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Everything posted by Sir-Henry

  1. Y'know ... Life! Anyhoo. Decided, much at the last minute, to troll into town to ... (you don't need to know) in the Jaaag. That's the kind of bounder and cad that I am. Nipped into Cash Converters and bought a chunky, butch watch with buttons that work! Only 3 blue pics of Her Maj. Then it was in to Cash Generators. What do I espy with my little optical organ? Two Barlow lenses - 10mm and 20mm. Reduced from .... £9.99 to £4.99 Bring on the envy, suckazz
  2. I've not been around for quite a while as other pressures have come to bear on my limited time. Although not directly related, being burgled twice in as many months has put me on the back foot again. This follows having to spend a lot of money on 2 of my cars and one of my bikes. Anyhoo: What do you think to the Synscan Merlin go to mount? Is it worth the £200+ ish that some places want for it? How well did I do to get a working one for just £29.99? I'll be back anon to pick your brains about eyepieces that fit my reflector scope (will have to measure the focus tube diameter).
  3. I would suggest that when buying eyepieces you factor in the odds that you might want to progress to a bigger scope in the not-so-distant future. If it's on the cards and you're 'made an offer you can't reuse' (horse's heads optional) then why not pick up a damn good lens or two that are beyond the capabilities of your current setup? Astronomy aside I've bought many tools several months or even years before I've had much - if any - use for them and later congratulated myself on the savings considering how much they cost by that time.
  4. If at all possible it could be best to run a mains lead (with full RCD protection) out to the scope. At this time of year all batteries will feel the cold and give you less running time. Don't forget that the mains adapter needs to be kept completely dry as well!
  5. If you were closer I could come round with my petrol chainsaw. I've completely taken down several trees on my back garden and a couple for other people plus some generous pruning here & there. There's not much that it can't tackle as it has an 18" probe. If you can wait I'll be down that way camping in Brean some time next year - unless the trees are blown down in the meantime.
  6. If it's an accurate (or as accurate as possible) weather prediction then this site is about as good as it gets these days. OK, so it's a 'forecast', but they're so accurate I prefer the term prediction.
  7. If you can find a local astronomical society (they're all over the place, but rarely advertise so Google for one in your county) you could go along as a visitor to the next meeting. Not only will you be able to pick their brains, but being on a face-to-face basis you could also bat your eyelashes at any of the male members and at least one of them might be willing to accompany you as you go to look at a used scope or two. That way you should be able to get a much better (or at least more expensive) scope that is still within your budget. I'm sure your BF won't mind a 2nd hand unit if it means
  8. I've mentioned in other threads that LIDL are doing a torch set for a fiver which includes a head lamp with 2 white and a single red LED. Also Morrisons filling stations are selling a small torch for under £2 which can give a white beam, red glowing shaft (steady or blinking) or both together. Batteries are included in both sets.
  9. The next thing to do is actually go inside that room and see how the roof beams/trusses have been installed. I would expect that they go across, in parallel, from wall to wall rather than from the wall to the center as that's the easiest way and won't need a vertical center support. If I'm right you will have to work out a way of maintaining at least a rim around the circumference to mount the dome onto and allow some kind of rain drainage. The other alternative is to mount a custom made (expensive!) dome onto that upper existing rim assuming that it's solid enough to take the weight and parti
  10. By the way: If it's really good views of craters that is your thing you should aim your scope towards the terminator. This is the line between the lit and unlit surfaces of the moon. Since the sunlight is hitting the moon at a very shallow angle there will be dramatic shadows cast which will not only make the crater walls more distinct, but a decent scope & eyepiece can even give an illusion of the full 3D effect. You'll want to reach out and brush the dust out of the way so you can get a better look at the bedrock! In full daylight areas all of these features are completely washed out and
  11. I'm guessing that you bought this through eBay ... right? If so then you are fortunate that they are willing to refund although recent(ish) eBay rule changes mean that if the item is 'significantly not as described' - which this patently is - they are obliged to refund on pain of being suspended for a period of weeks or even months. I agree that they should refund your shipping costs, but whether they are legally required to I couldn't say as I'm not au fait with US distance selling laws. There is a slight chance that it has been refurbished, but was then chucked on a shelf and completely forg
  12. This is just about at the absolute limit of my knowledge, but I would be inclined to take the first shot or several of the church as separate entities to the star trails with a low aperture so that the stars don't show up at all. Then I'd wait until the lights are extinguished for the rest so that the church lights don't swamp the relatively feeble glow of the brightest of stars. Then I could open up the aperture somewhat and use a much larger ISO number so that fainter stars will be recorded. Somehow I don't think that depth of field would be much of a problem After that they can be stacke
  13. TTBOMK the stars can never look round even in the highest of magnifications. They're just too far off to show as anything more than points of light. Any apparent 'roundness' must be caused by the same atmospheric fluctuations which make them appear to have points and also 'twinkle'. Since the processed pictures are a recording of an average of the photon arrivals at the receptors over a period of time this can only make them fuzzy in the short term and appear to be more 'solid' as the period of observation gets longer. Since this is something that the human eye cannot do we don't see this phen
  14. Oh, and while I'm picking your brains: What is the consensus of opinion on zoom lenses? I'm pretty sure that the extra elements might absorb some of the light and that some colour aberrations could be incurred, but how bad will this be? and are there any other drawbacks to them? eg. fringing, edge drop off, slow cooling, etc. Here's a thought: Can I safely cool the tube & mirror with a shot from a CO2 fire extinguisher? Externally only, naturally.
  15. For those in the UK you can get one of these (pictured below) for under 2 quid complete with batteries at any Morrisons filling station They are available in 3 colours of which this is the red one of course. Press the button once for an ordinary white light torch beam, twice to add red illumination to the body, 3 times to turn off the white beam, but leave the body glowing, 4 to make the body flash and 5 to switch everything off. There's even a whistle that unscrews from the base - why? FIK! The wrist strap should make it a little harder to lose even when it's switched off. Unfortunately I
  16. I should point out that there's an old slag heap (? from WWII?) less than 100 metres from my back gate which limits horizontal observing due South to about 60 from the horizontal for about a quarter mile, but the town centre is in that direction so it's 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. Due to its age there are also trees of significant height growing up its flanks and bushes on top adding another degree in places. Handy for walking the dogs, but of little use otherwise. With an obsy poking through the roof of the garage the scope would be mostly out of sight while simultaneously being in t
  17. Photography is just one possible route that I may go down in future. Then I will definitely need to track the movement of the universe as it spins around its center (me) In the meantime it makes long steller observation times simpler and easier with just one control to twiddle. My best current camera is an 'old' Canon 35mm SLR which, including a 28-200 superzoom lense, 2X tele-convetrer and padded case, cost me over £1,000 back in the late 80's. That's when I had money and I shall be (God willing) in a similar situation in the near future. None of my digital cams come even close to the defi
  18. Thanks to both of the above for the moral support and tips. Unfortunately there's only a tiny part of my garden that isn't illuminated by street lights which is all too close to the back gates where the scope is a visible and tempting target to ... certain classes of people. It also happens to be occluded by the shed, the house and a large tree making a very limited arc for viewing most celestial objects. Add to this the LP from Rotherham town center and several nearby suburbs and the lower latitudes of the sky are difficult to observe. At times this can extend all the way to the level of Pola
  19. I did say not much. I was aware of that event, hence the rider. Still not seen one from here, though.
  20. The same feature (CTRL +/-) works in Firefox as well.
  21. It's bootiful. I'm seriously envious.
  22. How handy that this has come up! Hurry. Stocks are running out even as you read this.
  23. Shortly (God willing) I will have a large garage erected on my back garden - 3 metres X 8 metres. The back third or so will be a replacement for my current 8' square shed, but having recently rescued a shower door and a load of clean wood (I'm going back for more later today) from a skip I will be able to install an opening glass panel in the roof. With an extending post directly under it I think I could make myself an observatory of sorts. Any ideas for sources of such a seriously rigid extending post? Either as a purchase or as a DIY project since I have the tools and skills if I can obtain
  24. Boy oh boy. Am I tempted or what? Sadly my 'refinancing' hasn't come through yet and my overdraft is giving off a serious glow that is more orange than merely red! Still, such bargains are like buses ... there'll be another one along in a minute or two
  25. To most this will not be A Big Thing, but ... Me 4 (moons of Jupiter) - Universe NIL (OK, maybe a half point - see next sentence below)! That's right; despite failing to precisely align the 'new' (at least to me) scope with Polaris (blumming LP) I still managed to track Jupiter as a disc over a period of a couple of hours for the very first time in my very own astronomical viewing equipment!!! Woohoo, wahay, yahoo, etc. To have seen Jupiter so plainly, albeit with no real features visible, is good going for me, but to see not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 moons - and all virtually in opposition is j
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