User: Jeff Morgan, Arizona

The Panther Stalks the Night

Finally got the Panther out on July 1 and July 2.

For Night One the scope was a TMB 130 Signature Series f/7 APO. The Panther set up fast and easy, even being slow and careful. Already worlds better than my Losmandy G11! Time to power up …

The hand pad was set for Speed Mode so I kept overshooting the alignment star using my MicroGuide reticle. So I got it pretty close only. Next time I will finish off the alignment using Distance mode.

I connected to the iPad using SkyWire and launched SkySafari. Set Meade LX200 and Alt-AZ GOTO. It worked immediately! Very easy connection.

Motion is smooth, the mount is quiet. Delightful actually.

Accuracy? I started out with a double star in Scorpius that required the Pentax 3.5XW to split. In the 130mm f/7 that gives a true field of about .26 degrees, or 16 arc minutes. So I decided to leave that eyepiece in as a test and to a series of GOTO commands to various double stars, without doing any type of local sync commands.

I went from Scorpius to Sagittarius to Serpens to Vulpecula to Cygnus to Lyra to Hercules to Jupiter to Saturn. Every jump the object was in the same relative position in the eyepiece, about 1/3 the way from the centre to edge in the 16 arc minute field. Wow! Scary accurate. Next time when I do a precise star alignment – lookout.

Night 2 using the Takahashi Epsilon was much better. That is to say, I studied the manual at lunch and think I have the logic figured out. Because I was doing wide-field night vision work (2.2 degrees true field) I only eyeballed it for my star alignment, no reticle. At that scale, accuracy was of course more than adequate.

I’m thrilled with the Panther and look forward to many excellent nights!

Jeff Morgan, Prescott, Arizona, USA