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About MarkMittlesteadt

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    Art, Music, Astronomy, Writing, Science
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    Central Wisconsin, USA
  1. Get a VERY sturdy, rock solid camera tripod that you can mount your binos to. It helps stabilize the binos so you can spend more time locked onto whatever objects you wish to view without the object in the FOV moving all over. There are also monopods for the same purpose and some prefer them, although they can still move side to side.
  2. That is awesome to hear. Even after all these years, I still feel that same excitement. There is just something about deep space that can feel so overwhelming at times and make one feel so-o-o-o small and insignificant. The "wonder" of the universe should stay with you forever. Oh...and by all means get a RACI (Right Angle Correct Image) finder. It is quite helpful to locate things while in a comfortable position. A red dot finder or a Telrad is a great tool for lining up correctly too. Some people have been adding strong green laser pointers as they seem to point directly at the object into i
  3. I've seen it through my ETX105 (which is also a Mak). I always use dew heaters in addition to dew shields. That meniscus lens is right on the front just inviting stray light and dew in! Patience and careful observing for a longer period of time will reveal quite a bit more than a casual glance at it, even through a 4" scope.
  4. Yes, with a wedge, the hinge/pivot point faces north so that it can be tilted to the correct latitude and point your scope north. Imagine a perpendicular line running through the center of the wedge itself. When lying flat (not raised) it will point straight up. As you tilt your wedge to your correct latitude that center line will end up point to true north. If the hinge/pivot were facing south, then as you raise the wedge to your latitude that imaginary center line would end up pointing true south (which obviously is not an issue if you live south of the equator.
  5. Had the scope out this morning for a nice look at M42 briefly. Very wet, dewy, almost frost conditions so I was thankful that even for the brief amount of time out that I had portable power available so easily for my dew heaters and the scope. I love the compactness of the newly configured power supply. Now I just have to get my setup finished to it looks as good as it performs. Anyone else taken apart their power supplies and seen if they could make it fit under their mount easier?
  6. Here's a few pics... This is of the inside of my PEAK Power 300 12 volt power supply... This is a pic of my new power supply by taking out only what was needed from the Power Supply case and adding 3 outlets and a switch, with it sitting on the "spreader plate" under the tripod head... Here's a side by side comparison of the difference in size. The new supply on the left and the old case on the right (just the back half as the front got cut apart for the circuitry). You can see the original power supply was too large to fit under my tripod head... And here's the spreader plate under the Mea
  7. I should have mentioned about those other power supplies linked...they are EITHER too bulky OR only run the scope's mount. The smaller one can't run dew heaters and other things. The larger ones can but they are still far bigger than what I've come up with. In fact, the larger ones are similar to what I took apart.
  8. The problem with those power supplies offered by those companies is that they are... 1. Too bulky, much like my current power pack I'm modding. 2. Only run the mount, not dew heaters and other accessories. However, after fiddling around with it more tonight, I've gotten it down to a compact 6 inch by 5 inch by 3 inch cube. That includes the 12 volt battery, 3 sockets and an LED light all run off one on/off switch. AND...it runs my scope, the computer hand controller, the LED light and all my dew heaters for up to one week (if I were to actually use it every night!!!). I found I only need the
  9. I've looked at alternative battery power supplies. I've been into RC planes and I know there are small, yet powerful battery packs one can put together. However, recharging the battery packs requires a special charging device. Not that it's a problem, but lots of people already have the larger bulky 12 volt battery power packs, and tihs mod cuts down the bulk considerably. It would be nice if mounts (especially GoTo mounts) came with the power supply built-in that could be easily charged (and also have the battery packs replaced easily when needed). I know my ETX105 allows me to run the scope
  10. With mine I just made the enclosure out of wood and sealed it with all electrical connections inside. Access to the inside if necessary is very easy for me as I can just drop and remove the whole tripod leg "spreader" box to get inside. The battery is already sealed, although the terminals on it aren't. You just want to be sure any electrical connections aren't exposed to the damp night air. Even electrical tape will "encase" those if need be. The circuit board can be housed in almost anything...little electric project boxes would work. Word of slight caution...Be careful when disassembling th
  11. I've found that most of the portable 12 volt power supplies only have a few screws holding the two sides of the case together. Most don't have enough "cold cranking amps" to even start a car in cold weather anyway, so if it's the kind with clamps, those aren't needed and can be discarded. They are basically a small sealed battery (sealed entirely on their own, not by the outer carry case) along with a very small circuit board that offers short-circuit protection in some cases, a receptacle to charge the battery, and then some kind of socket (which I removed and replaced it with a 3 socket outl
  12. I have an ETX105 and I've made my own piers and tripods in the past, but one thing that always bothered me was the bulky power supplies needed to run the scope, dew heaters, etc. I've used 110 volt to 12 volt converters (USA here) for plugging in when at home. But even that was a pain because I needed an outdoor 110v outlet and an extension cord (so much fun wrapping up a wet, dew covered cord when I'm done). Then I went with a portable 12 volt power supply (the kind used for 12 volt power and jump starting a car) because I wanted to take it other places as well. While the portable power suppl
  13. Excellent post! My eight year old daughter looked at M31 through my 105mm Mak under heavily light polluted skies the other night. She could see it but was entirely unimpressed and actually said it was "nothing". We had to go inside later and look through a book and show her the photo and explain to her how far away it is and that she got to see the "real thing". Yes, too often people have way too high of expectations for what they'll see looking through a telescope. Hubble images have spoiled a great many. LOL. At parties with people who have never seen anything through a scope, I always show
  14. This pretty much sums up my casual astronomy experience, having kids, not being able to get out much and really needing something quick and easy. Sometimes that means just taking the scope out and doing a quick manual look-see. But when others are involved and people want to see things quickly (as in kids with no patience and going indoors until I find something) then GoTo is a blessing.
  15. Love Stellarium! I use it to plan a night out. I also have Starry Night Pro, but I seldom use it because I need a faster computer. I also use Google's Sky Map on my Android, which is a nice electronic planisphere to show others where things are in real time.
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