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  1. I use a green 5mW pointer with my dob. I've found it really useful for approximate positioning. I 'fire' the laser through the finder scope. This produces a clearly viable beam in the approximate direction that the finder is pointing. It means that I can get the target (normally a brightish star) in the finder very quickly and then start to star hop. I generally use the laser in around 5 or 6 second bursts to get in the right general area. Clearly one needs to use common sense and not point it at aircraft. In my experience 5mW is ample even from my light polluted garden. You also need to keep the laser warm, I keep it in my pocket when observing.
  2. I enjoyed the interview a great deal. Thought it was a shame that SPM did not answer more of the interesting questions on his war years or indeed this apparently right of centre views on sexism and race relations. Much of what was said was a repeat of sections of the autobiography but it was good to hear it from the horses mouth. I assumed that the interview was recorded with the intention of being broadcast at the time it was, if you catch my drift. Such a loss. Lets hope the programme will continue in the manner he established.
  3. Clearly Patrick wanted lintott to take over the presenting duties. He appears very capable from co-presenting. I'd agree that Pete Lawrence would be closer to the concept of an amateur astronomer (a very accomplished one) presenting. I hope that whoever presents, that the programme stays true to its roots. The most recent episode was a great one. Perhaps a spin off show is needed say Sky at Night Practical. It could cover the hands on side of things similar to the last episode say fronted by Pete Lawrence, with the more science stuff on the 'main' show presented by Chris Lintott.
  4. First night with clear skies in what feels like a month! After watching the Leeds game on sky I popped outside to find a clear sky with a very bright moon. Beggars can't be choosers so out with the 8 inch dob. Only managed 50 mins, but got my first good view of Jupiter this season. The difference between this scope and my old Meade 80mm on the planets is remarkable. I was able to pick out 4 distinct bands on the planet as well as the 4 moons. A truly wonderful sight and the detail just deepens with every minute of observation. I thought I'd try my luck with some open clusters, despite the bright moon. Was able to see M35 and M36, both of which offered a pleasing views of seemingly countless stars. Finally if the moon is there it seems a shame not to look and as always the level of detail astounds. Here I am in my back garden looking at the powdery surface and feeling as if I could touch it. These skywatcher dobs are fantastic!
  5. Thanks for the listings. It's a great service you provide for SGL members
  6. ikorodu


    Clouds here too but thre was a small gap at 9:30 just big enough to see the very bright iss zip past. I managed to get in the FOV of my 200p dob a couple of night back. Even without trying to track it I was blown away to see the familiar shape of the structure whizz past. Magic! Rob
  7. Well my viewing tonight confirmed that I can just make out the mag 5 stars in ursa minor. The orange lp sky glow is evident up to the level that m31 is hence I can not see the galaxy with the naked eye. I used my 70mm travelscope and my 15x70 bins for some quick views tonight. The travelscope needs a mount that's better than my photo tripod and the pants one that it comes with, I might try to mount it on the Meade ds2000 mount I have. Anyway the andromeda galaxy looked great in the bins as did the double cluster. The whole of Cygnus was awash with stars. Rob
  8. I may have a look at Ursa Minor to night to try to get more accurate idea of the NELM. Thanks for all the quick replies.
  9. Thanks for the links Steve. The needless site says the limiting mag should be 4.7 so I was doing well last night to see mag 5! I think some of my good views are due to the neighbor we back on to being on holiday. Whilst they don't have any nasty security lights anyway, I think even the lights through the curtains not being there are making a difference. Here's to more clear and dark skies! Rob
  10. I did have a quick look for M31, but could not see it. I may have been looking in the wrong place as it was just a quick glance before going indoors. The number of stars around Cygnus was remarkable, by 10:30 it took me a couple of minutes to actually identify the main shape of the constellation there were so many starts up there!
  11. Hello all Last night I was enjoying a third night in a row with some clears skies. With my job and kids I tend to be out no later than 10:30pm. Given the very light evenings that we have had of late and my relative newbie status I've always assumed that the light pollution in my back garden is pretty bad. I live in Newark which is a sizeable town of 25000 people and has mostly yellow sodium street lights that are on all night. Last night when packing up I could see more naked eye stars than I ever have before from home. A quick check on stellarium shows that I could pick out stars at mag 5. Is this considered quite good for an urban setting or is this wishful thinking on my part? Thanks Rob
  12. I guess that having had such success with the laser i have been to lazy to get the Telrad out and attached to the scope. Tonight is looking like it will be clear so maybe I'll try the Telrad again
  13. The good run of cloudy evenings giving way to clear nights continued and so at around 9:45pm I was in my garden with the 8 inch dob. The moon was yet to rise and despite it not being truly dark I was able to pick out the brighter constellations with the naked eye. My plan for the night was to seek out some globular clusters so that I could compare them with the only one that I had seen to date M13. I began the search for M92. Turn Left at Orion described it as being a great view but losing out on attention due to its spectacular neighbour, M13. Having identified the very faint keystone of hercules I aimed my scope just to the right of halfway along an imaginary line from the star at the top left corner of the keystone to a very faint star above it. I use the tactic of shooting a 1mw green laser through the finder which gives a green beam up into the sky in the direction the finder is pointing. I have been very impressed by this systems ability to actually find things. I have a Telrad as well but it's still in its box having only being used once. I think that the lack of nakey eye stars lessens the usefulness of he Telrad. Any way I digress, in the finder I could see a few faint stars but no cluster, I had a scan of the area and realigned with the laser and there it was in the finder. To the 32mm EP and a pleasing sight. Not as spectacular as M13 but a very grainy mushy cloud of light. As the sky darkened further and using averted vision I could start to resolve individual stars withing the cloud. I spent a good 10 minutes on this and was rewarded with increasing numbers of stars popping into views against the cloudy background. M71 was my next target but I stopped off at the double boule near vega to try to split it. Using my seben zoom at 8mm it was clear that the two bright stars in the FOV were actually 4! I used a 2x Barlow to give an effective 4mm, this view was a bit mushy as the optics started to struggle but it clearly showed clear air between the stars. My session was interrupted at this point by a call from work, it was clear that I'd need to attend so I quickly packed up. Those other cluster will have to wait for another night.
  14. I was able to catch 10 minutes with the sun today using the celestron travel scope and baader filter. Using the supplied EPs I was surprised by the clarity and size of the image. The 20mm showed a clearly defined disc with 6 spots visable. With the 10mm the sun filled around 50% of the view and I thought I could see the slightly lighter areas around the spots. An all to brief look but was good to get some viewing in. Things to think about for me now are a sun shade for the scope (so I can avoid sunstroke) and a solar finder. Rob
  15. I noticed when reading the accompanying info that came with my baader solar film that the film is described as having the same protection from uv as welding screens (one assumes that shade 14 is what is meant). I would therefore presume that using welding glass would be as safe as the baader film. The film (as I understand ) has better optical properties as it is so thin compared with welding glass. The NASA eclipse pages recommend welding glass for direct observation of the sun. Personally given the low cost of the solar film i'd say its clearly the best low cost approach for white light views. Rob
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