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gliderpilot

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About gliderpilot

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    Star Forming

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  • Location
    Salisbury
  1. Lovely article and stunning pictures. I am hoping to also visit one day/year when work and family commitments allow. Thanks for sharing Mark
  2. I think wet feet are to be preferred over <ahem> feet Tread carefully! Mark
  3. I always learn something new on every observing run. That's what's so great about this hobby, there always new things to see and use. Well this night proved to be very memorable. Last night (Monday 3 September) was clear but hazy over Salisbury. That being said, it was one of those nights where only the brighter stars were visible to the naked eye. A thin layer or cirrus was lit up the rising Moon but what the heck, I had not been outside for ages. I love observing at this time of year, still warm and clear at a relatively reasonable hour. Anyway, I walked out to my shed. The kids had been outside (teacher training day) and had left their paddling pool by the observatory. I unlocked the shed, and rolled the roof back. I then had a very chilled out hour or so of observing with my APM binos at x30 and x60. The haze was enough to make me not bother making a sketch it was just a pleasure to be outside looking at the stars. I hoovered up the usual suspects of messiers and NGCs in Orphiucus, Cygnus and Cassiopeia enjoying the widefield of view filled with stars. At 11-ish, the moon had risen sufficiently high to catch it. The sight of the terminator approaching the edge of Mare Crisum and the tremendous views of the basin mountains are always a pleasure to see. Of course, its important to look at the moon last in an observing session. Looking at the bright moon with two eyes through the binoscope completely ruined my night vision rendering what little I could see through the haze to be now invisible. It's now late, work in the morning so I pack up and lock up the shed. Walking back to the house, now with no night vision, I walk straight into the kids paddling pool that had been so conveniently left out. This wasn't walk into it was a proper "step in over the side with both feet" experience. wet feet oh well at least it was the end of the session rather the start. Lesson learned in this wonderful hobby: check for obstacles before you lose your night vision!! Clear skies, Mark
  4. On one of our first Salisbury Plain meetings, a diffuse cloud appeared against the dark sky in the north east. It was visible for a good few hours and unlike the cumulus clouds that occasionally drifted through this didn't move. Furthermore as the stars rotated over several hours, the cloud remained fixed relative to our local horizon. Turned out it was a sounding rocket from the European Space Agency range in Kiruna that had vented a marker in the upper atmosphere to measure the high altitude winds. We just happened to see it from southern England although we didn't know what it was at first. Like all of these things, it makes sense when you know what it is! Clear skies Mark
  5. Gaz I bought an eBay gooseneck white LED for only a few quid, painted it red and then put some red masking tape around it. It works a treat for the sketching, simply clip it to the notebook and it stays perfectly in place. I'll show you at the next SPOG night if you wish? Mark
  6. Beulah, where are the photos of your new stand?
  7. I have used both the WO and the max bright. I must say that I prefer the Baader, it seems to be that few percent clearer but it's small differences. I sold my WO unit and now use the MaxBright exclusively. I do dream about the exotic denks but simply cannot justify the cost. I originally wanted to use Hyperion eyepieces but then found that I couldn't get my nose between the fat barrels. I would be careful of the ethii fat barrels unless you have a large separation between your eyes. As for eyepieces, the WO eps are excellent. I was lucky enough to buy two second hand 19mm panoptics on ABS and thoroughly recommend them albeit more expensive. Hope that helps Mark
  8. Have you thought about making one? Here is a simple wooden mirror grinding stand: http://www.stardazed.com/MirrorGrindingStand.html The [removed word] Parker referred to in the website runs mirror grinding classes here http://mirrorworkshop.mtbparker.com/index.php Good luck, Mark PS The thought police have removed the word that is short for Richard!!!
  9. gliderpilot

    Sketching

    I thoroughly enjoy sketching at the eyepiece when observing. Not only does taking the time to make a sketch encourage the observation of finer details, it serves as an excellent record of one's observations and is of greater use than a textual description. As the recent poor weather continues, I have been going through some recent observations and picked out some highlights below. I well remember recently working my way through the Herschel 400 open clusters in Cassiopeia. As I moved towards M103, I found that I could just fit 4 lovely clusters, each with their own characteristics, into one field of view. The resulting sketch took several hours over a couple of nights to complete and is well worth the additional effort even though it slowed my progress through my observing list. NGC 891 was my nemesis object. I read in awe of people who were picking this out in small scopes and yet I could not see it through my 8.5" newtonian. Yet, after my umpteenth time of searching I finally managed to get it, right at the limit of vision. Now, with some experience I can almost observe it when the conditions allow. Now, if only I could get that dust lane as well!! Finally, I now regularly notice the bright star forming region NGC 604 in the galaxy M33 for example but up until a few years ago, I didn’t even know it was there. I first found this exciting object by observing M33 for an hour. Whilst I could say that I did pick up hints of the spiral arms, it was while making the sketch that I noticed a small, fuzzy patch of nebulosity embedded within the glow of the galaxy. After digging around in various references, I realised that I had made an independent discovery of NGC604, a large star forming region larger than the Orion Nebula and even the Tarantula Nebula, albeit 200 years to claim any rights! I have put some more information to describe my approach to sketching on my website if you are interested.
  10. It sounds like we are all singing from the same hymn sheet - and thank you for your kind comments. To answer your question, Pingster: I bought two second hand 19mm TV Panoptics. They are lovely and sharp, no sign of coma at all. I also have a pair of 20mm WO wide angle EPs that came with a WO binoviewer. There actually is not much performance difference between them unless one is very fussy (which I have slowly become). The WO eps are very much the better value for money and the panoptics have that small but measureable increase in quality. Michael: your point about the chair is entirely valid. I do find, however, a distinct pleasure in making the eps came to meet me rather than having to go down to meet the eyepiece. Almost like a roll reversal kind of thing! With reference to the Hyperions, I find that I cant get my nose between the 2" barrels hence I have had to go down the 1.25" route. I guess I have smaller inter-pupillary distance (and a big nose!). Clear skies and happy p'gram observing. Mark
  11. Sounds like you had a great time. It's lovely observing in the warm and enjoying the showpiece objects you can't see too well from the UK isn't it? What was your favourite object? Betcha glad to be back in the UK now!
  12. As the poor weather and short nights are limiting my observing projects, I have been busy finishing a heavy duty aluminium and stainless steel parallelogram mount for my large 100mm APM binoculars. Here is a summary description of its build: http://refreshingvie...rammount.htm�.� It has been derived from a wooden version that I built last summer. I plan to give away the wooden model to a fellow SPOG astronomer who wants to do some bino observing while his camera is capturing photons on the scope. The parallelogram mount is an extremely comfortable to observe the night sky – the eyepieces really do seem to float in front of your eyes. If you are observing at the zenith, simply push the binos higher or if you are looking at the horizon, simply lower them down. This really does make a refreshing change from my Newtonian where the eyepiece remains where it wants to and I have to crick my neck down to meet it!! I have yet to use it for serious astronomy as the awful weather and long summer days are getting in the way. That being said, I have managed a few sessions at dusk scanning the brighter stars against a blue sky before it gets properly dark. To put the mount through its paces, I have had great fun tracking numerous airliners and high flying birds. The mount moves with ease across the sky with wonderfully smooth and controlled motions in pan and tilt at all altitudes. It is quite something to see high altitude airliners in detail from the ground as they slowly cross the sky! This mount is clearly going to be a pleasure to use once the observing season starts up again. This setup is definitely a keeper and will be used my observatory and under the dark skies of Salisbury Plain.
  13. Good luck with the project. I've spent many an hour reading the B&K book for my 8.5" newt and planning my hypothetical 14" f6. What spec is your 10"? Mark
  14. I use my APM binos as my preferred instrument. I find the glorious field of view, comfortable viewing and ability to go widefield and then crank up the magnification to be perfect for me. Whole Veil complex? Yes Belts on Jupiter? Yes Lunar details? Yes Obviously not quite as versatile on the moon and planets as my C8 but certainly not nil-pointe. You do need two eps, two filters and a sturdy mount (homemade pgram in my case) so not as cheap as a conventional scope but cheaper than two 100mm semi-apos. Mark
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