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Everything posted by Nightjar

  1. Glad you enjoyed the evening Matt. I was there too - first light with my refractor - on Jupiter most of the evening. I had a long queue of children, many had never looked through a scope before and were blown away by Jupiter and its moons. Some managed to take an image on their mobile phones at the eyepiece to take to 'Show and Tell' at school on Monday. No stamina these days. i packed up and went home when the hot chocolate lady stopped serving. Do come along to GAS again.
  2. Some great suggestions there. The Tak 85 looks great provided there's a lottery win soon. Otherwise the Skywatcher Equinox 80, or possibly Altair Lightwave 80 Doublet at around the same price. Thanks for all the advice so far.
  3. I'm lucky enough to have a big birthday coming up and have decided to get a NEQ 6 PRO, and start some proper imaging. I hope the mount will be a good choice that will serve me well for years. To start with I'm looking for a smallish refractor at about f6 to f7, in the price range £500 - £800. Suggestions anyone ? I like the look of the Starwaves and also the Meade 5000 but am torn between too many options. My main aim, apart from fantastic images, is ease of use. I will use a Canon 450D for astrophotography ( for now at least ) , and I already have a scope and webcam that can be used for guiding, as well as a laptop. Thanks in advance, Nightjar
  4. They sent me an email too. I can't quite remember my question, something along the lines of " What space mission would you propose if money were no object ?". There's another book sold. And another to my mum so she can see my name in a book.
  5. I'm off to Perth at the end of June, for two or three years. We will be only 5 km from the city centre so light pollution will still be a problem, but at least there are clear views of the sky from the garden. The packers will construct packing crates for my kit and arrange shipping which will take about 8 weeks. So, imagine setting up on a patio under the Southern skies in July. It's winter and the temperature's 10 degrees. You've aligned the scope somehow without being able to see Polaris, and told it your new location. Now you're at the point of choosing an object to view before pressing 'Goto'. You put your eye to the eyepiece - what would you want to see first ?
  6. Thanks for the advice. I'm now the owner of an HP Pavilion G9. 15.6 inch screen, 500Gb hard drive, 3 USB ports and a claim to '7 hours' battery time. Let's see how it will perform. Now for some astronomy apps .... Nightjar
  7. Thanks ! Those are points that I hadn't even thought about. Nightjar
  8. I'm saying goodbye to my job soon and the MacBook it came with. : ( I won't miss the MacBook. it's not been ideal for my first few steps in astrophotography, and anyway there seems to be a far better choice of free software available for Windows based systems. I plan to do some webcam and DSLR imaging, and also some widefield photography. I don't have an observatory but will use the laptop out in the garden and also away from home. Does anyone recommend a particular make/manufacturer or can you give me some pointers towards the spec. In terms of disk space for example, what capacity would I need for image acquisition and processing. I would use a large External USB disks for backups and archives. I have no set budget. It's more important to get the right spec and/or with upgrade options, and the right OS. Any help would be much appreciated, thanks ! - Nightjar
  9. I too have always had an insatiable curiosity about the world around us. Like a few other posters I've always loved maths, physics, geograph, technology etc and read as much as I can on these and other subjects. I've always been drawn to astronomy and getting my first telescope was a turning point - the start of an addiction ... Maybe the group observing is a safety thing ? I prefer to spend all night quietly observing on my own but going miles out to a dark site alone is of course out of the question. Thank goodness for Astronomy Societies' group observing nights. The membership of my local society seems to be only about 20% female. I've often wondered why - it's a really friendly amd welcoming group. We've noticed at outreach events that about half of all visitors are female, so the general interest is there. It seems to be the really tecchie side of things where more boys seem to call the shots - you know - motors and cables equations and gadgets and so on. I love that all that lovely shiney kit too. When I bought a big new diagonal I cradled in my hands for ages, just marvelling at its weight and quality. Like holding your new born son but better. My other half varies his support level between 'tolerant' and 'disbelief'. "You spent how long just looking at the moon ?" sort of reaction. But he sometimes carries the telescope outside for me. Colleagues are far more interested, but then I work with mostly men, in IT, in a space-related field. Women friends can be difficult. I find it impossible to join in their conversations which are usually about Coronation Street or X-Factor. I don't watch TV. Gossiping's OK, but they lose me on fashion too. ( My idea of well-dressed is about buying stuff from Millets to keep you warm outside at 3am). I think they pity me. But I've seen Io transit Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, and 2 magnificent fireballs and they haven't. Astronomy's a wonderful hobby because you can simply get on and enjoy it in any way you want to. For me it's usually a case of struggling with disobediant telescope until it wins, then settling back on a sunlounger for a night under the stars with a bottle of Pinot Grigio. Julia
  10. I'm interested in this too. I'm only a couple of miles from Guildford and would be willing to pay the sort prices already suggested. Any Saturday or Sunday would be great. Nightjar
  11. I scored 34. Maybe that explains why I'm a 'tick-list' sort of astronomer. You know, the Lunar 100, the Messier objects etc. Nightjar
  12. Thanks for all the replies - so many in only a few minutes ! What about the Baader Hyperion series - anyone know what they are like ? Nightjar
  13. I have an 8" f/10 SCT and until now have used the standard set of 1.25" Meade series 4000 plossls. Now that I have a shiny new WO 2" diagonal, I'm looking to buy a new 2" eyepiece that will give me a nice wide FOV. Can anyone recommend a good make, and recommend the best one to start with (18 mm ? 24mm ?) before I invest in a whole set. My budget per e/p is up to about £200. Thanks in advance ! Nightjar
  14. Really glad you enjoyed the event, and thanks for bringing your scope along. We reckon over 220 people turned up on the night, and it was great to see so many children along again. While setting up, we met a number of people who were picnicking or hiking at Newlands Corner, and once they say the telescopes being set up, decided that they would stay on to see the night unfold. And they did. I was located close to the Visitor Centre, with the Stellacam attached to my scope, outputting to a screen. This was popular with wheelchair users and children and there was a constant crowd of people around the table. We stayed on Saturn for a long time. I'm sorry I did not get to meet you in person Astro-Baby, but you probably saw me - I was the giggly lady with a GAS badge who skipped around trying to look like a responsible organiser, whilst swigging single malt from a small hip flask. We're planning another in November ! Nightjar
  15. Following the success of our observing evenings in IYA2009, Guildford AS will be holding another 'Tour of the Night Sky' at Newlands Corner NT Car park, Shere Rd. ,Guildford GU4 8SE. This will take place on Saturday 17th April from 7:30 to 10:00 pm. We'll be setting up our telescopes ( at least 20 of them ) on the field next to the car park for clear uninterrupted views to the south. We're expecting about 150 visitors. Do come along, and bring a scope if you want to. It's free and open to everybody, and there's no need to book. The Visitor Centre will be open, so if it's cloudy you can come inside and browse our displays and have a nice hot drink. See the Guildford Astronomical Society Home Page for more details. See you there ! Nightjar
  16. Thanks for the replies everyone, a wide range of answers, but I'm tending to agree with 42. It will be interesting to see how many people will turn up to the Great Look Up The Great Look Up - 28th August 2009 - The Varsity Centre, University of Surrey tonight. There will be about 500 people coming we think. We're encouraging visitors to bring along binoculars and telescopes if they have them. The nice chaps at Hants Astro will be on hand to offer advice on setting up and using scopes. I'm sure by the end of the evening there'll be a few more astronomers in the UK. Hurrah !
  17. Does anybody know ? Or would like to make a guess ? Nightjar
  18. I'm wondering too. I saw the 22:30 pass of the ISS and saw a dimmer object preceding it, about 17 seconds earlier. I waited for the next pass but it had clouded over by then. How annoying.
  19. Wow, that really is fantastic for a first lunar sketch, and a great idea to practice from a book. Can't wait to see your first results from a sketching session at the eyepiece. You had a good idea there with the putty rubber to pull out the fine details. If you scour your art supply shop you might be able to get what I found recently - a rubber that looks exactly like a pencil - it can be sharpened to a fine point. All the best with your sketching, it's bound to be successful as we can see from your first attempt. Please keep us up to date with your progress. Nightjar
  20. Hi Omneferrus, I used black paper and put in all the tones using white, but then realised that I'd smudged white into some of the darker areas. I touched the edges and the depths of the craters with black charcoal to restore the shadows. Nightjar
  21. Hi Talitha The finished drawing is about 15cm by 10cm - quite small really. I've had no art training since school, and in fact did no drawing at all for 25 years. It was sketches on forums like this one and in astro magazines that tempted me to pick up a pencil again, about a year ago. White on black was more difficult - but you should give it try. And why not ? A white conte pencil doesn't cost much. If it doesn't work out, then you can just throw it away. It's not as though you've just invested in the top of the range CCD camera. Just to prove my lack of training, I'll tell you about last week's sketch. I worked for 2 hours using white charcoal on black paper to sketch craters Hercules and Atlas. The result was spookily moon-like. White charcoal seems to be exactly the same stuff as lunar regolith. But it didn't stick to the paper well. Keen to preserve my hard won effort, I immediately sprayed the finished drawing with fixative ... and the whole drawing dissolved into the paper and never came back. You live and learn, as they say. Nightjar
  22. I spent the early hours of Sunday morning studying the moon. Clavius was near the terminator surrounded by a jumble of other craters. I wanted to capture some sort of image, but having struggled and failed to get to grips with my DSLR in the past I left it indoors and reached for paper and pencils. For the first time, I tried using white conte on black paper. The finished sketch is not very accurate considering it took about 3 hours, but it does show the striking contrast between the bright crater rims and dark shadows. Nightjar
  23. Hi Becca, nice to meet you. Nightjar
  24. Hi Everyone, I wonder if someone could help me identify the right pair of binoculars. I'm a fairly experienced telescope user, but I could really do with a pair of smallish, light binos that will travel everywhere with me, don't require a tripod, and are most suited to dark conditions. I guess 10 x 50's are about right (?) I'm looking then for the best quality make I can get for up to about £150. Suggestions please. Nightjar
  25. Right eye for finder and for browsing around the fov; left eye for seriously studying something. Both, obviously, when using a binoviewer but left eye dominates.
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