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New Moon Telescopes 18" f/3.5 , observing procedures and highlights

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#1 The Ardent

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 05:30 PM

 I want to share some of my observing procedures involved with my 18" NMT dob. At my old place in the city, I had to keep my original 18" in those and roll it out with ramps. Later I stored it in a trailer with ramp doors. The worked in the city as the heat island kept condensation from forming inside the trailer. I moved to the far suburbs where the humidity is much worse. Now the scope stays in the garage fully assembled. 

 

For star party use the scope is easy to take apart and transport. The second pic is the 18 with its little brother 10" 

 

 

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#2 The Ardent

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 05:44 PM

The scopes name is New Moon, but I have learned to set up in the shade of the tree to block the full moon.  I can still get a satisfactory night observing. There are plenty of brighter targets in the sky opposite the bright moon. Here is the scope in the shade during the day, the tree provides the same amount of shade area when the moon is up. 

 

I move the scope fully assembled , minus eyepiece and Paracorr. It easy enough to keep the scope in the moon's shade. 

 

For finding, I use a 50mm RACI Finder mounted with ADM rings and mini dovetail. The finder can be raised or lowered to put the eyepiece at the exact height. 

 

No no matter the scope , I use the lowest power, widest field the most. Years ago with younger eyes and a 12.5" f/5 dob, that was the 35 Panoptic. Today it's the 21 Ethos. It gives 88x and 1.1 degree FOV and exit pupil of 5.2mm. I use Dioptrx when the exit pupil is >4mm for best results. 

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#3 The Ardent

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 05:59 PM

Last month I attempted planetary nebula Kohoutek 1-16 in Draco. Unlike the nearby Cat's Eye, K 1-16 is faint and unlikely to be seen from my suburban skies. I didn't see the nebula, but when checking  the magnitudes of the field stars in SkySafari one star had an odd name.

 

" KUV 18217+6419 is a 14th magnitude Quasar appearing in the constellation Draco.It is 4 billion light years from our solar system." -Sky Safari description

 

I had unexpectedly and fortuitously observed a quasar ! The central star of the PN (DS Draconis) was also fairly visible. Sketch is first photo. 

 

 

For observing Nebulae I use the Moonlite Swing Filter. Why Moonlite? Because Feathertouch doesn't make a swing filter. See second photo

 

My principal means of navigating is a star atlas. As my eyesight declined I needed reading glasses and other means to see the charts better.  I love this neat "crystal ball" magnifier. The chart is Uranometria all sky edition. 

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#4 petert913

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 06:00 PM

That's the cleanest garage I've ever seen !  lol.gif


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#5 The Ardent

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 06:10 PM

Last month under a cirrus overcast sky I took the scope out to play with collimation and fiddle with finder placement. It was also a good night to play with the iPhone. Here is a single iPhone pic of the Lyra "other double double" taken thru a 12mm eyepiece (150x) no tracking. 

 

The 12mm Delos is my favorite mid range magnification eyepiece. For whatever reasons I prefer it over the 13 Ethos and 12 Nagler type 4. 

 

For keeping dew off the 21 Ethos I use the Kendrick Dewminator dew strap. 

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#6 The Ardent

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 06:12 PM

That was just after closing on the house. First priority - move the scope in before my wife's belongings! 

 

That's the cleanest garage I've ever seen !  lol.gif


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#7 The Ardent

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 06:24 PM

I made portable PVC frame to block the neighbor's lights. It's a rough draft build, works very well if it's not a breezy night. 

 

The second photo shows the scope inside the light block shelter and on the Osypowski EQ platform. It takes some work to set this all up. I found that I'm lazy and it's much easier to set up the smaller scope on EQ platform. 

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#8 Bill Jensen

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 06:25 PM

Thanks for sharing the "how" you use Ryan's beautiful scopes, not just what you are using. That is a great size range too, 10 and 18. 

 

Ahh... wish I had a garage.... and land... and.. an NMT. i may be able to get one of those, but not all three (my wife has made it clear we are staying in the current townhouse for the foreseeable future). 



#9 The Ardent

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 06:31 PM

Bill 

 

2008 was the year I purchased my first 18" dob AND moved to the city to be close to my mother. The city house was situated directly between the two largest shopping malls in the area , 2 miles north and south. I had 5 bright streetlights and tall trees. There was a small window of sky near the zenith. I used my 18 and smaller scopes in this situation many nights. It's a lovely thing that Lyra and Cygnus pass directly overhead. 

 

Going to to star parties was a treat! Dark skies and stars south of 30 degrees N declination! 


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#10 Bill Jensen

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 07:01 PM

Going to a star party with the 18 must have been a lot of fun given those limits! 

 

I have a 16 f/4 stored out in OR for what was my annual trek to the Oregon Star Party (not this year of course). Your 18 f/3.5 sounds about perfect, in terms of height and weight. 

 

My current scope situation at home is in flux. (longer story) yet a NMT may be in my future.



#11 Starman81

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Posted 18 July 2020 - 01:31 PM

I really appreciate this post and the entire thread really. For the past three years or so, I've been relegated to observing from home due to having young kids, family requirements and some health issues, though those are thankfully in the past now.

 

Even if observing from home is less-than-optimal (which for 99% of us, probably is) if you can make the adjustments needed to do so and put in the effort while accepting the limitations, you’re going to get a lot more observing in. If they weren’t on the menu before, lunar, planetary and double stars are going to start getting a lot of attention of course when observing from home.

 

NV saved DSO observing for me--I’m really thankful for that. Having a clear southern horizon, enough at least to observe the planets, is another boon. Without those two, I might have gotten discouraged. I can’t believe that all you had was that zenith window to observe at the house in the city but you persevered. But then you did have the prospect of star partying, so there’s that. Either way, good on you!



#12 a__l

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Posted 18 July 2020 - 07:52 PM

Most likely you need to replace the tube (on the focuser) or install another focuser. Post # 2 white stripe on tube. Heavy load (paracorr-2 + Ethos 21).

Feathertouch can be used with Moonlite slider if modify a little.


Edited by a__l, 18 July 2020 - 08:07 PM.


#13 Kunama

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Posted 18 July 2020 - 08:12 PM

The scopes name is New Moon, but I have learned to set up in the shade of the tree to block the full moon.  I can still get a satisfactory night observing. There are plenty of brighter targets in the sky opposite the bright moon. Here is the scope in the shade during the day, the tree provides the same amount of shade area when the moon is up. 

 

I move the scope fully assembled , minus eyepiece and Paracorr. It easy enough to keep the scope in the moon's shade. 

 

For finding, I use a 50mm RACI Finder mounted with ADM rings and mini dovetail. The finder can be raised or lowered to put the eyepiece at the exact height. 

 

No no matter the scope , I use the lowest power, widest field the most. Years ago with younger eyes and a 12.5" f/5 dob, that was the 35 Panoptic. Today it's the 21 Ethos. It gives 88x and 1.1 degree FOV and exit pupil of 5.2mm. I use Dioptrx when the exit pupil is >4mm for best results. 

Beautiful scope you have there Ray,  I like the 18"F3.5 size.  A couple of years ago I built one using one of Tom's designs as a guide.

The size is great for seated viewing at all altitudes.  


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#14 Starman81

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Posted 19 July 2020 - 03:52 PM

Last month under a cirrus overcast sky I took the scope out to play with collimation and fiddle with finder placement. It was also a good night to play with the iPhone. Here is a single iPhone pic of the Lyra "other double double" taken thru a 12mm eyepiece (150x) no tracking. 

 

The 12mm Delos is my favorite mid range magnification eyepiece. For whatever reasons I prefer it over the 13 Ethos and 12 Nagler type 4. 

 

For keeping dew off the 21 Ethos I use the Kendrick Dewminator dew strap. 

 

Just re-read this and looking at the picture, was noting the colors of the Double Double, which pretty much all look like white stars to me. Then I realized this a different double double, one I had never known about. Very cool, I need to observe it!


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#15 The Ardent

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Posted 06 October 2020 - 02:38 PM

I ordered the Osypowski platform for the 18" 

 

i find that that I much prefer to keep it on the 12.5" for planetary observing readiness.  

 

The platform has wheels, so the 12.5 just rolls out ready to go. 

 

For the 18, it's much easier to roll out with the wheelbarrow handles instead of the platform. 

 

 

 

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#16 The Ardent

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Posted 07 November 2020 - 04:57 PM

Couple of views from last night. 

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#17 starzonesteve

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Posted 07 November 2020 - 07:50 PM

Ray, this is only slightly off topic from your thread, but since you mentioned the Osypowski platform... 

 

I had my 11" Teeter/Zambuto out in the back yard showing the kids Mars a few weeks ago. It has a Nexus for push too. It was then that it hit me what a Osypowski platform would do for planetary viewing thru this scope...

 

I now have one on order. Glad to see you seem to be enjoying yours.

 

Steve


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#18 astrophile

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Posted 08 November 2020 - 07:35 PM

Ray, this is only slightly off topic from your thread, but since you mentioned the Osypowski platform... 

 

I had my 11" Teeter/Zambuto out in the back yard showing the kids Mars a few weeks ago. It has a Nexus for push too. It was then that it hit me what a Osypowski platform would do for planetary viewing thru this scope...

 

I now have one on order. Glad to see you seem to be enjoying yours.

 

Steve

It'll improve your viewing by 100%.  And your outreach, if you do that with the 11".


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#19 Mike W

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Posted 11 November 2020 - 01:04 PM

Good read. I have a 12.5" New Moon hybrid on the way hopefully this spring! Since you prefer the Delos would you part with the 12mm Nagler T4? I'm looking for one.

Mike


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#20 Tyson M

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Posted 12 November 2020 - 12:41 PM

I made portable PVC frame to block the neighbor's lights. It's a rough draft build, works very well if it's not a breezy night.

The second photo shows the scope inside the light block shelter and on the Osypowski EQ platform. It takes some work to set this all up. I found that I'm lazy and it's much easier to set up the smaller scope on EQ platform.

I'm thinking about making two of these light shields for my backyard as well. Or buy a Skypod. Not sure yet.

Thanks for the pics

Edited by Tyson M, 12 November 2020 - 12:45 PM.

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#21 Tyson M

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Posted 12 November 2020 - 12:45 PM

Awesome reports! Keep em coming!

Regards

#22 The Ardent

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Posted 12 November 2020 - 03:23 PM

Tyson 

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#23 The Ardent

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Posted 12 November 2020 - 03:26 PM

I had two Nagler type 4 over the years and sold both. Prefer the Delos. 

Good read. I have a 12.5" New Moon hybrid on the way hopefully this spring! Since you prefer the Delos would you part with the 12mm Nagler T4? I'm looking for one.

Mike



#24 The Ardent

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Posted 12 November 2020 - 03:30 PM

The platform is amazing for planets. Here is a pic of my old 10” with a first generation Osypowski platform made for the previous owners large dob. Outreach night last year 

Ray, this is only slightly off topic from your thread, but since you mentioned the Osypowski platform... 

 

I had my 11" Teeter/Zambuto out in the back yard showing the kids Mars a few weeks ago. It has a Nexus for push too. It was then that it hit me what a Osypowski platform would do for planetary viewing thru this scope...

 

I now have one on order. Glad to see you seem to be enjoying yours.

 

Steve

 

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#25 Mike W

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Posted 13 November 2020 - 04:18 PM

Good read. I have a 12.5" New Moon hybrid on the way hopefully this spring! Since you prefer the Delos would you part with the 12mm Nagler T4? I'm looking for one.

Mike

Found one!




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