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AP 92 F/6.65 Stowaway First Light

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#26 daveCollins

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Posted 19 October 2020 - 06:32 PM

I like the scientific approach to visual observing!  Sort of cringing w/ the use of Ethos on Mars....too much glass IMO tongue2.gif

Scott, 

 

You mention the scientific approach and that is exactly what I model my logs after. In high school we had science labs and had to keep logs of what we did. We were not allowed to alter our notes after they were written. If you made a mistake, you would note it in a new entry. You would not correct the mistaken entry,

 

So with my logs, I do the same thing. That way I know exactly what I was doing at the eyepiece. It lends a consistency across my nine years of observations. 

 

With respect the eyepieces, I've used the Ethos for many years. My experience has been that my Nagler eyepieces are distinctly inferior to my Ethos in all conditions with all scopes. Is that what you were suggesting that I use? If not, what would you suggest?

 

Dave



#27 gnowellsct

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Posted 19 October 2020 - 07:24 PM

I find the focuser on the GT 130 and the CFF 92 to be superior to the one on my stowaway. The collar on the tube is slippery Even when torqued all the way down by hand. Things have to be done just exactly right if you want to rotate the diagonal but not the whole focuser. Sometimes if you rotate the focuser it hits other things in the system like the dovetail or the telescope on which the 92 is mounted.

The GT130 doesn't do this because it doesn't have the collar rotation and that strikes me as a good idea. The CFF 92 doesn't do this and I suspect it is not accidental that this is the case.

The optics on the stowaway are flawless and the tube design is excellent. What the focus are on my CFF is manifestly better.

Feather touch is offering machined screws with stainless steel rounded heads to get a better grip on the collar. It's a bit sad because it's a shame to scratch up the collar. I guess it doesn't really matter though.

#28 gnowellsct

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Posted 19 October 2020 - 07:25 PM

Youre kidding of course... right Scott The 4.7 and 3.7 ethos are perfectly suited for the Stowaway. My go to eyepieces to for the planets.

Gerald


Some people will reach for the ZAO.

#29 gjanke

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Posted 20 October 2020 - 05:43 AM

Some people will reach for the ZAO.

My significant other might be surprised to hear this but that set of eyepieces is out of my price range.


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#30 daveCollins

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Posted 20 October 2020 - 08:18 AM

I was thinking about why I am so happy to have various Astro-Physics scopes. In terms of optical quality, there are alternatives that match the AP optics. For example I have a couple of Takahashi scopes with flawless optics to my eyes. The LZOS 175 f/8  is incredible. But what these other scopes don't have is the Astro-Physics presence. What I mean by this is the connection I feel to the man. Roland is a living legend, and he is both humble and a truly nice human being. He sells his scopes at below market value. I feel like by owning his creations, I can tap into his passion for life and what he does. That doesn't happen with my Takahashi or LZOS scopes. If one is only interested in performance and quality views, then there are many choices. I would also imagine the same sort of thing is true for those who purchase Tec or CFF. You can connect to the creator of those instruments. It just means a lot to me to know who's passion it is that is behind the scopes I love.

 

I just got an email from Lana Trygubova (Agema) about the SD-120 and how they are coming along. This is what prompted this posting. What I love about this particular adventure (I have one on order), is the passion that Eduard has about what he is doing. It seems to be the same sort of thing as with Roland. In a sense, I don't care that much as to whether or not the SD-120 is a killer scope. It is the journey of getting one and the incredible passion behind its creation. One man's dream to do something special and follow his own path. I get periodic updates about what is going on with the scopes and it just adds to the experience. I could care less how long it takes. I am excited to get the scope and will enjoy its presence in the same way that I do with Roland's creations. 

 

2020 has been a tough year for me in many ways. Its nice to have something that embraces what is nice about human kind and enjoy it while living through the challenges of everyday life. I recently read War and Peace and I am currently reading Don Quixote. So I am getting the perspective of life from the 1860s and 1610s from people who lived in those times. What strikes me is that the issues they dealt with on a personal level are really the same as what challenges us the most in these "modern" times and so my reading has shown me that this has been a challenge going back into our distant past. I choose to focus my life focused on what is good with human kind and not get stuck in the ugly. My scopes help in a significant way in doing this. When I look up and see those beautiful stars through exquisite optics, it really feels like home.


Edited by daveCollins, 20 October 2020 - 08:29 AM.

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#31 turtle86

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 08:05 AM

Some people will reach for the ZAO.

 

True, but I always found the 3.7mm Ethos much more pleasant to use than the 4mm ZAO II.


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#32 gnowellsct

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 08:21 AM

My significant other might be surprised to hear this but that set of eyepieces is out of my price range.


And quite justifiably so! I have the ZAO's but I don't use them enough to justify the expense. And they're not currently available new and you really don't want to pay collector premium on an ocular like that.

The Pentax XO's among the tiny glass options occasionally come up on Astro Mart and are high-performing eye pieces. Unfortunately they too are out of production.

Usually I eschew tiny glass But if you're going to use it then a CFF or astrophysics or tak is the place to do it.

For the rest I am 100% on XW's which are a high octane alternative and yet readily available and half the price of ZAOs.
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#33 gnowellsct

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 08:24 AM

True, but I always found the 3.7mm Ethos much more pleasant to use than the 4mm ZAO II.


I think that would be because it IS More pleasant to use than the 4 mm ZAO II.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT I WAS THINKING WHEN I BOUGHT THE SET. I think I was thinking well everybody else says these are great so I better grab one up before I lose the opportunity forever.

And now they are rare. So who wants to sell a rare eyepiece.

#34 gnowellsct

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 08:29 AM

I was thinking about why I am so happy to have various Astro-Physics scopes. In terms of optical quality, there are alternatives that match the AP optics.

.

I think I like my astrophysics scope with the astrophysics focuser more than I like the astrophysics scope with the feather touch focuser. This rotating collar business is a source of annoyance.

this is true even when it's not under high load. If you just have a regular old eyepiece and reach up to adjust the diagonal the tension better be just right or it's not the diagonal that's going to rotate, it's the whole focuser!

Perhaps it's some future time it will be possible to get a focuser option without the collar.

My CFF does not do this at all even though it has the same collar.

#35 daveCollins

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 09:10 AM

The scope has a Compression Adapter and a Doveloc Adapter. These adapters have their own adjustment knobs. All of this is near the diagonal. I insert the diagonal and tighten all adjusters once before observing. I have no issues doing this. 

 

I observe in tight quarters most of the time and so I do rotate the focuser several times a night. The scope has three large knobs for rotating the focuser. The knobs are placed well beyond the collars noted above. Since these knobs are placed so far from the collars, I never have an issue with loosening the wrong adjuster. 

 

I can imagine that if I was in a rush and wasn't paying attention, I suppose I could accidently loosen the adapter holding the diagonal. But I never find myself rushing and grabbing adjusters without paying attention to what I am doing. I am 80 feet above a concrete patio which may have people on it. Rushing and not paying attention with anything while I am observing is simply not an option. So my situation may be different from others.


Edited by daveCollins, 21 October 2020 - 09:11 AM.


#36 Tyson M

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 10:46 AM

Dave, love your reports with your high end optics.  I (admittedly) don't get into the Struve catalog, which I should change.

 

What mount do you use for the Stowaway? The smallest one on your sig is the AP900.   



#37 daveCollins

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 12:09 PM

Hi Tyson,

 

I have a Mach1GTO which I use with the 6" Eagle Pier. This has been a great mount and I've never had a single issue with it. I have mounted my TOA 150 on it and the combination worked fine. My setup is pictured in this thread on an earlier posting. It shows the setup as it is used on my balcony.

 

The reason I am focused on binaries is that they are the most assessible targets from within Washington DC. If I lived under darker skies, I would be more varied in my observing. I do travel to dark sites, but I haven't been doing much of that lately.

 

Dave


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#38 Tyson M

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 01:00 PM

Hi Tyson,

 

I have a Mach1GTO which I use with the 6" Eagle Pier. This has been a great mount and I've never had a single issue with it. I have mounted my TOA 150 on it and the combination worked fine. My setup is pictured in this thread on an earlier posting. It shows the setup as it is used on my balcony.

 

The reason I am focused on binaries is that they are the most assessible targets from within Washington DC. If I lived under darker skies, I would be more varied in my observing. I do travel to dark sites, but I haven't been doing much of that lately.

 

Dave

Makes sense, I would and have done the same when I did more observing in light pollution. 

 

Although I do like my double star viewing in general.


Edited by Tyson M, 21 October 2020 - 01:21 PM.


#39 gnowellsct

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 01:32 PM

The scope has a Compression Adapter and a Doveloc Adapter. These adapters have their own adjustment knobs. All of this is near the diagonal. I insert the diagonal and tighten all adjusters once before observing. I have no issues doing this. 

 

 

I removed one of those, I think the Doveloc.  I got an adapter from FT and put on ADA2003A which is a big improvement though definitely not approved by AP, which would prefer you to put in grub screws and tighten them down.  You can see it in the video below if memory serves. (At 0:22 this might take you right to it so hit stop as soon as you're there)

 

I wouldn't *mind* having rotation on the collar, if it could be tightened down.  I suppose I'm going to have to bite the bullet and use the stainless steel alternative knobs.  I just am reluctant to trash the collar.  

 

I suppose if I countersinked three depressions in the collar I could tighten the screws down there and that would stop the rotation.  At first I thought it was just an issue with the heavily leveraged solar gear but now that I've used it a few times at night I realize this is going to be an operational issue with these scopes.  

 

Greg N


Edited by gnowellsct, 21 October 2020 - 01:34 PM.


#40 turtle86

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 05:02 PM

I think that would be because it IS More pleasant to use than the 4 mm ZAO II.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT I WAS THINKING WHEN I BOUGHT THE SET. I think I was thinking well everybody else says these are great so I better grab one up before I lose the opportunity forever.

And now they are rare. So who wants to sell a rare eyepiece.

 

lol.gif



#41 Scott99

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Posted 22 October 2020 - 01:41 PM

With respect the eyepieces, I've used the Ethos for many years. My experience has been that my Nagler eyepieces are distinctly inferior to my Ethos in all conditions with all scopes. Is that what you were suggesting that I use? If not, what would you suggest?

 

I'd keep using the Ethos if you like them!  What do I use for planets?  I'm an intense minimum-glass snob, lol.gif so I use my 3-element AP SPL set with the Stowaway, with the two AP barlows if needed.   The SPL's work great at f/6.7, sharp to the edge,  and have longer eye relief than orthos.  Even the 4mm is comfortable.   I see a little more "clarity" than in the 5-element ep's I have like Tak LE 5mm and TOE 4mm.

 

For lower powers I've been using a XW 30mm and Zeiss Diascope 12.7mm.   Or 25mm Clave Plossl.

 

I like the way things look with fewer lenses in the eyepiece.  But I understand the convenience of using a compound eyepiece so you don't waste time fooling around with a barlow. And a wider field helps with non-tracking mounts.  I've found tracking to be OK with my Teegul mount's slow motions and the 42- degree FOV up to 175x-200x which is about it for the Stowaway.

 

I take notes every night's observations but I don't follow through like Dave to enter the data into a spreadsheet.  So I've got a pile of papers and no way to index or refernce the comments for the most part.  I need to hire an intern!


Edited by Scott99, 22 October 2020 - 01:48 PM.


#42 daveCollins

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Posted 22 October 2020 - 03:51 PM

Scott, It is never too late to start. I've been using the spreadsheet approach for 11 years. With a single button click, I can see every observation of a particular object that I've made, all displayed together. It then becomes easy to see differences between scopes.

 

In the case of binaries, the effect of magnitude difference between A and B in a pair becomes easy to see and characterize in general. Doing this I learn about my equipment and about observing. So when I am considering my target list, I can adjust it to what I want to accomplish and I know roughly whether or not a split can be made for a binary pair. It also allows me to pick a target that will challenge the particular scope I am using based on magnitudes and separation. 

 

The last point I'll make about this is that it makes visual astronomy much, much more satisfying. I can enjoy previous sessions by at will without having to mess with a tangle of paper and less than legible hand writing. And after a session, I am always going in to see how the session compared to other sessions. The wildcard in all of this is seeing. All in all, keeping an easy to use electronic log has many benefits for me.


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#43 Tyson M

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Posted 22 October 2020 - 07:04 PM

Scott, It is never too late to start. I've been using the spreadsheet approach for 11 years. With a single button click, I can see every observation of a particular object that I've made, all displayed together. It then becomes easy to see differences between scopes.

In the case of binaries, the effect of magnitude difference between A and B in a pair becomes easy to see and characterize in general. Doing this I learn about my equipment and about observing. So when I am considering my target list, I can adjust it to what I want to accomplish and I know roughly whether or not a split can be made for a binary pair. It also allows me to pick a target that will challenge the particular scope I am using based on magnitudes and separation.

The last point I'll make about this is that it makes visual astronomy much, much more satisfying. I can enjoy previous sessions by at will without having to mess with a tangle of paper and less than legible hand writing. And after a session, I am always going in to see how the session compared to other sessions. The wildcard in all of this is seeing. All in all, keeping an easy to use electronic log has many benefits for me.


I like your approach to observing. I could learn a trick or two on record keeping as I haven't quite nailed how I want to keep records yet- besides observing posts on cloudynights. Been 5 years in the hobby and I need an easier way to reflect back on previous observations.
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#44 weis14

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Posted 23 October 2020 - 09:53 PM

Scott, It is never too late to start. I've been using the spreadsheet approach for 11 years. With a single button click, I can see every observation of a particular object that I've made, all displayed together. It then becomes easy to see differences between scopes.

 

In the case of binaries, the effect of magnitude difference between A and B in a pair becomes easy to see and characterize in general. Doing this I learn about my equipment and about observing. So when I am considering my target list, I can adjust it to what I want to accomplish and I know roughly whether or not a split can be made for a binary pair. It also allows me to pick a target that will challenge the particular scope I am using based on magnitudes and separation. 

 

The last point I'll make about this is that it makes visual astronomy much, much more satisfying. I can enjoy previous sessions by at will without having to mess with a tangle of paper and less than legible hand writing. And after a session, I am always going in to see how the session compared to other sessions. The wildcard in all of this is seeing. All in all, keeping an easy to use electronic log has many benefits for me.

This is brilliant.  I've tried written log books and I never get into it because of the inability to easily look back at prior observations.  Tonight I started building an Excel database out of my most recent observations.  



#45 daveCollins

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Posted 24 October 2020 - 06:29 AM

By the way, I've learned that a design that works well is to create a separate sheet for your observations and another sheet for your objects.

 

  • One sheet holds all observations: Observation Sheet
  • One sheet holds all objects: Object Sheet
  • When entering your observations on the Observation Sheet, the object name (The first cell has the label "Name") is constrained to be an object from the Object Sheet . You enforce this by using a dropdown list.
    • Select all cells which will contain object names (just select the entire column) on the Observation Sheet.
    • On the ribbon, click Data -> Data Validation (in the data tools group)
      • In the dialog, set allow to list
      • Click in the Source textbox area and then click on the tab for the Object Sheet and then select all cells with object names from this sheet.

When you do this, you have unique names for each unique object. This is what allows you to filter on object names. To do the filtering, select the entire column of names in the Observation Sheet and then select Data -> Filter. Now you can select the first cell and it will show all names in the column and will allow you to select which objects you want shown.

 

By the way, on my observation sheet, I also have a filter on a constellation column. That way I can filter on constellation, in addition to object name. It is quite handy to do the same thing on the Object sheet, that is, include a constellation cell for each object. Then you can filter your objects by constellation which makes managing the objects easier. Using a consistent naming convention is helpful. I use a Greek symbol and then the STF number for binaries when possible. Any convention will work, but having a convention is a good idea.




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