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About Spacecadet2010

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    Photography, sailing, mountain biking
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  1. Thanks guys. We are staying in Parkham, so quite close and hopefully quite dark. Was going to bring the bins down, and camera and tripod. Have been looking on AstroAdventures website and it doesn't say anything about casual observing but might drop them a line. Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk - now Free
  2. Am off to North Devon for October half term next week (near Bideford), with he family. Does anyone know of any astro related events or astronomy sessions running in the area or something suitable for young children. My eldest daughter is just starting to take an interest and am trying to encourage her. Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk - now Free
  3. Spectrum Labs was recommended, which is a free download from http://www.qsl.net/dl4yhf/spectra1.html.
  4. I was intrigued by a description of Jeff Lashley's "The Radio Sky" in Sky at Night magazine, particularly the practical experiments described and being a bit of a wannabe tinkerer, I bought a copy and in a fit of enthusiasm, devoured the first couple of chapters, until life got in the way and it has sat on the shelf ever since, occasionally being picked up and leafed through before being put back on the shelf. So, this year is the solar maximum, and being once again enthused by the photos of the first class-X CMEs, and in equal part frustrated by the weather putting paid to any more conventional optical astronomy, "The Radio Sky" has found itself once more on my bed side table. I thought, this time I would write this blog as both a record of my tinkerings and as motivation to actually finish what I started. The first experiment in the book is a VLF solar flare monitor consisting of a simple loop antenna connected to the audio input of a laptop, which seems like a reasonable challenge for the budding Radio Astronomer, therefore I am hoping my next entry will a bit more about the design and construction of the antenna. I have down loaded Spectrum Labs amateur radio software, which for a free download, seems to have quite a bit of functionality. So far I have only captured the noise from my laptop from the unconnected audio socket, but it displays the frequency spectrum and waterfall plots. I think the complicated bit is going to be separating the wheat from the chaff and identifying a true event.
  5. Question from 'noob': (firstly your colleague should give credit where it's due, this is an excellent first attempt, and I would be over the moon (pun intended) at this. Most of my attempts so far have resulted in big blurry blobs.) Here's my question; why so many images? Presumably with such a big bright image, you should be able to catch enough light with fewer short exposures. Surely the only reason to stack would be for images where not enough light is captured and extended exposure times would result in blurry images? i would think the poor contrast was probably due to the time of day the image was taken, and therefore you wouldn't be able to do better with a cheap webcam. Any useful comments I might have about post processing have been covered. I like Photoshop elements if that help which retails at about £60, though I think you can get older versions for less. Until recently I was using version 5 which still has lots of functionality.
  6. Thanks guys, but now I have another dumb question. A number of you say that you use both, are these both attached at the same time (how?) or do you swap them out? Dave
  7. I have a Skywatcher 130P on an Autotrak mount which came with a finderscope which I think is aligned okay with the main scope. My problem is that when looking through the finder a still get lost as I can see more than with the naked eye. I have noticed that a lot of similar (starter?) scopes come with a red dot finder in place of the scope, and I want to know if it's worth changed to an RDF, and how do they work? Thanks Dave
  8. I have Stellarium for the laptop and my Android phone which are great for doing a virtul search of the heavens. Also Skeye an Googleskymaps are both free for Android and are accelerometer enabled which means that if you hold your phone above your head it shows you what it is pointed at. However, Jupiter is really easy to find at the moment (it must be cos I can find it), really bright in the constellation of Taurus (up and right from Orion), look SE-Safter about 7 o'clock. If you look at it through binoculars you can just make out the 4 Galliean moons, and the planet itself is a bright disk. Good luck
  9. I was bought "Turn Right.." for Christmas and think it's excellent, perfect for my level at least, and the authors recommend taking it outside and getting it "grass stained and dewy". I have also been enjoying "Practical Astronomy with your Calculator Or Spreadsheet" by Peter Duffett-Smith, which walks through some calculations for working out your own predictions. I think it's great for when you can't get outside, and it's not too mathsy.
  10. Hi all, I've only recently started out in practical astronomy although I have been an enthusiastic armchair astronomer for a while. I have only just joined SGL and would be interested to know if there are any other observers active in the Buckingham area. Dave
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