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Sgt Pinback

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    Hart Valley, Hants
  1. From the length and brightness, I would say it's a meteor. Or it could be a Cessna towing a banner... ;-)
  2. No wonder Devon and Cornwall were packed in 1999. I think we must all have been there! I took a day off work and rode my motorbike down (it was a Triumph Daytona - great ride). I decided to stop at Salcombe, Devon, which hung out into the path of totality. I pulled in by the gate to a field and went further up a grassy slope with a good view and put my jacket down. About half an hour before it happened, people started to appear from all directions and moved quietly about, to find their 'spot'. It was all a bit odd, like a scene out of Quatermass or something. There was high thin cloud, but a few small gaps and you could see glimpses. We had a better view than Patrick Moore anyway. What amazed me, was that after totality passed, I glanced down and there was a traffic jam out of nowhere, as far as the eye could see. I got back on my bike and passed 35 miles of traffic until Exeter. People who must have extended their holidays just long enough to see it. When I got home, I felt inspired to make some St Clements Marmalade, made with oranges and lemons, with a label illustrating an orange eclipsing a lemon. Barking mad obviously...
  3. I think the apes have figured out that hanging around in trees is the only way to get away from email and reality TV... They may have something. Welcome Dan and let us know a bit more about what you are looking for out there.
  4. Sgt Pinback


    Yes, welcome to the forum! I have the same or a similar scope, so I am interested to know what it is that you want to do differently, that you cannot do now? Is it just an upgrade of aperture? Or do you want other better capabilities? Let us know a bit about your current set-up and your budget - and the the more experienced guys will be able to help you.
  5. Hi CJ - Welcome to SGL Please let us know a bit about you and the kit you have, or are thinking about... Meanwhile, may you have gaps in the clouds!
  6. Yes Davidv, Ah, Dark Star - it was one of those occasions when you find yourself watching a bizarre late film, wondering 'What the hell is this?' It was 2001 meets Alien, with a sprinkling of Kelly's Heroes hippy. There are some great lines in there that are still pretty unique. "Sgt Pinback, it's time to feed the Alien" (a beachball) and "Hello, I'm Bomb number 20" are hard to forget, along with a spaceman surfing into re-entry burnup - to the tune of Benson Arizona... .As a postscript to the collapsible dob problem, I was out last night and the same thing happened again. Easy to extend, but the devil to collapse again. Hey ho.
  7. I couldn't let that go without a comment, for obvious reasons. I expect the floodlight wakes them up with a conditioned reflex to eat breakfast :-) Fantastic - and warm eggs for brekky! When I set up my scope for my first night's observing last sunday, the best position was in our chicken pen... No, not in the poo, we move the pen around on the grass, so it never gets too bad. It was about 10.30pm and they were all quiet in their house after a late treat when we got home, bless them! I am no good early in the morning, but I understand that these can be the best conditions for seeing. Take the chances while you can!
  8. OK, thanks for the replies... I will check the tensioning nuts, although indoors, the tube extends and retracts smoothly. It must be that the rails and sleeves are a different material. I think the sleeves and frame are aluminium, but the smooth rails could be a different alloy. It sounds like I will have to live with it and resist the urge to give it a clout! Thanks again
  9. I had a fantastic first night observing experience (report on beginner's observing forum), but I had an issue when I was collapsing the telescope to come back inside. Basically, it would not collapse - it was as if both rails were glued solid. The rails slide out until there is a click, I presume a spring loaded bearing clicking into a groove at full extension. But despite undoing the lock nuts, it would not budge. I made sure I was pressing centrally and not forcing one side only, but nothing. Then I gave it a slap with the palm of my hand, to shock it into movement, but thought 'Yikes - What am I doing - It's a blooming telescope!!'. So I brought it inside still extended and let it warm up again indoors. I wonder if it was something to do with the temperature of the rails or sleeves? It really wasn't that cold. After about 15 minutes I tried again and it did start to move under pressure, but was very stiff. Maybe half an hour later It was all OK again. Is this a common problem with collapsible dobs? Should I expect this often? Or is it because this one has two rails instead of three? The scope seems well made, better than I expected and I am usually careful with things. So a bit of a mystery... Any ideas and tips welcome! Thanks
  10. Yes, I will definitely invest in a Moon filter - and have a play with Stellarium before I get out again. I am sure there will be a darker clear night soon and I will have another go at finding Vesta. Wish me luck. Since then, we have had cloud and rain... with a forecast of more cloud and rain. Hey-ho! My collimator cap arrived today, so maybe I can have a go at that while I am waiting. Thanks for the comments guys! Meanwhile my collimator cap has arrived, so I will have a pla
  11. Wow - My first night of observing on Sunday night and I haven't been so excited since... well since I opened the box!! Just a few experiences to share with you: When I spotted the Moon rising and just past full, I knew it wasn't ideal for observing, but at least that meant it wasn't raining or cloudy for a change. My chance! I put my telescope outside on a garden table to cool down and lowered light levels to get my eyes more accustomed, while I found night mode on star walk (iPad). I played with that for a few minutes, but when I realised nearly all the planets were 'round the back', I decided to rely on the Mk1 Eyeball for target ID this time. About 10.30pm I was wrapped up and outside setting up. I used the red dot finder for the first time, which I had tried to zero in daylight on a distant treetop. It is simple and effective, although I seem to have run out of altitude adjustment on the wheel. So I had to look slightly low to get on target, which defeats the object a bit. I resolved to check collimation and have a proper adjustment in the daylight... Never mind the Moon, my first ever target was Jupiter, high up south west! I found it with the 25mm EP, then tried with the Barlow, then with the 10mm EP. I got a suprisingly good view of the large creamy disc of the planet. After a bit of focussing I could see 2 brown bands, slightly higher than centre, the 4 moons looking so pin-point bright. The whole group kept moving across the field of view like an express train, so I had to keep nudging to over-correct and see it for a few more moments. Spellbinding! It was weird getting used to nudging, which seemed to be the opposite way to logic, but I think I will get used to it quickly. My garden is quite sheltered on the north east of the house, so I was quite warm enough and I have a good view on the other three sides. My next target was the pale blob on the Sword of Damocles in Orion. The moonlight was only allowing sight of the brightest stars, but I found it - and I am sure I could see a kind of cloud there. Next was Beteguise. I was expecting this to be redder and it did not look like much. On to Aldebaran, then a bit higher for a fruitless try on Vesta (my ambition is to see this one night, but patience!), then past Jupiter to another blob on the right, which was an amazing cluster of stars. I had a quick break inside and tried to use Star Walk on the iPad again (in red mode), but I am not sure how useful it is. You can turn quite a few degrees from one side to the other - and still see the same stars shown, so it would be hard to use it to locate anything. I was tempted to look at the Moon now, though I knew it would probably ruin my night vision. Blimey, it was bright. There was a very slight ripple around the edges, but a wonderous sight and great detail, with different eyepieces. There is a really bright white bit high and centre, which looks too white to be Moon. Looking away, I could see the difference between my good night vision in my left eye - and my ruined right. Doh. I think I saw something about a Moon filter somewhere, or I could use the cellophane wrapper from one of those yellow Quality Street toffees ;-) Then the cloud came in quickly and I thought I had better pack up. Goodness knows what the neighbours thought, with some bloke in the garden saying 'Oh yeah, Woa, Yes - there...' Oops! Here's to the next time. Night all...
  12. Sounds like a great experience Danny and that is an impressive early lunar photo with the new scope. I cannot wait to get my scope outside... Tony
  13. You are just showing off now... We are all tearing our hair out waiting for these clouds to go!
  14. Hello Lucy and welcome. I have just started too. I have already found the people and advice on these forums extremely helpful, so I am sure this will be a great help to you. That reminds me, I think I need to try harder with my Profile picture :-)
  15. Great practical advice and a useful video link, thanks all. I hope I never need it! Tony
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