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Everything posted by Jim-a

  1. Jim-a

    Jupiter 15th Jan

    spaceboy - i just use a red head-torch thing - theres enough illumination to see whats on the sketch pad without really affecting your vision. bish - The thing I like most about sketching is that it 'forces' you to spend longer at the eyepiece teasing the details out - the colour was added later (i made some notes while I was outside then did it from memory)
  2. really glad you posted these - I've just posted a sketch I did from the same night which looks to be from about the same time as your second shot. http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/174974-jupiter-15th-jan/ Really good to be able to compare mine with a 'proper' pic and see how much I caught / missed
  3. Meant to post this just after I did it... but completely forgot My second attempt to add some colour to a sketch... used b&w pencil outside at the scope and then raided the kids colouring pencils to add the colour (as close as I could remember it) when I got back inside.
  4. The forecast in for tomorrow is for snow, so we've decided to cancel the AstroPub meetup at the Bottle & Glass - wouldn't want to get snowed in and stuck in the pub all night (on the other hand....) We're planning to re-schedule for Friday 1st Feb - but I'll confirm nearer the time.
  5. maybe 500 miles is a bit too far to travel However, if you like the idea then why not organise one yourself ?- This is our third... So far they have been really easy to arrange and have worked out really well - if you decided to do one we'd be happy to publicise it through the @AstroPub twitter account etc and give you any help you needed
  6. We'll be meeting up at the Bottle and Glass in Binfield Heath near Reading this Friday (18th Jan) at 8.00pm. http://www.bottleandglassbinfieldheath.com/ We did some observing from the beer garden there last month and it worked really well. If the clouds are well behaved then we'll be outside with scopes in the garden. If its not clear then we will be in the bar chatting about astronomy etc (and probably moaning about the weather). Anyone who wants to come along and join us would be more than welcome.
  7. I use both - the laser wont help you with centering the secondary under the focusser - the sight tube on the cheshire will let you do this, although you can use anything with a small central hole fitted into the focuser (even a film canister with a small hole drilled into it). When using the laser, its worth using it in conjunction with a barlow lens for aligning the primary - if you just use the return dot then any errors in aligning the secondary will affect your primary alignment - with a barlow the secondary does not introduce the same errors
  8. The setting circles on your mount wont be accurate enough to 'dial in' a setting (not sure why they put them on there in the first place) from stellarium. Best way to find things will be to learn to star-hop using your finder scope - don't worry about it too much, you'll get used to it soon enough.
  9. just heard. What a life and what a legacy he has left. I got to shake his hand once - when I was a lot younger, a long time before I got into Astronomy. I would have loved to have been able to shake his hand again, now with a greater appreciation of what he did for science. RIP
  10. Mr Ploppy .... For the indoor activity they made 'constellations' by sticking silver stars on black paper and drawing the lines in white chinagraph pencil - they each made 3 sheets by choosing from the usual suspects and copying the patterns from some pre-done sheets
  11. +1 for the patience bit - My best moments with Jupiter have been when trying to make a sketch of what I see. I find it forces you to spend a lot longer at the eyepiece and to try and tease out the details. Your eye definitely "tunes in" the longer you spend on it. The other benefit of spending a lot of time on it is that you'll get more of those occasional moments when the atmospheric turbulence subsides for a couple of seconds and you suddenly get a much clearer glimpse.
  12. Last night I took the scope along to my sons cub pack to help out with their astronomy badge. It was the first time I'd observed with kids (apart from my own) so I thought I'd share what I learned in case anyone else is doing a similar thing in the future. Note: I was using a 12" dob, so a lot of the comments relate to that. Group size - Two or three at a time was ideal - any more than that and the ones not at the eyepiece start getting bored (and cold) and start fidgeting (sometimes in a scope-threatening way). The Rules - I realised fairly quickly that with kids this age you need to lay down the law with each group right at the beginning - no touching / bumping the scope - no shouting down the end of it - stand well clear of the scope when not at the eyepiece - no rummaging in the eyepiece case etc... Cubs are small - Luckily their were enough low down targets - Jupiter, Albireo, Ring Nebula - but none of them were tall enough (even with the step I brought) to see anything near zenith - so unfortunately none of them got to see Andromeda last night. At one point, after one of them had asked what the little group of stars above Jupiter was, I pointed the scope at the Pleiades- big mistake - the eyepiece was at a height that some of them could reach and others couldn't - lots of cries of "I can't see it" etc. Balancing on a step is harder than you think - If you are using a step then you need to gently steady them by holding their arm as they step up, step down, and as they approach the eyepiece. More then once one of them felt a bit unsteady and reached out for the nearest thing to grab. Make sure the nearest thing to grab is you... not the expensive thing mounted on a freely rotating platform... you get the picture. Teach them how to look through the eyepiece - the two biggest problems were them approaching the EP too quickly, hitting it with their face and knocking the scope off target (particularly on Jupiter on higher mag) and secondly breathing all over the eyepiece and fogging it up. Analogies work - The one that went down best was the "if Jupiter was the size of a watermelon, Earth would be the size of a cherry tomato" - they all got that. You hear "Wow" quite a lot - this was one of the most satisfying parts - "Wow - I can see the stripes" Parents - it was great to let the parents have a look when they came to pick the kids up - lots more wows, both for Jupiter and Andromeda. All in all it was really enjoyable - I would definitely recommend that you volunteer to help out with something similar if you are able to. Who knows if one of those cubs will go on to study astronomy / make important discoveries etc just because one night someone rocked up at their cub session and let them see how awesome space is.
  13. Great to meet you too Steve. All in all it was a good night - we got a couple of hours of clear viewing in and it was good to see the pub beer garden full of telescopes. Although I have to say that a pint of ale really doesn't taste good when its been out in the cold for so long. Maybe need someone to bring dew heater tapes to wrap round the glasses
  14. thanks guys - I'm really finding that making myself sketch is improving my observing skills - I'm sure I'm noticing more at the eyepiece from needing to tease out the detail well enough to be able to commit it to paper
  15. Not sure if the lounge is really the right place for this sort of thing (Mods - would it be better to get a section in the Social Groups area??), but just wanted to say that any of you who live within striking distance of Reading would be more than welcome to join us this Monday (3rd December) at the Bottle and Glass pub for a bit of informal observing in the beer garden (weather permitting !!). If its cloudy then we'll be in the bar chatting about astronomy etc. Full details are here. This will be the second time we've met - the first was really good fun and it was great to meet some fellow stargazers, so hopefully we'll have a good turnout on Monday.
  16. We've confirmed the venue for Monday 3rd as the Bottle and Glass in Binfield Heath near Reading - details here - I'll start another thread for it, but thought I'd put it here as well as there are quite a few people following this thread
  17. Yes - absolutely - makes it very simple to get yourself in the right ballpark - then with a low power e.p. you should be able to easily find your target. Incidentally, I noticed there was a 2nd hand telrad on ABS yesterday - if you're quick it may still be there.
  18. Heres my sketch of Jupiter from last night. Think I've over emphasised some features and not got the proportions quite right, but as its my second ever sketch I shall put that down to lack of experience and keep trying
  19. I have an isight and a while ago did a bit of research to see how suitable it would be to use for astro stuff - the general opinion seemed to be that whilst they are great cameras for normal usage, their low level light performance was quite noisy and that, coupled with the fact that they are not cheap webcams meant that there were much better options for conversion to a prime focus astro webcam
  20. You're not alone... Recently I had a very vivid dream that I was standing in a room, looking at the Orion nebula through a small, but very expensive refractor which I was just holding in my hands (no mount) and pointing at the window - In the dream I was stunned by how this hand-held refractor was showing a hubble-like image with vivid colours and felt a bit miffed that all I could see through my Lightbridge was variations of grey. Hate to think what Freud would have made of the telescope envy !!!
  21. Just to let you know that we are planning our second meetup for Monday 3rd December, I've mailed everyone on the mailing list - if you aren't on the list and want to be then you can add your name here
  22. Neil, I think the Ale factor got decided by the fact that everyone had to drive, so it wasn't really an issue. Excellent idea for a summer get together though
  23. Thanks Mark - very helpful. Unfortunately, unless theres a dramatic change, the forecast is for wall to wall cloud on Tuesday night here However, even if theres no scope time I'll take stellarium along and we can at least show them some things - then maybe I can take the telescopes along at another point.
  24. I'm doing a similar evening with my son's cub pack on Tuesday night - any tips / lessons learned you could share?
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