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About vince1976

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    Colchester, Essex
  1. Clearly I was too tired when looking at the horizons site last night to notice the Table Settings link, which changes the data properties the site returns and allowed me to select just the target angular diameter. I now have 10 years worth of daily data for all the planets in a format that can easily be converted to JSON for use in Javascript without any need for trigonometry. I'll be using the Horizons site a lot more now I realise what it's capable of.
  2. Thanks - Solex looks an interesting tool but sadly doesn't seem to allow me to export the data I need directly. The average values on that page unfortunately don't help me as it's the variation I'm interested in. Looking at wikipedia (Angular diameter - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) I see there's a lot of variation between the minimum and maximum angular diameter and it's this change I'm hoping to plot over time. I get the feeling my best option will be to import the raw data from JPL's Horizons website into mysql and then use SQL to perform trig to determine the angular diameter based on
  3. I've been trying and thus far failing to find a reliable source of data showing the angular diameters of planets (specifically Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) as viewed from Earth for each day of the year. I'm aiming to produce a visualisation of these values using the D3 Javascript library but am unfortunately stuck at the first hurdle. I've found the JPL Horizons web interface (HORIZONS Web-Interface) that shows ephemerides for a given planet. This gives me the distance (delta, in AU) and thus allow me to determine the angular diameter via trigonometry. Aside from that the data is in fixed-
  4. Wow, thanks. That's an excellent page that I'll certainly be keeping an eye on. I can think of half a dozen things worth buying already.
  5. Reading up seems to confirm that its the mount itself that will be overloaded, not the legs. Not to worry, I'll carry on enjoying my GOTO AZ and maybe manage to pick up a 2nd hand EQ3 sometime. Thanks again for the advice.
  6. A very good point Do you think that the weak point would be the mount itself or the aluminium telescopic tripod legs? If it's the tripod I'm sure I could replace the legs with something a lot sturdier, especially as I don't envisage moving it further than my back yard so portability can certainly be sacrificed. If it's the mount itself though, the required structural changes would certainly exceed my metalworking skills and budget.
  7. I've currently got a SkyWatcher 130P on a GOTO AZ mount. I'm very happy with the OTA and the GOTO mount is great fun once aligned but want a cheap manual EQ mount to play with, largely because I feel the GOTO mount just provides so much hand-holding that I don't feel like I'm learning enough about the sky when using it. Without a pressing requirement for this though it's hard to justify shelling out too much cash on a whim. I notice that my OTA is often also supplied on an EQ2 mount. Although I can buy an EQ2 for £112, I can buy a small refractor on an EQ1 for £90 or less (for example, this).
  8. Drat - I don't have registax on this PC but I have the raw video so uploaded to Youtube here but unfortunately even at 480p their compression removes most of the detail. I've linked to a reasonable section 50% of the way through - change quality to 480p then press the keyboard shortcut '5' whilst playing to return to that point. That said, what I have is the same colour, just a good deal sharper. Registax didn't manage to improve at all on the colour information either, just the sharpness. I should add that a 2x barlow was also used. Again, the non-barlowed image was smaller and sharper but wi
  9. I must be doing something wrong as my camera mod is really only working for lunar images. Jupiter's colours are so washed out as to be greyscale. The sharpness is fine but I'm getting almost no colour at all. Could it be that my SkyWatcher 130p simply doesn't have a large enough aperture to capture the colours? I've tried with and without a 2x barlow and captured several videos of about 1500 frames each at differing exposures to try and get more than the merest hint of colour with no joy. I'm thinking of shelling out for either an MS LifeCam Cinema HD or a Logitech Pro 9000 HD (comparative rec
  10. That pretty much echoes my results from the first time I tried to set up the GOTO last week (I'd just been slewing manually prior to that). It took me ages to find stars on the list that were actually viewable from my back yard and not obscured by fences, sheds, street light pollution or my house. I was trying to track Mars at the time and simply couldn't get it to track for more than a few minutes without minor manual adjustment. The 2nd time though I looked through the star list first and located the familiar sounding stars in stellarium. I knew I always had a decent view of Orion so decide
  11. Well I couldn't catch Jupiter tonight but managed to get mars in a position where it I wasn't blinded by streetlights so dragged out the scope and webcam. Tonight's taught me an awful lot of things I need to research: 1. Practice aligning the GOTO mount. I kept having to use the PAE feature to correct for drift every few minutes. 2. I really need to take several AVIs with more varied exposure settings. All my captures seem either under or over exposed. 3. Wow, registax 6 has a lot of options. I just went with the defaults but I certainly need to take some time to learn it properly. 4. I may ne
  12. Belated thanks for all the hearty welcomes. I can see I'm going to enjoy my time here.
  13. Thanks very much for all the advice. It's great to know what to expect from this scope. I luckily managed to catch a break in the clouds tonight and get a decent view of Jupiter before the skies swiftly closed in again. The moons were pin sharp and I could see two blurry dark bands with the slightest hint of colour through my new 4mm EP, which I was very happy with given the far from perfect conditions. It seems not too far off what John describes above. 10mm showed a sharper image but it was too small to distinguish the bands without a 2x barlow. Unfortunately the skies remained clear only fo
  14. Thanks - I've got a Skywatcher LP filter on the way so it's good to know I may be able to see a good selection. There's relatively little visible to the naked eye here so I thought I'd be quite restricted.
  15. Thanks John - that's very useful to know. I've been wondering if I should be seeing more from my setup. I've only tried Jupiter twice so far. First time was in good conditions at 65x in a 10mm EP, because my barlows hadn't arrived yet. Moons pin sharp and Jupiter was a tiny disk what looked creamy white but it was too small and bright to see any belts. The edge of the disk wasn't perfictly crisp though, despite the moons seeming so. 2nd time was poor seeing - I could focus it to a disk but the moons weren't pin sharp like the first time and air currents kept shimmering the image hence it seem
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