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baggywrinkle last won the day on May 21 2016

baggywrinkle had the most liked content!

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About baggywrinkle

  • Rank
    White Dwarf

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  • Gender
  • Interests
    Astronomy, kendo (5th dan), reading naval history particularly submarine history. Playing the bodhran for 20 years ...practicing kendo for 31 years....studying astronomy for 50+ years.
  • Location
    West Norfolk.
  1. baggywrinkle

    Guiness world record one!

    Another way of taking light frames.... We all make mistakes.....
  2. Yes, they will drift at the same rate if on the same saddle plate...
  3. baggywrinkle

    A Valentines Moon 14th Feb

    A second night in the observatory, not bad for the UK. A waxing Moon at 9 days. As usual the whole shot a mosaic of 5 pics from the canon 650D and then the more detailed shots using the Altair Astro 178C CCD camera, 1000 frames and then the best 250-300 stacked. All shot on the Meade 12" which as I get used to it is provong a beaut of a telescope giving great resolution. https://www.flickr.com/photos/165584972@N02/albums/72157706679472055 My longer handset cable also arrived from Scopestuff in the US. Makes a huge difference to being able to mover around the mount without fear of pulling the cable out. Meade? Why are you such cheapskates on the small but important things?
  4. baggywrinkle

    Moon 10th Feb 18:00

    At last a clear evening allowing me to test the new 12" Meade on the Moon. The complete image was a 4 panel mosaic using the Canon 650D, the detailed shots using the Altair 178C camera. 1000 frames using the best 50%. The seeing was a 3-4 on the Damian Peach scale. I am pretty pleased with the extra resolution compared to my 9.25SCT.
  5. baggywrinkle

    LX850 First Light.....at last!

    It is 3m x 3m. Built by Home Observatories who did a fantastic job. It is 4 years old this March.
  6. One of the most frustrating things about astronomy in the UK is the total uncertainty of when you are going to get a clear night to carry out testing a new toy. My LX850 12” arrived shortly after New Year and of course caused a massive bout of cloud cover in Deepest Darkest Norfolk. I wrote about the unboxing and setting up shortly after the LX850 arrived. While I was setting it up and getting the finder aligned with the OTA I found a very serious issue with the OTA focuser mechanism. I had followed instructions and taken out the locking nut before moving the focuser. It was over stiff, in fact it took a fully wrapped palm around it to move it., and at times it would not rotate. Further, the OTA would not come to focus and there was a grey area in the centre of the FOV plus some kidney beaning. I provided video and images of this to the Meade UK supplier, Opticstar in Manchester, and after a few exchanges of email agreed to replace the tube. That also involved me driving to and from Manchester to fetch it. It was another week delay until I could get time off to make the trip. With OTA exchanged I put the tube back onto the mount which is on a pier originally supplied by Altair Astro for my ROR obsy. In the meantime, I had also reduced the height of the mounting plate to make it easier to mount the OTA and reduce wobble issues to a minimum. I was able to take it down by 80mm. The LX850 mount thread is ½” UNC and I had to find a fully threaded bolt, most UNC bolts are only partially threaded. I originally had a 3” partially threaded bolt, now it is down to 2” but nearly inserted all the way. I then added my own Altair 60mm RACI finder scope. The Meade one supplied is a straight through one and is a neck breaker. I also attached the provided electric focuser which allows for +/-1/4” around a focus set using the main 8:1 focuser. Plenty enough to get a sharp focus. Then it was frustration time waiting for a clear night to do a mechanical followed by a full polar align on the whole set up. The manual provided often differs from what is seen on the handset display. The manual is also all over the place and the sequence of events you should do are not always sequential in the manual. In short the manual is pretty rubbish ( I was going to use another term). Poorly written and presented and I don’t think written by a technical author, which for the money you pay for the LX850 is pretty disappointing. The alignment, after a few false starts, went OK, there is still some room for improvement. My first target was M42 of course, naked eye, easy to see. I used the supplied 25mm EP, which is of good quality. Pressed the GOTO button and the OTA duly rotated. This is a noisy mount, even when balanced. When it slews to target it does a quick rotation and settles, then I have found after 10 second more it does another wee shift and there in the centre of the EP was M42. I was blown away. It filled the EP, the Trapezium stars easily all visible and the surrounding nebulosity very distinct with graduation and shape clearly seen. The Andromeda Galaxy also showed nice structure. This was definitely a step up from my 9.25SCT in terms of viewing. The LX850 has two cameras which perform the Starlok function, one for narrow field one for wide field working together. Within 30 seconds of getting the M42 in the EP the Starlok showed a solid red LED which meant it had acquired a guide star was tracking. I left it for 30 mins and the M42 was still centred. This was one of the reasons that I laid out the money on the LX850, integrated cameras, no stuffing around with a pc and more cables. There was a period when some clouds crossed the line of site, the Starlok went into blinking mode which means it is trying to find a guide star, it does however then default to the mount settings and tracks unguided until the cloud clears. The clouds then rolled back in and I had to pack up for the night, so I just parked the OTA. I have a roll off roof obsy so unlike my old 9.25 SCT this big beast has to be put to rest facing to the west not up at Polaris. Over the weekend I added an Altair 70mm F6 ED refractor to the side plate of the mount saddle, so I can now image with that and with the main OTA using Starlok for both. I have also acquired 0.62 reducer which make the F8 tube work at about F4.96 The reducer or ‘telecompressor’ as Optec Inc call them is used directly in front of the camera adapter for whatever camera adapter you are using. It works well with my Canon 650D, I have yet to try it with the Altair 186C Hypercam. I have added a pic of the camera and adapter. Telescope Service in Germany are distributors for Optec and provided a good service. I did have one issue with the Starlok, I noticed that in the Canon live view the stars were making tiny circles. I quickly identified the cause was the Starlok by turning it off and on again. I then went through the manual and saw I should have done a PEC training on setting up. I did one which is easy to do as it is menu driven from the handset and the problem seems to have gone away. But again, it shows the manual to be an issue. If there are functions to be performed on first start up why not list them? The LX850 is a lovely set up and one that will take me a while to learn, it is only let down by silly issues which can be got around. I would not have normally been able to afford this setup but for a bequest in my late fathers will, so every time it is used I will remember him. Likes: Solidly built Good optics, sharp stars right out to the edges of the mirror. Accurate GOTO even after starting up from parked position Room to add smaller OTA/Cameras for astrophotography on the saddle plate Starlok system works very well Dislikes: Handset cable is too short. If you are viewing an object to the south from the UK you are pulling the cable around to be near the viewing position which is on the north side of the mount and it does not stretch far enough. I have ordered a longer cable from ScopeStuff in the US…(great service) The manual: Possibly one of the worst I have seen, poorly copied on low grade paper. Misleading and badly written. Balancing: Both axes are stiffer than I would like, but I now have a work around, this involves uses a suitcase scale and then pulling and measuring the pull in each direction when rotating it around the DEC axis. The RA axis though stiff does move. Noisy compared to my experience with SW EQ-AZ6 and Celestron AVX mounts The Horse Head was 17x2 min ISO1600 shots +5 darks using the Canon 650D with the AA70mm The overblown M42 12" OTA + Canon 650D without the telecompressor, I just wanted to see what cloud detail would be revealed. M35JPG 17 x 2 min ISO 1600 Canon 650+ telecompressor Second M35 Single 2 min sub using AA70mm and Canon 650 (last night and then the clouds rolled back) I hope this month the skies will cooperate and I can target the Moon and see what the 12" OTA can do.
  7. You might even consider rubbing (not spraying) lightly some of the surfaces with WD40 as a moisture repelant.
  8. I have used a kettle drum BBQ cover from B&Q on my set up, It is inside a ROR obsy, the Amazaon heavy duty ones would work. Plus a good set of short bungies to get a tight wrap.
  9. baggywrinkle

    W&W dew heaters

    I have been using W&W dewbands and shield for about 2 years. First came across them at a BAA meeting as one of the invited vendors and decided to buy one for a 102mm 'frac I have.. I have been buying them since. They also made up a dew shiled for my 9.25 SCT with an included heater and the slots cut accurately for the dovetail. I now have a 12" Meade with Starlok and I have dewbands for the two guiding cameras and also for the 60mm finder. I have also orderd the 12" dewband. No complaints and good to see a UK based company that gives great service.
  10. baggywrinkle

    PIX in Sight or Nebulosity?

    I looked at the PI site and it says 230€ for a commercial licence. Does that apply to all buyers? The use of the word 'commercial' implies a business not a private use licence.
  11. baggywrinkle

    W & W Astro

    I needed extra dew bands for my new set up. Initially ones for the Starlok cameras, today I needed to add some extra ones for the main OTA and the 60mm AA Finderscope. Immediate service! I've been using my camera one. Barbara's design is very rugged and I have been using them for a number of years with no brokeb connections.
  12. Just a straw pole to see what our members think about these two dedicated packages. I am currently using Photshop but not over happy with it.
  13. As promised, my first post re unpacking and setting up my new LX850 onto the pier. The LX850 arrives in 7 boxes of varying sizes and weights. The two heaviest and largest are the mount and the 12” OTA. All are carefully packed and I was please to see as I unpacked there appeared to be no damage to any of the contents. My LX850 was shipped within the UK via UPS (who also managed to mislay 2 of the 7 boxes), I certainly would have not been able to get all of them in my car. Box 1: 12" ACF f/8 OTA 21kg, 97cm x 59cm x 60cm Box 2: OTA accessory kit 3kg, 32cm x 32cm x 33cm Box 3: Mount Body 30kg, 55cm x 42cm x 79cm Box 4: Mount Accessories 22kg, 76cm x 49cm x 29cm Box 5: Counterweight 14kg, 27cm x 27cm x 14cm Box 6: Counterweight 14kg, 27cm x 27cm x 14cm Box 7: Giant Tripod 24kg, 44cm x 44cm x 102cm My first job was to dismantle the EQ-AZ6 off my pier ready to take the LX850, for that reason I unpacked and then repacked the large mount just to ensure it was in good order. I had also been to my local hardware shop to buy a ½” 13 UNC bolt, locking nut and washer, they would be needed to secure the mount to the pier. Next to unpack was the mount box. The mount head comes is two main parts, the Dec part and the RA assemblies along with the instructions, hand controller and the control panel. I had previously downloaded the PDF version of the handbook to gen up on ahead of receiving the real thing. You would have thought that considering the price tag on the mount the handbook would have been something better than very poorly printed pages off a photo copier. The images are poor to useless, so just as well I had the PDF to refer to. There was also a second document that shed a little more light on the assembly. IMO sorely needed as Meade does not seem to employ literate technical writers. It too was a poor photocopy. The main part of the mount has carry handles which does make lifting this heavy lump into place easier. Correct size imperial sized hex wrenches are supplied plus a spanner that looks a bit like a glorified bottle opener…it is much more useful than that as I was to find out The RA head then has to be attached, that is followed by running the cables supplied for the RA drive and the Starlock OTA though the dedicated raceways. This is a good idea as it prevented cables from twisting and dangling around when the whole assembly is built and in use. The whole assembly is incredibly solidly built and oozes quality. I then used a digital inclinometer and a compass to roughly set Polar North and Latitude. It was then that the bottle opener spanner came into play...much needed when you have a heavy mass to alter the declination on Next was the attachment of the very large mounting plate and the mass bar with its two 14Kg masses. As I am using the Starlock Finder on top of the OTA I did not need to add the extra counterweight provided for the plate to offset the extra sideways mass if the Starlock finder is used in that position. For the next part I was lucky enough to have a friend turn up who could help me lift the OTA onto the mount. At 21Kg and very bulky IMO two are needed into order not to drop the OTA or getting a hernia. I also notice that though a power supply was included the none of the power leads included were of a 3 Pin UK type…another minus point to Meade. I am now waiting for some clear skies so I can do a proper polar align and set up.
  14. I found that having polar aligned and then starting a two star alignment the second star chosen was out a bit but once I had centered and accepted the star the mount subsequently tracked well. I also used Pole Master for Polar alignment. If you use a compass and inclinometer you can get close but consider if you are one degree out that is two moon diameters...a large potential error.

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