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  1. +1 for https://www.siril.org/ from me, mostly because it's free so I can learn with it
  2. Thanks for this suggestion. I set up the CCD simulator and played around for ages without success. Finally worked out I'd downloaded all the wrong astrometry.net index files #doh With that sorted out its working like a dream. Next step is to set the full mount up in the kitchen, as polaris is more or less in the direction of the extractor fan. Then I'll repeat the plate solving and have a go at the Polar Alignment process. Onwards and upwards and clear skys ahead!
  3. Bit of a random request .... Does anyone have a test FITS image of a simple star field that I can use to test plate solving in KStars/Ekos? I'm slowly learning how to connect everything up sitting in the warmth of my study. Yesterday I got my USB EQ Direct Interface cable Ekos connected successfully to my HEQ5. So the next thing I'd like to learn, while I'm waiting (and waiting and waiting) for the Manchester clouds to clear, is the plate solving options in Ekos. Anyone have an image file I learn & practice with? Many thanks Paul
  4. In the end I went for the Sky-Watcher EZ5 with the adaptor so it would go on the big steel tripod I already had. Very imprressed with it all. Got to take it out last night for a few mins between clouds and got a good look at Saturn. Looks like it will go well as my grab and go set up
  5. Thanks for the info. I'm even more not keen on the aluminium tripod! Regarding the Astro Essentials 3/8" Photo Adapter for HEQ5 / AZ5, does anyone know what's meant by ... from the FLO website. Here's a photo of the top of my HEQ5 tripod. Am I right that the adaptor won't fit onto this? Many thanks
  6. It all seemed so simple to start with ... I recently bought a second hand Skywatcher StarTraveller 80 from a friend, stuck it on an old camera tripod, and have been using it as a grab and go scope. It's been excellent for those moments when I go put the milk bottles out at night, look up, and discover a wonderfully clear Manchester sky. Last week the kids and I used it to look at Jupiters moons Of course the downside is the tripod is terrible - so amazingly unstable I'm reluctant to breath while trying to focus. But I have a bit of overtime money from work, so why don't I treat myself to a proper grab and go mount. Some reading around, and consulting FLO, lead me to a Sky-Watcher EZ5, as this would also take my 130PDS if I wanted. It's a little above my budget but I don't mind that if I'm gonna get something good. But ... the current one on FLO has the aluminium tripod, rather than the steel legs. Hmmm not sure what I think of that. So maybe I could use the steel tripod from my HEQ5? Alas the threading is different. So maybe I could use the 3/8" Photo Adapter for HEQ5 / AZ5 Tripod? But apparently that doesn't always fit on the older tripods. So which way should I jump? Are the aluminium legs just fine, and I'm making a fuss over nothing? Will the AZ5 mount go nicely on my HEQ5 steel tripod with/without an adaptor? Advice greatly appreciated. It all seemed so simple to start with! Many thanks Paul
  7. Good evening, I've been doing much the same - playing with my new HEQ5 in the garden. Polar aligned ok, with the polarscope and the PolarFinder app on my android phone. Then tried 1 star alignment and started to struggle. The alignment routine was getting the scope pointing in the right general area, but not within the view of my eyepiece. I double checked that my location was set correctly (it was) and the time was correct (I wasn't - i'd got DST on) Tried again, checked again, tried again. In desperation I found this discussion, and read Peter's post where he suggested there was no problem loosening the clutches and doing a quick manual alignment to improve things. As soon as I'd done this I was able to get the suggested alignment stars in view, and press on with a 2 star alignment. I was testing my work by asking the handset to point the scope at the moon, given that's a target even I can find by myself! Once I'd done the "clutches" thing it went straight to the moon. Woohoo a result :) I had a good look at the Pleiades, just over the top of the house, and then tried the "Suggested Deep Sky Objects" from the handset. I must admit I'd never heard of the M44 Beehive Cluster, but the mount found it straight away. I was very impressed by that. My night vision is pretty poor, and I could see nothing with the naked eye in the direction the scope was pointing, but it was a lovely open cluster to look at through the scope. The challenge will be to repeat my success on another night, but for the moment I'm pretty chuffed with the new mount
  8. Here's hoping they will accept one or two of my children in part exchange for one of these.
  9. Phew I thought the clouds were because of me borrowing Turn Left at Orion from a friend and being all keen to try it out.
  10. Is there an option to increase the number of green boxes? Might be a problem with my laptop, but there appear to be too many red boxes? #weatherinducedsobbing
  11. I was all set to launch into an AP kit before reading this thread. Now I'm asking myself if I will have the time to set up an AP session properly? Maybe I would be better with a simple Dob I can set up and actually use? Maybe I should buy the Dob this year and defer the heq5 to next year? Then again I really should finish painting the kitchen before I buy anything! Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk
  12. Just adding my thanks for all the Andromeda hunting advice. I've had no luck in the past from heavily light polluted Manchester, but sounds worth another try
  13. I was wondering if the experienced astronomers on the forum could help me out with the problem of clouds. Twice this week I have seen the clear skies darken and have taken my scope and other equipment out to set up in the garden. But on both occasions, just as I start observing, the clouds have closed in and the beautiful sky has disappeared behind the typical Manchester grey. So is there anything I should be doing to stop the clouds? I have tried obsessively checking the weather forecast every 30 minutes to see what might happen. I have tried reverse psychology, telling everyone I'm not planning to take the scope out that evening, a and then suddenly dashing, hoping to fool the elements. Neither have these have had any success. I wonder if there's some sort of ritual sacrifice I could try, but the livestock section on the firstlightoptics website seems to be down at the moment! Many thanks for any suggestions Paul Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk
  14. This is pretty close to what I have http://telescopeoutlet.co.uk/index.php/telescopes/sky-watcher-explorer-130p-telescope.html The mount is nothing special, but i have found it a good scope to start. First proper view of Saturn through it was a real wow moment - did you know the planet actually has rings!
  15. I have a SW 130P, a 99p webcam, and £10 worth of software. I'd love more kit but I'm determine to get my 99p worth of learning from the webcam before I spend serious money. I had one evening of playing before the gales rolled in, and this convinced me I need to learn the software better before I venture out into the cold again. Do get the book everyone recommends. I read it through and swore this hobby was too overwhelming for me. Then I read it again and decided there were bits I could attempt. So I'm learning the webcam now, and have attempted some constellation pics just using my canon DSLR and the APT software. See if you can come up with a roadmap of starting small and adding to your equipment through the year as you get nifty with what you have :-) Remember when you get your first recognisable photo to post it here, to encourage all us other beginners :-) Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk
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