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Everything posted by Niels

  1. I'm looking forward to a nice session tonight too! Your 130mm scope can see a lot fainter than the Orion Neb and Andromeda Galaxy - the Messier list is a good place to look for ideas as it is broadly a list of the brighter DSO in the sky. The flame is in fact quite faint and hard as others have said. But as well as the orion Neb and andromeda, consider the open clusters North of orion, M35, M37, M36, and M38. Also the galaxies just North of the Plough M81 and M82, which are a bright pair in the same field of view. The Double cluster is always worth a look too. M51 is an excellent target, but a bit low in the sky at the moment. Have fun tonight!
  2. Ski Trousers for me, you can just pull them on over the top. Took me ages to realise this would be a good idea, before that I was getting fully changed into thermals ... and the ski trousers are much warmer, I never come in really chilled now. Niels
  3. Thanks tenbyfifty, thats a really great video explanation of the whole thing and B-mode polarization in particular, which I was still trying to understand.
  4. Hmmm, a bit steep. Amazing to see them come up for sale, and unused! I wonder what the story was there. I was wondering just this morning how much a single one would cost - now I know! Thanks for the interesting find. Pity he didn't put picture on.
  5. Same here! And it partly shields me from the neighbours lights.
  6. Looks very interesting, an upgrade to a 12" from my 8 is on the cards in a year or two, and at this price, weight and portability that could be a year not two. It'll be good to hear peoples' experiences.
  7. Another vote for this one - I've been using it a couple of months - it works great. Adjustment seems fiddly the first time but it's just a knack that come quickly. And it's cheap! The only weak point was the seat - the ply inside has broken on both sides of mine, but that doesn't actually seem to be a problem, can still perch just fine because the metal frame underneath is solid; so the flat seats a bit bent!
  8. Congratulations on your baby! It's a good hobby when you've got kids, because it's just out the back door - long observing and dark sky visits are hard when you've got young kids, but quick sessions in the back garden, definitely. For me a session will be 1-3 hours in the garden, or just a quick look with eyes or binoculars. Much later than midnight and the tiredness catches up with me, and I'm definitely finishing at midnight (ish!) on a work night. The weather determines the frequency - seems to me that roughly two-three nights a week are clear for some observing. That seems to be the rhythm of the weather systems coming through. But then it doesn't always work out or it's cloudy for months like last winter. So in practice I'm really happy if I get out once a week and anything else is bonus, and I'm learning to accept (!) when the weather's clouded out, it's a long game. Have fun! Niels
  9. Thanks Yimini I will do, and I'll enjoy reading anything you and the others doing astronomy post too. Best wishes, Niels
  10. Hi there also, sorry for double post. I'll be doing the cosmology course this year - that's my first dip of the toe and really looking forward to it. If it goes well I might do the astronomy next year - it'll be interesting to hear how we all get on if this thread continues. Good luck all, Niels
  11. ...also Observer Pro, which tells you visibility of DSOs based on moon and altitude, location, and even your skyline at different locations, which you enter by doing a slow twirl in your back garden and the ipad/phone registers with accelerometer. Has little thumbnails and is searchable by catalogue designation, transit time etc +1 Scope Nights and Safari, and quite a few others in the attached screen grab: (Darksky is a nice superimposed Bortle zone on a map, although there is a slight southward shift which you have to take into account) Clear skies!
  12. Hi, I've also just yesterday applied for one of these courses - the Cosmology one. I've been checking out the UK courses in the last couple of week but somehow missed the UCLAN ones, so thanks to Yimini for posting this thread which prompted me. I'm looking forward to it, but haven't heard if I'm on yet.
  13. The trade off for the zooming is apparent field of view - most zooms have a roughly 40-60 degree range from the long to short fl. so it also depends on the use - on a driven mount looking at the moon and planets this could be ideal. But non-driven star hopping for dso it feels narrow at 40, so need to use a wider ep as a finder, and then it can still be good for setting the right magnification to optimise contrast. I have a nikon spotting scope zoom (21-7mm, 38.5* at the long fl), which is optically good but narrow at 21mm. I got lucky with a good deal on a Leica zoom which has a wider angle (58-78*), and is useful for some star hopping and finding the optimum mag/contrast on galaxies, and I'm very happy with it, but v expensive new. The Baader Mk III is said to be very good optically, and medium expensive.
  14. That second sheep is enjoying them though.
  15. I tested it quickly from my urban back garden last night: 19.11, which is rated towards the bad end of red zone. I could see only 2 stars in the square of Ursa Minor visible, in what I would call poor transparency, with some moonlight, and I would usually rate that about 4.75 NELM at best. On a reasonable clear night I can see all four, and sometimes some of the fainter companions, and I reckon I get 5-5.25. The app though suggested a mag around 6 (I forgot the exact) which just seemed wrong to me. So the mag estimate of c.6 seemed wrong, but the mags^-2 did not seem implausible at 19.11, pending further testing. I wonder why there is such an obvious mismatch between the two measures, which presumably have a fixed conversion factor?
  16. This is great, I've been hoping for an app like this for a while - looking forward to testing it out and getting some objective measurements of my skies instead of my pretty rough estimates from looking at UMi. The cupboard under the stairs is 21.37, rural/suburban transition, "Milky Way above the horizon still impressive".
  17. I read a few books quite keenly when I was a boy, but never took it further until a few years ago aged maybe 37 when I turned my 60mm spotting scope on the sky looking at the moon, Jupiter and Saturn. It was Saturn that got me excited, at 60x could make out the rings but not much detail, but that was enough - the sense of reaching out across that huge distance to see something so immense, so far away and yet near enough to respond to a bit of magnification. I looked at the Orion Nebula in the winter, but wanted to see more detail - I also really wanted to see Galaxies, but thought the 60mm would be too small and didn't really try. A couple of nights before my 40th birthday I showed my 5 year old son Jupiter in the Fieldscope and he was so excited, and then I got very lucky with birthday money and put it into an 8" Newtonian on an eq5 to see those galaxies! And that's been great, and my greatest pleasure is hunting for faint fuzzies. The other night I took out the 60 mm fieldscope as a grab and go and found I could see galaxies after all; not just M31, 81 & 82 which I knew about, but M65, 66, NGC3628, M84, 86, 87, 51 and NGC5195, so I was wrong about that.
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