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Jim-a

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Everything posted by Jim-a

  1. nice shot - looking forward to seeing your M13 attempt
  2. hi & welcome - I was in the same boat a few months ago - everyone on here very helpful though - it wont be long before you're always keeping half an eye on the weather forecast to see if its going to be a good observing night
  3. welcome - sgl is a fantastic resource - everyone always v. helpful
  4. lol - surely not in our lifetimes !! Lets hope there will be clear skies in May 2016 for the next Mercury transit
  5. I didn't manage to see the transit (other than on NASA's stream) - being a complete newbie, I was wondering what other rare, significant astronomical events will happen in our lifetimes (for the sake of argument I'm 41 so lets say next 40 years or so) ? Hopefully those of us who missed Venus will manage to catch some of those Any suggestions?
  6. fantastic - very glad at least some folks in the UK caught it
  7. Heres my first attempt at using the super-expensive(£7.95) asdacam on the moon. Obviously nowhere near as detailed as the shots some of you guys get, but I enjoyed taking it... and, even more, enjoyed comparing it to maps and identifying Copernicus, Eratosthenes, Herschel etc - and ending up knowing a lot more about the geography of the moon than I did before. I did try to stack images in Lynkeos, which I've had some success for with Saturn, but the results were worse than single frames (seemed very reluctant to align things well) - does anyone have any tips for getting a better image? Jim
  8. Theres another factor at play here... We only used really powerful radio signals for communications for a relatively short period of our history. Most of our radio communications now are low power, high frequency and very directional. In the past the only feasible way to get your message to a world-wide audience was to crank up the power and use short wave transmissions - Hence the old massive short wave transmitters used for Voice of America, World Service and their Soviet and Chinese counterparts. (and even a good proportion of those signals would bounce off the atmosphere straight back to earth). Now all we need to communicate to a similar sized audience is a very narrow beam of microwave radio aimed at a satellite which is only 36,000km or so above the equator, which then re-broadcasts a similarly directional signal straight back to earth. Basically if any space-critters out there are looking for us, they better not look in the other direction for too long - as there will only be an 80 year or so window where we'll have been broadcasting signals which have enough oomph to be detectable. Blink (assuming they have eyelids!!) and they'll miss us. Jim
  9. Theres another factor at play here... We only used really powerful radio signals for communications for a relatively short period of our history. Most of our radio communications now are low power, high frequency and very directional. In the past the only feasible way to get your message to a world-wide audience was to crank up the power and use short wave transmissions - Hence the old massive short wave transmitters used for Voice of America, World Service and their Soviet and Chinese counterparts. (and even a good proportion of those signals would bounce off the atmosphere straight back to earth). Now all we need to communicate to a similar sized audience is a very narrow beam of microwave radio aimed at a satellite which is only 36,000km or so above the equator, which then re-broadcasts a similarly directional signal straight back to earth. Basically if any space-critters out there are looking for us, they better not look in the other direction for too long - as there will only be an 80 year or so window where we'll have been broadcasting signals which have enough oomph to be detectable. Blink (assuming they have eyelids!!) and they'll miss us. Jim
  10. this may be helpful for looking for a darker site http://www.avex-asso.org/dossiers/pl/uk/index.html Jim
  11. I've had lynkeos crash on me a few times - now I usually shut down other programmes and make sure I hit save after each step - hasn't crashed on me recently... but that may just be luck
  12. How about m81/m82? - I've seen them in a 114mm reflector from a fairly light polluted Reading back garden. Should be OK in your 130p
  13. Heres the best I've managed over a couple of nights with the slightly more expensive (£7.95) Asda Cam. It was stacked in Linkeos. I'm using a 4" reflector and can't seem to get better focus or more detail than this (I think - after a number of botched attempts! - I've finally got my head around collimating it - last night, even though the seeing wasn't great I had the most concentric set of star-test diffraction rings I've seen since I've been playing with it) So... am I hitting the limits of the scope? (its a short tube newt - and I suspect the lens built into the focus tube isn't the best), or am I hitting the limits of the cheap cam (though having seen some other images on here I suspect not) or am I hitting the limits of my very limited experience? Ta Jim
  14. What settings do you have access to in sharpcap? Im using Keiths Astro-imagers on a mac and the only settings that show for the 7.95 Asdacam are hue, saturation, brightness, contrast & sharpness ... was hoping to be able to set gain etc.
  15. I got my Raspberry Pi a couple of weeks ago - but so far haven't had time to do much more than plug it into the TV and watch it boot up. Incredibly impressive for the price, but I think they were right to get the first boards out there as a developer release, as I'm not sure that the OS distro is ready for the prime time yet. However, fascinated to see what uses people put them to.
  16. Given that tonight looks like it may be the first clear night for ages for those of us in the UK, I'd love to know what people are planning to look at. Being a complete noob I'm planning on starting with Saturn (and a chance at last to give my first eyepiece purchase (a 9mm GSO) a proper go). I'm also hoping to give a modded asda cam a try-out as well. Once the neighbours lights are out then I thought I'd crack my globular cluster virginity and attempt to find M3. So what's everyone else aiming for?
  17. Im also using... http://www.meteoblue.com/en_US/weather/forecast/tab/reading_gb_23053/b/6 http://7timer.y234.cn/index.php?product=astro They never seem to completely agree with each other though
  18. I'm sure with persistence you'll find lots of things to look at. I'm a complete noob as well, but managed to find whirlpool (once - in around four attempts of star hopping from Alkaid) using a 4 inch reflector in a dark-ish sky location. It was very very faint - at first I thought it was a smudge on the lens or something, until I realised it moved when I moved the scope. By the time I found it I had been outside for quite some time and my vision had adjusted to the dark. I then spent half an hour or so looking at it - it helped to look slightly to one side of it so that the image was being picked up by the more luminance-sensitive part of my eye. After a while of looking I could make out the brighter two center parts and with averted vision could start getting a sense of the spiral-ness (if thats a word). Even though it was really faint, it was still an awesome sight. Realising you are looking at something 25 million light years or so away through a small telescope in a back yard is incredible. Don't be disheartened - you will find it (and i'm sure plenty of other awesome sights) and when you do you'll be glad you stuck with it.
  19. I didnt manage to get hold of one of the cheap ones - but bought the £7.50 one anyway... No problems getting the glue off, it just peeled away once I'd levered the front part off - perhaps thats what the extra money gets you
  20. thanks for the advice & reassurance everyone
  21. I recently made my first astronomy purchase (although judging from what I see on here probably nowhere near my last !!!). I'm currently using a borrowed telescope while I find my feet and following the great advice on here ,I decided to start by buying a better eyepiece. I settled on a new GSO 9mm Plossl. Unwrapping it today I noticed that... 1. It is badged Revelation rather than GSO (although I did find another thread from someone who had a similar swap and the general consensus seemed to be that was OK) 2. Despite it being in a sealed plastic bag, there is a definite visible double scratch on the tube, which looks like its been turned with the set screws done up (i.e. have I actually been given a used one?). 3. When I looked through it at a distant tree this morning (fat chance of being able to look at anything higher than cloud level given the current UK weather) there is an irregular smeared / out of focus area (which rotates with the eyepiece - so def not another cause). I cant see anything obvious on the surface of the lens that would be causing this. I'm assuming there will be no problem returning it, but I've called the dealer three times today with no reply (though their website says they are open until 2pm today). So have I been done? - Is it common to need to return stuff like this, or have I just been unlucky on this occasion? Needless to say the clouds will clear as soon as I pop it back in the post and they will return when the postman arrives with its replacement. Jim
  22. Was completely cloud-free in Reading last night - saw a couple of good ones during moments when I wasn't concentrating on Saturn (though I suspect every time I put my eye to the eyepiece there was a spectacular lyrids show going on behind me!!)
  23. Jim-a

    Hello from Reading

    Thankyou everyone for the warm welcome. Jim
  24. Hi Everyone After lurking for a little while (and being massively impressed by how helpful the community is on here), I've joined. I borrowed a 4" reflector from a friend a couple of months ago and have since had good views of Jupiter and its moons, Saturn and last weekend I clocked up my first Galaxy (whirlpool). I can't believe I allowed myself to get to the age of 41 before I saw the rings of Saturn with my own eyes, and I'm keen to explore more. I'm already suffering from telescope envy, but even though the scope I've borrowed is pretty basic (an older SW114 - the non parabolic one) after a couple of attempts I've got to grips with collimating it, am getting better at polar alignment and am starting to work out how to find things in the sky. I'm guessing that by holding off clicking on the 'buy a SW200P' button and trying to get the most out of the kit I have available, I'll have a better clue of what to look for when I do eventually buy. Cheers Jim
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