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  1. Dr Helen Mason will be on BBC Radio Derby in the morning talking about the event. The R.A.S. will also be attending with freebies and demonstrations.
  2. This is taken using a Cannon 350d on a Helios Evostar 120. Mount is EQ6. Best 61 or so of 142 subs taken at 200ISO and 1/1000 ish exposure. Stacked in Registax 5.1 (only one that will stack RAW files. Wavelets in Registax and final quick polish in Photoshop. Not a lot done in Photoshop other than a quick crop, add notation and a very subtle sharpen with 0.2px gaus blur to take the edges off.
  3. IF it is clear I will be streaming live in Ha from the observatory I look after at work. It will be the one showing as live on the follwing Youtube channel : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCglRL4sfQ3sop9NIBkpLesA There is a test stream from the other day, hopefully it will be a bit better than this, it was only a test to make sure everything was working. After the event, again if clear, there will hopefully be a time lapse of the full disc in white light. That might take some time to process and upload though. Edit: we are due approx 87% totality
  4. Was okay this morning........ Not just now though, probably a server issue.
  5. Not had much of a play with the Watec to be completely honest, but we used it last week on the Sun using the Solarmax 70. It fit on the chip with a fair bit of room to spare. It can stream and be used to stack later yes. We have it hooked up to a PC and then stream through the school to wherever we like, so can project onto whiteboards etc. The Watec is good because it has it's own control box for exposure, gain and so on. You can also freeze the image and do long exposures. It also has a feature where it combines images it's self, sort of like self stacking, so you can get some very good results at night too. Use as a guide cam...... I have no idea yet, but it is on my list of jobs to do. We are fortunate in that we have a number of CCD's, DSLR's and Webcams, so I've a lot of work to do to figure out the best combo of kit yet. Our EP's are all Meade and we have 40mm, 26, 18, 12 and 8 I think off the top of my head. Focal reducers are good for the SCT's but I am not sure if they are so good with visual, I think they are mostly for imaging. If you do go the Meade route, please consider buying a crayford, the std focus is rubbish, and the micro focuser is poor IMO.
  6. Spend the money where it will make the most difference. Mount is most important as it will allow for additions later. Don't forget to add a camera of some sort. We use a Watec for streaming live images. This is really useful as with last week when I had 45 eager students and staff from a visiting Italian school to get through in under an hour. That way they can all see the image at the same time which allows more time to show off the kit to those interested in seeing what is making the pictures. Obviously you want to get eyes to eye pieces, but time restraints are tight in many cases, especially if the weather is changable. Last thing you need is some seeing something and some missing out. Also it means that images cn be used in school for projects etc and are all the more exciting because they were done in school rather than downloaded from NASA etc. Just some food for thought. If you are interested I can put you in touch with a lead educator from the National Space Academy who is now living and working near Greenwich, I'm sure she would be happy to help if at all possible. She was the one who set up our school obs before she moved down to London. PM me if you wish.
  7. Avoid white light IMO, too many risks. One option I considered was to mount the solar scope back to front so that the main scope is pointing the wrong way when the solar scope is pointed at the sun. As for why we have a 16", no idea, that's what they bought before I started there
  8. Hello, not posted here for a while as I have been rather busy. I am very fortunate in that I help run our school's observatory which is a monster. We have a Meade LX200 16". Whilst I appreciate it is considerably larger and more expensive I can say that the LX200's are a very good scope for a school environment. We have ours mounted on a wedge on top of the pier. The one thing I would say though, is that the mount does sound a bit loud and is proun to throwing a tantrum from time to time. As for solar scopes being mounted on the main tube, I share the concerns however ours is mounted on top of the main OTA, although we often use the Watec with it so no students need to be near the scope in that sense. We do take small groups up though to show them the solarscope working but there isn't a chance for them to start getting close enough to do any harm. Nigh time observing of course is much more hands on. The LX200 is great for Jupiter, the moon and so on, but it's a bit too long for any Astro Photography with one of the CCD's. I am in the process of buying a Skywatcher ED80 to sling under the main OTA for Astro Photography using the Atik 383. Be prepared for risk assesments galore though, they wanted us to light each step up to the dome with bright white LED's, in the end they agreed to white paint on the edges of the steps and red bulkhead lamps to illuminate the area. I'm not sure any of that has helped.
  9. Check the N/S switch. It should be set to N. I've done this once or twice by mistake when I've caught the switch.
  10. It IS possible to make a focus mask to fit all scopes, but it's not the same sort. The masks are designed for a particular scope, that scope will have a particular dew sheild if it is a frac. In which case it stays on. If you're using a newt, then yes, remove anything that's not as manufactured such as aftermarket dew sheild, that goes without saying. As a rule, use the mask directly over the end of however the scope comes as supplied by the manufacturer. In the case of a frac that does not mean remove the dew sheild.
  11. They are designed to go on the end of the dew sheild, hence the size and also the placement of the pegs or screws.
  12. I've just come in and packed away after a very successful testing session. I wasn't aiming on capturing anything in particular so focused on a random star in pegasus. Fired off some subs wanting to see how long an exposure I could take with the st80 on the eq5 unguided. My previous cautious limit had been 100 secs with 100% success. Tonight I managed 5 mins unguided with 5 out of 5 completely free of star trails. at 6 mins I got only 2 out of 5 successful. So my new limit is 5 mins.
  13. With a HEQ5 you should be able to push over 2 mins quite easily as long as you get your PA good enough. If I can do it on an eq5 you should have no problem.
  14. Let's get this into perspective. I'm a newbie, I use an EQ5 unguided with both st80 and 200p (not at the same time. I can get to 100 secs with 100% success (no bad subs) with either. Example of my poor attempts: orionsword101112a by Perkil8r, on Flickr
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