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wavelandscott
03-07-2007, 09:27 PM
Tonight I had a chance to get our 8 inch Bintel reflector out in the frontyard for a quick peek at the planets (Venus, Saturn and Jupiter)...

This was an all family affair with both boys and even my wife joining in...

We were just able to get the scope out and cooled/collimated before Saturn and Venus dipped below the neighbors trees...

I have not used this scope for 6 months and it was moved from our old house to our new house by a moving company and I am confident that it was not handled "gently"...but even after all of this neglect (and I do feel remorseful), the scope was just barely out of collimation...the Alt/Az movement was a bit stiff but still very enjoyable to use.

Anyway, my frontyard has two big streetlights and seeing anything remotely resembling a DSO is a big ask so it was to be a planet buffet night ...yes, it is late in the veiwing season to catch Saturn in all of its glory but it was still fun and it is a family favorite...

We used a number of eyepieces and combinations 32 mm TV Plossl, 13 T6 Nagler, 15 mm TV Plossls, 8 and 6 mm TMB Planetary, 7 and 10 mm Pentax XW and just had a nice time looking...

I played around with the Denkmeir "Big Easy" Binoviewers using the highest power setting with 15 mm TV Plossls...

The scope handled the Binos wonderfully and with both springs attached needed no additional counter balancing...

I let Campbell and Thomas "drive" the scope and both were pleased as punch that they could find our three targets naked eye and smoothly put the Telrad bullseye on to the planets and into the middle of the field of view...

The seeing was not so crash hot (and it was pretty low) but you could still clearly make out that it was Saturn...Venus was majestic and shockingly bright...Soon it was over to Jupiter and the view was framed nicely with the Jovian moons...a little color and banding was visible but again the seeing was not so great and of course every look away from the eyepeices had the observer staring into one of the streetlights...not a great spot to view from(but handy!).

Soon my family retired into the house and left me to play a few minutes before kiddie bedtime.

I got out the pair of 8 mm TMB Planetary eyepeices and put them in the binoviewer to see what would happen...I was able to get them to focus and they performed well...maybe not quite as sharp to my eye as the Plossls but the eye relief and the view were acceptable (not necessarily the eyepieces fault)...for the money, they are not bad eyepieces...I look forward to a better night and location to really give them a test...I do know that they will work in this combination and that is what I wanted (this combination will pretty much max out usuable magnification in our Skywatcher ED80 which was the goal).

I then put the Binoviewer away and used one of the 8 mm and also the 6 mm TMB Planetary in Cyclops mode...Both performed okay especially for the price I paid for them (they were acquired during the buy 2 get 1 free promotion)...Without getting all technicall (not my strong suit) I think they are good value.

Then just for fun I whipped out the 10 mm and 7 mm Pentax XW just to get a rough comparison for my own edification of the high end versus the value end...To my eye, the comparison was not really that close the XW came out clearly superior in all categories except for cost. I had almost forgotten how good the Pentax XW eyepieces are. They are keepers no doubt.

I was soon "waved in" by the boss to help get the boys off to bed and so my viewing for the evening ended.

I was pleased with the scope and the binoviewer combination...I think in the frontyard and focussed on the moon they will be outstanding. I am happy with the eyepieces I have and their overall performance...the TMB Planetary eyepieces (8 and 6) are pretty good...and seem to me to be good value for the cost. They are not a match for the Pentax XWs but they cost 50% as much. I want to line them up against similar Plossls...their eye relief may give them a slight comfort edge but I want to compare them to make sure.

Gee Whiz this hobby is fun when you actually get a chance to use a scope...

Clear Skies All!

iceman
04-07-2007, 05:08 AM
Great report Scott, it made for some nice reading.

The 8" dob is certainly great for some quick observing, being so portable and having the quicker cool down time.

skies2clear
04-07-2007, 03:33 PM
Great report!

I'm not sure whether your Bintel 8" is a Dob or not, but I was thinking the other day what would represent the best bang for your buck (visual) in a quick grab and go scope that gave a really good all round performance. The 8" Dob (GSO or Bintel) struck me as an incredible value, which could be carried around without too much strain, unless you have back problems. The 8" aperture seems to offer a worthwhile improvement on many objects like globular clusters, and other faint objects, as well as planetary on a good steady night, over say a 4 or 6", which up till now has been what I use often. Yep, I think the 8" dob is a killer for the money!

And of course the Pentax XW7 and XW10 are superb examples of the art,

Clear skies,
Nick

wavelandscott
04-07-2007, 04:43 PM
Yes, the 8 inch is a Dob...simple and easy to use...no question about it.

astropolak
04-07-2007, 06:11 PM
Well done Scott.
So how many eyepiece sets do you have for your Denk Bino? At least three sets...?
I am absolutely amazed with the views I am getting trough it and I only have one set - Kasai 20mm Erfles. Very nice eyepieces, clean and well made but I am on the lookout for something better - perhaps Panoptic 24's.

wavelandscott
04-07-2007, 09:27 PM
The 24 Pans I am sure would be nice...many people speak highly of them for binoviewing.

I have a pair of the Denkmeir 21 mm eyepieces and they are every bit as nice as the 24 Pan (comparing them in cyclops mode as I only have 1 24 Pan but it is one of my favorites). I do think highly of the Denkmeir eyepieces...I wish I had purchased the 14 mm too when I had the chance (I think they have been discontinued). The 21's are built like tanks and when I bought them they still came automatically with "the vaults"...they are nice!

I then jump to 15 mm TV Plossls and recently picked up the 8 mm TMB Planetarys.

I have not had a lot of time with the TMBs yet but so far they are doing what I had hoped for...The smaller Plossls have me a bit concerned with eye relief especially since I mostly use the Binos with family and friends...so I thought I'd give the TMBs a whirl...they seem to be "good value"...

The Denk Binoviewer works fine on moon and planets..Bright DSO are acceptable but I find trying to use them for faint fuzzies is a waste on the smaller scopes (ED80 and even the 8 inch Dob)...I've not gotten the counterweights figured out just right for much use in the 12.5 inch...but I will get there eventually.