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Mrlangston

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Everything posted by Mrlangston

  1. Stellarium is available on the ipad but is the mobile version so does not have all the features of the PC software - still enough when you are out observing. The only problem is that the search function is not compatable with the night vision mode so it is really bright if you are not expecting it! There is plenty to see up there, you just need to know roughly where it all is. Michael
  2. Hi, I have been meaning to update after my visit a few weeks ago. Both my wife and I enjoyed our evening and luckily there was a break in the cloud so we actually got to do some observing! Everybody involved seemed very enthusiastic and knowledgable which was good. It was obvious it is not just a job but a hobby as well. You are lucky to work there and hopefully you get some time to look through some of the amazing telescopes as well. I think we will be going back to another event and I will encourage all my astro friends in the area to visit too as it is well worth the experience. The cake was a bargain too.... Michael
  3. The best thing I have done so far with my scope is replace the finder. I found it was useless and it stopped working after a few sessions. I got a rigel as it is smaller than a telrad and it transformed my use immediately. I can now point the scope at anything and it is almost always in the eyepiece! I have yet to upgrade from the stock eyepieces so cannot compare quality but I have not had any issues with the views I have had so far. I think there is a section on the Celestron website with images taken from various scopes. I spent ages looking before I bought mine but remember what you see in the eyepiece is nothing like a processed image!
  4. Thanks very much for letting me know. I am really looking forward to the visit and my wife is even interested now! We are obviously hoping for clear skies but at least there should be plenty to look at even if the horrible clouds make an appearance! Michael
  5. I have it on my Ipad as well as a mobile version on my Nokia phone for use when I am away from my house. It works as normal without internet and the only things that are missing from the desktop version are the plug ins (like telescope view). I don't really miss this as I use it for a quick reference outside rather than planning a session. It is well worth the small price in my opinion. Michael
  6. Hi all, Has anybody been to the Bayfordbury observatory in Hertfordshire? I have booked to go in November so hoping for clear skies and a decent view from one of their telescopes. What sort of thing should I expect to see or do when I am there? Thanks in advance, Michael
  7. You can also sign up for email alerts from NASA when visible passe are made for your location. As for Stellarium showing different information - could you have the wrong location set? Other than that I have no idea! Michael
  8. I don't know exactly where you are (viewing on my phone) but I guess you are around Hertfordshire area from the previous posts. There is an astro shop in Tring which I believe has binos as well as other items so it may be worth a look. I have not visited yet but plan to in the near future as they have a showroom. Michael
  9. I use www.heavens-above.com to check for satellites and flares. I think it is configurable for any location in the world. You should be able to enter any date to check what you saw and use it to plan your next view. I love watching the ISS go over and always feel compelled to wave! Michael
  10. I saw the Milky Way from a fairly dark site last week. I have just come in from my light polluted garden and I swear that I can see a lane of dust in the sky between the Summer Triangle (although that is all because the rest of the sky is an orange glow rather than a black). It may not be the light that is the problem, just the perception of what is being seen. If we didn't have light pollution, we could not appreciate the nights when it was particularly clear or the times when we could get away to proper dark skies. I am sure that if I had tried to learn the sky from a dark place, I would have been completely overwhelmed and given up a long time ago! Michael
  11. Yes I may just do that! I have had a look on Google Maps and it seems that all the roads just off the bypass are private tracks to farms so it looks like there is no public access. I will be going past the site in daylight tomorrow and may just have a little drive around to see if there is a convenient stopping place. That said, I may just try the random driving around tactic again and see what I find! it looks like it will be a clear night tonight so I will stick to the garden for now. I got a Rigel Quikfinder a few weeks ago and it has transformed my ability to find things rather than using the useless Celestron red dot finder. I'm off to hunt for DSO's! Michael
  12. So..... Last night I went to Wilstone reservoir and although the site itself is fairly dark, there is some light pollution from Aylesbury. The main problem that I found (other than the cloud cover) was that it is directly underneath a flight path which I guess is for Luton airport. The planes had landing lights and it completely ruined the dark. I was surprised at how busy the road was as well - I stayed until around 11 and there was regular traffic with full beam headlights going past. Any light from the clouds is also reflected in the water if you go up to the path so in all it was a bit of a loss. I also tried Pitstone Hill on the way and the car park was being used by a lorry to dump materials so I don't know if that was a regular thing or a one-off for resurfacing the car park! This site also didn't seem as dark as I thought it would be and as soon as you got away from the car park, the lights from Pitstone village were clearly visible. I didn't hang around for the clouds to clear..... An unexpected bonus was that I saw the Milky Way on my way back from Pitstone. Driving along the Leighton Buzzard bypass back to MK (A4146) I realised that it was very dark and stopped in a layby. As soon as I got out of the car I noticed the nebulosity and it was very clear despite the traffic going past. All that travelling and it turns out I have a dark site almost on my doorstep! I will explore the area to the west of the bypass as I assume it has more potential than I realise. Here's hoping for more clear skies, Michael
  13. Congratulations to all the family. Now there is another reason to be up at 3am! Michael
  14. I live in Milton Keynes but have a friend who lives in Cheddington and has recommended the Tring reservoirs as a good site. I am hoping to get out in the week for a decent session so I will report back if I find somewhere suitable. I thought about some of the village locations on the way so might not even get as far as Tring if I find a dark sky. Anyhing is better than home - although probably not as bad as some! Michael
  15. My young children tend to ruin any plans that I want to make as bedtimes can be unpredictable and there is no guarantee of sleep the rest of the night. (still love them though!) I agree that binoculars can be a good solution to an observing fix and as said above, it is a hobby so just enjoy the times that you are able to get out and the even rarer times when there are no clouds! Michael
  16. I too have started with a scope and been surprised and impressed with what I could see with the cheap bins from Lidl! It has definitely made it easier to find objects and learn my way around the sky. I found the andromeda galaxy the other night and was very pleased for such low magnification
  17. Thanks for bringing this back up! It is in a 'summer sale' section and I have just ordered mine. Should be perfect to settle me back into observing after the bright summer nights. Michael
  18. The 130eq will help you see most of the things you want to - I know because I have one! The moon and it's craters are clearly visible and easy to find even with the awful red dot finder supplied. I have seen Saturn's rings and cloud bands on Jupiter but have not seen the great red spot although I have not planned a time to observe when it is visible. As others have said, the 130 is not the best available for what you want but I think it is a good all-rounder. Just budget for a telrad and a better planetary eyepiece next month! Michael
  19. I think they were actually looking at Venus (again quite unbelievable given the time of day and angle of scope) and Raj knew the exact moment the ISS would pass so he pointed it out. I have bored my wife before by pointing out the indoor telescopes and trying to explain why they wouldn't work so you can imagine how much she cared about being able to see the ISS! Maybe Raj was trying his luck to seem clever to his new girlfriend. I kinda feel sorry for him.....
  20. Not only that but he supposedly showed his girlfriend the ISS with it! That either took a lot of planning or luck. As an astrophysicist he should know better. They don't get much wrong on that program but telescopes seem to escape the otherwise perfect detail.
  21. I got a pair of the 8x60 Bresser's in Lidl a month ago and have found they are good for daytime (birds around the garden and a trip to Silverstone) but have had limited night time viewing due to the lack of darkness at sensible times. Larger aperture is always good for night skies so I hope to see more as the evenings get earlier. All for £30 too, so not expensive!
  22. Going back to the subject of being pedantic slightly - my 3 year old son was asked at nursery the other day "how many legs does an octopus have?" He answered that an octopus doesn't have legs, it has tentacles. Even though he did not know the number he got a star sticker for being cleverer than the adult who was supposed to be teaching him! If only your pub quiz masters could be so graceful in defeat.......
  23. I have always had an interest in "space" but never looked seriously at the stars. I guess I thought there would be nothing to see! It has only been in the last few years that I became more serious about what is up there as there have been changes for better and worse in my life down here on Earth. My friend has similar interests and got some binoculars. I saw Jupiter and her Galilean moons and realised that there is a lot more than my eyes can see. From then I started to recognise constellations and took more notice of the phases of our moon. One borrowed telescope was soon followed by a purchase and although I am on a very steep learning curve, I enjoy the thrill of finding an object as if I am the only person in the world (and maybe the universe!) to be looking at it. I suppose my interest may have been partly due to the Brian Cox effect as astronomy was getting more prominent in the tv scheduling and my friends started talking about the common interest we never knew we had!
  24. It really is amazing what a difference light pollution (or lack of it!) makes. I went to a friends wedding in rural Wiltshire at the weekend and could not believe the amount of stars up there. I felt completely lost and couldn't find a single constellation to act as a point of reference but it was an amazing sight. I'm sure I saw some nebulosity from the Milky Way so I think I will be travelling a bit further out from my garden in future and take my scope with me next time!
  25. The best website I have found for satellites and flares is www.heavens-above.com and there is a dedicated ISS page for all the sightings. It is worth a look if you are planning a viewing session or to check what it was that you saw earlier! Michael
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