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Everything posted by jonathan

  1. The erecting prism 20mm is probably really intended for daytime use, for astronomy you need to get the maximum light transmission possible, and that means the minimum of surfaces for the light to bounce off en-route to your eye. I'd reserve that 20mm for daytime use as pretty much any decent eyepiece you buy will not be an erecting one, swapping from one to the other will just confuse matters (the view will be back to front and/or upside down). The barlow can only do so much, and if it's a cheap kit one then it'll probably give quite poor results for astronomy purposes compared to one yo
  2. From your description it does sound like there may be some slack somewhere that slow speeds don't 'activate' and fast speeds overcome. If the motors are identical then you could try swapping them over and seeing if the noise follows the motor, or if it's possible to do so then swap gears over one at a time. It could be the motor spindle that has some play, not sure what you could do if that was the case.
  3. It may be a bit "out there" but have you considered spectroscopy? I believe there are kits available to amateurs now in affordable packages, I looked into it myself a while back but decided to spend my money on visual for now. https://www.firstlightoptics.com/spectroscopy/shelyak-alpy-600-spectrograph.html
  4. When faced with brightness, be bright. Think I just made that up, or maybe I'm just being a bit dim.
  5. I'm sure I was having to stand on a step ladder when I last used one, perhaps I'm getting confused with the pier-mounted SCT. I'll check next time I get to use that 12" dobsonian scope. It's also possible that this particular scope I'm thinking of is raised off the floor a bit in order to avoid dampness.
  6. To give you some idea, a 12" dobsonian is about the size of a 6' man, with a base maybe 2 - 2.5' across. You'd probably need a small step ladder to comfortably look into the eyepiece / finder when close to the zenith. Goes without saying, it'll be a two-man lift or multi-part carry job unless you're Geoff Capes. Without goto on a scope this size then definitely have a non-magnified finder in addition to the supplied 9x50. I manually star hop with my 8SE on an NEQ6 SynTrek and have both finder types fitted. Assuming that you're starting from scratch (no eyepieces etc) then I'd reco
  7. I'm a fan of the William Optics as I have their 2" diagonal, I don't use anything else now (although in fairness I have only ever used one other diagonal, the 1.25" Celestron one that came with my 8SE). If your Mak front cap has a smaller hole and cap on it then you could use that as a stop-down for lunar or bright planetary viewing, it should reduce the brightness quite a bit; if you don't have one then you could probably make one out of cardboard or plastic sheet. I've heard very good things about the Baader Neodymium filter, only just acquired one myself so have yet to test it ext
  8. I'm confused then. If I put my Skywatcher 150P reflector vertically on a table I wouldn't be able to reach the eyepiece, and I am 6' tall. Is the Heritage measured differently?
  9. Well I never did! To be honest though, I don't expect to be able to afford a Carl Zeiss pair of binos so I'll have to make-do with my "might be decent, or not" Bushnell Legends for now.
  10. A dobsonian is indeed probably going to be the simplest and best bang for your buck. If you can get your son enthusiastic about double stars, stars of different colour (such as Alberio), clusters, and asterisms (no telescope required) then I think you'll get a lot more out of it. You could Iook up for yourself some simple facts about stars, why they are a certain colour and brightness, and back up that info with views through the telescope. There's nothing to say you shouldn't be able to locate Neptune, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn (Saturn should look very nice with the rings showing at
  11. I wouldn't say it cost a fortune, only just over twice the price of the 6 SLT, but that is my 2p worth of hindsight having initially gone down the single fork arm route myself. I understand budgets, especially when entering into a new hobby. I had a figure in my mind when I first looked at scopes but had to increase it considerably to get what I wanted (based on my own aspirations and advice here), the same happened when I went to buy my first mountain bike - sure, there were bikes available at my initial budget (manufacturers make sure of that) but the components on them are cheap, they
  12. 8SE doesn't really work properly on the AA batteries option, they will provide barely enough power to turn the motors, and I think it will lose the time every time you turn off the mount regardless of any AA battery presence (there's no internal clock battery in the handset, though it might store the location data in NVRAM). If the AC power adaptor is working well for you then I'd say stick with that, however a good portable solution is a leisure battery (the type you might put in a motorhome to drive the inverter) with a simple adaptor cable to plug a standard 12v power lead into (this 1
  13. I've come to the conclusion that I need to remove this board to examine it and possibly replace a couple of caps to try to fix a motor dead spot / stall problem. I've looked at what AstroBaby has on her site about the HEQ5 but can't see anything about removing the motor controller board, from what I can see there are two screws holding it in but in order to get a screwdriver to them I would have to remove the two motors (rather not, but if I have to...) Any advice please?
  14. I have a pair of 8x42 Bushnell Legends, a very nice robust pair of binoculars. A few things to look out for which ought to help: Fully multi-coated glass surfaces, nitrogen filled, waterproof, nice wide neck strap. Not all essential by any means, but I think they should help. The coatings help with light transmission and to cut out errant reflections, waterproof / nitrogen filled should eliminate fogging on interior glass surfaces. Bak4 porro prism for a sharper image and better light transmission. Oh and if looking at a binocular tripod mount L bracket, get a metal one as the p
  15. I recently had the corrector plate out of my 8SE, while it may not be exactly the same as the older C8 it shouldn't be that different a procedure to put it back and collimate. I discovered small triangular markings on the edge of the corrector plate glass, possibly made during assembly to find the best position / rotation in the tube, you could note / photograph these (if present) and where they lined up when you remove the corrector plate. Before you remove anything though, get some fresh masking tape (I discovered that old stuff leaves sticky residue - test it somewhere else beforehand
  16. Reminds me of most sessions where I tried to use a goto or do polar alignment. More times than not, I just gave up in frustration at it not working as described in the manual and packed up having not actually seen anything. Since I ditched goto in favour of RA tracking only, just easy plain sailing all the way! Except when I want to find that tiny faint fuzzy, then I'm often out of luck.
  17. I've found my Celestron XCel-LX eyepieces a bit difficult to use with the 8SE, which is very picky about seeing conditions, they appear to work much better in my refractor and reflector telescopes. One eyepiece that does work very well in my 8" SCT is the 8-24 zoom, it's the Baader Hyperion but I'd be willing to bet that the SCT will be just as happy with one of the cheaper zooms mentioned. I originally bought the Baader zoom for use with my solar scope, and it does an excellent job there too. The original Celestron 25mm plossl that came with my 8SE is still my first eyepiece for every sess
  18. Knowing what I know now, and if I wanted to follow the Celestron route (for an SCT), I'd probably look at this instead of any single arm design: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/advanced-vx-goto/celestron-c6sct-vx-goto.html The 2" tubular steel legs provide excellent stability (better than the 1.75" supplied with HEQ5 Pro), the mount capacity is 30lb compared to the 10lb 6" OTA that's supplied with this bundle, leaving plenty of room to add dew shield, focuser, additional finder, heavy eyepiece or camera, etc. Should be much easier to balance on an EQ mount too - on my original SE m
  19. We need the Ghost Nebula as well now.
  20. I observed Mars about a month ago, felt like I could see quite a lot of detail compared to usual, that was in my 8" SCT with 8mm eyepiece (Baader Zoom). Last night I pointed my 102 refractor at Mars, the brightness now is almost overpowering, I had to use a moon filter just to see the surface detail, I also tried out my neodymium filter for the first time, I think it did make a significant difference (glare was gone, details seemed more visible) however there was still some colour fringing and it was definitely a pale salmon colour rather than the darker muddy orange we're used to seeing in p
  21. Saw them just as I was setting up the scope, managed to look at Jupiter and Saturn before they set. The yellow crescent moon set between some buildings which made it rather more interesting. Cloudy Outside was a much more accurate forecase than the BBC for here last night, I wonder sometimes if they just look out of the BBC building top floor window in Manchester with a big pair of binoculars (might actually be more accurate for the local area there!)
  22. I received a reply from Skywatcher yesterday, it took them about ten days so perhaps expect a delay of around that long. It was a good reply though, answered my question.
  23. I received a response from Skywatcher about this. One of their engineers stated that they don't think that the v1.x motor controller board firmware is able to be updated, and that they do not have that firmware available anyway. Suggestion was to upgrade to a v2.x motor controller board so I'll be looking into that next. Any info on good sources of v2.x boards for HEQ5 Pro? Just vanilla, no funky modded firmware or such.
  24. It shouldn't be necessary to collimate a new scope, just check with an out of focus view of a bright star when you first take it out at night. Bob's knobs are a good idea too as PeterCPC suggested, however I owned my 8" SCT for about 8 years before I replaced the three collimation screws - if you take care when handling your scope it shouldn't lose it's collimation easily. When is someone going to release a scope that auto-collimates?
  25. Perhaps you could encourage your kids to write a friendly letter to your neighbours about how they used to enjoy going out in their dark garden to enjoy the night sky, but now they can't see the sky because the new lights are too bright at night. Have them hand-write it if they're able to, signed - some lovely but very disappointed kids. Keep a copy. I don't see why the neighbour couldn't install lights at ground level if their aim is to have a runway for a garden, it's not going to be that difficult to install LED solar lights which would be much lower than your fence and not blinding
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