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Showing content with the highest reputation on 19/02/20 in all areas

  1. 1 point
    Hi all, Not the most detailed report, but a fairly incredible whirlwind (er...literally), non-stop session last night from 9pm to 3:30am. I've cut and pasted some of this as I'm dog-tired and owe my wife for putting the kids to bed last night, so computer time is limited at the moment. Really went for it last night, was very clear here in the NE of Scotland. Set up the 20" dob at 9pm on a hilltop at my dark sky 'B' spot, around 450m @21.80SQM. It takes a bit of work to load and set this big scope up, but to me, the views from a dark site are worth every calorie used to get it there! And some people buy a gym membership instead... GOTO was working a treat, took extra care on the levelling, alignment and centring alignment stars carefully to eyepiece - used an 8mm plossl to centre, seems to make a big difference over my typical semi-sloppy 'that'll do' alignment with a wide angle EP. Don't even know where to start with the observations... Caught B33/IC434 Horsehead early to test seeing/transparency, it was immediately and directly visible with the 17.5mm Morpheus and Hb before my eyes even fully dark adapted. A good sign and the more you see the HH, the easier it gets when the conditions agree. I've even caught it with my 300p from this site. Then up to Flame Nebula, down to M42, and in no particular order, Heart and Soul, lots of dispersed nebulosity here. Then Auriga with IC405, IC410 on each side of the 'Auriga Ladder' (see pic below), a quick label I came up with a few days ago for the double row of stars that separate IC410 and 405 - by the way, the 'ladder' was easily visible with the naked eye last night. Surprisingly, I also noted a very bright nebulous circular patch about the same size as IC410 a fair bit north of these but still in Auriga. I was still trying to figure out that one until this morning. (Answer: Spider and Fly - thanks Gerry!) Viewed these with both the scope and binoculars using OIII & Hb, my preferred bino filter choices. The widefield view through the binos was especially good. Excellent view of California Nebula with the 15x70s Apollos and Hb/OIII combo, first time I've seen it so clearly though the binoculars. This would be one for mounting the bins on a tripod and spending some time. I think you would need both filters on binoculars to see it, it's amazing how the brain combines the two different levels of brightness and contrast and picks the best of both. Back to the dob and M38, M36, NGC1907, NGC1893, M1 Crab Nebula, Pleiades, Double Cluster, Hind's Variable Nebula (amazing, looks like a comet, first view of that one), IC2162 (was going for Lower's Nebula, but got sidetracked - is Lower's Hb filter or OIII anyone?), IC 443 Jellyfish (very nice, a first on that). Some favs revisited - M108 Surfboard Galaxy, Owl PN. Then there was the Rosette... First time I've seen the Rosette, yes, first time. Holy smokes, sort of like a condensed version of the Veil, but seemed even brighter. Just stunning! And the circularity, just amazing. Going back to that one soon I hope. Went into the Caldwell Catalogue a bit more Cave Nebula, got all sorts with that one, seems very complex. Crescent Nebula, Eskimo PN (excellent), C59/NGC 3242 Ghost of Jupiter PN, just brilliant, very low on horizon. Cat's Eye nebula. I think that's it, left my sheet in the van! Then the galaxies... good grief. Just kept the 21 Ethos in the focuser to take it all in. Leo Triplet, Leo Quartet, over to M95, 96, 105 and the NGCs immediately to the north and then, over to Markarian's Chain and environs, first time there, another holy smokes moments with some audible gasping. I lost count at this point and was literally talking out loud to myself. Kind of like Bill Murray in Caddyshack if he was an amateur astronomer. Dozens of galaxies and I didn't even sweep the whole area. Head was spinning. Bright ones, faint ones, very faint ones showing just a slight whisper, side on, flat, you name it. Galaxies everywhere. Just mind-blowing. I certainly saw a lot of objects due to the GOTO. I know it's not a race, but the reason I didn't spend more time on each one was the wind. The vibrations from the gusts frequently made very detailed higher mag observations impossible. It was gusting steadily past 30mph for most of the night and was about -2C I reckon without windchill, so I would take in a few objects, hop in the van for a sip of coffee, pick some more from my list, and hop back out... I left the light shroud off the truss dob all night just to reduce windage, I simply wouldn't have been able to view with it on even with the van acting as a windblock, and there was always a chance it would pull the scope over. Wind was picking up considerably by this point and the scope was vibrating way to much to concentrate on anything in great detail, so I called it a night... My top 5 to revisit from last night: 1.) Markarian's Chain 2.) Rosette Nebula 3.) Hind's Variable Nebula 4.) Spider and Fly 5.) California Nebula Scratch that, I'd like to see them all again... PS I find using binoculars, especially with filters, under dark conditions complements the big dob and offers a lot of bang for the buck, as they say. You can take in some amazing widefield views, and the way the brain combines the same image using different filters for each eye is very interesting. Anyway, I'm beat! Thanks to everyone who has suggested DSOs by the way and advice on EPs and technique here on SGL, I'd be lost without. Good luck and happy observing all
  2. 1 point
    The grub screws are M5 x 0.8mm pitch and are approx 6mm long. Hope this helps.
  3. 1 point
    I use LowSpec spectrometer in the (mostly) remotely controlled roll-off shed and also I plan to use 1800 lpmm grating, so I decided to automate the device. The automation covers such functions: moving Relco starter in and out of optical train adjusting grating angle adjusting focus switching on/off Relco starter regulating 0-100% slit LED iluminator perform all the tasks above from the dedicated small software The components that were used: three small 12V BYJ28 stepper motors with integrated gear box Arduino Nano two ULN2803 universal drivers universal PCB, two 5.5/2.1 DC sockets, 5 and 2 pin JST XH connectors, some cables and wires 5mm red LED with 15 degree light angle as slit iluminator M5x100 bolt that replaces M5X80 bolt in focuser M6x40 bolt with M6x20 cylindrical nut that replaces micrometer screw to regulate grating angle 3D printed elements - casing, gears, etc All gears and software were developed and assembled step by step, so actually there was no serious problems during whole process. Currently Relco starter is controlled with small relay, but it will be replaced with 12V inverter, so no 230V will be supplied to spectrometer. After one and half night session all worked well, and I didn't need to visit my shed to refocus or change spectrum range. And that was the idea behind it If someone is interested in this solution please let me know, so I clean up all files and share STL objects to print, schematic, Arduino sketch and control panel software. Panel is for windows system only, but the communication protocol with Arduino is pretty simple, so it can be rewritten to other systems as well. Or it can also be controlled using serial port terminal as well. RR Her spectrum below - captured already with modified LowSpec spectroscope:
  4. 1 point
    I have a fuller scopes 6inch newtonium in my shed my very first decent telescope with b class mirror now unused, brings back memories of some very enjoyable nights viewing
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