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Everything posted by SteveNickolls

  1. Yes I've found that the Celestron red dot finder is a poor example of its kind. I recently was looking for a red dot finder for a spotting scope ScopeTeknix universal fit red dot finder for all spotting scopes and the difference is amazing. The dot itself is smaller and actually allows easy use! It seems not all red dot finders are created equal and you don't get to realise this until you can compare.
  2. Enjoy the new 'scope-when the weather improves of course :-)
  3. In the never ending battle of man v woman today man won!
  4. I was going to suggest the '*** for tat' retalitary throwing out of her old dresses/shoes etc. but 30+ years experience of marriage suggests this would incur the 'better half' in the ligitimate expense restocking her wardrobe's contents and possibly no tea for you for several days to come (food is good-yes?). Best to just buy a new (and bigger) scope with accessories you've never dared have before now and place them in your wardrobe. When you get the new 'scope out to use in the autumn you can then say reverently and with hand on heart and a straight face 'It's not new dear I've had it for ages'. This has worked well for the 'other side' for years and I occasionally see the point of equality. Sell the remaining parts you have left on eBay for the price of a blow out curry when your 'home alone' one night.
  5. I don't think this has any connection with- http://www.thelowestroom.com/Documents/nasamooned.pdf I would expect the greater distance to Mars, longer communications lag time and no astronauts on the Mars missions with 'the right stuff' to put things right immeadiately if they do go wrong have caused the issues on the failed flights. That and imperial/metric blunders.
  6. This is great news-let us all know how things progress. Take every opportunity to put astronomy's case forward :-)
  7. Received a copy of their guide and booklet today after sending an email requesting details (couldn't see it available yet on their website). Although not containing anything new it is a good example of a council acting responsibly and publicising light pollution and particulalrly what occupiers should do to reduce 'light trespass' from poorly sited exterior lighting. Worth a read.
  8. Thanks for this. We should all write to our local council recommending they adopt or work towards similar guidelines. The issue of street lighting is gathering momentum in this country and we should endevour to raise this with the authorities to get our agenda across to them. First step would be talk with neighbours to gain some level of local support and then approach your local councillors. Where your authority is already reducing night-time street lighting write to commend them. It's time to buy a Sky Quality Meter!
  9. Nice one. A friend has a small house in a mountainous Southern Spanish village and the street lights and castle illuminations are mostly turned 'off' as the authorities have no cash to pay the electricity bill (or allegedly the wages of the local police!). Halcyon times.
  10. We are in a transition period as regards street lighting reductions in Notts. Some villages have already had street lights either turned off or dimmed as part of a phased programme of lighting reduction-we live in a more urban area and our ward's 'turn' comes later this year in October/November. The county council seem to have done a thorough job researching the issue and have apparently discounted the use of alternative LED replacement lamps on cost grounds so the chance of having the existing sodium lamps on the main roads dimmed after 10PM and the lighting on other roads turned off after midnight sound a good outcome-I'm keeping my finger's crossed anyway. There will still be the closeness of Nottingham and it's light pollution to contend with (run by a separate city council) about 3 miles to my SW but as my viewing is restricted to the NW-SE this won't be a major concern. Where anti-social behaviour or incidents prove an issue then lighting in these areas will be reconsidered by the highway authority. Yesterday the local BBC radio were raising the personal safety issue after a 19 year old female was involved in an unfortunate 'mugging' incident where there were no street lamps on. I think the whole street light issue needs to be a balanced one and we need to use every chance to pusue our case, diffuse the unfounded overall safety issues and promote access to dark skies across the country. I realise we are a minority as 'stargazers' but the 'Stargazing Live' programmes in January were I felt a good example showing what concerted efforts can do to darken the local night sky-pity the particualr evening was a rainy one but the principle still holds.
  11. Hi, I anguished over my first 'scope (a Celestron 235mm SCT Go-To) as it was the first time I had enough money to look for a decent 'scope that would (out)last me. Time has proved it was a good purchase as my first sight of Saturn got the 'astronomy-hook' into me really deep. I can also gaze at the double cluster in Perseus all night long oblivious to the cold: the beautiful pin pricks of light and the occasional orange-red stars looking jewel like and the mind opened up to the years the light had been travelling just for this sight! On a practical level it's German equitorial mount has allowed tracking whilst using a web cam, cctv camera and DSLR. I have found I prefer to use the 'scope manually for visual observation rather than the go-to mode as I have learnt to move about the night sky and not be reliant on a computer. I have had 'adventures' re-greasing the motor gearing, improving the OTA focus knob, fixing the 'dodgy' power connector to the CG5 mount and replaced the dec and RA markings to improve on pointing accuracy. There is still a way to go with this 'scope: maybe a 2" diagonal and eye pieces for a more immersive look. So all in all a good purchase and 'touch wood' still going strong.
  12. No, the map was right but it shows the weather above the clouds :-) Before I knew they used satellites I knew it was the satellites' fault.
  13. It has to be the South as explained by others. I 'make do' with a NW to SE sweep and get to know the circumpolar constellations well.
  14. Might I suggest a Canon EOS 600D? It has a 3" CCD monitor that can be adjusted to view comfortably when attached to your scope pointed in odd directions. It also records full HD video, weighs in at 570g and compatible with Win 7, Vista, XP and Mac OS X. Recently price has plummeted.
  15. duplicate post hopefully removed
  16. Hi everyone. This is my first post and I have signed the e-petition. I've also forwarded details to colleagues at work who may wish to add their names to the cause. BTW in Notts the county council has a current programme for consulting and turning off street lighting (we are due to have street lamps turned off or down from October this year). Turning off lighting makes financial sense also, they have said that the electricity bill for street lighting increased from £1.05m in 2004/05 to an estimated £5.04m in 2010/11 and pretty obvious energy prices will only continue to rise. Maybe others in different parts of the UK can check if their unitary or county council has a similar programme and if not suggest it and get councillors to pldge support. There's no harm doing things locally as well as signing this national e-petition. The details of the Notts programme can be read here - http://www3.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/travelling/roads/road-design-and-maintenance/street-lighting/energy-saving-project/
  17. SteveNickolls


    Just before Christmas 2015 I started taking multiple short exposures of DSO's using my SkyWatcher Startravel 102 refractor, alt-az mount and unmodified Canon 600D DSLR camera. I use Deep Sky Stacker and StarTools software to process images.
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