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  1. Past hour
  2. ZWO1600MM-Cool & Camera Lenses

    Thanks, that's what I thought but it's good to hear from users already using such a set up.
  3. The EQ3 DSO Challenge

    Thursday nights Double Cluster, always a great target. Managing to get 45 sec exposures regularly now, will work on pushing thatvto 60 sec next time out. This is 35 x 45 sec ISO 800 plus darks and bias. May add flats later and reprocess.
  4. Vixen LVW 30mm vs Panoptic 27mm

    Looks great and another tick in your LVW quest. This particular eye cup annoys the hell out of me and therefore would be rejected, however good the eyepiece was. I sold on my SLV’s due to the same eye cup type, not due to performance, shame as Vixen make and made great kit.
  5. Canon vs Nikon

    Hi guys. I'm wondering which is the best for AP. Canon or Nikon? I have a budget of around £370 and second hand is fine. Canon seens to be more popular but I've read that the CMOS sensor in some Nikon midels is better and actually used in some CCD cameras. I've been looking at a second hand moddes 600d. Thoughts please.
  6. Roll-off roof OBS using Off the peg Shed

    Over 6 years now and absolutely no problems with the wheels. They don't run on a track, they just run along the top of the wood with a wooded guard rail on the outside of each side (as shown on the photo) to keep it on track. However, bear in mind that I have a lightweight metal roof. This simple system may not work very well with a heavy wooden roof and I doubt would work if you wanted to motorise the roof.
  7. National Forest Star Party ,November 2017.

    Looks lovely Nick!
  8. what is it

    believe rigel
  9. National Forest Star Party ,November 2017.

    Superb clear and dark night , great company , we are really enjoying the site and sights. First to set up as usual ! Mind you , it's only 3 miles away ! Nick.
  10. Nice deep sky session tonight

    Liver won't take it these days..... I've looked many times, but it was the first time I've really convinced myself I've seen it - not very impressive though really compared with a globular cluster or the MW on a good night!. The seeing was poor, but the transparency really excellent and Orion in my darkest area of sky. Chris
  11. Hi Zauriel, What kind of scope do you have? If it has an Equatorial mount you will need to know how to set this up. First things first though, make sure your finderscope is aligned with the scope. Point the scope at a distant target like a church spire or aerial a mile or so away and align the finder. This makes life a lot easier at night. Basics..... the eye pieces you have will be marked with a number. This is the focal length of the eyepiece and the larger the number, the lower magnification it will give and the wider field of view. So, start off with your lower power as this makes finding targets easier. The easiest target to start with, and to show your son, is the moon. This is the brightest, highest contrast object out there and showing your son the craters on it will hopefully capture his imagination. It is best seen when at a partial phase because then the shadow line between illuminated and dark area of the surface (called the terminator) creates long shadows and the craters and mountains are much more easily seen. There is a free program called Stellarium which you can load onto a pc or mobile which will help you learn the sky and tonkniw where to find objects.
  12. I’m new too! I’ve dragged the kids out too many times now! It took me a while to reconcile the expectation with what I was actually seeing which at first sight was underwhelming. I found learning about the targets was really useful in helping understanding what I saw. For me the children friendliest targets are definitely the moon, Jupiter, saturn, mars in that order. Jupiter is a big favourite especially around 75-100x as you can start to see some colour. My kids aren’t that fussed but I managed to get four 13 year olds to stop watching fast and furious and come outside to queue at the eyepiece for Jupiter so must be fairly popular! M45 the Pleiades is also popular and M13 although that’s gone now I think for a while. Personally I like to browse TLAO, or whatever is to hand, pick two or three new targets only and bookmark them well ahead or time and then devote an evening to them. If I find them I force myself to stay with them for at least 15mins as it takes that long for me to really “see” the target and absorb it properly. Then I always do a quick sketch and report - this really helps reinforce what I’ve seen (I’m no artist but that doesn’t matter), If I have any time after that I’ll look at an old favourite so you always finish on a high!
  13. How old is your son? I agree, if he's really young, he might get bored or frustrated while you're figuring out how to use the telescope, but once you get accustomed to setting it up , pointing, and focusing, then it can become a common goal to find objects to look at, and you can both learn together. A good book or some guide to celestial objects can help with the decision of what to look at on a given night, plus educate you about what you're looking at. If you haven't discovered it yet, Stellarium is an excellent computer program to add (it's free). It's a virtual sky, and when you go to it, it shows the sky as you see it in your back yard, so the stars and constellations will be in familiar places. It's also great for those cloudy nights, or rainy days, when you want to look at things and can't go outside. You can go forward or backward in time, so daytime viewing can be for that night's sky. Just take your time, it will all come together. Skywatching truly is an adventure.
  14. Any suggestions for targets?

    Thanks everyone - looks like if I wait until about 10pm then Cassiopeia and Perseus swing round enough for me to get them and there seems to be a huge amount of juicy stuff in that area! pleiades popped over the roof of the house too about 11pm, I’ve only viewed it through A Mak so seeing it in the 15x70s was a revelation! weather was forecast for clear last night but was only getting 10 min gaps in the cloud.
  15. Today
  16. what is it

    ... or a space ship. If it turns out to be alien invasion I want it stated for the record I called it first! ha ha, was there condensation anywhere in your system? That’s a killer for me, also really bright stars seem to upset my binoculars and do that sometimes too. All part of the fun - can you remember what star it was? i find the eyepieces on my binoculars get really smudgy quite quickly, a good (but gentle) clean works wonders!
  17. Glad it worked well for you Alan. Having seen Mike's post I may try something similar for my Tak, just to see. @paulastro how do you find the Vixen GP in alt az mode?
  18. No dew heater tapes in use? Your thought please

    Guys, thank you. To report back I have used dew heaters for the last year, stupidly I did not try an extended shield, which would have been easier and far cheaper! Last night had a clear sky so ventured out naked, yes my scope was fully naked. No not myself! Thank goodness for that I hear you say. The finder dewed a little but because I left the caps off, so my power free session was rather refreshingly simple. It truly became power free when the battery in my torch died as I packed up, just when needed as I have to navigate some steps back to the house, which added to the fun. So can you observe ok without dew shields, well no, can you observe without dew heaters, too right you can. This stepping back to simples is being rather a lot of fun, try it.
  19. Arduino Ascom focuser Mark2

    Yes I've already got everything figured out, just need to clean up the code. The nema17 gets very hot even being driven at low currents, I'm going to stick a heat sink on it which should fix everything up. Apparently stepper motors just run hot sometimes when they get pushed hard. Atm the pressure plate for my crayford focuser just has a 3D printed replacement in there that lets me use the nema17 with a 4-6mm shaft adaptor. It pulls alright straight vertical with canon 70D on the back which is more weight than most setups. Unfortunately the plastic part has already cracked but the end plan was to get it cnc'd in billet aluminum if it looked all good anyway (which it does) I've looked at R Brown's stuff overkill for me atm but maybe in the future. Also the easy driver is much more simple to run from the arduino then other stepper drivers, it also can do 1/8th steps by using some trickery but at the cost of less torque etc... I need to play around with the different precision settings more see what works best for focusing, might set it up so it does low precision when it has to move a longer distance. You can read more about the easy driver here: http://www.schmalzhaus.com/EasyDriver/ Also I ran my 28byj-48 stepper at 12v but it didn't really help, one thing that made stuff worse was the fact that I wasn't directly driving the stepper shaft like I am now.
  20. the Trapezium in M42

    I got my first Orion last night while christening the 10mm XW and with my ed80 could not resolve the e or f, but I never have from my home location fully even with the ed100. Seeing was so so last night so not the night for achieving this challenge, but the 10mm XW produced a real inky sky that I have not achieved before.
  21. Hi SGL, as I'm sure you can tell from the title I'm about to attempt my first look through a scope I plan on doing this on my own my son wants to come but seeing as its the first time and kids being kids the dad I'm bored, dad there's nothing to see can get rather tedious for both father and son and that in there lies the problem being a complete newbie to this and not knowing what, where or even how to find anything ( have just started reading turn left at orion this week ) can anyone suggest some basic guidelines to follow that will serve me well, I'm sure once I've had a few outings and seen at least something learnt how to use a scope etc. having my son along to experience it will be worth the wait not just for him but for me to see and hear his reaction.
  22. Beginner astrophotography

    All the points below are well considered. Especially the flip-out screen if you decide to image with a DSLR; either that, or get an HDMI cable (if the camera is so equipped), and run it to your laptop, and use the laptop screen as your monitor. The larger image will assist with good focusing, too. Imaging objects at prime focus make seeing the camera's view screen difficult to impossible if the object is directly overhead; however, I find that prime through a diagonal is possible and works well for overhead objects. I'm also a newbie at AP. I have yet to do any image stacking and processing, but have gotten some passable single-image pictures of various DSO's. My goal with them is to see the combinations of ISO and exposure times and what seems to work best. I'm using an entry-level DSLR, a Nikon D3400, and I'm imaging through an Edge HD 8", and a C6 SCT with a .63 reducer/field flattener. I'll be able to widen my 8" in another week, as I have a 0.7 reducer on the way for it. Some DSO's will easily fit in the narrower field of an F/10 scope, but exposure times will benefit greatly (shorter) from a wider field - faster f/ ratio telescope. Don't let anyone deter you from learning with an SCT, it IS possible, and I've not found it to be that difficult, with the proviso's that you need a good mount and even better tracking. My mount is a Celestron AVX, and I've found it to be excellent so far; with a painstaking polar alignment, and then a two star alignment with two calibration stars, I can generally get my desired object in the FOV using the Go-To. Sometimes the object is dim enough that it doesn't show in the camera's view screen, so I have to take on faith it's there, shoot a short test shot to make sure it's there and to check focus (I'll aim first at a bright star, focus with a Bahtinov mask, then skew to the object I want to photograph), and shoot several images at different exposure times and ISO combinations, then take the best shots and do some adjustments on the computer when I download them. As for an intervalometer, sure, get one, but I use a remote shutter release and a stopwatch, set my camera to manual and Bulb; I use ISO's from 1600 to 6400, and try to keep my exposure time to 25 seconds or less. At 30 seconds, stars start turning into little barrels. A guide scope comes in handy after that, it will improve the mount's ability to accurately follow the object at longer exposure. The list of things to buy gets longer and more expensive with every level of improvement you want in your images, so play with simple stuff before starting to spend money. Here are a few things I've done, with only a DSLR, telescope and go-to mount; no guide scope, no stacking, no dedicated computer program except the Nikon program that came with the camera. These images are all shot between ISO 1600 and 6400 (12800 just gets too noisy), and exposure times of 30 seconds or less. 1st is M57 (Ring Nebula), 2nd is M2, 3rd is M42/M43 (Orion Nebula/De Mairan's Nebula). All taken through the Edge at f/10, along with M1 and M103. The eclipse pictures were all through my C6 at f/6.3. The partial eclipse image and the Bailey's Beads were shot through a homemade solar filter (fit over the corrector) using the Thousand Oaks polymer material. Not sure what the interference was on the Diamond Ring, unless it was a reflection. None of these are even close to perfect, but this is what you can get with a simple start.
  23. what is it

    No need for apologies. We're all here to help. The Universe is full of wonderful, magical things.
  24. Spiral Galaxy NGC 6744 in Pavo

    The new Pixinsight Arcsinh stretch function ( written by Mark Shelley ) was used to stretch the HDR linear image whilst keeping colour in the stars. Thanks Mark
  25. Spiral Galaxy NGC 6744 in Pavo NGC 6744 is a Milky Way like barred spiral galaxy in the constellation Pavo. Visible only from lower latitudes, the light we see now left this galaxy around 25 million years ago. NGC 6744 in Pavo ( please click / tap on image to see larger and sharper ) Capture Details: North is up. Telescope: Orion Optics CT12 Newtonian ( mirror 300mm, fl 1200mm, f4 ). Corrector: ASA 2" Coma Corrector Quattro 1.175x. Effective Focal Length / Aperture : 1400mm f4.7. Mount: Skywatcher EQ8. Guiding: TSOAG9 Off-Axis-Guider, Starlight Xpress Lodestar X2, PHD2 . Camera: Nikon D5300 (unmodified) (sensor 23.5 x 15.6mm, 6016x4016 3.9um pixels). Location: Blue Mountains, Australia Moderate light pollution ( pale green zone on darksitefinder.com map ). Capture ( 16, 17, 19 Sept. 2017 ). 9 sets of sub-images with exposure duration for each set doubling ( 1s to 240s ) all at ISO800. 85 x 240s + 5 each @ 1s to 120s. Processing ( Pixinsight - 5-17 Nov 2017 ). Calibration: master bias, master flat and no darks. Integration in 9 sets. HDR combination PhotometricColorCalibration Arcsinh stretch ( function written by Mark Shelley ) Image Plate Solver - NGC 6744 - Sept 17, 2017 =================================== Resolution ........ 0.586 arcsec/px ( full size image ) Rotation ............ 0.001 deg. Focal ................. 1372.24 mm. Pixel size ........ ..3.90 um. Field of view ..... 58' 30.3" x 38' 59.0". Image center ...... RA: 19 09 46.591 Dec: -63 51 13.44 ==================================
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