North Lincs astro meeting 5th November 2018

Paul Money was the guest speaker at the North Lincs astro society meeting on Monday 5th Nov 2018. Despite a few no doubt enjoying bonfire night with their families, a good turn out of 20 were treated to an excellent and entertaining talk on Mars. This included a brief history of early astronomers and their drawings to breathtaking detailed photographic  views from the Martian surface and learning about its craters, valleys, mountains and weather.

Thank you as always to Malcolm and Glennys for the sugar free teas and refreshments. As always Northern Optics was in attendance with items for sale

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Hawke Nature Trek 8×42 binoculars. Customers choice for general use

A customer who visited the Northern Optics weekend outlet at the Waters` edge visitor centre at Barton Upon Humber, Lincolnshire was very happy with his purchase of the Hawke Nature-Trek 8×42 binoculars. After trying the smaller 8×32 and 10x32s, the 42mm model felt much better to handle and had a brighter view. From my point of view the longer eye relief was more suited to viewing with glasses on.
Great spec binoculars for just £139 (at the time of this post) with a life time warranty.

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Hawke Endurance ED 12×50 binoculars. Ideal for long distance viewing

Always good to see returning customers at the Northern Optics weekend outlet. Some time ago a keen bird watcher bought a set of Hawke Endurance (old model) 8×32 binoculars which gave a sharp wide view.
But needed a second set to give more power for identifying distant wildlife at the nature reserves. Given they trusted the Hawke brand, the customer took our advice and bought a set of Hawke Endurance ED 12×50.
The latest versions of the Endurance range all have ED glass for extra clarity. Plus the 50mm objectives will be able to handle the extra magnification and give excellent low light performance.
Despite the extra glass compared to 32-42mm models, the 12x50s still weigh less than 800g. 13mm eye relief may not suit all spectacle wearers, so best try a set first.
Even better, they come with a lifetime warranty for peace of mind.

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Hawke Endurance ED 8×32 binoculars. Customer purchase Oct 2018

A customer came to the Northern Optics outlet at Barton Upon Humber asking about High definition (HD) binoculars. I explained that some budget binoculars often call their optics HD, so can be misleading.
I mentioned that ED glass is more important, due the the lack of false colour with high contrast subjects.
With this in mind, and within budget,we narrowed it down to either the Hawke Endurance ED 8×32 or 10×32 binoculars.
The wider field of view of the 8x was the preferred choice, and he went away a happy customer.
He did also mention that he had tried some others from another brand that were as good, but cost twice the price.
This makes the Hawke Endurance ED 8×32 binoculars remarkable value for money at £189 (at the time of this review)

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LevenHuk Zongo 80 telescope carry case

The Levenhuk zongo 80 telescope case has been a popular product for the members of the North Lincs astro society when Northern Optics pays a visit with the regular display of astro goodies. So if the Zongo-80 gets the seal or approval from the North Lincs astro guys, you can be sure its up to the task.

The case itself is much more sturdy than the images suggest.  The 35×12×101 cm size is big enough for many scopes, including telescopes up to 130mm and focal lengths to 900mm. The OTA and mount may need to be separated. But no worries here, as the adjustable divider stops each component to catch each other.

Comes is a very attractive blue livery with a zip up outer. You can either carry as normal, or throw over your shoulder.

*Note that the outer box as shown in the image may not be included

Bag size:  100x31x28 cm/39.4×12.2×11 in

This bag will protect your telescope from any impacts while transported, and from dust and moisture while stored. The Levenhuk Zongo 80 Telescope Case is made of durable dark blue nylon, with orange elements and Levenhuk logos sewn in.

Usage: General use product. May be used by kids over 3 years old.

 

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Skywatcher 16mm Nirvana-ES UWA-82 eyepiece. First look

Here at Northern Optics we had a look at the new Skywatcher 16mm Nirvana-ES UWA-82 eyepiece. This is not an optics test, but a chance to look at the construction and packaging.

So to start off with, the box is a simple design with no images. It does show the brand name and item codes. But on the plus side it is a very sturdy box that will keep its shape overtime. This is where some eyepiece packaging can fall short.

Taking the eyepiece out the box, we find it very well protected with bubble wrap surrounding the eyepiece. On the subject of the eyepiece, for a UWA-82 it seems very compact compared to some others with similar spec, considering the 7 lens elements in 4 groups. Lens caps are at either side.

The eyepiece itself feels very solid, despite the 200g lightweight construction. Very nive black finish with a secure textured grip.

This version has the same optics and coatings as the old model, but has a fold down eye cup, compared to the twist type on the older version. But this is not a bad thing, as it folds down very easily. Note that eye relief is only 12mm, so may not suit all spectacle wearers. In my case, with glasses on, I got around 90 percent of the view with spectacles on / eye cup down.

If the optics are a major factor to you, and you do not wear spectacles, the latest Nirvana-ES has a much lower price point compared to the first version, so has to come with an excellent value for money tag. Recommended.

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Skywatcher Skyhawk 1145PS AZ-GTE overview

Available from Northern Optics the Skywatcher Skyhawk 1145PS AZ-GTE is a sensible starter GOTO scope due to ease of use, and the wide field of view the short 500mm f4.4 OTA offers.  Magnifications of 20x and 50x included are ideal for wide views of the Moon and rich star field clusters + comets.

Many lower end Newtonian’s come with a built in barlow lens inside the focuser. These end up reducing the overall quality of the image, and in my opinion defeats the object of the short focal length.

Although the OTA (optical tube assembly) is a relatively long lived design, it is still a popular choice, with 4.5 inches a nice compromise between budget and the larger 6-8″ scopes if budget does not allow

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Skywatcher UWA-82 Nirvana-ES wide angle eyepieces

Available from Northern Optics , the Skywatcher Nirvana-ES UWA-82 eyepieces are the latest version of the older Nirvana range. The 1.25″ range come in 4,7 and 16mm. Although they use the same optics and coatings, the over all design is different.

As well as a sleek new look body, they comes with a fold down eye cup, as apposed to the twist type of the previous model.  We still find nowadays, many users still prefer soft fold down eye cups for comfort. So do not think this is a step backwards. It is simply evolving to users needs.

As with the old model, you get a picture window 82 degrees field , fully multi-coated optics with blackened edges and 7 lens elements in 4 groups.

These top quality ultra wide angle 1.25” eyepieces offer an incredible jaw-dropping viewing experience to rival some of the leading premium eyepieces on the market, but at an extremely competitive price. The huge 82 degree apparent field of view, superb field-edge correction and excellent contrast combine to provide a wonderfully immersive and memorable viewing experience. Work superbly in telescopes of all focal lengths

12mm eye relief on all models. Beautifully finished in high-gloss anodised aluminium with knurled rubber grips. Threaded to accept standard 1.25” filters. Weight approx 170g.

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Problems getting infinity focus with zoom eyepieces

1.25″ telescope eyepieces come in two forms. Fixed focal lengths and zoom eyepieces, such as 8-24mm for example. What you will find though with some Newtonian reflectors is that you can not get infinity focus. This is due to there not being enough inward travel on the focus wheel to adjust for such eyepieces.

There are some fixes to get round this. If available for your telescope, a low profile focuser may help. Also using the collimation screws to move the primary up the OTA. But get advice and help from a recommended dealership or local astronomy club if unsure.

A third and most easy method is to use a barlow lens with the zoom eyepiece. Although this should work, you are also in effect reducing the focal length of the eyepiece (for example a 8-24mm will become a 4-12m if used with a 2x barlow), and reducing the overall quality, depending on the optics of the barlow used.

 

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How to connect an eyepiece to the Skywatcher Evoguide 50ED guidescope

Ever wondered what the small adapter ring included with the Skywatcher evoguide 50 ED guide scope is for ?. This video shows what it is, and how to use it.

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