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Everything posted by jonathan

  1. Consider adding a moon filter and planisphere to that scope, links should be on the product page there.
  2. One thing you might want to try is carbon paste (available from a bike shop), it's something used on bicycle seat posts to provide grip in the frame tube but also prevent the carbon from jamming. It's sort of like a coarse toothpaste texture, so it might introduce very light scratches to paint work where the adaptor is screwed to the binoculars but if that doesn't bother you then worth a shot. I have some already so might just give it a go, my binoculars do the same thing (there is already a neoprene / nylon washer).
  3. Sorry to partially hijack a thread but I'm also trying to collimate my Skywatcher 150P reflector but having a hard time following AstroBaby's guide... it says to use the vanes to adjust the secondary so that it appears as a circle in the focuser, but in order to achieve this I find myself adjusting almost completely to one side (one vane is almost completely unscrewed, the opposite almost completely screwed in), that surely can't be correct as it's definitely not central to the main tube. Perhaps I've misunderstood the process. Initially my secondary mirror looked elongated.
  4. Could get yourself some Baader solar film and try some white-light solar observing. There are numerous objective filters and eyepiece accessories for solar observing that don't cost that much and can easily be added to most regular scopes. Caveat: Must cap or remove the finder scope! To find the sun use shadows or a dedicated solar finder, or add a solar film filter to the finder (always check for damage before use). The main danger, once safe solar observing has been observed, is sunburn / sunstroke so sun cream and a floppy hat are also good things to use.
  5. Just out with solar scope now, very nice! Lots to see, including a couple of fillaments, something which I haven't observed on the sun for what feels like years. Checked with my eclipse glasses - yes! I could see the large sunspot with a bit of patience. Looks to be a fair amount of scatter from thin cloud, not too intrusive but blocks a bit of the fine surface detail. I wonder what the next surprise will be... solar observing on Christmas Day perhaps?
  6. I agree with others, I understand the temptation to buy all of the kit first but really you need to be getting out and using the equipment, then you will find where there are gaps or room for improvement. Fortunately astronomy kit tends to hold a decent value (especially when there's a shortage, and assuming it's properly looked after) so if you change your mind then you'll be able to recoup some of the cost, but it certainly sounds like you should have enough to get going and enjoy some cracking sights. Learn to read into your local weather reports (the weather at your precise location
  7. More commonly known as a Dew Shield. There are also dew heater tapes, dew heater tape controllers, or on some telescope designs a light shroud serves to prevent dew also. It should be noted that all dew prevention equipment can only do so much, a heavy dew will usually defeat dew prevention measures eventually.
  8. Generally, for a starter scope you're best sticking to the well-known brand names including Celestron, Sky Watcher, Orion to name the ones I know off the top of my head. Many of these are built in the same factory (Celestron and Sky Watcher certainly are) but Celestron might be considered slightly more 'premium'.
  9. A flight case with pluck foam is fairly standard for eyepieces, much easier than trying to cut out shapes for your eyepieces from solid foam. I'd suggest going for one a step above the cheapest available, I paid about £25 for mine if I recall and it's served me well for over ten years with no sign of weakening. I use an array of smaller metal cases, some are vanity cases, all in the 'flight case' style and solidly built, for mount accessories such as handset, cables, counterweight, red dot finder, etc. For larger items I use a Curver plastic trunk with hinged / removable lid, it has
  10. Decided to give my 15x70 Revelation bins a go (with Baader white light solar film filters) on the current sunspots - the large one just leaving the disc on the right is clearly visible, what I was really curious about was the new group of much smaller spots just coming around from the left. While I wasn't able to discern the spots themselves, I was able to make out the lighter surrounding area against the faint texture visible through the Baader solar film. It was quite a challenge as the bins were heavy and even with a pole mounting it was impossible to hold them perfectly steady - a tr
  11. Just picked up on this group today, probably the best I've seen for a few years, a lot of detail visible in Ha. There's also a much smaller spot closer to the centre of the disc and what looks like a vertical filament further across (difficult to describe). Had a nice hour with it in the warm November sunshine before the clouds rolled in.
  12. When SGL changed to a new server / forum system several years ago I could no longer find my blog, all those entries just seemed to be gone, so I gave up on it rather disappointed. I don't know whether it was just due to the dramatic change in user interface or that the blog system was genuinely not up and running for a while, either way I just (rather bitterly) put it out of my mind and got on with observing and using the forum. Until today... Just now I was thinking about how there used to be a blog system and wondered if, somehow, they'd actually had it working all this time and that
  13. 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.
  14. Did you miss out the picture? Usually a focuser will come with a focus locking screw, maybe ask the vendor if it's supposed to come with one, if it isn't then check with the manufacturer to see if it's a feature that can be made use of.
  15. Could it be an incompatibility between the Prolific serial drivers and the other software? Maybe there's something in that driver version that the software doesn't like, see if there's a different (perhaps older) version available.
  16. I have an Optics UHC filter which is said to be great for nebulae, it did improve the contrast for me but I think it will depend on seeing conditions and the telescope as to by how much. It's been quite a while since I used mine (mostly because I've been in the astro doldrums in recent years) but this year I'll definitely be giving it a go now that my interest in the hobby has returned. Note that this filter will turn stars green, and from memory gives the nebula a faint greenish tint. Definitely worth a go at the price.
  17. 2" diagonals are easily converted to 1.25" with a simple insert, in fact I think most 2" diagonals probably come with such an adaptor (mine certainly did) or they are readily available and cheap. I would advise trying to buy such things that have a brass compression ring as this will be nicer for your eyepieces and other equipment that slots into them. In my experience there are actually not that many 2" eyepieces, usually it's ultra-wide field or highly specialised ones that probably require a specialised scope to make proper use of them. I think I only own one 2" eyepiece.
  18. I think my advice would be not to get too hung up on observing the planets just at the moment, Mars is very good right now but Jupiter and Saturn are low to the horizon, they are definitely not at their best. Catch Jupiter and Saturn as soon as it turns to twilight outside, Venus is currently a morning object I think but you should aim to reduce the brightness (same for Mars at the moment), if your telescope front cap has a smaller cap that you can remove then make use of that feature - leave the big cap on the telescope and the smaller aperture should reduce the brightness nicely; use a neut
  19. Perhaps a simple refractor could be an option, something like the Skywatcher Evostar 120. Minimal maintenance, 2" focuser, easy to handle. On the reflector side perhapse the Skywatcher 150P, it's probably the biggest you could reasonably manage already attached to a mount. No diagonal required, easy to collimate, forgiving.
  20. Some people use a portable hair dryer to keep their mirrors and other optical surfaces clear, never bothered with it myself though, I use a dew shield and dew heater equipment with my SCT. If it gets really bad with dew then I just call it a night, my fingers are usually freezing by that time anyway. Easy way to check for local dew conditions is look at your car windscreen.
  21. The thing about planets is that they change from season to season, Mars can be subject to dust storms that can last for weeks or months so surface features can be obscured or faint when this happens. Jupiter is very low to the horizon at the moment so the cloud bands and Great Red Spot are less visible than when it's riding high in the sky; anything close to the horizon is going to be wobbly due to the earth's atmosphere and any thermals rising from nearby houses, light pollution from nearby population centres or motorways etc. That said, planets are great things to observe. When the 's
  22. Scope bundles tend to put a big scope on a medium mount, if you intend to do imaging then I'd recommend buying the mount and scope separately, that means you can overspec the mount for very steady viewing and reliable imaging. If looking at an SCT then remember that you'll need a dew shield and dew heater + controller, and a suitable power supply. Being a slower scope means that eyepieces designed for faster scopes (.e.g. f5 reflector or refractor) won't perform to their potential, so no need to go for the most expensive there. A refractor should be more 'maintenance and caveat fre
  23. I'd say it's extremely likely that the power plug will be the same but it would definitely be worth checking both the width of the plug and the tip polarity (usually they are tip positive). Personally I use a big old fashioned 12v leisure battery, it may be heavy but it's got a lot of ooomph! 75Ah to be precise.
  24. The one I found on the Celestron website didn't seem to match the OP's focal length of 1000 and kit eyepieces, it was called Cometron and stated that it had a parabolic mirror. So I wasn't exactly sure of the telescope specs. Do you have a link to the correct telescope, just out of interest?
  25. Are they asking the earth? I'll get me coat.
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