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About JG777

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    Proto Star

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    Astronomy, Hiking, AG brewing, Photography, Sleeping.
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  1. It can seem like an endless mission looking for places, you need to be away from lights, good access, parking, and preferably non public for reasons of safety. I approached a local charity who have some land behind lock up gates within a short drive and away from lights, they were delighted to have us on board as long as we had PLI, which we all chip in for. Closed at moment though due Covid but hopefully open soon. In the process now of securing a small lock up car park as well post Covid. We do also have an agreement to use a cricket ground a little bit out in the sticks, and a football club car park as well. Fishing clubs may be able to help, and if you know anyone with horses, stable yards can be good. The owners often like the idea that someone is there at night, we used one for a while until the owner moved, but she was happy to get a late night text informing her the nags were happy! Public places present their own problems as often it is anti social behaviour getting in the way, you need to feel safe with a few £ks of kit with you. Study the maps, google and OS 25k and once you identify places send a polite letter of request to the owners, this has worked well for us. If you need an example template PM me.
  2. I have 2 of them (one is a back up) and a Nexus DSC. Whilst the Argo is old technology don't let that put you off it still does a superb job in finding targets just as good as a Nexus. During winter I prefer it over the Nexus as the larger dial wheel can be used with gloves on, the keys on Nexus are small and closed in. The limitation of the Argo is if you want to add further catalogues, although you can add personal new objects once you have seen the 30,000 or so objects stored in it ! The older tech means a serial cable to connect to PC and the RJ11 Gary sells for a few dollars. You can store different locations in it and use it with different mounts. Time and data Information is also kept by a back up battery and remains very accurate. Every 3 months I connect it to the PC and sync the time but generally its only a few seconds difference. I power mine with rechargeable AAs or sometimes the tracer battery. What I really like about it is its identify mode is completely unrestricted so you can point your scope to anywhere in the sky and see on the LCD what is there, this is a fabulous way to observe as I have found so many new targets this way and with the info on them scrolling on the screen. Its like wandering around a stellar showroom. In comparison Nexus DSC only does this by constellation. Going the Nexus route is not neccessarily an upgrade unless you really need wifi and GPS, wifi is pointless on Nexus DSC your better off just getting their Nexus wifi box if connecting phone or tablet. GPS useful if your moving to many different places far apart continually. The Nexus DSC has a better screen and more features in the box if you need them but navigating its menus is not so intuitive and sometimes frustrating. In terms of the build quality the Argo is the equivalent of the brick outside lavatory, the nexus on the other hand feels a bit fragile, I doubt it would take a drop too well. My Nexus easily suffered a broken encoder port and went back to Australia for repair, and then later on the internal screw casing shattered and that happened when in was stored in the astro drawer. Serge sent me a new case. So that's a quick summary, If I had to choose between the two it would be the Argo for its simplicity, ease of use in Winter, build quality, and it just gets the job done very quickly. (and it comes with a bracket!) Gary Kopf at Wildcard provides FLO like levels of support and is a pleasure to deal with.
  3. https://uk.telescope.com/ seem to stock Orion with prices in £s I suppose these days with few showrooms around its hard to see stuff beforehand. Never used the site myself so maybe search out some reviews.
  4. The camera firmware has not had an update for years whereas the HC has had many and in nearly all cases has improved things. What version do you have? When you say a critical error what exactly is the message? Are you absolutely sure you are inputting the correct data? Also did you buy from new or second hand? If it is second hand ask the previous owner if they took the camera apart perhaps to clean the glass in which case it is near impossible to get it realigned. SSA working properly will work excellent even in bright skies and can align before dark as well so sky condition other that total cloud does not really factor in. The camera should resolve 100 stars , any less and there is a problem , either clouds, or some other obstruction in which case a manual alignment is required.
  5. In my observing group one has an 8 Edge Evo and one has the standard 8 Evo, the Edge tripod is a better version than the other one but I'm not sure if both models now ship with the same better quality tripods. Not to bad to pick up and move but it depends on the situation. The Evo mount is a far better proposition than the SE, better quality gearing and reduced backlash plus the internal battery and wifi capabilities. I think it worth saving a bit extra for the 8 Evo as this will give you a better scope and mount with the only compromise being you had to wait a little longer! As for mounting a refractor the Evo mount handles my SW 80 Equinox and my 80mm Vixen F7 with ease, longer scopes like F9 SW or Taks might be an issue though never tried it. Bear in mind if you get an Evo with SSA package you will only have the SSA HC and that does not include some of the functionality you get with the standard nexstar + HC, so if I was buying I would get the standard Evo 8 and if you want SSA nab it at a later date when funds allow. Auto 2 star on the Evo works just as well as SSA in any case.
  6. It is true with the 9.25 the clearance is a bit tight but it depends on what you are adding. Mine has a 2 inch SCT diagonal, SSA and an RDF , I did swap out the focusser for a Feather touch one, the whole thing works a charm, but I don't do imaging and this rig would never be a first choice to those who do, so in that respect its important to make the right choice about what you buy and what your intentions are, most of us have made a wrong decision with kit at some point. The wi fi was improved in later versions and for mine which is gen 1 it was ok away from clutter, then hugely improved by adding the Celestron wifi adapter. I use the HC most of the time. So the problem with the 9.25 Evo is when you want to add dslrs or anything really bulky on the back , note that a 2 inch SCT diagonal clears the base right up to 85 degrees, it means the scope is right back on the rail and more front loaded which in my experience improves the goto behaviour, that was a tip from Celestron themselves. So for a purely visual system it meets the remit and delivers an excellent user experience and is quite a performance jump on the standard 8 and 8 Edge versions which I see a lot of in our observing group. The tripod is pretty hefty and I don't enjoy lifting that into the car. I would like to find a tripod on its own from an 8 version and then use my refractors on the mount with a bit lighter set up but have never seen them for sale anywhere.
  7. Maybe this is worth a look https://www.sumerianoptics.com/eq-platform As for technology age is one thing functionality is another. The push to mount you mentioned XTi12 uses old technology that works. There are better versions of it but the technology delivers the required outcome and its pretty much bullet proof. Fully auto GOTO mounts have more advanced technology but still do the same thing ie, put you telescope on the target. I have both, old technology encoders in a manual mount with older tech Argo Navis and a newer all singing and dancing Celestron GOTO mount with starsense. The interesting thing here is the newer mount needs more attention, updates etc and needs more regular input. The older mount with the older technology and computer just gets on with the job quietly and efficiently and delivers the same accuracy. It uses a lot less power as well. One isn't better than the other for the outcome, its just different ways to find an object, but the older tech seems more robust and never needs messing with. Bear in mind that optical and mechanical solutions have been improved with newer materials and production methods but the basic designs for telescopes have lasted for hundreds of years, so no real need to re invent the wheel.
  8. An AYOII deserves good quality wood, so when mine is not in UNI18 mode the extension comes off and it resides very happily on a Berlebach 112 Report. 25kg load capacity and enough room for an Argo Navis or Nexus. It must be a desperate situation for someone to sell their AYO...
  9. Perhaps thats the answer Martin, bring the OO8 back and drop the Equinox off in Dorset! I thought you had a 4 inch Vixen and a 127 Mak?
  10. They are not quite the same thing https://www.chemicals.co.uk/blog/what-is-the-difference-between-distilled-water-and-deionised-water But for cleaning mirrors they are totally interchangeable and will achieve the same result. Deionized seems to be cheaper and easier to find, just don't drink it.
  11. I bought the Lynx one from FLO with AZ GTi , excellent quality cable I use with a tracer battery.
  12. Did you set the tracking in the HC to lunar?
  13. In our group there is a standard 8, plus a 8 Edge and a 9.25. The 9.25 is the best performer for pretty much everything, and the 8 edge is sharper around the edges but other than that for visual not much in it with the 8s. The edge takes longer to cool than the standard 8 and the owner complains about it, surprised by Marks findings. I can cool the 9.25 down in half the normal time using a cat cooler. If your mount can take a 9.25 then go for it, but the 8 is lighter and a bit more portable and cheaper!
  14. There is also a picture of all the connections in the firmware package, and this is it as well.
  15. Yes, a 150mm newt is a great scope for general use and very portable as well. There will be quite a long list of things you will able to see with it all things being equal. I really enjoy using mine even though I have a bigger scope sometimes its about having the right scope.
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