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Cleetus Van Damme

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Everything posted by Cleetus Van Damme

  1. You need to buy two battery packs - one for telescope and one for dew duties. I know people do it but it is not wise to power the telescope and run dew heaters off the same supply. The dew heaters, when cycling on and off, can cause spikes in the power supply which can play havoc with your tracking and GoTo's. This also applies to AC.
  2. I have this one and love it. Unusual, in the sense that it is "Straight thru" but gives a right side up and corrected left/rigt views. The straight through is useful as you can squint along the tube to make things easier rather than using a right angled finder. Also, a doddle to use with star maps as everything is the right way up. Cleetus http://www.explorescientific.co.uk/en/Optical-accessories/ES-8x50-Illuminated-Finder-Scope.html
  3. Lovely! But do you feel any vibrations from that railway line?!! I was once travelling up to Waterloo on the train and saw this observatory pass my window. Cleetus
  4. Craig, No, mine is a Pulsar. Consider anchoring it down in some way just in case. The fibreglass domes do get quite warm in summer (probably why white is so popular) and if the forecast is very hot/sunny then I just open the shutter about a foot or so before leaving for work. Cloudy days, even in summer, I don't bother. Also I have my telescope covered with a Telegizmos 365 cover which keeps the heat out. I used to hang a low wattage bulb during winter, to ease codensation, but I stopped that a few years ago as I considered it unnecessary when I got the cover. Some sort of shelf going all the way around is a good idea as you never have enough space in domes. Mine has a tripod inside so space is even tighter - I would definitely consider a pier if I was going to stay in this house for longer than I intend to. Apart from that, its just regular cleaning of wheels, tracks/rails as they tend to get clogged up with all sorts of stuff and operation suffers as a result. Having an electric cable run up there is a must as I got fed up recharging batteries. I got two Palstars (Palstar PS 04) to convert AC into 13v DC, one for telescope and the other for dew duties. These can be had these days for less than £30 each - cheaper than batteries and you never run out of juice!!
  5. Looks in good nic when you consider its age. Funnily enough mine is the same colour. I'm now in the process of taking it apart and cleaning the wheels, tracks and whatnot. then paining it with MSP before putting it back together again. Always preferred the colour green for observatories - white looks horrible and sticks out like a sore whassiname!!
  6. I'm afraid I know very little about them. But I do know Austin Roberts Observatories had regular ads in the journal of the BAA back in the 1970's. As a matter of interest where did you get it? Cleetus
  7. I've been there a total of three times. I have stayed on three different islands, Mahe (the main one), Praslin and La Digue. On La Digue the electricity went off at approx 6pm every night - fridges were run on fuel. No such thing as light pollution back then. If I remember correctly the government had a law which forbid buildings higher than the surrounding palm trees. They were very conservation minded and I'm sure the beauty of the islands have been preserved. Now, I don't want to alarm you here because I want you to have a wonderful trip, but it does rain there quite a lot. One of my trips there was in November and it was overcast for the first 4 days. The islands are very green for a reason. Having said that, the view of the night sky is difficult to describe without falling back on the old cliches!! Normally clouds don't hang about too long and sunshine bursting through after heavy rainfall is common. Sun sets at about 6pm and rises at about 6am every day of the year. God, how boring!! And when the sun vanishes it goes black very quickly. Bring a star chart because you will be confused. Also, a pair of binos. Have a geat time. Cleetus.
  8. Indeed. But if there were bargains to be had perhaps that would not be a good thing for the small amount of astro dealers we have.
  9. Well, they sell the Baader Planetarium Click Lock Star Diagonal for £187. Just got one. And a lot of Televue eyepieces too. I wouldn't hesitate.
  10. Yep, purely visual - just really for wide views of the stars etc or a quick look at the moon. Have a larger SCT for higher powers and planets. Really want something that can be set up quickly without too much hassle. The option of setting it all up in the house and carrying the whole thing out to the garden appeals. Just really for wide views of the stars etc or a quick look at the moon. Could you just confirm one other thing for me? So the two Telepod heads found on the Gib and the Pan are the same size - just the tripod differs. However, the way in which it (the Gib) attaches to the tripod is also different? The Pan has a small screw on the side which is tightened (I know this 'cos I have one), whereas, the Gib is attached with a lock nut from underneath? Right?
  11. Yes, I think the Televue mounts are ideal because they are so simple, look good, and take up little room. I saw a T Rex and, lovely though it is, it's probably overkill for a small refractor. You don't happen to know if the Gib (not the 5) head is the same as the Panoramic do you? I suspect it is and the only difference between the two mountings is the size of the tripod. Might go for the NP 101 instead as it is more manageable.
  12. Thanks for the replies. £400 is quite a bit really - like getting a free premium eyepiece thrown in. Looks like I'll be waiting until next Jan then. Nine months to go!!
  13. Just wondering if anyone knew whether telescope dealers offer any discounts at UK Astrofest. I will probably buy a Televue NP 127 but am not in any hurry at this moment and if dealers usually offer discounts at these events then it may be worthwhile holding on until next Jan/Feb. Also is the Gib 5 a suitable mount for this telescope. I was thinking of getting one of these but putting it on a larger/beefier tripod.
  14. Do you know how many telescope manufacturers London had back in the 1970's? That is dealers who actually made equipment rather than the glorified boxshifters we have today? So, no, I do not share your pride. AE gear is overpriced and not that great in my experience. I know nothing about the quality of Orion. I needed a wooden tripod a number of years ago and there was nothing available here in the UK. A simple tripod for God's sake! However, the tripod I did buy from Germany was available from a dealer here but at a considerably higher price. They didn't get the sale. Another example was a simple finder bracket not stocked by any of the dealers here so had to import. Now I import everything. You're right though things could be a lot worse here. We still get free air to breathe.
  15. I understand what you are saying about not having used the telescope very much. However, it should still work as advertised. Here’s what I would do. Let the shop you bought it from repair it. Instead of allowing them to return it you should insist on going in so that they can demonstrate to your satisfaction that all is well. Someone has already pointed out that because the telescope is almost a year old it is unlikely that you will be offered an exchange. But if you get it back and all is well then you won’t really be bothered about that because you will be too busy enjoying your telescope. Going off at a slight tangent. I have lost count of the number of posts I have read on this forum where dealers are placed on a pedestal simply because they managed to put an item in a box and then have a courier come and collect it. Well, this may be news to a lot of people but any old Harry could do that. It’s when things like this happen that the good dealers stand up. So, insist on the telescope being repaired and then let the dealer demonstrate that it is working perfectly. If the telescope cannot be repaired then I’m sure you will be offered a new one, or your money back. It’s that simple. Good luck and let us know what happens. Cleetus
  16. There’s a hell of a lot more to it than that but it will all make sense to you very quickly providing you learn to crawl before walking. The first thing you should buy is not a telescope but a good introductory book on astronomy and telescopes. Here you will learn all about the different mounts and all the other stuff regarding focal ratios and the best type of telescope for your needs. Also, get outside with those binoculars, a simple star map, and familiarize yourself with the way the sky works and the Celestial Sphere. Having done that, then if you are still interested you ought to consider a telescope instead of another pair of binoculars. My advice here, to quote my old friend Van the Man, is to “Keep it Simple” and buy a three or four inch refractor on an uncomplicated mounting. The last thing you want to do is to get one of those scopes with GoTo technology as you will spend more time faffing about with it than you will observing. I know you haven’t mentioned those but you would be amazed the number of people who, knowing nothing of astronomy, go down that route only to encounter disaster. So, get the book, then the scope. Who knows where it will lead if you get bitten by the bug. Regards
  17. I use two of these - one for dew and one for power. http://www.nevadaradio.co.uk/cb/cb-power-supplies/palstar-ps04
  18. Sorry to hear of your problems – this sounds like a nightmare! I don’t think when you choose alignment stars that they are “supposed” to be in the field of view. If they are then all well and good but mine are never in the field of view of the finder, let alone the telescope and my pointing accuracy is almost perfect (different scope). You don’t think you’re being unfair on Meade do you? You bought the telescope second hand so, although the seller may have told you “It’s working great”, you don’t really know how it has been treated. The focusser is “rubbish”, there would appear to be an issue with the hand box cable, and the general quality of the finish is also “rubbish”. I’ve come in late here so apologies if I’ve missed something relevant but did you not put it through its paces before you bought it? Another thing, how do you know that when the motor was swapped by TH everything was working as it should. I know you live many miles from them and it probably wasn’t possible for you but I would have been eager for a demonstration that everything was working properly. Perhaps the runaway slews, damaged cable, and the fact that the polar scope was not in sync may have been spotted at this stage? Is it not a bit like taking your car in for a service and being told that there’s an issue with something you may not be aware of? I don’t know how TH operates so maybe it just a question of swapping out one component for the other and paying little attention to anything else which is, I suppose, fair enough.
  19. I'm pretty certain it's for autoguiders. There have been occasions, reported elsewhere, of users frying their circut boards when using this for dew heaters. Cleetus
  20. It is not advisable to use this for a dew heater. It is not intended for this purpose. Your best bet is to use separate power supplies for dew control and telescope. Cleetus
  21. Something you may want to consider here is what type of dew shield/dew prevention you will use. You will still need one even if you are in an observatory and with the 3d balance arrangement you are thinking about it will be very tricky to wrap one of the pvc-type ones around the tube and keep it there, because the bracket holding the balance lies very close to the end of the tube. Unless you cut out a piece to allow for this it will be unsteady. Same goes for the camping mat style of dew shield, although if you screw up when cutting it you’ve only lost a few quid as opposed to the ridiculous price they charge for the pvc rubbish. Wrapping a dew prevention strap around the outside of the shield will help keep it in place but it is not ideal. If you are building a dome you must leave plenty of room above the telescope to allow for slewing with dew shield in place. If you are nose heavy it might be worthwhile to replace the Meade finder with a 66mm, or larger, refractor instead. This can then be added to with a one or two inch diagonal and eyepieces of different weights to suit your set-up. You will have to buy bigger rings of course but it may be worth thinking about. One great benefit of this is that you get to see how objects appear in two very different scopes and there are some objects which do look better when viewed through a small refractor instead of a large SCT.
  22. Sorry but cannot comment on your particular query but agree with the comments above regarding how well made these tripods are. I bought one a few years ago to mount an ETX 150 and it has worked very well. Looks wise, wood and aluminium are chalk and cheese. These tripods are very well made and i don’t think they are expensive for what you get. Although I haven’t looked at their prices for a while now, when I bought mine it was much cheaper to buy direct from Germany than through a UK dealer. Also, I got the wooden shelf that fits underneath – think they came in two sizes – and it just finishes the whole thing off. Good luck Cleetus
  23. Does anyone know where I can obtain one of these, or similar, in UK? Thanks. Cleetus http://www.astronomics.com/main/product.asp/catalog_name/Astronomics/category_name/7KNU5BBG60WE8LQ67W7UG99532/product_id/AT90GSR
  24. As long as you take adequate precautions then there is no reason why you cannot keep your telescope in the shed. “Adequate precautions” in this case means keeping the instrument free of dust and moisture, and ensuring it doesn’t bake in the summer. A loose cover like and old cotton bedsheet will work wonders. Or, if you want to be ultra-careful, then a telescope cover will protect it. Ask yourself this question; with regards to housing the telescope then what’s the difference between an observatory and a shed? Telescopes are designed to be out all night in the open air in freezing temperatures where, very often, they get smothered in wet dew. If you are still concerned then you could always invest in a Telegizmo 365. These covers are designed to be left out in the open all year round. Keep it in the shed and cover it. It’s that simple. Cleetus
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