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    Suffolk, UK
  1. A movie has been made on the space station that tries to show what Yuri Gagarin might have seen on his historic flight around the Earth in 1961. BBC News - Movie recreates Gagarin's spaceflight
  2. I'm not sure what it is about the 'genuine orthos', they have the wide rubber tops that I find hard to use at short focal length. Equally genuine are the classic 'volcano top' orthos that have been made in Japan for about 40 years. They are marketed under various brand names but appear to be made in the same factory, they have the 'Circle T' mark on them. I bought mine direct from Kokusai Kohki in Japan but you can get them in the UK from Lyra Optics and in the US from University Optics. I have a set of them 7mm, 9mm and 12.5mm, I also have a couple of Circle T Erfles in 16mm and 25mm. The 7mm ortho is very usable, I'm not sure that it would be if it wasn't a 'volcano top'. Links: -> Lyra Optic - Eyepieces -> Eyepieces - 1 1/4" Oculars from University Optics -> Kokusai Kohki
  3. Another approach, simple and functional, a £4.99 plastic component box from Maplins. Works perfectly well for regular sized eyepieces. I like Japanese volcano tops:
  4. The amount of eye relief depends on the design, plossls which are very common don't have a lot of it. I find a 6mm plossl very hard to use even with my glasses off. With my glasses on I find I can use a 9mm orthoscopic which has eye relief of 7.2mm, but it is the 'volcano top' design which is easier to use than a 'rubber top' if you wear glasses.
  5. I knew that focus means fireplace in latin, but I didn't realise that lens means lentil. I like that. An achromatic lentil.
  6. If someone really doesn't want to believe in it, they won't. Even if you do have a photo they will claim it's a fake:
  7. I do sometimes wonder if taking up astronomy in the UK is something like taking up skiing in Jamaica, and yet I get the impression that the UK has an unusually large number of amateur astronomers, perhaps it is an eccentricity. We are one of the most urbanised countries in the world, and we are trapped between the Atlantic and the North Sea, for most of us light pollution and clouds are the norm. I think a lot depends on your expectations, if you just want the occasional look when the opportunity is there then it is reasonable to invest in some modest but well made equipment and enjoy the clear nights when they occur. Whenever I start looking at big telescopes, checking star charts for faint objects, when the possible spending begins to climb, I only have to look out of the door and my ambitions are dampened by the weather. I do enjoy my binoculars and now my telescope, astronomy for me is a diversion, it takes me out of myself to somewhere very big, that is its place.
  8. It's a long time since I've read any, but when I did it was Arthur C Clarke and (especially) Stanislaw Lem. I'm not sure if Ray Bradbury counts, but I liked his books too.
  9. I've dropped your scope and EPs into my spreadsheet to see what it looks like. I've assumed a 50 deg field for a Plossl. You seem have it pretty well covered. You can see what a 32mm adds. To put the True Field of View into perspective, the Moon is about 0.5 deg across. A magnification of 23x is very, very low; but that's a 2 deg field of view. EDIT to add - look at the exit pupil figure, it's near the limit for the 32mm.
  10. I think the consensus is that they are OK but not great. If you are on a budget you might look at the GSO ones which cost a little more but offer a lot of quality for the money. Beyond that, the sky's the limit. What eyepieces do you already have? A 32mm could be very useful, it is the longest Plossl you can use on a 1.25" tube.
  11. There's a vagueness in the search engine, it's trying to be helpful. I tried 'erfle' and got 'erf' diesel engines. They are nice but not for my purpose.
  12. Import duties add at least 30%. You can get these in the UK, peak2valley instruments have them and the Istar refractors too: LINK peak2valley instruments
  13. Have you checked out this - Astro Babys HEQ5 Polar Alignment
  14. Computer says 10^9 seconds = 31.7 years. Spring 1979.
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