Eyepiece Advice Wanted & More SS-one Project

•October 17, 2017 • Leave a Comment

A new customer who is interested in 71FL BINO system is asking me the suitable wide-field eyepieces for 71FL F5.6 native optics. If someone knows the good-match eyepieces with 71FL or generally with BORG, give me your advice please. Personally I’m curious of that too although I’m not a big fan for the wide-field viewing. It’s 1.25″ and eyepiece body OD must be less than 60mm.



SS-one project is further more expanding. Now we are preparing for modifying the old EM10 and EM200 (non-GOTO version) mounts. The concept is to modernize those out-of-dated mounts while maintaining Takahashi-proprietary super solid body and mechanical performance.

Features are

  • replacing original old-fashioned geared motors with premium quality hybrid type
  • more torque, quieter, smoother and quicker response.
  • Built-in electric polar camera as standard
  • All controlled by a single device, SS-one controller – KODO©, without PC



I plan to go to Japan end of next month. So I reserved one EM10 already and will bring SS-one converted EM10 with me after having technical training at Nakazawa san’s work-shop.

SS-one KODO is a really smart controller (actually Nakazawa san as a dveloper is so clever though). The controller allows to be numerically set based on each mount’s gear ratio and motor step etc. This is an another wonderful feature in the controller.




AOK Swiss BINO Platform Family & CANON 6D

•October 16, 2017 • Leave a Comment

BINO platform is one of key devices to make the binoscope project successful. Following are current AOK BINO platform lineup. Each slightly different mechanical design. But the collimation method is basically all same. AOK-proprietary easy and solid collimation design is really comfortable and practical.

BB-160 : This is a big brother for large scopes more than 4″ or 5″.


BB-140 : Smaller version & basically designed for Meade LX-90 mount. Swiss-made bearing achieves very smooth inter-pupillary adjustment. BB-140 still handles BORG 107FL BINO, which I’m planning to build up for planetary viewing near future.



BB-140 with LX-90 swing bracket



And here is the complete setup with 90FL bino.



My story of 2017 total eclipse with 90FL BINO

BB-130 : This is basically similar shape to BB-160 except the size. A picture shows my recent 71FL setup.


I replaced AOK original Vixen-compatible dovetail plate with BORG-made Arca Swiss plate. Very compact setup. But if you are looking for the ultimate BINO system, I highly recommend the double fork mount. Steadiness is no comparison between double and single fork. For high-power planetary viewing, the double fork mount is clearly winner and gives us stress-free binoscope viewing at 200x – 300x power.

Without AOK platform, reliable and enjoyable binoscope viewing is not achievable. So this is a kind of must-item for the success. Great works, Beat.


Canon 6D is a really long-run model unlike others.

6d-pkgYes, as one of long-time 6D users, I agree it is really good camera. So I’m sure there are many 6D users for astro photography these days.  According to Canon USA recently, it is not produced at the factory any more. So now only available from the inventory of each regional Canon office. No surprise because of 6D Mark II’s coming up. But I’m not still sure how 6D Mark II performs under low light condition. So I’m currently in wait-n-see mode. In my personal opinion, 6D is not obsolete for astro photography purpose. So if someone are interested in full frame sensor camera and the tilt-screen is not a big factor for you, don’t miss getting an original 6D from final inventory.



M33 thru 107FL & New 71FL user’s 1st light

•October 15, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Windy and terrible seeing last night. I pointed at one target and gave up the next try.



BORG 107FL F6 + Cooled Canon 6D + IDAS HEUIBII & LPS-V4

Poor guiding and probably it wasn’t focused completely. So I feel the image was not as sharp as expected. It was very hard to focus because stars were jumping around. It was guess work. Anyway, this is only one I got. Mixed image thru HEUIBII and LPS-V4 filters. And as usual, no dark/flat applied as a lazy BORG astronomer, which is my ultimate goal as my hobby style – “don’t take time and don’t go deep for imaging processing”.

LPS-V4 is a nebula filter. So generally I don’t recommend customers using it for galaxies. But these days I’m more aggressively using it for galaxies since I hope the filter enhances HII regions. So for me, the combination of HEUIBII(in case of a modified camera) and LPS-V4 looks the best for galaxies (containing HII) in my personal standpoint. Exposure time thru LPS-V4 might be a bit too short last night. As always, HEUIBII creates the perfect color balance without touching under the sky I go.


And followings are 1st shots taken by John Ottesen who recently took BORG 71FL F4.

Image data from John – I used the IDAS D-1 filter, modified Hutech/Canon (APS) DSLR, ISO-200, with FL71 at F/4 configuration. Two 25 min. exposures were taken for the heart nebula, and three 20 minute exposures where stacked for the North American nebula.

Frilled BORG

•October 13, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I learned 「エリマキトカゲ」is called Frilled Lizard in English. Now I call PDF front setup “Frilled BORG”. It really looks like so.


(A pictured PDF is set by opposite way only for testing purpose)

After I was actually testing PDF back and forth, I found out the best possible solution with 55FL, which was most challenging system because of short length. Others are quite easier if 55FL is cleared. If my calculation is right, we can use 7051 (50mm long Series 80 tube) with 55FL, which allows to use a pair of mounting rings. That should make the mounting more solid and stable.

Now I plan to make two zero light path adapters, which will be able to handle PDF from 55FL to 107FL in front(behind the objective). Only 55FL requires extra parts from BORG off-the-shelf.

As shown the above, next challenging factor is how to set a separate guide scope. That’s an another thing to consider. Anyway, at least QSI-like OAG configuration should be just OK.

“Frilled BORG” should be a good configuration for making overall balance better and for making each critical part’s connection in optical train much more solid at camera side. And this is the BORG-proprietary unique setup.

Before moving forward, I just double check with FLI about current PDF quality standard. That’s the most critical point for the success. If someone here has the experiences using PDF, please send a private e-mail to me about your impression.


PDF with BORG – 2

•October 12, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I start more deeply studying PDF option. A customer suggested to set PDF in front. That should really minimize the weight balance issue. So I start experimenting. First BORG 55FL since this doesn’t require any custom-made adapter at this moment.

It’s really unusual shape. But only possible with BORG because of modular design. I didn’t completely focus-test yet. Probably a dedicated adapter allows to add a camera rotator too.

If the focuser performs as advertised, this front option looks perfect for BORG. I wish someone will make a low-profile shape like PDF with a smaller overall shape.


•October 11, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I forgot having made FLI PDF adapters for BORG scopes long before. One of BORG users who is interested in integrating PDF into his 90FL system has let me recall the long inventory of these adapters.

Here is the ones. It comprised of 2 or 3 pieces.


A middle long tube is only needed for previous ED F4 reducer. So it doesn’t require for current reducers. Basically the light path of front and rear adapters are designed for quite similar to BORG helical focuser – 7835. So it won’t be too long or not too short.


I borrowed PDF from a friend – Jim today and tried to set with BORG 90FL. The key for success should be the weight balance. Total weight of camera/CFW and PDF should be much heavier than the objective lens. So how to adjust, that should be the point. Front is M68.8 and rear is M57. At least this is good up to full frame sensor cameras.

PDF’s ID has 89mm. So it looks still fitting a future larger format super reducer too. Yes, front and rear adapters must be lager than current ones though. At least reducer’s lens barrel can go through PDF inside.



MASUYAMA 16mm & Czech’s Pilsner

•October 6, 2017 • 2 Comments

MASUYAMA 16mm is now in stock. It will be available at Agena from next week too. It was more compact than I thought. I like this cute size.


I was using a pair of them last night. Although eyepieces might not be the best match with BORG 71FL, I could enjoy super wide-field viewing anyway. I don’t have many experiences for super wide-field viewing. So this kind of FOV was quite fresh to me. Overall, it was very nice binoscope viewing. I will try the moonless night again.

For the moon, I used OR12.5. Although it was almost full moon condition, I didn’t feel the moon face looked flat much. I compared between a single scope and double. Binoscope viewing showed me more realistic image as 3D object. Obviously different. So I enjoyed the lunar viewing even in nearly full phase condition.


Mia’s friend who went Czech recently brought the Pilsner beer for me. I’m a West Coast IPA lover. So usually I don’t take Pilsner. But I knew the origin of Pilsner was Czech. So I was very much curious how the original Pilsner was, which I’ve never had the chance to try before.


Indeed, it was the best Pilsner I’eve ever had!! Quite tasteful and deep unlike most of other Pilner available around here. Probably this brewery might be an original supplier? It says “from 1842”. Wow!, it was still Samurai era in Japan.

Several years ago, my Japanese friend went to Czech only to drink Pilsner there. Now I somehow agree with his intention. Yes, the original Pilsner is very good beer. Even if a canned beer is tasteful, how I can image I drink it on tap there locally. Now I understand this is a real Pilsner. I have to change my mind on that.


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