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AndyWB

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Everything posted by AndyWB

  1. It was my grandfather point things out in the night sky. Time with him, if you can. Failing that, I remember a book Dad had about the Voyager images. I didn't need to be able to read - the pictures were awesome enough.
  2. I live in Reading, and with my 5" scope the Andromeda Galaxy is this small, fuzzy blob. Take it somewhere dark - like 25 miles out of town into the sticks - wait an hour in the dark, and then it'll fill the widest field eyepiece I have from side to side! For some objects, you can overcome light pollution to a degree with filters. I have had some pretty good views of the Orion Nebula with a UHC filter on particularly clear nights. However, it'll still be better somewhere dark, and things like galaxies can't really be improved by filters. My rule of thumb is that if I can see the Milky Way close to the horizon it's a good sky. The Andomeda Galaxy - or the core of it, anyway - is visible naked eye. Other good ones to look for are the Double Cluster in Perseus, and M44. I've yet to see M42 naked eye.
  3. I found Stellarium a bit flaking on my Mac, so I paid for SkySafari; it works much, much better
  4. A good Down jacket - proper down, not synthetic - is the best piece of astro kit going. One with a hood is best. I'd also +1 the light-fluid powered hand warmers. I've got a Zippo one. It's weird putting fuel into your pocket like that, but they work...
  5. Funny, I'd been about to post my thoughts about this having managed to use it a couple of times... Okay, so I got the field edition. Let's start with the bad: Crikey, but the field edition is expensive!It's actually fairly bulky.A few objects have slightly unconventional 'English' names ("Kapella") - but that's being really picky. And all the catalog numbers seem right, as far as I've seen.I'm not sure I see the point of showing exoplanets. I'll need a much bigger scope for that to become a thing - and I expect that a few might change as the data is reviewed.Now for the good: For me, it is plenty detailed enough in terms of the number of stars, etc.. I've found finding things with it MUCH easier than the sky pocket atlas. The grading of objects into different 'bands' of visibility is excellent, and definitely does go deeper than my 10" dob, under good skies can. I doubt I'll ever need a deeper atlas.The display of objects with varying emphasis depending on their visibility also makes it possible to concentrate on things that are achievable. Case in point - my first time using it I was chasing some galaxies in Ursa Major - and failing. When I checked Interstellarum I realised that they were too dim - but that nearby were a couple I could manage - and did.Okay, so maybe a silly thing - but it just plain looks lovely. I do love a good map.I've been pretty careful with it, but the pages do feel waterproof. They're funny - kind of plasticky, but not at the same time.The grading of objects thing is good enough that I'd describe it as a bit of a "Why aren't they all done this way?" moment. Is it worth it? Well, if you're just starting, probably not - it's more expensive than my first scope. On the other hand, if you've been stargazing a bit, and you're sure you're going to need a good atlas for the future, it seems an excellent investment.
  6. I got my 130p for that reason too - it's small, inexpensive, and if aperture fever struck, I'd still have a grab and go scope. About 9 months later, I got a 250px - but I still have the 130p. My 130p sees more nights used than my 10" dob. The 10" is probably used to observe more things, though. I guess that's the nature of a grab-and-go over a bigger scope. I wouldn't be without something of a grab-and-go nature, but then I live in a flat; moving the 10" is a bit of an exercise. Also, living in the middle of a large town, the 10" gains little over the 5" - it's under a dark sky that the difference becomes really apparent. You are right about the wider fields of view - some things, like the Pleiades or the Andromeda Galaxy, are just too big for the 10", but are good in the 5". That said, the 10" sees deeper, and the real revelation was resolving stars in globular clusters. I thought seeing fainter galaxies and things might be the 'wow' factor, but it's actually the improved resolution that made my socks roll up and down. Take M13 - with the 130p, it's round, fuzzy, with some speckles in averted vision. With the 250px it's a textured cloud of individual stars (with the shadow of a propeller in it). I don't regret my choice to go with a 130p - but I like having the 250px too. I don't know if that helps though!
  7. I tried an 80A Blue, neodymium, and no-filter with my 130p a while back. I found the Neodymium did pull out a bit more detail, but the colours didn't quite look right. The Blue also increased contrast, and was pretty much as good as the Neodymium - though clearly with very odd colours and a much lower price tag. Both improved contrast over no-filter at all. That said, I usually don't bother with the filters; such a faff to fit for one target. But they did, I felt, improve contrast. Edit: previous discussion: http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/206527-filter-advice-please/?p=2193061
  8. Managed a quick gander at Jupiter, X Cancri and Tegmine before fog stopped play...

  9. I actually hate the compass function in SkySafari - and had great difficulty turning the damn thing off! I'd far rather use it without that! Which doesn't really, help, other than to say, it doesn't stop you using it!
  10. I've used my Heritage 130p in the aluminium legged AZ4. It's lovely and solid. To be honest, it's probably over-mounting the scope - I mean, the tripod is way more expensive - but it can be used for upgrades too.
  11. I've spoken to the police a few times while out observing. They're normally pretty interested once they know what you're up to. Returning to the topic, I have found that if left long enough, you really can start to see things by starlight. It was a bit of a shock the first time, looking up from the scope and suddenly everything around me being brighter. Even looking at bright stars through the scope seems able to destroy that adaption, though.
  12. When I drive out into the wilds, and get really dark adapted, it really makes a difference. The views you get after an hour without lights are so much better. I don't care if it's red either - try an hour somewhere dark without any light...
  13. I just drew circles of the required diameter on acetate, and put that on my star chart.
  14. The other night I had to point out to my neighbour 'No, that's not a plane, it's Jupiter, and it's not moving quickly; it's all the clouds nearby...'
  15. I think of Spring as Galaxy Season 'cos Virgo is well positioned, and the Virgo Cluster of galaxies nicely on view. Summer is Glob season to me, as many of the globular clusters are towards the center of the galaxy - and that's best positioned in the summer time (the galactic centre is in Sagittarius). (at least in the northern hemisphere)
  16. I put my 10" across the back seat of my car, wrapped in a duvet, and then put the seatbelts around it to hold it in place. Works fine.
  17. Sorry, off topic, but I'm interested by this, Paul - I've been wondering about an Equinox 80 to put on an AZ4, but am a bit worried that it's a bit of a step down in aperture from the 5" newtonian that's my current grab and go. It would be more portable and flexible, though. How do you find it? How do you find the reduction in aperture from the Cassegrains?
  18. 59%, what with libration. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libration Not trying to be pedantic, but rather, it can be a fun challenge trying to peek round the edges...
  19. I have a Maxvision 28mm that I use in my f4.8 Skyliner 250px. It is pretty good, though there is some coma (I think) around the edges. Certainly, the stars are a little misshapen right at the edges. That said, it doesn't bother me much; it's near the edge, and the field of view is as big as I'm comfortable with, so the edges aren't so important. I'm very happy with it; I'm sure that more picky eyes might not be so happy.
  20. To be honest, I'd agree - get a filter, and use the rest of your budget driving out to somewhere really dark (note: check the Moon's phase first!) From dark locations, my 5" will show the Veil unfiltered quite happily - but any light pollution wipes it out. Then a filter brings it back! It can be spotted (though not really seen) from near the middle of town with a filter. But seriously, somewhere dark it looks great!
  21. The 8" Skywatcher uses the same base as the 10", and has a tube of the same length (though slightly narrower). And the base is the heavy bit. I wouldn't use portability as a decider between these two. The fact it's f/6 does make it gentler, and some people find the coma at f/4.8 in the 10" disturbing. I don't really notice it. And there is a fair cost difference too. Either is a good choice; I went for aperture!
  22. I looked for it at the end of December in my 10" dob. Under decent skies, but with the Moon up, I could just make out a a lightness in the right place for the brighter parts of the nebula. I must try again under a properly dark sky. It did seem large too.
  23. Through a 250px? Not faint at all. It's all about contrast, and from a dark site my 250px will show the dust lanes in Andromeda quite happily. The main issue is its size; it's too big to fit in the field of view. I think I looked into it and thought that theoretically Triton might be possible, but I've never seen it. Extras? I'd suggest: a Cheshire Collimation tool (the mirrors occasionally need aligned; this tool can do it all)a seat of some form (I use a drummers stool due to it's adjustable height)a Telrad or Rigel Quikfinder (to make finding things easier)a really warm jacket (seriously! This last one is so important. I use a good down one - and sometimes wish I'd a better one).
  24. I cover my iphone with rubylith, and last week I think I proved that even then it damages adaption. My phone ran flat, so I finished the session using charts - and I'm sure I started to see dimmer DSOs
  25. Yup, it's possible - I've the same set up, and have done it. At first the GRS just looks like a break in the Southern Equatorial Belt, but keep looking and it'll start to come out. Note that it isn't very colourful. I use the JupiterMoons IOS app - it works well. Use Flip Horizontally and Flip Vertically to see what it should look like through a dob. (There is also a SaturnMoons one - but it's tough to see much more than Titan and maybe Rhea) In the dob, no, the Southern Equatorial Belt is still the Southern Equatorial belt - but it will be the one at the top. You'll be looking for it on the top edge of the top equatorial belt in the eyepiece - which is the Southern one. (Don't worry, you get used to it)
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