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alanjgreen

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About alanjgreen

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    Sub Dwarf

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    Cumbria. UK
  1. alanjgreen

    Show us your Frac

    The AZ5 GTi is managing the 107FL with ease. I was out in the wind last week and not a single wobble at the eyepiece. I imagine having the stronger tripod is making a +ve difference too. Took me one lost session to get to grips with the GOTO, since then we have been having a great time... Alan
  2. alanjgreen

    Show us your Frac

    Here is my recently arrived Borg 107FL f5.6 seated upon the Skywatcher AZ5 Gti. Also appearing Baader SkySurfer 5, Baader Clicklock diagonal, TeleVue Plossl 55mm, PVS-14 Night Vision. I am amazed at how light the whole thing is to life around the garden. The old Sky-Tee2 must be twice the weight at least. For anyone who doesn't know, the Borg has a neat trick of allowing part of the tube to retract inside the objectve resulting in this tiny scope to be packed away (in the morning) Clear Skies, Alan
  3. True. But the Ethos 3.7mm has two advantages for me: 1. It provides high power x166 for better alignment accuracy. 2. The huge fov means that after using my red dot finder for a rough alignment, the target star is usually seen within that huge fov at the first attempt (saving me much uncomfortable contortions of having to go back and forth between the red dot finder and eyepiece). Alan
  4. alanjgreen

    ED66 First Visual

    Synscan is a nightmare to use at first (or that is what I found). You can change some of the settings to remove various unwanted warnings. See my post of first light with the Borg 107 ... The good news is that after the first night(mare), I have been successful at the first attempt since. - The key is to get the centring really accurate (try defocus the star once in the center(ish) to a large blob then you can get it centred even better) AND always finish the centring with UP and RIGHT buttons on the handset (which actually looks like DOWN and RIGHT thought the eyepiece. If you miss the centre then DOWN, LEFT, UP, RIGHT again until you are happy). Make sure the two stars you pick are at least 90 degrees apart and at different altitudes too).
  5. Thanks David. I defocus the stars whilst aligning to get the most accurate centring possible. - The FOV of the 3.7mm Ethos is huge and it would be very difficult to accurately centre a small dot (of a star), whereas its much easier to centre a large blob (of a star) that is almost the size of the FOV. The more accurate the centring then the more accurate the alignment (should) be. Alan
  6. Whilst updating my annotations in the back of my Bracken Sky Atlas, I discovered that the small blob I saw under the "soul" nebula is sh2-198 so that's increases my new object count to 14! I have also edited the original post to correct a typo, the crossbow shaped nebula was sh2-205 (not sh2-215 as I had written) Alan
  7. Date: Monday 17th September. 2345 - 0300am. Scope: Borg 107FL f5.6 (focal length 600mm). Night Vision: PVS-14 with Photonis 4g INTENS. Eyepieces: Plossl 55mm (f2.6 x11). Filters: Astronomik 6nm Ha CCD. Moon: 0% Sharpless Trek, the final frontier. These are the voyages of an astronomer with Night Vision… "A continuing mission: to explore strange new nebula; to seek out the arms of galaxies and resolve globular clusters to the core; to boldly go where no visual astronomer has gone before…” Its Observing Jim, But not as we know it... The forecast for last night was for a clear night with high winds. After a week with no action, I was not about to let a bit of wind keep me inside. (I have not been outside since 9th September, the weather here has been wet and cloudy). I went out at 10pm and assessed the situation, the wind was quite strong. I decided too strong to open the shed roof so I would be going with the Borg 107FL. It was still pretty breezy on the patio, so I tried a few other places and decided to tuck in behind the greenhouse where the boundary fence and the shed would offer some protection. I still had the Milky Way from 20 degrees one side to 45 degrees the other side. I went inside to gather all my gear and clothes for the night... Make It So... By 11pm it was a bit cloudy so I decided to wait… By 1130pm, I decided that I was going out anyway to get setup and let the scope cool. It remained partly cloudy for the next hour or so, but I had enough stars to get the 2-star alignment completed on my Skywatcher AZ5 GTi at the second attempt (on the first attempt, all the 2nd stars disappeared behind clouds so I had to restart). I used the Ethos 3.7mm (x166) as my alignment eyepiece and made sure Altair & Polaris were defocused to large round blobs for the final UP and RIGHT alignment movements. “Alignment Successful” said the handset. I entered M13 and slewed over, to my surprise – it was there in the FOV! I then got setup with the 55mm Plossl, 6nm Ha CCD filter and added the PVS-14 NVD. Ready… Captains Log (Mission Achievements) As most of my Sharpless targets are not available in the GOTO handset. I worked from Sky Safari and identified SAO stars in the FOV or as close as I could get. These allowed the GTi mount to get close enough to find the target. I have included the SAO star reference number with each target, should you wish to GOTO some of these Sharpless nebula yourself! 13 "new" Sharpless objects observed for the first time. Sh2-133 (SAO019425) – Large faint patch. There was a faint “tail” coming away from the patch at an angle. Sh2-137 (SAO019827) – Two thick curves lead to a black cave section. There is a small brighter area with a “triangle” shaped star formation. Worth another visit! Sh2-134 (SAO034149) – Series of patches of varying sizes in a general 45 degree line. Small bright patch seen which could be sh2-135? Sh2-160 (SAO020483) – Faint, large curve of nebulosity. Sh2-161 (SAO020567) – Large faint patch. Bubble nebula and sh2-158 seen in the same FOV. Sh2-221 (SAO039819) – Elongated blob, faint. Sh2-216 (SAO039724) – faint shape. Sh2-217 (SAO039799) – Small, easily seen. Sh2-219 – Very small. Next to sh2-217. Sh2-211 (SAO039799) – If you pan in the opposite direction from SAO 039799 then you come to a small, easily seen blob. Sh2-205 (SAO024300) – Large, faint “crossbow” shaped. There is a small bright patch nearby. Sh2-202 (SAO024054) – Very large, faintish patch near the Soul nebula. Sh2-203 (SAO023991) – Large faint patch with a black cut-out to the left. There is a black hole shape to right hand side. Captains Log (Supplemental) Here are details of all the other objects observed during the session, with SAO reference if you want to use Goto... Veil (NGC6995) – The Veil was good (I have seen in better in this scope). The western veil was only splitting into two “horns” at the top. The eastern was bright and all there. Pickering’s triangle was there with strandy detail within plus extra pieces at both sides. The thin thread was just about visible with the semi-circle piece to the side. The western was coming up over the top to the bright star. So, not too bad. Propeller (SAO049336) – First time for the Borg. The propeller sits in a region with so much other nebulosity that it is only its extra brightness that makes it stand out. The “S” shape was obvious but the two cross pieces were hard to tie down. There is definitely a lot to be missed in this area with the tight FOV of the big dob! Crescent (NGC6888) – small and bright. Just the semi-circular crescent was seen. The extra fainter bits that make the “9” were not seen. Sh2-101 Tulip (SAO069116) – Bright small semi-circular filled in shape with two bright stars. Dark sections were cutting in the shape centre right. Sh2-91 (SAO087385) – I caught a glimpse of a long thin curve while shaking the scope. I could not hold it in direct vision. Sh2-94 (SAO068384) – nothing seen. Sh2-86 (NGC6823) – This has become a challenge for me to see with its “Pillars of creation” type details. Tonight, the cluster was sitting in a very bright nebula patch. I could see a clear long black section to the side with a line of several bright stars within. I could see a second black patch inside the bright section with 2 stars inside. Checking images this morning, both of these “black” features are clearly seen and it seems the “pillar” is much smaller and deeper within the nebula. This maybe a feature that needs the big dob? Definitely a nice object to revisit. Sh2-87 – Short thick lane of nebula above sh2-86 Sh2-88 – circular patch of nebula above sh2-87 NGC7000 NA & Pelican – The Pelican was lovely and clear. It was framed nicely in the FOV. The North American was much brighter and just larger than the FOV. I could see the brighter curves within but they were not standing out as well as previous visits. Still a great object though! Sh2-119 (SAO050690) – A large object. Two thick vertical lanes with a smaller third to the side. They all seem to join together at the bottom and maybe on top too. Sh2-118 (SAO051167) – nothing seen Sh2-124 (SAO033665) – A large nebula with plenty of stars inside. Brighter centre section with a bright small curve. IC1396 Elephant Trunk – My best views of IC1396 with the Borg 107 so far. The nebula was white and lush. There were several black areas seen within, most noticeably in one corner where three long black lanes were seen (opposite end to the bright star). The elephant trunk was seen after spending some time at the eyepiece and interestingly it was the outer trunk piece that was easier to see. The inner trunk took more averted to get it and hold it. The inner is always the easiest in the dob? Sh2-129 (SAO033210) – Had an overall “bean” shape. Two brighter sections around the rim then dimmer sections seemed to make a “complete” shape. sh2-154 (SAO020281) – Slightly elongated brightish patch. Sh2-155 “The Cave” is seen just to the side in same fov. Sh2-157 – Wonderful “heart” shaped with lovely detail. Sits just to the side of the Bubble. Sh2-190 IC1805 Heart – Superb. My best views to date. Lovely thick outer shape easily seen. NGC696 appears like a “large bubble” just off to the side. Bright star cluster within the heart looks like a “scorpion”. Sh2-199 IC1848 Soul – Lovely foetus shape. Small separate patch under the “bottom”. Sh2-185 IC59/IC63 – Disappointing after the view in the big dob. Small faint curve and separate larger curve close-by. CED214/NGC7822 – Bright upside-down “egg cup” with varying brightness leads to a large thick “umbrella” section. Sh2-184 NGC281 Pacman – Bright nebula. Dark “cactus” cuts into it. Another small dark section seen inside the bright nebula. Interestingly, there seems to be a huge black patch that “runs up the side of NGC281” that I have never noticed in the big dob? Sh2-220 NGC1499 California – Superb views. Long bright parallel lanes. Interior has varying darker shapes along its length. I see the dark hole centre right and the bright corner centre left too. Sh2-142 NGC7380 Wizard – Great. Bright with multiple black sections within. Beam Me Up Scotty! The winds blew for the whole session but had little impact on my viewing. I packed up at 0300 because I could see some clouds coming and did not want to have an “accident” carrying all the kit back inside... Thoughts of the observer. It was a great night that was made even better with the use of goto. I have not counted the targets observed but without goto it would have been impossible in just three hours to cover all these objects. I really enjoyed my best ever views of IC1396 and I have added a few more Sharpless to the “must revisit” list – sh2-137, sh2-205, sh2-203, sh2-86 & sh2-129. If you have night vision then why don’t you “boldly go” and look these up too? Clear Skies, Alan
  8. Yep, theres plenty of great info on cloudynights for sure. I no longer feel like contributing to this thread - One of the mods seems to see a "target" painted on my back
  9. I've just been up in the loft this morning and saw my snow boots sitting there waiting to be loved once more... I pondered bringing them down but decided I can man it out for a few more weeks yet (hope my toes agree!)
  10. To be of real help to any potential buyers lurking here on SGL then knowing the spec of the tube that resulted in the posted image is very valuable information. Whether a supplier can get decent quantities of good tubes should not be the concern of the purchaser (us). I too am keen to know how the Echo+ performs but at least buyers go in eyes open not expecting all the tubes to produce the same result. I could not care less what the spec of the Harder is compared to my Photonis, I will not be rushing out to buy one as I am all spent up (even the wife says so ) but people may want to put minimum specs to companies and wait for a tube based on Gavins images - I just can't see the point of "hiding" the spec, it just suggests to me that any buyer "will not get one this good" - there is just no need for all this cloak and dagger stuff (it's not helping any potential buyers). You don't need to be a "spec junky" but would you spend £6000 on a car without knowing what the spec is and how it compares to other models? Alan
  11. Nice comparison shots. - I prefer the darker background of the Photonis but no doubt the extra gain pulls out more nebula (& more noise too). Its easier to eek out the darker lanes inside the nebula for example the beak of the Pelican seems clearer with less gain. Remember that reducing the gain, increases the SNR so you may get more from the Harder with the gain down more than above. I get Galaxy arms best with the gain turned down from the max with my Photonis (FOM 2180). - Halo seems a little more on the Harder. Of course, this comparison would carry more "weight" if we had some idea what the relevant specs of each tube "on test" were? - It could be a "great" Harder tube compared to an "average" Photonis tube for example - Can't you at least state the FOM (SNR * resolution) of the two tubes on test? (thats not revealing much)? - ...................................................................... Alan
  12. Date: Sunday 9th September. 2145-0100am Scope: 20” f3.6 Lukehurst Dob with Paracorr (fl = 2089mm & f4.1). Night Vision: PVS-14 with Photonis 4g INTENS. Eyepieces: 55mm (f2 x38), 35mm (f3 x60). Filters: Astronomik 6nm. Moon: 0% Be Prepared The last few days have been showery, so I had spent some of the time building a new Observing List in Sky Safari with a target list of 30 Sharpless nebulas. New Moon – Get looking up! As it was new moon and the weather forecast is not good for the next few days, I saw a potential opportunity for some Sunday night observing. I checked outside at 2100 and it was complete cloud so went back to watching the TV. At 2130, I checked again and it was completely clear with a nice Milky Way showing already. I got my bits and pieces together, got changed into warm clothing (now back to 2 layers of everything as it has dropped much colder in the last week or so!) No time to wait, off we go… As I opened the shed, I could see some cloud off to the west so decided to forego collimation and just get setup and started… Within a few minutes, the roof was open and I completed the 2-star alignment for my Nexus push-to system. (This turned out to be a good thing as within 30 minutes, I was clouded out and then had to spend the rest of my 3 hour+ session aiming at holes in the clouds (this is not so bad when you at least have the scope alignment completed as you can still find objects that are in that area of the sky quickly.) Grab some new (to me) Sharpless The night was a bit of a disappointment overall, I spent a few spells just sitting on my chair waiting for clouds to part but I did get the occasional 15-20 minutes of a clear patch now and again. Checking my Sharpless targets off against my list of “visited” targets, I managed six new Sharpless nebulas last night so let’s start with them… Sh2-88 – I was aiming to spend some time of sh2-86 (after reading the “Classic Rich Field” reports of @AllanDystrup on cloudynights.com) and was looking to see a dark notch lane that I had missed on my first observation. By the time I was able to get to sh2-86 (NGC6820) it had passed its peak and the dark lane was “kind of” observed. However as I pushed around the area (fighting the clouds) I happened upon sh2-88 (which was a decent sized patch of nebula) which I have not observed before. [“Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining”? ] Sh2-140 – This is a nicely shaped interesting nebula, I christened it “the cap” as it seemed to have a rounded dome section and I bit of a peak out in front. There was a memorable bright triangle arrangement of stars near the brightest section of this nebula with a bulbous appearance to the right side and a fainter left side. It was a decent size in the 55mm Plossl (x38). Sh2-154 – Appeared as a long streak in a mildly triangular shape. I could see a possible black area within in near some bright spread out stars. Sh2-149 – Appeared in the same FOV as sh2-148. They appeared similar in that they were small bright patches with something fainter/blacker to the side. Sh2-148 had a large ghostly patch of nebula above it. Sh2-187 – Appeared as a small hazy patch in the 35mm (x60). Sh2-186 – was a tiny tiny patch near a star. (Missing from Sky Safari, FOV star SAO 011593). This takes my total (since I started in June 2018) to 63 of 313 Sharpless objects observed so far. What else did I see? Sh2-101 Tulip – Had a couple of decent views of the Tulip between the clouds. This really is a nice bright object with some black lane detail within. It sits within a huge region of nebula lanes and its easy to spend several minutes nudging around in this region! Gamma Cygni – Wonderful views of lush deep nebula with tiny black details occasionally discovered. Sh2-119 – Wonderful long thick bright lanes of nebula lead up the right hand side, fainter nebula see over the top to a bright curvy section. As I nudge down the other side, I think of the shape of “Africa” as I reach a bright corner section and then pass through some fainter stuff back to the start. This is a big nebula well beyond the FOV of the 55mm Plossl. Propeller – I managed to see the propeller but it was a case of line it up and wait for the view to brighten as gaps appeared in the clouds. The “S” shape was clear and the “cross and intersection” pieces were much fainter but they got better after a while… Veil – Wonderful views around the whole structure. Sh2-129 – A thick lane (with black details on the edges and within) goes up and swings right over the top (through a fainter section). Horseshoe like almost. Sh2-132 – Great. Very bright “mountain regions” of nebula interspersed with black “lake/valley” areas. This of course is the “mane” section of the much larger Lion nebula (which covers a huge area especially in the big dob). Wizard – The flying horse was clear within the bright nebula structure. Pacman – Best view for a while, the “Angel” was back, as was the “Cactus” arm. With closer inspection, it is a black patch (with a star) that’s helps give the Angel a thin waist. The Angels wings over the top were nicely defined too. CED214 – Again, a really nice detailed view. Its main section appears like the face of a “space invader” with two bright “eyes” peeping through. The larger “Sausage” nearby was much fainter. Sh2-173 Mask – Cloud affected but I saw a curvy faint patch shape. Something circular and black inside. Faint nebula surrounding. Thoughts of the observer. It was one of those stop, start sessions that was offering just enough encouragement to stay out there. As I look back at my notes, then I did see a decent selection but I was disappointed at the time I made my way back inside. There was a bit of wind about and that at least kept the dew off but humidity was very high and I left the dehumidifier running (as usual) after I left. I did try for sh2-91, sh2-94 & sh2-96 (second Veil) but the clouds were really interfering and although I did pick up the “odd lane” here and there, it was not worthy of reporting here. Roll on the next night out… Clear Skies, Alan
  13. alanjgreen

    CPC100 GPS

    The celestron handset only lists the planets that it thinks are above the horizon. If it was not in the list then the handset must have calculated that it was not in the sky at the time you were using it... I would check the date & time showing in the handset and make sure the scope GPS battery has not run out & check that you have enabled the "GPS" in the starsense handset? p24 of the manual...
  14. You want to see it in the 20" with the NVD! This image is about 75% of the image brightness in the dob and I can see all the details seen in this image no problem (& close-up too). But this can be an issue too as the sheer Scale of these objects - you cannot get it all in the FOV so do lose some of the overall "wowness" which is where the smaller frac is better - but then I cannot even get the NA & Pelican into the FOV of the 107FL either. And if this gets you excited, then I can only imagine how you might react if you saw Gamma Cygni with night vision, its sheer 3D lushness and texture with the occasional jet black patch here and there is amazing. IC1396 is pretty great too. The Pelican becomes a "seen it, done it" object after a while (when I could hardly even see it before). But these are just the "well known" nebulas, there is a world of sharpless objects out there that are currently beyond your reach entirely... (some of these are wonderful in their own right - many are just patches - but plenty have image quality detail to show... If you have the money then NV is the way to go (IMHO). Alan
  15. alanjgreen

    Unboxing: Borg 107FL f5.6

    After doing some research on the web, I discovered that Borg do make an aluminium dust cap (Borg #7361 M36.4P1 Screw in Dust Cap) which can be screwed into the (Borg #7522 - M57 to M36.4 /M42p0.75 T-thread Adapter) which came included with the scope. I found that ENS Optical had the #7361 in stock and got one ordered... Here is the #7522 with the Baader female cap attached... And now with the replacement Borg #7361 cap... ( Note that the Baader cap screws to the outer thread and the Borg cap screws to the inner thread ). Finally, the back of the scope matches the front of the scope and I can sleep easier in my bed Still seems a bit crap that a scope of this price is delivered with an open hole at the back IMHO! Alan
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