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Sharpe

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About Sharpe

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    South East England
  1. RikM, Many thanks for your post that is exactly what I was looking for. I very much appreciate this is not the idea set up but it's all I can hope for until this time next year at best. As you say by doing it wrong it will teach me a lot about what I need in the future. Will this method be acceptable for the moon and planets or will that absolutely require a Web cam (noting that I think my DSLR has a video)? Also in the future I would expect (once I have the GEM) to purchase one of the astro specialist CCD cameras with a filter wheel- will that be OK for plants/moon shots or would I still require a Webcam? Finally there are two items that confuse me - guide scopes and auto focuser. What role do each of these items serve and when are they needed? Many thanks again, -Sharpe
  2. RikM, Many thanks for your post that is exactly what I was looking for. I very much appreciate this is not the idea set up but it's all I can hope for until this time next year at best. As you say by doing it wrong it will teach me a lot about what I need in the future. Will this method be acceptable for the moon and planets or will that absolutely require a Web cam (noting that I think my DSLR has a video)? Also in the future I would expect (once I have the GEM) to purchase one of the astro specialist CCD cameras with a filter wheel- will that be OK for plants/moon shots or would I still require a Webcam? Finally there are two items that confuse me - guide scopes and auto focuser. What role do each of these items serve and when are they needed? Many thanks again, -Sharpe
  3. Uhb, some very good advice and I will look into this as soon as I get a decent night with my scope and camera - many thanks. DaveS, I particularly like your idea of getting a GEM and just mounting my camera to it for a while. While I am at least 2-3 years away from being able to buy any kind of GEM (regardless of cost) this seems like a very sensible stepping stone. This way I could (as you say) still get into some of the art of AP as I slowly build my kit bag. I dare say I could even find a way of mounting my 102 from my SLT onto it. Many thanks both. -Sharpe
  4. Hey guys, I'll take another look at Making Every Photon Count (I promise). All I am trying to do is try and make a subject I find difficult and have not attempted (nor have I seen implemented, thus I have no frame of reference) boil down into a few nuts and bolts. While I appreciate the 'read the flight manual' response will be the one that ultimately aids my knowledge and decision making the most I was hoping for more of the one page 'Janice and John' bit as that can work just as well when you are simply looking at 'how to do something simply' rather than 'do something well' - at least for now. My goals are long term (really long term) and I just want to know what plugs into where, how to connect a laptop to a pc and what items are needed to allow it tto follow a target etc. But this can all wait for now. At this point in time (and probably till this time next year) my intent will be to use the kit I have and 'make do'. While I appreciate this is not the idea set up I hope it will be enough to help me learn the ropes (while I read MEPC). Besides while I get the need for a GEM this site implied I can get along my way with my current scope: http://community.dur.ac.uk/nigel.metcalfe/astro/slt_canon.php I am interested to hear a lot of people mention Webcams though. While this would have to wait a year (I don't have a laptop to connect it too) what is the benefit of a Webcam over, say, one of the new breeds of Celestron CCD cams (that I saw today at a star watches event). It seems these work as imaging devices and are perhaps better than a Web cam? When it comes to buying 'the next bit of kit' I am happy to spend a couple of hundred on such a piece of kit over a Webcam as I can take it forward with me when/IF I ever get a decent telescope on a GEM and really start to put together a decent AP rig (in 3-5 years time). Sorry I appreciate I am rambling and that I am coming at this from sixes and sevens. I think I just need to sit down and chat with someone and explain my circumstance and goals in more detail while being shown how others have set up their systems and what they do with them and what they get out of them. Again many thanks for all your posts: -Sharpe
  5. Hey guys, Thanks for so many responses so soon. Yes my scope is a goto/motorised alt/az. I already have Making Every Photon Count although I found it rather heavy going and just wanted a quick simple list. -Sharpe
  6. Hi guys, I am thinking about taking the step from observing to AP. At this point I think I can only still be considered an enthusiastic noobies and am not very tech savvy. In simple terms, what kit do I need to make AP work. At this point in time I have: Alt/Az 102 frac. (Celestron 102 SLT). DSLR. DSLR 'mounting kit' (buy which I mean the T shaped adaptor and base plate that mounts my camera to the telescope. What I would like to be able to achieve (short to long terms goals): 1) In the first instance just set up my telescope to take shots at the moon/Jupiter and a couple of bright DSO's. 2) In the nearer term, I would like to hook my telescope and camera to a laptop so I can use software to take photos etc. 3) In longer term I would like to be able to completely direct my telescope and arrange for all photo action etc to be directed via the PC. All things told what kit do I need (in simple terms) for each stage and how (in simple terms) does it all work together? (I appreciate I will ultimately need a telescope on a GE mount but the is wrapped into the long term plan). Many tasks, -Sharpe
  7. Hi guys, I am thinking about organising a Stargazing Club in my area. I just wanted to put an expression of interest on the forums to see if anyone would be interested in an astronomy group South of Reading, say in the area of Spencers Wood, Arborfield, Eversley and Highfield Park. My intention would be to run a group that would get together on a semi-regular basis between say September and May. It would also provide a local network that can get together on a more ad-hoc basis when weather conditions are more favourable. I would like to make arrangements for a venue in the vicinity near some reasonably dark skies to accommodate us - but before I do this I would like to get an idea of what (if any) interest there would be in such a venture. Please post below or send me a private message if you are interested. Kind regards, Sharpe
  8. Thanks for the info and well done on 300. I am hoping to get to double figures and my first comet tonight. Is Panstarrs still just to the right of Andromeda? - Sharpe
  9. One thing to note - make sure whatever mount you get can support the weight of the OTA, EP's, camera, filters, etc that you are hanging off it or you will struggle (so will the mount). Also be conservative as the 'specified' max loads can vary both by manufactuer optimism and individual build quality. -Sharpe
  10. Hey Guys, Would like to start dabbling with AP. ATM I only have an ALT/AZ which I know is far from ideal but I hope to get a EQ sooner rather than later. My OTA is a Celestron 102SLT (F5) and I would like to start 'easy' with moon and planet shots and as I get better, perhaps some brighter DSO's. I will move on to longer exposures of DSO's once I get the EQ. Can anyone recommend a good 'all rounder' for less than £500 that will work well with a 102mm(4") F5 frac? Not looking for a best in class per say- but something that will last till I get all the kit in place for a multiple OTA/EQ BIG CCD set up (probably 2-4 years off). I have heard web cams are good for the moon/planet but also with a budget of £500 the cheaper CCD's are in range. I have also seen 'INova' sensors that seem to talk the talk. FYI I already own an Olympus E-520 DSLR but I can't help but think that prime focus images may not come out great - especially for planets. I would prefer (where possible) one of the afocal set ups that allow me to use the eye pieces to magnify the image. Any thoughts or recommendations anyone? -Sharpe
  11. Hi all, I have been trying to find a carry case for my celestron 102SLT OTA and assorted kit. Does anyone know where I can get one in the UK - or something that will get the job done? I would like a hard case with foam on the inside with room to fit the handset/optics/filters etc. I found this pic on Google images but no into on what it is or where to get it. http://www.cloudynights.com/classifieds/data/9/155291-1325207590DSCN0351-large.JPG - Sharpe
  12. Hi all, I am considering the next augmentation to my stargazers kit. Having been in the field as often as this winters season has allowed I have come to the conclusion that I need some sort of focusing or autofocusing enhancement. ATM I have a Nexstar 102SLT GOTO and I am still having a lot of fun learning the trade with it. However, its single fork arm connection coupled with my not so delicate touch makes getting a really tight focus something of a battle - normally to be won by the OTA. I know 'of' focusers and autofocusers but I have'nt (can't) see one in action. Could I draw on the extensive knowledge in this forum for help identifying and selecting one? My requirements are below: 1) Must work independantly with a celestron Nexstar 102SLT. 2) Should be compatible/useable with a laptop (this is a set up I hope to build up to). 3) Should be astrophotography friendly (again, something I hope to be doing in the future). 4) IF possible it would be good if it was cross compatible with a celestron SCT (another future purchase). 5) Budget is flexible. I am willing to pay top dollar for something that ticks the box for 1-4 but will obviously want to pay less for something that is not future proof for my planned expansion of kit (listed in 1-4). I will happily pay £50-£100 for something that 'only' gets the job done for my humble 102SLT but would rather pay more for something that 'does it all'. As usual, comments, opinions and suggestions are most welcome. Where possible, could you post links to any suggested items? Many thanks, Sharpe
  13. Location: On top of 'Memorial Hill' in Padstow, Cornwall. Looking roughly East towards Rock with nearly 360 degree fov down to about 30/40 degrees in all directions and down to about 10/20 degrees from North to South-West (through the East). Time: 21:30-23:00. Conditions: No moon. The sky seemed to be in very good condition, if perhaps a tiny bit hazy (if i were being very picky). Light pollution was very low with limited LP and little direct light. Observations: Jupiter: Low ish on the Western horizon, perhaps 40-30 degrees and sinking. Seemed a little fuzzy tonight. I ascribe this to a combination of the little haze, its low position in the sky and the fact that it was target no.1 and the scope was still cooling down. Nonetheless I could make out 2 brown and 3 grey bands (no GRS - does anyone know if it was on the other side?). 4 moons visable very far left and farthest from plant (almost out of view in the 9mm with x2 barlow), then one closer on the left and then on the right and a similar distance to the closest on the left, but a little inside of it, two in very close order, one diagonally above the other. Subsequent online research shows the moons to be (from left to right); Callisto, Io, Ganymede, Europa. M13 (Hercules Globular Cluster): First time I have viewed this, and only my second DSO. GOTO found M13 with no dramas and now I know what to look for with DSO's I could quickly and confidently ID it as a DSO. With a 25mm EP the object appeared about 3/4 the size of a garden pea and like a smudge in the sky, but almost a perfect circle. Moving to a 9mm EP the object became clearer, perhaps x1.5 to x2 of a garden pea and still distinctly circular in shape. I could not make out any detail and it still looked like a perfect circle of smoke or haze. No separation of stars or any discernible colour could be seen. Advancing to a 9mm with x2 barlow seemed to be too much power to resolve an image so 9mm was the best mag possible. Is this normal behaviour for DSO's at high magnification? Saturn: Totally thrilled, the first time I have viewed Saturn. Noticed it was rising about 20-30 degrees on the Eastern horizon and just out of the thick haze layer obscuring 0-20 degrees. 25mm EP showed a bright star like object (being a little color blind it still looked bright white or perhaps a little greyish mixed with blue). Advancing to a 9mm confirmed I was on target with my first distinct view of the rings, but still it was a very small target, perhaps 1/4 to 1/2 the size of a small pea. But the x2 barlow gave me stunning views of the planet and rings with a resolved image about 3/4 the size of a pea. I couldn't make out the divisions, which I think are beyond the capabilities on my OTA, but I think I could just make out changes in colour in the ring? Ring was positioned diagonally across the planet from bottom left to top right and the whole object appeared to be tiled towards me showing me the 'upward' face of the rings. Really thrilled about this as previously Saturn has always been well below the horizon when I've been out and I have been anxious about how much my OTA would show - I need'nt have worried! All round great evening. I would have waited for the moon but by 23:00 my father (who bravely volunteered to join me) was starting to get to chilly to wait the extra 15-30 mins it seemed like the moon would need to clear the horizon over the hills behind Rock. Images: Sorry, no images - I am still struggling with my Galaxy S2 as an afocal camera so I just enjoyed the view without tinkering around with tech. Any comments/opinions/advice welcome. -Sharpe.
  14. Has it? I thought the mounts were broadly similar but as the 4SE was smaller, more compact and weighed less it impacted the mount less? One way or the other the 4SE is better mounted. The 4SE is (from what I have heard) another great intro scope - just be sure you dont want the 5SE which would get you quite a substantial boost in apature even if it is a little over your budget. Also, be clear as to the differences between the different OTA types and the comprimises you will make. The SLT range has refractors, reflectors (including the SCT design seen in the SE range) and newton. Also, dont discount the dobs. I dont own one but people rave about them as being great apature for your buck - so long as AP isnt high on the hit list. -Sharpe
  15. Good stuff - dont forget, if you get the 130 it will need collimnation which means a little bit of extra kit and knowhow. Also, in the interim, you will see a jack russel dog next to the 102SLT in one of the reviews I linked you. -Let us know how you do -Sharpe
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