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Everything posted by Scoobyroo

  1. Thanks all for the responses I managed to grab a few hours with the scope again on Saturday (break in the clouds), but had to move the table it sits on (which is super sturdy) to a different area of the garden to get a good view of the moon in the slot I had. The ground here is most definitely less level then where I normally spot from and I did notice that my Go-To was even less accurate than it normally is. As such, I definitely feel that levelling is having a beneficial impact, regardless of calibration. My Heritage Virtuoso 150P has a bubble level (though it's very inconveniently place right in the centre of the base plate, where it's difficult to see when the tube is on πŸ˜†). I was hoping I may find the legs adjustable also (thanks for the tip Ivan), but seems they are fixed. I'll take a look around to see if I can find adjustable replacements πŸ‘ Thanks again all... R
  2. Thanks for this thread... had a very similar question RE: mirror cleaning on my (now shrouded) Heritage 150P πŸ‘
  3. Hi all. Think this may be a silly question, but I can't seem to find a definitive answer. I have a Sky-Watcher Heritage 150P Virtuoso GTi, with Go-To dobsonian table top mount. I typically use the scope on my garden table, which is super sturdy and works well. I would like to take the scope to a darker sky area not far from where I live and am considering placing the scope either on the car bonnet, or directly on the ground (on a waterproof blanket). Pro's and cons to each of course (comfort, etc), but my question is more related to if (how well) the Go-To tracking system might work? Normally, the base is Go-To calibrated on a level surface, north aligned and then uses two stars to finalise the calibration (with manual adjustments as necessary). What happens in a scenario where the surface is not level? In theory, the the 'two-star' part of the calibration should consider any 'wonkiness' of the surface the scope is mounted on - but everything I'm reading states that the tabletop mount must be level. Anyone have any experience with this? (wasn't sure if I should be posting this in 'mounts' or 'software' - mounts seemed the best fit). Txs. Rick
  4. Beautiful image... lovely work
  5. Glad to see that you’ve got it. Let us know how you find the new 15mm eyepiece compared to the packaged ones (10mm and 25mm I assume). πŸ‘
  6. I picked up the 150p Heritage Virtuoso GTi last week. My use case is 'casual hobbyist', and one of my main criteria was ease of storage, set-up and usage. Whilst I can't talk to how a 200mm visually compares to a 150mm is real-world use, I can tell you that you that I've seen some incredible detail in my 150p. I'll also reiterate what many have said, that you can't put a price of portability! If it's 'less' practical to use / move, you'll use it 'less'... an extra 2" in no good if it's sat in the cupboard under the stairs. I can get the 150p Heritage out and set up in about 2 minutes and move it (front garden has better northerly views) in another 2 minutes. It folds down nicely, it's light enough to carry with one arm (not that I'd recommend it! - haha) and so sits nicely on the front seat of my car with room to spare. It's already visited a few family members (many oooohs and ahhhhs ensued!) Many DSO are faint smudges of light and from what I've seen in many hours of YouTube videos comparing 150mm and 200mm (video compression caveats aside), the faint smudges just become slightly less faint smudges. If you can drop a few bortle's because of ease of transportation, that'll easily trump the aperture drop. Just my opinion, based on what I've seen and read... I'm pretty new to all this myself Good luck whatever you choose.
  7. I thought you all might appreciate a laugh at my expense... As a newbie to the astronomy world (it's my 1 week anniversary today! 🀩), I've been lucky enough to enjoy some pretty clear skies this week. One of my favourite targets already with my 6" Newt is Jupiter. I typically start on it, end on it and spend quite a bit of time on it in between lol. I was looking for a phone App to help me navigate around the night sky (at least until I get to grips with this hobby a little more) and @Astro_Dad recommended a few, including Stellarium (thanks Astro!). First can I just say, what a great App! Now have the free version on my Mac and also paid for the premium version on my phone, as it allows me to control my GoTo mount directly (rather than relying on the 'ok' SynScan software). I've spent hours with the software already, setting it up exactly as I like it and have especially enjoyed the ability to zoom in on any DSO / planet to get a feel for what I should be seeing (especially useful for when you're trying to ID a faint DSO smudge in your EP... is that it, or not?!?!). For planetary, especially Jupiter, it's great to be able to see where its moons are positioned relative to their mother and also to be able to spin backwards / forwards in time to track their orbits, when I should be seeing their shadows on Jupiter's surface and at what tiem I might be able to catch a glimpse of the GRS. Excitement quickly turned to frustration however when I pulled Jupiter into my EP view only to find that what I saw was nothing like what the App said I should be seeing. Sure, I could make out three moons (perhaps a forth), but they most certainly weren't where I expected them to be πŸ™ I then proceeded to fall down a 2 hour rabbit hole of browsing forums, reading manuals, uninstalling and reinstalling software, manually entering GPS co-ordinates and adding the time / date manually to try and fix the issue... all to no avail. Frustrated and quickly running out of clear skies, I decided to take a look at the Seven Sisters (I'd heard it was a great target and it had just reached high enough in the sky over the house (roof) for me to get a good view of it). Again, imagine my frustration when it looked nothing like in the App. I mean, it was there for sure, but the view just wasn't matching what the App (and many images online) were showing me. It was at that point I had my 'ahhhhh haaaaa' moment, quickly followed by a 'groan - slap head' moment. School boy error Rick!.... yup... of course, everything is flipped in your scope Rick. Astronomy 101! πŸ₯Έ Within seconds, I'd found the view flip/reverse buttons in Stellarium and what do you know!... everything was back in its rightful place and the order of the Universe was restored! I just got chance to retrain my EP on Jupiter to see IO, Europa and Callisto all where they should be, had a bit of a meltdown that I actually now knew which of the moons I was looking at (OMG!).... and.... then a big cloud came along and sat right on top of them for the rest of the night πŸ˜† Moral of the story... don't be a Rick!
  8. I'll never get bored of seeing images of Jupiter. Lovely shot!...
  9. One is red, facilitates a lot of 'ohhhhs' and 'ahhhhs' and costs a fortune..... the other one is a Ferrari!
  10. Nice!... Will be interesting to hear what you think and how much of a step up it is
  11. The pain will be worth it I’m sure. If it helps, I’ve only just found astronomy, so you still know way more than I do about it πŸ˜‹
  12. Nice!... had my first wow moment looking at Saturn last Friday with my Heritage (150P)... I'm guessing you were using your x2 barlow and 10mm? When you do free up some extra cash, I'd also recommend the BST StarGuider eye pieces. Still pretty budget friendly, but a marked step up in quality over the packed EP's. If you want a bit more diversity whilst keeping a pretty reasonable step up in optics (for only about Β£10 more), I've found the SVBony Zoom 21-7mm (sv135) pretty good (was recommended to me). FLO don't seem to stock them, but you can pick them up from their official store on Amazon... or maybe a second hand one on Ebay.
  13. Your ISS post yesterday is a perfect example... you got quite a few responses, so I'd say that's a big tick in the box πŸ‘
  14. Lovely... the logarithmic nature of the scale never occurred to me, was an eye opener... and actually explains why such a small numerical value was having such a large impact on my ability to see certain DSO's. This should have been obvious - I clearly still have a lot to learn, so appreciate your time / guidance both!
  15. That makes great sense, thanks. Let me check out the link and have a play with those calculators That's the best description (and torch analogy) I've come across... even I understood! it Some absolute gems of info there... thank you so much. Helps me understand much better what to target (also helped with my understanding of 'Bortle') and that link gives me some great follow up info. Thanks both.! πŸ™Œ Bonus question (if I may). How come planets can go into -(negative) magnitudes (for example, Venus is showing as -3.9 tonight)? Is it because 0 is supposed to represent the brightest point light (i.e. star) and everything else is calibrated from there? i.e. Venus is able to reflect localised star-light (i.e. the Sun), over a much winder area (relative to us... i.e. in out solar system)? Or do planet have a separate scale (I don't think this is the case from what I'm reading)?
  16. Hi all. Very new to astronomy and have a question I can't seem to find a definite answer on relating to 'magnitude'. When suggesting objects to view 'Best Tonight', the Go-To software I currently use (ScanSyn) will order potential objects by magnitude... my working assume is that this means how bright the object will appear? My question is, would that be doing so based on the Scope it knows I'm using (aperture, focal length, etc)... or is their literally a set 'magnitude for objects, that either doesn't change... or only changes based on the objects position relative to the earth? I'm also struggling to understand if the location you are viewing from (i.e weather / Bortle) has an impact, other than the obvious (a Bortle 4 trumps a Bortle 6 / if it's behind a cloud, you aren't seeing it! πŸ˜†). Also what about measuring the Eyepiece impact (as I understand the lower the focal length, the dimmer the object will appear - though I'm sure EP quality plays a part here as well). I note the Stellarium (which I've literally just downloaded and spent a few hours with), will display 'Magnitude readings for any object selected. Same question really, what is it using to calculate this - or is it a pre-set. It seems to have a greater ability to let me drop info in about my Scope / EP's / Bortle rating, so am wondering if this then becomes more accurate? If not, is there a calculation I can use to figure out the relative 'magnitudes' for my set-up under given conditions? Thanks all...
  17. Great images!... inspiring
  18. @Tiago Ferreira Didn't expect to see your name pop up here! Loving your 150p Virtuoso content at the moment... it helped in pushing me over the edge to pick one up last week. Whilst I'm not looking to do Astrophotography myself at the moment, knowing what the scope has the potential to do in this area was a real eye opener! Anyway, back on topic... I note that the OP has really only jumped in a few times on this thread with more info on their specific use case and I have to admit to being pretty new to all this myself, but other than the 'children' aspect, your use-case doesn't seem too dissimilar from mine. I've seen a few recommendations here for the Sky-Watcher Heritage 150p (perhaps the Virtuoso GTI version if but allows?). Firstly, I'm afraid I don't know enough about telescopes to aid the debate around the pros and cons of each, however I can share my personal experience/thoughts. I picked up the GTI version of the scope last week for Β£379 from FLO after much research and help here at SGL and it really exceeded my expectations in many areas... and if Go-To isn't a 'must have' for you, you can pick up it's 'non-GTI' baby brother (without Go-To) for around Β£249 (https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/sky-watcher-heritage-150p-flextube-dobsonian-telescope.html). As you have kids and if you think you'd like to get them involved (which I believe is the plan), I would personally recommend you invest the extra for the Virtuoso GTI's 'Go-To' feature. Whilst finding objects is a bit of an art (which the GTI will automatically do for you), it is actually probably a great family bonding activity. Grab a star-map, spot some recognisable objects in the sky and hop your way around. However, tracking the object once you've found it (which the GTI will also do) is a whole new art!... I was amazed at how quickly these suckers move! πŸ˜† In some scopes (this one also), everything is upside down and back to front... i.e. when something disappears off to the left of your view, you have to slew (move the scope) to the right (mirrors eh! πŸ€ͺ). To be fair, you do get used to is fairly quickly, but I can only imagine that this 'juggling' might be a step too far for some of the younger ones... risking them losing interest. Another issue with manually slewing, is that to do so you are obviously touching the scope to move it... this introduces vibration for a few seconds, during which time the object you're looking at is of course bouncing all over the viewfinder (eyepiece). So you end up playing this cat and mouse game of moving the scope to where you expect the object to be in a few seconds, so that by the time the scope has settled, you can enjoy a nice stable view (well, at least until it whisks off out of view again a few seconds later!). For the avoidance of doubt, the Heritage 150p's 'Dobsonian' mount is very stable (likely more than other types, especially at this price range)... but some vibrations pretty much are unavoidable when manually slewing. The 'Go-To feature will not only track what you are looking at, it will do so without introducing any vibrations.. or minimal at most (in my experience at least). Hence why I'd recommend in your use case, you might want to consider the GTI. Other considerations worth highlighting for your use case are that the Heritage 150P's are fairly light (the 'non-GTI' especially), very compact for ease of storage (comparatively) and you can literally pick it, place it down and be looking at the night sky in 5 minutes 🀩 I did write up my (rather lengthy, sorry) thoughts in a separate thread on the scope and accessories I purchased , if these are of any use? Here's the link.... feel free to reach out if you want any more info:
  19. Well... I think my mind has been officially blown 🀯 I'd set my expectations of what I might be able to see through this scope (planetary especially), but I have to say it's exceeding every singe one. There now follows a bit of a brain dump, much of which may seem all rather obvious to any seasoned astronomers, but to me... well, I just didn't realise (for example, just how many stars, upon stars, upon stars there are... that you just don't see with the naked eye 🀩). I'll show you mine if you show me yours!: Ordered through FLO 3pm on Wednesday this week, received Friday 11am. To be honest, I wasn't expecting to receive anything this side of the Bank Holiday weekend, so fair play to FLO, they were on it! Found their pre-sales great as well (literately answering ever single question I fired at them... and trust me, there were a lot - haha). I ended up ordering: The Sky-Watcher Heritage 150p Virtuoso Gti (comes with two packaged EP's, 25mm and 10mm) The BST StarGuider 60deg ED Eyepiece 8mm The BST StarGuider 60deg ED Eyepiece 5mm The Celestron 2x Omni Barlow The SvBony SV135 7-21mm Zoom. Note: This was purchased elsewhere, as FLO didn't seem to stock it (or have stock if they did) Budget blowing overkill, or Captain Sensible?: I think all in, I spent Β£560 - which granted, is a little over the Β£500 target I'd set myself, but I added the Zoom and an extra 5mm Eyepiece because I was like a kid in a candy store! . The Zoom (which hasn't arrived as yet, should be here Monday) is more a quality of life choice tbh. I received some sage advice about the luxury of quickly being able to zoom in on a target to find an 'optimum' fixed EP length to use. Having now tried the scope, moving switching from 25mm, to 10mm, to 8mm, to 5mm (with and without Barlow) trying to find the 'sweet spot' (which another wise person told me changes depending on target - and how true!), I agree.. this will be a god send (despite any juggling required due to the Virtuoso also having 'twist focus'). The 5mm... well, that was just a 'bigger is better, right?' itch that needed to be scratched πŸ˜† So... how was it for you, Rick? I have so much stuff in my head that I want to get out. But I will try to control it somewhat, or I will literally go on for pages and pages. In a nutshell... OMG! 🀯 I saw Jupiter, Saturn, Great British clouds (argh!), Mars, Jupiter (again), Saturn (which then disappeared behind the tree-line πŸ˜ͺ), more clouds (doh!), Polaris, Jupiter (more Jupiter, more!), Vega (didn't see Jodie Foster though), Jupiter (like, seriously 😍), Mars, Neptune (basically, a bit of black sky... don't think I was aligned properly lol), Uranus (same as Neptune - very black and un-aligned!), Kornephoros, Jupiter (you think I'm joking)... along with some aeroplanes (fun manually trying to track those), satellites (no idea which, they had passed through frame before I had time to react and track... and then when I tried, everything is upside down and back to front lol (that'll take some getting used to)) and more shooting stars than I realised we got of an evening! Oh... and did I mention I saw Jupiter? Wait!... STARS though!... I mean, I knew they were all up there of course, but to see them all layered up, fighting for space... going on and on and on. Just mind blowing and awe inspiring! I could go on. I could tell you about the luck of it being clear on the first day (night) I received my scope, only for minutes later clouds to suddenly cover the sky, waiting for openings in the canopy to appear, then for it to clear only to cloud again... doh!. I didn't realise just how dynamic our sky is... I guess I just never thought to look up before! Being frustrated to watch Jupiter keep going behind clouds too dense to see through... Saturn disappearing off behind the tree line literally 2 minutes after I had found it (nooooooooooo!) I saw Saturn's rings... granted, only for a sum total of about 40 seconds πŸ˜†. The clouds were descending, so I went for a cuppa. I noticed a small break to the south east out of the window, spotted a 'bright star' and thought... "ah well, I'll take a look at that until the sky clears up a bit". I think I had the 8mm BST in the view finder, so quickly span the scope around, lined the laser finder up on the 'star' and was pretty pleased with myself to find that a (very out of focus) 'star' had appeared in the eyepiece. I twisted the focus expecting a pin-point of light to appear, bright and true... but as I twisted away, I noticed that this 'Star' had love handles!?!? Could it be?.... and then, 'pop', beautifully clear I suddenly see Saturn and it's (surprisingly huge!) rings pop into focus! I literally jumped up off of the eyepiece (I may have done a little excitement wee as well to be fair... joke!) and ran into the house to tell the boss. She came running out with me (well, it was more of a 'do I have to' run) and had time to see the same thing I had. We both lost our minds for a second (shame I had turned the Ring camera off - that footage would be gold!), by which time a cloud had come over and whisked the planet off behind the tree line for the rest of the evening πŸ˜ͺ. I saw Jupiters bands and moons... Yes Rick, you actually watched the moons around Jupiter like mini stars around their host... it was surreal. I saw one moon kiss the planet and gradually get absorbed into the planets detail, the bands were reddish/brown... I could actually see the colours! I saw way more detail than I had allowed my expectations to expect and I was genuinely humbled. I feverishly explored the night sky from about 11pm until 3am... and saw every sky permutation from perfectly clear to a cloudy hell. I mastered the laser finder and have gotten it pretty darn accurate. I attempted to calibrate the Go-To function, but seemingly every time I tried the clouds would descend and scupper me part way through (can't aim at the star if I can't see it Go-To!). That said, after manually tracking for a few hours (didn't realise just how fast these suckers move through view!), I stumbled over the 'Point and Track' feature in the Go-To software. So even without full initial calibration/set-up, you can just say "hey Go-To, we're currently looking at Jupiter" and it lovingly then follows the target for you, based on the targets known location/trajectory (well, you don't literally 'say it'... you say it with buttons lol). Granted, every few minutes you may have to make a small adjustments (I assume because you've skipped the full calibration), but what a god-send! I'm going to stop.. I will literally gush for hours otherwise. In a nutshell last night was a rollercoaster of highs, lows, excitement, disappointment and awe... what a first night! I would 100% recommend this or a similar set up for anyone looking to dip a toe into star gazing, who has around Β£500 burning a hole in their pocket. All the gear... and only some idea: 150p Virtuoso Gti: Exceeded expectations, as per my gushing comments above. Much more stable image than I was expecting as well (once you let go of it of course lol). The Go-To movement and slewing (think that's what is was called), is so smooth as to introduce no shaking/vibration into the image at all. I wasn't expecting that! Packaged 25mm: Seemed super sharp.. very easy to use and focus. Did feel super cheap compared to the BST's though (light as a feather!). Packaged 10mm: Nowhere near as good as any of my other EP's. Hard to say why exactly... just felt 'hollow' (visually). Felt even cheaper than the 25mm (so light in fact that at one point it *floated away!) * Disclaimer - yeah, that bit's not true BST 8mm: The BST EP's (IMHO - with about 3 hours experience on the clock - hahaha) offer a significant jump up in quality over the packaged eye pieces (certainly the packaged 10mm), or they did on the planets at least (no moon for me to try as yet). The fact that they had their own 'twist' piece confused me for a good 30 mins... I thought it was a second focuser for a while there - lol. After a quick google, I realised this relates to eye relief and adjusted accordingly (yup, I know... newbie!) 😬 BST 5mm: The commentary is correct. Jupiter in the BST 8mm on this scope I found to be the sweet spot... but just being able to get that little bit closer in a 5mm is an experience all in itself (all be it, slight softer experience). Definitely a worth addition (and makes me feel far more manly.... grrrrr... <ahem> lol). SvBony Zoom: Expecting this on Monday, so can't comment just yet. Celstron Omni Barlow: Useful as it effectively doubles your EP collection. It's also sometimes fun to live out your magnification power fantasy... however as with the 10mm eyepiece. experience, it just felt a bit off. Can't place it... definitely harder to view through (see below) and harder to focus (expected, I guess). You definitely notice a visual quality impact I think... but it's too early to judge as I haven't had much hands on time with it and I'm effectively comparing apples and oranges. For example, a Barlowed 25mm is 12.5mm... and the closest I have in a fixed EP size is the packaged 10mm (and that was a bit crappy anyway). So, too many moving parts to directly compare. In theory, I should be able to compare the packaged 10mm barlowed to my fixed BST 5mm... but you are so zoomed at that point that it's hard to compare, plus at that mag you're already kinda loosing detail anyway. I think if I had to summarise at this point, I'd say this may be more useful for lower mag (>25mm EP's) and perhaps the Moon. Jury is out for the moment. Eyepieces in general: I'd definitely say however that using eyepieces is an art in itself. Some you literally need your eyeball on top off them, some you back off a bit, some go black if you move your head a tiny bit off centre, some you can literally approach in any way and they are great (the packaged 25mm was by far the easiest to use!) ... basically, it takes a while to figure what positioning you need to be using for each. I'm guessing this relates to eye relief, POV, focal length (right term?), etc, etc... and whilst you read up on the theory, it's only when you try the eyepieces themselves you are like... "ahh yeah, this is weird / tricky". I did kinda get the hang on it after a while though... ish. So long (for now)... and thanks for all the fish: I'm not sure if I should be posting these thoughts here (as it's the Sky-Watcher 150P Virtuoso GTi thread), in a general thread, or in the 'what did I see last night' thread. Seems like here might be best, just incase any potential future buyers stumble across the thread (like i did), on their quest to soak up info and peoples opinions on the 150p Gti. Part of me thinks I should post this (move this?) to the beginners threads, or similar?... I just don't want it to seem like I'm double posting is all. Thoughts?... Once again, thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts with me here and for those who messaged me privately. You all took time out of your days to help and guide, which I'm sure you likely get a bit fed up of around these parts after a bit... but please know that it really did help me chose my set-up and is greatly appreciated! I do hope some future potential astronomer comes across these thoughts and find them somewhat helpful/informative during their stargazing quest. Rick
  20. Like the long range thermal stuff on your channel. Have a sub
  21. Must be a 50 thing... 50 years and 2 months here. Hated the idea so much, that I purchased my first scope yesterday to make myself feel better (after wanting one for decades... probably around 4 at a guess). Also in Oxfordshire and lucky enough to be in a Bortle 4 (and only a knifes edge away from a 3). Don't be too impressed though, I only found out what all that meant this week during countless hours of research . Enjoy!
  22. Hi all. I ordered my Sky-Watcher Heritage 150p Virtuoso GTi yesterday from FLO. Thanks for your responses, guidance here and a few PM's in the background which really helped me lock this scope in as the one for me! Much excitement ensues...and as with others, I now have to sit and wait patiently for both the delivery and then some good conditions to start getting to grips with it. WRT the rechargeable battery situation, I'll try the li-ion 1.5V 3000mWh USB AA rechargeable batteries that I have here and report back as to how they hold up for the Go-To mount. I purchased them a while ago to help resolve an issue I was getting with some other electronics flipping out (hand controllers for VR - another hobby lol) due to regular Ni-MH rechargeables only outputting 1.2V. Each battery is individually charged over USB (not as much hassle as you'd think, as they come with a 4-way splitter - i.e. one USB socket will charge 4x rechargeables at once) and they excel at providing fixed voltage output until the cell is almost fully depleted (instead of trailing off like normal Ni-MH rechargeables). As you might expect, they are more expensive than regular Ni-MH rechargeables (Β£22 for 4 at date of posting), but if they work as well as i think they might, this could be a valid backup option to have in your kit back. Also worth noting that as they are charged over USB A (cable provided), you won't already need to have purchased a rechargeable battery charger. Here's a link and image for reference (though, let me test and report back before you take the plunge, just in case. I wouldn't want anyone wasting their time / money πŸ€‘) https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0828GN5RL/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 *EDIT* (sorry, I can't seem to find a way to reduce the image size) *EDIT2* Resized image (thanks @Zermelo)
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