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Everything posted by KenG

  1. Can I suggest tasting good malts as a parallel hobby. Very calming and warming when you're frustrated and cold.
  2. As you can see, I've got a 200mm Newt and an ETX125. The reflector is a super instrument for DSO's and is comprehensively equipped, however, lugging it around now, some sixteen years after I bought it, isn't the easy task it once was and I recently decided to get something lighter and more "instant" for quick observing sessions. After a week spent reading reviews and specifications it seemed to me that the ETX was ideal for my needs, and so it has proved. I can easily carry the telescope fully assembled on it's tripod - which incidentally, is very steady - and it only takes a few minutes to set up and align. Usually I don't bother with the go-to, but when I do use it, it's excellent, as are the optics and the tracking. I have no intention of ever parting with my Newtonian, but now I save it for settled weather when there's no chance of cloud rolling in just after it's set up.
  3. Hi Crastestdummy, The thing is, you KNEW what to look up. How many "newbies" have this depth of knowledge?
  4. I take it you aren't familiar with "The Backyard Astronomer's Guide"? It supersedes the excellent "Nightwatch" written by Terence Dickinson and is co-authored by him and Alan Dyer. It details all telescope types, lists their pros and cons, deals with binoculars, filters, eyepieces, accessories and there's a twenty-two page profusely illustrated section on setting up an equatorial mount. The book devotes several chapters to a beginners guide to the night sky, and covers everything someone starting out needs to know about observing. If "newbies" were to buy and read even sections of it, they would be better prepared to absorb the considerable expertise available on the various SGL forums. Gaining knowledge is never wasted money, and frankly, I wish this book had been around when I started observing some sixteen years ago.
  5. I never thought I'd see books described as a waste of money on SGL.
  6. I've already posted on this subject elsewhere tonight. Buy a book, and I suggest " The Backyard Astronomer's Guide", and read it. You're asking for advice on a subject you know little about, so how can you evaluate what you're being told? You're getting honest opinions, but what's being suggested may be the opposite to what you need, and you won't discover that until you've spent your money. I can assure you that the £20 book purchase from Amazon will be forever worthwhile.
  7. Forget about the windows except for a binocular. Telescopes are outdoor things. Reflectors for general purpose, wide field and deep sky, Maks for planets and stars of all types including globular clusters, refractors for lunar and planets, and good ones (expensive), for deep sky, Dobs for deep sky and wide field, with the advantage that they're the best value and the disadvantage that you have to have to track objects manually, so not so good for high magnification. A rough guide only, there are endless variations within each category. The first thing you do is buy "The Backyard Astronomer's Guide", £20 on Amazon, and read it. You'll have a far better idea of where your interests will lie, and therefore what type of scope will suit you best when you've finished it.
  8. The Orion filter that I use is a VERY tight fit on the scope - it's a wrestling match getting it on and off - and the nylon screws are surplus to requirements. There is absolutely no possibility of it ever becoming accidentally detached. The views I'm getting are quite wonderful and doubters should consider the fact that an American Company (Orion) is not going to market solar filters unless they are 110% safe. The possibilities of lawsuites in the event of failure are just too great.
  9. I bought a solar filter for my etx from Telescope House. They come in a range of sizes and are reasonably priced. Have to say that I enjoy viewing the sun via this, and that friends, whilst initially incredulous that they can actually look at the sun, are gob-smacked by the views of sun-spots.
  10. A few years ago I was bringing a yacht back to Ireland from Wales and was on deck helming by myself, enjoying the stars, when I picked up two satellites converging from opposite directions on exactly the same trajectory. They crossed almost directly overhead and continued silently on their way and I can recall being pretty relieved that I hadn't witnessed a cosmic collision!
  11. I've been buying AN off the bookshelves for longer than I can remember, so this year when my Daughter asked me what I'd like for Christmas I suggested she got me a year's subscription. She ordered it on 10th December and received absolutely nothing, not even an acknowledgement, so was empty-handed on Christmas day. She was upset, and I'm angry that she got such shoddy service and with myself for having suggested it in the first place, and to add insult to injury, her account was debited immediately she placed the order. I don't think I need make any further comment.
  12. Naomi, as an add-on, I'm not necessarily advocating the ETX, it's the overall set-up that I'm suggesting could work for you. I don't know what sort of mobility problems you have, but a short tube Mak as opposed to a Dob or Newt is going to be easier to handle, and I think you should look at the available systems and compare weight and portability.
  13. Hi Naomi, Have a good look at the Meade tripod. It's very well thought out and compared to my EQ mount it's feather-light. Some of the Celestron mounts seem to follow a similar design path. If you have any sort of mobility problem, then this is the sort of system you should be looking at. Minimum effort, maximum rigidity. You don't want every observing session to be an expedition.
  14. Burnham's deal with the visible universe in alphabetical order e.g. Vol 1 details Andromeda to Cetus, and I can't recommend them highly enough for in-depth exploration.
  15. "The Backyard Astronomer's Guide" has a great section on setting up and using an EQ mount. If you're doing everything for the first time by yourself, then at £20 on Amazon this book would be a great buy for you.
  16. With a lot of scopes, most of the weight is in the mount, and it appears from reading reviews that the Sky Prodigy mount is perhaps overly light for the goto and tube. I recently bought an ETX125 as I wanted something lighter for occasional viewing and I can carry it fully assembled, unlike my Newtonian which requires a transport system. The ETX has a very good, well sorted and stable tripod which can be set up in seconds, something which may be important for you, so whichever scope you consider, check out the mount for weight, rigidity and ease of assembly as a first priority.
  17. Am I right in thinking this same add was on e-harbour a year or so ago with the same crazy guy making outrageous claims?
  18. Hi Neil, Welcome to SGL. Can I suggest that you simply buy your telescope and forget about accessories until you've actually used it? Invest in a good book such as " The Backyard Astronomer's Guide" by Dickenson and Dyer - about £20 on Amazon - and use it along with the scope for a few weeks. You'll have a far better understanding of what you can see, what you want to see, and what you need to see it with. The stars have been there for a long time and they aren't going anywhere, so there's no hurry.
  19. There are several red giants in the Perseus Double Cluster. I haven't counted them, but they're clearly visible in my newtonion. None are named or numbered to my knowledge.
  20. I think Liz has taken the " hump ", she's obviously very sensitive. Just hope she never asks for advice on a car or gaming forum.
  21. Don't buy anything! Get your scope out and do some looking with what you got. How can you possibly make decisions about your viewing needs without a starting point?
  22. Get a binocular that can be mounted on a tripod (some can't) and get one of those as well. The difference it will make to your viewing experience will be disproportionate to the outlay.
  23. Hi Claire, As you can see I have a 200 mm Newt which I've been using for 16 years, and am lucky enough to be able to see the Milky Way from my garden, but hauling it in and out - even it over that short a distance - eventually becomes hard work. Not only that, but setting it up on a cold night takes time, which means you're chilly before you even start viewing, and then you've got to disassemble the darn thing and haul it indoors again. So recently I bought an ETX 125 and the difference is amazing. I can easily carry the whole assembled set-up outside and be using it within five minutes and whilst it doesn't do what the Newt does, it's pretty good. I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't be tempted into buying anything too big. Portability is a real issue, and if you're having to drive to a site to do your viewing, you don't want to be spending half-an-hour assembling and aligning everything before you even get to look through it. If I were you, I'd be looking at a short tube reflector or refractor, or a Mak, with a decent motorised mount, which can be transported as near to fully assembled as possible. Best of luck, Ken.
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