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Topics - Darius Swick

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1
Hi!

I'm brand new to amateur astronomy, having just acquired my first scope - an 8", f6 dob (XT8 Plus, specifically). I've taken it out every clear night and I'm already sure that this will be a hobby I will be investing some time (and money) in. I've spent some time reading through these forums, and have read through two highly recommended books ("Nightwatch" & "Turn Left at Orion"), but there are some things I could use some further advice on:

1. Light pollution: I live in an urban environment (Alameda, CA - basically downtown Oakland) and the light pollution is awful. I have 3 young kids, include a 1 month old, so my ability to get away from home to seek out dark skies will be limited for the foreseeable future. I understand that many deep sky objects will remain out of reach from my location, but I still want to seek out all the open clusters and multi star systems and any other bright objects that I can from my own backyard. Considering my gear, and that I have no GoTo technology, I'm reliant on star hopping to find my targets, which is quite difficult with my severe light pollution.I had considered getting an extreme wide angle eyepiece at low power with which to break through the pollution to navigate the skies for star hopping purposes.Is this a feasible solution? Perhaps coupled with a broadband filter?Any other advice on star hopping in severe light pollution without GoTo technology? Also, can you please recommend a resource for light pollution maps?

2. Filters:I'm considering purchasing two different filters, a broadband filter to dampen light pollution (noted above - although I question how helpful it will be), and a narrowband filter for nebula viewing from home and on rare occasions when I can get away from the city. Regarding the narrowband, I've read great reviews on the DGM NPB, so that's currently at the top of my list. With that in mind, I'd rather not pay the full $150, so I'm mulling the idea of getting the "cosmetic 2nd" discounted piece from Amazon (http://www.amazon.co.../dp/B00MLHQW7K/), but I'm concerned about the fact that the flaws include "cosmetic flaws, such as pinholes, sleeks, or light scratches". Are these flaws significant when it comes to filters?Or should I trust DGM when they say "flaws which have zero impact on optical performance. Spectral characteristics are the same high quality as our first quality filters and side by side performance is indistinguishable."

3. Eyepieces:There's so much information out there on eyepieces, it's difficult to settle on which eyepieces to target next. The XT8 Plus comes with an Orion 10mm plossl and 28mm "Deep View". The plossl seems well enough for now, but I don't feel that the Deep View provides enough FOV for a lower power eyepiece, so I think a low power, wide angle eyepiece will be my next purchase.With that in mind, any recommendations on the ideal "True FOV" to shoot for low power viewing? I know 2"+ will be necessary to take in all of thePleiades and Andromeda (for example), but is 2" considered overkill, or is this a good TFOV to shoot for? Any other eyepiece advice you can provide regarding building a strong initial eyepiece set would be helpful as well (considering mid to high-tier options).

Thanks a lot!

2
Hello Friends,

I recently purchased an ES 16 dobsonian as my lightbucket for dark sites. So far, I am loving the scope. However, it will not work as a grab and go. I live in an apartment in Glendale CA, and I can view on the roof. There is a lot of light pollution and many lights on the roof. Due to these factors, planets, lunar and very bright DSOs would be my only real targets. I am considering a 4 inch APO. But by the time I purchase the scope and mount, I am going to be between $1K and $2K. Although I love the 3D effect of an APO, I am not wondering if an 8 inch dob, using a small cart to transport might be just as easy to set up and give me better views. My biggest concern is that I am 6'3" and I do not want to stoop over constantly. I have an adjustable viewing chair I used with my old Zhumell Z12. But that scope was at least 6 to 8 inches taller than the 8. So, I am open to suggestions. I am wondering about the Zhumell Z8, Skyline 8 (I believe they are the same scope) or the XT8 plus (about 8 lbs lighter). I would like to have an 8 F7 or F8, but I do not think that is possible unless I want to pay BIG BUCKS, which I don't.

My primary concern is the difference in cooling time and due to thermal issues on the roof, I believe the apo will handle the conditions better.

Please let me know the advantages and disadvantages of the dob vs apo.

Thanks and clearest of skies!

Mike

3
Just like the topic says. I am not sure how these work. And because I am not sure how these work, I don't know if it is possible to get a universal focal reducer for a telescope with a 2" focusser. Can someone help?

4
Hi!

I'm brand new to amateur astronomy, having just acquired my first scope - an 8", f6 dob (XT8 Plus, specifically). I've taken it out every clear night and I'm already sure that this will be a hobby I will be investing some time (and money) in. I've spent some time reading through these forums, and have read through two highly recommended books ("Nightwatch" & "Turn Left at Orion"), but there are some things I could use some further advice on:

1. Light pollution: I live in an urban environment (Alameda, CA - basically downtown Oakland) and the light pollution is awful. I have 3 young kids, include a 1 month old, so my ability to get away from home to seek out dark skies will be limited for the foreseeable future. I understand that many deep sky objects will remain out of reach from my location, but I still want to seek out all the open clusters and multi star systems and any other bright objects that I can from my own backyard. Considering my gear, and that I have no GoTo technology, I'm reliant on star hopping to find my targets, which is quite difficult with my severe light pollution.I had considered getting an extreme wide angle eyepiece at low power with which to break through the pollution to navigate the skies for star hopping purposes.Is this a feasible solution? Perhaps coupled with a broadband filter?Any other advice on star hopping in severe light pollution without GoTo technology? Also, can you please recommend a resource for light pollution maps?

2. Filters:I'm considering purchasing two different filters, a broadband filter to dampen light pollution (noted above - although I question how helpful it will be), and a narrowband filter for nebula viewing from home and on rare occasions when I can get away from the city. Regarding the narrowband, I've read great reviews on the DGM NPB, so that's currently at the top of my list. With that in mind, I'd rather not pay the full $150, so I'm mulling the idea of getting the "cosmetic 2nd" discounted piece from Amazon (http://www.amazon.co.../dp/B00MLHQW7K/), but I'm concerned about the fact that the flaws include "cosmetic flaws, such as pinholes, sleeks, or light scratches". Are these flaws significant when it comes to filters?Or should I trust DGM when they say "flaws which have zero impact on optical performance. Spectral characteristics are the same high quality as our first quality filters and side by side performance is indistinguishable."

3. Eyepieces:There's so much information out there on eyepieces, it's difficult to settle on which eyepieces to target next. The XT8 Plus comes with an Orion 10mm plossl and 28mm "Deep View". The plossl seems well enough for now, but I don't feel that the Deep View provides enough FOV for a lower power eyepiece, so I think a low power, wide angle eyepiece will be my next purchase.With that in mind, any recommendations on the ideal "True FOV" to shoot for low power viewing? I know 2"+ will be necessary to take in all of thePleiades and Andromeda (for example), but is 2" considered overkill, or is this a good TFOV to shoot for? Any other eyepiece advice you can provide regarding building a strong initial eyepiece set would be helpful as well (considering mid to high-tier options).

Thanks a lot!

5
My second year at this hobby - and I seem to have forgotten that during my first year I packed everything away during the hot/humid summer with no expectations to find a clear night (maybe because I was smarter last year?).

For some unknown reason, I decided this year I would ramp up my expectations - but only after purchasing a few new items... It hasn't worked out so well...

Oh well... maybe this is the time to invest in diving deeper into PixInsight.

6
Mounts Questions & Expirience / PHD2 guiding
« on: December 28, 2017, 11:41:21 PM »
Is this considered good, avg, fair, poor?Thanks Rick


7
Mounts Questions & Expirience / Losmandy Noob - Titan w/Gemini V4
« on: December 28, 2017, 04:32:21 AM »
So I set this puppy up and give the manual somewhat of a reading, kind of a train wreck I have to say, lots of information but reads like it was written by engineers, a blessing and a curse...tons of detail (including unnecessary), mixed in with flat out missing necessary details. The sometimes left, sometimes right button thing has been driving me crazy. I kind of got it down, but still...guys, I know we all like elegant designs but you're selling a top $$ system, go ahead and put a few more buttons on the handset.

Anyway, that gripe aside, love the hardware. Beefy understates this monster, and I love the mechanicals in spite of my controller gripes. Very nice piece of kit.

Questions: I had the date and time right, and reset the location to mine...and it still goes totally the wrong way for my guide stars. Checked my longitude, yes it says west. Checked my latititude, yes it says north. What else could I be missing?

How easily should the RA axis spin when I undog the clutch? The DEC axis goes silky smooth but totally loose when I undo it, the RA is indeed smooth, but pretty stiff. Stiff enough that balancing it in RA is kind of a pain because it's not loose loose, just movable with a tug. Do I need a touch more grease on the shaft? The teflon ring at the base is not greased...should it be?

I got a few motor stall warnings as the temps dropped, I'm thinking that's most likely my power supply...it's a 15V wall wart style, likely unregulated (doesn't look like a switcher) rated at 2A. I ordered up a 18V 4A regulated switcher this morning, I'm pretty sure that should do it.

8
Im thinking about getting a Nexstar 6SE but just how long would Eneloop rechargeable batteries last?

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