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About SpaceDawg

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    Writing, scuba diving, watching films and now, astronomy!
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  1. The ad reads as an excellent definition for the word "vague" - " lots of eyepieces and and extras with this telescope".
  2. I wish I'd seen this post sooner. I've just wasted a lot of time and money trying to make ones out of rubber hose and jubilee clips. Ended up scratching myself and my scope to buggery only to find the ruddy things only adjust by a margin of 10mm. Far too precise for my liking. Amazon, here I come!
  3. Thanks for all the input, guys. I did see the post about performing the upgrade and noticed a post stating that some of the newer HEQ5 mounts already have the motor upgrades as standard. I checked mine and it doesn't so it looks as though it's the GOTO upgrade for me (I was edging this way anyway!) Thanks again!
  4. I currently have a Skywatcher Explorer 200p on the HEQ5 mount. When I get the chance to get the scope out, I tend to focus on the nearest planet or moon (okay, just our moon) and after that, I'll have a quick look around for what else I can find (usually nothing!) I do have Stellarium on the laptop and I try to find different things but being such a newbie I don't know if a) I'm actually looking at exactly the right point in the sky and 2) if I can even see what I'm trying to find with my scope/at that time of night (so far I'm just viewing in my back garden and usually early in the evening so it's still quite light at the moment). I've just sold some bits on eBay and have enough to buy the Synscan upgrade but I'm hesitating slightly, wondering if it's a good idea. I figure that if I do buy it, there will be one of two outcomes. 1. I eventually learn more precisely where everything is and become a better astronomer. 2. I become the world's laziest astronomer, never get any better and ultimately will have wasted my money. I think scenario number one is much more likely but before I actually spend any money I thought it would be a good idea to ask people who know what they're talking about. If you have this system, how do you find using it? Were you in a similar situation to me? As always, any help would be much appreciated!
  5. I just assumed it was a shooting star. Is that not likely? I was a bit gutted actually as my wife spotted it when I took her outside to see the ISS going over. How dare she? I'm supposed to be the seasoned professional! I've had my scope outside about seven times since I bought it (damn uni and damn UK weather!) Regarding the ISS, I thought I'd post this link in case anyone didn't already know about it: http://spotthestation.nasa.gov/ You can register where you live and will receive an e-mail in the morning telling you what time the station will pass over that night (if it won't make an appearance, you won't get an e-mail). Also, how do people actually view the ISS with a scope? I tried one night and quickly realised I couldn't do it. I ended up trying to get the scope ahead of its path and watch as it whizzed by, but it still just looked like a bright ball of light. Had my binoculars out last night but they're not very high powered so it still just looked like a very bright star.
  6. I've decided it's time for my first kit upgrade. I've had much more success so far viewing planets so I'm looking to get something around 7mm (am I right in saying anything lower than 6mm would be pointless with my scope?) I've been trawling various threads in the forums and have narrowed my choice down to these three (unless someone has a 7mm Nagler they are desperate to give away!) Celestron X-Cel LX 7mm (£65) William Optics SPL 6mm (£69) BST Starguider 8mm (£43) Those are the best prices I've found for each (just in case anyone knows of somewhere cheaper I can go). The first two are from FLO and the last is through Sky's the Limit on eBay. is there one that stands out over the others? One to avoid? Thanks for reading!
  7. Thank you all for the suggestions. I left work later than I thought and wasn't going to bother getting the scope out but then I drove across the Peak District, saw the sky and couldn't help myself! I looked in on my old faithful (Jupiter, nice and clear tonight!) and also spotted the Orion Nebula. Couldn't find Andromeda because the sky looked quite dull over that way. It was only when I went back to Orion that I noticed the eyepiece on the finder scope had misted up! By that point I was getting too cold to stay out much longer so that can be something to look out for next time. Thanks again!
  8. I am still very new to all this telescope malarkey and will eventually get round to reading Turn Left at Orion (I already have it) but don't have time to do so before the next time I get the scope out...in five hours! I'm about to go to work and will get back at about 1:30am with just enough time to quickly (sort of) get the scope out and have a look around. On my previous sessions I have spent time observing Jupiter (as it's easy to find) and Pleiades (also pretty easy) but I was wondering if anyone could give me directions to some other bits I can easily find tonight (I feel like the lazy jock trying to bully the nerd into doing his homework for him...except I'm not in the least bit jock-like!) Anyway, must dash to work now. Thanks in advance! P.S My scope is a Skywatcher 200p with the kit eyepieces.
  9. Hi Mitch, welcome from another SGL newbie and another Sheffielder.
  10. I did have a look into one of those Hubble thingy-ma-jigs but it seems that they tend to sell for around $2.5 billion which is a bit outside of my budget range. The three mile dew shield was also quite attractive but storing one is the issue. My current rig takes up more room that my wife would like and I don't like the idea of what may happen to my goolies if I were to suggest to her that she loved into the tool shed so I could store more kit. Instead I'm going to try to convince some Australians to set up a butterfly farm and hopefully the effect of their wings will clear the clouds away. I'll let you know how I get on...
  11. I'm having a little trouble with my scope and I was hoping someone here could offer some advice as it's starting to really get on my nerves. I keep looking up in the sky and I can't see anything. It's been like this for about two weeks now! The first day I got my scope it was a lovely clear night and I had lots of fun learning how to use all my gear and a few days later I did the same again. Ever since then there have been clouds in the way. Is this equipment failure or am I doing something wrong? This scope wasn't cheap and while it didn't say anywhere on the website I bought it from that they would guarantee perfect cloudless nights, I just assumed it was a given. Has someone not invented a ruddy great big fan with which to blow these pesky clouds away yet? X-ray scopes? AARRGGHH!!
  12. I got a HEQ5 for my 200p and so far it's great (I'm very new at this so you may want to wait for someone more experienced to come along!) It does depend on what you want to use it for. If, further down the line, you're considering astrophotography then you will need at least an HEQ5, the EQ5 won't cut it. Try searching the forums, there are plenty of existing topics already about this. I read quite a few of them before I bought my scope and they are all very helpful.
  13. Thanks for all of the replies. Being very new to all of this (less than a week!) I just thought a clear night was all I needed. Didn't think about moisture, atmosphere and the heat from the neighbour's house (they also have a room at the back with no curtains and they leave the light on all night...damn them!) I have a young daughter who doesn't tend to sleep very well through the night so me staying up until all hours isn't feasible at the moment (unfortunately). I'd taken the scope outside as soon as it went dark and spent most of the time outside. As a result I was pretty cold by the time I decided to call it a night. Perhaps in the future I'll go out later (and buy some thick socks!)
  14. ...is it blurry up close? I had my scope out for the second time tonight (twice in one week, eee!), still at the lower point of the steep learning curve but I had my astronomical climbing gear to hand (is this metaphor getting out of hand?) Anyway, just before 10pm Jupiter finally rose above the horizon (well, my neighbours house) and I got my first look at it (which was handy as it was something reliable with which I could properly align my finderscope, after looking at Pleiades through it all night but god-knows-what through the actual scope!) Using both the 2x barlow and 10mm eyepiece that came with the scope, Jupiter looked quite blurry. Removing the barlow made it look better but I assume this is simply because the blur wasn't magnified. I spent ages tweaking the focus but I couldn't get it very sharp. My question is where does the problem lie? Is it with the eyepiece, the motor (had that going for the first time tonight), the idiot running the show or something else I haven't thought of? The scope is a 200p on a HEQ5 (must post more so I can just put that in my sig!)
  15. Thank you all for the info, it is indeed very helpful. I thought I'd read that you were supposed to lock off the dial, not unlock it so that's one problem solved and I didn't realise I was supposed to rotate the DEC 90 degrees to view through the scope so that's two! It'll be a while before I have a stab at photography with the scope but the information here will come in very handy when I do so thanks again, it's all very much appreciated. The weather report for Friday night (so far) shows clear skies so hopefully I'll be able to go out and do a bit of polar aligning!
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