Monday, April 28, 2014

20140428 Sun

Let's show the result first.

First one taken at 1514 (GMT+8) at prime focus:-

Next one close up at 1518 (GMT+8) with 2x barlows:-

I didn't look at the sun for long in H-alpha, and I didn't do imaging either.  And this is the first time I got my hand on the RichView tuning.  Seeing was very bad at 3/10, cloud moving around rather quickly with variable thickness.

Problem One: I couldn't use my Mark-X since the viewing angle was very bad, so I was using hand tracking or better say without tracking.

Problem Two: The new Solarmax is very front heavy, due to its bigger size and the added RichView tuning ring...

Problem Three: My DIY dec motor was not working for some reasons, I got to check.

Problem Four: I don't have a motorized focuser right now... 

Anyway, the result is rather encouraging.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

C5 First Light: Collimations!

Guess what, I spent over 1 hour for fine tuning the collimation. 

I first use a low power eyepiece, defocus the star and adjust.  Next, I put in a high power eyepiece, again defocus and fine tune the whole thing.  Finally, I put it in focus and check the airy disc, fine tune again.

Next I put in my Lu070M, and re-adjust the whole thing.

If you got a SCT, the first light should be on collimation!

Accurate collimation is critical, while some collimated scope is not really stable since not all the collimation screws are tight.  So, once you reached a good collimation, tighten each screws incrementally until it's rather firm in place, don't over-tighten, however.

This is also a good test for my DIY DEC motor, backlash is rather bad due to the poor motor mounting and there's no backlash compensation in the DIY hand controller, however, it's very useable.  At high power, after adjusting the collimation screw, the star will simply move away rather significantly, sometimes even out of the field of my 1/3" CCD, but then a dual axis motor will help to bring it back effectively.

My 4th C5 OTA

Believe it or not, this is my 4th C5 OTA.

I bought a Nexstar 5 and used it for quite long, and then I sold it after getting a 4" ED refractor or something like that, but I was soon caught by the portability bug.

I bought another Nexstar 5 OTA, and it was a lemon, I sent it back.  And then get another one, but soon sold due to financial reason shortly.  After a few years, I got this one, and this is the classical white OTA.  It's made in the US, the visual back has a single lock screw.

Collimation was very well maintained, only minor tweaking was what required, I will fine tune it further with a star.  This is a nice balance between portability and aperture at a very reasonable price, it's so unique.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

SMF60-10 first light

This is a dangerous one, since that 82mm to 77mm step down ring is not very secure, so I was hand holding the filter all the time... of course, it won't drop easily, but consider its price, I won't give it too much confident.

Tuning the T-max and focusing is difficult in that case.  Also, the objective was partially blocked by the window frame since the sun was not in a good observing location in the sky with respect to my home.

I forgot the H-alpha view indeed for most of the time I was doing imaging, and my Solarmax 40 has be sold rather long ago... the impression of the new setup was good!  Prominence and surface detail was rich, not much better than the Solarmax 40 I would say, since I was observing at low power.  Also, focusing or the T-max or the RichView was not tuned carefully as well.

The bandwidth and illumination is very even, much better than my Solarmax 40 setup.

To give it a more secure connection, I would buy a 77mm male-male macro coupler, or two step rings screwed together to form such an adapter.  Dual male adapter is available from ebay at over $100 HKD shipped while it was like $20 HKD from taobao but remember the shipping cost.


I managed to get one at $38 from a local shop, factoring in the shipping from taobao, it's a fair deal.

Testing it on the Solarmax plus my Ranger, it's a very firm and secure setup.  I'm going to test it out soon!  Getting excited!

Clearing up and restructuring

Since my last major selling of equipments, all my stuff could be easily packed inside.  I didn't care to tidy up and there's no need.

With the arrival of some new stuff, I made up my mind to re-organize all the stuff.  I raised up the board to enable me to put in those bigger stuff on the lowest level.  Notice the bigger hole on the left.

The next lowest level was for stuff not very often used.

On the next level, my Ranger and my Mark-X plus the eyepieces and barlows.

On the upper level, my photography stuff... I just had four lenses left namely the kit lens, a 50mm f1.8, a 8mm fisheye, and a 200mm f2.8.

Everything would be basically ready by the next week, except maybe for a motorized focuser (JMI NGF-S or NGF-CM or similar) which I am still hunting for.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Solarmax II 60 and BF10

It arrives and it's much bigger, both the box and the filter itself.  I've to reorganize my equipment cabinet to fit it inside.  The coming C5 OTA will be placed along nicely.

It now comes with a RichView tuning ring in addition to the T-max tuner, I've yet to try it out to see how it works.

A very thick and large chunk of metal, probably requires more counter weight and will make the scope very front heavy.

The ERF side has 82mm female thread, the telescope interfacing side has 77mm female thread and 82mm male thread.  So double stacking requires no adapter, but I don't think I will go that route.

I will need to buy a 77mm male thread to 82mm female thread adapter ring (step up) in order to fit it on my Ranger.

Longing to try it out!