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Everything posted by kev100

  1. I just remembered something I heard at a Wessex astro society evening a few months ago. One of the presenters mentioned doing a talk at a school, and she'd set up her iPad at the other end of the hall, displaying a hi quality picture of the moon. Her telescope, at the other end of the room, was trained on the iPad, and apparently all the kids were very impressed ... I don't know what her setup was, but she was (just) able to focus on the moon image ...
  2. You're in for a treat then. With Orion just round the corner, so to speak. The Orion neb is amazing in the 250PX. As for collimation, don't worry about it yet. It's just the process of making sure the mirrors are aligned properly, with each other and the focuser tube. A decent laser collimator makes it easy and painless. Kev.
  3. Hi Ant, You've made a good choice there. You'll get amazing views of the moon and larger planets. Globular and open clusters will knock your socks off. Galaxies, nebulae - the Orion neb is a fantastic treat in the 250. Once you get to grips with it, and the eyepieces supplied, you'll have to be careful when selecting new eyepieces, so as to avoid distortion at the periphery of the field of view (but that's for another day, once you get used to the scope itself, and there'll be lots of advice here on that subject). Enjoy! Kev
  4. Hi. I can't remember exactly where I got the info, but as regards the size of the sun, I said it would be like a really large beach ball, about 4 feet across ... and held out my arms to give an idea.
  5. Hiya, I did a talk recently for the local Cubs and Scouts group. What really went down well was the old 'if the earth was the size of a cherry tomato ...' routine. I had several pieces of fruit set up on the table. Even the group leaders were fascinated by the relative scales. As well as relative sizes and distances from the sun, I also talked about how long the pieces of fruit would take to orbit the sun. There's a useful sheet here: http://www.thatsnerdalicious.com/play-with-your-food/earth-is-a-cherry-tomato-in-the-fruit-solar-system/ Kev
  6. Hi Antony, That's a great scope, but I would have thought the mount unnecessary for a beginner, unless you're planning to get straight in to astrophotography. A better visual only scope would be the 8-inch dobsonian version ... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-200p-dobsonian.html Kev
  7. Hiya, I'm over in Cerne Abbas. Not too far ...
  8. Sounds like an awesome night! Congrats on the 110! Kev
  9. Cheers everyone. Party shenanigans aside, it was a cracking session, and the moon and Neptune being so close together was amazing. Well worth the effort.
  10. Hiya ... despite being knackered yesterday (after a long day out in Weymouth hanging around while my eldest son did two shows in the chorus of the musical Joseph), I really needed a night out under the stars ... Got home at about 11.15, and was set up with the dob at around 11.30 (still twilight!). I started off with Mars and Saturn. Had a good look at Mars, but couldn't detect any detail. Saturn was fantastically crisp at x136 in the ES/82 8.8mm: clear Cassini division, surface banding ... The Milky Way soon appeared as a soft cloud overhead, lacking the fizzy sparkliness of other nights, but nice nonetheless. The Veil neb in my ES/62 24mm plus OIII filter was okay, not great. In fact, although seemingly clear, fainter objects and nebulosity was underwhelming (M31, 51, 81, 82, M16), and lacking in detail. Star clusters, though, were amazing. M11, M3 & lots of other 'couldn't be bothered to identify' clusters in the Milky Way were all fantastic! M3 (I know, not in the MW!) in the ES 8.8 in particular, was lovely; really dense, like fine salt grains ... The night was looking like it might be spoiled by a local 'party' that seemed to go wrong, with arguments and shouting emanating from a local farm, storming's off, more shouting, a girl crying, a shotgun blast (!), more crying, then drunken laughter, recriminations, then more storming's off, a pickup truck screeching off, then back ... honestly! Anyway, I was thinking of packing up around 1.00 anyway, as the waning moon was due to clear the hills, whereupon the 'party' seemed to calm down for a bit, so I thought I'd take a look at the moon before heading for bed. By this point I'd kind of resorted to scanning around with my 10x50s, and pointed them at the moon as it rose ... Then ... hang on, what's that? That doesn't look like a background star ... out with Stellarium on the phone and, 'Wow!' That's Neptune (in the same FOV as the moon!). What an amazing sight. I quickly switched to the scope, and tried a variety of EPs. The planet remained a shimmery orb, but a truly magical one at that. I hung around for another 20 minutes or so, entranced by the combination of our planet's satellite and the distant ice giant, before finally packing up. Amazing. As it turned out, I might as well have stayed out. Didn't get to sleep for ages, as I was buzzing from such a fantastic experience. Cheers, Kev
  11. I put together a blog post when I flocked my 250PX dob. You might find it useful ... https://theastroguy.wordpress.com Kev
  12. Hiya. Do you have a budget? For around £100 or so, a small Dobsonian would be a good bet ... One of these, perhaps: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians.html
  13. Hiya, I didn't bother last night, but Friday was very similar to what you describe. Very hazy and humid, and any attempt at finding a faint fuzzy was a waste of time. Planets, though, were excellent! I got surface shading on Mars, banding and a clear Cassini division on Saturn, and a pretty clear GRS on Jupiter ... Star clusters and doubles were okay, and I picked up the ring, dumbbell and veil nebs, but they offered little in the way of detail. Kev
  14. September's potentially a busy month for star parties. There's also Awesome Astronomy's AstroCamp in the Brecons in September (24th - 27th)
  15. Sounds interesting. I'd definitely be interested.
  16. Hiya. I expect most us us have felt exactly that, I know I did. Like most things, it does take time, research, practice, etc. What type of scope do you have? Have you read through the 'What can I expect to see?' post here on SGL? Kev
  17. Hiya, before you start buying, it would be a good idea to try some beforehand, if it's at all possible. Is there a club near you? Or an experienced observer who could let you take a look? The reason being that what I regard as a good EP might not work at all for you. The eye relief could be too tight/too long, the field of view not wide enough. etc ... Having said that, the Explore Scientific 68 degree eyepieces are very good, and if your budget could stretch to one, an ES 8.8 82 degree Ep is very nice. Have a look on FLO's website. Kev
  18. kev100

    Wow !!!

    ... too many clear nights!?
  19. kev100

    Wow !!!

    I had a cracking night last night too, though had to drag myself away at around midnight due to work this morning. The sky was 'alive' with stars last night ... fabulous. Although I had the scope out, I spent as much time just gawping at the stars naked-eye than actually using it.
  20. Cheers guys, and thanks, Piero, for the planetary neb suggestions. The Owl and surfboard galaxy are already old favourites, and I've recently added the Turtle to my hit list. NGC4361 looks interesting ... will have to give it a go! Kev
  21. Hiya. I see from the forum that several of us had a good night. Your post actually reminded me, I had a good look at the sombrero too. I'd forgotten. In fact, it was one of those nights when I has to write up my notes the next day from memory, rather than at the time. Happy days!
  22. Hiya. Although I've had a fair few nights out this year, pretty much all have been affected to a greater or lesser extent by atmospheric humidity. Last last night, however, was different. Clear, still, transparent, no moon, on a weekend! Wow. Although I had to be done by around midnight (I had to be back up again by 4.15!), I packed 'em in. Starting with Jupiter at around 9.30 (4 moons, GRS just emerging). A couple in a camper van had pulled up for the night in the carpark where I observe, and they came for a look, and they were very impressed. We chatted for a while and then they retired for the evening. By 10 it was dark enough for some DSOs ... The Leo triplet was probably the best I've ever seen it. At 50x in the 24mm MaxVision, they just about fitted, and the burger in the hamburger was clearly visible! Stellarium on my phone indicated the intriguingly named Starwind galaxy was close by Porrima in Virgo. Sure enough, there it was. Small, but very clearly a side on galaxy. No signs of the star wind, obviously (not visible in visible light), but nice none the less. Porrima is apparently a double, but I couldn't split it. Did manage epsilon Lyrae, though! I spent a good half hour, maybe more just scanning down through the bowl of Virgo taking in galaxy after galaxy. I didn't even bother to try to identify them, as I've done in the past, it was far too enjoyable just seeing fov after fov of them ... Over the course of the evening there were: • A few globulars: M80, 107, 56, 13, and 92, ranging from the faint fuzzy blob to the 'blimey!' M13 at 240x was just bonkers! • A few planetary nebs. Ghost of jupiter was suitably planetary, but offered no detail. The Blinking planetary was an easy find, but oddly it didn't 'blink'. I have witnessed this phenomenon before, but last night it was a steady, planetary blob! The Ring, although still a little low in the east, was very clear, but offered little in the way of colour. Finally, just as I was getting ready to pack up, Mars rose over the horizon. Way too low to be anything other than a shimmery orb, it was oddly mesmerising to watch it rise, even with just the naked eye. Trees obscured my current main target for the evening (the southern pinwheel), but it was a fantastic night all the same. It was hard to drag myself away, but I had to be up at 4.15 so I could climb to the top of Giant Hill, watch Morris Men dancing, and drink beer while watching the May Day sun rise! As they say in twitterland: #knackered Kev
  23. Thanks all. I used the filter again today (without the ND filter), and all's well. I will keep latter, and try it on a few things to see how it goes. Kev
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