meditation ...

 

I have fun with Saturn rings at lower mags, similar for Jupiter details.

If I need more I look at Nasa Pics :-)

 

Around 200x will be my limit and even there you need an extraordinary night.

I do have a pair of Ethos 6mm delivering 140x and my feeling is, that this will make me happy.

 

If I do see room for more I will try the Ethos 4.7 delivering 180x

 

 

Jochen


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#194 oldmanrick

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 06:26 PM

Hi Jochen,

 

Yes, I hear you about fast moving objects across the FOV.  It's a lot more enjoyable to slow them down with a wider field.

 

There can also be the problem with instrument shake/vibration, and of course the higher the mag the greater the problem.  If I use good observing practices, my setup with the Planet tripod and APM fork mount is stable enough to provide pleasing views, as high as I want to go with magnification, but windy conditions or bumping against a tripod leg will upset the view.   Anything under about 100X will tolerate a good breeze or gentle handling of the instrument without much problem.

 

Rick


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#195 oldmanrick

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 10:37 AM

As a full Luna, Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn were relatively close together last night, I decided to have a look at these solar system objects with the APM 150 ED 45 degree bino.

 

Luna was ducking in and out of a high, banded, cloud bank that completely hid it when behind the thickest bands of clouds.  The cloud bank seemed to be drifting slowly eastward, and my targets were progressing west, so there was hope for them to be in the clear eventually.

 

After about an hour, all targets were in the clear.  I first tried the 4.5 Morpheus eyepiece pair in hopes of spotting Pluto, which should have been located about half a degree East of and about a degree lower than Jupiter.  I spotted one tiny point of light that was close to where Pluto should be, but didn't seem quite right for location.  Apparent we are under the jet stream, so seeing was not good either.  That plus the bright glare of the nearby full moon, and even Jupiter led me to believe that it was futile to expect to see Pluto.

 

I exchanged the Morpheus 4.5's for the 6.5 pair, and could still see the dim point of light, but still it didn't look right for Pluto.  Jupiter was nice, although detail was lacking due  to the poor seeing.  Could only see three color bands.  The moons were spaced nicely, though, so it was still a nice view.

 

Next I looked at Saturn.  The rings usually appeared slightly warped, due to atmospheric instability, but occasionally conditions would briefly improve that they would straighten out.  Even then, with the 6.5's I could not see the Cassini division.  When I had the 4.5's in, I think I could briefly see it, but just barely.  I think I could see about 5 moons.  This was the same for both eyepiece sets.

 

Lastly I had to spoil my night vision by taking a quick look at Luna.  Contrast was not great, and details were kind of wiggly and jagged due to poor seeing, so I buttoned up and went to bed.

 

Will have to try again for Pluto when Luna moves along and gets dimmer.  I'm not sure that I will be able to see it even under ideal conditions, though. 

 

Rick


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#196 oldmanrick

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 10:17 AM

I had hoped too try a little "comet hunting" this morning with the big 150.  With the 30mm UFF eyepieces at 28X and 2.64 degree FOV, it should be up to the task.

 

I got up about 4:30 AM to look for Comet NEOWISE F3, but was greeted by lightening, rain, and a solid overcast that gave no signs of any clearing.

 

Oh well, hopefully tomorrow will be better.

 

Rick 


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#197 ArsMachina

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 12:14 PM

Good luck, Rick!

 

I will also try on Neowise this or one of the next nights, depending on the weather.

Unfortunately only with the 25x100, "il monstro" would be the better instrument for such a comet.

Next comet hopefully...

 

Jochen


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#198 oldmanrick

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 01:12 PM

Good luck, Rick!

 

I will also try on Neowise this or one of the next nights, depending on the weather.

Unfortunately only with the 25x100, "il monstro" would be the better instrument for such a comet.

Next comet hopefully...

 

Jochen

Thanks, Jochen!

 

I looked again this morning, but several cloud patches in the area where the comet should be.  Used Canon 18X50 IS to scan, but again no luck.

 

Hopefully the weather will clear before long.

 

Hope you get the 150 SD soon!

 

Rick



#199 ArsMachina

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 01:34 PM

The 150SD will not be available before October - too late for Neowise :-(

 

The weather is also bad here maybe it will change the weekend.

 

Jochen



#200 ArsMachina

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 06:22 AM

I got him last night.

iPhone pic through APM 25x100ED:

 

IMG 8723
 
At the first sight I wondered if someone directed a sky beamer upwards, this beast is really bright!
Even the the naked eye very impressive!
I wish I had the 150mm SD already...
 
Jochen

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