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AZ-GTi - Big piece of my NV puzzle

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#1 NikhilJoshi

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 12:48 PM

I've enjoyed using my Nikon 55mm f/1.8 lens with the MOD3-c and an Ha filter. It's truly a unique view of the sky - I'll forever remember my first view of the whole of Barnard's Loop and the sheer size of the Angelfish Nebula. However, I've had less luck using the NV unit with my Tak FS-60c grab-and-go kit.

 

The problem is that the light pollution obscures all but the brightest stars so star-hopping is challenging (e.g. it can be hard to find Hercules). I could often get to the general region of a target, but then there was lots of searching using the NV unit, which limited my time on target for it's intended use - quick NV G&G on a school-night. Enter the Skywatcher AZ-GTi. The mount is still small enough to keep my kit in G&G territory, and the goto saves lots of time and frustration in finding targets in my mushy grey skies. Last night I got a solid 40 minutes of observing. 

 

Although this is more of a mount review, I thought I'd place it here since it solved a problem I was facing using my NV gear and the star-hopping challenge I ran into using night vision. Mods, please move if you feel otherwise.

 

NV G&G Kit

 

The site was the sidewalk across the street from my house in Seattle with Bortle 9 sky, carefully placed in a narrow shadow between to street lamps. I used a 6nm Ha filter screwed into the 1.25" nosepiece and my FS-60c at f/6 with the mount in AZ mode. Field of view was about 3 deg, with about 14x magnification. I used my iPhone to run Skywatcher's Synscan Pro app that connected to the mount's built-in wifi access point.  With the mount and scope level and roughly pointed north, I used the "north-level" two-star alignment routine. First star was Polaris which fell about 3 deg outside the FoV, but was easily centered using a red-dot-finder on the scope. Second star was Altair, which landed just at the edge of the FoV. 

 

First target was M27, which landed half-way from center of FoV. I centered M27 and added it to the alignment model, and thereafter objects were landing dead-center for the rest of the night.  The Dumbell was small, but distinctly oblong and bright enough that I turned the gain down to almost eliminate scintillation noise. Since I was putting the mount through its paces, I moved on to M13, which slewed to the center of the FoV. At 14x I wasn't resolving stars, but it was beautifully fuzzy. 

 

I then slewed to both halves of the Veil. Eastern Veil was nicely resolved, only had to turn the gain up a little to make it pop against the background. I'm guessing maybe 5-7 scintillation points per second. Western Veil needed more gain to become visible. Next up was the NA and Pelican nebulae. The Mexico region of the NA nebula was easily viewed at low gain, and there was just a hint of the Pelican. I couldn't resolve any nebulosity around 57-Cyg (I call it the "creepy eye's nebula")

 

The Heart and Soul were behind trees so I spent about 15min exploring the Sadr region. The butterfly of IC-1318 was dark and contrasty. Very satisfying!

 

I'm very pleased with the AZ-GTi after last night's experience. It is a big part of my NV kit and G&G rig. Compact and light, with fast and easy alignment. The goto is good, albeit with a forgiving field of view, but it definitely allows me to easily view several objects in short order. I think my NV rig was finally performing the way I imagined it when first thinking about diving into image intensified astronomy. Considering the cost of the mount relative to the MOD3, the purchase was a no-brainer.

 

I'm now curious about the mount's pointing and tracking with my 102mm f/13 Skywatcher Maksutov. When the skies clear up again, I'll go on globular tour with the MOD3. That should prove a more stringent test of the mount.

 

Thanks for reading this far and wishing you all clear skies!

 

-Nik

 

 


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#2 sg6

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 01:13 PM

Have the Az GTi also and so a small question: Did you purchase the head only and fit to an existing tripod or was that tripod part of the package.

 

Only ask as it is somewhat different to the one that came with mine.

 

As you say nice useful and easy to use little goto mount.

 

Is the scope the Tak 60?

Looks a little longer then my WO ZS 61, but I presently use a Skywatcher 72ED more often.

 

Sort of mount I would like to see come out in a 10Kg offering as well.



#3 Eddgie

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 01:43 PM

Good post about the mount.  My smallest scope that I am using a lot is a 130mm f/5 imagaging Newto (Skywatcer 130PDS) and I a afraid that this might not be quite enough mount, but I am tempted to try it.

 

 

I'll forever remember my first view of the whole of Barnard's Loop and the sheer size of the Angelfish Nebula. 

 

Yeah, what an amazing sight!  People that have never seen these I don't think truly have a concept of how staggeringly beautiful and large they are.  

 

Happy to hear your locating problem is solved. 



#4 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 01:52 PM

Eddgie,

SkyWatcher sells a 130 f/5 reflector on the AZGTi mount, so I would guess that the mount would handle it.

I use mine with my Lunt LS60THa and it tracks very well in point and track mode. To the OP, I also have the 102mm Mak and I find goto and tracking work well even with the long focal length of the Mak.
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#5 NikhilJoshi

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 01:55 PM

Have the Az GTi also and so a small question: Did you purchase the head only and fit to an existing tripod or was that tripod part of the package.

 

:

 

Is the scope the Tak 60?

Looks a little longer then my WO ZS 61, but I presently use a Skywatcher 72ED more often.

 

Sort of mount I would like to see come out in a 10Kg offering as well.

The mount included the standard tripod. I moved the mount to my Slik tripod, which I will likely take to my grave. It's a great compromise between weight and stability. I've even used my Mewlon-180 and DM-4 on it, though that was a push. Not sure what I'm going to do with the Skywatcher tripod.

 

Yes, that's a FS-60c on the mount. Love the portability but I keep hearing the Siren's song from the Tak FC-76...

 

-Nik



#6 cst4

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 02:30 PM

Good post about the mount.  My smallest scope that I am using a lot is a 130mm f/5 imagaging Newto (Skywatcer 130PDS) and I a afraid that this might not be quite enough mount, but I am tempted to try it.

I have an AZ-GTI on a Bogen tripod rated for 26lbs.  I can't speak for the stock tripod, but it's quite solid on my Bogen.  I wanted to max out the aperture I used on it so I considered getting a 130PDS.  I recently got a 102ED refractor for it instead though and have used this set up a few nights now.  It's right under 10lbs with my lighter 1.25" accessories and it does just fine.  It's a fun mount and I'm very happy with it.  I can carry the whole set up out the door in one piece and get it level, aligned, and tracking within 5 minutes or so.  The mount and tripod I have could probably even handle a little more weight without getting too shaky, but I can tell the gears might not like it.  But it tracks everything fine and I am confident in it.  I plan to do the ADM saddle upgrade soon which would probably further reduce any shakes... the stock saddle is definitely the weak point with its one little screw holding the dovetail.



#7 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 02:43 PM

I’m another who is not using the stock tripod. My AZ-GTi is on a Berlebach Report 312 Astro rated at 39.68 pounds. The stock tripod wasn’t too bad with the 102mm Mak, but I wanted to have more options. The Report is really stable, so the stock tripod is stuffed in the back of a closet. 

 

The ADM saddle upgrade is probably worthwhile. 

 

I really need need to take a look at that 130 PDS, as I don’t currently have a fast NV scope for the AZ-GTi. 



#8 tmaestro

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 02:57 PM

I see the 130PDS for sale in the UK, but all of the 130mm f/5 newts I see for sale on this side of the Atlantic have cheap focusers.  The 130PDS looks good!

 

https://www.firstlig...30p-ds-ota.html



#9 cst4

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 03:21 PM

I see the 130PDS for sale in the UK, but all of the 130mm f/5 newts I see for sale on this side of the Atlantic have cheap focusers.  The 130PDS looks good!

 

https://www.firstlig...30p-ds-ota.html

 

Yeh, I was thinking a 5" f/5 would be perfect on the AZ-GTI and settled on the Vixen 130fs at first, but then I discovered the 130PDS.  I think they might actually be the same Synta optics, but the PDS has a much better looking 2" focuser and it's cheaper at FLO even with overseas shipping.  Hard to beat that.  Of course I abandoned the newt idea and went with a refractor.

 

I've never even considered night vision with astronomy... I bet that is a pretty cool thing to see.  Got me interested now.



#10 Eddgie

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 03:25 PM

Eddgie,

SkyWatcher sells a 130 f/5 reflector on the AZGTi mount, so I would guess that the mount would handle it.

I use mine with my Lunt LS60THa and it tracks very well in point and track mode. To the OP, I also have the 102mm Mak and I find goto and tracking work well even with the long focal length of the Mak.

Thanks Doug, but I have a Skywatcher 130 PDS and this is far heavier than the 130 f/5 that they sell with that mount.

 

OTA with rings is 10.2 lbs, and if you add in my filter wheel and Mod 3 that probably puts it at 11.5 lbs.



#11 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 04:40 PM

Ah, I actually hadn’t heard of the 130PDS and had to look it up. The model that comes with the AZ-GTi is the 130PS, now that I’ve looked again.




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