On Saturday, July 23rd, 2011, a fellow club member named Jeff took his XTi10 with a Zambuto mirror up against my XT10 with a stock Orion mirror in it to compare both size scopes at a decent local dark site that locally is called Pit n Pole. I recorded about 22 minutes of the observations along with background chatter such as a discussion of why a tube 1o or 12 inch can be more of a grab and go scope than a 12 inch or larger truss design. On that I would have to agree in that I can set up my 10 inch much faster than my XX14i. Not by a lot, but by about 15 minutes if I rush, 25 minutes if I take my time.
What you'll see are images of the objects we observed, and then some images of my XX14i, XT10 and of the Pit n Pole landscape. It was a clear night, that is the best that can be said. Down low, say under 40 degrees of the sky the stars were really twinkling at first, giving an Antoniadi IV that later moved to a III. At zenith I rated the sky as a III to begin the night and kept it there, maybe hinting toward a II on the Antoniadi scale.
The video with the audios are on YouTube (blogger.com doesn't upload very well) and here is the first link to video 1.
Here is the link to video 2 where I finish my recording.
Some highlights. The XX14i beat both mirrors in the conditions tonight, showing far more structure on M51 than either the 10 inch. Jeff asks if he should include that, I say no at first joking, and then say to include it. Sometimes aperture does win as in this case.
The Veil Nebula, NGC 6960 showed wonderful filaments and structure with the Zambuto. On the Trifed Nebula, M20 the Zambuto brought out the dust lanes with direct vision and they popped because of the improved smoothness of the mirror and the contrast. On the stock Orion the lanes were there, very easy to be seen but not as crisp as in the Zambuto. The Zambuto mirror also showed a touch more color especially of both pink and green where the stock Orion showed some pink, with a hint of green from the site. There are other comparisons but I'll let you listen or if you want, you can go to this link on CloudyNights and read Jeff's report. I invite you if you are having cloudy nights and days like I am, to listen to the video/audio and to read Jeff's report. Outside of what I have posted, I am not going to put in my two pits since this was Jeff's opportunity and he did an outstanding job with it.
So as it was so cloudy this weekend killing the new moon observing, I did some work on some sketching of some targets I want to focus on in my next sessions. These were last years sketches which I redid and used a layered approach of dark gray, light gray and white. I am anxious to try them again with the Mellish method.
The Little Dumbbell Nebula
Messier 33 Rough Sketch