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David JM

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About David JM

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  1. I ordered a couple of items from the clearance section, a scope and mount. A couple of days later I met the courier [because of my job I can't be around when they deiliver and the depot is a ninety mile round trip] and put two large boxes in my car. At home I unwrapped the tripod, mount, gubbins and ...another mount. No 'scope. FLO then asked for another £15 for a Saturday delivery of the 'scope-despite the fact that the mistake was theirs. Roll on Saturday and the post lady delivers me a padded envelope. It looks a bit small for a 'scope, and the name on the envelope isn't mine. Fearing the worst I open it to find an eyepiece. I have to call the courier to ensure that the parcel I can track is coming my way. It is, luckily. The invoice in the envelope reveals the name, address and mobile number of the person who the eyepiece was meant for so I give them a call and tell them that it's on it's way. A few hours later the courier delivers the 'scope-but isn't picking up the stuff sent to me in error on the original delivery. i can then drive the twenty-five mile round trip to the last post office open late on a Saturday and pay nearly three quid to get the eyepiece on it's way. Needless to say I won't be using them again.
  2. A lot will also depend on the number and type of items sold-looking at the feedback over 90% of the positive comments are from things the vendor has bought [the comments are in the vein of 'prompt payment, thanks']. Would you trust the seller if their feedback was based on Mills & Boon books? If I were to sell a meterite that big I would have supporting documentation from the natural history museum or similar. Based on the prices of meteorite fragments from the recent fall in the US the one for sale should fetch around £250 000. And I'm sure the Blob in the 1950's film hatched from a similar meteorite-I won't be buying it!
  3. Define 'worth'! Is being able to track or find objects a priority? If so then an upgrade is worth it. The EQ5 with an upgrade kit that you fit yourself with a feeling of satisfaction will price your mount at £15 more than an EQ5 with the drives and handset already fitted. You should make a webpage that shows the prices £100 less than they are, that will get you off the hook. Or ask how much the last pair of posh shoes were that she has worn twice. You should also budget for a warm sleeping bag when you are evicted to the shed in this instance! In case you think I am being sexist, substitute the male for the female in the above and power tools for shoes.
  4. Summer edition. Spring edition had to be deleted along with my other attachments due to space on SGL.
  5. Two more from astro club members: Yelvertoft in Northants did see the stansit. Corby didn't
  6. Last night's meeting of R&DAS: 1830-1930, pre meeting meeting in the pub over the road for a general chat. 1930-2030. Neil Parker on the ING telescopes, nothing overly technical but an insight into the efforts involved in building a blooming big scope in a place where there aren't any roads. 2030-2100. Tea up 2100-2130. Society news, things to observe for the next month and member's images. 30-ish in attendance, pretty much every member we have-and we are expanding.
  7. I would probably go for a £10 000 main 'scope and mount that could take at least two other 'scopes [£5 000 budget for both] as 'shotgun' so I could show even more people the sights of the night sky. Added to that a guide scope, some sort of spectroscopy kit [£5 000] and assorted gubbins. Alternatively I would spend £10K on something for me and £20K on stuff to lend out to members of the astro soc I belong to. We have a lot of new members without much in the way of kit. When can I expect your cheque?
  8. And saying 'Dad, I don't want to go to Lego Club' and getting the reply 'you WILL go and you WILL enjoy it and you WILL like the scalextric I am getting us for your next birthday...'
  9. A ban on the word 'vanilla' for anything other than ice-cream unless you can prove you are 5th generation American. Why oh why can't people say unmodified or modified?
  10. From the 'running the club' side of things: I was on the verge of leaving Rugby & District AS this Feb when the renewals were due, then I was asked to be the secretary. With a new Chair as well we have started doing more of the practical side of things. We are running the Astro GCSE [full] from which we recruited seven new members of the dozen-ish we have attracted since February. On club nights we do have a speaker for nine months of the year. Subjects have gone from the zero-point energy of a vacuum [i followed the first 15 minutes, then every other word and finally one word in ten] to sundials via the historical figures in astronomy and 'member's evenings' where we all do a bit. Club nights are usually busy for the committee. We have a lot to sort out and although we try to meet and greet people we are expecting it is difficult to be able to do so. Once someone has left their details I will email them within a couple of days with a 'welcome pack' and add them to the mailing list and there is usually a weekly email to keep everyone in touch. Over the last couple of years we have had a lot of imaging presentations, this year we have had two and next probably none as we have saturated ourselves [behave]. Because of feedback we are running a 'pre meeting meeting' for an hour before the meeting in the pub over the road for a more social side and to help out newcomers. We have taken mobile numbers of the members for a text based alert system for observing [either short notice or cancelling a planned one because of weather] and started up a quarterly newsletter,which I post on here a month after it is sent out to the members. You cannot please all of the people all of the time. We have a member who produces images of near Hubble quality from his garden and who goes to the 'states for imaging holidays. Our chair has a PhD and is a consultant for the BBC. We have other talented people as well. This may be intimidating to the newcomer so we have observing challenges that go from the naked eye to CCD/SLR via binoculars, scopes and webcams. I am always looking to make new members welcome and stop them from leaving, by force or kidnapping if neccessary. I have asked 'what would you want from an astro soc?' on here and used the answers to help guide the club, along with suggestions from members. I will also nick ideas from this thread as well. There is a place for web-based 'clubs', but I am still struggling with Deep Sky Stacker, I have tried all the tricks mentioned on here and it is probably one, simple thing that can be resolved in ten seconds by someone saying 'not like that you idiot, like this' and away I go. We've had a club member repair mounts in a couple of minutes [four at the last count since January] that would have meant trogging to a shop and a wait to get your mount back while a worm drive was nipped up or a loose drive pinion was refitted. Finally, if you are in a club and you are thinking of leaving tell the organisers what you are not happy with-and better still offer to help out. I would rather have someone bend my ear for half an hour than walk and say nothing.
  11. A ban on acronyms wot I dunt understan', innit? There is a lot of "automated this" and "imaging that" on the list. Seeing Saturn on your computer monitor from a remotely operates 'scope is no different from watching it on telly, so I would go with an 'umbrella' telescope that collapses to a small size in all dimensions [no larger than my 4SE] can be quickly erected, has an equally light tripod with mechanical damping. With an aperture of 6-8" when ready for observing and a variable focal length eyepiece travelling to new sites would be easy and we could show people stuff when we have public observing nights without the site looking like a serious number of surface to air missiles are parked up. Perhaps a database of people with moon images taken at different places at the same time to make a 3d image of the moon? Obviously it wouldn't work on a small scale if taken from Earth. I think the real advances will be in both the advance of technology in steps and some surprising applications. Who would have thought ten years ago that you could hold up your mobile 'phone and see through the ceiling, clouds and daylight to what is in the sky? Perhaps some sort of real-time or near real-time version for any passing comets, supernovae and the like from satellite feeds?
  12. You know those battery powered electic fly swatters? Now use an extention lead, some bare wire and a stringless tennis racket and your imagination.
  13. Saturday 16th, 1200-1500: Ashlawn School Festival Of Science. Rugby & District AS will be there demonstrating image processing, safe solar observing [in this weather?] and astronomy chat. Sunday 17th, 1930-2130: Monthly meeting. Guest speaker Neil Parker on the ING telescopes, Sky Notes and news. Church Lawford Village Hall, School Street Church Lawford CV23 9EE. Thursday 21st: Emission Lines published and sent to members [posted on here 21st July].
  14. NASA are a government agency and so giving/selling time on the Hubble until it is finally had it will never happen. I would have said "if you want to take it over you must have the ground station and de-orbit the thing when the controls are dead then we'll give you the control protocols". I mentioned months ago that NASA take all their old stuff to landfill rather than ebay it. What would you pay for a spacesuit? Again, I would sell off everything that wasn't going to be reused to raise extra funds for the spaceflight programme-but if I did this the government would cut the funding back so I would be no better off!
  15. Like the door on the LEM that had to be bent into shape before they could go out for a walk. Now I know where Ford got the idea for the Focus bonnet.