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About Gfamily

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    Star Forming

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    N Cheshire
  1. If you have some binoculars, look for The Coathanger cluster in Vulpecula in the summer triangle. Through the telescope, Epsilon Lyrae is the famous 'double double' and it's worth seeing if you can separate the closer doubles. Summer can be a good time to look for the Ursa Major galaxies as they aren't too high, so can be easier to view at the eyepiece, though there's only short hours of decent darkness which can make it trickier.
  2. I have a similar scope (Meade 8"SCT) and I find I am often looking for a wider field of view, so you might also want to consider going for a 32mm eyepiece as well. However, the 9mm Ex-cel is also a very nice eyepiece, and for planets & the moon, it'll give you great views. For open clusters though, the narrow field of view of a SCT can make them fail to stand out as they should. There's a general rule of thumb, that under everyday skies, the limit of magnification is with an eyepiece not much shorter (in mm) than your f/ratio. Higher magnifications are too much affected by atmospherics. It's only a rule of thumb, but worth bearing in mind.
  3. I bought a SW 102 Mak (on a SynScan mount) when I was getting my second scope, but always found it a disappointing performer when looking for DSOs at home. If we took it away to dark sites it was ok, but it struggled with any much level of light pollution. I relatively recently picked up a second hand 127 Mak and it's now my 'go to' scope for use at home or away, so it's the one we take way with us on holidays. I only really use my 8" SCT for star parties now.
  4. Last time I took it out, I knew I only had a few minutes to set up as clouds were building up, so I did a 2 star align, even though only Altair was properly visible from my location. I selected Arcturus as the second star (even though it wasn't visible). Centred on Altair, let it head off in the general direction of Arcturus, up-and-right a tiny bit to let me hit the OK button, and then set it to find Saturn. It wasn't in the 32mm eyepiece, but it was very close - easily in the finder. I know there are some iffy ones around, but it can be a very easy mount to align. This was using the app in alt-az mode. So, in response to your question, no; two star align starts with the first star. Level and North is an option when you're not sure which stars you're looking at (or for a daytime/early evening alignment when finding stars isn't easy).
  5. Yes, without seeing for ourselves we're in no position to judge, and it's quite likely that it's not one you'd want to take on. Like so many things, it would be easier if local clubs were meeting and you could take it along to get a second opinion. Best of luck though.
  6. A couple of thoughts... As you used the same 15mm eyepiece in testing both, you'll have been observing at 66x through the refractor and at 93x through the Mak. That might be why the Mak was looking softer. Do you have a 20mm eyepiece so you can compare the two scopes' images at the same magnification? Secondly, you said you were looking at chimneys as your test; I find that the daytime image is generally lower contrast than you'd expect if I'm using my SW 127mm Mak, but it's ok at night. I don't have a refractor to compare, but I sometimes wonder if a Mak is more affected by background light.
  7. Have you tried running it via a computer control? Stellarium allows control of NexStar mounts (I've done it with my Meade). You'll need a suitable cable of course.
  8. I can't offer any advice on the camera - but I notice that Rother Valley Optics have a second hand one on sale for £350, so if you can get one for £200 that sounds like a deal. Here's the advert if it's of any use https://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/second-hand-starlight-xpress-sxv-m8c-one-shot-colour-ccd-camera.html
  9. Better than both might be a mirrorless camera. I recently picked up a second hand Sony A5000 body, and that has the advantage of being almost half the weight of my Canon 1000 ds body and 1/3rd the weight of my Pentax K5. However, I wouldn't recommend the A5000 for a few reasons - I would say check out any camera you are considering for these.... it doesn't have a Live View option, so you can't check the focus etc on a big screen before taking the image It forces a Noise Reduction 'dark frame' in many cases (possibly all) which isn't optimal as it doubles the time to take each image. If you choose RAW image format, you lose some of the functionality (such as on-screen focus check) Particularly for a lightweight mount like the Star Adventurer, managing the weight on the mount is important if you want to get decent long exposures, and if you can reduce the weight hanging off the back of the scope it can make a real difference. Hope this helps - and if anyone knows of a mirrorless camera that is recommended, please chip in...
  10. Hi - I've not seen the Star Discovery before; it looks quite interesting. I recently bought the AZ GTi and have used it a couple of times so far. It is very straightforward to use - and the "level and north" two star alignment is very intuitive. I would assume that the software and operation will be more or less identical for both, and so their performance would be equally good. It's really good to see that the Star Discovery has the Freedom Find encoders - as that means you can manually move it to 'close to' your next target and it'll keep its alignment. In principle, the SD may have a slight advantage as it puts the weight of the scope over the centre of the tripod - but on the other hand, the AZ GTi allows a telescope to be pointed directly to the zenith as the clamp is offset from the centre-axis. I think the AZ GTi may have a couple of advantages over the SD though:, Firstly, it has a separate Handset Socket for the Synscan handset. As I have a spare handset, it means I don't have to use the App for all movements, while I can still use the app for the initial set up and for selecting targets. Secondly, the AZ GTi can be mounted on a wedge, and there is a 'Pro' version of the app that means you can use it in equatorial mode (though you may need a counterweight to balance a heavier telescope) One thing to look out for is that there are mount and telescope bundles that include the AZ GTe mount - this is a cheaper version of the GTi which doesn't include the Freedom-Find encoders, and I think you would miss that if you didn't have it. Hope this helps
  11. Does anyone know if the instructions actually say this? Who actually reads instructions these days I only know about it because I read somewhere that Celestron have the same 'rule' on their SE mounts, and guessed it might be the same when the app wouldn't accept my 'Complete' on the first star.
  12. I am pretty sure that your last two adjustments to centre the star have to be "Up" and "Right" - and that will allow you to tap the icon. The reason it is done like this is to ensure that there is consistency regardless of the scale of backlash in the gears. Try again bearing this in mind. (I have the same app that I use with my AZ GTi and it works like this)
  13. This thread may be useful. Olly Penrice is very experienced - and in the thread he says that you need to look for an image size of 45-46mm to be able to use full frame.
  14. A new NASA documentary has been produced about the mission https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM8kjDF0IJU
  15. The excellent 13 Minutes to the Moon podcast (original series about the descent of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module) is having a second series about the way the Apollo 13 mission was saved. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w13xttx2
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