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    Astronomy, Wristwatches, Time, History, Atheism, Rationality, General Science, Books, Linux and drink :)
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  1. Thanks for sharing those shots. I tried to see them, managing only one before 11:30 pm when the Met Office's forecast proved 100% correct.
  2. I've found that the Manfrotto 035BN Binocular Super Clamp (see on-line for suppliers) was the way for me to re-use my bird-watching binoculars with my camera tripod for astronomy use. It's solid and can apparently cope with bins, heavier than my 10x32mm.
  3. I do have a couple of darker spots in my communal garden, so the table does help to relocate but right over the wall is a street lamp. I picked up Patrick Moore and Chris North's "Answers to Questions from across the universe" and was pleased to note that I share an inclination with the great man Clearly I wouldn't do anything illegal but the mens rea is present.
  4. I'm very much still learning how to navigate the skies and get the best from my Heritage 130P but I agree with Alex, it's definitely portable. I have a five minute walk to the nearest usable viewing site and while I could carry the Heritage fully assembled, I prefer to break it down; putting the OTA in the main compartment of a padded shoulder bag, the EPs etc in a side pocket, the Dobsonian base is then held in one hand and a portable table in the other. This is the table I've just bought from Amazon, it's collapsable, easily adjustable, water resistant, lightweight and solid, stable even when adjusted to be at it its highest. It's just 4Kg so it's easy to carry.
  5. Thanks again for the further suggestions and advice. I was out for an even more successful night yesterday. The skies were very clear and so I was determined to get my first views of the moon through the heritage and to find a darker viewing location. Luckily there are a couple of playing fields nearby which have no obstructions, no nearby houses and so no neighbours with powerful security lights. They are just a five minute walk away. Carrying the Heritage is not an issue, but what to put it on? When viewing from my balcony I use an old bedside cabinet that I can wheel around my flat, an adjustable table is on order. I tested my electronic organ's stand. It was not the most stable but with judicial alignment, it worked and is of course very light and portable! I did find it slightly high when observing objects high above the horizon. So not elegant, not a long term solution but practicable. So I had some fantastic views of the moon, again my 25mm and the x2 Barlow produced the best results. They were worth the price of the Heritage! Arcturus, Cassiopea, Capella and Cygnus were all incredibly clear. Thanks very much for the link, I'll pay a visit. I know Threipmuir very well but have never been to Harper Rigg. Sadly I don't usually have access to a car but there's the city car club. Hello - my parents had a house in East Lothian some years back, near North Berwick - far less LP out that way!
  6. Thank you so much for that advice. Fun was had. In what may be a first for a newbie telescope buyer, I actually had clear skies last night. I concentrated on some of the brighter objects, such as Vega, Altair & Capella and the surrounding stars. I was desperate to view the moon but it had not made it's way above some tall trees by bed time. I'll have more time at the weekend and I hope, similarly clear weather. I was very pleased from my newcomer's point of view with the Heritage. It was easy to use, the focusing ring was not too loose and the RDF worked well. I'm still at the stage of finding my way around the skies and also used my bins to assist my navigation. As a wide view is best for me, I was using the 25mm only sometimes fitting the 2x Barlow when required. I would have fitted the 10mm for lunar views but didn't get the opportunity. You have prompted some more research on the plossels. One thing I did learn last night was how irritating was the automatic security light in my neighbour's garden, there were bats flying past the trees and so set it off every five minutes. That and the other light pollution won't be a problem up north. Erg! I know what it's like. Unless you've experienced them first hand, one cannot appreciate the misery they bring. My friends have been going up there since they were babies. When one of them was only about five months old, his father left him sleeping outside but soon after they heard him screaming. His dad came out to find his son's face almost buried beneath countless midges. I don't smoke any more but I do pack small cigars to keep them at bay. Smoke and those midge hat/masks are the only things which work. Cheers David
  7. Thank you all for making me feel so welcome, it's most kind of you. Luckily my Heritage SW-130P arrived at work just in time for me to get it home. I've set it up to the extent that the RDF is successfully aligned. Using a distant chimney, I've tested the standard eyepieces and a barlow I added to my bundle from FLO, who BTW were exceptionally professional and speedy with my order. The clarity of the 25x in the barlow was very good to my inexperienced eye, if that chimney four streets away was anything to go by. Now comes the impatient wait for darkness and hopefully some clear skies. Thanks Lorne, now that definitely sounds like a plan, thanks very much for the suggestion - I'll make sure to have a look at the group's site. Cheers, mention of the midges means you've definitely been there. A friend came back from the spot we'll be going to, Drumbeg (58.243178,-5.201769) and they were spared apart from one day when they were eaten alive. The views in daylight are okay too, but as you say the dark nights are fantastic. Thanks once again, I'm off to check the skies.
  8. Hello SGL, Another new member here, this time from Edinburgh. I've been lurking around the forum for a couple of weeks and decided to join in the fun a few days ago. I'm an IT manager who enjoys bird-watching, reading, politics and I definitely have a penchant for wristwatches. First off, I'd like to thank many of the members here who have shared their knowledge, expertise and advice which has proved such a useful resource to those of us, taking our first steps in the fascinating world of astronomy. I've been interested in space and the stars for many years. One of my earliest memories was as a four and half year old, my father making me watch the news on the 21st July 1969 and urging me to remember the momentous news of that day. He was slightly less encouraging when a few years later, I stuck ESA stickers celebrating Cos-B's launch all over his desk. A very good friend has been urging me for years to delve more deeply and so he's at long last found an astronomy buddy with whom to compete - it's that sort of friendship. At the end of next month he, his family and I will be up in the Scottish highlands for our traditional relaxing holiday. This combines some walking, some bird spotting, some fishing and far too much drinking - this year we'll definitely be adding astronomy. Our holiday croft is 30 miles south of Cape Wrath on the north west coast and as you can assume from the image below, light pollution is not a problem. I'm just hoping the clouds keep off, as a clear sky there is simply astonishing. I've been using my birding 10x32 binoculars in a clamp on my camera tripod to try to learn the constellations find my way around the sky and in particular I've been fascinated by the moon. But thanks to considered recommendations here and checking with my friend, I've made a couple of purchases, to take it on by a small step. First off was Turn Left at Orion - everyone's correct, this is a brilliant and fun book, so useful and clearly written. Second, given that I live in a flat with no garden but with a good south facing balcony and don't normally have access to a car - I've bought a SW 130P Heritage dobsonian. I'm about to take delivery of it and am looking forward to the thunder storms and clouds dissipating so I can continue my education. I'm looking forward to lunar views especially and of course taking it on my holidays. It will be interesting to compare the views from my dob with my friend's NexStar 5SE. He has the advantage, he knows what he's doing! Anyway - enough rambling, Thanks for reading, see you around the forums, I'm ready to learn, so I'm in the right place. Cheers David
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