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Blog Comments posted by jonathan

  1. Have to come clean, the sticky on the velcro wasn't great and it eventually came unstuck.  Thin foam isn't very friendly with strong glue so it may require something a bit more physical such as a paper fastener (one of those that splits open like a split pin) or just some good old reliable PVC tape wrapped around each end a few times, maybe a band in the middle too.

  2. You're absolutely right, that is what we need here! I am still exploring this hobby so I'm thinking that a big Dob might be my next scope. Astrophotography seems so complicated and requires so much attention to detail, at the moment I'd rather just see it with my own eyes.

    Now... if I could only find a space for a nice 10 or 12 inch dob...

  3. Second time out with the 150P - I had a go at some of the Moore Winter Marathon. Managed to see the Fish's Mouth and Trapezium in the Orion Nebula, quite impressed really despite the relatively poor seeing conditions (compared to last time).

    It's certainly interesting to compare to my 8SE, that has more power for sure (especially with the 38mm eyepiece) but the views are not that dissimilar.

  4. I really like refractors, but I picked up my 6" F8 reflector on the basis that "it delivers views almost as good as the Meade 127 Triplet", quoting a very nice and knowledgeable fellow SGL user, who has owned many telescopes. I collected the reflector from his house, and there in the corner was the Triplet too. So he'd got to do an honest visual comparison and although I have not had a chance to use the new toy yet (no mount) I have no reason to dis-believe him at all. I can't wait to try it. And all for the 2nd hand price of £175.00! Sometimes you can't beat a reflector for value..

    Let us know how you get on when the new scope arrives...

    Sounds good, although I suppose it depends whether you want a fast or a slow scope, and what you got with it - my 150P was only £190 new but it is an f5 scope, so perhaps a bit less forgiving than an f8 scope on both the user and on eyepiece quality. Bog standard cheapo Skywatcher eyepieces provided, I haven't bothered with those as they look almost identical to the ones provided with the ST80 (frankly, I had hoped for something a little better); nay matter, I already have better eyepieces and also ordered a 5mm X-Cel LX. Single-speed focuser too, may or may not upgrade this at a later date.

    I wrote a new blog entry about my first time out, couldn't really have hoped for a better evening. Would be interested to hear how you get on with yours.

  5. Damn and blast! Took the ST80 out to see if I could make a start on the telescope targets, total disaster. The sky was relatively clear when I went out, the seeing was hit and miss but I was willing to stick with it. Halos started to appear around stars, I noticed large cloud banks moving in on all sides, I stuck with it. Then, as I was adjusting the height of the tripod, the plastic bracket split, rendering one leg rather dodgy; but it was OK, the tripod was still steady, so I carried on. I tried for several targets in the list but couldn't see any of them, I think I have to blame this on the poor seeing conditions as even in the ST80 I should have seen something.

    Then, as I slewed the scope over to the next target, the tripod leg started to slip, and slipped, and kept on slipping. Slipping seemed to be a general theme for the short-lived session as the whole of the garden was covered in ice, my observing area happens to be on gravel so it was a bit like trying to stand on marbles.

    The clouds finally obscured all but the brightest stars, my eyepiece dewed up, I didn't manage to see anything, and the tripod was broken. Time to call it a night.

    Tomorrow I will assess the damage, I suspect some epoxy glue and gaffer tape may be the answer.

    Roll on clearer skies, less ice under foot, and delivery of my Skywatcher 150P (either tomorrow or the day after) which I will be able to use on my CG-4 Omni mount. Hurrah!

  6. I had cause to use a USB to RS232 adaptor recently for a device that did not have USB. I found two, one came from a car boot sale and the other from eBay, both worked fine. I did have to select the correct COM port (as philhas pointed out), which may be COM4 or higher depending on what your operating system assigns to the USB adaptor (it is a virtual port at this point, but works just the same as a real one). Also make sure that the RS232 comm settings are the same on the laptop (for that COM port) and the EQ6.

    You should be able to tell from Windows what chip is inside the adaptor, mine both were this manufacturer - http://www.ftdichip..../ICs/FT232R.htm

    On that page are links to drivers for every operating system, I just installed these drivers and it worked a treat. You may just need to install the correct drivers to make your USB to RS232 adaptor work, I think Windows actually showed me the manufacturer / model when I plugged it in. I used the VCP drivers - Virtual Com Port.

  7. For me, Andromeda galaxy is an averted-vision object. Looking slightly to the left or right reveals a lot more of it, though it is always just a cigar-shaped misty cloud with a brighter sphere in the centre. Honestly, the views are as good in binoculars as my 8" scope. I get more excited if I can see it with the naked eye than in the scope.

  8. If I look South I can only just make out the teapot, but it is in the middle of the light pollution, not a lot else is visible at that level.

    With a sloping garden I miss out on the lower stuff to the North, the Plough is just above my tree line / horizon in that direction.

    Still, there's plenty to see - I can make out the entire Milky Way, all those star clusters around Cassiopia, the Andromeda galaxy, Pleiades. Tonight I saw Jupiter rising in the East, I shall look forward to observing that when I get my scope out next.

    Cruising with just binoculars and some knowledge is surprisingly fun and relaxing.

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  9. Had a good go with the LS60 on the CG-4 mount a few weeks ago, on one of the few sunny days which coincided with a weekend. It was a very pleasant experience, the mount is rock solid with the LS60, turning just one of the knobs to keep the sun in view resulted in no appreciable vibrations. With a single-axis motor drive it should easily be possible to capture some images using this mount.

  10. I now have the vixen dovetail bar too, although I initially ordered Losmandy by mistake. A good practical lesson for me in the difference between the two!

    Still waiting for an opportunity to try out the LS60 on it though, it just hasn't been sunny at all, the best we've had for what seems like a couple of months now has been sunshine and showers.

  11. I rather like the look of the white Williams Optics refractors FLO have on their website, but I suspect they are far better for photography than visual (my main interest at the moment).

    Rather envious of your wooden tripod...

  12. Hey Jonathan, I've been troubled with the eyepieces fogging up too. I was thinking what about all this 'anti-fogging' - 'nitrogen-purged' - 'blah de blah' they always write on the ads for eyepieces. But the solution is - stick them in your pockets. Put all your keys, change etc out of the way and put your best three E.P.s in your pocket - no more fogging!

    I have tried that trick on occasion and it does work for a while, but when it's so cold they cool down quickly, and I can't put the finder scope in my pocket ;)

    I'm going to try heater tapes to see if they improve the situation. Might need a second battery for that otherwise my viewing time will be quite short!

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