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About philipok

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    Star Forming

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  1. Despite my wife's raised eyebrow when a padded envelope marked Bob's Knobs arrived from the US, they're a treat.. I just fitted them to my 10" lx200 in daylight, did a rough collimation and then a fine one on an artifical star (a bauble dangling from my hedge).. really very easy to use. and I was terrified by the prospect of collimation. Can't wait to see the results - particularly as it was way out. Highly recommended accessory
  2. A possibly short-lived attempt to record some of the visual/photographic experiences of observing in my light polluted area.. hope you enjoy. Just started digitising some sketches from the Jeremy Perez guide online. The Lazy Stargazer
  3. The string idea is nice, but it won't work.. similarly with long solid rod. The message would move down the medium like a very slow wave
  4. interesting, my little Zenithstar 66 could easily split Algieba, which is rated to be reasonably hard (at least in Neil Bones excellent deep sky guide). Refractors generally are better at this type of thing I believe.
  5. Tried this last night and could not get a split at x300 with a 10" SCT, seeing was abysmal
  6. Spent an enjoyable hour looking at the Triesnecker region and noticed an odd little crater, Ukert - under the terminator illumination it looked like a cartoon man-shaped figure,.. I googled it later and lo and behold, there are pages of guff devoted to it being a UFO/secret facility.. enjoyable idiocy..
  7. Hi there - I saw exactly the same thing last night - 37 and 39 Tauri (the faint one) were occulted within an hour of each other.. but oddly enough the times given by Astronomy now were completely off.. I missed 37 coming out as I took a peak at something else.. I also noted that bright spot on the terminator - must have been a peak catching lunar sunrise?
  8. owning a 10" lx200, but seldom using it, I am currently enjoying using a deckchair+bino combination to get back into observing.. there is a lot of satisfaction in... - wandering around Melotte 111 - discovering the delightful Kembles Cascade - finding M51 in binoculars on a light polluted sky having trouble with Leo trio in binos.. LP washes them all away.. Anyway, the simple things are to be recommended...
  9. vaseline is a good tip - thanks david. Otherwise I think WD is ok on steel legs etc (I certainly use it on the polar adjustment knobs, threads etc to make the travel easier. Philip
  10. I use WD-40 on the tripod legs of my Meade, and occasionally spray a small amount into the comms sockets, it keeps out moisture. For eyepices an annual clean with Jessops lens cleaning works fine. just keeping using fresh lint free tissues.
  11. I turned my Zenithstar 66 towards the sun recently, rotated the eyepiece downwards and projected the Sun onto a notepad.. fun. Could make out two prominent sunspot groups and surprisingly a bright facula near the limb. My question - would it help to put a coloured filter anywhere in there for contrast purposes (i.e yellow)? cheers philip
  12. My 10" handset packed up and had to be sent to Telescope house for repair. I now keep it indoors with some silica gel, and also have sprayed a little WD40 into the hbx socket on the main scope to keep out damp.
  13. I must admit this scale just ends up depressing me.. I have a Bortle 5/6 depending on weather.. M33 totally invisible to naked eye, M31 pretty unimpressive, but on clear nights you get quite a good milky way .. I'm 4 miles outside Chesham in the Chilterns. Bucks is rated 4th worst for LP in the country. Try Namibia.. there is a village called 'Milky Way' that is apparently stunning!
  14. What started as a cloudy day cleared with a brisk wind to a beautifully clear evening. I opened the garage doors to cool the 10" SCT down, then hauled it out at about 20:45. Had a quick peek with binoculars at Mercury/Venus - Mercury starting to drop down quite noticeably into the haze. Pointed the scope due north - one of those evenings where everything goes smoothly - adjusted the alt setting and got the tracking on. Started with Mars - seeing I would rate at Antoniadi 3. but lots of wind, and the flexi dewshield seemed to amplify it, so I retracted it a little. Played around with mags from x200-x250 Size about 8", but still detail to be seen.. the northern polar cap, Mare Acidalium with the fork just visible.. and to the south, leading into the terminator, the dark curve of Mare Erythraeum. Tried a red filter - amazing how this cuts off the bad seeing.. although dimming the colour. Did make the darker features clearer though.. Next onto Saturn at about 21:30, still fairly low down in Virgo. @x200, it wouldn't take much more.. Could see Titan (to the left), and two little moons near the ring edge. Rhea and Diona, I subsequently checked. Also a star/moon to the left and above Titan - Iapetus? Titan itself was really orangey and appeared to have a disk at x200. any more mag and it really deteriorated though. Frustratingly, couldn't split out Tethys and Enceladus, which were bunched up near the planet.. annoying, as I'd spotted them the week before. Probably also due to the fact that it wasn't 'fully dark' when I was observing.. but the planet itself was fantastic as ever - a sharp razor edge ring and north and south cloud bands visible. Tried a yellow filter, but this added nothing.. Packed up at about 22:15, a really good early evening spot of observing (and no dew).
  15. Hi All, I'm going to be in the South of France first half of June, and will take my WO Zenithstar 66 with me.. any suggestions for good targets for 43N, pretty good skies ? Will this scope be enough to pick up some of the virgo lot? cheers philip
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