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Posts Made By: Steve Lathrop

May 6, 2003 12:57 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System


Posted By Steve Lathrop

In the 8:00 o'clock position, about 2/5 of the way from M83 to the edge of the frame, there is an elongated reddish spot that doesn't really look like another galaxy on my monitor. Any idea what that is? Did you catch something moving?


May 7, 2003 08:02 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Televue Nagler vs Panoptic

Posted By Steve Lathrop

I have a 4-inch 880 mm APO, a 35 Panoptic, a 22 Nagler T4, and several of the shorter T6 Naglers: 13mm, 9mm, 7mm.

Every one of them is the best EP in my case for some particular view. It would be like torture to make me part with any of them -- I find myself scheming to add more.

Eye relief is one variable you might look at. All the T6 Naglers have about the same eye relief. The Panoptics have shorter and shorter eye relief as the EP focal length decreases. At both long and short extremes there might be eye relief issues with the Panoptics for some users. The new 41 mm Panoptic is said to have longer eye relief than the 35 Panoptic, but I wouldn't want more than than the 35 provides. I wish it were just a touch less.

Seeing the field stop and not seeing it might also be a matter of preference. With Naglers you basically don't see the edge of the field without moving your gaze around. With Panoptics there is a sharp boundary to the field, which you can see all the way around almost as far out as your peripheral vision can reach. I actually prefer that some of the time, especially when I am scanning to find something. I know I am taking in the entire field, and not passing by something on the periphery without seeing it.

If you get your eye placed just right with the Naglers, and you move your head just right as you pan your scope around, so that the eye/EP position does not change as you move, then you may be able to get the much-touted Nagler "spacewalk" effect. It's pretty cool when it happens, but at least for me, I have to work at it.

Otherwise, I have to make due with EPs that are merely super sharp and super contrasty, and seem to reach deeper (the Nagler T6s in particular) than anything else. I also have some shorter Radians, which are very good in my scope, and I'm certain the T6 Naglers show fainter stars and better planetary contrast.

Seeing the double cluster for the first time through my scope and the 22 Nagler seems to cause sudden exclamations of delight from just about everybody. It would probably do the same for you. In your scope the 17 mm T4 might do as well or better, for slightly less money.

Hope this helps,


May 22, 2003 07:35 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Is it just me or is Al sucking us dry($)....

Posted By Steve Lathrop

Actually, this hobby is pretty inexpensive. Don't believe it? Take a look at sailboat racing.

One great thing about my scope is I don't use it up by using it, and it doesn't depreciate much with time. Same with EPs, and maybe with Nagler EPs in particular.

You may have to invest a chunk, but the actual cost is not so high, because it doesn't have to be money down the tubes.

The way I look at it is that it's costing me about 30% of what I pay, plus whatever I could have earned investing the money, which right now isn't much. If I bought my equipment used instead of new, then the 30% figure would be much lower.


May 30, 2003 12:30 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Panoptic/Nagler Question

Posted By Steve Lathrop


Maybe it would make sense to just buy one T6 Nagler in a focal length about equal to your current best planetary EP, and do a comparison in you own scope. If you decide you want to sell the Nagler on Astromart, you probably lose about 50 bucks to get your question answered. Not too bad.


June 1, 2003 03:26 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

The Faithful Star Party (Conclusion)

Posted By Steve Lathrop


From a dark site, and it doesn't even have to be extremely dark, I can see the dust lane in M104 with my TV-102, right at the border between direct and averted vision. Which one depends on sky quality.

At St. George Island along the Florida panhandle (very dark, great seeing, somewhat far south) it has been readily visible with direct vision.


June 6, 2003 11:46 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Planetary views, collimation, sample (me again)

Posted By Steve Lathrop

I'm coming in late on this. I haven't read most of what's on this thread, but I'll chip in and answer Ron's original question with my .02:

I think almost any premium 5-inch apo should do it, but only very rarely, when the seeing is perfect.

I have come very close to matching the second picture with my TV-102. Main difference was smaller image scale and the GRS was out of sight. I counted 12 bands and zones that night, and repeated a similar observation the next night. Both observations were during pre-dawn hours more than a year ago, and never since. Remarkably, when I saw this good view, the atmosphere was so steady that I could just stare at it for minutes at a time, and it just sat there looking like that. Incidentally, I live on the end of a peninsula, and having water all around may help.

There were many other times during the winter-before-last when I saw views that were somewhat less than Ron's number 2, but still showed 6-8 bands and zones, vivid red barges, and other great color, easily.

Unfortunately, since last September, the best I have been able to do has been little better than Ron's top picture.

I have a theory that many of us underestimate the effects of bad seeing until we finally get lucky and hit a really great night.


June 8, 2003 11:47 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

visual observing "The Horsehead Neb."

Posted By Steve Lathrop


I have the TV-102 as well.

Have you tried more power than you get from your Pan 22 on M81 & M82? When I use a 9mm Nagler T6, in good seeing but at sea level, I can see mottled structure in M82, and the dark lane that cuts across it, with averted vision. I get quick glimpses of one of the spiral arms in M81, also with averted vision only.

With the same EP, the dark lane in M104 is on the verge of being there in direct vision...sometimes after seeing it clearly in averted vision I can hold it for a second or so in direct vision.

I have been thinking with clear skies at altitude I would also be able to see spiral arms in M51. It looks like a round splotch with a donut around it from my sea level site. At 2200 feet in the Adirondacks last fall it looked like a round splotch, a donut, and some stuff in between, but not quite spiral arms.

Obviously, more aperture will make all this easier, but you can see a lot with your TV-102.


June 9, 2003 02:50 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Upgrading to a SCT questions

Posted By Steve Lathrop

With either of these big scopes in your tiny dorm room you will be regarded as an odd person—the kind of nerd who allows random enthusiasms to intrude on his life because he lacks any appropriate sense of proportion. In other words, you will be viewed by your college classmates in exactly the way they would view us, the proportion-challenged denizens of this forum.

Are you ready for this? If not, perhaps you should consider a Pronto, which would store readily out of sight in a bureau drawer, astonish your dates with its wide-field views, and mark you as a cool guy with a neat tool.


June 13, 2003 02:52 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Scope recommendation

Posted By Steve Lathrop

I just bought a Stellarvue 80/9D off Astromart as a gift for a nephew. Had never seen one before, but bought it on reputation and reviews. My regular scope is a TV-102, which I love.

Long story short: the 80/9D can do what you want and then some. VERY impressive for the money. Sharp, high-conrast views.

It's not color free, so you might want to check that out first. I'm picky, and it didn't bother me.

Views held up extremely well at 187x with a 4mm Radian. That's enough to show you the planets and moon, including the detail you are looking for, very nicely. Moon is wonderful. I'm sure the Orion nebula would be terrific, as would many open clusters. You would get a nice look at the brighter globulars, and resolve some stars in some of them.

Here's a $1300 budget:

$450 for the scope

$100 for a 2-inch diagonal

~$375 for telepod head and tripod

$375 for EPs.

Pretty close to what you targeted, and a lot of lasting value.

Hope this helps.


June 26, 2003 01:21 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Orion Mak vs. Stellarvue refractor

Posted By Steve Lathrop

Don't know about the Mak or the 4-inch Stellarvue. But a couple weeks ago I found a bargain-priced Stellarvue 80/9D on Astromart and bought it, thinking of making a gift of it to a favorite nephew--which I will do when I get a better mount.

Short story: I patched it onto an old photo tripod, and found out this thing is terrific!

My regular scope is a TV-102. In good seeing, but with Mars up only about 15 degrees, both scopes showed the polar cap easily, and numerous surface markings. Of course the Televue showed a little more, but I could be very happy with the Stellarvue. The aperture difference made the Televue notably better on M13, and it showed more stars around M57, but there was relatively little difference in the appearance of the ring itself. Stellarvue is a nicely made scope and gives great views.

I'd like to hear from someone who has tried both the 80/9D and the 4-inch, to see if false color is more of a problem in the latter. It's very controlled in the longer-focal ratio, smaller aperture 80/9D.

Unfortunately, the 80/9D is not airline portable, otherwise you could probably make do with it.