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Old 06-08-2019, 05:35 PM
Donman90 (Jeremy)
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Help with my first telescope!

I'm wanting to get a telescope that my partner and I can use to do some amateur astronomy. I've had a look around and done some research but I'm feeling quite overwhelmed with the different choices so I'm hoping I can get a few suggestions from some more experienced astronomers!

I've been looking currently at something like a Skywatcher dobsonian 8 or 10 inch.

I have a budget of about $500 to $1000. I'm not after anything to do astrophotography, but just something that will allow me to see the moon and potentially some other planets. It would also be a benefit if I could get a look at some galaxies. I'm not particularly concerned with how long it takes to set up, or if it has a GOTO telescope mount.

I live in Suburban Brisbane, so I feel I probably won't have much luck from my backyard but if it could be possible I'd like to be able to set it up there from time to time. Otherwise there are a few good spots close by I can easily go to.

Apologies for the rather novice post! Any advice would be great.

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Old 06-08-2019, 05:58 PM
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Ukastronomer (Jeremy)
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First of all many people think of a DOB as a starter scope, nothing could be further from the truth, I can count on one hand the number of amature astronomers AND professionals who don't have one.

My only advice would be

1. JOIN a club before buying
2. Buy what YOU want don't be SOLD what the shops want you to have
3. Ensure it takes 2" eyepieces and start with them where possible
4. This is a pure guess as I am in the UK https://www.bas.asn.au/
5. https://www.bas.asn.au/index.php/eve...viewing-nights
6. Do NOT expect Hubble type views do not be disappointed in what you see


As a disabled person I have learned a LOT here and they are all great people




.
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Old 06-08-2019, 06:01 PM
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JeniSkunk (Jenifur)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donman90 View Post
I live in Suburban Brisbane, so I feel I probably won't have much luck from my backyard but if it could be possible I'd like to be able to set it up there from time to time. Otherwise there are a few good spots close by I can easily go to.
I live on the North side of Brisbane and yeah, the light pollution is a pest.
But you'd be surprised by how much you can and will be able to see. I only have a little 5inch table top Dobsonian, and do most of my viewing from a east facing patio/balcony. When I set things up in the back yard of my block of flats, I get to see even more.
Over the past 12 months of owning a scope, the amount of stuff I have seen is far more than I expected. And you're looking at a scope that trounces mine in near on every aspect, save portability.
As long as there aren't too many tall apartment blocks in your immediate vicinity, or tall trees in neighbours yards, you'll be fine.

edit: fix typo

Last edited by JeniSkunk; 06-08-2019 at 06:02 PM. Reason: fix typo
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Old 06-08-2019, 08:26 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Welcome Jeremy to IIS
An 8 or 10 dob , manual push nudge or Goto is a great first scope and gives you good versatility when it comes to observing most objects in the night sky
Most come with basic Plossl eye pieces but you can upgrade with better eye pieces down the track
Collimating the optics seems a bit daunting at first but after a few times it becomes easier
If your looking long term with the dob ( + 5 years ) and not considering Astro imaging I would recommend to spend a bit more and get the Goto as you can still manually operate it first off then learn the Goto later

Im sure others will provide good advice as well

Good luck and enjoy this amazing hobby

Cheers
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Old 07-08-2019, 08:30 AM
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Allan_L (Allan)
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Hi Jeremy, and welcome

Don't worry, Your questions are sensible and show you have already done your research.

Yes, a 10" Skywatcher collapsible DOB would be a brilliant scope to buy up front. (I've had bigger and different designs and the 10" Dob is my weapon of choice).
The collapsible design makes it easy to transport and store, and from my experience they hold collimation well.
Adding GoTo however, while it introduces obvious advantages, also adds a lot of weight to the base. Something to consider, not to mention the extra cost (new - 10" $899 v $1999; 8" $599 v $1299).

The recommendation to go along to a viewing group night (not necessarily to join a club) is a good suggestion also. You can see the various scopes in action, have a look, and talk to the owners.

Don't hesitate to ask any further questions.
What else do we have to do during the daylight hours anyway!

Good luck with your new hobby
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  #6  
Old 07-08-2019, 05:04 PM
ausastronomer (John Bambury)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donman90 View Post
I'm wanting to get a telescope that my partner and I can use to do some amateur astronomy. I've had a look around and done some research but I'm feeling quite overwhelmed with the different choices so I'm hoping I can get a few suggestions from some more experienced astronomers!

I've been looking currently at something like a Skywatcher dobsonian 8 or 10 inch.

I have a budget of about $500 to $1000. I'm not after anything to do astrophotography, but just something that will allow me to see the moon and potentially some other planets. It would also be a benefit if I could get a look at some galaxies. I'm not particularly concerned with how long it takes to set up, or if it has a GOTO telescope mount.

I live in Suburban Brisbane, so I feel I probably won't have much luck from my backyard but if it could be possible I'd like to be able to set it up there from time to time. Otherwise there are a few good spots close by I can easily go to.

Apologies for the rather novice post! Any advice would be great.

Hi Jeremy,

For someone only interested in VISUAL ASTRONOMY an 8" or 10" dob is a perfect choice. The 8" is a bit cheaper, a bit lighter with a slightly smaller footprint. A 10" will show you infinitely more than an 8" and is still easily transportable by one able bodied person. If you bought the 8" you would want to upgrade to the 10" within a fairly short span of time, so if you can make it work go straight to the 10" which will give you a few years of observing pleasure before you want to upgrade or upsize. Under dark skies there are a lifetime of objects to observe with a 10" telescope. There are many objects which really "pop" in a 10" telescope and are very aesthetically pleasing but they don't have the same "wow" factor in an 8" scope. A 10" telescope is where it all starts to happen. Most of the brighter globular clusters appear bright and fully resolved into stars in a 10" telescope, whereas in an 8" telescope those same globulars are not fully resolved and much dimmer. There are countless galaxies visible in a 10" telescope under dark skies, which show good detail including spiral arms etc, but in an 8" telescope those some galaxies appear as faint grey smudges with very little detail visible.

You can join an astronomy club and learn a lot, but you certainly don't need to do that before you buy your telescope.

I would recommend the 10" if you are able bodied and can afford the extra cost.

Cheers
John B
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  #7  
Old 07-08-2019, 05:28 PM
morls (Stephen)
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Hi Jeremy,

If your budget can include one or two quality eyepieces that would be good. The classified section here often has a selection of good ones. If you know what stock eyepieces are supplied with the scope, then you could complement these with one really nice one.

In my experience with an 8" dob using a Telrad rather than the supplied finder scope was much easier. These are around $80 new I think? Also worth investing a little in collimation equipment - this isn't hard to learn, and makes a significant difference to image quality with any reflector. I'm sure others with more knowledge could recommend the best way to go here.


Cheers
Stephen
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  #8  
Old 07-08-2019, 06:03 PM
ausastronomer (John Bambury)
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Originally Posted by morls View Post
Hi Jeremy,

If your budget can include one or two quality eyepieces that would be good. The classified section here often has a selection of good ones. If you know what stock eyepieces are supplied with the scope, then you could complement these with one really nice one.
Excellent advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by morls View Post
In my experience with an 8" dob using a Telrad rather than the supplied finder scope was much easier. These are around $80 new I think?
That's a difficult one and he isn't really going to know the answer to that and whether he prefers an optical finder or a telrad, until he tries them both. School is out on that. Some people prefer an 8 or 9 x 50 Optical Finder and to starhop in the finderscope. Others prefer a Telrad and then starhop in the main scope.

On a scope I can comfortably get my eye/head behind/underneath the finderscope eyepiece, I much prefer a straight through finder to a Right Angle Correct Image finder (RACI). This allows you to sight along the centreline of the finderscope directly onto the sky, just like a TELRAD.

On my 18" Obsession I have an 8 x 50 Antares RACI and a TELRAD. On my 14" SDM I have a 9 x 50 Stellarvue Straight through and a Stellarvue Red Dot finder.

I definitely prefer the Stellarvue Straight through to the RACI finder, but put up with the RACI Finder. Conversely, I much prefer the TELRAD to the Stellarvue Red Dot.

This really is a case of "suck it and see"


Quote:
Originally Posted by morls View Post
Also worth investing a little in collimation equipment - this isn't hard to learn, and makes a significant difference to image quality with any reflector. I'm sure others with more knowledge could recommend the best way to go here.
Excellent advice again. I would recommend the Orion Collimating Eyepiece available from BINTEL. Once you learn and understand how to use it properly, it is more versatile and less prone to errors than a laser collimator. You could add a laser collimator at a later date as they do save a little bit of time when you just want to quickly adjust the tilt on the primary and or secondary and you know everything else involving secondary positioning and rotation is correct.

https://www.bintel.com.au/product/or...v=6cc98ba2045f

Cheers
John B
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  #9  
Old 07-08-2019, 07:41 PM
Donman90 (Jeremy)
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Thanks for all the great responses! It's good to see that I'm on the right track. It may have to wait at the moment for a 'personal christmas present' but I think the 10 inch is the way to go.

I'm really looking forward to taking it up to where my father lives, which if anyone is familiar with south east Queensland is Maleny in the sunshine coast hinterland. Very little light!

With the eye pieces, I'm a little ignorant as to how these drastically change the view? I'll be sure to do some more reading on this but perhaps someone could enlighten me a little, does it just provide a 'crisper' image essentially?
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  #10  
Old 07-08-2019, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donman90 View Post
Thanks for all the great responses! It's good to see that I'm on the right track. It may have to wait at the moment for a 'personal christmas present' but I think the 10 inch is the way to go.

I'm really looking forward to taking it up to where my father lives, which if anyone is familiar with south east Queensland is Maleny in the sunshine coast hinterland. Very little light!
Maleny will be ok for using the scope.
An easy way to find the best places is check a light pollution map.

Quote:
With the eye pieces, I'm a little ignorant as to how these drastically change the view? I'll be sure to do some more reading on this but perhaps someone could enlighten me a little, does it just provide a 'crisper' image essentially?
Different eyepieces depending on their optical design, can provide a better viewable image in a scope. Some eyepiece designs are better suited to specific scope types than others.
Different length eyepieces provide different levels of magnification. Basic rule: the lower eyepiece focal length is in mm, means higher magnification.
But there's a catch. Your scope can only manage so much magnification after which things will be over magnified and blurred. So you need to find out what the maximum magnification your scope can do, and the eyepiece focal length to provide that.
Robins Eyepiece Guide
Astronomy Tools - Magnification: Useful calculators and formulae
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  #11  
Old 08-08-2019, 10:43 AM
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sil (Steve)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donman90 View Post
With the eye pieces, I'm a little ignorant as to how these drastically change the view? I'll be sure to do some more reading on this but perhaps someone could enlighten me a little, does it just provide a 'crisper' image essentially?
Often a bloody heap better. Making a useless telescope aimed for the bin a great telescope. it all depends. When people talk about buying a telescope its really a package containing the OTA (Optical tube Assembly: the telescope tube basically), some form of mount or tripod to use it on and a few eyepieces which give you a range of magnification (a totally useless figure so ignore it in buying decision) and a few other odds and ends. The OTA is where the cost is and most profit made and the rest is often second rate for that OTA, usually incuded to make the setup look good and sound good on the packaging.

What people dont realise is its the eyepiece that does the hard work and provide the image quality not the OTA. So poor quality eyepieces which are supplied often have fringing evident and may not even focus properly or clearly is badly made or if made from plastic for its optics. A couple of hundred on a single good eyepiece is far better than spending the same on a set of a dozen. Having many eyepieces is meaningless in practice. Something like a Baader Hyperion or Morpheus eyepiece is very good glass optics. You'll get good eye relief meaning its easy to get your eye seated to view something at all (another problem with kit eyepieces). I bought a celestron 114eq years ago (totaly wrong buying choice) and it was ghastly to use then I bought a baader hyperion 8mm eyepiece. I was sceptical like you but wow what a difference it made, the darkness was darker, everything was clearer, crisper, sharper, colourful..nothing to do with the telescope being bad it was just the eyepieces it came with. this was a cheap scope. Later I bought a $10k+ scope and it came with one 2" eyepiece and again it was garbage which was unexpected at that price. Again my smaller baader hyperion improved clarity considerably. Find a scope to look through yourself with both kit eyepieces and a better quality one and see for yourself (or waste money buying the wrong stuff). In practice an 8mm and a 24mm eyepiece are all you need , the wider 24mm to help you get around the sky (star hopping) and 8mm for the closer views. At 8mm you get high magnification which also includes atmospheric distortions but 8mm should give you clear views most of the time and I think is the most practical high magnifaction size you'll use. Go to 6 or 4mm eyepieces and you'll quickly find it gets harder and harder to use and get a clear view due to the atmospheric limits rather than problem of telescope or eyepiece.
but in time you'll likely want such an eyepiece on hand so when the seeing is great you can get that extra magnification especially for planets. But most often day to day use a quality 8mm and 24mm will suit. Then add a quality Barlow later on maybe.
A 10+" dob and two quality eyepieces ($100+ ea), is all you really need for years. You will never see in the eyepiece wonderfully large and colourful closeups of planets or galaxies etc like you see in photos, no matter how much you spend. Saturn and Jupiter are always small. Nebula are black and white and dim.
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  #12  
Old 08-08-2019, 05:16 PM
ausastronomer (John Bambury)
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What people dont realise is its the eyepiece that does the hard work and provide the image quality not the OTA.
That's not quite true. Take the best eyepiece that money can currently buy, put it in a telescope with poor optics, or a telescope that is not thermally stabilised, or collimated and you will still get a poor quality view.

The best eyepiece that money can currently buy happens to be the 17mm Nikon NAV HW, closely followed by the 12.5mm Nikon NAV HW and that is closely followed by the 12.5mm Docter Optics.

The overall quality of any optical system (which includes the telescope OTA, eyepiece, barlow, coma corrector, focal reducer or whatever else you might have in there) is determined by the optical quality of the weakest link. If something in the system, doesn't really matter which part, is inferior than the view will be inferior.

ie:

$10,000 telescope + $50 eyepiece = $50 view
$200 telescope + $1,200 eyepiece = $50 view
$10,000 telescope + $1,200 eyepiece = Million dollar view.

The above having been said, you can't always determine quality based on price. The mass produced Chinese / Taiwanese dobs are relatively inexpensive compared to custom made telescopes but the optical quality on them is generally pretty good and some are actually exceptional.

Similarly, the Japanese made orthoscopics (about $100) are relatively inexpensive compared to premium widefields, but within their narrow field of view and the short eye relief, the on axis view quality is the equal of anything going around excepting the likes of Zeiss orthos and Pentax XO etc.

Cheers
John B
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Old 08-08-2019, 05:45 PM
morls (Stephen)
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Originally Posted by ausastronomer View Post
Similarly, the Japanese made orthoscopics (about $100) are relatively inexpensive compared to premium widefields, but within their narrow field of view and the short eye relief, the on axis view quality is the equal of anything going around excepting the likes of Zeiss orthos and Pentax XO etc.
Hi John, these sound good! What is a brand name to look out for?

Thanks
Stephen
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Old 08-08-2019, 05:48 PM
ausastronomer (John Bambury)
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In terms of eyepieces for a 10"/F5 Newtonian it's not easy to get something that works well in such scopes cheaply but there are some good options still.

Poor quality eyepieces have lower light throughput so the image will not appear as bright, some will have off axis astigmatism and field curvature which means the stars will not be pinpoints, but have tails or appear elongated as you get further away from the centre of the field of view. In many cases they also have shorter eye relief, which means you almost need your eye squashed onto the eye lens to use them, which makes them less comfortable to use.

Many eyepieces will not work all that well in an F5 Newtonian. The main issues are the steepness of the light cone due to the fast F-Ratio of F5 and the inherent coma of the Newtonian design. Some people on this forum will babble on about the curvature of the focal plane not being suitable to certain eyepieces, but this is essentially irrelevant as the focal plane on a 10"/F5 Newtonian is pretty flat, but not quite.

You can certainly get started with the eyepieces supplied with the scope but plan on adding some better quality ones fairly soon.


Some people are happy using middle grade Chinese / Taiwanese eyepieces like Baader Hyperions etc, in an F5 Newtonian, but I am certainly not, as I still find the edges pretty soft.

Without spending the earth (that can come later when you know you're in for the long haul) You basically have 2 options. You can buy eyepieces like the Japanese made orthoscopics which have short eye relief and a narrow field of view, but give excellent image quality, or buy some of the discontinued eyepieces like Vixen LVW's or Televue Radians. These deliver excellent image quality, have long eye relief and a wider 65deg and 60deg AFOV respectively. These come up 2nd hand on various internet websites fairly frequently and you can pick them up for about $150 each. To get the same image quality and ergonomics from a new eyepiece you will spend over $400 each.

Cheers
John B
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Old 08-08-2019, 06:28 PM
ausastronomer (John Bambury)
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Originally Posted by morls View Post
Hi John, these sound good! What is a brand name to look out for?

Thanks
Stephen
Hi Stephen,

Basically most of these came out of 1 small optical shop in Japan under many different brand names. They were essentially the same eyepieces with only minor variations in spec from brand to brand

The University Optics HD orthos are discontinued as University Optics has closed down but still plenty around 2nd hand

https://astromart.com/classifieds/as...nd-12mm-orthos

These are $US 80 each

https://astromart.com/classifieds/as...d-ortho-314994

This one is $70

These were sold by University Optics in the USA and by Kokusai Kohki in Japan.

These were very similar to the Baader Genuine Orthoscopics which were also discontinued.


These have been replaced by these which are under the Kokusai Kohki label

https://agenaastro.com/kokusai-kohki...ce-12-5mm.html

These are $US100 each. I can only assume that with improvements in coating and glass technology over time, these will be slight improvements on the UO HD orthos, which themselves were slight improvements over the original UO Volcano Top orthos.

While I have 3 Pelican cases full of premium widefields including Nagler T4's and T5's, Televue ETHOS, Delos, Radians, Panoptics and Pentax XW's; I also have a full set of University Optics HD orthos (4mm,5mm,6mm,7mm,9mm,12.5mm, 18mm and 25mm) which I won't ever sell. I have had these for about 17 or 18 years and prior to that had a set of UO Volcano Top orthos for many years. I don't use them all that often these days, as they don't do anything my Pentax XW's can't do, with less eye relief and a smaller FOV. However I still give them a run from time to time on the moon and planets.

Cheers
John B
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Old 08-08-2019, 06:59 PM
morls (Stephen)
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Fantastic info, thanks John.
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Old 08-08-2019, 09:10 PM
gaseous (Patrick)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donman90 View Post

I'm really looking forward to taking it up to where my father lives, which if anyone is familiar with south east Queensland is Maleny in the sunshine coast hinterland. Very little light!

Not sure, but it might be the Brisbane Astronomical Society that occasionally holds public viewing nights somewhere in Maleny. It might behoove you to get along to one of them before you make any rash spending decisions, as most star party peeps are more than happy to let you ask questions and check out various eyepiece views. You can't go wrong with a 10" dob, but eyepiece choices when you're just starting out (and even later on!) can be mind boggling.
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  #18  
Old 14-08-2019, 09:10 AM
Donman90 (Jeremy)
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Thanks again for all the replies.

I think for now I'm just going to start off with a standard dobsonian and then play around with that for 6 months or so and do some research and invest in some new eye pieces.

Is there much difference in the quality of the different models?

I've been looking at a few online, but I'm not really sure what to make of them:

https://www.opticscentral.com.au/sax...U#.XVNCR-gzbD4

and

https://skywatcheraustralia.com.au/p...sic-dobsonian/

But I've also bee considering the 8 inch as it's a fair bit cheaper, and I'm not sure if the extra 2 inchs will make much of a difference for a beginner:

https://skywatcheraustralia.com.au/p...sic-dobsonian/


Does anyone else ahve any recommendations around a good 8-10 inch Dob?
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Old 14-08-2019, 01:08 PM
gaseous (Patrick)
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AstroAnarchy in the Myer Centre is a good place to start - prices are generally cheaper than the recommended prices on the Skywatcher website, and cheaper than a lot of other retailers as well.
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Old 14-08-2019, 03:27 PM
Donman90 (Jeremy)
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Originally Posted by gaseous View Post
AstroAnarchy in the Myer Centre is a good place to start - prices are generally cheaper than the recommended prices on the Skywatcher website, and cheaper than a lot of other retailers as well.
Thanks, I'll try get in and check it out at some point. I prefer being able to see these things in person anyway, I just need to avoid being sold things I don't want.
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