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About RobertI

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    Sub Dwarf

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    Near Colchester
  1. Hi Marci, I think pleny of people use this approach and it is considered EAA because there is no post-processing involved. I'd be interested to see some of your results, the Video Astronomy section is a bit too quiet these days, why don't you share afew? Might also help @Rob.
  2. RobertI

    Celestron SkyProdigy review

    Another quick update for posterity. I have replaced the motor (see here for full story) and had a chance to test it a couple of nights ago. To my relief it aligned itself perfectly, did pretty accurate gotos (to within around 15' arc, that's without calibrating the scope and sensor for this session) and tracked nicely. The azimuth motor is now really quiet, much quieter than before, and was actually worth the additional spend for that alone. I had a really good visual session to try it out (see here) and previously had a couple of good EAA sessions while the motor was dying (see here and here). So what have I learned from owning this mount? Having a lightweight, easy to set up goto mount really maximises my time under the stars and is great for getting me out there as often as possible. The Sky Prodigy / SLT / Star Discovery / Nexstar4/5 range of mounts are very capable with lightweight scopes. Altaz mounts are not all plain sailing - cord wrap/jam issues abound and viewing at the zenith is a no go for EAA/imaging. This style of alaz mount cannot reach the zenith anyway with anything but the shortest of scopes - a shame for visual as many of the best summer objects are overhead, but is something I can live with. The database of 4000 objects actually is not enough for me, but fortunately the ability to enter coordiantes or remote control (on later versions, sadly mine does not have this) solves this. And what about Starsense? Well, it works, and I don't feel I have wasted my money, but I think I would prefer to have Celestron's All Star Align as it works under all conditions and is almost as quick to use. But I would also say following: It actually seems to cope well with a certain amount of sky brightness and moonlight, but cloud and possibly full moon can throw it out. The SkyProdigy does not come with ability to do a normal 3 star align, which I would say is essential to be able to fall back on if it fails to align. Once this happens you have to use solar system align, but what if there are no moon or planets? You're stuffed. If you have a restricted horizon all round it can struggle, and you have to tell it where to point (a 'manual' align), which kind of defeats the point, so not for everyone. Fortunately you only really need a decent horizon for a 90-120 degrees for it to work automatically and it was fine for me. I could not get the camera and scope to align perfectly, but actually it was good enough. Generally I don't think StarSense is a good tool for a beginner, if it doesn't work out of the box, it's pretty complex to get your head around how to fix it. A word of warning - the very early versions like mine cannot link to a PC so cannot be remote controlled or upgraded - a pain. I also suspect the database is smaller than even the 4000 quoted, but could be wrong. Final point, I velcroed the handset to the top of the mount so the cable can never be trapped - the handset is also much more accessible from here. I now have the confidence to let the mount just auto align without me standing and watching! Hope that will help future buyers, although I'm not sure they actually make it anymore!? Rob
  3. RobertI

    My back may change my mind?

    That was my feeling too, especially based on my comparison between my (admittedly achro) 100mm and C8, where the the smaller scope could only ever compete when resolving tight doubles under poor conditions, but otherwise showed much dimmer DSOs and much less resolution. I was curious to see what others thought though.....
  4. RobertI

    My back may change my mind?

    Very interesting, I don't want to stir up a hornet's nest, but should Emad be considering an ED100 instead of an 8" SCT then?
  5. RobertI

    The Pacman!

    Remarkable! I love the views you are getting. More please.
  6. RobertI

    My back may change my mind?

    Do you still have the 300P Flexitube? Would the two scopes be in addition to that?
  7. RobertI

    Old guys do the Veil.

    Great report Nick, unfortunately I discovered only too late how clear it was outside, glad you managed to make the most of it.
  8. RobertI


    Nice sketches, thanks for sharing.
  9. RobertI

    SkyProdigy is slowly dying

    Quick update - I installed the replacement azimuth motor and had a chance to test it all under clear skies last night (see observing report) - everything worked perfectly and the azimuth motor is now whisper quiet, a LOT quieter than before, so less need to worry about neighbours. It auto aligned, despite some cloud, and slewed pretty accurately so it was well in the FOV at x65. All is now ok, so I can complete my review of the mount in another thread! PS: @Lockie Followed the issues with your mount Chris - glad Celestron are now on the case hope you get the scope back soon.
  10. I’ll buy one and do a comparison.
  11. It's a funny thing, the Heritage should not be that good, the focuser rattles and is mounted on a flexible piece of plastic, which bends when heavy eyepieces are put on it, there are only two struts, which doesn't seem enough and it doesn't seem like it should hold collimation - but you cannot deny the views it gives. It is also very lightweight too which makes it useable on light weight mounts. And it only costs tuppence.
  12. RobertI

    The night of the small scopes

    Night Vision....I think!
  13. RobertI

    The night of the small scopes

    Sounds like you had a great time, nice report. Quite a catch to get 3 nebs and saturn in the FOV at once. The 60mm+AZGTi+NV sounds like a dream combination.
  14. Had an unexpected session last night. There was slow moving cloud but in between the sky was clear and the seeing excellent. With the Heritage 130 on the SkyProdigy (which self aligned and behaved perfectly all night, including a newly fitted whisper quiet azimuth motor), I decided to use the Sky Tour feature to scan around the Cassieopia region. NGC7789 - A lovely, but faint open cluster covering about a quarter of the FOV at x65. I later realised this was Caroline's Rose. NGC7510 - A tiny compact cluster, giving the impression of an elongated triangle, with two brighter stars at two of the corners, and a haze of fainter stars. Well worth a look. Eta Cassiopiea - A yellow primary with a finter blue/white secondary, an easy split at 12". The seeing was excellent and tiny diffraction rings were evident around the brighter stars. The Arrow Cluster - The handset didn't tell me much about this, but it appears to be an asterism of around 12 stars, covering the entire FOV in the at x65, and in the rough shape of an arrow (the tail being more evident than point) At this point I was finding the Sky Tour feature really addictive, being able to move from one object to another at the touch of a button, like working through a nice bag mixed of sweets! NGC744 - Another compact cluster with around 12 main stars and a haze of fainter stars. Another even smaller cluster lay nearby in the same FOV. I think some of these clusters would be hard to find manually, as there were so mamny stars in this region of the sky. Xi Cephei - A white primary with a fainter blue/white secondary, another easy split at 8". With the seeing so good I thought I would finish with some old favourites: M57 - Very clear at x130, with the centre clearly brighter. The faint star on the eastern limb was visible, which I read is between 12 and 14th magnitude, which shows just hiw good the seeing and transaprency was. Epsion Lyrae (double double) - An easy split, one of the best views I have had. M13 - Just spectacular and much better than I thought 130mm of aperture could produce with plenty of outer stars resolved, helped with averted vision, and very bright overall. I very reluctantly unplugged at around midnight, a tired but very happy bunny.
  15. RobertI

    The mighty Heritage....

    Great report Stu, the Heritage showing its class once again. I had a great night with my Heritage last night which I will post later. The seeing was amazing and I wish I had seen your post before so I that I could have given Pi Aquilae a bash myself. I keep thinking about getting a 130PDS so I can benefit from a better focusser, but when I get such good results from the Heritage, I do wonder whether it is worth it.

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