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Everything posted by JimStan

  1. It's been a long time since I have been looking at this forum, and I am certainly glad to be back ! I have a question that will pop this thread back to the top of the page. I have the SkyQ dongle for my new Celestron mount. I love how it replaces the HC since I want to be able to control my scope out on the deck, from inside my house on these frightfully cold Winter nights. The dongle appears to work just fine with an IPhone, but when I try to access it with a Windows 7 Laptop, I cannot access it through the wireless connection. This is the case, whether I am working through the "direct"
  2. I never point out my shortcomings to other people. They will often do that job for me! ( Not necessarily true of this group, however ! ) Jim S.
  3. As long as we are talking about Stellarium, I wonder why my desktop computer mouse slows down to fits and jerks whenever I try to run the program ( impossible to move to a target ) while my laptop works just fine ? ? ? The mouse in question is a USB 2 mouse, while the laptop uses a touchpad on the skirt in front of the keyboard to move the pointer around. Anybody else have the problem? Would changing back to a standard corded mouse help? Sorry to hijack the thread. Jim S.
  4. It's amazing how this thread wandered away from the OP's topic ! ( Clear, transparent skies, that is ! )
  5. As others have indicated, you may be expecting too much when you look for a galaxy. Even M31, which is without question, the brightest galaxy, excluding the LMC and SMC in the southern skies, is not going to begin to look like the photographs that you will see here on the forum, unless you have a pretty big pair of binocs, or a richest-field telescope! "Faint Fuzzies", indeed ! Jim S.
  6. I always thought "Independence Day" was about as bad as they got! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116629/ Jim S
  7. You don't need a solar filter. You can try the projection method with something as simple as a set of binoculars. Of course a more powerful scope might give you a better view, but don't go taking a chance with your expensive Schmidt-cas or Mak ! It might be a good excuse to get the el-cheapo dime-store refractor out of the closet for one last time! Jim S.
  8. The reducer seems to have been made by Antares ( Sky Instruments ) and is totally out of stock anywhere where I have looked! I cannot imagine that such a device does NOT exist anywhere in the WORLD ! It reminds me of the reverse adapter I looked all over for, for matching a Nikon lens to a T2 thread. Unobtainium ! And yet, a friend had one !
  9. Moon filters are just about the least expensive filter you can get for your scope. Highly recommended if you like viewing the moon. At our public star parties, I usually employ a moon filter on my small scope, and I have had many people say, "that's the best view of the Moon I've seen all evening". I'm sure it is because they are not experiencing the almost overwhelming glare that one gets with an unfiltered scope. ( especially if it has significant aperture ! ) Jim S.
  10. Oh, I bet not all that common. However, the other night, I was testing out my DSI 1 camera on the Moon, and an airliner went across the face of it while I was "looping" my camera. Unfortunately, I did NOT have the "capture" process running, so I missed the photo of the century! ( at least for me, it would have been ! ) I suspect that the event is rare enough to make one's hair rise up on the back of their necks, when it does happen. I know mine did! Jim S.
  11. I bet there are more than a few of us hams on this forum. I know there are a lot of amateur astronomers on QRZ ! Jim S. AG3Y
  12. Not exactly an eyepiece question, but I have been searching EVERYWHERE for a .5 focal reducer that will fit on the end of a 1.25 eyepiece, like a filter. I thought I had a source for one, but he refunded my money after an almost one month wait. A friend of mine has also been experiencing no joy. I should mention that we want to use these with photo equipment, so recommending a longer eyepiece is NOT the answer. Does ANYONE know if the things are still being manufactured, and if so, WHERE can we get a couple of them ? A U.S. source would be preferred, but European or Far East would be
  13. Sounds like you have already made up your mind, but let me reinforce your decision. I have a friend who is heavy into photography ( takes GREAT pictures ) and thought that astro-photography would be just like his other subjects, and quite easy to achieve. So he hooked up his Nikons to several different OTAs and in short, has had a TERRIBLE time trying to get a good astro-photo ! He is extremely frustrated, because he thought he could jump in with both feet without learning his way around the sky! I believe you have made the right decision. Learn your way around the sky, and figure out w
  14. At our big public star party at the Antietam Battlefield, a small group of high-school aged girls came up to my scope. "What cha got in your scope, Mister ?" "Oh, the planet Saturn- - you know the one with the rings ." Well, they had never seen Saturn, much less any planet through a scope, so they rather nonchalantly looked into the eyepiece. "Nonchalant" , that is, until one of the girls REALLY noticed the rings! "OMG OMG OMG ! ! ! there are RINGS around that thing ! " "Ohhhh, let me look, let me see !" It was probably a moment that they will never forget. I know I certainly won't for
  15. AFA conditions suitable for planetary viewing, warm, humid, somewhat "murky" conditions are probably better for the most part, than cold, dry and transparent ones ! The cold and dry skies often have layers of unevenly heated and cooled air, which make for much refraction and instability between the layers. That is one reason why Winter stars ( notably Sirius ) "twinkle" so much more noticeably than the stars of Summer. Also, the closer to the horizon you are trying to observe, the more "seeing" problems you are going to experience. Jim S.
  16. I looked up the C-10 , and it appears to be exactly as shown in the sale. However, the one on E-Bay seems to be slid very far forward in the rings, and that makes it look rather unusual. The scope is even shorter than an F/5, which makes the tube look somewhat "fat". And, no, it is NOT a SCT or Mak , but a straight Newtonian. That mount looks undersized for the tube, but that might just be because the legs are totally collapsed ! The page I looked at: Celestron C10 N Telescope Jim S.
  17. I bought a nifty little "pen-mouse" that was supposed to work something like those pens that you use to electronically sign your signature. The thing did not work, so I took it back and asked for another one. They told me they did not have any additional units in stock, but were expecting "new ones" to arrive in a day or two. "Check back then." So I did, and would you believe, they tried to sell me the SAME UNIT that I had returned a couple of days earlier ! ? ! BTW, that store went out of business a few months later ! Serves them right ! Jim S.
  18. Just like America's old standard NTSC television. High definition B/W overlaid with lower definition color, which makes up a very nice composite picture. Not perfect, but very nice! Jim S.
  19. That is an amazing shot! Faint nebulosity, AND the "Trapezium" all in one exposure! It would be real hard to find fault with that image ! Personally, I would suppress the blue a bit, and bring up the red, but aside from that, that is a fantastic image ! Jim S.
  20. Your wide field clinches it. That's "53" alright. Pretty good processing to remove some of the background light without losing the fainter stars in the image. More subs and you will be surprised at what you can see!
  21. A modded camera is certainly the way to go on that subject. I have tried to get the horse with an un-modded Nikon, and it is a real struggle. Don't push the processing too much, as others have suggested, and get more photons to stack, and you should have a fine image, Gina ! Jim S.
  22. Well, I took your image into PhotoShop Elements 9, and tweaked the color levels a little bit. I didn't do any advanced stuff, and like Badger suggested, I just stuck to the very basics. In short, I substituted black for your light pollution, and adjusted the remaining color cast out in the shadows (dark areas of sky ). And then I adjusted the hue and saturation just a bit to look good on my monitor. Hope you don't mind, too much. These are things you should try on your own. We will be anxious to see your results! Here is the picture:
  23. One thing you will find out, if you haven't learned it already, is that the Full Moon phase is not the best time to try to get pictures of it. You will see very few craters, and the general overall brightness will do a lot to destroy any contrast you would hope to obtain in your photos. Secondly, the best way to get sharp pictures of the moon is to focus your setup on a bright star, and without changing anything, shift over to the moon to take your photos of it. If the star is sharply in focus, the moon's surface will be as sharp as possible. Thirdly, only select the very best photos for
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