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Everything posted by jonstarrysky

  1. If anyone is interested I have a spare 1.6x Antares barlow. Was a pain & expensive to get hold of new. In the end I have only used it once for a few minutes and decided it is not appropriate for the intened use (barlowing a 13mm Ethos) so will be selling it some point. A nice optic (but rather ugly sandwiched between a paracorr and 13mm Ethos - the combo is too heavy). jon
  2. For projects eg making a dew shield, i find regular duct tape has a tendency to peel off. Yes it is strong. But not that adhesive in the long run eg against various plastics, foams etc. Is there a more appropriate tape ??? apologies if this is in the wrong forum.
  3. Just used my 5in1 for >3 hours heating 5 dew heater strips, with controller knobs all at 70% and a fan. End of night all the charge indicator lights were still lit fully. So happy so far. And hey, easier to justify the purchase with the boss (yes we do need protection in case the car breaksdown...). I have a question about the charger. Is it essential to use the one provided in the pack ? I just spent £75 on a serious charger for lead acid batteries up to 150 AHr, which automatically stops charging when appropriate. Would is be OK (or better) to use this on the 5in1 in place of the poxy maplin charger ? There were some superficial issues with my 5in1 - the manual had a big tear and the unit its self had a sticky mess on the top (as if someone had removed a sticker). And the adhesive paper on the front panel is peeling at the top. Hey ho.
  4. Looking for a new home for my EPs and binoviewers. Needs to be able to hold 6" long Ethos eyepieces sitting *upright* together with lots of other (often chunky) eyepieces and large binoviewers etc etc. So the Maplin large flight case wont cut it. Placing tall eyepieces flat really eats into the space (will it even handle a 31mm nagler flat ?) So...there are the Peli and B&W cases, both of which offer a wide choice of sizes etc. B&W seems a bit cheaper and probably just as good. Does anyone have experience of these, especially the B&W ? I'd be particulatrly interested in padded dividers vs. foam cube options. The foam is good but once you cut it you cant go back. As the equipment collection evolves you end up cobbling together stuff back together and end up with a sorry looking case. But will padded divdiers cut it I wonder. The Peli and B&W cases are both waterproof. This I actually regard as a disadvantage. I'd prefer the equipment to "breathe" during storage.
  5. Being a latecomer to this thread I will nevertheless say there will inevitably be many many ideal dark observing sites in mid/ west Wales. Based in South England we have to hunt far and wide and there is very little. Problem is getting away from city light domes (just look at the LP maps of the UK and cry), and local street lights etc, plus appropriate ground and now local yobs are another consideration.... But re. wales, my mother in law lives in Kidwelly in south west wales. Just a short trip out of the town into Carmartehshire farmland revealed several possible sites. The skies there are dark, very dark. Look at the LP maps of the UK and Mid/ West wales has huge swathes of the lowest LP level. In SOuth England we just get tiny pockets of the 2nd lowest LP level :-( On a related theme are there any star parties in South/ West wales ????
  6. starting to make sense now, the stargazing is an extra that may or may not happen :-) Some other practicalities: Observing typically happens right next to your tent or in a separate area ? So you can pop in and out if needed. Or even leave some equipment in the tent.... Power for scope peripherals. I've had advice above on getting a mains RCD cable to hook up to campsite power. Can this be used for the scope ? Im planning a dew busting stratagy for my dob (12v hairdryer and dew heating strips for finderscope). Typically this would go from my car cigarette lighter or a big 12v battery. I already own a unit that converts 240v AC into 12V DC going to a car cigar ligher type socket. Could this be used to power peripherals at a star party instead of a battery ?? My type of scopes (dobs) can be lifted in 1 or 2 bits and set up quite simply. So there is actually no need for a separate scope cover right- I just store the scope in the tent if I get one that is big enough ?? That environment would be far dryer than leaving the scope in the field during the day under bin liners/ a cover/ or even in a toilet tent ? Leaving the scope set up in the field would only be desired for someting too big for a tent or that required lenghthy set up ? I guess storing in a heated tent means cool down time though......
  7. thanks astrobaby thats a useful inventory of kit. Maybe also look out for some where you stay indoors if they exist. And what if it is cloudy/ rainy throughout ? Maybe ppl dont bother turning up if the forcast is too bad and cut their losses with the pitch fees etc.
  8. Ahh, so you get mains voltage in the tent :-) I guess that opens the possibility of an electric cooker as well. Does anyone know how to get details / sign up for forthcoming starparties eg at Salisbury and SGL ? Is it simply a matter of waiting till the announcement is made on this web forum ? My cutoff point is late spring.
  9. Tim, thanks for that, really useful. I am not a long way from Salisbury as well so that one may be suitable as well as SGL. Kind of restricted to Spring for this year. Following your points: Mains adaptor lead - is this to attach to car battery to get 240 v or a campsite power socket ? Waterproof/windproof scope cover - I guess a toilet tent would be ideal ? Re red lamp I have a red light head torch. I am in the process of turning my car boot lights to red ones with red acetate sheet, and could do the same to a battery powered lantern....
  10. Hi, I was thinking about attending a starparty (I am based in the South). But currently have no camping experinece / gear. And I have no idea of what level of facilities are provided at your typical starparty. Is there any advice out there ? Maybe a checklist of the kind of stuff needed (not directly astronomy related eg not eyepieces, scope)... plus other logistical / practical considerations? Presumably the norm is to do your own cooking at the site, with some basic toilet, washing etc facilities provided. What about scope security ? Is it the norm to leave the site (eg for groceries/ day trips) with your gear set up ? thanks Jon ps. are there any starparties that have accommodation provided ? This would seem more ideal.
  11. lets be honest, the Celestron 15x70s (i had mine 3 years) are fantastic *for the price* and will provide much enjoyment per se. Great for larger Messier objects. Nice wide AFOV. Sharp in the centre. But optically they would be blown apart by a high end binocular of the likes of Fujuinon, Nikon, Zeiss, Canon etc. But honestly I dont care for that, I've burned the big bucks for a more general purpose size binocular 8X40 that is more useul in the day as well. IMO main limitation of 15x70 for astro is neck ache. Idea of deck chair + parallelogram mount doesnt appeal either. Give me my scope and astro chair :-)
  12. Hmm just my luck. Recently bought a similar thing from Scope stuff in USA and buyung from TS, with delivery & taxes etc, wouldv'e been way cheaper :-( The ring of ebony star from scope stuff was perhaps 1.5" diameter, which is unnecesarily mean. It meant you needed to do your measurements carefuly with 1" thick teflon blocks. I found the upgrade worthwhile though :-) Contact adhesive spray messy !
  13. Orion large eyepiece case (from Scs astro) with the foam cut by hand (isnt pluck type). Nice case. The limitation for me is that big 2" EPs (eg ethos) need to go flat and that takes up space. A bigger Peli case eg 1550 will hold those upright... My binoviewer needs a separate case. Then the scope bits need another box. The three case situation is kind of bugging me now.
  14. Andrew, I agree the Denkmeier binos have some good design features. I got the feeling you dont see them much in the UK, based on lack of suppliers, I got mine direct from Denkmeier in USA. Same goes for my other binos....(well Germany). Ever use binos on your LB ?
  15. Hello all, I would be interested to hear from ppl with binoviewers. What bino kit do you have, on what type of scope, what do you like doing with them, issues, thoughts etc. Personally I find binoviewing is a one-way ticket. My brain was wired to recieve a signal from both optic nerves. Other folk seem quite happy mono. But binoviewing sometimes presents technical challenges and issues - optical quality, vignetting, backfocus, limited lowest mag etc. Binoculars of the terrestrial type I dont get along with for astro. I feel you need things to be mounted and to be looking at 90 degrees to the tube (or get a crooked neck).
  16. Happy binoviewing Cornish astronomer !!! Myself, I am bino crazy, my ethoi are gathering dust now. By the way I have the Siebert corrector on order that you mention. The feedback I've heard, is the Siebert Universal OCA generates very fine images on dobs and solves the focus position issue, plus introduces a modest 1.3x magnification factor. Dont bother emailing them, they never respond, but he does answer the phone. Also think upgrading to low profile focusser. I've just put the Moonight CR2 on my dob, and it is sooo nice. Very low profile and solid as a rock for hefty bino setups.
  17. Divide the focal length of the candidate eyepieces by the f/ ratio of the fastest scope you intend buying = exit pupil in mm. Any thing bigger than 6 is a waste of time to some degree, some light is being stopped by your iris. My widest eyepiece is a 26 nagler, which I use on an f4.7 scope. Calculation = 5.5mm. It works a dream. But dont get too hung up, ppl report breaking this rule and seeing fine results. Expect the sky background to look greyish.
  18. you should be fine at f5.9. This is not fast. My f4.7 exhibits marked coma without paracorr, dependent on the particular eyepiece to some degree. Eyepieces I view as a long term purchase anyway, they can travel as you upgrade scope. At around f5 and faster you'll be wanting paracorr unless if you dont mind stars looking like seagulls around the edge.
  19. Maybe better to first show an image of a 36" dob or the like, or the Orion 50" monster dob, then the 14" will look like a kiddies toy. Joking aside I have a 18" being built and my other half perhaps hasnt yet understood that when I said its as big as a giant fridge freezer and it needs a metal ramp to load it in the car, I wasnt kidding.
  20. thanks for that John. I did wonder why ppl paint the back as well, reflected light would have to bounce again off the OTA before it might reach the focusser. But light reflected off the sides can go straight down the focusser. Maybe asthetics, to get the whole inside of the scope black to put the mind at rest.
  21. Anyone tried painting International blackboard paint onto the back / side of a secondary mirror without priming first ? It wont run or anything ? My scope have laid in bits for far too long Flocking is done, new focusser done, Catseye hotspot is stuck down, maybe if I put the mirrors back it will work again :hello2:Jon
  22. same up my way, milky way was in your face even in a light polluted backyard. Saw 1 persuid, M31 and Jupiter as well. Telescope in bits so just 8x40 binos. I've seen this before after it rains in the day and then clears up giving dark skies
  23. Alternative for 24pan: Are the hyperions worth considering ? Also seriously look at the Vixen 22mm LVW. I havent used it but prior to buying my 24pan, someone was saying the Vixen was at least as good optically and better in some regard (less field curvature?) plus v. comfortable to use. The Pentax XW range are obviously v. high performers too, but those are costly.
  24. Ben, selling the 13E, you know it doesnt make sense (especially if you bought it new, and it gives you that wow factor). Many of the ultrawides (82 degree) in that focal length "ball park" have limitations such as short eye relief, fussy eyeplacement Jon.
  25. I regard an observing chair (mine is Berlebach from Germany) to be indespensible for any enjoyable observing. Skywatcher recently launched an observing chair, may be of interest to you ? Till then I struggled to find UK suppliers of many astro chairs. Catperch is a top end version you can order from USA for owners of giant dobs.
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