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Everything posted by kev100

  1. Hi all, I'm sure the more experienced of you will have already encountered this, but I felt I had to raise it (it's that time of year). A work colleague was given a telescope for Xmas by her husband (hadn't asked me first, by the way). It's a Celestron 114EQ Power Seeker, on an EQ2 mount (not cheap!). She'd tried looking at the moon over Xmas, but couldn't find it. Anyway, I spent an hour after work on Friday getting her started, setting it up, balancing it, polar aligning it, aligning the finder, explaining general issues as I went along. */rant/ Honestly! Why do manufacturers produce and market items like these. An EQ2 is useless for astrophotography, and more hassle than it's worth for purely visual. The tripod is wobbly, the finder awful, the EPs poor quality. Most beginners will want something to set up/put down/look through/see stuff easily (basically, something manageable on an Alt-Az mount, with a decent finder and sturdy legs/base). Most beginners will be given a telescope as a gift, with little research done, and only manufacturers specs and descriptions to go on (for example, the 114EQ on Amazon boasts of x675 magnification!). /end_rant/* I understand that the argument might run that quite a lot of people will give up the hobby anyway (for any number of reasons), and a scope like this will give just a taste of the hobby/experience, but I feel that it's equally true that a scope like this will put off more people than cold/late nights, the dark, light pollution, etc. Not being able to set up easily, and see things (even if it's only the moon) will be very disappointing. Grrrr. Kev
  2. Thanks everyone for contributing to this, ands sharing your experiences - it turned into a very entertaining thread. I was a bit upset at having had the police called, but I'm over it now (hearing others' experiences has helped a lot). Cheers, Kev
  3. Well, this happened to me last night. I was packing up at around 11 (a combination of chilly breeze, being a bit tired anyway, and the sky being a bit hazy). I was at a spot (the Cerne Abbas Viewpoint), where, on average, I must have been at least once a month over the past five years, when I saw a car approaching, fast, from the direction of the village. Something about it made be stop getting into my car and watch it, and, as I sort of expected, it swerved quickly off the main road, and swept into the car park, pulling to a stop right behind my car, blocking me in. A police officer got out and immediately a spotlight in the roof was shone in my face! The police officer asked me what I was doing, to which I replied 'stargazing', and opened the back door to show her the dob across the back seat. Immediately, the atmosphere changed. She said, 'oh ... would you look at that! See much? See anything nice? This is a good spot, isn't it? Well you can't be too careful, what with this being a secluded spot and all ...' Anyway, she then asked me for my name, and where I lived, and that was it ... she got back in the car and they left! I've been left feeling very odd ever since. Clearly they were on a mission, and came right to the car park (it definitely wasn't a case of just passing by and noticing me). Someone definitely called them, having decided I was up to no good! Anyway, as I said, it feels odd now, the police having my name and address as a result. Kev
  4. Weather underground offers quite a lot of info : https://www.wunderground.com I find it very reliable. Kev
  5. Hiya, I hold a monthly stargazing session at The New Inn in Cerne Abbas, if that's not too far. Next one is on Sunday, December the 10th. Kev
  6. Hiya, I saw it on Friday night (250PX, 20mm Myriad EP). Quite big, at x60, but very faint. Really just an indistinct smudge. Kev
  7. Okay, okay sorry for the confusion. Sclereids just happened to be on my mind when I saw the OP's post ... and they do look a bit like stars, and they are interesting ...
  8. Sclereids are a form of sclerenchyma cells, the ligneous (woody), supportive tissue found in plants. Sclereids, though, have highly thickened, lignified walls, and are shaped like stars. They are the gritty bits in pears and quinces.
  9. I believe it's due to Saharan sand in the atmosphere ...
  10. Hiya, I was looking at the double double last night, really nice viewing. M13 was a bit washed out, but definitely seeable ... And M57 was surprisingly clear.
  11. April 2016! Blimey, where does the time go?!
  12. i again, I would start here - https://www.celestron.com/pages/support - and just discuss the issue with Celestron before you do anything...
  13. There's also this ... but I would check with Celestron first, before possibly voiding a warranty ... http://www.opticalhardware.co.uk/PDF/information_and_retail_price_lists/collimating_binoculars.pdf
  14. Hi, this is a fairly basic test: http://www.greatestbinoculars.com/allpages/articles/collimationcheck/collimationcheck.html I remember there was a guide published in a copy of Sky at Night mag a few months ago, written by Steve Tonkin of BinocularSky.com - if you can't find the S@N edition check out Steve's website, and/or drop Steve a line. I recently went into a local camera/photography shop (which also sells binoculars) to ask if they do a collimation check. They said that they don't, but do sometimes send Celestron bins back to the manufacturer for checks and re-collimation. From memory (when I bought my Celestron 20x80s) they come with a lifetime warranty, so I'd check that before possibly voiding it .... Kev
  15. Whilst I agree with everything Ronin says, apart for the 'not being a fan of dobsonians' bit, if you're observing form the back garden, and if you have, say, a patio table/bench, and if you just want something to look through and begin learning your way around the skies, then a small dob is a very good idea. You definitely don't need an EQ mount, and the heritage will let you see a lot of what's on offer. A lot of people do recommend them. If you can afford it, though, and can store and transport a larger scope, than the 150 dob is definitely a better scope than the heritage, and should do you for a few years before the desire to upgrade kicks in. One thing I've learned in this hobby is that there's no such thing as the scope. Tastes change, and circumstances change, and it's often the case that you need to buy something and get started before you can understand what you should have bought. The thing is to get started, and enjoy the journey.
  16. Hi, Are you planning on doing any astrophotography (AP) with the scope? The Skyhawk comes on an EQ mount, which isn't necessary, and can be a bit of a hassle for purely visual observing. It's not really that good for AP either, though, as it doesn't seem to have drive motors. If you just want something that's easy and quick to set up, purely for visual, then go for the heritage. Kev
  17. Bump. Dropped the prices on these. Would like them to sell.
  18. Couple of collimator devices no longer needed: Cheshire EP (long type): £12 inc UK P&P Laser collimator: £8 inc UK P&P SOLD Kev
  19. Hi all, I'm selling my 24mm maxvision, 68 degree eyepiece because I just bought a Myriad 20mm, and no longer need it. Comes with caps, but I don't have the box anymore. £50 including postage in the UK.
  20. Actually, a very quick Google and ...
  21. Thanks Jim, I'll watch out for it. Kev
  22. Hiya, and thanks again to everyone who posted. It's funny that I'd gotten so stuck in the notion that the BB only created hydrogen, and found myself wondering how everything else could have formed from that homogeneous state. Forgetting, of course, about the temp and energy conditions at the time of the BB. Can't wait to read Marcus Chown's book when it gets here. Kev ?
  23. Thanks all for posting on this, and thanks for recommending the Marcus Chown book (ordered a copy straight away, and can't wait to read it). Cheers, Kev
  24. So … I’ve been thinking about the big bang … (sorry) A couple of weeks ago we had some friends visiting, and, as it was moonless and clear, we set up the 10in dob and had a look around. Nice star clusters, the odd galaxy, and then the ring and veil nebulae, whereupon I began waxing lyrical (there was some wine involved), about how stars fuse hydrogen into helium, and then the heavier elements of the periodic table, until they ultimately explode and seed the galaxy with these elements, which then go on to form planets, and, ultimately, us … At some point in the evening it dawned on me that, as the heavier elements are produced in stars, the ‘big bang’ must surely then have produced only hydrogen … If that’s the case, the notion I’d always held about the big bang (that all the matter in the universe was squeezed down into something incredibly dense and massive, the size of a grapefruit (or smaller), and then exploded and sprayed out all this star- and galaxy- and planet-forming stuff), is wrong. All the BB made was hydrogen … I imagined a scenario akin to the beginnings of life on the planet, with simpler particles (somehow existing or coming into existence in a … what? A cosmic void?), coalescing through electro-magnetic, nuclear and gravitational forces into hydrogen atoms, whereupon gravity can begin to take over … whereupon when enough hydrogen had accrued, there was a gravitational collapse/explosion … the noise/light from which we refer to as the big bang, shows up in the cosmic background radiation. Obviously this raises some questions: If time and space as we know them were created in the BB/expansion of the universe, is there anything we can know about the earlier (if it existed) particle-filled void? How long does it take for enough hydrogen to form out of ‘nothing’ to gravitationally collapse? Presumably if such a gravitational hydrogen-based collapsed happened ‘somewhere’, once, it could have happened ‘elsewhere’, twice (multiverse?) … Is there a big, cosmic ‘room’ filled with bubble-like ‘universes’? Am I even right in thinking that what we refer to as the big bang produced only hydrogen? Is it possible for sub-atomic particles to appear our of nowhere/nothing? I seem to remember reading something to the effect that such particles do indeed behave in this way. Does this mean the ‘universe’ is much, much older than we imagine? Is any of this even remotely accurate? Kev
  25. Hi there, if it's purely visual why not go for the sky watcher 200 dob? Personally, I'd recommend sacrificing go to capability for the quality of the view ... It's within your budget, and you'd have change to upgrade the eyepieces: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes/skywatcher-skyliner-200p-dobsonian.html Kev
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