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Everything posted by M42

  1. Try playing the environmental and wildlife conservation card. Overly bright lights attract moths which make them easier targets for bats and nocturnal birds who feed off them. Also bright lights lead to sleep depravation if they invade your bedroom at night, this can also have an adverse effect on birds as the levels in light increase the birds who think spring is coming from the raised levels start to build nests and lay eggs earlier in the year. As a consequence chicks hatch from eggs before the normal food supply is available and their parents find it hard to feed them. I remember a few years ago something like this happening and Blue **** who feed their young exclusively on caterpillers were unable to find enough to feed their young and the chicks died in droves from starvation.
  2. A friend of mine who is no longer around, had a pier in his back garden but didn't want an observatory (for reasons he wouldn't go in to) so what he did was buy a large water butt. He fitted padlock hasps to it and the concrete base to lock it down with. He used to leave his EQ6 mount on the pier so all he had to carry out each time was his C11.
  3. Hi I have an OpticStar PL131C. Does your software support this camera? Keith
  4. I did something similar using an Skywatcher ED80. I used a x2 Barlow and a 12mm illuminated crosshair eyepiece, the type often used for drift alignment. The reason behind this what seems madness, was to give me a super powered finderscope. Why? Well with this setup and the finder carefully aligned to the main scope, when I put Jupiter in the middle of the crosshairs on the ED80 I KNEW for certain that Jupiter would be on the Toucam Pro's chip on the main scope even when using the x4 Imagemate!
  5. When fitting a new focuser to a newtonian you need to get the low profile focuser which should give enough inward travel to reach focus for the camera. Downside is for ep's you will need to use extension tubes. If your orignal focuser had a plastic shroud or backplate try leaving that off so the focuser sits closer to the tube. I had problems with my LXD75 10"SNT and all I had to do was remove the plastic base around the focuser. If this is not your problem then the only real alternative is to move the primary mirror up the tube, warning not for the faint hearted!!! Also when fitting a new focuser don't forget to check your collimation and mirror alignment.
  6. Hi. Yes this is caused by atmospheric refraction. But you are also using an f5 scope which though very good deep sky objects not too great for bright planets. If you are using say 10mm eyepiece either stop the scope down (the front cover has a removeable section take that out and leave the rest of it on the scope) or use a 20mm eyepiece with a descent x2 Barlow. Most people think a x2 Barlow doubles the power of your eyepiece. Well it does and it doesn't. What a x2 Barlow effectively does is double the focal length of your scope. So if you look through a 10mm ep you are seeing through a 1200mm long scope at f5 giving 120x mag. If you use a 20mm ep and barlow you are effectively looking through a 2400mm long scope at f10 still giving 120x mag. The benefit of using a larger ep and barlow will give you more contrast on bright planets and you will see more detail. Clear as mud eh?
  7. Hi I used dexion angle that I had lying around from some old shelving I used to have. I bolted this to the sides of the shed so that the roof just touches this. THat gives me a contact of approx 1.5mm (the thickness of the angle iron) and the roof slides nice and easily on that. Here is a tip for you though. If your runner has a small gap which can be accessed at the front and the back, make sure you pack something in there after each session. One night I went out quite late, unlocked the doors, turned the alarm off, released the toggle clamps that hold the roof down and secure when in the closed position. I then proceeded to push the roof back and got a very angry robin attack me! Scarred the c**p outta me! He had been roosting for the night on my roof runner under the roof and up against the side of the shed! I now stuff bits of foam in there after each session.
  8. Sorry to hear about the lose of your bike. I take it you commute to work by train. I had a friend a few years ago who had the same thing done to him. In the end he bought a bike with a quick remove front wheel then he used to take it off the bike and take it on to the train with him.
  9. You can get devices that you put on your dob, then you push your dob by hand and as you near your target it beeps. When it emits a continuoust tone you are lined up. The problem with using a laser pointer is the risk to aircraft and the the nuisance to other astronomers. I was imaging a DSO a couple of years ago when someone started to point out things to learners using a green laser pointer. Result was my imaging session was ruined!
  10. The camera is a Toucam Pro chip with long exposure mod. You have the colour version I think denoted by "C". I have an Atik HS2 mono that I was going to use as a guide camera but since most of my DSO imaging is with a DSLR I wanted something that was independent so I went for a Synguider stand alone guide camera. I haven't had a chance to use it yet hopefully sometime over the next week or so. I do know of some people who have successfully used an ordinary Toucam Pro as a guide camera through PHD so the Atik should work fine. Keith
  11. Hi Steve. The galaxy is M31 Andromeda. Below that is an aircraft. In the centre and top centre is the Perseus Double Cluster NGC884 and NGC869. The misty patch in the centre is the Milky Way. Keith
  12. Hi I have bought an Opticatar PL131-C webcam and to be frank I am unhappy with the Amcap exposure control. Before I used a Toucam Pro and was used to its controls. Is there any commercial webcam capture programs out there that will not simply run to the cameras own propietry software like QCFocus does or will they all do that and I will simply have to get used to it? Keith
  13. Very nice Steve, exposure looks spot on! Shame you weren't able to capture some of the Earthshine but that would have lead to overexposure of the bright limb. The next thing to try is to capture the bright limb in one shot then the Earthshine in another then combine the two in photoshop or whichever photo editing software you have.
  14. Well the I have suffered the usual mishaps, tripping over cables and power tanks but the worst came last September. While ducking under my pier mounted scope the ground was a little damp and my right leg slipped from under me. Result was torn cartilidge in the knee that ruined my observing/imaging sessions for the next 2 months. Early December knee had healed enough for me to comfortable bend and flex it. Then 3 days before Christmas slipped on some ice on the pavement and the knee went again!!!!!!
  15. An idea for a wide angle guide scope that a couple of my friends have used and say it works well. I have done one for myself but yet to try it. Get a 8x50 or 9x50 finderscope. Remove the eyepiece and unscrew the attachment piece that screws on to the finder that the eyepiece screws in to. You will need to hacksaw off approx 30mm but start with less, if you need to remove more you can do so later. Now insert a 2inch to 1.25inch eyepiece adaptor. You will need to pack it out a little by wrapping insulation tape aroung the 2" eyepiece adaptor to make a snug fit. The good thing about doing this is the original finderscope eyepiece can be inserted into the 2" to 1.25" adaptor and still be used as a finder scope when not being used as a guidescope.
  16. Bobs knobs are mainly for SCT's. Newtonians rarly ever need the secondary to be adjusted, it is usually the primary that looses collimation. Because of the secondary's close proximity to the eyepiece draw tube and the lack of a corrector plate Bobs Knobs really aren't needed on a Newtonian. If you find an allen key fiddly then maybe replace them with Phillips head screws. This is probably better as you can always drill a hole in the handle of the screwdriver then attach a short bit of string tied off around the drawtube or mirror vane if you are afraid on dropping the screwdrive down the scope tube.
  17. If you want a book star atlas then the Cambridge Star Atlas is highly recommended. Some people prefer the Norton but I find the Cambridge one easier on the eyes. As for astro software I prefer Starry Night Pro. Very useful for imagers because under the equipment section you can put in your scopes and cameras and when you use the FOV option it will show how tagets will look when photographed. Keith
  18. My news years resolution is to win enough on the lottery so I can by a reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally big fan to blow the clouds away! I have never know such cloudy skies and I have been observing since I was 7 years old and I am 47 on Thursday!!!! Keith
  19. I use one of the polarizing moon filters and it is great. It consisits of twohalves that rotate to make it darker or lighter depending on how full the moon is. Keith
  20. Hi Steve one of the most popular scopes for DSO imaging is the ED80. There are several makers of these and they differ in their focal length by a little from maker to maker. Keep checking the astro buy and sell website they come up quite often as people sell them when they move on to Ed100 or ED120+ scopes. As for a mount I agree with the general sentiment here an EQ5 at the very least preferably an HEQ5 mount. Personally I went straight from an LXD75 mount (more sturdy that an EQ5 but not as good as an HEQ5) to an EQ6 Pro mount. It is best to have an over engineered mount that will be able to handle your future scopes. The EQ6 mount for example can handle a payload of 26Kg or 55Lbs! That is a lot of weight. Until recently may mount was loaded with Celestron C926 William Optics Megrez 102 DSLR Guide camera Finder scopes on both This was pushing the payload to nearly 50Lbs and I decided to lighten the load especially after adding a Crayford focuser to the SCT and a Type IV field flattener to the WO. So now I just load whichever scope I want to use that night along with its accessories. I now use a modified 9x50mm finderscope as my guide scope for the WO which I mainly use for DSO's For planetary imaging I use the SCT. Keith Morris
  21. Just a word of warning if you are using a laptop or a DSLR outside in cold weather. Turn it off before you take it in to the warm and then leave it for at least 2 hours to reach ambient temperature. In fact leave it off until the next day to be sure. Condensation will start to build up inside the camera or laptop and could short it out if you turn it on. Not likely to happen but it can and it has done on me a few years back. Luckily the only thing that did go wrong was the speaker on my laptop went. Keith Morris
  22. Hi all. Had another go at my last Orion Nebula photo to bring out a bit more detail including NGC1977
  23. Hi Phil, feeling very jealous here. Make my attempt seem feeble in comparison. Keith
  24. Hi people. Not posted here for a while. Here is my latest offering. I know you must be getting sick of M42's but it is a good target to hone your imaging skills on. Anyway here is the info 18 subs of 25 seconds at ISO 800 (would have been 30 but clouds spoiled some of my subs) 6 dark frames subtracted Skywatcher ED80 on a LXD75 mount Canon EOS 350D with CLS Clip filter Also it was blinking cold on Wednesday night. The dew was freezing on the OTA but luckily the dew heater (turned up to max) kept the optics clear.
  25. What's DSS then? Keith
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