Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - Randal Samuels

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 9
Beginners Forum / Re: What is a good way to star hop ?
« on: February 08, 2018, 10:56:19 PM »

There are many different ways to star hop. (Some will mis-type "star hope" or "star hoping" by ironic accident.) Getting lost along an extended hop can lead one to guessing and hoping and usually requires a restart at the last place that you KNEW was right.

The type of star hop you choose will often be determined by your comfort level with the type of target, its dimness, or the amount of stars bright enough to help you along the way. (When tackling the Virgo Cluster of galaxies, most hoppers have to use brighter galaxies instead of stars.) The amount of light pollution you have to deal with will often determine your choice of optical finder or Telrad-like device, with optical finders being more useful in light polluted viewing.

My number one way to get to targets is to use triangles or other simple shapes. My number one atlas is the Pocket Sky Atlas. Its dimmest stars show up in my 50mm finder. I will stare at the correctly-oriented chart to put an isosceles (or whatever) triangle of a particular sharpness and orientation into my short-term memory. Typically, two stars serve as the anchors at the base of the triangle and the target is at the sharpest vertex. This is one way to find M-101 above the Big Dipper's handle.

When I've successfully found a new target that was a challenge, I will record the star hop method that worked for me.

Good luck.

Lines and triangles are also the primary way that I star-hop ("the galaxy is about 1/3 of the way between naked-eye star X and naked-eye star Y", or "the cluster makes a flat isosceles triangle with X and Y"). This usually is enough to get my target within a 1-degree eyepiece field, if that's what I'm using. Find the field-of-view of your eyepieces by putting their stats (and those of your telescope) into this:

I used to use a finder eyepiece with a 1-degree field; I've gotten lazy, though (and a bit better at star-hopping), and use my primary eyepiece for both (112x, 42' field). If my target is small or faint or both, I also use the TriAtlas app for iPhone/iPad to pinpoint the right position; the app has stars down to magnitude 13, and acts as a paper atlas. With this eyepiece and the app, I was able to sweep up all of the NGC globular clusters in the M19/Pipe Nebula region and the planetary nebula NGC 6369 without having to use a Telrad or finder or take my eye away from the eyepiece--it was just a matter of hopping from one globular to the other, using the stars plotted in the app.
Thanks for the link.  I will try it with my current EPs. Is there something similar to TriAtlas for Android ? I don't have SkySafari as many others here do, because they haven't come out with it for Android. Sky Safari 5 anyway.

Reflectors Telescopes Forum / Re: I can't find my flocking thread! :)
« on: February 08, 2018, 08:02:31 PM »
That's good. I didn't know about that.

Eyepieces Questions & Recommendations / Re: Best Eyepieces For 8" Dobsonian
« on: February 03, 2018, 01:04:48 PM »
I always liked using the Pan 19 in the XT8 when I had it. Dark and steady sky on M31 and it always delivered nice views.Peace...

Reflectors Telescopes Forum / Re: All Terrain Grab-N-Go 10” Dob
« on: February 03, 2018, 12:10:20 PM »
I improved the rack to hold 2" EP's and my collimation tools. There is a 2" barlow in the bag below the rack.

Attached Thumbnails

Eyepieces Questions & Recommendations / Re: Ethos/Delos Dilema
« on: February 03, 2018, 07:22:35 AM »
Hate to throw this out there. But I had the 8 and 13 Ethos and sold them, eventually ended with 17 and 10. In my 12 f/5, the 13 always gave great views, but never quite seemed like the right power. Kind of in between low and medium. Th 17 is ,y go to low power. Sometimes I use that one 90% of the time. The 8 Ethos was great, but not really enough difference from 10 to justify the cost. Never used a 21 Ethos. But I find the progression from the 31 nagler to the 17 Ethos to be just fine. The fields are too close between the 31 and 21. It annoys me when true fields are duplicated. But the progression from the 21 to 10 would be ok too.

ATM, Optics and DIY Forum / Re: Wood Finishing Experts Needed
« on: February 03, 2018, 04:47:09 AM »
Since it is/was lacquer, remove the finish with lacquer thinner and for the last removal, use a brush to brush the thinner into the wood pores.

Let dry for a whole day

Then refinish with any product you like.

Mounts Questions & Expirience / Re: Avalon T-Pod T-130
« on: February 02, 2018, 07:00:13 PM »
That is ridiculously nice!

I really want to make a copy in wood.....the tubular (one piece?) legs appear to have the two lower rings as their only attachment points, is this correct?

Many thanks for your efforts on this……

I suspect that at least part of stacking is that it gets the image down below the glare-level to deliver those delicate contrasts more surely – as indeed with filtering in general. Similarly with apodizing, but here, in my experiences, I very much feel there is the further benefit in line with apodizing theory. Even so, either way it is a very good neutral filter – I do not trust glass ones for my colour-rendering pursuits. Polarizers likewise – my Celestron set giving a distinctly bluish cast – maybe rivalling an 80A……

As I said before: a favourite is the BAS #22; which strangely I find much preferred to the Celestron #23A; maybe different manufacturers need to be factored in I feel. Also the #15 (BAS) I find to be very versatile and often found useful.

There is a lot I could add here: but maybe later – and I’m starting to look like the filter-obsessive I said I wasn’t……….

My Appreciation,

I also have an ETX90RA and have enjoyed it since 1999. It is the only scope owned (other than a 60mm picked up a couple of months ago at an estate sale). I cannot pull the trigger on a larger scope. The ease of operation, the quick simple set up, the good optics, etc makes this a great scope for me. My observing is done on the patio table, so I can go from living room to Double Cluster or Orion Nebula in minutes.

It works for me and the hobby provides so much enjoyment. I am grateful.


HTTPS is part of the picture if it's not just TLS 1.2 with the old stuff disabled I won't use it.

General Astronomy & Observing / Re: What did I just see?!
« on: January 31, 2018, 04:21:27 AM »
Even the great Leslie Peltier was spooked by birds reflecting the light of Delphos, OH, one night back around the late 50's early 60's while he was comet hunting. So you folks are in good company. Incidentally, this very same situation was the demonstrated explanation for the famous Lubbock (TX) Lights, a recurring event there, seen and photographed, during the American UFO flap perhaps a decade earlier.


General Astronomy & Observing / Re: Best State for Planetary Observing?
« on: January 31, 2018, 12:41:51 AM »
Don't know about "states." Any state is large enough to have variety. And it your seeing where you are, not that shared by everyone in the particular state.

Yes, South Florida, particularly the Keys has very stable air, since it is on a large body of water, where air tends to be stable.

There are mountains around Californa that have outstanding seeing. Mt. Wilson and the San Gabriels have world renown seeing. And they would not have put Mt. Palomar where it is if it did not have good seeing. I guess what I am saying is look of a relatively new observatory. Older ones may have been built where the donor wanted it built (Yerkes, Lord Rossi!). But newer ones are built where the astronomers want them built-----after they study the seeing for a few years.


Mounts Questions & Expirience / Re: Advanced VX Dec Motor Cable
« on: January 30, 2018, 05:51:39 AM »
Finally I have fixed the issue, Meades cable was simply not compatible and the right Celestron 8 pin DEC Cable was not available online! after some googling I discovered that the cable pins are one to one, no crossing over, exactly like standard Ethernet cable, and I did use a standard Ethernet cable and it started to work properly!
I'm supersized that Celestron couldn't help me! and am also supersized that the technician on the helpline did not know the pin sequence of this cable!
Thanks alot for all of you, greetings from 11 000 miles awayAttached Thumbnails

Beginners Forum / Re: Buying Used 68 degree Eyepiece's
« on: January 29, 2018, 11:42:03 PM »
In that scope with a 1.25" focuser, an ES68 24mm will be your most valuable ep.
Add an ES68 16mm and you will have covered 95% of your observing quite well.
They're going to run you $115 or a bit less each and be good buys at those prices.

And they're parfocal, so minimal focusing is needed when switching between the two.

Really can't say enough good things about the 24mm. I love mine!

If you buy one used you're basically just putting down a deposit because it will hold its value (as long as you don't do anything silly with it) and you can unload it quickly in the classifieds if you ever decide to part ways with it.

Every now and then I get an itch to pick up a TV 24 Panoptic but then I remember the price difference and my love for ES68 24 is renewed and I realize I will probably never sell it. If you find one in the classifieds it won't be mine!

The ES68 16mm is nice but I'm on the hunt for a Morpheus 14mm to compare. Once those two duke it out in my focuser I will likely part with one... maybe.

Beginners Forum / Re: What Aperture Fever?
« on: January 29, 2018, 10:14:25 PM »
One of the most important lessons I've learned is the "law of diminishing returns."

It seems that once you have reached reasonable size and quality (which you have,) every gradual improvement will be small, maybe "barely noticeable" and sometimes, not noticeable at all.

The best advice I've been given is to get out there and use it. The biggest improvements initially will come with increases in the observer's ability, not hardware acquisitions.

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 9