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SteveNickolls last won the day on December 11 2018

SteveNickolls had the most liked content!

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About SteveNickolls

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    Sub Dwarf

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  • Location
    Nottingham UK

About Me

Hi, I've been interested in space and astronomy for as long as I can remember. My first memory is of my Dad pointing out what must have been one of the early satellites sometime in the very late 1950's. For years I had a large poster with the solar system on my bedroom wall (poor demoted Pluto and there are so many more moons about nowadays!). I can recall staying up late at Butlin's Pwllheli 1967 to watch my first Sky at Night in their big tv room. Only in recent years have I had the money to indulge more in astronomy and I have found with observing that I prefer the simplicity and comfort afforded by binoculars and for imaging wide field work with DSLR and lenses.

Living in a suburb light pollution is an issue close to my heart. Usually the limiting sky value for around here is Magnitude 5.0, Bortle Scale 6, which I have verified using Samir Kharusi's JPEG method. Imaging I love the method of not autoguiding and instead using fast optics.

I have had several very interesting and enjoyable years learning about and being able to detect meteors by the GRAVES radar signal. Overall meteor detection has been the most rewarding part of astronomy I have had the pleasure to participate in and can wholeheartedly recommend it to others.

Observing I tend to use my binoculars as the benefit of two old eyes is welcomed along with the very rapid set up time involved which allows maximum viewing sessions that our rather poor British weather does its best to take from us.

Since April 2017 I have been using my SkyWatcher Star Adventurer mount to develop my imaging skills which began with a SynScan Alt-Az mount. With the use of an Astronomik Ha filter I have been able to steadily increase exposure times of nebulae. I have two DSLR's, a Canon 600D and a modified 700D. 

I have also press ganged an old, under-used Celestron CG-5 Go-To mount to also use with my cameras and in the future roll out for longer focal length telescopes. This season I hope to experiment with an achromat 102mm SkyWatcher StarTravel telescope for taking Ha images and independently explore the use of QPPA2 polar alignment with the 'scope. I hope to save up for a dedicated astro-camera in the future but may firstly get an Orion 6" reflector telescope so I can image smaller DSO's at certain times of the year.

For imaging I use Deep Sky Stacker and StarTools. Much improvement in the final image can be had from skilled use of the StarTools software and one of the joys of imaging is to be able to revisit old images to rework them with an improved capability with the software.

Two years ago I commissioned a Samsung SCB 2000P cctv camera in a heated outdoor enclosure to provide real time wide-sky views that worked very well giving detailed views of the constellations from a suburban location even on some hazy nights.

My other interests outside astronomy include exploring ancestry, building computers, and gardening. In the recent past a lot of time has spent renovating a property.

I am now busily retired.

I have a cat, a dear wife and two kids (all paid for).


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