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Thread: First light for new equipment, or How I Caught Myself a Comet

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    Default First light for new equipment, or How I Caught Myself a Comet



    Theeey're heeere.....
    Got my Oberwerk 25x100s IF yesterday! Exciting. This is one of the most impressive pieces of equipment I have ever received. You can tell how big they are in pictures, but it's not the same as holding them. The dissonance between the binoculars shape, and the association that makes in your brain with the usual way to utilize that object, and their massive size, is disorienting. They look and feel solid, and the packaging is among the best I have seen. Came with a nice checklist signed by Kevin, along with his business card identifying him as "Optics Ninja" I ordered a reticle laser finder thingamajig with them, and I was pleasantly surprised that once I mounted it, it was already aligned. Superb service.
    I thought about putting them on a regular head on a tripod (acquired for use with them), but noticed that the head does not allow an angle for observation close to zenith. Weird, I had not expected this. So, I resorted to first use of the Farpoint P-mount, also just acquired for use with these bad boys. Not as easy to deploy as you'd think, the contraption is rather big with many moving parts, but I realized that after using it once things will become a lot easier. First thing to acquire: a larger weight (regular gym donut weights seem to fit) so that the balance arm doesn't have to go out that much.
    Another lesson is that using a p-mount takes a bit of learning, it’s less intuitive than you’d think. You have to consciously learn to make the azimuth and altitude angular changes, as the instinct makes you want to move the whole arm up and down. That resolved fairly quickly. It also took a bit to learn to leave it alone once in a spot, and allow the balance to just stabilize things by itself. It works very nicely, and didn’t need a lot of fiddling with exact alignment of all the axes, for the binos to stay put once on a target. However, I believe again that a larger weight, allowing a shorter counter-balance arm, would reduce some of the vibrations in the future.
    The binos are very easy to adjust, and focus was easy. Some complaints in the reviews on the Oberwerk site said that sometimes the IPD and focus adjustments are stiff. On mine, if anything, the opposite might be true. I think I’d like a slightly stiffer motion, although right now everything seems smooth and fluid. The views are good, but I can’t really give a good assessment yet, as last night was again plagued by poor transparency, and the lights in my neighborhood were again upgraded to even brighter LEDs, so it was really tough to see things. Plus, when it’s really cold, my eyes start tearing a lot, so everything gets astigmatic and spikey.

    Targets:

    Well, as spoiled in the title, I did manage a very successful catch. After being frustrated in my prior attempt at 46P/Wirtanen, new, I finally nabbed it! It was forming a triangle with the tail of the bull (Xi and Omicron Tau), and Menkar (Alpha Cet). I started at Menkar, and moved East to find Kappa 1 and 2 Cet. The target was SW of K1 Cet. Very faint and vague nebulosity, initially averted vision only, then just barely direct vision. As some described it, appeared a bit like a smaller and fainter M31. Gotcha! My first comet. So, verdict on the binos must be positive, given this initial success.

    I then toured a bit the sky, looking at old faves.
    M45, the Pleiades, nice view, but a bit uncomfortable since they were almost at zenith.
    M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, a prominent smudge, with M32 very well seen next to it.
    Over to Auriga, I went to visit the old open cluster friends there. Started at Elnath, moved NW to find the prominent train tracks of the lines including 14, 16 and 19 Aur, and let them point me to the Phi Aur complex, and from there I caught a very faint, very vague nebulosity of M38. To the SE, M36 was clearer, and appeared as a well-defined nebulosity, but almost no individual star resolution was possible. To find M37, I actually had to reset and point SE of the line between Elnat and Theta Aur. Again, it was hard to see, but there as a nebulosity against the background.
    Close by, I centered on Propus (Eta Gem), and went NNW of it to M35. This one was a great sight, since it’s a brighter cluster, with clear visibility of the brighter stars, arranged in a rectangle of sorts in N-S orientation. And just NE of Propus I also found Cr 89, new, open cluster in Gemini, a spread-out cluster with some easily seen brighter members.
    A bit ambitious, I also went to Zeta Tau, and NW of it I managed to briefly see the ovoidal nebulosity of M1, the Crab Nebula, mainly as an averted vision object.


    Overall, a very satisfying night, given the new targets, and I’m happy with the new acquisition. I will need to work out more of the logistics to make observing more efficient, and I think this setup takes a bit of experience to make the most of.
    Thanks for reading. Look up!
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    Default Re: First light for new equipment, or How I Caught Myself a Comet

    Nice catch Codrin with the comet being the first object you saw in the binos. How exciting.
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    Default Re: First light for new equipment, or How I Caught Myself a Comet

    Well done Codrin. Patience and persistence wins the race!
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    Default Re: First light for new equipment, or How I Caught Myself a Comet

    Sounds like a great "First Light" with lots of goodies! Congrats on nabbing Wirtanen

    Dave
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    Default Re: First light for new equipment, or How I Caught Myself a Comet

    Very fine report Doc!
    The P Mount will grow on you. I use mine mostly set up so I can recline in my zero gravity chair. This is wonderful for zenith and near zenith views; very easy on the neck. Be sure to set legs all the way out and pay attention to the balance as you view as I have pulled the whole thing over on myself when I set the tripod with two legs toward my chair thinking that would get me closer. Keep the third leg toward your chair position; you will still be close enough.
    I also have the 5000 head and at times I like to use this when my field of interest is below 45* from horizon. In this application I use my regular viewing stool.
    One thing you have which I would like to acquire is the laser finder. This would be dandy!

    Wonderful catch of targets for you; 46P et al.

    Thank you for sharing your enthusiasm and triumph here.
    More clear skies to you Sir!
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    Default Re: First light for new equipment, or How I Caught Myself a Comet

    Hello again Doc.
    I told you that I extend the legs all the way when I am using the recliner to view with the P Mount.

    This was not correct.

    Full extension causes a tension when you pull the binos down to your face. So you will need to adjust the leg height to fit your reclining position so that does not happen. This is how I pulled everything over on myself.

    And also this is for my Oberwerks TR3 tripod so your mikeage may very. :-)
    Apologies for this bum stear.
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    Default Re: First light for new equipment, or How I Caught Myself a Comet

    A very nice session, good to hear that they are working well for you
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    Default Re: First light for new equipment, or How I Caught Myself a Comet

    Congratulation Codrin!

    The 25x100 are a very good choice.

    When not hand holding, then I mount my 25x100FB on a tripod with the adjustable central column,
    see the attached pic.
    What also helps quite a lot to increase the contrast of the views, are DIY oversized lens hoods against the stray light sources and against the sky glow incident on the front lenses.
    Like in the photography with the telelenses, the lens hoods make the difference.

    I have spent years with hunting the DSOs just through the binoculars.

    Congratulations also on the comet,

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    Default Re: First light for new equipment, or How I Caught Myself a Comet

    Congrats on the Obies, Codrin, and on catching the comet!

    Last time I ordered from Kevin, his business card said "Chief Forklift Operator".
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    Default Re: First light for new equipment, or How I Caught Myself a Comet

    Thank you everyone for the good words and advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by bladekeeper View Post

    Last time I ordered from Kevin, his business card said "Chief Forklift Operator".
    Haha, that's awesome

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Quixote View Post
    Very fine report Doc!
    I have pulled the whole thing over on myself when I set the tripod with two legs toward my chair thinking that would get me closer.
    One thing you have which I would like to acquire is the laser finder. This would be dandy!
    Yep, I almost tipped the whole thing over fiddling with it too. Funny how the weight becomes an issue when perched like this.
    Quote Originally Posted by j.gardavsky View Post
    When not hand holding, then I mount my 25x100FB on a tripod with the adjustable central column,
    see the attached pic.
    I'll try this next. I may mount them on the head "backwards", as it allows a sharper angle when pointing up. And hold on, what do you mean "when not hand holding"? Surely you're not hand holding these monsters, are you?!
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