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About smolloy

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    Star Forming

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    Southern Sweden
  1. Nice tips Thanks! I bet with a bit of work, I could hack a simple system together that would control the speed via a computer, and using the view of a star through a webcam to set the right speed.... Could be an interesting project...
  2. It actually cleared up later in the evening, so I got the chance to go out and play with the potentiometer. This worked well, although it takes some patience since each movement of the dial has to be very very small, which makes it very easy to overshoot. I found it was easiest to do the adjustments by listening to the pitch of the motor, since this gave a more sensitive indication of the size of the change than the feeling of how far I had turned the dial. After this, I had my first experience of watching a perfectly still moon through a telescope, and it was mind-blowing. Such a crystal cl
  3. I emailed the owner (David) about the drifting issue (before I started this thread), and his advice was identical to your themos. Adjust the speed of the motor. Unfortunately (but predictably), the weather here rules out any star-tests tonight, so it will have to wait for another night. I'll post back here with the results when I try. Thanks all.
  4. Hi all, I haven't been posting so much because the bright summer nights here in the south of Sweden means that amateur astronomy isn't the most useful hobby Now that the darker nights are returning, I've started dusting off my kit to get ready for the new season, and (to inspire me a little), I decided to spend a bit of cash on an equatorial platform for my 10" Dob. I ordered the platform a week ago from Equatorial Platforms UK, and the goodies arrived today, so I came here to treat you all to the unboxing, and to give some first impressions. First I would like to comment on my initial deal
  5. Sadly, yes, this is what happened. I am the proud owner of dozens of photographs of the reflection of my secondary mirror
  6. In my opinion, a lot of it is down to experience. It took me *ages* to find any (with my 10" in not-so-dark skies), but once I did, I found I was able to locate so many more. M81/82 are good choices to begin with since they're relatively bright, but don't expect to see them in the finder-scope. The first time I found them, I star hopped to the right place using just my 10x50 binos. This allowed me to learn the stars in region, so it was really easy to star hop using the finderscope. After that I switched to my widest FOV EP (25 mm), and began trying to correlate the brightest stars in the
  7. Thanks. I just wanted to see what can be done with my current equipment -- i.e. without buying an adaptor, and without destroying the new camera. I'll let you know how it goes.
  8. Hi all, My wife just got a new point+shoot digital camera, and by sheer chance, the end of the lens fits nice and snugly into the 1.25" EP holder of my telescope, so I'd like to experiment with imaging. The problem is that I can't take the lens out of the camera (cos my wide would kill me for wrecking a brand new camera), but I don't have an adaptor to allow simultaneous use of an EP and the camera, so I would like to try afocal imaging, but with no EP in the telescope. In this situation, the light entering the camera will appear to be coming from a plane just in front of it (the plane that th
  9. Thanks guys. I'll have a look into those options. My list contains all sorts of objects -- galaxies, nebulae, carbon stars, double stars, etc. -- so I need a pretty thorough catalog. Also, there are enough of them that I don't want to have to enter them by hand into a search form -- I'd much rather use some scripting language (Python?) to extract the data for each of them automagically. This Cartes du Ciel link looks promising... I'll let you know what I figure out.
  10. Hi all, I have a longish list (~100 or so) of objects that I would like to get coordinates, magnitude, etc., data for, but the list is a little too long to do by hand. Is there a way to do this automatically? I have some coding experience, so I don't mind writing some code that interfaces with stellarium/CDC/etc. Thanks, Steve
  11. Thanks guys. I'm afraid that an NEQ6, and even the HEQ5, is a little out of reach for me at the moment. The equatorial platform is very intriguing though. Very close to my price range...
  12. Thanks for all the replies and advice. I didn't realise that an equatorial platform was the standard way of solving this problem these days. One worry I have about such a solution is that my latitude if 56N, and I think this is right at the limit for these platforms. I like the idea of being able to rotate the OTA in its supporting rings. That could fix the problem for me. Would I be able to get away with an EQ5, or do I really need to push it to EQ6? Thanks, Steve
  13. Hi all, I'm planning future purchases (don't tell my wife!), and I was hoping for some advice on putting my 10" Newt (see my signature) onto an EQ mount. I have read that using Newtonians on EQ mounts can be tricky, since the rotation of the tube means that the EP can end up in a place that requires the skills of a circus contortionist to view through. Is this correct? Will I end up with a region of the sky that is back-breakingly hard to view? Also, my Skywatcher is a big heavy OTA, so I guess I would need a pretty heavy-duty mount to support it properly. Can I get some advice on that? I'm
  14. This left me speechless. So many stars. Incredible. (You really should click on the high-res image by the way.) Thanks for uploading this.
  15. Great thread. I went through a similar period of doubt, and was genuinely feeling like I had made a mistake spending all the money I had. I was spending my observing time jumping between the same 10 objects that I had already observed a dozen times, and was feeling very bored with the experience. After searching around for others with similar experiences, I found the Astronomical League and their urban programs for double stars and DSOs. Since finding this, and branching out into various other programs, I have got all my excitement back! Check out some of my recent observing reports where I
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