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inksmithy

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Posts posted by inksmithy

  1. A little annoying, yes and no, I find. Android is designed to handle its own memory, so switching away from it wont do any harm.

    In fact, killing processes using Advanced Task Killer and so on can actually have a negative effect on the phones performance, since the way it is designed, when the system decides on its own to kill a task, it performs a couple of little admin tasks first which mean you can open the app up the next time and if appropriate, everything is as you left it.

    There are times you need task killers, but not as often as you might think. It's hard to get used to the idea of just leaving something running in the background, because we come from a paradigm of desktop computers, where when we finish with something, we close it down. With Android and iPhone, that isn't necessary any more.

    From a different perspective, leaving it running in the background means the service which gives you notifications of upcoming passes has a chance to do its job - I have mine set to tell me about any pass brighter than 2.0, 10 minutes before it starts.

    Glad you got it working though, it's a good little app.

    Alan

  2. Was looking at a video on collimating on youtube and the guy from Astroshed held up an Antares laser collimator and said (I wont type with a yorkshire accent, although it's very tempting) "the good thing about these Antares laser collimators is that the collimator is itself collimatable".

    Which has to be good news for the lucky owners of Antares laser collimators, of course.

    However, looking at it in the video, I saw that it looked very much like the laser collimator I have, which is a brand called "Next Generation" and seemed to be minus any of the collimating screws.

    That was what I thought anyway. At the base of the unit, there were two small dents which were suspiciously evenly offset.

    Feeling the sticker warning about the laser, sure enough, there was a third dent which would be about perfect for placing collimation grub screws.

    Like a scab, something like that is beyond my ability to resist picking, so I got my smallest jewellers screwdriver and poked it, to find the holes had actually been filled with black rubber.

    After a while picking the rubber out of the holes, lo and behold, I have a lovely collimatable (and now collimated) laser collimator.

    If you have what looks to be a generic laser collimator, have a close look, a little bit of poking may allow you to get that extra precision.

    Beauty!

    Alan

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  3. Did you do a search for that technique?

    Essentially,m what you will end up doing is projecting an image of the centre dot back up along the focal plane towards where thelaser is originating.

    Because it has come through a barlow, it is no longer a laser, it has been diffused to a splotch of light. Because you are no longer collimating based on where the laser points its light, but instead are basing your collimation on the image of the center donut you are projecting towards the focuser.

    Really, do a search for the barlowed laser technique, it will make your life so much easier.

    Alan

  4. I use Heavens Above on my HTC Desire and can be found quite often dashing outside looking at the sky and cursing the odd feline which hurls itself underfoot as I'm heading out.

    Lots of ISS passes, but easily the most impressive was a -7.0 iridium flare.

    The way the app shows it, you are expecting a single bright pulse of light. What actually happens is a light appears, then increases in intensity to what seems an impossible level, then dims again.

    It went on for long enough that my brain started generating the ripping, tearing sound I would normally associate with something like that in the sky.

    Really impressive stuff, I like iridium flares.

    Alan

  5. Just saw the 08:30 news - Tuesday morning at 5am, the north of England is entirely covered by rain.

    Astro Pane is no better, showing very heavy rain all day Wednesday as well.

    It's very light at night, but not even being able to do any white light solar observing is frustrating.

    Alan

  6. Noticed you are using an HTC Desire. Couple of useful apps:

    Astro Pane: weather and visibility app, localized to you.

    SkEye: like having a push to system in your pocket.

    Google Sky: similar to SkEye, different features.

    GPS Status. Useful for accurate time, location and polar alignment as well as giving you a tilt meter.

    Hope that helps.

    Alan

  7. Was out on saturday night, stepped away from the telescope to straighten my back and saw the ISS. Whipped out the trusty mobile phone and got three shots - after upsampling them and tweaking brightness and contrast and adding a light noise filter to remove jpg artifacts.

    Just goes to show, awesomeness can come from unexpected places!

    Alan

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  8. Have one more thought about choices... (I guess patrons of site answered this question a milion time by now :) )

    What will be actualy more beneficial for a first ever scope to go if comparing a first purchase as :

    1) SW150P on EQ2/3 + eyepice set

    2) SW200P on EQ5

    3) SW200dob + eyepiece set

    my considerations are:

    a) is there SOOOO big difference to go for a 200 comparing with 150 newtonian

    B) is EQ5 mount worth going for a new starter , or i will happily use dob mount for a long run.. (I am somehow more driven towards EQ mounts for not known reason :) )

    c) is eyepiece set needed with first purchase or I can go with standart lenses/barlow for a first period and than see what I need from eyepieces as I will understand more my interests in the sky.

    The thing is, for various reasons, any astro shop will tend to put an OTA on a mount which will just do the job. A 200P on an EQ5 will work, but not as well as a 200P on an HEQ5 or EQ6.

    Same with the 150P on a 3-2, it will go much better on an EQ5.

    As far as difference between apertures goes, I believe the 200P has 77% more mirror surface than the 150P, which is fairly significant by anyones standards.

    I went through exactly the same process as you, only a couple of months ago, flipping between various telescope choices and alternatives, but in the end - after a brief flirt with a Celestron 127SLT which I loved, I've ended up with a SkyWatcher 250PX Dobsonian, which will serve me well for many years I think. Once I'm tired of using it as a dobsonian, I'll get myself one of the NEQ6's which are about to hit the second hand market and play with that.

    Just as a point of interest, I just made myself a little solar filter using some Baader Safety Solar Film. By putting the filter on the off axis hole on the tube cap, I've effectively transformed the telescope from a 254mm F4.7 light bucket into a 50mm F24 solar telescope. With a barlow, it effectively becomes F48, which should be plenty, dont you think?

    The best choice as far as aperture, optics, portability and adaptability goes, has to be the 200P dobsonian.

    As far as eyepieces go, I bought the Revelation kit and find it fabulous. Admittedly, I'm looking for some eyepieces again, but I believe that is nothing more than a symptom indicating an amateur astronomer.

    Hope that helps.

    Alan

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