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About CumbrianGadgey

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    Anything to do with the natural world and science, plus occasionally polluting it by riding a 1000cc motorbike...oops. Writing science-fiction novels. Watching rugby league and cricket. Last but by no means least is my daughter, who is a constant source of both joy and hassle!
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  1. P.S. The 'short Newtonian' doesn't work either. The control cables still end up in odd positions. I think that the design of telescope that you want should come first and worry about the controls afterwards. Maybe some of those 'helping hand' tools for people who can't bend down might help? Only kidding! I like the sound of your telescope, by the way. A 90mm sounds big enough and the F10 means you can use longer focal length eyepieces to get the best out of it. Happy stargazing!
  2. Hi, I now have an EQ5 mount with push-on knobs. This was one of the best things about the new set-up. I know exactly where you are coming from with the control problem...my arms aren't like a gibbon's either and I needed them for my EQ2 mount with control cables. It didn't matter where I put them, there were always times that I just couldn't reach. I'm trying to imagine the set-up that you have but i think the push-on knobs must work better. If you can reach around the mount from your viewing position, you should be able to turn them. Let us know what you decide!
  3. Hi, This bad weather has left my brain rotting. I decided in an idle moment to design a stand for the shorter astronomer. All sorts of ideas started popping into my head, the favourite one being a telescopic stand that can be pneumatically raised and lowered. This idea seems to be both feasible and practical to achieve. I have almost got it drawn up on CAD, sourced suitable materials and ironed out the little niggly bits of the design. The idea is simple (Putting it into practice required a bit of thought). Once the stand and scope are set up and polar aligned, the stand itself can telescope vertically by around +/- 100mm. In doing so, slackening band clamps and spinning a big Newt to get the eyepiece at a comfortable height is a thing of the past. It also means that if my daughter comes out for a look, I won't need to do the 'balancing her on a stool in the dark' performance. Also, if I want to raise the scope, I won't have to mess around lifting tripod legs and possibly disturbing polar alignment, which will remain beautifully unaltered. It will also be lighter than my Skywatcher tripod and will not have any angled legs for the scope to bang into, enabling viewing of overhead objects without the need to lift and turn the whole caboodle. The scope can spin 360 degrees while viewing over head without catching on anything. It's just to pass the time but the more I think about it, the better the idea seems to be. What do you think and how have you been whiling away the cloudy nights?
  4. Hi, I saw a forecast last week saying that we were in for a cold and frosty snap. My heart leapt and I ordered two Planetary II eyepieces, 3.2mm and 2.5mm. The deal was that if they were not any good for my scope, I could return them in two weeks. The cold snap sort of came, along with skies that only cleared during the day and promptly got all misty and cloudy at night. Only once did I get a few minutes when I got as far as using my 25mm and 5mm and for a few seconds with the new eyepieces. The clarity was not good, but it also wasn't with the 5mm BST which I know performs brilliantly, given good viewing. Tonight I got the scope set up and targeted Jupiter in the twilit sky. I didn't have a great deal of hope because there was a penumbra around the planet even to the naked eye. Sure enough, as it started to get dark, the clouds rolled in and I didn't even get anything other than the 25mm out of the box. Doh! I am faced with the prospect of returning something I haven't even been able to try out, or keeping them, untested and hoping. Maybe I'll see if Alan at Sky's the limit will let me hold onto them for a while longer...it's not as if they're getting damaged wrapped up all cosy in their boxes in the living room!
  5. I have the BST starguiders which I bought for my Skywatcher 130M. I now have the 200P and they work just as well in that. The parfocal aspect is a good one, whichever EPs you ultimately go for. Being able to swap from a 25mm to a 5mm without the need to re-focus is a great boon, especially if your eyes are like mine and it's all a bit of hard work! I have to add that with the Starguider 5mm in the 200P, I saw Ganymede's shadow crossing Jupiter perfectly a few weeks ago...they can't be that bad.
  6. Thanks folks. Sorry i took so long to get back to you...I wasn't stargazing, that's for sure. It's been so flipping cloudy. Maybe i ought to consider it, then. The main thing at the moment is that I don't seem to have messed things up. The other problem is that I can't get a few minutes of clear sky to find out!
  7. Hi, I got a 130p and it never needed alignment. I transported a Skywatcher 200P F5 over our marvellous pot-hole ridden roads and it needed to be adjusted as soon as I got it home! I didn't have any fancy tools. Lacking this I pressed ahead with my little collimation cap. I followed what i thought were the instructions and started with the secondary. Since all the main circles looked concentric, but I couldn't see one of the clips at all, I tweaked a couple of the three screws in the secondary until I could see them all about the same. Then I adjusted the spider to line up with the very centre circle by twiddling the primary adjusters. After going the wrong way once, it was soon lined up. I have attached a picture of what the result was. I am a bit concerned about the fact that the first black ring is offset when everything else is lined up. Also, I can't see the mirror holders at all with the focuser pulled back so that the drawtube is clear of the image. Is this normal? I tried the scope out on a distant chimney (1/2 a mile or so) and it seemed sharp and clear, but I'm not sure if this was a good enough test. I could see the steel boltheads clearly enough. If it stays clear tonight I'll find out, but I'd rather it was right before then. rather stupidly, I didn't look at the same target before I started. If I could have seen an improvement, I guess I'd have my answers. If what I've done is right, is visual collimation good enough, or do you really need a Cheshire?
  8. You don't say where you are pointing the scope. If you are aiming it over your house, for example, that can make a huge difference because of the 'heat haze' rising from the walls and roof. I noticed last night that I saw the shadow of Ganymede transiting Jupiter perfectly earlier on but when I had to aim over the house it simply disappeared. Is this a possibility? Also, seeing conditions are affected not only by the sky but where you put the scope. It's better in winter with the scope over flags or concrete but it's still better if you set up on grass.
  9. Hi, getting off the subject a bit but I could see the three stars in line just before it got misty overhead. Now I know exactly where to look! Back to the original post, I fully sympathise with the kids in bed bit...I'm, a single parent and have exactly the same problem! Could you take them on an exciting camping trip? It would get around the light pollution problem and they may even enjoy it, depending on their ages. My daughter was dancing around the table in the living room after seeing the Ganymede transit last night. She's nine, though.
  10. You may be aware that I've got a new (used) scope, since I was banging on about it last night! I'd just like to add that for all the extra 70mm of aperture is a big improvement (how could it not be?) but after 4 hours of freezing myself to the point I thought I was going to have to hibernate, it was not the most noticeable benefit. That came from the mount, EQ5 as opposed to EQ2. I could locate my targets faster, I could focus on them quicker and it was not a case of needing six foot arms to view while adjusting RA. There was not the judder if I so much as blinked an eyelash against the eyecup. I did not run out of adjustment on declination. The mount made the whole experience so much more enjoyable. I wonder how many people have been put off astronomy by hours of groping blindly for a flex-cable that they know is there somewhere, or having to watch a blurred planet sailing several times across their field of view before they finally get it focused?
  11. It's really beautiful. I'm an engineer and I just love the sight of a well made telescope...sad, eh? All the best with your new baby.
  12. Sorry, I've just had another thought. I think your two choices of size are fine, as I said before. I'd like to give you a practical example, since you are interested in planetary observation... ...it comes down to the point about resolution again. I have a 130 and a 200 Newtonian (on EQ mounts, not Dobsonian but that is irrelevant to the views). With the 130, I could never see the shadow of Jupiter's moons on the planet because it could not resolve that level of detail. Lastnight, using the 200, I saw a beautiful crisp shadow of Ganymede crossing the face of the planet...another argument in favour of the 200! you may make it out with the 150 on a good night but you'd be assured of seeing it with the 200.
  13. I agree to a point. Since the options are 150 F8 and 200 F6, the eyepiece focal length is the same for a given magnification, so the extra expense of tolerances on smaller EPs does not apply. Both should perform well. The 200 will get more detailed images because it can resolve more detail. It will be a bit more fussy about collimation but it is not a very fast scope, so it shouldn't be too bad. I'd go for the 200 if i could afford it and handle it...these things are big! Also, you don't say which brand. There's a big variation in quality out there. The size doesn't matter if the optics aren't any good.
  14. CumbrianGadgey


    Hi. You sound much more sensible than I am! Used will get you something better for your money, if you trust the seller. All I'd say at this point is that I got a 130 Newtonian and very quickly wanted a 200. Get the biggest aperture you can afford but bear in mind that you'll probably end up buying extra eyepieces, like most of us do when we find out how poor the original supplied items are. From this point of view, second hand could be even more of a bargain if someone is selling good quality eyepieces and other goodies with the scope.
  15. Hi, The wobble will never really go away and it's a nuisance but you do get used to it. The flexing is not just from the tripod, it comes from the mount, too. I know because I've got a 130 F7, which is even worse because of the extra tube length. The supplied Eps are not bad, but the Barlow is not great, if it's the same one I got with my scope. You should comfortably manage x200 with that scope. I bought BST starguiders for my own Explorer 130 and was not at all disappointed. They are not too dear and will give you much better brightness and clarity. A 5mm, 13mm and 25mm will give you a good range. To get the x200, you'd need 3.2mm. I can't advise on these as I don't yet have one! At x130 (x2 Barlow + 10mm on an F5 130 scope), you should have got clear images, so long as it was not misty, loads of light pollution etc. If you think the sky was not nice and black, try the standard issue on a clearer night before you splash out loads of dosh on nice new eyepieces!
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