Archive for July 4th, 2009

Well I have, what is for me, a complete Ethos set now and a few hours ago I got a quick peek using the 120mm Skywatcher in twilight.

“Wow” is appropriate 😉 I could see quite quickly that of the 3 new eyepieces (17,10, 6) the 10 and 6 are going to get a lot of use on this scope and become practically all that I use. The 17 – well, I’ve just bever beent hat thrilled with low-power, wide-field views and I am stillnot – unless, of course, you have an object that calls for it, such as the Double Cluster.

Yes, conditions could have been better. If I had only gotten out a few minutes earlier! But it was 4 am and we were already quite obviously out of astronomical twilight so that a quick look at M31 was unsatisfying – too much twilight there. And by the time I swung around to M57 in the west it too was pretty much wiped out. So I settled for the Double Double – just great in the 6mm (150X) and even later, brilliant Venus (like a first quarter moon) and Jupiter – just magnificent.

The field of view is, of course, impressive, but I expected that. What I wasn’t sure would be there – but is – is the all aorund quality I’ve come to take for granted with the Naglers. But getting back tot he fov – to cleanly split the Double Double so that someone seeing it for the first time would know they were looking at four stars – and still have plenty of breathing room around it – is a real pleasure. The 17mm gives close to a 2-degree fov, enough to capture the Double-Double on one side and Vega on the other, but at 53X a split would be more a stunt than anything useful. The 10mm did split it. But the best view was witht he 6mm and even with the 6mm, the space it occupies is more than 10 times what you need for the Double-Double, so it gives the split plenty of context and you have plenty of time to get a good look as it drifts through.

I was impressed with the view of Venus, but Jupiter blew me away. Seeing was good, but by now we were in bright twilight with only Jupiter and Venus obvious to the naked eye. Still, I could see three moons and several marking on the planet and colors I’ve never seen before. This is testimony to both the eyepieces and the 120mm Skywatcher, of course, plus to the fact that Jupiter is apporaching its largest size for us. It certainly means that as this Jupiter season moves on I will not hesitate to take the 120mm to where I can see the huge planet, for it will remain frustratingly low in the southern sky.

As for the quality of the eyepieces – well, that’s what impressed me. The fact that I could take the Double Double, set it on the edge of the fov, and have perfect star images as it drifted from edge to edge. That’s what I expect out of my Naglers and that’s what I also get out of the Ethos – at least in these initial tests.


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