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Everything posted by inksmithy

  1. Sounds like I missed an absolute pearler of a social event, even if there wasn't much astronomy to be done. Gutted I missed it, but didn't have much choice. Next time maybe. Glad you all kept your spirits up though! Alan
  2. I was faced with the same problem recently and ended up going for the Canon 1100D. I think it comes down to motivation really. My aim was to learn first principles and edge into basic astrophotography - I'm never intending to take more than a single 60 second exposure for example. The arguments I've seen though tell me Canons are great for astrophotography because of the noise reduction, software and hardware advantages, while NIKON seems to be a very closed system - the best I can make out, control of the camera from a laptop requires an extra purchase if you have a Nikon, but comes in the box with a Canon. I chose Canon, but if I had the capability (read 'funds') I would have a Canon for the skies and a Nikon for terrestrial photography. Much as Psychobilly does. Alan
  3. Noo, Nina, it was fine, I had already taken up too much of your time already! It was fine, the wait didn't do anyone any harm. I'll get more photos up as I can - I want to turn the images of the fire I took into an animation too. And Lorne, I think the price tag of that tent will be engraved on my soul... Alan
  4. Hah, was an expensive mistake, but made for a lot of laughs. I couldn't have used Mike's Obsession either Pete, turns out he's bought a little toilet tent especially for it. Nina, again, thank you so very much for organising this. It was a real blast. Great company and the most incredibly clear skies. At one point, a group of us, newbies and long term amateur astronomers were having a hard time finding Cygnus and Albireo. The reason? There were too many stars. What a nice problem to have. The trip back was a bit of a nightmare - once Nina had dropped George and I at the train station, we were heading into a 45 minute wait for a train, which was fine. Trouble was, the conductor of that train decided he didn't want to organise things so we could fit the trolley in and while sending us from one end of the train to the other, told the driver to take off, leaving us with another hour to wait. All good though, it gave us an opportunity to get a Subway for lunch. I still haven't sorted through all my photos, although I'm starting to realise that learning photography in my case will involve throwing away a lot of what seem like nice images on the camera's LCD. I've only had time to process this one so far. We didn't see much of Val this weekend, she's been pretty busy according to Nina and had a few things to do, but she popped in for a little while on the Saturday night and stood in front of my camera without realising it I think. I'll post more images as I sort through them. George says he had a great time and he's really looking forward to the next one, which I believe is Galloway in five weeks time. Again, thanks to Nina for organising all the CSP's and thanks to everyone who attended for making it fun. Alan
  5. We're all here - I had an expensive saga relating to tentpoles, but thanks to Nina and Tom (and a visit to an outdoor $hop) saw me with a new tent. All set up, watching the clouds grudgingly think about clearing with some food on the barbecue. Alan
  6. Right, astrotrolley is packed, checking timetables to establish departing flight plan. Woot! Alan
  7. Right then, I'm downing a coffee and then the stepson and I will start loading up the astrotrolley and getting ourselves down to the train. Nina, you haven't changed your phone number? If not, ill call you when we get to Carlisle station. Looking forward to seeing you guys later today! Alan
  8. Ayaka, I'm not sure of final numbers, but I believe there were a couple of slots still open. Send delilahtwinkle a pm, she'll get back to you ASAP. I hope you can make it, its a laugh when its cloudy and an education regardless of the weather. Alan
  9. I'll be leaving my place early on Saturday and trusting our arrival to the rail system. Mid afternoon in Carlisle I suspect. Alan
  10. Yes, because the beam is pointed into the sky, not into the telescope - never ever do that regardless of the power of the laser. You are looking at the beam of the laser. You do have to align it, yes, but it is incredibly simple to do. I found using the laser plus the telrad revolutionised my observing - an amazing difference. Alan
  11. This is the laser pointer I have: http://www.gy3.co.uk/laser-pointers/green-laser-pointer.html I got a little mount for it from astro engineering which attaches to the optical tube. All the usual caveats, don't use at star parties or point at people or things which carry people (cars, planes etc). With my dob, I push the telescope around to the point where the laser beam is pointing at the part of the sky I want to be looking at. I can use the laser while looking through the telescope, since the beam is visible through the scope. Using the laser in conjunction with a telrad is very easy. Alan
  12. Depends really - you could get the 3-2 goto option for around the same price as the Meade, or just go for the standard 3-2 and add the goto function later. If you are happy starhopping with your dob, then starhopping with an EQ3-2 should be no issue. Add a laser pointer and its dead easy. Alan
  13. I never did it, but the short answer is yes, you can get stellarium to control it. Alan
  14. I reluctantly sold my Celestron 127SLT in favour of a 250px and have noticed similar issues - bulky and awkward for short sessions, a joy on the longer ones. I've never looked at a Meade 125, but recalling reading a group test of the SW, Celestron and the Meade and to be honest, one impression I got was that the Meade didn't justify its asking price. The Celestron and the SkyWatcher have exactly the same optics, but the handset is different. Both SkyWatcher and Celestron have great features - I think if I was in your position, I wouldn't give that Meade another thought and would limit my dithering to the SkyWatcher and Celestron. I would go for a more sturdy mount though - perhaps an EQ3-2. My 0.02p. Alan
  15. All systems go here at the moment too! I'm expecting a 4" refractor to be delivered tomorrow or Friday and am still dithering about the dob - going to PM Mike and ask if he can squeeze it into his vehicle on his way past, but if not, I expect the stepson and I will wrestle it past grumpy train conductors. Really looking forward to it - astro trolley will make itself useful again! Herakles - gonna miss you and WackyScot, but I'll take loads of photos with this new camera of mine. Not long now! Alan
  16. Hiya Mark - I don't have any special demands, more suggestions really. At the last stargazing live, there was - as FLO will tell you, a big spike in the numbers of people buying telescopes and I suspect rather a lot of people have been left staring nervously at this equipment they have obtained but have no real idea how to take their prospective hobby further. I know there are probably plans to talk to various astro clubs and so on, which is great, but to a lot of people, astro clubs can seem like quite formal affairs. Personally, I was very unsure what to expect at my first star party - if you look at the thread in the star parties section, you will see how that went. Not many stars, sadly, but laughter, fun and great conversation ruled. How about some pre-recorded parts of the show which show that star parties aren't necessarily just for formal, scientific beardy types, but people from all walks of life who enjoy the beauty and wonderment not just from seeing, but talking, laughing and learning about the cosmos. We also tend not to be allergic to a drink, strangely. Alan
  17. Mike, not sure if you answered, can you fit in an Aussie and a ten inch dob on your way past? Will chip in for fuel obviously - if not me, could we squeeze the scope in? No stress if you can't, I'll figure something out! Looking forward to it! Alan
  18. You have me down already I hope? If not, I'm up for the full deal, one way or another, both nights, 20 of your English pounds. Mike, will you have room for an Australian and a ten inch dob on your way through please? More than happy to chuck in for fuel. Alan
  19. Brian Cox, five minutes ago just posted a message on Twitter that there will be another stargazing live on January 16, 17 and 18. Nice one. Alan
  20. Completely up to you of course Nina, but my vote is for the weekend of the 27th - let's have as much dark as possible. Alan
  21. Personally, while I love my 10" dob to bits, particularly the fact that in order to look through it, I almost have to hug it, my vote must go with DSCs. While I am starting to get better at finding my way around the sky, I am getting very frustrated with struggling to read charts and so on in the dark under red lights. I don't want to be frustrated, I want to look at the wonders of the sky. Anything which makes that Messier gets my vote. Alan
  22. Was going to ask the same thing - I want to see the reaction of people when I put a ten inch dobsonian on a train. Alan
  23. If its anything like the Cumbria starry, expect booze, laughter, education, good nature and a sense of meeting friends from years before, even on first meeting. Seriously, nothing like a friendly group of like minded people. Alan
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