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Mark Henthorne

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About Mark Henthorne

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    Douglas, Isle of Man, British Isles
  1. Thank you to everyone for their interesting and varied responses. I think the wider range of members indicated by DirkeSteele at Baker Street Irregular Astronomers may reflect that "you are where the people are" and therefore achieve a better balance. Possibly the same for George Jones before he left the city. Our observatory here in the Isle of Man is out in the wilds, with no public transport in the vicinity, so we obviously start with the disadvantage of limiting ourselves to those with private transport and children with parents who are prepared to ferry them to the observatory and remain with them until the end of the meetings. Interesting observation from L8-Nite. I think there are a lot more "go-it-alone" astronomers around than we realise with little or no contact with the astro-community. I've recently bought an old Pulsar 2.1m observaatory from such a gentleman. Sorry to hear Chris Macavity does not have transport. There must be a lot of wannabe astro society members in a similar position, but the upside of the internet is the Astrolounge meaning you at least maintain online contact with fellow astronomers. Carole's observation about females in the minorty is sadly still true at 25%+ perhaps, but hey, you're flying the flag here for active female observers which can only encourage yet more. Hopefully, all your comments will go some way to helping others popularise our hobby more effectively. Mark
  2. I doubt there is any "scientific" data available, so simply doing a straw poll here, how does everyone read their own situation? Is the average age of those attending your astronomical society meetings, or maybe just your circle of astronomy friends, increasing year by year, remaining static, or getting younger, and what reasons do you believe are attributable to your perception?
  3. As a final note, thank you John for your suggestion resulting in a successful outcome. Emailed FLO at weekend, Martin replied Monday morning, and I've ordered it this afternoon. I'm told it is in stock at Vixen UK, so everything is good. As a side note, FLO tell me that the UK stock code for this item is 78011, if anyone chances upon this thread looking for the same thing.
  4. Thanks one and all for the advice. I'll contact firstlightoptics to begin with, for I buy the majority of new equipment from them, and it is intended for an AZEQ5 that I bought there. As I am not in a huge rush, hopefully it is an item they can source.
  5. I'd like to buy a Vixen Optics 38011 Vixen Porta Multi Plate, pictured below which appears to be widely available across the pond, and even from Teleskop Express in Germany. I haven't managed to find any astro retailer in the UK stocking it, but if you know of anyone carrying it in the UK, please let me know. I'd be happier spending with a UK astronomy outlet rather than swelling the coffers of Amazon UK.
  6. Many thanks for your response Freddie. It is good to know that you see no problems, and no one has shot it down in flames, or indeed come back with alternative mounting thoughts. The Coronado has arrived today, so I shall pursue this path as the apparent best route. Again, thank you for your time. Kind regards, Mark
  7. Good evening one and all, I have in transit to me a Coronado PST (not new) that I wish to mount upon the second dovetail bar on my Evostar 120 refractor. The refractor has a Baader ASTF120 white light solar filter attached which protrudes about 2cm all around. In order to collimate the two scopes with each other and ensure the PST clears the ASTF120, my initial thoughts have been to employ a Sky-Watcher Guidescope mount attached to the second dovetail bar and the PST in turn to that. I'm not sure, but I suspect I need the additional plate as shown on FLO. According to the specifications I have found, Meade state that the Coronado PST weighs 3.2 lbs (1.4515 kg according to Google conversion), whilst the Sky-Watcher Guidescope mount is rated to accommodate 1.5 kg max. In numbers at least, it appears that this may be a workable solution, if only just. However, I can find, not a single picture, on the internet to suggest that anyone else has used this before, and that's of some concern to me because I don't think I am innovative enough to be leading out in front, so I am left wondering if I am missing something embarrassingly obvious. You can always let me down gently! If anyone can advise upon the wisdom or otherwise of my thinking, that would be very much appreciated. Indeed if you are using another solution, I'd be very interested to hear back from you. Looking forward to any responses, even if only to save me from myself . Mark
  8. Regrets are I suppose, those things under your control which you wish you'd made another decision. I don't have any of those, but I still wish it had been possible for me to find the few hundred pounds needed to go see the 2006 total eclipse of the sun in Turkey. The family budget could hardly be raided so there was no choice, and I have no regrets about that. Perhaps if I made it to 2017 in the US, that would make up for it?
  9. Last year's near occultation (from my location) of Jupiter by the Moon sticks very much in my mind. Seeing Jupiter and its moons right up close to our Moon was awesome. I saw many photos of this event afterwards, and not a one was in any way whatsoever a comparison to what I saw through the glass (of a modest ETX-105PE) with my eye. So glad the cloud stayed away during the event.
  10. Success!!! Well, I bit the bullet with a junior hacksaw, and with a great deal of care started to cut a slot. Once well on the way, I progressed to the full size hacksaw, again ever so carefully, in order to widen the half finished slot to the driver bit width, and then continue until I was happy it was deep enough to get a good purchase. With one of the flat blades (with proper machined concave surfaces so the blade does not jump out of the slot) inserted into the electric screwdriver, I slowly applied power, and yippee, it gave way! I honestly didn't expect it to. For the record, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the heat generated by the cutting was a large help, as was suggested by one of you in relation to the idea of using a soldering iron to repeatedly heat and cool the Allen bolt. Anyway, radius bracket now fitted, along with Losmandy plate. Thanks to everyone for some great ideas. Mark
  11. Is is just me, or do you find as I do that the majority of 9v battery compartments on most astro equipment are ridiculously tight? The Duracell batteries always seem overly fat, with the trailing wire being the last straw, whereas rechargeables don't seem to "bulge" the same way, but still even those are usually too long for the said compartments. For info, the latest one that caused me to put pen to "paper" is the SkyWatcher electric focuser. Mark
  12. It's really good to have so much input, and I hope return the favour in future posts. I will report back at the end of this weekend as to what happened and the methodology employed. Just for good measure, I have enlisted the support of an aircraft engineer and fellow astronomer, so hopefully the pair of us won't "muck up" in any major way on Sunday. Mark
  13. Thanks very much to all of you for the many replies above, especially IanL. Looks like I may finally have an excuse to go buy a Dremel! I remain reluctant to use any penetrating oil anywhere where I cannot be sure where it might go, so I have ruled that out. WD40 as was noted, is a water repellent only, and I only ever use that sparingly, wiped over the paintwork of the OTA, and never close to the optics. Unfortunately, the rounded nature of the bolt head does not lend itself to using mole grips. They'd likely work if I managed to file flats on opposing sides of the head. I suspect in the end, the head will shear, which at least will allow me to mount the second radius block for the Losmandy plate. I also noted a suggestion to "tighten", but unfortunately, I am a little late for that. I have a boxed set of bits for power driving, which as well as the Torx also included Allen heads, but no luck when I still had a recess that was undamaged. The heating idea with a soldering iron certainly has merit, but I am just a little wary of what might happen with the delicate nature of the OTA. So, to conclude, it looks like a Dremel to cut a screwdriver slot this weekend. The end result will either be a bolt removed, or a head shearing. Either way, I should be able to mount the second radius block and the Losmandy plate. Thank you all again, and if anyone has any pointers regarding the deforking, that advice would also be very welcome. I have a new AZ-EQ6 GT waiting for this OTA. Mark
  14. I am about to defork my old 8" LX50. Before doing so, I decided to attach a Losmandy dovetail plate. The first three Allen bolts I managed to remove from the scope, all very tight, but once the initial "snap" was overcome, no problem. Radius bracket duly attached. However, moving on to the second set of three bolts at the eyepiece end of the OTA, I could only remove two of the three bolts. This last one just wouldn't budge. I've not only managed to put a barley sugar twist in the Allen key in my attempts, but also rendered the Allen key recess in the bolt head virtually useless, despite using the correct size key. Now if this was something rather less delicate than an OTA, I would not be too worried about attempting a saw cut across the head of the bolt with a view to trying a conventional screwdriver. I suspect though, that whatever approach I take, the end result will be to lose the head shearing off, leaving the body of the screw in situ. In the greater scheme of things, that probably would not matter overly as the radius block would still be held in place with two bolts. Any pointers from anyone who has found themselves in this situation and managed to resolve it, would be most welcome. Mark
  15. It would be good to see photos if that's possible. Any photos of replacement street lights that do what they are supposed to... light the streets, not the sky or your property... I am sure would be helpful to the rest of us pursuing better quality of public lighting locally.
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