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About dannyboy

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    Wimborne, UK
  1. Thanks guys, some good info (and debate!) there. Probably a silly question, but is a Dob essentially just a reflector on an alt-az mount? Anyway I'll do some reading on Dobs and SCT's to get a better idea of which would fit my budget best. Cheers.
  2. Hi guys Thanks for all the comments. Sorry for the late reply too, I'm subscribed to this thread but didn't get any email notifications for some reason. Anyway, there's plenty of useful info there, which I really appreciate. It sounds like a pretty unanimous vote for a Dob then, although @Cosmic Geoff you mentioned catadioptrics too - would the main benefits of these be around the imaging side of things? In answer to the questions around imaging, I only take the occasional shot of the Moon or Jupiter - pretty basic stuff and definitely no long exposure/deep sky etc. So I'd probably just go for something like this which I assume would be a small improvement on the SPC900, without costing a fortune. In terms of mount, it sounds like I could get away with an alt-az GOTO then - are these a bit cheaper than equatorial mounts? thanks again Danny
  3. I've owned an Explorer 130PM with EQ2 mount for about 7 years now, and have had a decent amount of enjoyment from it. I live in a relatively light-polluted area, so have tended to stick to lunar and solar system planetary stuff, including some basic imaging using a cheap and cheerful NPC900 webcam. I'd love to be able to see a little more detail of Mars, Jupiter, etc. when observing though, and I've always struggled to get the webcam focused properly on the moon though - not sure if this is down to the webcam or the scope (or both). So, I'm considering treating myself to something slightly bigger and better, ideally with something better than the webcam for imaging too. My max. budget would probably be about £600, perhaps a touch more for the right scope (doesn't have to be new - second hand is fine). Are EQ mounts still preferable for imaging? Oh and I don't really tend to travel anywhere with the scope, so portability isn't a big factor for me. Thanks for any suggestions. Danny
  4. Thanks Sully, these really helped actually. Managed to get some (by my standards anyway) reasonably good shots of Jupiter and the moon just now. As good as I think I can expect with my little 5-incher anyway
  5. Ta muchly for all the replies - will look into the low profile adapter and do some daytime focusing practice at the weekend
  6. Maybe that's it - did you always use the barlow? As I found tonight that when using the 2x barlow, the focal point is now in the middle of the focuser's range, so that seems to be the answer. It's still hard to achieve perfect focus, but that's obviously a separate issue which is mainly due to inexperience on my part, I suspect Yes I can focus fine without the webcam, and collimated recently, so pretty sure the scope's optics are ok. Looks like I just need to make sure I use a barlow when imaging.
  7. Hi Wayne I'm not sure but would guess it's the normal profile, is that how it looks from the pic? Will a lower profile adapter help though, as with mine the whole adapter disappears into the focuser tube, so I'm thinking that the CCD sensor will still be the same distance from the secondary mirror? cheers Dan
  8. Thanks, I tried with the Barlow again and it did help actually, as the focal point was right in the middle of the focuser's range. I still found it tricky to focus perfectly, but this time it was just due to my ineptitude and the difficulty of trying to manually focus without shaking the scope around too much. Definite progress though
  9. Hi Malcolm Many thanks for the info. Unfortunately moving the primary mirror would be a bit beyond me, so with that in mind, all that remains to be said is '******' ! On the plus side, maybe it's a good excuse to upgrade my scope. I presume this kind of issue is relatively unusual, and perhaps less likely to occur with a slightly more expensive scope? thanks Dan
  10. Thanks for the replies chaps. Just to clarify, I need to move the camera closer in/down, i.e. towards the secondary mirror. Not by much, but that makes it all the more frustrating! I did try altering the camera position within the focuser, but it didn't really help as the camera was already as far down into the focuser as it can go. Tried with and without the 2x barlow, with same results. One thing I did notice is that the camera doesn't sit exactly straight in the focuser, because the camera isn't a perfect snug fit (though it does have a 1.25" adapter fitted), and my scope's focuser only has 2 thumb screws to hold EP's in place. These are spaced 120 deg apart, so there's a gap where it could really use a third one. SPOD - interesting that you had the same setup, I presume it worked ok for you?
  11. Hey guys, Santa gave me a Philips SPC900NC webcam for Christmas, so I thought I'd give it a try tonight as the soggy British skies have finally cleared. To try and get a feel for things I started by viewing the moon, but hit a problem straight away - I can't get the webcam focused. When I wind the focuser tube down, the image does almost focus, but then the focuser runs out of travel (I reckon I'd need another 1/4 of a turn of the focuser knob to focus it correctly). My scope is a Skywatcher Explorer 130PM, and I'm using the SPC900 in prime focus mode (i.e. with the lens removed), with an adapter and IR filter. For software I'm using wxAstroCapture. Any thoughts would be much appreciated as I feel like I've rather fallen at the first hurdle! thanks Dan
  12. Hi Chris I managed to miss your comment in amongst the others - soz. I'm pretty sure the ones I got don't have a little lip around the top, but I'll double-check tonight. cheers Dan
  13. Hi Peter I'm pretty sure it needs some collimation as I've had it 2 years and never done this, I suppose due to a combination of ignorance and fear of making it worse. Also when looking through the hole I made in the film canister, I don't see a nice circular image of the mirror, so I think that confirms it does need doing. Thanks for the tip too - polaris it is then. Just waiting for a clear night now
  14. Heh, it's worth a try, although Santa's already bringing me some PC games, and a Philips SPC webcam so I can try my hand at some astro imaging (hence the need to finally collimate my scope after 2 years of ownership )
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