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About saac

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  1. Here's some very good well priced mounts which would be ideal for a school observatory. Either of these would allow you to have remotely controlled operation and would be fine for visual/astrophotography. SkyWatcher AZEQ6-GT iOptron CEM 120 Depending on your budget there are less expensive options and as always more expensive If you want a mount and telescope package then maybe something like Meade or Celestron would be worthwhile exploring . Meade LX 90 ACF Celestron  Nextstar Evolution 8 Do you know what type of thing you want to be doing with the observatory - general visual of say planets/deep sky, perhaps leading on in the future to astrophotography. Do you envisage perhaps eventually doing any scientific work such as spectrometry or measurements. You wan't to give your setup room to grown but equally there would be little point in investing in a very capable mount/telescope if you are never going to use the capability. As far as the telescope is concerned I personally would go with 8 inch Newtonian or Schmidt-Cassegrain (give the pupils decent visual experience of say the planets and the likes of the more visible nebula). I would be tempted to invest in the mount first (by a little future proofing) and perhaps save a bit on the telescope itself - here was my first serious scope (still used today) . It really all depends on your budget and what your aims are . Hopefully something to start the process off - what a fun project you have ahead of you, good luck. Bresser-Messier NT 203 Jim Jim
  2. It's not so much the telescope but the mount that you need to consider. What's your total budget; there will be other costs along the way - software & hardware? Jim
  3. Hi AC wouldn't any of the standard smart phone brackets do - the type of thing that attaches the phone to the eyepiece for photography. All you would need to do is attach it remote from the eyepiece but of course it would need to be aligned just like any finder . I may have missed the point of what you were looking for though, apologies if I have. Smart Phone Adaptor Jim
  4. It looks like the bayer matrix = have you de-bayered the image? You can de-bayer either using starlight software for the camera or using a processing software, you may need to experiment to find the correct matrix pattern. Jim
  5. Dave that is looking really good, well done. Have you decided how you are going to size the truss tube - by calculation or practical method ? I took a rather Heath Robinson approach to mine and focused on the moon by sliding the upper OTA up and down the tube until I found the sweet spot (focuser at mid travel) . Looking back it was less than elegant; he jig I used was heavier than the telescope ! Good luck with the rest of the build you will be itching to get first light. Jim
  6. James I run it on MS Edge and it woks ok. I also just use a bog standard web cam so I can have greater freedom to position the camera but the laptop cam works fine as well. You may just need to update some drivers (uses Adobe Flash on MS Edge) Jim
  7. James there is a very simple piece of software (freeware) called LightGrapher which is made exactly for this purpose - no need to muck about with arduino or anything else. You can even use it with a simple web cam; here's the link for the download and suggested activities. I've used it in school and it produces excellent transit graphs. Depending on your model set up you can experiment with effect of distance to star, size of planet, transit time etc. For the star I used a globe style lamp and for planets I had a snooker ball, a computer mouse ball and a polystyrene ball rotating round the globe on a simple turntable. The planets were placed on an arm which allowed the orbital distance to be varied. If it would be helpful I can photograph the setup but it won't be until Monday. http://www.planetarium-activities.org/shows/sp/lightgrapher Globe Lamp - IKEA Jim
  8. Well Louise you know I bet you'll derive as much excitement and pleasure at getting meaningful images from your restricted location as you would had you had the perfect location. I often find it's the challenge itself that makes things exciting. You should maybe think about doing an astro holiday where you can put your "combat" honed astronomy skills to test in better conditions. If you can get images like that from through a window in Glasgow think what you could do in Tenerife or with the likes of Olly's help in France where the rain isn't vertical and the clouds don't touch the ground. I am genuinely impressed Louise. Jim
  9. Lousie, given the conditions you are working with what with the sky glow from Glasgow I would be very impressed if I had captured those. The nebulosity in M45 is clearly visible did you use a filter? I really admire your perseverance with the restrictions you have, well done, you put me to shame Jim
  10. Planet is an arbitrary classification , the Universe does not care. I can't really get excited about an artificial label , it is what it is irrespective of whatever label we happen to place on it. Jim
  11. I agree it would work. When using a concrete block however the normal practice is to isolate the concrete block from the surrounding by digging an oversized hole then infilling the gap with some non homogeneous material (sand, pea shingle foam etc). I was wondering if when using the ground anchors something similar may be needed particularly if the setup is for imaging while attended. Without question the frequency response from the anchors would be different from that of a concrete block. How different that response would be , better or worse , I have no idea. It would however be a simple matter to isolate the ring of ground anchors by a similar method to that used when using a concert block. In any respect if the setup is non attended (remote imaging) the concern over vibrations is somewhat reduced. I personally think your ground anchor suggestion is a serious alternative to the concrete foundation and it would be great to see somebody trialing it. Jim
  12. In terms of securing the pier to a stable base then I see no reason why it would not work; the idea in principle is similar to steel piles used to stabilise and provide foundations in civil engineering projects. Like you say perhaps say 4 of those anchors driven into the ground and then topped with a metal plate (bolted or welded onto the heads of the anchors) would then form a secure base for your pier. You would of course want to think about isolation if you intend to image so you don't induce vibrations in the setup as you walk around the pier. If you are remote imaging or visual then the isolation of the pier should not be such a concern. Nice idea but is it an easier (less expensive, quicker, less demanding) solution than a conventional concrete pad? I guess it would certainly be quicker. I think you would also want to be convinced that the ground is not prone to movement (heave or subsidence ). Be interesting if you go ahead with it to hear how you get on Jim
  13. Cue the slightly out of focus and ever so shaky video - not much different from my astro photography work Jim
  14. Good luck with the reading Nigella, be prepared to read chapters several times for it to click. I found myself flicking through the same chapter again and again. Jim
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