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APM 150mm 90° SD bino

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#276 ArsMachina

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Posted 23 April 2021 - 02:39 AM

I was referring to your modified tripod. I suspect there are people who would be interested in such a tripod that is appropriately modified for the geared column you have but don't have the machines or skills to do the mods you've done.

Gerd Neumann, the maker of the tripod, is offering the service to adapt all columns.

But I decided to do it myself as I do have the machines for that.

 

Jochen



#277 ArsMachina

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Posted 09 May 2021 - 11:09 AM

Last night I had the first serious night without moon and with quite good conditions, I observed from 10 pm to 1 am:

 

Bild 09.05.21 Um 00.14

 

At the beginning it was not really dark, which was noticeable in a gray sky background.
Recently also a neighbor has "embellished" his balcony railing with light bulbs which he has switched off only about 0:30 o'clock.
The balcony is 200 meters away, but it still disturbs enormously.

 

Nevertheless, it is obviously, that for really good observations I must go out on the field.
Towards the end of my session most light polluters incl. street lighting were off, which I clearly noticed in the contrast, nevertheless remains a certain basic brightness by individual illuminated neighbor windows, even if they are quite far away.

 

That's why I'm glad the setup is still mobile, I took it out in 4 pieces:

- Tripod with column and fluidhead.
- The bino itself
- The eyepiece case
- The stool

 

Let's start the review with the tripod, fluidhead and the center column.

As expected, the Neumann tripod is a rock, it doesn't move, how could it?

I use the fluid head completely without friction so that there is absolutely no resistance in either axis.
But for this the system must be 100% horizontal, otherwise the bino will start rotating on its own.
My first plan was to align the system with a large bullseye level at the beginning of a session, but even that is not accurate enough.

However, this is not a problem, because as soon as the bino starts moving by itself, you simply turn the opposite adjusting screw of the tripod a little bit and it fits.
After observing once in each direction, the system is aligned and stays that way.

 

I also had to fine-tune the ALT axis on the fluid head, as you can adjust the spring force and shift the center of gravity.
This now also fits perfectly and the bino remains stable in any position and has no resistance when moving - an absolute dream!

 

By the way, the Fluidhead is very sensitive.
Already when I take the smartphone out of the holder, the bino is no longer balanced and must be adjusted.
I am therefore very glad to have made my eyepieces all weight equal, that saves me a lot of readjustment while observing.

 

Yes, no question, a crank column must be cranked, the electric lifting column was pure luxury in this respect at the touch of a button on the remote control .
Still, I prefer the crank column.
Apart from charging and hauling the battery, I always struggled with the cables in the dark, so even the lifting column is not completely without shade.

Cranking the column is unproblematic as long as the crank is not straight on the back.
Left and right is no problem, with both hands the load can be lifted and lowered without effort.
Of course, many crank turns are necessary for large angle differences, but that's just the way it is.
Yesterday I jumped around wildly in the sky, on a more planned observation night you set the tripod so that the crank is optimally positioned and you make rather few angular jumps.
Conclusion: Did the cranking bother me?
No, not really, even though I did a lot of cranking yesterday and had to stand up part of the time to do it.
For me, the cranking is perfect.

 

I almost forgot about the issue of vibrations and re-swing time because it's non-existent.
At least it wasn't yesterday when I used the Ethos 17mm up to 6mm - so magnified up to 140x.
I was observing a lot near the zenith with fully extended column and there I noticed nothing negative, even when I then extra times wiggled the bino and observed the reaction in the eyepiece.
So also here absolute satisfaction, clear at moon and planets with up to 240x it will be minimally more, but far from disturbing.

 

So much for the mechanics, which is convincing in every respect, but what does the thing do optically?

 

The seeing yesterday was not perfect but still pretty good.
Vega showed zero color focally and extrafocally and the diffraction rings extrafocally and infrafocally are just perfect.
At the beginning I had the feeling that the stars are not these needles on black velvet as I had hoped for, but this was due to the still too bright sky on the one hand and on the other hand a 150 bino needs some cooling time.
Anyway, after half an hour everything was perfect.

 

I have a hard time judging the performance of objects, it has been years since I last looked through a serious instrument.
The well known "candles" like M31, M42 or my favorite object the Double Cluster were not accessible yesterday.

But I saw M13 and M57 for the first time with the 150 APM.

M13 was beautifully resolved in 10mm and 6mm, but I expected more in brightness.
Without direct comparison this is difficult, but at that time I had compared M13 with the Doppelborg and the C8 bino, where the C8 performed better.
My feeling at that time told me, 6" Apo bino is on par with the C8 bino.
Whether this is really the case I will not be able to find out.

 

M57 on the other hand was more impressive than I had hoped for, beautifully large and I had the definite impression that the ring was bluish, which can't be because M57 is not blue.
M81 / 82 again very nice, M51 both components well visible but no spirals at all.

 

Of course I used the StarSense Explorer again and this time I took the trouble to align it very precisely to a star right at the beginning using the ball head.
It was worth it, the accuracy remained throughout the evening and was extremely precise.

Only yesterday I noticed that you can also zoom in in the Starsense app.
Previously, I had always entered an object in the search and then approached that.

But zooming in the app opens up a whole new set of possibilities.
At some point I landed at the Black Eye Galaxy and by zooming in the app, all the galaxies of the Virgo cluster appeared in the app.
I was here with 6mm (140x) and centered one galaxy after the other in the app and then saw them directly in the eyepieces.

This was a completely new observing experience for me, no searching or star hopping, but like walking in the sky and checking out one object after the other.
I was extremely excited!

 

But while it was quite dark also a disadvantage of the app has shown:

Of course I ran it in night mode, but the status bar and also the taskbar at the bottom of the iPhone are unaffectedly bright and blinding.
This could be solved by using a transparency foil instead of night mode, I'll just tape off the areas with black electrical tape soon.

 

I already knew the wide field qualities of the bino for star clusters, and it is certainly the perfect instrument for that.

Yesterday I was mainly using 6mm and 10mm and wanted to see what it could do on the smaller and fainter DS objects.
And yes, the 8mm in between is missing and definitely needs to be in the eyepiece case in the future. Often the 10x was too faint and the 6x already too dark.

 

I have seen so many galaxies, nebulae and KS as never before during an observation.
I was less interested in details than in "can I recognize this thing" and there was no object that I selected in the app and did not see afterwards at least as "smudge" in the eyepiece.
For the most part, though, there wasn't much more to it than the rough shape.
The Owl Nebula was clearly visible, but only a gray "blob".

 

As I said, I lack the direct comparison to other instruments and I haven't looked through a telescope for a very long time.
Of course I know that I can't expect Hubble images in the eyepieces and the bino effect is clear especially with the faint galaxies.
Again and again I looked at one of the galaxies with only one eye to get the impression how it would look like in a 6" refractor.
It's like pulling away a curtain when observing with both eyes....

 

I think I need to observe regularly now, also to train my eyes again.
And I need to compare the bino directly at meetings with other instruments to see what it really does.

 

And I will do a step up from iPhone Pro to iPad pro for StarSensing:

 

IMG 1228

 

Jochen


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#278 Fivemileshigh

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Posted 09 May 2021 - 11:57 AM

Nice, thanks for the update Jochen.

You can fix the bright white bar at the bottom of the iphone screen, here are the instructions:
 

It's simple to change your iphone to a red screen to maintain dark adaptation. It's covered in the below thread. 
https://www.cloudyni...n#entry11005353


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#279 ihf

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Posted 09 May 2021 - 01:32 PM

I suspect that the brightness of the screen interferes too much with your dark adaptation. Also it might set expectations for some objects that can't be met (rendering them better than in the eyepiece)? I would try with foil over it next time or not use it. Or maybe would night vision eyepieces bring something to the table to overcome the various sources of light pollution? Tom seems to be very fond of them.



#280 Andrea_b

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Posted 10 May 2021 - 03:20 AM

Last night I had the first serious night without moon and with quite good conditions, I observed from 10 pm to 1 am:

Thanks for the update Jochen, it was a pleasure to read.

 

Andrea


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#281 Andrea_b

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Posted 10 May 2021 - 03:31 AM

I suspect that the brightness of the screen interferes too much with your dark adaptation. Also it might set expectations for some objects that can't be met (rendering them better than in the eyepiece)? I would try with foil over it next time or not use it. Or maybe would night vision eyepieces bring something to the table to overcome the various sources of light pollution? Tom seems to be very fond of them.

If only their price was not that sky-high ... 


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#282 ArsMachina

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Posted 10 May 2021 - 04:08 AM

Nice, thanks for the update Jochen.

You can fix the bright white bar at the bottom of the iphone screen, here are the instructions:
 

Thanks for this hint.

I made this setup now to my phone and it works.

I will try it during my next session

 

Jochen



#283 Fivemileshigh

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Posted 25 May 2021 - 10:52 AM

I tried the Baader 36mm 76º aspheric eyepieces, the 55mm TV Plossl and the 32mm 85º Masuyama. The 55mm Plossl gave the cleanest image, but the jump from 52º to 76 is pretty dramatic, so even with the slight loss of IQ I prefer the Baaders. The edge IQ is a little better on the Baaders vs the Masu, and the  FOV is identical because the Masuyamas are limited by the bino's internal aperture stop (also true of the Plossl), so the 85 vs 76 AFOV advantage of the Masu is not as great as it appears on paper.

 

All 3 have the same true net FOV



#284 ArsMachina

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Posted 25 May 2021 - 11:01 AM

For people with a bigger IPD the APM XWA 20mm 100° might be a nice option:

 

https://www.apm-tele...100-okular.html

 

Looking at the PDF with the specs it shows a diameter of 67,5mm

 

I thought about milling them down from one side, but the pictures at the PDF do show that the lenses are very close to the edge.

64mm IPD should be possible, but probably not the 62mm I do need.

 

Maybe one day I will give it a try :-)

 

I have the 32mm Kasai which should be nearly identical to the 32mm Masu.

I never saw a limitation of the Kasai by the internal aperture stop with the 150mm APM

How did you see this with the Masu?

 

Jochen


Edited by ArsMachina, 25 May 2021 - 11:06 AM.


#285 Fivemileshigh

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Posted 25 May 2021 - 11:30 AM

I dropped a 2" extension with a 45mm internal diameter into the focuser. The aperture mask is at least 1mm smaller all around, so probably 2-3mm reduction in diameter. Let's say 42-43mm diameter. I know that doesn't correspond directly to a reduction at the field stop. I moved the eyepiece in and out in the focuser and estimated the difference in the AFOV in the focuser and out. The same was visible in the Plossl.



#286 ArsMachina

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Posted 25 May 2021 - 12:12 PM

Now I did the test you described with the Kasai 32mm

 

Yes, there is a limit visible, but it is such tiny, that I did never saw it before while observing.

Maybe the 85° are now only 83°, I would describe it as a 1mm wide ring missing around.

 

But yes, the limitation is definitively there.

 

Jochen



#287 Fivemileshigh

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Posted 25 May 2021 - 02:40 PM

Yup, I agree, it’s visible but insignificant.

#288 ArsMachina

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Posted 25 May 2021 - 03:35 PM

The last few weeks there was very bad weather in Germany.

Quite cold, clouds and rain nearly every day.

And there seems to be no significant change in the next couple of days.

 

So I had plenty of time to think about my astronomy future :-)

 

I reflected again these few views I had with the 150SD which were not more than some first tests.

But I am really very pleased with the instrument and the views, all is like expected if not even better.

 

But even I already knew that this instrument will be my personal limit I started thinking about again how I could upgrade and see deeper :-)

I thought again about a C11, another C8 binoscope, a big and short dobson, a bino dobson but after a while I came to the same conclusion than before:

 

I do not want mirrors, I do not want cooling down issues, I want to stay binocular and for sure I do not want any more size and weight.

 

So the APM 150 SD is still the perfect instrument for my needs.

This week I ordered a pair of Ethos 8mm eyepieces to complete my set and thought I was done.

 

Then I probably made a big and expensive mistake and clicked into the "night vision astronomy forum" at CN :-)

 

I was interested in NV already some years ago but never went deeper inside because of the costs and issues like green, flickering images.

But things had evolved a lot over the last years and now I see NV as small and lightweight add on to increase the aperture of my APM 150 dramatically to see objects in the "eyepieces" that I do only know from long exposure pictures.

 

So today I made the crazy decision that I will buy two OVNI-M night vision devices later this year :-)

 

Jochen


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#289 PEterW

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Posted 25 May 2021 - 04:14 PM

…. Agh, the draw of the dark side. Two eyes with NV sees much more than one alone…. Coupled to the 150mm in afocal mode you’re going to be picking up nebulosity all over the place….

PEter
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#290 ArsMachina

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Posted 25 May 2021 - 04:26 PM

Hi PEter,

 

I am a little bit anxious if twice 150mm aperture will collect enough photons for the intensifiers.

Most NV users are using bigger mono instruments and most pictures around are made with such big telescopes.

Sure, binocular addition will also help with NV but I am still not sure what exactly I can expect.

 

NV with binoscopes is still quite rare, I believe Gavin with his 103mm Williams is one of the very first around.

 

But I am already hooked, so there is no way back :-)

 

Jochen


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#291 Fivemileshigh

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Posted 25 May 2021 - 08:26 PM

Hi PEter,

 

I am a little bit anxious if twice 150mm aperture will collect enough photons for the intensifiers.

Most NV users are using bigger mono instruments and most pictures around are made with such big telescopes.

Sure, binocular addition will also help with NV but I am still not sure what exactly I can expect.

 

NV with binoscopes is still quite rare, I believe Gavin with his 103mm Williams is one of the very first around.

 

But I am already hooked, so there is no way back :-)

 

Jochen

Sounds exciting! I believe NV devices will amplify whatever light is provided to them, so they will still work. You might not see what you could with a big dob with the same NV device, but it's still going to be better than with the naked eye, and of course, a wider FOV. Don't forget the TV 55mm Plossls, the 67mm adaptors and filters.


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#292 PEterW

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Posted 26 May 2021 - 01:32 AM

Focal ratio is key, focal length determines the field of view. Huge dobsonians aren’t much used as they have a narrow field, many are using refractors and other smaller scopes.

Peter
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#293 ArsMachina

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Posted 26 May 2021 - 02:16 AM

It also depends on the Objects.

 

For galaxies a C11 with reducer seems to be a good tool.

But a C11 has other drawbacks, I had two C11 in the past and do not want to have one back :-)

 

I will see what the APM 150 will show me.

For wider fields it probably is perfect but not so for tiny galaxies and PN

 

Jochen


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#294 Tyson M

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Posted 26 May 2021 - 02:31 AM

Since the APM 150 SD is the perfect set up for you, ans you have perfected the gear to go along with it, Night Vision will be a huge force multiplyer and you won't ever want bigger apertures I'm guessing.


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#295 ArsMachina

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Posted 26 May 2021 - 03:04 AM

I hope so, Tyson :-)



#296 Mark9473

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Posted 26 May 2021 - 04:28 AM

We should maybe employ a bookmaker. I predict the NV route will have you sell your BT150 within a year.
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#297 ArsMachina

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Posted 26 May 2021 - 05:23 AM

Hello Mark,

 

I thought about the possibility that this might happen, but actually I do not believe that it will happen.

 

NV will for sure be an outstanding experience, especially with two eyes.

I am sure I will use it a lot as 1x binocular device, also with some C-Mount cine objectives and especially used in combination with a Canon 10x42IS

 

It will show me objects which have been out of my reach so far but the views will be very different from the glass-eyepiece views.

 

I am a huge fan of pinpoint stars and observing the different starcolors on a black velvet background.

My most beloved object is the double cluster.

NV will not be able to give me these crisp and clean views.

 

So I believe in my case NV and conventional observing will be complementing each other instead of NV replacing glass eyepiece observation.

 

Maybe when I am getting older and can not handle the 150 any longer I might switch to NV only, but probably before this will happen I will replace the 150SD with a 120SD or a 100SD

 

Jochen


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#298 Tyson M

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Posted 26 May 2021 - 05:25 AM

I don't think Night Vision can or ever will completely eliminate glass.

 

Especially for double stars, planets, moon, star clusters, Ect


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#299 PEterW

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Posted 26 May 2021 - 06:56 AM

Absolutely agree, NV lacks the fine detail and colours for starters….

Peter
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#300 ArsMachina

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Posted 28 May 2021 - 09:19 AM

Mission completed :-)

 

IMG 1350
 

APM XWA 3.5 and 4.7mm
Ethos 6mm - 17mm
Kasai 32mm

 

No more glass eyepieces to come :-)

 

Jochen​


Edited by ArsMachina, 28 May 2021 - 01:57 PM.

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