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alanjgreen

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About alanjgreen

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    Cumbria. UK
  1. Home made dew shields for 16x70 binos

    I managed okay to make a "slide over" holder for a 2" filter but found my nose no longer fitted between the two lenses so I have abandoned the reuse 2" filter plan. i have ordered a Castell 1.25" UHC and now plan to make a small flat circular holder to get the filter fitted within the rubber eye cup space. If I can't find a flat piece of packaging to cut to shape then I will look into buying something. As you say 10mm will be too thick for this job. Alan
  2. What about this Borg bargain from flo? https://www.firstlightoptics.com/offers/clearance_borg-90fl-f4-astrograph-ota-set_76162.html £400 off
  3. Choosing my next eyepiece

    This second hand 11mm will work well in a manual dob 82 degree fov means a lot less nudging. Ask Dave to send you some photos! Second hand is a good way forward, if you don’t like the EP then you don’t lose much if/when you sell them on either! or for £100, get TWO bst starguiders (12 and 8mm are what you need in your scope for x100 and x150 magnification) they are great value for money. Just less FOV than the ES and a lot more nudging! I would pick up that 82 degree if you want my advice Alan
  4. 1. DEW SHIELD I've completed a pair of dew shields for my 16x70 binos. I used a 10mm thickness Mountain Warehouse camping mat paired to some 50mm Valcro with additional strong glue to keep them stuck together. For the first one, I used the full 50mm overlap on the Velcro to hold the ends together but they were quite hard to pull apart. So, for the second one, I used 50mm on one side of the Velcro and cut-down to 25mm on the other side of the Velcro. Time will tell which is the best solution, then I can make up a "third one" to be the same as the best of the other two - if needed! 2. FILTER HOLDERS My APM binos have 20mm of eye relief so I hope to make some filter holders from some of this matting. I have some spare old 2" Skywatcher UHC and O3 filters in the loft, so I plan to experiment to see if I can construct something from the camping mat to fit them over the eyepieces of the binos. After removing the rubber eyecups, I am left with a 2" diameter eyepiece which matches the circumference of these 2" filters. So, I am making a 40mm wide & 210mm long camping mat "roll" that will fit exactly around the eyepiece. The ends wont overlap, they should just meet up and i will wrap the whole thing with Gorilla Tape to hold it "in a circle". This circle should then just push down over the eyepiece to hold the filters in place. I will use some folded over gorilla tape segments to make a "rim" that the filter will "sit on" ( at a distance of 10mm from the top ) when pushed inside. As the 2" filter is way more than the 30mm of the bino eyepiece lens, then as long as I dont block the central 30mm of the filter, the view should be unobstructed. The glue is setting at the moment, if successful then I will post up some pics... (Blue Peter would be proud!) Alan
  5. For Sale - Feathertouch focuser ADAPTER model number A20-240 The adapter is BRAND NEW & UNUSED (it came included with my FTF2025BCR focuser from FLO but I don’t need it). -Fits Skywatcher Skyliner, Explorer and Quattro series Newtonian Telescopes & Orion Sky Quest, XT Intelliscope Telescopes. -This adapter will also fit the Celestron C10N Newtonian telescope. -For use with Feathertouch focuser model number FTF2025BCR Price: £25 (including 2nd class recorded delivery postage) - Payment accepted via bank transfer or PayPal Some links with more information: -http://starlightinstruments.com/store/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=111 -https://www.firstlightoptics.com/starlight-instruments-feather-touch-components/feather-touch-adapter-20-for-orion-sky-quest-xt-intelliscope-telescopes.html
  6. Rosette Nebula on a Cold Windy Night

    Nice one Iain. Glad you got out to benefit from the clear night. yes it's cold, be we are tough enough to take it Alan
  7. Don't tell the wife, but we only moved here for the stargazing
  8. Defining the Cone Nebula

    Here is my summary from last night... Cone neb – Here we go! I have been on this target a few times recently and tonight was the night, I was determined and the E21 and E8 were “ready and able”. I starting with the E21 and Hb, moved to the E8 and the E13, finally back to the E21. My description is really a summary of what I saw. The best combo was E21 and Astronomik Hb. Although the Ethos8 scores a worthy mention and I will use this combo again. Both bested the E13. With the E21, there was loads of nebulosity to see in and around the whole area. I nudged around, getting my eye in on the nebula gas. I swung up and under the cone concentrating on the nebula. Unlike the other night there was now plenty of nebula to the left of the cone so I focused my attention on that as I drifted up to the left side of the cone. Still looking at the gas, I let the cone “come to me” and drift in. The first piece I saw was at the wide bottom of the cone. The surrounding nebula was seen above and beyond the cone. A jagged edge was seen marking the end of the cone. The right edge was teased out with not too much trouble and I did see the left edge more than twice (it has a bulgy like appearance if and when it shows up). The view is nothing like the image, there was no bright nebula line. It’s a black edge seen against the dim nebula to the side. The Ethos8 was a surprise, I only tried it as someone in another thread had had success with a 7mm. The Cone fills the FOV in the 8mm. The right edge was seen but without the help of the surrounding nebula its hard to get your eye in. The E8 brought out the glow around the double star at the tip. From
  9. Date: Friday 15th December 2130 – 0245am Scope: 20” f3.6 Lukehurst Dob with Paracorr (fl = 2089mm) Choosing my time The forecast was for clear skies from 5pm through the night. I decided that I wanted to wait for neighbours to go to bed & had my eye on goodies around Orion from 1am. Therefore a 10pm start was sounding good & I had just downloaded series 3 of “The Tunnel” on Sky. So, we watched the first three episodes (of 6) which took us up to 9-20pm and I decided that “it was time!”. Getting ready Since my last report, I have constructed a small eyepiece case for three Ethos EPs. I planned to make use of this and leave the 21mm and the 8mm in the house where they would remain warm and ready for me to bring them on as substitutes later in the night! The temperature in the shed was -0.5 degrees when I arrived and I quickly got the scope ready. A small tweak to one screw on the primary was needed to get me collimated. Cold Tingle The night turned into a game of two halves, my feet were gone by midnight and with Orion not quite “in range”, I wimped off for a 20 minute warm (hot water bottle for my feet & two glasses of hot water for my body). It also gave me the chance to grab the warm eyepieces that I had left inside earlier. For info, I am constantly running a 2 inch eyepiece heater tape on full power so the EP in the scope is always warm. My secondary also has a constant heat from a Kendrick micro heater set at the minimum 15-20% setting. Conditions Transparency was good, the sky had been reflective all afternoon! My only concern was the humidity, I could see some low glow to the sky to the south and this was surely the hanging water in the atmosphere but would it be a problem higher up? First half report (2130-0000) M33 glx – Always my starting point and it did not disappoint (it has been really giving well these past 2/3 weeks). I as well practised on this target and it was simple to pick out 4 arms straight off. The two main arms were wide and almost 3D like as they seemed to lift up of the rest of the hazy inner disk below. With some concentration, the fifth arm came and went underneath the core. As time passed the vast array of NGCs started to be seen and identified. My focus tonight was to try to bag the 2nd of two NGCs in the top left corner. I had bagged the other one (IC132) last time out. With the Ethos13 (x150), I eventually started to see both of the NGCs (IC132 & IC133) around the location of a single and a double star (from the milky way foreground). I could see an arm swinging through the pair of them but only faintly. Pleased with this I then spent further time letting the galaxy drift in and across my view. It is such a giving target and you really can imagine that you are flying over the surface as this massive galaxy drifts across the EP! http://www.seetheglory.com/star-clusters-and-nebulae-in-the-triangulum-galaxy-m33/ NGC891 glx – My “usual” second target of the night. The central dark lane was not as giving as last time out but the central region with its bright bulge was displaying a lovely thick portion of the dark lane. It was more tenuous out to the sides. I swapped in the E10 and the galaxy grew to almost the full FOV. The central lane was no easier to see but I stayed for some time as I really enjoy trying to get more from this edge on galaxy. M34 OC – With the E10 in the scope, I decided to “add a bit of variety” and centred on M34. I have not been here in a while and it really stood out (Pleiades-esque) in the full FOV (x200). The stars were varied & bright. It’s a nice cluster for sure. California neb – Sticking with the “variety is the spice of life” theme. I decided to head for the California next. I started with E10 and Hb and the view was way too dark, I did not like it so in with the E13 (paired with a UHC), “great, that’s better”. A lovely bright nebula revealed itself. It covers a huge area (plenty of nudging needed) and strands of nebulosity are seen in all directions (up/down strands, left/right strands, curvy strands). The edges of the nebula are well defined and easily traced, revealing the sheer size of this nebula. Nice! (This UHC view bested any Hb view I have seen with the 20” ). Flaming star neb – Back on track and onto the Flaming Star. This target is on my main list for this season and I am determined to catch it at its best! I had the E13 and Astronomik UHC loaded. There was plenty of nebulosity on offer “under and to the right of a bright star”. The lower parts of the nebula were well defined and clear. There was plenty more to see to the upper-right and round/down through the wide “tail section”. This view was “as good as any I remember”! IC410 neb – Another regular from my list. Again E13 and UHC. It showed as a large bright nebula. The best bits are around the edges of a star cluster where it is bold and contrasty against the background. The edges/sides are much fainter but they are clear enough to follow around. IC417 neb – I had two cracks at this target during the night. The first was E13 & UHC with it being a difficult target to tie down. There was nebulosity around. The edges appeared as a black outline but it was easy to miss and head off “out into the wilderness”. I returned later (during the second half) with the E10 (x200) and no filter. Wow what a difference! My best view was achieved, the nebulosity was much easier to see. The edges were better defined and the strange “platypus nose” section was there to see! M1 crab – The E13 & UHC were still in the scope. The crab was clear but hard to define the edges. In with the E10 and no filter. “That’s better”. The central section was brighter with a “shifting shape”, the surrounding outer regions were lighter and provided some contrast against the central region. Neither region had a sharp edge and the nebula just shimmers and changes as you watch it drift by. [My feet are dead, its time for a warm. I close the roof and head inside…] Second half report (0020-0245) I returned rejuvenated by my warming break and armed with the Ethos21 and Ethos8 that had stayed inside so far (to keep warm and USEABLE). The sky seems darker than when I departed and the bright low down glow has also receded. No point hanging about! Orion is now well placed. I drop the southern side of the shed to “get down on it!” Flame neb – I centre Alnitak on sky safari. The E13 is still in the focuser wrapped in its warm blanket and no filter is present. At the eyepiece, the Flame looks fantastic (no filter is the way to go!). I see an “upside-down three pronged cactus” hanging there, suspended in this white cotton wool cloud (or something like that anyway!). This was my best view of the Flame. I throw in the Astronomik Hb filter. The three pronged cactus is gone. Now a shimmering less distinct black patch sits in a bright white patch to the right of Alnitak. The filter has brought out the white section but the black cactus has lost its sharp edges. I revisit later with a UHC and find a view that is neither one nor the other of those above. The cactus is still “less” and the white is “less” too. Horsehead – With the E13 and Hb loaded, I nudge down to the Horsey. It’s not “just there” like it was the last time out when it was “bold as brass” and stood there smiling at me. But, it was there! With some careful positioning in the lower EP, the dark patch section was seen in direct view. The Nebula lane was bright and wide but the Horsey would start to fade as it rose up through the FOV. I tried the UHC. As expected, it was now harder to see the Horsey. But, I could tease out the black area and glimpse it if I tried. M42 Orion – I have a warm Ethos8 (UHC too) and its time to get into M42 & the “baby bird”! WOW , the nebula is fantastic. Is x250 view better than x200? Not so sure, it is great but so was the view in the Ethos10 last time out. (one to ponder!) After nudging around and admiring the “corner lot” & “the valley” at the top of the birds head. I start to map out the stars. First thing, I notice is that I cannot see all those I saw last time out. (MT has gone, [MV, P1923 & P1972 are there but they are faint and much harder to see than before]). The “candle star” is seen in the E8! (Forgot to look for this last time) and I check behind the “valley” to see 2+2+1 stars so that must include KS & LR from @Johnpic. LV & LQ were not seen. I throw in the E10 (& remove the filter), it’s easier to “focus” the stars & into the trapezium we go. Five stars are seen (the sixth is glimpsed occasionally). I notice that the trapezium stars are “different colors!” (A = yellow, B=brown, C=white, D=yellow, E=red, F=maybe red?) Rosette neb – The E21 is in the focuser for this target (with UHC). The nebula is so much smaller than in the E13 that at first I feel underwhelmed with the view. (The E13 view the other night was amazing). Anyway, I get my bearings (thanks to a quick look at sky safari) and now my eye is in. A lovely bright nebula surrounds the inner cluster, thick to the left and thinner below. There is variety in the nebula all around. The E21 frames it nicely but I will be going in “deeper” next time for the real wows! Cone neb – Here we go! I have been on this target a few times recently and tonight was the night, I was determined and the E21 and E8 were “ready and able”. I starting with the E21 and Hb, moved to the E8 and the E13, finally back to the E21. My description is really a summary of what I saw. The best combo was E21 and Astronomik Hb. Although the Ethos8 scores a worthy mention and I will use this combo again. Both bested the E13. With the E21, there was loads of nebulosity to see in and around the whole area. I nudged around, getting my eye in on the nebula gas. I swung up and under the cone concentrating on the nebula. Unlike the other night there was now plenty of nebula to the left of the cone so I focused as I drifted up to the left side of the cone. Still looking at the gas, I let the cone “come to me” and drift in. The first piece I saw was at the wide bottom of the cone. The surrounding nebula was seen above and beyond the cone. A jagged edge was seen marking the end of the cone. The right edge was teased out with not too much trouble and I did see the left edge more than twice (it has a bulgy like appearance if and when it shows up). The view is nothing like the image, there was no bright nebula line. It’s a black edge seen against the dim nebula to the side. The Ethos8 was a surprise, I only tried it as someone in another thread had had success with a 7mm. The Cone fills the FOV in the 8mm. The right edge was seen but without the help of the surrounding nebula its hard to get your eye in. The E8 brought out the glow around the double star at the tip. Seagull neb – My final target was the seagull. A new one for me. It’s very low in the sky so I was only using a sub-section of the mirror (the shed wall took the rest). With the E21 and UHC, I could tease out the long upright section, occasional branches off to the sides appeared. I could not find the head section. With the O3 [The paracorr2 is by now “freezing to the touch” and these filter changes are “killing my fingers”] the view was not dissimilar and I was getting “too cold to care”. Epilogue The side and roof were closed up. The scope was thick with chunky ice. Thermometer reads minus 4. Its been a good night with some “best evers” so with no complaints I head inside thinking of my “hot water bottle” to revive my dying fingers… Clear Skies, Alan
  10. Garden goodies (part 2)

    Furry socks, Nice report. You are getting there with m33. The main "S" arm is seen starting bottom left, it swings up and around behind the core then turns down through the core before swinging again around to sweep out to the top right corner. That's what I see in my dob. The bubble is a real hard one, you need x250 plus to see anything around the left of two bright stars. You WILL need a filter too. I mention my results with filters on the bubble in a recent report, can't remember which one as I just got up and waiting for coffee to be ready! Alan
  11. Skytee 2 - New arrival

    Nice one Alan. I love my skytee-2! Ive had it 3 years or so and its been great. Only issue was that it used to freeze up on very cold nights during its first winter but Ive not had that issue for a couple of years now. I also had to play with the tensions on the slow-mo controls to get them as I wanted them when it was new. You are right about those clamps, they are just too small and only one locking screw I changed mine to use the ADM too. I would not trust any expensive scope and eyepieces of mine to the junk clamps that skywatcher supply. Alan
  12. I arrived home from the cinema (after watching The Last Jedi) at 2330 and the sky was clear up above. We had driven through some low mist on the way back and there were clouds off to the side of the scene. I am planning for a DOB session tonight (when sky is predicted clear) so I though "why not get the Binos out?". I had received my Manfrotto monopod quickly from Amazon but it had taken over a week for them to send me my "Amazon Basics tripod with Pistol Grip" so I had been unable to use the monopod until now. Anyway, after deciding "thats a plan", I got changed into some warm clothes and packed my ipad into its weatheproof case (I would use the ipad on the garden table for target selection...) As I am a bino novice and I am short sighted to boot. I use my scope without glasses and intend to use binos with contact lenses but I couldnt be bothered with all that tonight. So I plonked my glasses on the garden table and looked up... It was the usual fuzzy mess but I can pick out the major stars and I have some idea what I am looking at, "How hard can it be?" "I'll start with something easy", i thought... Pleiades - Easily spotted naked eye (even a fuzzy blury eye!). It was tricky to get them in the bino fov. I altered the monopod height a couple of times, then tilted with the trigger grip and then found them. I widened my stance and gripped the monopod grip (the Manfrotto has a nice grip section that means you dont have to hold the cold metal ). The pleiades filled the fov and were a lovely sight. There was nebulosity glow around the main bright stars and the background was lovely and black. M36,37,38 - Onto some nearby open clusters. A quick look at sky safari (left and up) and off I went. Well, they took a bit of finding. They were high in the sky and I had to get the monopod extended then it still wasn't enough. In the end I picked up the whole lot (bino & monopod) and scanned the higher sky. [ The monopod seemed to act as a 'balance bar' and made the binos less wobbly even though I was using them "hand held". Finally, "a fuzzy patch!!" (not sure which fuzzy patch?) so I scan the area and find two more patches to the right. It was M37! I moved between the three clusters. If the monopod had been grounded then I would have stayed longer... but they were easily seen against a background of many stars (did I say the sky is really black in these binos?) Crab - Looked for but did not find it. Christmas tree cluster & Cone - I found the Xmas tree cluster and it was pretty but it didn't excite me as much as finding the smaller fuzzy Messier clusters moments before. Rosette - I moved down to the area of the Rosette, this is my first time with binos so I didn't know what to expect (please can someone tell me below?). Anyway, I found an area densly packed with stars and possible a faint hint of a cloudy essence (maybe this was it or maybe wishful thinking?) Alnitak - Into Orion and the flame area of Alnitak. Not much to see here except the star itself. [By now, I was starting to use the trigger more and finding this was becoming my "first move" rather than try to lengthen/shorted the monopod legs] M42 - M42 was easy to find and looked white and cloudy. I could see two bright stars within, one had the look of a double if I remember correctly. It was a nice height for the monopod so I stayed for a while to take in the view. [ did I say the background sky is lovely and black in these binos ] [Onto some targets that are too low for the DOB from my shed] M46,47, 48 - I centered on Sirius then swung to the left, I bumped into M48! Slightly trickier, but not a problem, I was soon onto M46 & M47. I decided to grab some galaxies, so I headed for Cassiopia and M31... In my fuzzly short sighted view, I could see the "W" of Cassiopia and I know that three of them point to Mirach. So I centered the binos on Mirach. It was tricky but manageable... M31,32,110 - From Mirach I panned right and these was M31. It was huge in the FOV (unexpected). M110 was sitting out to the right (Can I really see M110 at x16 magnification = yes I can). I look to the other side of M31 and tucked close-by I see M32, its small but bright enough to be easy. I am still amazed that binos can pick out M110 as I try to pick out the lanes in M31. The core is bright and the dust disk extends endlessly out into space. Maybe I can see the black lanes crossing the disks but I cant see the black lanes running up the side. I go back to M110, it really has impressed me to see this in binos M33 - I pan left back to Mirach and continue left to M33. A small fuzzy patch comes into the FOV. Compared to M31 then theres "no much to see here", but if you know how hard it is to see this in a scope then to see this lovely disk feels like a real achievement! [I decide that I need MORE galaxies, so I set off to the side of the house where I can see the Plough coming around from the east.] M51 - I had started with M101 but couldn't find it. So I moved to the easier M51. I centered the binos on the first star in the handle of the plough (Alkaid) and panned right. A fuzzy blob came into the view. M51. It was smaller and less bright than M33 but it was good to see it. M101 - with this success, I went back to M101. Pan left back to Alkaid then a bit more left and up, nope. Back down. A faint fuzzy passed through the FOV. There it is! It was bigger than M51 but much fainter. I checked it out as at the same time I put my hand into my pocket (it was a very cold hand). [clouds were gathering in the east, my hand was cold, my glasses were abandoned on the garden table!, I decided to call it a night...] Overall, I was very impressed with what I was able to find. The binos provided a lovely black sky. The stars were lovely and sharp. The galaxies that I picked were bright and clear. Finding the small open clusters (tight and fuzzy) was good. [As a fan of nebula and galaxies, I am not sure that I can be converted to wide field star viewing so I may need to work on a way to get filters into the EPs and get some more nebula into the view... something for me to ponder. But a great way to spend an hour on a cold evening, it will certainly allow me to easily drop down to brighter targets towards the horizon. Clear skies, Alan
  13. Defining the Cone Nebula

    Last night (in a clear "hour") I popped out for another crack at the cone in a "race against the clock" session (using 20" dob). I had some success on 10 December, with 13Ethos (scope fl with paracorrr =2089 so x150 mag) and O3 filter - the seeing was good on that occasion. There had been plenty of nebulosity around 15Mon and plenty more to the right side of the cone. It was late in my session and I was cold, as was the rest of my kit and so I was stuck with what I had in the scope at the time. See Last night, as I was "straight outside" (with all equipment warm and useable) I tried Ethos8, 10, 13 & 21 paired with Astronomik UHC, O3 and Hb. The seeing was not as good, NGC891 (galaxy) was a lot less giving than it had been on 10 Dec (I checked this first off). In the Ethos8, the cone looks like it should fill the FOV (x250), the cone area was nice and black but the view lacks the nebulosity to the side so you can "get your eye in". Similar with the 10mm. The 21mm provided a less dark background so I decided that 13mm was the best chance. With the O3 and Hb then nebulosity is easily seen around in the area. With the UHC less so. There was a nice "glow" around the double star at the tip of the cone. With averted and staring the "straight right side" seemed to come and go. At one point I thought I saw a "gap" open up between the cone blackness and the double star (but only glimpsed) as the cone does not come all the way up to the double star. In conclusion, I did not "see" the cone last night but I was maybe an hour too early for it to be best placed for me & the seeing was off. I will be back for another crack on Friday when it is forcast clear. Hopefully this little practice will help me out then? Interesting that @Doc saw it in a 7mm EP, so maybe I will keep trying with the Ethos8 too ...
  14. Skywatcher 130

    Hi Brian, As said above, we need to see which exact scope you have, there are many variations of the skywatcher 130. If you cant upload a picture then can you find a website where the scope is available "new" and then copy/paste a link into this thread? Your scope may have an AZ mount or an EQ mount, depending which the advice we give will differ! One mistake to avoid is "dont use it for the first time in the DARK", instead, get out in the daylight and view some distant trees or chimneys (DANGER - DO NOT LOOK AT THE SUN!!) - getting the red dot finder and the scope pointing to the same target is the first job you can complete in the daytime! I live in Cumbria, if you "message me" on this forum then you are welcome to bring your scope to my house and we can play with it together Alan
  15. James O’Meara books

    To anyone buying new Manfrotto gear. Manfrotto have a free gift offer running until 31 December https://www.manfrotto.co.uk/completechristmas Simply apply online using link above. You will need to upload your sales invoice and fill in a few fields in... takes only a minute or two My free gift (tripod head) arrived in less than a week! Merry Xmas, Alan
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