North Lincs astro meeting December 2016


Paul Money was the speaker at the North Lincs astro society for December 2016. As always in his own entertaining way, he gave an brilliant and enthusiastic talk on the Voyager 1 and ll missions to Jupiter and Saturn. We were treated to some excellent simulated fly byes and without doubt the best images we have seen, that got a few Ooos and Wows from the well attended meeting. Around 25 members and guests turned up.

Thank you for the Lincolnshire wildlife trust for the use of the venue and Glenys and Malcolm for the excellent refreshments.

Due to the foggy / cloudy conditions observing was out the question after the meeting. But for the couple of early birds we got some nice views of the Moon through Northern Optics set of 25×100 Helios binoculars


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Fieldfair at Far Ings nature reserve 3rd December 2016


When you see a Fieldfair, you know that winter is just around the corner. When I visited the Far Ings nature reserve they were in good numbers, but frustratingly very easily spooked, meaning I could not get close.

But patience paid off when I saw this one around 50 yards away, which seemed quite curious. As it was still I was able to use f8 and 100ISO, as I knew I would be cropping heavily. The low Sun light in the early morning gave a nice warm effect. But believe me it was anything but warm.

Equipment used was my trusty old Canon EOS 1100D + Tamron LD 70-300mm at 300mm

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Olivon T50 spotting scope OL17


The Olivon T50 spotting scope is an ideal take anywhere compact spotting scope. The 12x30x magnification range is perfect for a range of uses, with 12-15x ideal for hand holding. 16-30x will require a mount.

As with many higher end spotting scopes, the new Olivon T50 comes with the centre focus system on the body. This means it is easy to adjust with gloves on and will reduce the risk of altering the twist eye cup and zoom on the eyepiece accidentally.

The prism is BK7. But do not be put off by this and modern day BK7 prisms are improving all the time. Lens coatings are multi-coated, which should offer true colours with good contrast.

Although not nitrogen gas filled, it should be OK if in a light shower for a few minutes.


  • Field of view 26m – 52m @ 1000m
  • Magnification 12=30x
  • Objective diameter 50mm
  • Lens coatings – Multi-coated
  • Prisms BK7
  • Weight 500g
  • Dimensions 228x50x137mm
  • Eye relief 12-15mm
  • Fog proof – no
  • Close focus 8m
  • Exit pupil 1.6mm – 4.1mm
  • Eyecup Twist type
  • Tripod thread – yes




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Skywatcher Startravel ST80 short tube telescope 10729


Unlike some telescopes that come with mounts unsuitable to handle the weight, the popular Skywatcher ST80 comes in one option with a heavy duty AZ3 mount that can easily handle telescopes 3x the weight of the ST80.

The 400mm f5 makes OTA not only makes it perfect for low power observing of rich field star clusters, nebula and galaxies (from dark skies), it also makes it a great wide field imaging device. A t-thread on the focuser allows fitting of a t-ring. Note that depending on the focal plane of your DSLR camera, you may need to use an extension tube.

Unlike many of the other Skywatcher telescopes that come with a pair of lower end modified achromatic eyepieces, the ST80 comes with a pair of 12.5mm and 26mm plossl. The 2x barlow however is budget.

The red dot finder attaches to a hot shoe. Meaning you can upgrade to the Skywatcher optical finderscopes if you wish

As standard it comes with a 90 degree diagonal. But if using for terrestrial use, we recommend purchasing a 45 degree prism diagonal that will give left / right correct orientation

Click here to buy from Northern Optics

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Baader 2″ UV / IR rejection filter #2459210


The Baader 2″ UV / IR rejection filter is an absolute must have for webcam and CCD imagers.  Reflects destruction heat radiation. Scratch resistant 7 layer multicoating. Reduces ghosting for pin sharp star images. The only infrared blocking filter in this price range featuring a planeoptically polished substrate, parallel to within 30 seconds of ark.

Can be used on conjunction with Baader contrast booster filter and Solar continuum filters for greater effects

98% transmission across the visible spectrum. Very limited availability with most dealers now only stocking the #2459210-A version.

If still available, click HERE to purchase from Northern Optics



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Waters` Edge country park. Gadwall November 2016


I took this photo of a Gadwall at the Waters` edge country park at Barton Upon Humber. There was a number of them on the west pond. Lighting conditions were low, but the soft light made shadows less harsh. I used a Canon EOS1100D with a Tamron 70-300mm lens, f8 400ISO

Gadwalls are a little smaller than the more common Mallards and are very shy. So approach with caution as they are easily spooked. At first glance they seem quite plain, but do have some nice colours and plumage when you get closer. This year there are more numbers than normal. So go along to the Waters` edge country park to see if you can see one

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North Lincs astro meeting. 7th November 2016


Around 25 attended the North Lincs astro meeting at Far ings on November 2016. Sadly the speaker was unable to attend, but we were rescued by Chris Roche filling the gap with an excellent 30 minute talk on Exo Planets. He gave us an excellent insight into the different ways they are detected and how we are even able to have an understanding on their composition, size and even wind speed.

Before the talk a few of us braved the cold conditions to have some excellent views of the Moon through Paul Cottons 9.25″ Celestron SCT and Nigel’s 25×100 Helios binoculars. We all commented on how good the seeing conditions were

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M45 Pleiades image taken with a Celestron Travelscope-70 21035


I took this image of M45 the Pleiades through a Celestron Travelscope-70 and a Canon EOS 1100D body. The mount was a Skywatcher HEQ5. Was not very well polar aligned, so kept exposure to 20 seconds to avoid star trailing.  Light pollution was an issue as always where I live, so an Ostara Moon / Skyglow filter helped keep the orange glow down to an acceptable level.

To get true focus, you should always use live view, and lock the focus once achieved. The RAW file was processed in DPP (Digital photo professional). This is the software you get as standard with Canon DSLRs. Using ISO 6400, noise was an issue. This was improved with noise reduction in DPP. Using the same software, the image was sharpened and the red cast removed using curves.

For astro imaging ALWAYS use raw files, not JPEG. With a RAW file you can bring out so much more detail that will be lost forever in jpeg

Given the basic spec telescope, badly aligned mount and light pollution, I am happy with the end result

The Celestron Travelscope-70 can be purchased HERE with the option of buying a t-ring as an option

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Celestron Omni XLT AZ 130 22152 overview and specs


The new Celestron Omni XLT 130 comes as standard with an AZ mount for ease of set up and use. With an attractive blue finish there are a few changes from the lower spec astromaster 130. The finder scope is now the Celestron starpointer-pro. Not only is this better than the single dot one you get with the astromaster, it fits on a dovetail mount, meaning it will accept many other visual and RDF finderscopes.

Optically you get Celestrons premium XLT coatings on a parabolic mirror as used on Celestron`s higher end telescopes. Rather than the budget eyepieces, you get one 25mm plossl. The focuser is a dual use 1.25″ / 2″ that will accept 2″ eyepieces as well as 1.25″

The 130mm f5 should make it perfect for wide field observing. Mix this with a quality 2″ eyepiece upgrade and you should get some stunning views of nebula and rich field star clusters


Optical Design Newtonian
Aperture 130mm
Focal Ratio f/5
Primary Mirror Design Parabolic
Optical Coatings Fully XLT coated glass optics
Eyepiece/Magnification 25mm Plössl (1.25”) / 26x
Finderscope StarPointer Pro red LED with dual circle reticle
Other Accessories SkyPortal app
Resolution Rayleigh: 1.07 arc seconds / Dawes Limit: 0.89 arc seconds
Light Gathering Power 345x the unaided eye
Highest Useful Magnification 307x
Lowest Useful Magnification 19x
Limiting Stellar Magnitude 13.1
Tripod Aluminum, 49” max height
Warranty 2-Years
Optical Tube Length 25″
Total Telescope Kit Weight 17.4lbs
Included Items OTA, mount/tripod (preassembled), 25mm eyepiece, StarPointer Pro finderscope, accessory tray, SkyPortal app



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illusion 20×50 monocular bundle. Customer purchase


The illusion 20×50 monocular was the optics of choice at the Northern Optics weekend display recently. We had a partially sighted customer who due to their condition made binoculars impracticable. The reason they wanted them was to look at costal birds at a distance. Lower powered monoculars such as 7x and 8x were not up to the job.

Yet the 20x power of the illusions were just what they were looking for. Multi-coated optics gave excellent contrast , brightness and colours despite the small 2.5mm exit pupil. Another plus point was the eye relief was long enough to use with glasses on. This is where many high powered monoculars fall short.  The customer also found the focus very easy. Once they had decided on the monocular, they needed a tripod. The budget one was not tall enough, but the Visionary VT-70 was perfect, with it being high enough, sturdy yet light enough and came with a carry case

The illusion 20×50 monocular bundle comes with a case, wrist strap, mini tripod and hand grip. This particular bundle is very limited and may still be available from some stockists

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