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About Astro_Baby

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    Red Star Rising

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    Astronomy, Rocketry, Marxism and the invariable demise of capitalism, overthrowing tyranny, justice, truth and freedom from oppression, bringing comfort to the destitute, investing in dreams
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    Far from the madding crowd
  1. Same for me.....I have to be mobile as I live in a flat so when its clear and I am free its a treat. I dont want to spend 2 hours packing and unpacking plus an hour in the car each way and then get to see nothing much. if I lived in the country with a large backyard I would do it different.
  2. You should read my comments on this topic as related to my Maksutov. The focal length will be increased but its marginal, especially as regards viewing. The light path reduction by vignetting can easily be tested. Take a look here http://www.astro-baby.com/reviews/Skymax 180/Skymax 180 Review.htm the light path test is described about halfway down the page. image shift can be a massive pain at high powers and like others I find the strictly theoretical issues about FL and light cone clipping are as nothing compared to the stability of focusing. A wobbly or irritating scope to use is annoying no matter how short its light path might be ............? peace out
  3. Wait till you get in a solid sized field with the right conditions before being sure about not having a problem with dew
  4. Just so people are aware it is available - went offline for a while while changing hosts etc. http://www.astro-baby.com/collimation/astro babys collimation guide.htm
  5. Thanks everyone - some of you may know I had some pretty serious health issues and the organic issues led to severe depression. Its pretty depressing after all when you suddenly realise you can't hardly get up a flight of stairs or get out of a chair Anyway I am back on my feet again now but astro has taken a back seat as I try and get myself back into shape - I have been doing a lot of bushcraft, hiking, walking etc out in the wilds of the UK (well as wild as Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire can get) plus some serious walking in Crete and Kefalonia. I do feel the interest in astro coming back but I am something of a butterfly (some would say meddler, dilettante or simply intellectual waster ) so other things take my fancy and I can't ever spend too long on any one single hobby plus the UK weather seems to have been atrocious for ages - anyway with that said I am going to do a makeover on my site and start adding some new articles that were planned before my health collapsed. Anyway - thanks everyone and I will try and post up a bit more often. Mel
  6. Hi all just a quicky to let you all know that my website is back up which contains the famous/infamous collimation guide and other useful resources. Took eye off the ball for a while and our host has messed us about so now with new providers. Polar Aligning the SkyWatcher HEQ5/Orion Sirius Mount A comprehensive tutorial on setting up the polar scope / finder for the popular HEQ5 mount. Invaluable as a guide to this topic which can be very confusing. The set-up process can also be used with the EQ6 mount and Orion equivalents.Using an EQ Mount - Simple Polar Alignment for BeginnersYou just bought your new telescope with an equatorial mount. Polar alignment seems awkward. This quick and easy guide will get you Polar aligned and enjoying the benefits of an equatorial mount quickly.Collimation Guide for Newtonian Reflector TelescopesA simple to follow guide on collimation for Newtonian telescopes. Illustrated with dozens of pictures. A simlpe step by step guide.Rebuilding the SkyWatcher HEQ5/Orion Sirius MountA comprehensive guide to stripping down, cleaning and rebuilding the popular Synta/SkyWatcher HEQ5 equatorial mount. Rebuilding the SkyWatcher EQ6/Orion Atlas MountA comprehensive guide to stripping down, cleaning and rebuilding the popular Synta/SkyWatcher EQ6 equatorial mount. Tuning up the Skywatcher/Orion Basic 1.25" FocuserA simple step by step guide to improving the focuser on the popular Skywatcher 130 and SkyHawk telescopes. Cleaning and Center Spotting Telescope MirrorsA simple step by step guide to cleaning and center spotting Newtonian reflecting telescope errors. Many Thanks and Clear Skies Mel
  7. Hi Astrobaby (Sorry, I don'y know your real name).

    Recently I followed your excellent HEQ5 strip down and service guide, thank you. It solved my problem of severe backlash in RA which started after my HEQ5 took a rather nasty fall. However, I have a new problem. The RA has become stiff, so much so that balancing is a pain. The axis does not swing free. I am not able to understand what I have done wrong. My friends online told me to loosen the "collar", but again, I am too daft to understand what collar they are referring to. I'd be very thankful if you could please advice what I may do to set the axis swinging free again.


    1. SteveBz


      Hi Astro Sathya, Namaste, Did you get this fixed?  I imagine it was the collar under the Polar Finder.  On my CG5, I can unscrew the whole polar finder including lens, three collimating screws, two black collars and thread assembly revealing a collar held on by two grub screws.  This can be loosened.

    2. astrosathya


      Hi Steve, I simply love your Namaste touch. :) 

      The problem was that the RA bearing, ( which sits between the RA worm wheel  and the taper bearing on the rear end of the axis) was broken internally owing to the fall. However, while reassembling the mount after the fall, two years ago, I had placed it back in its original position, all by sheer luck. But then, when I removed the same bearing for regreasing this season, I missed the original position and the dent in the bearing caused the axis to stiffen. I checked well and then purchased an SKF 6006 bearing and discarded the old one. Works well now. Haven't been able to field test it owing to Monsoon season here.

  8. My first serious scope was a 4.5" Tasco Refelector back in the day when Tasco made some decent hardware (I am talking early 70s here - stranegely I found an actual pic of it a few weeks back while having a clear out but have misplaced it again - it may have been 5" and not 4.5" - anyway I digress). It was a sweet thing with its .965 eyepieces and worked well and at the time was something of a treat. Bought for me by a would be boyfriend. It lasted sometime but eventually I was blessed(?) with kids and it got stored and then damaged and then wrecked. When I came back to the hobby after half a lifetime I bought a skywatcher 130 which was a very sweet little scope but it was bought only a kind of tester to see if I would stick with the hobby. Once I knew I would I splashed out and bought a Skywatcher 200 on an HEQ5 mount. Then I went into spend spend spend on more scopes (TAL 100, Skymax 180) and eyepieces (Pentax XWs via most every other EP manufactured) and then I reached where I have been for two/three years - lost interest in the hobby and moved on to other stuff. I still tinker about but I think its fair to say the thrill has gone - a succession of bad weather and bad health have killed it for me. Who knows - I may yet take it back up again but I am so busy with other stuff astro doesnt really get much of a look in anymore. Last thing I did was to build a new field power supply at the start of this year but so far its never been further than the front door. I did howevere reach a balance where I felt I had everything I could reasonably own
  9. That top nut is a perisher to shift. I have only ever managed it once on an EQ6. I have no idea why its so hard to shift - perhaps they use some kind of glue on it or maybe just put it on under massive pressure. Theres not much to be gained from removing it to be honest. As to your knackered hex screw you might find if you ram a cross head screw driver in you may be able to extract it. Hope thats of some small help.
  10. Well quite a few things have been discovered by amateur astronomers of late - some exoplanets, comets, meteors etc. The hit on Jupiter from Hale Bopp (?) fragments was imaged by an amateur as far as I recall and missed by the professionals. Don't forget the big boys in the Atacama and at Mt Wilson, Palomar etc are focusing (pardon the pun) on really distant stuff with highly specialised gear. They arent often looking at the local neighbourhood. Its a bit like being a good neighbour - the MoD with their submarines, jets and tanks wont take much notice of a beer can lobbed onto someones lawn, they wont even be aware of it, but you as a local neighbour might pick it up. A lot of good science is done by amateurs - only yesterday there was an article on R4 about a guy in the 1930s who kept a super detailed log of wildlife on a spit of land in Dorset - the data is invaluable now because of its accuracy it will now allow latter day entymologists to assess population declines (and increases) of various butterflies and to be able to estimate what the key factors may be in some species declines. Don't forget Pasteur never held a medical degree - thats how much of an impact an amateur can have if they spot something at the right time. Shoulders of giants and all that.... For me though I am just a dilettante - i meddle with stuff - electronics, astronomy, music, writing, chemistry, rocketry etc etc so for me its just 'seeing the sights' - I don't imagine I will ever discover anything new and don't even try to I like to be out in the cold night with a clear sky, drinking my hot choc, listening to Bach seeing the sights. Thats it really.
  11. Could it be slop in your focuser causing this ? I found the best collimation solution I ever invested in was a solid focuser. Whats the focuser on the scope like Do the eyepieces lock with a compression ring type or just a side screw ? Do the eyepieces fit snugly or with loads of slop Does the focuser rack in and out without slop ?
  12. I used to have a lot of aggro like the OP describes. I found the problem was two fold. 1/ The scope is not perfectly round which can be a headache which cant be fixed really. THose Russians with their TAL scoipes machined from a length of gun barrel probably never have this issue. 2/ The felt that Skywatcher use on the inside of the rings is not very nice, its not slippy (which under normal circumstances is a good thing) but worse its sometimes peels back under damp conditions and create a sticky pad for the scope to get stuck on. My solution was the classic hoop round the scope as a retaining ring and then just loosen the main rings off...theres a link to my solution above. Its actually very simple. You put a third ring on which is only attached to the scope NOT the mount. You keep this one tight all the time to the tube. It rests on the forward most ring thats attached to the mount. That way you can can slacken the rings that secure the scope to the mount without any fear of the scope slipping down through the rings and onto the ground. I still use a little bit of tension on the mounting rings to stop the scope rotating of its own accord when heavy EPs are fitted. You also need to use a good pinch of sense when manipulating a scope so that you don't inadvertently release so much tension that the rings open up and the scope just falls out. I also refelted the main rings with a really nice bit of felt that was glued down with a product call 'Serious Glue' (yes really) and believe me when stuff is stuck with that it aint ever coming apart again - no more kinks in the felts on my tube rings for sure. I did also try using a Heath Robinson ball race gimmick between the securing ring and the main ring to reduce friction further and found it was just a pain, with the weight of the finder and an eyepiece the scope just slips round way too readily and the ball race gubbins kept getting jammed against the small gaps in the securing ring. You don't have to have such an engineered solution, as already said some people use a tapestry hoop or do it with a giant jubilee clip and hosepipe.
  13. Glad its all looking good with the EPs. The 180 is a cracking scope which makes almost any EP work pretty well. I have found with mine that some ultra wides can be badly...... behaved the worst I have seen with mine was the ES 30mm 82' which produces vignetting but also a 'ring of fire' round the edge of the EP which is very distracting. From memory the exit portal on mine is 25mm. I rarely use widefields on it and prefer orthos in the main. I have never tried the Pentax XW30 in it so cant say how that would perform. Sounds like you are having great success with the scope though which is good to hear. If the weather and my availability were to ever to come together again I could tell you how a great many EPs sat here gathering dust perform on it
  14. Problem with the Pentax XW is they are probably as rare as hens teeth. Sorry but as far as I know I bought the last new one in the UK some time ago. Its been used once only and was rather nice but unfortunately I cant say more than that not having used it much. It was vert flat in the field and had very good correction at F5 and was also very comfy to use. Thats about the limit of what I could say - it was hardly an exhaustive test
  15. Probably Orion for me - it was the first one I ever learnt from my Dad plus its also got so much in it - Betelgeuse , Rigel and M42 plus smaller nebula - theres quite a bit to se in such a compact area.
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