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Posts Made By: Joseph Edwards

September 1, 2004 08:09 AM Forum: Binoviewers

Hesitant to ask, but here goes....

Posted By Joseph Edwards

I've been a lurker here for about two months, and have been a little hesitant to ask this question at the risk of starting another flamewar, but finally decided t risk it.

I've been thinking very hard about purchasing a Binoviewer for my 8" SCT (Celestron) which is still equipped with the 1.25 inch visual back (yeah, I really need to fix that, but we all know the problem you get with clearance on the 2 inch diagonals with the Nexstars).

Unfortunately, I am a glasses-wearer. My right eye (dominant) has very mild near-sightedness and some mild astigmatism. My left eye is spherical with mild near-sightedness. When I observe ("cyclops" mode), I typically take off my glasses, but the slight astigmatism in my right eye is noticeable on extremely faint objects (and on extremely bright objects, like the moon). Although I've tried to train myself to use my left eye for viewing, it seems very unnatural, even though I am able to pick out details on dim objects better.

A friend recommended binoviewers as a way to "trick" my brain into seeing more detail. I often leave my glasses off around the home or office, and don't have any problems seeing stereoscopically for things that are nearer than 50 feet.

So here's the question. Do you think that binoviewers will be helpful to me? What are some of the limitations to binoviewers? And of course, which binoviewers and EPs do you recommend for someone on a budget? (I know, why did I get into astronomy if I'm on a budget. My wife keeps asking the same thing.)

From what I have been able to glean the Denkmeiers appear to be most peoples favorite, although they are a little more expensive than the Black Knights. But there appears to be some controversy over the Black Knights. Which would you recommend/not recommend and why?

Clear Skies,

September 6, 2004 11:15 AM Forum: Binoviewers

Why are diopters extra....

Posted By Joseph Edwards

OK, this is probably a silly question, but why are diopters extra? It would seem to me that it wouldn't be too hard to thread either one or the other EP holders on a pair of BV's to accept a helical focuser.

Instead you have to pay extra for (not just one) two diopter adjusters. The only BV's I've seen on the market with built in helical focusers are the Binomates and BO's new Binoviewer.

Not sure what the percentages are, but I do know that many people wear glasses. And even regular binoculars have at least one EP (usually the left) that has separate focussing adjustments. So why not BV's?

Clear skies!
JK Edwards

February 4, 2005 01:29 PM Forum: Chinese Optics Imports

Need Binoviewer Info

Posted By Joseph Edwards


Got a Binoviewer question. I also posted a similar question in the Binoviewer forum.

I just took a good look at the Highpoint Scientific listing for the BV-125. According to HS, they are selling the "C" model of the binoviewers which looks to have some nice (needed) improvements.

1) It looks like you replaced the single metal set screw with 3 nylon set screws. To my mind this would make collimating the EPs easier when focussing for mismatched eyes.

2) HS says that the "C" model has a full 22mm CA. I would assume that this means that the nosepiece baffle has been removed/replaced.

Bill, can you confirm this info for me?

JK Edwards

June 18, 2005 06:44 PM Forum: Solar System Observing

C2005/K2 Brightening

Posted By Joseph Edwards

Sky and Telescope website has a story that C2005/K2 LINEAR may have lost a chunk of its core and is apparently brightening. According to contributing editor David Levy, recent observations place the mag as high as 8.5. I got some scattered clouds tonight, so it'll be difficult to make a personal observation. C2005/K2 is currently in Cancer, so this is an early evening target.


July 7, 2005 09:54 AM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

Re: baader film

Posted By Joseph Edwards

I got mine from Astro-Physics, but I know Company 7 also usually keeps some in stock.

An 8x11 sheet allowed me to make 1 filter for my 80mm scope, plus a pair of filters for my 10x50 binos with some left over.

Clear Skies,

July 11, 2005 04:20 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

OT: Weather & New Purchases

Posted By Joseph Edwards

A little OT, but it suddenly occured to me that the arrival of a new piece of equipment seems to be a guarantee of bad weather.

Along with the arrival of my two new EP's came the remnants of Hurricane Dennis guaranteeing that it'll be at least another 3-4 days before I can try them out. Kind of reminds of the reason I seldom wash my car.

Clear Skies,

July 28, 2005 12:37 PM Forum: Reflectors

Truss Dob Manufacturers and Apeture Fever

Posted By Joseph Edwards

Quick question:

Who are the trusted manufacturers of truss tube dobs? I already know the following:

Obsession (of course)
Night Sky Scopes
Star Master

Are there any other manufacturers I should be looking at? Particularly looking at midrange dobs (14-16 inch)? And seriously considering either the 14 inch TScope or the 15 inch Discovery. (And having strange dreams about a 24 inch

Clear Skies

Clear Skies,

August 24, 2005 11:59 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Do it URself Observing Tent

Posted By Joseph Edwards

Like several, I've thought that one of the Kendrick Observing Tents would be nice to have for Star Parties, etc. However, I've passed because there are so many other things that are higher on my "to buy" list than an observing tent. I might have another solution though.

While browsing at a local discount store (The "W" one that keeps springing up everywhere), I saw a Coleman Riverside 6 man tent that looks like it could EASILY be converted to an observing tent. Simply a matter of cutting out some mosquito netting. The nice thing was, it was only $70.

Thought I'd post this here in case anyone else wants to give it a try.

Clear Skies,

October 9, 2005 11:32 PM Forum: Star Parties

IDSSP Report (Friday night / Saturday Morning)

Posted By Joseph Edwards

Well, I wasn't sure I was going to make it, but everything worked out as far as my retirement from the military, so I packed up the truck and headed off to Jim Edgar Panther Creek Park for the Sangamon Astronomical Society's annual Illinois Dark Sky Star Party.

First off, the weather was cold and cloudy as I drove the 2 hours up to the site. Both the Clear Sky Clock and Weather Channel were saying that it was going to break, so I took the chance. Upon arriving I found about 100 people were registered (close enough since was #96 according to my registration tag), all of whom were heavily bundled against the cold. After looking over the sites, I was still undecided about where to pitch the tent, until I was approached by a member of the St Louis Astronomical Society who asked me to join their group. This worked out well and we were able to swap stories, views through scopes, technical expertise, and I even got to try some of their filters and EP's. The SLAS group sure knows how to welcome people.

Well, the weather continued to be cold and cloudy, but many of us dutifully set up our scopes in hopes of clearing weather. Shortly after twilight, we caught a break and the skies began clearing. It wasn't enough though, and by about 2200, we were totally clouded in again. I continued swapping stories with the SLAS crew until about 2300 when I decided to pack it in for the night. I wasn't too sure about being able to sleep due to the cold, and the 5 cups of coffee I'd had trying to stay warm, but it was the best option available.

Shortly after 0200 in the morning the cold, and those 5 cups of coffee had me crawling back out of the sleeping bag, as I prepared to trek to the nearest outhouse. Unzipping my tent, I was greeted with the Mecca of every stargazer; cold, clear pristine skies. Since my tent faced east, my old friend Orion cheerfully greeted my sleepy eyes in all his glory. Well, needless to say after a quick trek to the aforementioned outhouse, I was hastily assembling my scope again. By 0300, I was up and observing.

Since Orion had greeted me so well, I made him my target. M42/M43 were incredible, I was able to detect the main filaments from edge to edge in my widest EP, well over 1 degree in width. The Trapezium stood out clearly at low power. In addtion, I was able to detect NGC1977 forming a strong halo just to the N of M42. Well naturally, this left me feeling a bit gutsy, and I thought I'd see just how much detail I could squeeze out of the N8i, so I swung on up to Zeta Orionis and B33. Well, I'm pleased to say that the Burning Bush (NGC2024) was very clear. I was able to make out at least 3 distinct dark lanes running through the nebula. And even better, IC434 was visible as a distinct streamer to the S of Zeta. So I settled in and tried upping the magnification, and moving Zeta out of the field of view. Unfortunately, with each EP change, IC434 appeared to be getting dimmer. After much frustration, I finally stood up and checked my scope. Naturally in my haste to get set-up, I'd forgotten to hook up the dew heater, and my corrector plate was pretty well coated. I took this (and my cold toes) as a sign that I should wait until the next night. The Horsehead would have to wait.

I'll give you the write-up on Saturday night tomorrow.

October 11, 2005 08:06 PM Forum: Star Parties

IDSSP Report (Saturday Night/Sunday Morning)

Posted By Joseph Edwards

Well, the second installment was delayed a bit by connection problems. Charter finally got us hooked back up again, so here (as promised) is my second night's report.

The morning dawned clear, but by late morning was clouding up pretty significantly. The guest speakers for the day were quite entertaining and took our minds off the potential weather for a while, as did the Astronomy Bowl competition (with prizes), though if you are ever asked what Einstein's General Theorem deals with, the answer is "Gravity" AND "Acceleration"

As the afternoon wore on, our hopes lifted with the clouds. More and more clear sky, blue all the way down to the horizon. EVERYONE began the set-up process after dinner. Scopes, computers, star charts, and binos started coming out of the tents and trailers. So in the waning daylight I too began the set-up process (including double-checking the dew heater connection).

The moon which had been visible long before, was soon joined by Venus and the Summer Triangle as the sun's light faded. It was every astronomers dream, clear, cool, and DARK. Even the light dome from Springfield appeared to have dimmed (very low humidity). It was going to be a GREAT night for observing.

I pulled out my observing list and cranked through about 10 objects (ones I had observed from my backyard) before I even began to realize how much different they looked under pristine skies. For those interested, I was using the Saguaro Astronomy Club's "Messier Plus Marathon List" that they developed as a Fall event similar to the standard Spring Messier Marathon.

M13 looked like a diamond encrusted golfball. Even at low power, I could begin to pick out many of the bright blue-white gems from bright glow of the core.

M22, though dimmed a bit by the adjacent moon, still showed a lot of definition. Sagittarius would prove very difficult due to the moon that night, and a quick trip by the Lagoon Nebula (M8) did not reveal any nebulosity.

Slewing back around toward the overhead sky, M57 came out very clear, and a number of us compared views between each others scopes. The most definition was visible through one the the SLAS 6" Achromats. Very nice view even at high power, extremely sharp.

Other planetary nebula were like wise quite visible. The "Blinking" Planetary (NGC 6826) was a clear cold blue, and didn't seem to blink even once in any of the scopes on the field. The Saturn Nebula (NGC 7009) did indeed seem to have "dimples" reminiscent of a ring

Well, this focus on nebulas got some of the others going, and one of the group announced that he had the Veil Nebula (NGC 6960) centered in his 10" Dobsonian. Even without a filter streamers were visible on both sides of 52 Cygni. Adding in an LPR filter, and wisps were visible within the streamers. Well, this got me wondering if I could replicate ANY of this detail in the N8i. So slewing around to 52 Cygni, I went in search of the veil. I didn't have to search hard though, because the veil was right there streaming out one side of 52 Cygni. I thought I could detect some nebulosity on the opposite side but wasn't sure. Borrowing the LPR filter, I checked again, and nebulosity was most definitely visible on BOTH sides of 52 Cygni. I was thrilled.

One note here, at this time we compared the performance of a standard Orion LPR, an Orion SkyGlow, and an Orion O3 filter on the N8i versus a 10" Dob. The Orion SkyGlow made little to no difference under dark skies (though it helps in suburban backyard conditions). The Orion LPR helped bring out the contrast very nicely without darkening the field overly much in the N8i. The O3 filter made the whole view too dark through the N8i, but really made a huge difference in the 10" Dob. So if you have a big scope, an O3 is a great idea, but in a midrange scope, you might be better off with just an LPR filter.

Well, proud of my results so far, I swung over to the other section of the Veil (NGC 6992). A much more diffuse section, this was dimly visible WITHOUT any filters on the N8i, and with the LPR filter, some filamentary detail could be observed. On the other hand, the 10" could bring out complete whorls in the nebula which my humble N8i couldn't duplicate.

One more nebula made my "Never seen it before now" list with the N8i. I don't know how many times I have been frustrated by M1. It the first object on Charles Messier's list, so why have I never seen it. Well, at least now I know the answer to that question. As I swung the N8i around to Taurus, I was feeling bouyed by my success with the Veil. I was using the 38mm Erfle for the widest field possible. As I've long ago learned to refer to the N8i's GOTO capabilities as "Go-near", I prepared for another fruitless night of scanning for this elusive nebula. When The N8i finished slewing, I grabbed the controller and peered through the EP. Nothing was immediately apparent, but a slight slew (less than 1/2 a FOV) to the left, and I began to detect a faint patch of light. I quickly asked to borrow the LPR again, and dropped in a 32mm Plossl. Sure enough, I'd finally found the Crab. And frankly, I'm not really impressed. This nebula appears as little more than an unspectacular dim blob. For those that have still not located this elusive nebula, a filter definitely helps, so does a wide field, and a lot of apeture. Its definitely there, but don't expect to be impressed.

Well, the night continued spectacularly. I'm sure many folks stayed up until near dawn, but around 0130, my feet were damp and cold (tennis shoes and two pair of soaked socks). I had worked through about 2/3rds of the Messier Plus list with a few omissions (and a couple big omissions in Sagittarius and Ophiucius, thanks to the Moon), and had logged a total of 45 objects through the N8i, so I decided to pack it in for the night. My one regret was that I never did go back to Orion, and as I zipped close the door to the tent I took one last look at the Hunter as he rose over the eastern horizon ready to begin his hunt, just as I was ending mine. I could only make him this promise that I would return next year to this same location, and that he and I would meet many more times in the future.