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Everything posted by Chinapig

  1. As a first step into astronomy, binoculars are also ideal for simply learning your way around. Compared to a telescope, the wider field of view - which is also the right way round and the right way up - is a great way to find out what's where in the sky. And sweeping a dark sky with a good pair of binos can be pretty inspiring. Another advantage of binos, is that it's easy to pop a pair into a suitcase for holidays etc. That can be awkward, even with a small scope. To add to the book suggestions above, a copy of Turn Left at Orion is also a mine of helpful what's-up-there-and-where-to-find-
  2. No, not desparate to spend money for the sake of it! Many thanks for your advice. I've checked out a few of your DSO vids before. Intriguing and inspiring stuff, and definitely fuelling my interest in VA. Amused to see your video of Sea Lane Cafe - not far from where I live! Thanks again. Cheers S
  3. Many thanks for the feedback - all points noted, and very much appreciated. The pondering will continue...
  4. Hi folks Inspired by some of the results I've seen in this section of SGL, and others like it, I'm looking forward to giving VA a try. I would appreciate some advice regarding the suitability of various scope options. As my first step down the VA road, I've just received a PD Colour Camera from Phil Dyer. Too much cloud or haze for night-time first light since it arrived, but I've set it up in daylight with a distant TV aerial as a target and found the focus point happily enough both with and without a .63 FR. That was with my f6.25 Equinox ED80, so theoretically giving a fraction under f
  5. Know how you feel. Woke up a while ago and couldn't get back to sleep, so have just nipped out into the back garden with some 7x50 bins. Beautifully clear night (rather cold in a dressing gown!), with so many fab things to see but, yeah, Lovejoy is behind the s*dding trees! Might try again in an hour or so, when it should have climbed up the sky enough. Hope to be loving Lovejoy soon! Happy viewing folks.
  6. Hi there I have an 8" Meade LX200GPS, which is about 8 years old, so not quite the current model - i.e. it's pre-ACF. I've been using it on a wedge, but lately have been finding it increasingly difficult to lift the scope-&-forks up onto the wedge, so have decided to de-fork the OTA and remount it on a GEM. Apart from the Autostar handset, which I replaced last year when it died, it's been a pretty reliable setup, and I've been very pleased with the optical performance. Happy to answer any questions if I can. Cheers Simon
  7. I've only seen a few iridium flares, and they've been visible for typically several seconds. Maybe reaching peak brightness for a few seconds, but sometimes remaining just visible as a faint moving point for perhaps another 10 to 15 seconds or so. Max magnitude and period of visibility does seem to depend hugely on your precise location. Out of sheer curiosity, might be worth checking on heavens-above.com to see if there were any predicted flares for your exact location and the time. I couldn't resist a quick check, natch!, and the only one I could see for April 1st was around 5:00am. Hmmm..
  8. Cool, thanks. Very useful to know there's another proven option available. Cheers S
  9. Many thanks to you, and Mike earlier, for the dual-boot idea. I had intended to keep everything Mac-native, but will certainly consider the VM or BootCamp idea.
  10. Many thanks for that - I suspect my final choice will come down partly to budget, and how far I evolve the rest of the rig (but that's for another thread!). Cheers S
  11. Many thanks folks - really appreciate all the valuable advice! A Lodestar or CoStar would seem to be the most viable contenders. I might go the piggyback route for the guidescope, as ultimately, as fond as I am of my SCT, I'll probably invest in a shorter FL refractor. I'm enjoying the learning curve, even though it looks a a bit steep and rocky at times! Thanks again everyone, and happy comet hunting... Cheers S
  12. Appreciate your advice Olly - many thanks. I've recently acquired a .63 FR, which should hopefully reduce the FL issue a tad, but I realise it's still going to be quite a challenge! Thanks again. Simon
  13. That's good to know. Many thanks for the suggestion - much appreciated. Cheers Simon
  14. Hi Folks Have recently joined this forum, and am about to invest in a new mount for my 8" SCT (probably a SW AZ-EQ6GT). I've never tried guided AP before, but very interested in having a go. My laptop however is a Mac and, from my research so far, most of the affordable guide cameras seem to need Windows. Apologies for what maybe a dumb newbie question, but if anybody could advise me on the best choice of a reasonably affordable guide camera that would work happily with OSX 10.6.8, probably using PHD, I would be very grateful! Any comments welcomed. Many thanks. Cheers Simon
  15. Hey folks - many thanks for all the warm welcomes! Very much appreciated. What a friendly place... Cheers all
  16. Hi folks Just joined this forum, and am re-awakening my interest in astronomy after too long a gap. I enjoy the visual side, and also beginning to dabble in more AP. I've had an 8" LX200 for several years, and it's more use in the past few months than in the previous 4 or 5 years. So that's good then! The weight of tube+mount is becoming increasingly difficult to manage, and I've nearly dropped it on several occasions, so I'm planning to solve that by de-forking the tube, and re-mounting it on a GEM. Which one? Hmmm... research is in progress! Cheers
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