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Everything posted by scoobymike

  1. Drove nearly 40 miles to a dark sky sight. Forgot the power tank, rendering the eq6 pretty useless. And once, whilst tired as a newt, I tried to polar align on Jupiter as that's what I wanted to observe..
  2. I bought a Lucas 22ah golf buggy battery (40 quid) and a few female cigarette lighter sockets for under a Tenner from fleabay. This will power my eq6, my guider, and a portable dew busting hairdryer for at least 8hours without any probs. I am much happier with it than my old maplins powertank... It does need a good charger tho
  3. Hi Paul, I'm not hugely experienced in the guiding field, but I do own a MK I version of the LVI guider, and I use it quite frequently. I got it second hand at around half the price, and I will make a few observations from my experiences with it so far: There are some cons... Firstly this is not the most sensitive camera in the world! I use mine with an ST80, and I had no end of trouble getting the thing to locate a suitable star. I have since purchased a SW guidescope mount, which helps enormously, but was still another hundred quid. If I'd paid full whack for the LVI that would be 550 total, and I would be seriously questioning my sanity! I am sure with a good set of guidescope rings you would also be perfectly ok, I just find them a bit fiddly. Focus for the guidestar is achieved through the use of a 6mm parfocal eyepiece (supplied). This eyepiece has a moveable (?!) plastic ring around the barrel. If this ring moves - and it is quite hard to do inadvertantly, I will grant you - you have to readjust it, which as you cannot see the cameras' view is very difficult - basically find a bright star, use the handheld box to focus the camera as best you can (there is an on screen indicator), lock the focuser, then put in the eyepiece and play with the ring until the star is properly in focus. A right faff that took me 2 hours to get right. To be fair though, this is not something you will do very often unless you assemble your kit with a hammer, but it is a pain if/when you do. But there are also some pros too... It does remove the need for a laptop, and this is another piece of kit which I really did not want to have to take to a dark site, only to have the battery run out after 4 or so hours. The LVI and my EQ6 run all night in winter from a small 12v battery. And if like me you frequently have to travel then this is a good solution. When you have it all set up, and a suitable guidestar in view, it works very well indeed. And once you get used to it's needs you can be up and running within 5 minutes or so. It is pretty accurate even at 1/3 of the imaging scopes F/L too, I have managed some perfectly good 6 minute subs regularly. In summary, if I never had to leave home, I would have got something like a QHY5 and connected it to the laptop. But I do have to travel mostly, and getting one second hand, even adding the price of the guidescope mount, still would be a tempting purchase if I had to start from scratch. Not very scientific I know, but I hope it helps a little.
  4. Where abouts in Surrey are you? I'm in Esher so might be able to help if you can't get it sorted...
  5. Hi all, My Maplins powertank was left charging for a few days by accident and has now decided it doesn't want to play any more. So I have a few questions on a replacement; I've heard of gel batteries being recommended, and was wondering if these are the same thing as VRLA batteries? I've found some Yuasa VRLA batteries for under £40, which are 12v 22AH (designed for golf buggies I think), and was wondering if they'd be ok for an EQ6. I guess I just need to buy some terminal connectors and connect to a female cigarette lighter socket? Also should I get one of the quite expensive chargers to go with it, or can I charge more cheaply? (I don't want to damage this one!). Has anyone got any experience with these who could give me some pointers please? Many thanks, Mike
  6. My 8 and 12mm's (BST's) see most use in my mak for the high power. I have a 6mm, but it's very rare that conditions make it very useable. If budget was limited I'd recommend the 12 as your higher power - it's always a good view through that. Never gone longer than 28mm so can't comment on that part...
  7. A bahtinov mask allows you to achieve precise focus, whether you are imaging or viewing. People tend to use them more for imaging as imprecise focus of a faint/wispy cloud of gas means the image will be blurry and have no detail.
  8. And if you're gonna clean the mirror in situ, make sure the OTA is on its side, that way if you drop something, it's less likely to fall on the primary... Personally I'd see how you go without touching it first, but I do understand your concern.
  9. From my experience I use mine visually only for under 50 times magnification, for which I'm using 2" Eps. Above that I use 1.25" Eps and don't bother with the corrector, as the views are perfectly live-able with. Of course, if I get the camera out, then it is a definite 'must have'...
  10. That looks really good. Guess I'll be upgrading in the very near future too!
  11. That's a new one for me too... This hobby never ceases to amaze me!
  12. Pretty much yes, and as I said earlier, and is just what I do. Gets me some decent exposures without getting the guiding kit up and running...
  13. Should have been clearer... Only once you are aligned is the park position important, as the goto needs to know where its starting from. I will bow happily to Tom here, as the setting circles have always been beyond my enthusiasm limit!!
  14. The easy answer is that it should be wherever polar finder says!! If it is sitting at 7 o'clock then when polar finder says it should be at 7 you'd be ok. However, when polar finder says 8 or 9 then that's where your circle needs to be. If you rotate the RA axis until the circle is in the correct o'clock position then once the mount is aligned you can still turn the RA back to park and be aligned.This is because once the mount is aligned you can do whatever you want with the RA and Dec axis but the mount will still be aligned. After all this is how you point to anywhere in the sky - the mount stays aligned and you move the RA and Dec axis to your target. The small circle in the polar scope is getting the offset from Polaris of True North correct, as Polaris makes a small circle around true north. So as long as the o'clock position of the small circle is right then the offset is also correct. I am obviously better at doing than explaining!!!
  15. Just re-read your OP... I think it's factory set and non changeable. I certainly don't worry trying to change mine.
  16. Your mount should always start from the same position, normally known as a "parked" position. This is with weights straight down and the Dec axis at zero degrees. At this point if you could remove the polar scope and replace it so the small circle is in the correct "o'clock " position according to polar finder, then you would just use the mount bolts to put the small circle directly on Polaris. Your mount is then aligned. If you can't remove the polar scope then you need to ensure the small circle is at the correct position so that when Polaris is centred within it, the mount is pointing at the correct place. This you do by using either the setting circles to get it precise, or you can rotate the RA axis to get it as close as you can to the correct position, align the mount, and then rotate the RA axis back to the "park" position.
  17. How accurately do you need to align? If you're not doing photography then 'very close ' should be good enough... I've never looked through a cg5 before, but on an eq6 the small circle is on a bigger circle. The idea being that you align the setting circles according to time and date etc, so that you then centre Polaris in the small circle. I never bother with the setting circles... Using Polar finder to get the position of Polaris on a clock, I then just line the mount so that Polaris is on the line at that position on the bigger circle. Often the little circle is on completely the wrong side, but the mount is pointing exactly where it should be. HTH!
  18. I have the skywatcher one which I use on my 200 PDS, and using a DSLR it makes a world of difference. Some targets such as m42, m31 etc fill the FOV so I can't really get away without one when going for these targets. It may be a different call for CCDs, but I wouldn't know (big ccd is a little out of budget!). I know lots of people use the Baader flavour, and it gets very good reviews too. You may be able to use software to correct coma (I know PS4 has some tools for this), but I've never tried it either so can't really comment. If you really get into photography though I would definitely recommend one, whichever that turns out to be.
  19. I own a 127 SW mak, which is normally on an undriven eq3-2, and also an 8" pds on an eq6, and enjoy both! In my own experience I find a place for both. The mak is definitely better for planets and double stars, both of which are good fun to hunt, but it will also show you some of the smaller dsos. Examples of good targets are the ring nebula, hercules' cluster, Andromeda galaxy etc (in other words the brighter ones!). The 8" pds allows you to see quite a few more of the brighter objects, and spot many more objects in the 'faint fuzzy ' range, but visually that's all they mostly are - faint and fuzzy. What you will see is more detail in the brighter objects visible through both scopes. I find the biggest factor in all of this is a darker sky - driving to a good site lets me see almost as much in the mak as I see in the pds from the back garden! I would also say that the mount behaves better with the Mak, especially in windy conditions. Good luck whichever you choose!
  20. You absolutely have the right to return for a full refund with no charges (except maybe postage) providing you do so within 7 days of receipt. This is an unequivocable right, regardless of fault, quality, suitability, description etc, which all fall under other various retail law acts. The act was bought into being to ensure that e-commerce was protected from a buyers point of view, as you are effectively buying on a description and (maybe) a photograph, both of which can be very subjective. A re-stocking fee may fall under additional terms of contract at the point of purchase (I'm sure your local Office of Fair Trading may have something to add as to the legality of that though), however if you have conflicting terms being offered (as you say you do), then I would argue politely that as their terms are not fixed, they are also not enforceable. Ultimately, a polite letter or email is the best starting point, stating that you enjoyed doing business with them, and that you wish to continue doing so in the future, but that in this instance the goods are not suitable for your needs, and you would like a full refund as afforded you by the DSRs. Make sure you have a paper trail that starts within the 7 day period, even if that is 2am tomorrow morning! If that fails, then a further email/letter stating your intent to pursue them for a refund may yield better results, particularly if you quote the Trading Standards Office address that you are intending to raise the matter with, and your statutory rights in detail as set out in the DSRs.. Good luck!
  21. I fully understand that there needs to be a qualifying criteria for posting or viewing. Whichever number you choose there will be people just below it who think it should be lower still. I personally think you have the limits just about right. I have nothing I wish to buy or sell, so no real problems for me.. I would point out though that I only post when I have something truly relevant to say (that makes it once a month I'm relevant, I reckon ). I visit at least 3 times a week, and my post count is still in the 80's, just like my fashion. Now I could boost my count by posting in the 'welcome' section to all and sundry (but that feels like cheating!), or, if I did want to get my count up, unless I was on here constantly, I think I would be in danger of just repeating other peoples comments, as there are many people with vastly more knowledge who visit more frequently than I do. This makes it difficult for me to feel that I would be adding value when I post, making me less likely to do so. Not a whinge, just an observation. And no, I have no idea what I'd do differently before anyone asks!
  22. Hi Nigel, and welcome. You've arrived at your destination. Now all you need is to commence your journey!! As others have said before, post in the beginners section, and wait a few minutes. If you know what you want to get into, then maybe use the search function too as there are more advice topics than you'll ever need... Clear skies
  23. Not sure what video settings I have compared to others, but I would definitely say that that is the Sun showing through Venus.There are bright and dark spots which enter the disk of Venus, change during the migration of Venus, and then emerge in a similar pattern to the solar disk behind. It's almost like a disk has been painted on in order to illustrate the transit, rather than an actual video, although I don't believe that to actually be the case. In truth, I have no idea, but it looks pretty (according to the better half)!
  24. A loose dust cap shouldn't be too much of problem, and as for dust on the primary, there was a picture posted on here a couple of months ago of a mirror from a professional observatory.... It looked like someone had dropped a pizza on it! I really wouldn't worry too much, just as long as the optics are otherwise sound.
  25. I saw it in Esher for about 15mins
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