I am just about recovering from my second bout with the Covid virus so I thought I would do something vaguely astronomical which wasn't cloud dependant. We have had a lot of clouds in Lowestoft recently. I discovered a nearly completed low resolution transmission spectrometer with fixed slit in the shed which I was building some time ago for obtaining the spectrum of extended objects. Sounds very technical but as per my norm, very Valerie Singleton and Chad Valley.
Anyway somewhere in the
Bit of a delay in posting this - I'm serious considering whether or not to continue with the blog as I feel a bit conspicuous doing it!
I'm sure very few in the UK missed the clear skies over the past few days....
Got outside about 2130 - the dob had been out there a couple of hours with dust caps on cooling. It was cold and dry and still. No dew on grass or 'scope - weird.
Peeking outside just before I went out there I'd accused LSW (Long Suffering W
After a couple of months of cloud interspersed with a few short sessions with the ST80 I finally got the chance to drag the 10 inch dob outside. Goodbye tiny pretty pinprick stars, hello big fat fluffy stars but so many, many more of you. Goodbye pleasant soft circular stars towards the periphery, hello scratchy coma!
Clear Outside had been warning me about the possibility of two evenings of clear skies for a few days, so I was READY! I dropped the dob outside on the 4th whi
More than two months after my last session, I managed to get out again for a short time (just over an hour) on M42 and the surrounding area.
It's the first time this year I've looked at Orion and the first time ever with the ST80 - I didn't have the time last night to get the dob out and let it cool so I grabbed and gonned!
It was windy and 20% cloud cover when I went out, so I didn't have great expectations as to transparency or seeing but with the low magnifications of the ST80 this
Same size as earlier versions but with differences.
The outside measurements of the "box" are 740mm x 660mm x 1m high. I was using ABS when I first designed it so the box consists of an extruded aluminium frame with clear acrylic panels for use as a fume cabinet. Now I use only PLA and fume control is no longer an issue. The bed is a 500mm x 500mm x 5mm aluminium plate with a mains powered 1200W heater pad stuck to the underside. I expect printing volume to be 290mm x 290mm x 700mm high
After a frankly disappointing session with my ST80 a couple of days ago I put the question to the SGL hivemind:
I received a LOT of helpful advice (lose the contrast booster filter!) and some suggested targets to try and gain some appreciation for the poor maligned thing. As last night was promising to be mostly clear I scribbled a target list down from the suggestions and grabbed the 'scope and went outside about 2130. I synced the AZGti with SkySafari for ease of use and began straight a
Three whole weeks since the last proper session due to holidays, offspring and clouds!
Managed to get out sometime a few weeks ago to test this:
It's a 130mm F7 newt built with an SvBony metal focuser, some mirrors from Astroboot, a plastic duct pipe and some 3D printed adapters hot glued in. I've already got a 130mm F5 newt but I wanted to be able to understand the difference that a smaller primary obstruction and a longer focal length makes to viewing, particularly with regard
Day 3 of minimal sleep due to child with cough. Hey ho...
Set up and cooled for 2215 and had a quick peek at Jupiter and Saturn. Very mushy at the 6mm (200 odd) setting that did so well the night before. Decided to come back later and see if it had improved.
Hopped from Enif to M2 and this confirmed that the seeing was far worse than last night - couldn't really resolve any stars. Let's do a couple of doubles!
Struve 2848 in Pegasus:
Wide separation, split at 53x. Yellow/blue
Started around 2200 - proper dark at last. It was warm - shorts and t-shirt. No wind - total calm. The seeing was weird - wobbles due to the heat, but clear and transparent. Stars were points, not fuzz, but wobbled about. Larger convection cells or something?
4mm (317x) Nirvana misted up in seconds - not impressed! May have been caught by dew - grass was wet. Put it in my pocket to warm up. Backed off the mag and tried the zoom at 8mm (159x) but the seeing wasn't great. A ban
The weather continues to be very unfavorable for astronomy, so I continue to play in my 'shed of delights'. I have addressed some of the issues associated with using a 500 line diffraction grating as a simple filter cell. I did not want to permanently adapt my QHY5-11 camera for spectroscopy and so designed a 3d printed block to allow it to be brought very close to the imaging chip at the optimum angle for a first order spectrum at 550nm. This appears to have minimised 'fish tailing' of the spe
First session for 12 days. A short one because I could see clouds slowly approaching and the moon would be up shortly (but not visible from my garden).
Set the telescope up far earlier than last time and allowed it to cool with the covers on. As it was still nice and light I attached the latest version of the encoder mount and zip tied the processor and power supply to it. I set up at the south south west end of the garden with the intention of looking at some doubles near and in Cassiopeia
I saw the CO was showing green for a few hours around 2300 - so took the dob and the st80 on the Azgti outside around then. I first tried the lightweight travel tripod with the st80 but the altitude clutch couldn't hold the weight - either need a new head or print a counterweight holder.
Set up the st80 on the Azgti while the dob cooled. Still running it off the broken AGM battery I took off a bike - nice boat anchor for additional tripod stability! Must print a holder for it to hang undern
I am a hoarder so never throw away stuff that might come in useful. Being a tad environmental I try to re-purpose, re-engineer and re-use old kit that I purchased back in the day when I was gainfully employed. My old pre digital SLR lenses were first connected to my DSLR with a shiny new adaptor but then fell into disuse when I realised my EOS lenses performed better.
Now retired, with more time and reduced cashflow, I decided that rather than modding my DSLR, if I could attach my old
This has been a long time in gestation - first I built the 3d printer from a kit my son gave me for Christmas 2018, then I had to pluck up the courage to turn it on. The whirring and flashing lights are all a bit much for a man more accustomed to using Crayola 'chubby' crayons than digital vernier calipers. Then I had to get my head round Sketch-Up, Netfabb, Repetier Host , Slicer3 and how to stop molten filament from blocking up a very small hole in a very hot bit of metal.
In my shed I
Last weekend I got the idea into my head that a more permanent setup would allow me to resurrect my interest in EAA. Eventually I realised that I didn’t have room in my garden for a useable observatory, so I started to look at options for outdoor semi-permanent piers. After looking at £500 steel options I came across the DIY “Tod” pier, as championed by @Peter Drew, which utilises two hollow concrete blocks - an excellent invention! Excited at the design, I spent the weekend looking at what el
My neighbours moved out the day before yesterday. Great, I thought, I might get some darkness before the next neighbours move in. Unfortunately they have left their bathroom light on! Typical. I have no idea when the new neighbours are moving in. 😩
So, at the start of January I was once again placed onto Furlough. Working as I do for Greene King Pub Company, it seemed inevitable! This time, for Lockdown 3.0, Greene King have really gone to town, with nearly 90% of the workforce on furlough. But this time of years is usually our quietest, so it makes sense I suppose. I work on the wider IT department (field based), and deal with pub refurbs and all that's shut down for now. I'm part of the 'start up' team, so when we get the no
I'm coming back to this project after a rather long break so decided to start a new Blog as this is a new start. The design spec is rather different. No moon dial and no perpetual calendar as that proved too cluttered. I hope to have a striking mechanism. Also, I'm hoping to arrange something to make the clock keep good time. As before I shall have automatic winding but automatic precise time-keeping would be nice. I don't think that's cheating as this is already quite far away from a stan
Some artwork for you with a 'spacey' theme. This time from one of the UK's favourite artists, although not my cup of tea to be honest.
Here we have three cold cast sculptures: "Its Good to be Bad', 'Catch a FallingStar' and 'Space Cadets'.
Something I really wanted... but was out-bid !
A vintage lunar crater glass paperweight. "What was I going to do with it?" asked the wife.... no idea, but it looked great!
The explanation of the design - why I posted it here!
Found this young chap looking out at me from a mixed bag of old black and white press photographs.
Recognise him... sans monocle..!
A Hermes silk scarf, decorated with signs of the Zodiac. 88cm square. Estimate £140-160