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Everything posted by spacemonkey

  1. If it's your own money being spent, have a look at the Alter D6 with AWR drives (around £3700, 40 + kg capacity), or a Gemini G41 (similar price and load). They don't have the "flash value" of the ones you mention, but have a typically East European style and bomb-proof build quality. I know several folks with the D6/AWR set up with all manner of exotic stuff up top, these are people who have been around long enough and used enough kit to know a good mount when they see one. If someone else is paying, the Takahashi EM-500 would be worth considering, if only for the fact that as it's Japanese
  2. A basic red dot finder would be better. The use of green lasers is usually discouraged at most societies and star parties, unless used by a speaker or as part of a demo. to point out constellations to beginners. If everyone used them as finders, can you imagine the chaos that would result as the sky lit up like a disco? And things like this happen as well, intentional or not..... http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/merseyside/7475530.stm Regards, Dave
  3. It actually started in the middle of here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nowhere_%28Norfolk%29 There's a footpath nearby, I've been there. It's nothing special, but it probably looked different 14.6 billion years ago..... Dave the cosmic explorer
  4. I've thought about installing one of these apps. on my ipod touch, but from reading the reviews, they seem to crash or not work at all with alarming regularity. What causes this ? - surely if there was a software bug or some incompatibility with the OS, everyone would have problems. Is it just bad luck or user error or something? Dave
  5. Hi Neil. Have a look at Timothy Ferris's "The Whole Shebang" and "Coming Of Age In The Milky Way". Both are brilliantly written, and very readable, even though they're a few years old now. He is a superb writer who is able to tell a fascinating story whilst educating you without you realising it. Also good are "Parallel Worlds" by Michi Kaku, and "The Fabric Of The Cosmos" by Brian Greene, although these are slightly more theoretical and need some degree of imagination to get the concepts clear in your mind. Regards, Dave
  6. I don't know, maybe he could post back and let us in on his selection process. Maybe like you said earlier, resale value is a factor in this decision, or he's been steered in that direction by suggestions from others off this forum. Maybe he wasn't aware of stuff like the Stellarvue SV-4 or the Tak TSA-102, like you say, both of which could be had for about (or less if you import from the US) the same price as a TV102. The trouble is, it's difficult to find examples of any high end refractors over here that you can objectively compare in side by side tests, so you have to rely heavily on revi
  7. Yeah, and he sells the rejects to Skywatcher for £100, so they can sell them for £1000 !!! :laughing3:
  8. Danny, you have made a most wise choice. The TV102 will be a keeper, and I doubt you'd feel the same way if you got the Skywatcher. I was also in your position a while back - Williams Optics?, Skywatcher?, Stellarvue?, Vixen? e.t.c., and I went for the TV102. Short of paying twice that for an A-P, Tak or TMB, you will not get much better. Look at it like this - Televue design and build their own refractors using their own technicians and parts, and they optically test every single one before it leaves the factory. Their quality control and after sales support is legendary. OK, so they don't t
  9. Can't you just take your children with you for the weekend...? Dave
  10. For your viewing pleasure, some more ramblings from North Norfolk that I posted on our society yahoo group and thought could go here as well. 29/6/08 23.30 - 01.30 Hi all. I've been inspired to write a few notes after receiving several emails over the past few days from Andrew R. and Dale who don't seem to have slowed down their observing at all over the midsummer period, despite the fact that there is currently no astronomical darkness until late July. Anyway, just because the skies are still blue at midnight doesn't mean there's nothing to see. As Martin's post shows, there's the moon, NLC'
  11. So your next "upgrade" will have to be one of these then....... http://www.elc.co.uk/firedupkids/toy-43278 Enjoy the view! Dave
  12. Dave, I'm flicking from one to the other trying to work out which is the better! They seem to do the same thing, and both apparently extremely well. Could you give some personal experiences of both and let me know which you prefer? The ring-bound format of the former appeals to me - a regular paperback is much trickier to use in the field. Cheers Andrew Yeah, get them both, you won't regret it. The Birren book is most useful as a pocket field guide, like the Collins one but much more concise and less information. More like a list style with the basics of what you're observing - common name, o
  13. These two are what I use the most - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Objects-Heavens-Peter-Birren/dp/155369662X/ref=sr_1_44?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212018229&sr=8-44 http://www.amazon.co.uk/Illustrated-Guide-Astronomical-Wonders-Observer/dp/0596526857/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212018339&sr=1-1 Everything you need and nothing you don't. Regards, Dave
  14. That's what Statutory Sick Pay is for - unexpected days off..... Dave
  15. I get a lot of use out of a Baader contrast booster - http://www.pulsar-optical.co.uk/prod/baader/filters/contrastboosterfilter1.25and2inch.html Not exactly a specialist planetary filter, but for 90% of the time it works well for general viewing. It doesn't make any particular features (I'm thinking back to the 2005 Mars opposition, and recent use on belts and zones on Saturn) stand out more than others, but increases the contrast between them without introducing an unnatural tint. And it saves the hassle of switching between various colours just to improve the view of one particular feature.
  16. Make sure your scope is properly collimated. You say Saturn is clear, but how much detail are you seeing in the belts? If it just looks like a creamy white disk with a ring, that could mean your collimation is out - you should see different colour belts on the disk as well, and the Cassini division should be visible at that magnification. Regards, Dave
  17. I've got a set of the original MSA, but it was bought for me as a present by an ex-girlfriend (obviously trying to impress me, not that it made much difference... ), I don't think I'd have bought it for myself. I see it's value more as a collectors item - the last of the great printed star atlases. These days, desktop planetarium programs are much more useable and can go deeper than the MSA does anyway, so unless you've got a table with very uneven legs (its almost a foot thick), it's not a good buy. Better to spend the money on a decent eyepiece or something, particularly as you already have
  18. Apparently, there's 2 available on amazon.com at the minute - http://www.amazon.com/Millenium-Star-Atlas-Roger-Sinnott/dp/1931559279 I think it's gonna cost you more than $12.49 in postage though.... Dave
  19. Hi. I recently saw a message, I think on this forum, although I might be wrong, about a group in Australia who were offering support for amatuers visiting their part of the world. I guess in return, they get the same benefits when they visit the UK (lucky old them! ) I'd be interested in some sort of "foreign exchange" program, although if it goes the same way my old french exchange trips used to at school, I can't see it lasting long.... Any ideas or suggestions as to who I could contact? Cheers, Dave
  20. Whilst I don't wear glasses, I can appreciate the problems for people who do, particularly when showing people through a scope and finding their focus is completely different to mine, although that's more of a short/long sightedness issue. You probably already know about these - http://www.televue.com/engine/page.asp?ID=259 which seem to be the cure for most people with the problem you describe. Regards, Dave
  21. Personally, I'd stick with the Lightbridge. They're a tried and tested design with thousands of satisfied users (one guy I know has a Mewlon 300, but rates his 16" Lightbridge as his favourite deep sky and starparty scope), and although Meade have had a few problems recently, they really do seem to have got their optical and mechanical QC sorted with these. Just my opinion - other big dobs are available..... At Kelling, the views through the Lightbridge with an Ethos were breathtaking. Got yours on order yet? Dave
  22. A 22mm type 4 nagler would be superb - you get 90x & a 1 degree true field of view at f10. I've used one in my 8" LX200, they're a big investment, but you'll not get any better. Dave
  23. I can't, but I know a man who can... http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Losmandy_users/ Regards, Dave
  24. "Mere speculation" is the cornerstone of the scientific process, and predictive modelling leads to theories that are either confirmed or disproved by observational science. One can't work without the other. Dave
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