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ecuador

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About ecuador

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    Star Forming

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    http://astro.ecuadors.net

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    Stockport, UK
  1. The short answer IMHO is "yes, but not much". The long answer is that filtering is not very easy for stellar/full spectrum objects like galaxies. You need a "generic" light pollution filter that tries to block specifically monochromatic (sodium etc) lights to increase the contrast - it cuts stellar light as well, but proportionally more light pollution. There are some cheap ones that don't help much, some more expensive ones that help more. However, given that cities are switching to LED lights, these filters become less effective. Filters are much more effective with emission nebulae where you have specific emission lines for your target and can just cut out everything else.
  2. M33 is the classic object to puzzle beginners. Even more so beginner astrophotographers. So you observe/photograph Andromeda as your first galaxy. Great, what's next? You open the messier list, filter for galaxies, sort by brightness (screenshots from PS Align's DSO database): OK! M33 is next! You try to see or photograph it, to rather dismal results. What happened? Sorting instead the M galaxies by surface brightness would have given you an idea - to find M33 you would have to scroll to the absolute bottom: Yup, it is 3rd from last! The magnitude is the total brightness over quite a big area, and, as M33 is quite big, the magnitude is not very representative. The surface brightness may also be a bit misleading for big targets, as it is just the average, when they might still have a relatively bright core - so M33 is easier to see than some other galaxies with higher average surface brightnesses. But in astrophotography the surface brightness is quite telling: M33 is indeed one of the harder Messier galaxies to get good detail on.
  3. Xasteria Plus 3.1 is in beta testing an I don't have many people trying it out, if anyone with an iPhone/iPad/iPod is interested, PM me your email address to add you. Currently in test we have Green/White night mode options, Satellite passes and various other tweaks and fixes.
  4. By the way, if anyone is interested in joining the Xasteria / Xasteria Plus beta test list to try out new features before they are released publicly, just send me a PM with your email address. Thanks!
  5. Users of the Xasteria Astro Weather app will have received an upgrade to 3.0 yesterday, which adds several new features, including Clear Sky Charts (for North America) and access to light pollution maps: Enjoy! In order for the app to always remain free, but be able to upgrade the main service it uses (7Timer) with more servers, you might have noticed there was the paid version Xasteria Plus released (previously only included as part of Polar Scope Align Pro), which has some extra things like night mode, lunar calendar, location manager, but most importantly not being free allows me to use paid weather services as well. So I have added Dark Sky for now, which updates hourly combining real time radar to get a (hopefully) more precise short-term forecast. As always both forecasts (7Timer and Dark Sky) can switch between 3 visualisations (icons/stripes/text), and additionally to night mode:
  6. As you have surmised, and to definitively answer the original question, Polar Scope Align Pro does work for the Southern Hemisphere (including the Daytime/No polar scope alignment tool that you were actually asking about), but, unfortunately, I don't make an Android version. And that's even though my main phone is an Android - I just have never developed for Android and by now, after adding stuff to it for years, the App is enormously complex to port, which is probably a couple of times I tried to find someone to help it did not pan out...
  7. Thanks. As I note on the page, I decided to stop at $15k - the Paramount ME II is just at that limit, but also at 100kg payload capacity (the ME II is 109kg). I just had to stop somewhere (to avoid comparing the completely incomparable) and it so happened the ME II fell right outside. I mean now that you mentioned it, maybe I will include it if I update again, since it is quite popular in its category...
  8. I haven't seen a report of someone using it with that kind of load, but I remember reports of the previous version being used near max load (although it did require good balance), so I assume the MKII specs are not exaggerated either. It is a very minimalist design in general, which helps a lot with weight.
  9. Some mounts are more tolerant than others to length too. Payload definitely does not tell the whole story, even if we had an unbiased 3rd party decide on maximum payloads, never mind each manufacturer having their own ideas... But I like charts and the payload/weight, price/payload seemed like the most interesting without being too controversial... PS. I feel a bit bad I had to list the EQ6-R with the "photo" payload, as there is no official "visual" figure and I thought I shouldn't just make one up. But since it takes more photo weight than the NEQ6 it will take more visually, so it should be considered the new payload/£ champ.
  10. Don't know if you have seen these before, but I recently updated the comparison tables and graphs that I keep. I had first done them for myself, because a UK shop that had nice aggregate tables (forgot its name now) shut down. There are separate sets for the low-end mass market mounts, and the mid-high end mounts. I did try to assemble things like PE values from various CN threads etc, but they are too anecdotal to chart. However I did chart price & head weight per payload (even though payload numbers are obviously not directly comparable), which gives an interesting at-a-glance view of the current market. For example here are the payload/mount head charts (the rest in the linked blog posts):posts):
  11. No, I was talking about the in-app help of the app Polar Scope Align specifically. I get questions from people confused even after reading it, and the rotation of the Skywatcher reticle is one of the most common questions, so I have tried to clarify the instructions a few times, but I am still not making it clear it seems It's not that easy to describe it, and Skywatcher could fix that aspect so easily, other manufacturers manage it fine. You are right about the SW manual though, my app users read my instructions AND the SW manual and that probably does more harm than good.
  12. I really don't understand why SkyWatcher doesn't just install it "upright" in factory, like other manufacturers do, since they seem to align it anyway. I have edited those instructions on Polar Scope Align quite a few times, but I still get questions from confused people
  13. BTW the previous version of PS Align Pro required the device to be pretty level on the horizontal axis to get an accurate compass reading. Version 5.0 released recently lets you mount it at any angle, as long as the top of the phone points to the celestial pole.
  14. I think you are confusing Cassiopeia with Octans, which is used for the south hemisphere. I mean, you are talking about this reticle, right? So, Octans is irrelevant, in fact in my app (I am the developer of Polar Scope Align) when you are in the N. Hemisphere it doesn't even show you Octans, it just zooms in the center. I could allow a rotated view for people who can't rotate the scope enough, but Jiggy 67 is right, in the end you just need a vertical reference, you can just put 6 on top instead and imagine it is 0.
  15. Yeah, the 7Timer service was not getting updates due to NOAA changes. It was fixed sometime yesterday. If you see any problem in the future, PM me so that I am aware and I can fix it if it is a Xasteria issue, or notify 7Timer if it is from that side.
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