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    Who remembers back on March 3rd 2012 when Mars was in Opposition. I saw it through my telescope. We have that amazing one happening on 8th April. Who will be seeing that one.

  1. Hi Guys,

    After a little while of intermittent viewing due to work commitments I finally managed to get outside for a few hours last weekend and had a decent viewing session. At the tail end of the session I hooked up my Canon DSLR to the HEQ5 mount (provides very nifty steadiness) and fired off 160 subs @ ISO 3200 and 1.3s so a totla exposure time of roughly 3.5mins.

    The image post processing (i have alot to learn here) came out as:


    This is compressed of course but that doesn't account for the poor quality only my astro-photography and image processing skills can be blamed for that.

    I think its a good step forward though so looking forward to thoughts on how this compares to other beginners and pointers on how to get better image's using processing?


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    I'm no scientist.

    I'm not even an "ist!"

    But I do have a problem when they say "Time Travel is not possible"

    They are wrong!!!

    Of course it is.

    How do I know?

    How is it that I can say this?

    How is it that I can argue with the greatest minds that have ever lived?


    Because I've done it!

    Yep, you heard me right...I've traveled back in time.

    Now before I tell you how I did it, let me explain something. I ask questions...of everything...I used to have a wish, and that was to be a physicist. The subject has fascinated me ever since I was a small boy. But alas, I was born without the ability to deal with numbers, in truth, they scare the hell out of me! And it always seemed to me, that whenever science was mentioned in school...numbers crept in to keep me away. So I fell in love with words!

    I heard a saying, "The pen is mightier than the sword"

    What the hell does that mean? (See...A question!)

    I started asking my English teachers. They all gave me answers, but none that a small boy could understand, or comprehend.

    Then one day, on the verge of giving up...I got an after school detention (another story, all of it's own!) Now I used to get quite a few of these, and always with the teacher who I'd slighted in some way. This time however, as I entered the classroom I got a shock...not my Drama teacher...but my most feared one...my Maths teacher...I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me, I loved detentions...it was a good time to get answers from my teachers, without them having to deal with anyone else...it was my "one on one" time...and now this!

    I sat down, got out my math book, and stared at the things on the page. They were alien to me, I thought there must be something wrong with me, because numbers became squiggles that I could not read. Then, to my surprise, my teacher asked me what I wanted to do! I said I wanted to read and was even more surprised when he said fine!!!

    Half an hour in, my teacher spoke to me...he said he had heard that I was asking all of the teachers the same question. I explained what had been going on and he laughed. He told me that I would never be able to understand their answers because they were all wrong!...How can my English teachers be wrong...they deal with words all the time?

    He asked me if I wanted to know the true meaning behind the saying...I rolled my eyes and said yes...This is what he said to me...I've never forgotten it.

    "If I take a sword, and take your life, that's it, nothing more, you're gone. Your family and friends will mourn you, then just your family. Nothing else can hurt you once I've done it, because you are not here.

    But if I take my pen, and I write on your report card, that you're a disruptive influence on all those around you, that you cannot be trusted, that you are lazy...that will follow you for years...every school you go to will see this, they will pre-judge you. If I take my pen, and tell your future employers the same thing, it can affect your hole life!

    Which one do you think will be worse for you?"

    I told him I would rather be alive...he laughed again.

    When I got home, I thought about what he had said...then, I got it...I can do more harm with what I say, I can hurt you more with a few well placed words...than I ever could just by physically hurting you. On the flip side, I can use words to make you feel so special, you'd feel like you won the Lottery...without even buying a ticket!

    So this is how I can argue with the greatest minds that ever lived...with words...they talk in ways most of us can't understand. The ones that can, are brilliant people, held back by the very thing that makes them brilliant...their minds! They want proof...or they theorize when the proof they crave is not there...this can blind them to what is right in front of their very eyes!

    Let me tell you how I traveled back in time...no...let me tell YOU how to do it!!!

    Wait until it's a clear dark night...go outside...look up.

    It may take a few seconds to happen...but very, very soon...you will be 10 years old again!

  2. kjh's Blog

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    Hi new to this site ...I have a meade lx90 for a while now and wondering if anyone knows of a cover that would be suitable for our weather ?? rain , snow and hopefully some sunshine !! looked at a few but not really convinced if there suitable for all weathers especially the electronics that are built in i.e moisture build up.. any feed back would be grateful...

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    Hello everyone,

    i´m new in this and i have bought a Celestron Nexstar 8SE telescope, i´m having a counple of problems with the alignment process and make it work with stellarium software, i had made the 3 star alignment and when i finish the process i get that the alignment process was finished sucessfully, but when i try to go to any planet or star with the goto of the nexremote it goes to anywhere but the planet or star i want to point at, this same thing happens when i connect it to stellarium, for example i point it to the moon in stellarium and the telescope when to another place, the coordinates, time and all that im getting it from Skysync GPS so it should be accurate, anyone has any problem like this? what im i missing here? regards to everyone!

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    Christopher Davenport
    Latest Entry

    Hello Journeyman

    Of the 2000+ people who read my blog on this site, I am sure only a few noticed it had disappeared.

    But Why?

    This site is a place of sanctioned advice where people come to learn and discuss, whereas my blog is a personal journey full of blunders.

    These ideals tend to conflict and taking heed of some advice from forum members I have changed the approach and location of my Blog

    The link for those that still interested in the ongoing saga of

    Cassiopeia's Cat

    Small Print:

    The author cannot be held responsible for you breaking anything you own and tinker with.

    The opinions that are expressed are for directional purposes only.

    Please don't try this at home or without your parents consent.

    You have been warned

    Dark Skies

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    hello everyone, would like some advice please, I have just purchased a sky watcher explorer 130p a z go to telescope and would like to know if this is a good first telescope, this was pretty much at the top of my price range... ( under £300) but have absolutely no Idea what I can expect to see using it. I have read reviews from customers and they seemed pretty positive but would like to know what anybody here thinks! also do anyone meet up for stargazing close to the Portsmouth area? appreciate any and all advice... thanks..

  3. Cloudy again tonight, so put the motor drives on the scope. Got these as I hope to have a go at imaging at some point in the future, and they will be useful for observing in the meantime.

    All went well using the instructions, only confusion came when fitting the dec motor. This was caused by the fine adjust knob being where the drive should be.

    Luckily I got 4 rechargable D batteries (good ones 10,000 mAh , not the AAs pretending to be Ds) for my wifes radio which she hasn't used. Ideal for powering the motor drives. :smiley:





    I then decided to have a go at trying to get to grips with the polar scope. Found that AstroBaby has done an online guide for polar aligning for idiots (thats me then).

    Fantastic guide this http://www.astro-baby.com/HEQ5/HEQ5-1.htm

    All has become clear and the mystery of the polar scope and using the setting circles has been lifted.

    Just need some clear skies now.

  4. Well, after struggling for a few years in a fairly light polluted area I have moved to the edge of Dalby Forest just outside Scarborough and the sky's are just magical.

    A shame my neighbour has a security light that is permanently on as soon as a hint of darkness approaches - I offered to buy him a PIR operated one but - it is a touchy subject so best left alone !

    Anyway, just laid a concrete plinth and trimmed some top branches. Clear view to Polaris north and an uninterrupted southern view which is great.

    I have just set up an Astronomy Imaging UK group on Facebook which is a sister group to our Aurora UK group - two groups worth joining ;)

    Hope to post more soon.


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    I went sea fishing at Selsey last light and took a tilley lamp to keep my hands warm. I watched the end of my fishing rod for four hours waiting for a bite. Behind the rod tip was Orion, Jupiter and also the moon. The night was cold and clear, frost was on the cars but I was well dressed and stayed warm. I never caught anything but will always remember that magical scene with the noise of the waves. I felt sorry for all those inside missing such a lovely scene on such a calm, clear night.



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    I currently have a zennox 70 telescope as I am a beginner in terms of stargazing. I have loved using this telescope for lunar viewing however I want to upgrade to a more capable telescope.

    I have been researching and I have found celestron's nexstar 4se, 5se and 6se scopes with go-to technology however I was interested in having a tracker to keep up to date with the alignments of sky objects.

    I was hoping if someone could tell me do these nexstar telescopes have automatic tracking systems or is this an extra, also if anyone had some advise as to other telescopes that I could look at as there is too many to know what's what. As I say I am relatively new to this however I would love to increase my knowledge very quickly and advance to a larger scope to see a greater range.

    Thanks in advance!

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    Hello all i am new to this. I live in Swindon and i'm just wondering when the next get together is to look at the stars and where please comment if you know

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    28th December 2013, 6-8.30pm

    Pleiades (M45),

    Jupiter & Callisto, Europa, Ganymede, Io,

    Orion Nebula (M42),


    2 meteors, possibly 4.

    30th December 2013, 6-10.30pm

    Pleiades (M45)

    Orion Nebula (M42),

    Jupiter & Callisto, Europa, Ganymede, Io,



    Andromeda Galaxy (M31),


    open star clusters: M35, M36, M103.

    1 meteor, possibly 2.

    2 satellites.

    2 unidentified moving objects.

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    Well, you know the way you always look down the tube of your astrograph when you remove the cover.. Not sure what I expect to see except a very unattractive view of my face! One day I did this as usual but saw a lot of lines. Scratches on my mirror I thought. Oh no! But on better examination with a light (don't do this as you will see every imperfection and think your mirror needs cleaning which it most likely does not) I could see that it was a spiders web. What to do?

    I got a short cane and being careful not to hit anything like baffles or mirror I got them out. Job well done. Not that it probably would have made any difference to my observing, but I just felt that my poor scope inside had somehow been desicrated.

    I did have a few nightmares about looking down the scope one day and not being able to see the mirror for spiders and webs.

    I had largely got over this obsession and even got used to taking the cover off the scope without shining a torch down it. When it happened again! This time it was war!!! No spider would live in my scope and get away with it. A nice sheltered cosy environment with central heating and even a dehumidifier! So next day I unlocked the dome removed the scope cover and looked in. Sure enough there it was a tiny spider in the middle of a new web. I immediately got a bit of dowel and tried to get it and it's web out.

    No such luck it took of like a scared rabbit down into the baffles. I was now on a mission.

    I thought for a couple of days and decided that high technology was the only way. So I made a special adapter for a very poweful workshop vacuum cleaner to allow me to clean in between the baffles. It was made of 5 lens brushes and two short lengths of plastic tube. I also got a large dentist mirror from a mechanic friend and a flex light used for looking in gearboxes.

    I was ready!

    Next day came. cover of the scope. There he, or more likely she, was. Sitting on the edge of the very first baffle. slowly slowly I got everything running and pounced. Got ya!! End of one spider.

    I now still check, but no more so far. I also dont leave the scope cover off when I am not using it. Only damage was what lloks like a mirror scratch but is really a strand of cobweb, just to remide me of the power or insects!

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    This is a test to create a blog entry.

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    TeleVue Delos: 8mm, 10mm, 17.3mm

    TeleVue Nagler: 31mm T5

    TeleVue Ethos: 13mm, 21mm

    TeleVue Paracorr II


    Astrotrac Travel System


    FF/FR for ED80

    Guide Camera

    That's a lot of money!

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    Moon Man show me your Feet

    I was driving through Langholm recently and passed the Armstrong Trust museum , as I did memories flooded back.

    Picture the scene:-

    A small village in Galloway Scotland,

    Star date :- 1969

    Time :- hell knows , deep in the middle of the night.

    Mother and father lying half asleep in the sofa bed in my gran’s lounge. Me (some 45 years younger than now you’ll be please to hear) lying between them sound asleep. The old black and white TV still working away in the corner , hard to see at times but it’s the only place the ariel got a good picture.

    Suddenly I jump up and scream at the top of my 9 year old voice “ moon man show me your feet” scaring the “old yins” half to death before I plunge back into a deep sleep. The incident has been the source of amusement at family get together’s ever since. We were of course all waiting for Neil Armstrong’s historic first steps on the moon.

    Id been introduced to the night sky (I away hesitate to use the word astronomy, as it conjures up images of folks with big brains and intelligence well in advance of my own) by my grand father a couple of years earlier (in Galloway every where had a true dark sky in those days) but the Apollo program captivated me. The 1:50 scale model of the Saturn V rocket complete with command module and LEM soon took pride of place in my bedroom relegating my model Lancaster bomber and spitfire to the dusty outer reaches of the top of the wardrobe.

    Two years later when Armstrong visited his ancestral home to be awarded the freeman of the town honour the streets of the “muckle toon” were mobbed. Sadly a planned trip to see his visit failed to materialize (langholm been about as far away from me as the moon in those days) and as I get older its one of the few real regrets I have in life, not getting to see the great man himself .

    I maintained an interest , some times only passing, sometimes intense such as when Halley made its return in the 1980’s. I ve seen some amazing sights including the northern lights, comets, lunar and solar eclips and even possibly a UFO! But that an other story.

    In recent times ive got back into my hobby like never before ( the internet has a lot to answer for) got myself a brand new 8” Dob and open up even more of the deep sky . Ive managed to drag myself along the coast to the spring Galloway star party (which was freezing even in April by the way). Met some friendly folks who with out exception warmly accepted me and my better half even though im very much a part time star gazer.

    Anyway I digress, back to the present for the time being, to day I got myself a big ol pair of lined moon boots to keep my feet warn during the winters nights , so 45 years later the moon man may not have shown me his feet but ive now got a pair all of my own!

    Clear skies

  5. 01:48, new to it all and I am out in the garden waiting for a gap in the clouds - do I need professional or medical help for this new addiction?!

  6. Alf Fraser
    Latest Entry

    Did my eyes deceive me or did I see a comet tonight? Looked out of our window this evening at about 19:00 and saw what I thought must be Venus. Got the binoculars out and it appeared to me to be a comet with 2 tails, the main one with a pronounced curve. It was low down and set within about 10 mins.

    I know there is one due to be visible about now, but I haven't heard much about it recently.

    What I saw was extremely bright and if it id the expected comet, I'm very suprised I haven't heard more about it in the press.

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    Hi All

    My first entry!

    Just acquired a 12"/ 305mm skywatcher flextube with sysnscan AZ goto. Not even got to first light yet as checking out and reading manuals/ testing etc (I'm a good boy!!).

    One big query/ concern though: even when power is off (and I haven't set up the synscan yet - at least not attached to motor drive - only played with it 'off-line' in stand alone mode) when I manually push the tube for fast slew (alt or az) I hear the sound of the gears/ motors and there is resistance. In a video demo I saw the motion appeared to be more fluid (faster and no motor grinding sound). Is the motor somehow locked or is it maybe because the tube has not been 'parked' with the synscan (don 't know useage activity history of previous owner). Shouldn't I be able to push the tube around freely independent of the motor being engaged? I am reluctant to push at all at the moment for fear I'm going to bust the gearing!

    Can anyone with a sysnscan goto and dob clarify/ help?

  7. Three Weeks in the Wilderness

    Between the 9th to the 22nd of August, I was fortunate to spend almost three weeks camping with my girlfriend in the natural park of Causses du Quercy, France. It is a beautiful area of hidden caves, prehistoric artwork, gorgeous villages, mellow rivers, cool breezes and summer sun, delicious wine, cheese and paté and some of the most precious skies in Europe.



    I was fortunate enough to take along my 10" Moonshane and head out with my girlfriend to an area known as The Black Triangle. Here, at night, the only light you see is that from the stars and from the Moon.

    Nature has given us two joys to accompany us through life: the playfulness and cheer of day and the solemn and silent night. In the first of these geniuses we visited the area; strolled rustic villages, dined on five course meals, had siestas by slow rivers and took trips into the underworld, a torch lit boat ride along underground rivers filled with ancient stalactites and stalacmites, another to visit prehistoric artwork and witness mankind's lasting steps into art and creation.

    At night, armed with pencils, blending stub and sketchbook I headed out into the darkness, into that night sky bent gently over my head revealing to me its infinity of tangled curls and wonder.

    Each night was a different voyage, some predominatly amongst doubles, others with NGCs, galaxies, nebulae and clusters. Many hours were spent just sitting back, ignoring the telescope and drinking in the slendour. It is impossible to include everything, sketching is an exhausting and concentrated effort and at best I could manage an average of about two a night. Although these sketches cannot do justice to nature's sublimity, I hope they give a hint of what was witnessed.

    Here, then, I include the sketches I made of just some of Messier objects viewed and a particular NGC.

    M 2


    M 8


    M 11


    M 13


    M 15


    M 16


    M 17


    M 20


    M 21


    M 22


    M 23


    M 24


    M 26


    M 27


    M 28


    M 31, M 32, M 110


    M 33


    M 34


    M 45


    M 52


    M 57


    M 72


    M 73


    M 74


    M 75


    M 76


    M 81, M 82


    M 92


    M 101


    NGC 6960


  8. Last night and tonight I have been out with binoculars shortly after 11pm, the sun finally seems to be low enough not to wash out the milky way, helped by some cloud banks in just the right places, too.

    I was able to see the main bands of the milky way with the naked eye from my door step, though there are security lights so hiding around the corner of the garage or somewhere in the garden is best to avoid setting them off. I fancied tonight that I could just make out the faint fuzzy patch that is the Andromeda galaxy, sure enough a quick glance with binoculars confirmed this, still got it!

    Very pleased to be seeing the stars again, the summer has seen quite a few clear nights so far but it's been so light and hot I just couldn't bring myself to get out there, just to see a few of the brightest stars.

    I am considering purchasing a C6 to enable me to get the most out of my CG-4 mount, it's good with the 150P but I suspect any larger a reflector would unbalance it, a compact C6 will be close to the weight limit but at least it will be small so very easy to handle. I find the NEQ6 a daunting thought, my back aches just thinking about getting that thing out.

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    Hi all, this is my first time here and could I please have some advice. I own a celestron cpc 925 at the moment. I have been thinking about up grading for a while. Do any of you own the following scopes, Skywatcher skyliner 400p goto flextube bob or an Orion skyquest XX16 gototruss tube. I have got some great advice from Carl from scopes and space so far but need to know more before I spend my hard earned cash. What I like to know is how would the image be through them compare to my Cpc and how portable would they be? Any info would be great. Thanks again.

  9. The summer equinox has passed and people are looking forward to Star Parties. I have never been to one, don't know what to expect, have never met the participants. As a solitary observer tucked away in my small North West garden I have been happy to gaze the night skies alone (Mrs Polar Bear often pops out for high mag views of the Moon and Planets) but otherwise I enjoy my own company and get along very well with myself. So I have taken the plunge and committed to attend CSP9 oop North in Cumbria. Watching the CSP9 thread develop I noticed comforting words such as friendly, whisky, bacon butties, and with a host called delilahtwinkle what could go wrong?

    Being a tent snob, and loving Glamping my 'usual' nights out are spent in a Cabanon that is the size of a Jovian Moon and takes 2 people an hour to set up. Not ideal, so ebay to the rescue and luckily a smaller Cabanon (think Europa vs Ganymede comparison) was found just up the road from me. Sleeping will be the usual twin air bed and duvets, a single burner will suffice for snacks, unsure as to whether to take the BBQ and the fold away hanging wardrobes !

    So camping equipment sorted, onto the scope. Easy decision as I only own one (this week) so the C8 will be coming. Do you put the scopes away each day? unsure, so I found a new moped cover on the local car boot for £3.00 that will do the trick of protecting it. Red light etiquette is an unknown to me, I always observe at home amongst the fairy lights strewn around the garden. As a smoker I worry about lighters, do they affect dark adapted vision? Can I open my car door or do I need to shield the interior lights if I do? So much to learn regarding Star Party etiquette.

    I am really looking forward to it, and to meeting up with like minded individuals (whisky drinkers) :wink: