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  1. Ttyttt

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  2. furrysocks
    Latest Entry

    Folks,

    If you've been reading this blog, I hope you've enjoyed at least some of it. I'm going to stop, now. I should be completing and painting the dobs mount later tonight and expecting first light at some point over the weekend. I'll post a first light report and some field photos on the forum, instead.

    It's been both frustrating and fun, and I accept that it may not be perfect first time - balance, vibration, etc... - but it should at least hold together! ;) Like many DIY scopes, it may never be finished.

    I had a jumble of ideas to begin with, most of the tools and half the skills required. I changed my mind many times and rushed a lot of it. Too many late nights, too much effort. A lot of money spent, too. But it's got me out the house and back in the workshop, using old tools, new materials, thinking, planning, etc... and I get a scope out of it at the end. :D

    Clear skies,

    Matt.

  3. Drove home with the hope of a clear sunset to see PANSTARRS but a blizzard soon put paid to that.....

    However, a beautiful clear evening developed and I got set for an hour and a half from 9pm. I had struggled to star hop last time out but had read an excellent article by EntropyStar showing how to use Stellarium to its full capacity.

    Started with Orion and could actually make out a very faint nebulosity with averted vision which was fantastic to see. Next up was a hop to M31 which I had failed to find last time but did so easily with my new method - just a pity some cloud came in just at that point!!

    Next was Jupiter and 3 moons clearly visible - Ganymede at 10.30; Europa and Callista at 4.30. Will I ever get to see all four at once with my bins I wonder?

    I had previously struggled with the double cluster (NGC 869 & 884) but again easily tracked them down but could not resolve many individual stars.

    Auriga was next up and the 3 Messier open clusters (M36, M37 & M38). First M36 which was just visible direct but better averted, then M38 which was very faint with averted but definitely there and finally M37 which was faint with averted but I definitely found all three - amazing!!

    After that a quick wander passed Pleiades - ever beautiful - and thought I would have a look at Polaris. It seemed to be a double but not sure if that was just me at the end of an exciting session seeing more than I think?

    Have to say at this point that the temptation of a scope is almost becoming painful. The thought of tracking down these clusters with something more powerful is, well, rather powerful...!!

  4. ian_d
    Latest Entry

    Well hooray! Managed to get a look at Comet PanSTARRS this evening, with 10x50 binoculars, at about 6.45pm - just before the clouds got in the way. Very nice it was too - looked great against the twilight background, with the tail clearly visible and a pretty bright coma.

    Glad I caught it this evening, because the weather prospects look rubbish for the next few days.

    That's the first comet I've seen since 17P/Holmes a few years ago, and the only naked eye one since Hale-Bopp. It's no HB mind - but pretty awesome all the same.

    :laugh:

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    perks2008
    Latest Entry

    Hi its perks again , just seen my very first nebulae the greatOrion nebulae happy days , could really see it well with the 25ep thats my first messier ov many I hope 8) loving astronomy with my 200p

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    Planetary Geologist
    Latest Entry

    Hi all,

    Using the 150pl the Moon's detail was very crisp. With just the 25mm the craters were sharp, but with the 2X barlow the peaks with in the impact crater were seen with clarity. A lovely sight!

    Hoping for clear skies,

    PG.

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    Well today I finally ordered my 200p. However there is no stock until the end of the week! :(

    Looks like I won't have it until this time next week earliest now. Oh well, the forecast spells clouds for the next few days so i'm not missing much...

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    Yesterday was alright weather-wise, threat of clouds and mist not far away. Today it has been the clearest sunshine I've seen for what seems like many months. 2012 was just wall to wall cloud and rain, the start of 2013 has not been much better, but hopefully the weather patterns are now changing for spring now that it's mid-February.

    I had a few hours outside with the Lunt LS60 today, enjoyed using my telescope and seeing the sun, even if there was a bit of a thin cloud streak (probably from multiple high-altitude vapor trails) obscuring it. The view through the eyepiece on the Lunt LS60 showed the sun surrounded by a dim red glow, but with a bit of tuning and focusing the prominences and filaments were all there to see, and quite clear too so the seeing must be good.

    There were two main prominences on the top part (as seen through the eyepiece), one seemed to be the tail end of something that was just lingering in space, the other was quite a beefy looking blast with plenty of matter visible. Both of these didn't appear to change much at all over the period of about two hours as I observed on and off while pottering around in the sunshine.

    A very large, long filament stretched from around the centre towards the upper limb.

    Just as a side note regarding glasses, I have recently got reactions fitted to my main pair and soon realised that these and solar observing don't mix very well (sitting outdoors when the sun is out tends to turn them dark!), I thought I would be able to use my old glasses which are still close enough to my current prescription, but discovered it's actually much better to just go without glasses at all and focus to my eye. My sight is not too bad without glasses anyway, I only need them for distance, so this works well. I suspect this works much better than for night time observing as it's a different type of image I'm viewing, but I will have to try it out again the next time I'm out on a clear night.

    A good session all-round which makes me feel like I'm getting the most out of my investment.

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    At last the heavens have opened and the stars are burning bright in their lofty domains. I am unprepared so I will use my trusty little ETX70 and head out to the back garden. I will report my experience later....

    blogentry-28823-0-91101400-1361065237_th

  5. Well, last night turned out to be a nice little outing with the scope. I was hoping to see Asteroid 2012 DA14 but this, as for many people, was not to be. However, I did get to see a few of the objects that I've looked at on my last 3 outings.

    The Moon - Only my second go at The Moon and even more successful than my first attempt. The disk was a little more illuminated than it was the previous time and also a little higher in the sky. The terminator displayed some dramatic chiaroscuro, with the craters appearing beautifully three dimensional. I managed to view at 60x 150x and 300x magnification. The most satisfactory results were with the 10mm eyepiece (150x mag.). The poor quality of the Barlow really showed up at the higher magnifications, although I did manage to achieve acceptable focus. I really must take a copy of the Lunar 100 out with me next time, this will give me something to do rather than just scanning the surface.

    Jupiter - Pretty much the same as last time I viewed. Managed to make out the bands clearly with the 10mm eyepiece. When pushed to 300x with the Barlow, the view softened somewhat, but I was able to make out a small back dot which I assume was the shadow of one of its moons.

    M42 - I still can't seem to resolve much more than the core on this one. I didn't think my skies were massively light polluted (they're certainly not of rural quality though) but what I did mange to do was make out the trapezium very clearly and it was one of those real Aha! moments, when you go from a slight uncertainty as to whether you're looking at the right things to thinking "How on Earth did I miss that?!".

    M45 - This is a binocular one for me. Really beautiful, if a little unsteady in my novice grip.

    Other than that, I'm continuing to add to the number of constellations I can name without the help of a sky chart. I've got Orion, Gemini, Cassiopeia, Auriga (which I can always spot because of the "rocketship" blasting off from it), Ursa Major and Leo. I've almost worked out Perseus (at least I know where it is), Taurus always seems too faint for me to pick it out, as does Ursa Minor. I'll keep looking and figuring them out. The recognition of the night sky is a really lovely feeling.

    I think going forward, I need to start planning ahead a little more and setting myself some goals. It's nice getting more and more familiar with the same objects, but equally it would be nice to extend my range a little.

    All in all an enjoyable couple of hours out and fingers crossed for some more clear skies tonight.

    James

  6. Length Contraction

    Just as in the previous post where we found out that time is dependent on the relative speed of an observer it is also true for length.

    Consider the experiment in post 2 where you are on a space station and a space ship flies past. Now have the experiment on the ship carried out in a way so that the flash of light sent out is in the direction of motion of the passing space ship. So now we have a flash of light sent out and reflected back to the source by a mirror.

    Let’s define some events

    The light travels from the source to the mirror a total distance of (L) which we can write as ( C ) the speed of light times the time taken. (CT)

    On the space station we measure the light travelled a distance of L plus the distance the ship has travelled which is the time taken for the light to reach the mirror times the speed of the spaceship so the distance is (L)+(U)(T), where (U) is the speed of the ship and (T) is the time taken.

    So we now have (L)+(U)(T)= (CT) with a little bit of maths this can be expressed as (T)= (L)/( C )-(U) (just re-arraging equation)

    Working out for the return trip of the flash of light in the same way we get (T2) = (L)/( C )+(U)

    Now the total time taken would be (T) time of light to the mirror plus (T2) the return journey, which is (L)/( C )-(U) plus (L)/( C )+(U) = total time = (2L)/( C )(1-(U2)/( C2 ))

    If you look closely this looks familiar to 1/square root (1-(U2)/( C2 ) , what we defined to be gamma. So if we multiply both sides we get the change in time divided by gamma = (2L)/( C )

    Some more maths of combining previous equations we get an expression for length contraction

    Where length measured from the reference frame of an observer on the space station is the proper length divided by gamma.

    Example

    Superman is a handsome 2 meters tall and towers over me by only 1 inch (that 1 inch makes all the difference). As I am setting my telescope up for a good night viewing I see superman fly past at 0.99( C ). Using the equation from above for length contraction

    Gamma = 1/square root (1-(0.99C)/( C )) = 7.1

    Height of superman 2 meters divided by gamma 7.1 we get 0.282 meters (Hmmm not so big now are we)

    Summary

    We have found that time and length are both dependent on the relative speed of the inertial reference frame but are there any quantities that are independent of the reference frame. The answer is yes the speed of light is independent it is constant in every reference frame.

    After thought

    Time dilation and length contraction both use the fact that the speed of light is 299 792 458 m / s, that nothing can travel faster than light and that the speed of light is the same in all inertial reference frames. I have only being told these facts so I was wondering if anybody knows of any experiments that have been carried out or observations to validate these claims.

  7. Feels like an age since I last went out for a proper look (not just out of the window). After recent snow, thaw, and now very strong winds and rain today, I wasn't expecting to be going out tonight but as the skies cleared just as the sun was setting I had a feeling it might be worth my while, and it was.

    I went out with the binoculars and SkyScout as there was still a breeze and a few gusts. Very cold, and the wind, although not bitterly cold, just made it that bit colder.

    I went through Tonight's Highlights on the SkyScout, listening to the audio descriptions as I went, with binoculars to hand for a closer look.

    Orion and the Orion nebula were very clear and nice to see, Betelguise too was looking bright and very red, I managed to find the Andromeda Galaxy, not much more than a faint smudge in the west right now, Castor and Pollux, Taurus, and Sirius too (which I mistook for Saturn to begin with). Jupiter and moons were high up in the sky, close to the Pleiades.

    To finish off the evening I wandered up the garden a bit to get a glimpse of the rising moon between some trees, a very nice sight - rather yellow looking and on its side (compared to the usual view, which would be much higher up in the sky).

    With the moon rising and the temperature dropping, I declared it a fun evening and time to come inside to get warmed up!

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    hey guys i've had a Nexstar 4se for a little while now and I have a few questions. ok. so i was an idiot a couple years ago (mind you i'm only 14) and i made some pretty bad purchases. before i knew a telescopes magnification was determined by DIVIDING the telescope focal length by the eyepiece focal length, I thought eyepieces with larger focal lengths would give me more magnification. so, as one can imagine, I convinced my dad to get me a 40mm plossl eyepiece thinking it would offer almost twice the magnification. so now 3 years later, I have some extra christmas money, and I was thinking about getting some new accessories. luckily I am no longer an idiot, and this time i did a great thing called research. I found the sweet spot for my scope is around 12mm. I belong to an astronomy club, and the guys there also told me i could push my scope to a 12mm. so my question is, for my my type of viewing (no astrophotography) does it matter what type of 12mm eyepiece i get? I usually like sticking to celestron, (nostalgia, i guess) and the question is whether to get a 12mm omni (23 dollars) or a 12mm X-cel LX (72 dollars). i have 150 dollars, so price is not an issue. any suggestions? Also, after reading about how planetary filters are total Rubbish, I started getting interested in solar filters. Celestron also sells a solar telescope for 70 dollars, but after looking on amazon, i found a few solar filters (good internet reviews of course) for 4 inch scopes such as mine. look, I know i'm a little late for the venus transit, but still, i think it would be interesting to observe our home star for a change, especially during its activity peak. anyways, the question is whether to simply buy a safe filter (another question: are they 100% safe?...) off amazon or ebay, or just go ahead and buy a whole new scope. suggestions would be appreciated. my final question is about barlow lenses. look. I know barlows are all about preference, so you don't have to preach to me about how its my decision entirely. in fact, one of my idiotic purchases a few years ago was a barlow lens. I know a barlow will give me a huge image of m42, but is that at the cost of horrible resolution? in other words, barlow lenses will give you a larger image, but is the cost of that larger image a more blurry view?

    Thanks a lot, papak

    p.s. please do not comment with "i think's" and "i'm pretty sure's", and most definitely use proper grammar. I want descriptive information from people who are at least literate, and know what they are talking about.

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    blog-0393391001358947592.jpghi guys how would i go about setting up a web cam 2 my skyliner 2oop dob would i just av 2 hold it 2 the ep or bye a conecter or somthing thanks
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    blog-0192740001358946855.jpghi there ive got a skyliner 200p dob ,at the moment im just getting the 3 bands of jupiter would it be possible 2 get more detail ,an of the red spot with this scope if i upgrade my ep's thanks peeps.
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    Hi and good evening to everyone.

    I have searched and searched and can't find what I am looking for....... even at the Arizona Sky Village.

    It is very frustrating to join clubs who meet only once a month and it is not quite the same to "meet" on line.

    I have just come back to the UK and live in Eastbourne.

    Is there any mileage in thinking that amateur astronomers could get together and actually form an astronomy village ? mixing astronomy, cosmology, astrophotography, radio astronomy.........

    People want to down size, people are single, people loose a partner, there are several reasons why likeminded people could live together. Why should everyone stay in his /her little lonely corner ?

    How fantastic it would be to have a cohousing community dedicated to astronomy.

    Civilised living with privacy guaranteed but sharing knowledge, information, tools, equipment, resources on a daily basis and the brilliant opportunity as a group to join an active international astronomy research project.

    Is it really Utopia ?

    Forming an initial group would be a start. Anyone who is ineterested please do get in touch.

    Best wishes for a great 2013

    Avionna

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    Beginner Astronomer
    Latest Entry

    I am new to astronomy and i have been looking at telescopes for a while now and need a bit of help. Would prefer to get an 8" reflector telescope by dobsonian.

    I have around £300-£500 and was thinking about getting the Skyquest xt8 but then found the sky-Watcher 200p possibly with motorised mount and tracking but that is when i need the help.

    Much appreciated.

  8. After nights of cloud and rain, boredom and desire to improve on my set-up, I started going through the classifieds, astrobuysell and preloved for a bargain EQ3-2 mount, to compliment my refractor. After seeing that they are £170 brand new for that price, I could get a whole newtonian set-up of decent aperture second hand.

    And so, I now have my eye on a couple of SkyWatcher 150mm on EQ5 or better ads. Coincidentally, I have noticed a hell of an influx of RAW newbies enquiring about first time scope set-ups (must be the Cox effect lol!), and to my surprise, a fair few of them are either going for the 150, or a 200 - just what I'm looking at for a step up second scope (makes me feel a bit sad and stupid).

    Its quite interesting having new newbies (ha!) asking my opinion on scopes for their first time that I want as my second! I have even gone so far as to give someone my shopping list because they are going to go for the same set-up, could be interesting to compare first lights, if they do get the same scope and mount!

    So, payday is coming ever closer, still no clear nights for going out with my camera or scope, and that frustration itself, is making me chomp at the bit even more to get my hands on a bigger, more capable scope than my beloved 90mm refractor. Patience Natalie, patience.

    So, I have decided to take the plunge, and shall be the proud owner of a Helios (which I believe is what SkyWatcher used to be called) 150mm reflector on a EQ5 mount for £200 in a fortnight. Plus £55 (including VAT) for a collection from the lovely lady in Hastings via Parcelforce, and then I can my paws on my new toy. I will be buying the dual motor drive for the mount for £90, and a polar scope for £32, and I'll be readily armed for combat!

    After those purchases, I'm thinking of buying a Skywatcher LPR filter, Cheshire collimator, Photoshop or similar software, a celestron powertank (for laptop, phone and charging camera batteries whilst out observing) and might get a second flight case for the reflector eyepieces and collimator, as my current one is rather chok a blok.

    My poor bank balance......

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    Here's something I've been meaning to do for ages but never got off my back side to do... a simple dew shield for my 9x50 Finder, which has a nasty habit of dewing up despite the dew heater tape I treated it to.

    I used some of that 5mm foam card available from those cheap crafty shops such as The Works, and some self-adhesive Velcro tape.

    Have not tested it yet in the field, but can't see why it shouldn't help at least.

    file-3.jpg

    file-4.jpg

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    Here's the HA image from the 1st of Jan, only an hour of data so not the best but considering M42 was less than 10 degrees from a sodium streetlight I'm pleased with it. I must do a couple of wideangle comparision shots with and without a HA filter including the streetlamp.

    Mel

    blogentry-4305-0-75872100-1357413443_thu

  9. Matt turned up around seven as I was setting up the frac on the goto. Conditions had faded a little from my first hour out with the dob but but with exception to the clouds that were troubling our northern horizon and some thin stuff coming up towards the zenith the rest of the sky was in pretty decent shape for most of the evening.

    By the time we were both set up we had a pleasant little triangle of 3 scopes. This was the first time I had been out to my dark site for a while and a good reminder as to why it is worth the effort, even just to be there with a chair and some bins would bring a smile to the face. The more I read on SGL about some of the lousy light polluted skies many people here have to endure the more I feel lucky to live out in this Shire. I had no particular plan other than to do whatever came to mind as and when and just enjoy the night.

    It was good to feel like there was time to have a bit of a play, mostly of late it has felt like a race to get a bit of viewing in. I got the camera out to take acouple of pics. 30secs @ 1600.

    blogentry-13491-0-95618100-1357402868_th

    This is a single 30 sec 1600 of Orion and Sirius...

    blogentry-13491-0-66007800-1357403327_th

    I was keen to see what Lara (Lara is my new sexy Lyra Optic frac) would make of M42. It was close to three quarters of the field with the 25mm ep and again, this 4" frac comes up and gives me another surprise. It just shows how much is gained though when you only have to put up with a little LP. On good nights here I can eyeball mag 6 stars.

    I did a quick split on Rigel and found it to be a nice double and I'm starting to realise there will be a lot of fun had on splitting doubles.

    Matt was bagging new Messiers on the southern horizon and with his telrad and finder maps he pretty much gave me a lesson in how to do it, boy is he efficient with one of those. I really must get myself one for the newt now I'm dobbing, it is the first time I have seen one used by the accomplished and they are an impressive tool.

    We managed a few Messiers on the southern horizon, 41, 46, 47, 48, 50 and 93 which was very faint but M79 was not going to reveal itself. I did wonder weather I may have caught a hint but I don't feel it was enough to be confident of a true hit. Such a busy area of sky, how nice it must be to live a few hundred miles further south to get some more of that (looks up at ceiling to dream of lottery win, looks back at keyboard and thinks you'll need to start doing it first).

    A very much needed tea break to wipe and blow dry the scopes. Dew was quite a big problem most of the night on ep's and I found my pocket rotation system to be far more effective than Matt's method, whatever it wasn't... :p We had a good night and just as we were packing away the moon broke the cloud low on the horizon like a red neon light. I quickly got the zoom lens out but by the time I'd switched the dovetail plates and messed with sorting exposures I felt I'd missed the best part.... But we had a grand night out..

    blogentry-13491-0-03106300-1357418504_th

    Here is the difference of a shot of Orion taken from my little back garden with the same settings that I used last night for the earlier pic.. :D

    blogentry-13491-0-61840200-1357422954_th

  10. blog-0220676001357191124.jpgNew Year's Eve 2012, was chilly around 2 degrees C. But the skies were improving and Jupiter was shining through the thin cloud cover.

    I had just picked up a 'Celestron Neximage 5' and was hoping it would clear enough to give it a run.

    I set up the CGEM and put the C9.25 on board. Jupiter was in and out the clouds as I hooked up the Neximage.

    Flashback

    About 2 years ago I was imaging with a pocket digital camera (a Pentax Optio E30). I had surprisingly good results from this non astro camera.

    But eventually I seemed to hit a barrier on improvements. The images were noisy and I couldn't get past a certain level.

    I figured when I upgraded my DSLR to one that shoots video, the better chip would be lower noise and higher quality and would take me to the next level.

    Survey says XX.

    It just didn't turn out that way. The images seemed to have almost no colour and were not even quite as good as those from the $150 Pentax.

    The cost of a real planet camera was out of reach, so I fell away from it. Recently observing Jupiter I decided I needed to try imaging again.

    I decided to try a planet camera instead of messing around with not astro cameras. I still can't justify the money for a high end camera, but saw the Celestron Neximage 5 - a 5 MegaPixel Planet Camera. I reasoned if this can improve my imaging over the other cameras, the next step will be a monochrome cooled camera.

    I'm not expecting brilliant results, but do hope to see an improvement over previous efforts.

    Back to New Year's Eve

    I removed the eyepiece and put the Neximage 5 in its place. On the computer I could see Jupiter a s a large cloud, I refocused and it was just a few turns of the stock focuser to bring Jupiter to focus. Jupiter was still facing in and out of the clouds. I hit the record button quick to at least capture a few frames.

    I changed the resolution up to 2592 x 1944 and Jupiter looked huge on screen. Over the next two hours I captured about 20 video clips of Jupiter.

    I twice put the camera away only to be wowed visually and sparked into taking more video. However, later all the videos turned out to be low resolution.

    I had tried many different resolution settings on-screen but they had all come out at low res!

    Meanwhile back at the scope, I decided to bring out the new 10" Lightbridge. I recently sold my 6" Explore Scientific Refractor and picked up a Lightbridge.

    I used a 5mm 2" Ultima LX eyepiece for 255x on the Lightbridge. The view was excellent, Jupiter was crisp and 5 belts were visible. As far as I could tell there was no GRS or other large features on the nearside of Jupiter. I compared the view in the 10" Lightbridge with the 9.25" SCT. The view looked the same to me, I couldn't really see any difference - I was using 184 x (13mm Ultima 2") in the SCT.

    I decided to look for Comet 2012 K5/Linear. I googled the coordinates and punched them into the CGEM Handcontroller. I slewed there and hunted around for a few minutes. Then just below two faint stars there it was - a small but distinct cloud. I observed it for a few minutes before moving back to Jupiter.

    I tried an OIII filter in the Lightbride to look at The Orion Nebula. The Trapezium almost disappeared, but the nebula eppeared larger and more extended.

  11. Clear skies were forecast for most of the night so I decided to give the 150P a go at the telescope targets (which I failed to get anywhere with using the ST80, that was mostly due to a bad night though).

    Found the first target, the Crab Nebula (M1), something I had not seen before. Not brilliant seeing conditions, on a better night may even be able to make out some structure, but tonight it just looked like a grey blob.

    Other highlights of the night include my first sighting of the Great Red Spot - evident as a pale gap in the upper cloud belt (as seen in the telescope). It was at the correct time for the spot to be visible so I assumed this was it, as it is not red at the moment.

    Also managed to get decent views of the Orion Nebular, the Fish's Mouth and Trapezium stars, although could not focus fully using the 5mm due to seeing conditions.

    Tried for the Owl cluster but the clouds were already rolling in and seeing conditions had taken a dive. Jupiter had a big halo around it and my optics were dewing up (even my glasses).

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    blog-0752110001357071306.jpgHere is today's entry for now...

    Yes same here.

    Been out with my 10x50 bins and just come in for a while to warm up.

    From my balcony:

    M15, M32, M33, M42 and M45 of course - my goodness, almost one twentieth of a Messier marathon! ...

    couldn't quite see M2 because she was too low in the horizon.

    When my fingers warm up I'll see if I can add to the list.

    Wait this should be in my New Year's Resolution blog!

    Tony

    Saw Jupiter and all four moons, of course.

    Source: A New Year and clear skies!

  12. Hi , ive just purchased a jkm holmes moonscope, i know nothing about it and wondered if anyone out there could give me some information on this scope i believe its 1900 to 1940 its in what looks original condition ( very old ) temped to try and restore it but worried about spoiling it,, has anyone any idea how much something like this would be worth, in its original condtition, many thanks Mark