Monday, January 31, 2011

20100131 Sun

Lunar new year is coming.

Seeing 3/10, transparency 3/10.

AR1150 is probably the most attractive feature despite it's small. My elder daughter Alby came and had a look with the 20mm widescan Type III, she can tell me nearly all the features that I've captured. I also had a look with my 13mm Nagler Type 6.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

20110127 If there's less cloud

If it's less cloudy, it should be a very nice view!!!

1628 (GMT+8), that filament extends outward to form a complex structure!

1630 (GMT+8):-

Monday, January 24, 2011

20110124 Sun

Cloudy but I got a short break without cloud, transparency 2/10, seeing 1-2/10.

1450 (GMT+8) with reducer:-

1453 (GMT+8) with 2x:-

1456 (GMT+8), with 2x:-

Quite interesting sun today with two active regions (1147 and 1149), some QRF and a long and thin prominence.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

20110115 Sun

Seeing like 1/10!!! Worst that I've even seen, transparency 5/10.

1208 (GMT+8):-

I only had ten minutes to setup, shoot and tear down everything today. The seeing is so bad that even at such low power, the sun looked like exactly a 20 cents Hong Kong coins. The video:-

Ultrawide Lenses

I've three candidates in my mind. Maybe it's time for me to really sit down to list all the respective pros and cons:

1. Canon 10-22mm

- Great performance
- 22mm is long enough to replace the kit lens
- $5xxx HKD new, $4xxx second hand

2. Tokina 11-16mm

- Fast aperture, FAST!
- Great performance
- 16mm not quite enough to replace the kit lens
- $4xxx HKD new

3. Sigma 8-16mm

- Widest among three, WIDE!
- Great performance
- Again not quite enough to replace the kit lens
- $4xxx close to $5000 HKD new

It seems like the verdict is among whether I want it to REPLACE the KIT lens, I want it FAST or I want it WIDE!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

20110113 Sun

Cloudy, windy and cold these days, finally we got a little bit sunshine today.

1444 (GMT+8) with reducer:-

1449 (GMT+8), with 2x barlows:-

Cold weather these days forced to rethink my preference. Frankly, I love cold weather much more than hot, but you know, life really needs warmer weather in order to survive well... So?

Our own star is the source of heat, and thus an important powerhouse for life here. I should love it more than to hate it during the hot summer, or needless to say, under cold winter.

Having said that, I still love winter more.

ebay buyer protection

It covers the cost of the item as well as the original shipping, but the problem is that, you will have to pay the return shipping.

Somehow it's pretty unfair if it is due to unreliable description of the item. In my case, it was an abused C5 telescope. It's corrector might be from another scope or it is just a piece of plate glass. It came loose and obviously someone had disassembled it before without properly return it into the place. The orientation of the corrector with respect to the primary is critical and I saw no mark left on the corrector, and I've tried to rotate it for sharp image, but I found that I couldn't. The rubber ring around the secondary mirror cell is also broken. When I tried the scope on the moon, I could see double image, no matter how I rotate the corrector or collimate the scope, it won't go.

Returning this junk scope costs me more than $40 USD but I've no choice if I wanted to get back $2xx USD. Buying heavier item which could incur a big return cost is not something wise from ebay transaction.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Celestron C5 OTA

This could become harder and harder to come by.

What I got ia s silver tube C5 OTA with Starbright Coating, it comes with a Meade 2" SCT mirror diagonal with 1.25" compression ring adapter. A 9mm Kellner eyepiece is included. The diagonal has a "Japan" label on it, and that 1.25" adapter has a compression ring inside, not bad it seems.

The focusing knob is a bit tight and it has some rough points throughout the whole travel, but then when I loosen the screws a little bit, the problem is gone.

This is the worst part, as you can see from this photograph, part of the rubber ring around the secondary cell is missing. It indicates that the corrector was once removed from the tube for some unknown reason.

I guess that I've got a good deal but then I found many issues with this OTA. The most serious one is that the retaining ring on the corrector is pretty loose so that the corrector can rotate around the cell, bad thing indeed! You need critical alignment for the corrector and the primary!

I've decided to return this scope to the seller. Just waste money for the shipping, sad.

What's still good for this particular transaction is that, I managed to try this OTA on my iOptron and I found that it could handle it without any problem! So, maybe I can go to search for another C5 in the future?


I've been struggling for the refund and it's more complicated than I once thought. When the package arrived the seller, he still refused to refund me but he said that the package was damaged during shipping. However, as I found that he has signed to accept the package and that means, the package should be free from trouble as from the outside packing. After the postman left, it's actually hard to tell whether the scope was broken during shipping or intentionally done by the receiving party. Frankly, that scope is unuseable in the first place and therefore, it has zero value and thus, it's impossible to claim any insurance indeed. It feels like you're sending a junk but then you said it's "damaged" and ask for compensation! I believe that it's more like cheating and so I've refused this request promptly and asked ebay customer support for help.

ebay is fast and reliable, I got my refund this morning. Despite I've lost some money for the return shipment, I feel good about ebay who stands behind the deal.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

A Heliocentric Birthday Greeting

Among so many birthday greetings which I've received a few days ago, the following is the most astronomical:

"Congratulations on another trip around the Sun!"

And this is actually the underlying physical meaning of a birthday. We will usually take the biological one, but this astronomical/physical meaning could be a nice alternative for amateur astronomers.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

20110108 Sun

Some real nice activities... seeing 4/10, transparency 3/10. AR1140 and 1142, with some long QRFs.

1226 (GMT+8), with reducer:-

1229 (GMT+8), with 2x barlows:-

1231 (GMT+8), with 2x barlows:-

1232 (GMT+8), with 2x barlows:-

Friday, January 07, 2011

20110107 Avian Occultatons of the Setting Sun

This event is highly predictable since the last time I visited that site by random during the last partial solar eclipse. It's pretty close to my home and thus easily accessible to me.

I don't know what's the reason behind when then when it's about sunset, the birds will come from nearly all directions! Those birds were mostly not there even 20 minutes ago!

Anyway, it's a nice view.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

20110101 Sun

Happy new year!

The sun greets us with a little bit more activity, wish that we have a strong sun in 2011! Seeing 3/10, transparency 5/10.

1223 (GMT+8):-

I'll still use my good old Solarmax 40 with BF10 until it was sold one day.

Selling Solarmax 40 with BF10

I'm trying to see if I can sell it. What's included:

1. the original case
2. Solarmax 40
3. BF10
4. a 1.25" reducer for BF10 ($99 value!)
5. Machined and black anodized adapter for Tele Vue Ranger (77mm thread)
6. Airmail shipping with tracking number to the US or similar destination

If you're wondering why I'm selling it, I would say that I'm looking for an upgrade.

I'm the second owner of this wonderful little filter and I guess that I've owned it for over 3 years and it's still going strong as you can see from this blog. To me equipments are to look through but not look at.

Price $800 USD, no paypal fee. Photographs below:-

Solarmax 40 and BF10:-

BF10 on the red side, also the reducer, the 1.25" filter thread extension tube on the left of the reducer is not included in this deal:-

BF10 on its blue/green side:-

Solarmax on the front:-