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Everything posted by Richp

  1. Evening, As I guess is the case with everyone, cloudy evenings usually find me perusing my bookshelf in order to satisfy my cosmic cravings. A the moment I'm developing a real interest in the Apollo missions, so I've been looking about for a good book in order that I can bring myself up to mastermind level on the topic. Looking on amazon and in my local book shops, there seem to be a few good books to pick from, but I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good book on the subject that has a nice balance of informative text along with all the amazing images. Cheers, Rich
  2. Evening all, Imaging is always something I've steered clear of, mainly as I've always felt well out of my depth, but I've just managed to get hold of a Philips SPC880NC which has had the firmware upgraded and is adapted ready for imaging. I've downloaded SharpCap and I can't wait to get started - but where do I start! Can anyone recommend useful websites/tutorials or books that I should be ingesting before I get started? I really interested in Lunar and planetary imagining, and I'll mainly be using a Skywatcher 130P and Skywatcher Skyliner 350P FlexTube GOTO. Any advice would be fantastic. Cheers, Rich
  3. Cheers all, this is definitely something I'm going to do. From a quick internet trawl theres plenty of advice to be had. My main problem is that our school is on the approach for Exeter airport! It could be a good excuse for a trip up on to Dartmoor with a chance of a star camp too!
  4. Afternoon all, I'm not really sure if this should be in the astrophotography section or not, so I thought I'd post here. After reading about this sort of thing a lot and seeing videos like this I'm really up fr having a go myself with my Physics pupils and astronomy club at school. I was wonders if anyone had ever had a go or had any experiences with this sort of thing. Cheers, Rich
  5. Hi all, As we are hosting an upcoming star party and starting a new astronomy club, we were wondering if anyone could recommend a decent green laser pointer. we have bought a couple from amazon but they were extremely unreliable to be honest. Cheers, Rich
  6. Hi, Here at St. Luke's Science and Sports College in Exeter we are currently organising an evening dedicated to astronomy and space science on Friday 10th February from 6-8 pm. The evening will include a whole range of activities for all the family, including sessions in the Space Odyssey mobile planetarium, observing sessions with our Skywatcher Skyliner 350P FlexTube GOTO and other equipment, hands on rocket science, planisphere making and other activities, astro raffle and loads more. The whole evening is free to the public. If you're in the Exeter area, we'd love to see you, or if you're particularly keen, contact me if you'd like to be involved. Check out our school website here http://www.st-lukes.devon.sch.uk/resources/pdfs/stargazing_flyer.pdf or Facebook page here St. Luke's Stargazing Live | Facebook for more details. Many thanks, Rich mr.pepperell@st-lukes.devon.sch.uk richpepperell@gmail.com
  7. Morning, I've just bought a Skywatcher Capricorn 70 off of fleabay, mainly as it was cheap and for use as an extra scope at astronomy club and for solar viewing. Trouble is, it's missing the flexible control cables. I know I could get some from FLO, but any ideas for mocking something up cheaply as buying them will pretty much double what I spent on the scope! Cheers
  8. Just happened to poke my head outside before bed after a day of fairly solid rain to be greeted by amazingly clear skies. After a frantic 10 minutes getting the 130P explorer set up, I've had an amazing round-up of some Messier objects, taking in M13, M31, M32, M57, M71 and M110 in the space of an hour. This has pretty much doubled my previous total of deep sky objects in one night! And of course, majestic views of the Milky Way right across the sky - fantastic!
  9. Cheers Helen, I need to look before I leap (or type). I'm hoping to do this at school - it would be a great project for the kids to get involved in the build. Thanks again.
  10. Morning, Does anyone have any experience with roll-off observatories? I've seen a couple of adverts in Sky at Night, but wondered if anyone had dealt with any companies or had any advice. Cheers!
  11. After months of negotiations with my ordering department, I finally took delivery of my new school telescope today!!! After much advice and communication with FLO, I finally confirmed the order of my (I mean the schools) Skywatcher Skyliner 350P FlexTube GOTO today, less than 24 hours later! After a little encouragement to some colleagues, the enormous boxes were lugged up to my teaching room, where the mammoth task of assembling the beast commenced. The only point not covered in the instructions was fitting the mirror (the bit I'd most have liked instructions for), but after a quick call to FLO for some reassurance, the mirror was in and collimated in no time. Now all I need is some clear sky (and the 20h initial charge of the powertank) before I'll (and be that I obviously mean my students) should be treated to views I've never experienced on my Skywatcher 130P. Anyway, the point of all this is that I wanted to share my massive appreciation of Martin, Steve and everyone at First Light Optics for all the help, time and advice they have given me in not only ordering this scope, but all the additional filters, binoculars and eyepieces I also specified. Without doubt they were also the cheapest option for my order, and ordering through the County Council, I really had to shop around!!! Thanks again guys - I look forward to sharing my First Light! Rich
  12. Alan, you're right. If it's good enough for Han Solo, it's good enough for me!
  13. They're KS4/Year 11 BTEC students. They do need to be able to use parallax as a method in theory, but they're going to find that VERY hard - only the keenest kiddies will be completing that part of the assignment I think!
  14. Cheers all - Pete, you've pretty much summed up my opinion and thoughts there. I just wanted to be sure that there wasn't an inter-stellar etiquette I was unaware of really! I'm happiest with light years, so after letting my little darlings know what a parsec is, I'll think I'll stick to that. Thanks again, Rich
  15. Evening all, I'm currently in the middle of writing (desperately trying to finish by September 1st!!!) a new astronomy course for my school, and I'm currently on the "methods of distance" bit. Describing what a parsec and light year are is all very well, but are their instances when one is favoured over the other, or is it just personal astronomical taste? As far as I'm concerned, the light year is the more "popular" choice for your standard pub discussions, but parsecs are favoured by professional astronomers. Anyone got any idea?!? Rich
  16. Thanks for the advice. We are getting one main scope (Skywatcher Skyliner 350P FlexTube GOTO), but I'm looking for a set of 8 additional smaller scopes/binoculars. HAs anyone got any views on the Celestron FirstScope 76 Dobsonian Reflector - the price seems to be too good to be true?!?
  17. Marcus and Gaz - thanks for the advice, the spc900 seems like a good option, I'll just have to wait for Morgans to get them back in stock. I've already downloaded the software! Dan - You're absolutely right, I do really want all my kids to have an eyes-on experience, this is really just on top of that really. I may well be in touch for advice - please check out my other post on equipment as I'd value your input. Many thanks again guys!
  18. Afternoon again, Firstly, a massive thanks for all the help and support I've received in my requests on SGL - this is a massively helpful community! My question is this. In addition to our main scope, I am just about to purchase a set of either Celestron Nature 10x50 binoculars or a set of Skywatcher Heritage 76 mini dobs for use at my school during our new astronomy club and lessons. Does anyone have any thoughts about which of these two options might be best for my pupils? In terms of cost (which is a big consideration), the dobs would work out cheaper, especially as I'd need to buy tripods for the binoculars. We will be observing from a rooftop area, and it'll be no problem to carry out some of my heavy lab benches to set up on. Once I've got all the kit sorted, I'll hopefully be making it available to the community close to my school in Exeter, so if anyone is in the area, there may be a few star parties coming soon! Cheers, Rich
  19. Afternoon all, I will very shortly being taking delivery of a Skywatcher Skyliner 350P FlexTube GOTO for use at the school where I teach (of course it may have to spend weekends at home with me). The scope will be used by GCSE age pupils in addition to their binoculars, but the biggest problem I foresee is the standing in line, waiting for their turn aspect. To this end, I'm thinking about getting an Orion StarShoot USB eyepiece. I really only want it for displaying the view on the laptop (and therefore possibly onto a projector) so a group of kids can view/discuss at the same time. If it turns out we can go on to use it for some simple astrophotography, that's even better, but it's not my main concern at the moment. Does anyone have any thoughts on this bit of kit, or suggestions that might be better for my purposes? Cheers.
  20. Firstly, thanks for all the enthusiasm and support in my venture! Secondly, even bigger thanks for all the time and advice which has (rightly) thrown up even more questions for me! I think the video route is one I'm going to explore further as I think it will yield the results I want to enthuse my students - I've got a phone call booked in with Steve from FLO in the morning. Thanks again everyone!
  21. Would definitely be up for this! Fantastic skies on the moor.
  22. Hi All, Along with being an overly keen amateur myself, I haves recently been able to combine my hobby and my job, and I will soon be starting an astronomy club along with a new astronomy unit at the secondary school I teach at. Therefore I need to get kitted out (there's nothing better than spending someone elses money!). I'm in the market for a fairly big (in my my eyes) scope - 10" newtonian for example - that we can use for astrophotography, along with a set of between 5-10 smaller scopes/binoculars for general work. Bearing in mind that as a school, we don't pay VAT, I have around £1000 to spend on the big scope, and am trying to get as big a budget as possible for the smaller kit. Any advice in selection of equipment, or in introducing a school astronomy club would be massively appreciated. Many Thanks, Rich
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