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Everything posted by GeorgeB

  1. I live in London in a flat with a car park and no garden, but with a large park near by. The car park is very light polluted, but I have no problems with planetary or lunar observing. On a good clear moonless night I'll go to the park just with a pair of binoculars if on my own. If I get a friend to come along to share the load, we'll carry a telescope (102mm GOTO refractor or a Mak 127) - thankfully it's just a 10 min walk. Having the GOTO in the city really helps to find faint fuzzies compared to scanning with binoculars. I've purposely not bought large or bulky kit, so that I can transport it on foot a short distance (especially with a friends help). I couple of times a year when I go on holiday then I'll take the binoculars with me, or a scope if I rent a car. Don't let being in a city stop you!!
  2. Another consideration to bear in mind is that you will be camping in very early spring when the weather can alternate between glorious and vicious, which some kids may find a little too character building.
  3. I'm bringing a radio telescope and a cloud spotting book. And lots of cider.
  4. I second the thanks to everyone for making it another great weekend. My suspicion that SGL is a drinking club with an astronomy problem has been confirmed
  5. GeorgeB

    SGL 9 - Bookings

    I'll hopefully be tackling some more of the Lunar 100 during the first part of the evenings. It's a fascinating way to learn about the Moon's geology.
  6. Get some 15x70's - mine get used more than my scopes. I've found that I prefer using my 15x70's while reclined in a garden chair with elbows tucked in. I can observe comfortably that way for extensive periods without getting sore arms. When I use the tripod I invariably end up with a cricked neck!
  7. I'm an ex-owner of a pair of Celestron 15x70's and current owner of some Naturesport 10x50's. I ended up ditching the celestrons due to collimation issues - they worked great if you looked through them cross-eyed, but that gets a bit tiring after a while. If you can try before you buy and can guarantee that you are buying a fault free pair then they are excellent value for money. The Naturesport 10x50's are decent and I'm really pleased with them. I eventually started missing the power of 15x70's and ended up treating myself to some Helios Apollos - a perk of not being married.
  8. If you are going to manhandle your kit to the park then you should try to go for the compact option. The 8SE would be OK but those CPC 925's are rather brutish to lug around (think Tonka on steroids). I live a few mins walk from Richmond Park and occasionally take my 102mm GOTO refractor or my 127mm Mak there using a 2-wheel luggage trolly. I put the OTA in a rucksack on my back and bungee-strap the mount, battery and equipment flight case to the trolley. Most of the time I just go to the park with my 15x70 bins, as lugging a relatively small scope can be a faff.
  9. I would rather travel with a decent pair of binoculars than a small scope any day; my 10x50's have been around the world with me. You will see more and use them more. The most useful small scope would be a 70/80 mm wide-field refractor - but you'll see just as much with a decent pair of bins and have a lot less hassle carrying them. A scope that is good enough for planetary obs (cloud details on Jupiter, Cassini Division on Saturn, Surface features on Mars) will be too much hassle to back-pack with IMHO.
  10. As someone who also lives in suburban London, I would recommend one of these depending on budget: http://www.firstlightoptics.com/se-series/celestron-nexstar-8se.html or http://www.firstlightoptics.com/maksutov/skywatcher-skymax-127-synscan-az-goto.html They are ideal for the moon and planets, which being in London won't be a problem for you. The GOTO computer functionality will help locate fainter objects in the light polluted sky. I would be wary about buying any advanced setup for imaging as you will be very restricted with what you can image within London, though the above scopes will allow decent planetary imaging with a modest webcam setup. There is always the option to upgrade in future as enthusiasm and willingness to travel to darker skies dictates.
  11. After many years of research I have discovered a very strong correlation between enthusiasm for being outside with the scope and number of cans of Strongbow consumed.
  12. Is it all booked up already? I can't see any booking links at SGL or FLO :-(
  13. 11. Catching a few very fleeting glimpses of the ISS and seeing its structure through my Mak 127
  14. 1. 1999 solar eclipse - we were camping near Newquay and the sky cleared just before totality. There were people breaking down in tears around me. 2. Saturn in my Tasco 60mm 3. The Moon in my Tasco 60mm 4. Northern Lights 5. First high quality view of Jupiter in a friends 10" SCT - utterly breathtaking 6. Watching the shadow of Io pass across Jupiter over a few hours and then seeing Io pop out the side 7. Seeing Martian polar ice caps 8. Exploding fireball 9. Orion Nebula with a OIII filter 10. M45
  15. S330 - Oceanography is one of the elective courses you need to do on the MSc. So you are well on your way to getting the MSc as your previous study will exempt you!
  16. Slightly off-topic, but I've been doing the OU's MSc in Earth Science for the past couple of years (will be starting my final project thesis next month) and can throroughly recommend it. It's not astronomy, but it does have a lot of cross-over with general planetary science. One module of the taught Earth Systems Science course involves modelling of habitable zones around various types of star. Worth a look if you enjoy doing OU, but not hard set on pure astronomy/astrophysics.
  17. Maybe we'll join you on the pre-breakfast jaunt up Pen-y-Fan next year Adrian!
  18. I find that cider cures any sense of self-consciousness. It also has the added benefit of making you irressistable to women after around the 6 can mark ;-)
  19. I've had good results with the 5mm Celestron X-Cel LX, which is a cheap approximation to the Hyperion. My 24mm and 10mm Hyperions are also great with it as well. The XCels do have the benefit of being more dainty in size compared to the Hyperion hand-grenades!
  20. Go for the Dob! I sometimes get to use Glenn2214's one at his house in W. London near Heathrow airport and get very good views of many of the brighter DSO's. The Ring Nebula M57 is quite stunning in his OIII filter.
  21. Pale Blue Dot is Sagan's finest work. Brings a lump to the throat every time I watch it:
  22. I'm not too far from you DD. I occasionally set myself up in Richmond Park and can attest that the sky isn't too bad as you are away from immediate streetlighting and have a reasonable 360O horizon. I recently spent a year or so living in Kentish Town which is about as urban as it gets and still had an enjoyable time planetary observing and hunting the brighter DSO's.
  23. I've got several pairs of bins as well as a TravelScope 70. Without hesitation, I would recommend you spend the money on a decent set of 10x50 bins first. If you already own a decent camera tripod, then you could consider the Travelscope instead. If not you will need to by a decent tripod with the Travelscope, as the one it comes with is useless.
  24. As of 20 mins ago I actually saw the Cassini division for the first time in 20 years (I had a long break from astro). The seeing here in SW London in very good now - Moon and Saturn are starting to hold good focus at high mag in Glenn2214's Dob 200!! Deffo not going to bed yet - 2 cans of cider left and Saturn is getting higher in the sky
  25. Not quite the same comparison, but I have a 24mm Hyperion and a 32mm Celestron Omni Plossl. The Hyperion is definitely the best and has a satisfying chunkiness too it, but it does cost a bit more than the Plossl.
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