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Everything posted by jonathan

  1. Ah, telescopes working seamlessly at a star party... how rare that happens, in my experience! What you need to be aware of here is that a) telescopes do not always work seamlessly, especially in public, and b) people may have different attitudes or needs when it comes to keeping their telescopes in good working order - everyone's eye sight will be slightly different, different focusing needs, different eyeball capabilities, so the view through one telescope may look slightly different to several different people, and finding the telescope and setup that suits your personal eyesight is half t
  2. What do you see when the telescope is setup as per the instructions and you look into the eyepiece?
  3. Aye, was out this afternoon for a spot of sun eyeballing (with the Lunt). A really long filament just near the big horny proms (the bits between them reminded me of The Great Eye from Lord of the Rings - the Sun is watching!), two fun sunspots with long lighter patterns around them, plus I noticed two prominences (or would they be filaments?) eminating out towards us from the almost opposite corner from the horny proms. Lots of smaller hairy proms down the bottom there too (from my point of view). That pressure tuning knob makes all the difference, when there's so much activity going on
  4. Seems pretty decent to me, but then I'm not an experienced bird watcher. Just wondered if a larger scope would be any better.
  5. I'm wondering if I could use my 102 as a nifty bird watching scope, EQ mount obviously no use at all for this purpose so just wondering if there's a decent Alt-Az mount or photo tripod that can comfortably carry a 102 refractor plus maybe Baader Zoom Hyperion eyepiece. I have the Horizon Heavy Duty tripod, the carrying capacity is said to be up to 100 aperture spotting scope but I think my 102 will be considerably heavier than a spotting scope, not sure how the fitting would go with a dovetail bar and rings. I have a relatively cheap 45 degree erecting prism diagonal, does the quality make m
  6. I have that exact same seat! Also, can't even begin to think how much all that double and triple stacking setup must have cost (if new)... I probably should aim to get hold of a mount like that too though, much easier than my CG-4.
  7. I fretted and worried over my own secondary (and briefly, primary) collimation for months, it sat in the end room collecting so much dust... The best thing to do is get outside when the stars are visible and perform the star test (Polaris is the recommended star, easy to find and doesn't move), look for concentric rings around the de-focussed star using a high power eyepiece, if it's obviously off-centered then do more adjusting. Looking at your photos I think you'll probably find it's good enough for visual use.
  8. You could "try out" the various eyepiece specs using Stellarium, there's a function where you can enter different eyepieces along with your scope (many known / common scopes and eyepieces are already in there). Just depends how wide you want your low power eyepieces to show, for example wide clusters or asterisms. I usually start with my old (but good) Celestron 25mm Plossl for finding targets, it's definitely far better than the standard eyepieces that Skywatcher include with their scopes, and is still my go-to for most of the popular open clusters.
  9. Just to put a final note on this thread, I finally managed to get outside with the 150P tonight and did a proper star test on Polaris, definitely good enough for the likes of me! Had a quick scan of a few targets, despite fairly poor seeing (whispy clouds coming and going) and a bright moon I was able to see the Trapezium in Orion quite well and the Pleiades looked sparkly as usual, and also the little companion of Polaris.
  10. Would really like to see what you managed to capture of it. The images from NASA always look vastly different to what I see through my solar scope.
  11. Had a bit of warming sunshine today (hurrah!) so out came the solar scope. Saw a large prom that appeared to be tearing as it leaped out (or back?) and curved back to the limb, it also appeared to have several 'fingers' at one end touching the limb, probably the largest prom I've seen in a long time. There were a few smaller but chunky prominences and a few filaments too, things look to be hotting up (excuse the pun) on our sun this season!
  12. Indeed. My advice there would be to look at the complete approximate telescope weight including any typical accessories such as finder, diagonal, and eyepiece, then look at the weight carrying capacity of a mount - it needs to ideally have at least 1/4 additional capacity over what the telescope weighs in order to be stable, preferably 1/3 more. e.g. if the telescope weighs around 10lb then a mount carrying capacity of 15lb would be ideal. I quote lb because that's a typical weight unit used by Celestron in their mount specs. This is relevant to visual and photography, though with visual m
  13. I consider a moon filter (ND) rather essential as even a 1/3 lit moon is too bright for my eyes, even if I keep the main cap on the OTA and only remove the small cap. Look at the variable / circular polarising ones, they can offer a bit extra compared to a plain one.
  14. While you're at it with your patio maybe consider making some subtle tripod markings / indentations so that you know exactly where to put the tripod feet every time. I agree with discardedastro - there's no reason I've heard of why your NEQ6 shouldn't be able to track more accurately without the need for a pier. You may want to look at the mount itself - investigate regreasing the gears and making sure they're meshing the best they can.
  15. Indeed, typically 20 minutes minimum, possibly up to 40 minutes. It's been a while though, I just haven't been out much at all in the past year or two and when I have it's usually been with a refractor.
  16. After experiencing Celestron's 8SE goto system (single arm mount) I wouldn't buy a similar system again, not with an 8" SCT on it at least (6" might be that mount's realistic limit). My two (or three) pence would be to look at an EQ system as it will allow you to mount different scope types, if looking at 8" SCT then probably HEQ5 Pro or equivalent as a minimum. With the EQ mounts that offer goto or simple motorised tracking versions, you can normally just upgrade the hand controller to make a tracking mount a goto mount. Personally I feel this is a good route to go from a manual push-t
  17. You can make a collimation cap using the cap that fits in the eyepiece holder (assuming you have it, I think most scopes come with one). Measure out where the middle is and drill a 1 or 2mm hole (recommended to use a hobby hand drill, basically a handle for a drill bit, it's very soft plastic). A Cheshire should help but is not essential, ultimately you'll perform a star test probably outside on a clear night, pick a bright star (Polaris is a popular choice) and defocus until you see concentric fuzzy rings as per your telescope's manual.
  18. Zermelo summed things up pretty nicely. OIII for typical nebulae is a pretty good bet, but keep in mind that OIII is Oxygen (blue/green), which won't help for red / infra red (Hydrogen?) nebulae; something to keep in mind is that our human eyes cannot perceive things like IR or UV, the typical grey misty nebula cloud we see visually is usually the green part of the spectrum as that's what our eyes have adapted to see in the dark. I have been told that an orange / red filter is good for increasing contrast on Mars, and perhaps green can help with Jupiter, though I have yet to try this my
  19. +1 To what Tiny Clanger said about the L bracket, definitely don't buy a plastic one.
  20. I haven't used this particular offering but from what I've seen and heard of Bresser they're a reputable brand, and this looks like a decent setup for the money - solid dual-arm mount, nice looking red dot finder, polar wedge, probably very similar OTA construction to 127 Maks by Celestron and Skywatcher (possibly exactly the same, in fact). I have looked through a smaller Celestron Mak and it was a very decent scope for the size. Note that to get the most out of it you'll need to also arrange a 12v power supply - either a mains fed step-down transformer or (my preference) a 12v leisure
  21. Nice! I'd also consider looking for a cheap camera bag with compartments for the smaller items, if you didn't fancy a metal flight case with pluck foam. I think with any of these DIY travel / storage solutions the key is usually to keep the original foam packing as it'll be the best snug fit for the scope.
  22. I stand corrected, good sir! Still always a good idea to be wary of cheap items and get opinions from people who've actually bought and used them (I haven't had that particular diagonal but I've experienced other cheap stuff from China, it's been... so so. Some has been utter carp).
  23. Unless you have some specific requirement or desire such as very wide field (which probably will entail an expensive eyepiece to make the most of it) then I'd say 1.25" should suffice for now at least, especially if money is a bit tight. The only reason I have a 2" diagonal is for one 2" SWA wide angle eyepiece, which weighs about the same as a bag of sugar so needs a strong mount and diagonal just to hold it, the views through it are magnificent though. That Svbony one sounds almost too good to be true, probably worth a shot for the money but only if you can afford to lose £20, with the
  24. From data I've seen, it's water vapour in the atmosphere that generates warming, which may or may not change (largely unpredictable) weather and climate patterns. I find it interesting to note that almost all predictions and computer models produced over the years have proven to be inaccurate when it comes to climate science, there are just too many variables (if a butterfly farts, does it rain in the next country?) So, take that however you like, my conclusion from it is that climates change constantly, and with one as complex as the one on earth we just have to get used to it, especial
  25. I use a large Curver plastic crate with the original foam packing that the scope came with (8SE, almost the same scope). The Curver crate is orange so easy to see in the dark, fits nicely in the boot of my car. If you don't have the original foam packing then I'm sure a substitute stiff foam arrangement could be organised (e.g. someone who just bought a big TV or whatever).
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