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NigeB

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    134
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About NigeB

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    Star Forming

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  • Website URL
    http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/physics/people/nigelbannister

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Rutland, UK
  1. David Hinds

    I'm not sure this really counts as a true Supplier Review, since David Hinds are the UK distributor for Celestron and supply the dealers rather than selling directly to the public. But I hope it's appropriate to post anyway. My C11 experienced some unwanted rodent-based attention in the observatory during a period of down-time. The original posting is here... https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/304331-wanted-standard-focus-knob-for-celestron-c11/ So on Philip R's suggestion, I contacted Celestron via their central support page. They referred me to David Hinds as the UK support centre. 48 hours later, and I have a brand new replacement rubber focus knob cover on my desk, and no charge - not even postage - along with some advice to install mouse traps, which I've already implemented... Impressive and gives me some confidence that if I ever needed support for more fundamental issues, there would be a way forward. So thank you D.H., and to Philip R for the suggestion. Nigel
  2. +1 for Es Reid. Speaking from experience (he did some work on my TOA-150) he is an artisan and a real optics expert. And re: Steve Collingwood, (SC Telescopes), I have not used him myself, but I've had some correspondence with him, and hear good things about his work. His web page concentrates on SCT telescopes, but he does work with refractors as well.
  3. Wanted: standard focus knob for Celestron C11

    Thanks Philip - that's encouraging. I'll give that a go! Nigel
  4. Have you replaced the stock focus knob on your C11 with something more sophisticated? Original knob lying around gathering dust? Interested in selling it? Some furry little blighter has had a good nibble of mine, so I'm in the market for an original-equipment focus knob. And a job lot of mouse traps. N.
  5. Some rather depressing reading... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-42059551 http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/lost-led-revolution-light-pollution-increasing/
  6. Stargazing Live Australia

    Have to confess I don't normally watch Stargazing Live, but this is pretty good! Coming from clear southern skies and wide open landscapes helps...
  7. I've just adopted it as well - worth the modest cost for the plate solving and target centering alone. There's something fabulous about being able to enter the RA and Dec of a target and know that it's going to end up dead centre in the field, every time. After my trial period ended I waited for, oh, about 60 seconds before buying a full license. As Gav said, they're very responsive - I posted a query about meridian flips on their forum; one of the developers responded, and updated the beta release to correct the problem I'd identified, within 12 hours of me posting. You won't be disappointed.
  8. I'm still on the fence, but tipping towards an upgrade... having read the manual for the SiTech and seen the satellite tracking interface, I'm really attracted to it; it also looks like you can drive servo-based focus motors (anyone tried that?) directly from the controller. And I didn't realise that you could plug an Argo Navis in and get the best of both worlds. It's not a cheap upgrade and you could argue that the benefits over a ServoCat+SequenceGeneratorPro combination are marginal. But I'm unlikely to ever need/want any other mount, so spread over the amount of time I'll be using it, it's not so much for the extra finesse that features like PointXP and SatTracker bring (not compared to how much I shell out each year to keep my tin box on the road). Then we really were close - we did Ventoux on a CBR400 and ZX9-R, then on a later holiday in a '7. It was such a good ride, we went around twice on one occasion... And that's the thing I'm trying to rationalise - I really like the ServoCat-AN method of working, and I don't need to fire up a PC. But now that I know you can plug AN into this, it's less of a problem. I think it's that future proofing that is swaying me. I will say that I'm a little bit put off by the fact that all the SiTech info on the company website seems to be very out of date, which cast some doubt in my mind - but based on the recent threads on the RA jump problem it seems that they're still actively supporting. Nigel
  9. Hello All, Wow... Thanks to everyone for these responses - very helpful! Olly, thanks - yes, I knew you had a ServoCat/ArgoNavis Mesu and had nothing but good things to say about it - though I saw your post about "lurve"-ing Yves' new SiTech as well. And yes, I followed the recent thread about the RA jumps and time sync issues: I'll admit this temporarily put an end to my thoughts about upgrading - but it seems that the news is good and the most recent firmware has fixed the problem. Ah... That would be nice. If only... In the BC (before children) era, my other half and I used to spend our summer holidays motorcycling or in a Caterham 7, heading down to Annecy, then the Hautes Alpes, through Sisteron and onward to the south coast. We used to venture into the hills - we were probably but a few miles from Les Granges on one trip. I'm not sure I could cope with the "are we there yet". (Olly, I'm happy to tell you how I set mine up - it's easy, but I suspect this suggestion probably falls into your madman category ) This is interesting ... I wasn't aware of that. Satellite imaging is definitely on my list of things I'd like to do, so this might be relevant - thanks! OK, you've given me a lot to think about... The view I'm forming is that they're both very good systems. Without the SGP-added capability, the SiTech is clearly a more sophisticated solution, and if Lucas was offering both models now, I guess almost everyone would go for the SiTech. But with SGP providing ArgoNavis with some of the additional functionality that previously only the SiTech could offer , it's perhaps not as clear cut as it once was. That sat-tracking point I'd not considered. But the price of the SiTech upgrade (which I agree seems reasonable), would go a long way to financing a scope upgrade... More thinking to do. Thanks Everyone!
  10. Dear All, I'm seeking the opinions of those who have used a Mesu 200 in ServoCat and SiTech guises... I'm preparing to send my mount back to Lucas Mesu, to fix some occasionally odd dec motor behaviour I've been experiencing. It's a ServoCat / ArgoNavis version, and I've been very happy with that setup - I can be up and running with a 1 star alignment in minutes, and I don't need a PC for goto and visual operation. Now, since it's all the mount I'll ever need, and it's going all the way back to the Netherlands, I'm wondering whether I should take advantage of this and upgrade it to a SiTech controller while it's with Lucas. I'm aware of the main (?) differences between the two setups - no park, plate solve, meridian flip, only basic pointing model on the ServoCat/AN setup. I've also read Neil C's (@ncjunk) very useful thread following his own upgrade to the SiTech. Clearly the SiTech is a much more sophisticated system. BUT... I've recently discovered the marvel that is Sequence Generator Pro, and suddenly, I've got much more functionality with the Servocat system - there's a really effective plate solver which always puts the target in the middle of the frame; a meridian flip routine that uses calculated slew manoeuvres to get around the lack of a built-in flip routine, and the ability to automate the imaging of multiple targets in a session. In fact the only major element that seems to be missing, is "Park" - SGP can stop the tracking so the mount isn't driven to its limit, but it can't park in a specific orientation. I don't own a fully automatic observatory - my ROR needs to be closed manually, and if I change that it'll probably be to a dome, so full park isn't really something I need. Lucas has informed me that the SiTech upgrade is about €1210 - so not an insignificant sum, and on balance, I'm thinking that sticking with the Servocat / AN system is the right decision. Opinions gratefully received - am I missing something? Thanks Nigel
  11. Hello All, I'm looking at a used C14 (grey tube XLT version), and trying to figure out if it's Fastar-ready. The seller isn't sure, but has helpfully provided some images of the secondary housing, one of which is shown below.ut From what I've seen online, not all Fastar-Ready C14's have the Fastar label on the secondary, so I don't think its absence here is a reliable indicator. However, I note that the secondary housing has smooth sides rather than the knurled ones I've seen elsewhere, so I'm guessing it's not a Fastar ready OTA. But I'd be interested to hear from any C14 owners or users, who can provide a more definitive view! Thanks Nigel
  12. If one more person

    Interesting thread. I have a couple of project students who are working on stratospheric balloon experiments. Earlier this month the local news ran an item on their last flight and showed footage which included the Earth's limb. The students are now getting aggressive rant messages from the Flat Earth Society accusing them of perpetuating the myth of a curved Earth. I used to get wound up over astrology and other issues of this sort, but my view now, is that it's not worth raising your blood pressure and shortening your life. In most cases, no amount of reasoning will change such views, which are usually held not because the person has a specific objection to an aspect of the science, but because the orthodoxy is incompatible with their personal beliefs (and I think that, for example, conspiracy theories fall into the category of a belief system.) That's not to say you shouldn't engage in discussion - just that in many (most?) cases the person you're talking to isn't genuinely interested in understanding the topic; they're typically not open to reviewing their ideas and reflecting on their position - it's all about being able to continue to hold that belief, by constructing flawed arguments that allow them to dismiss anything which threatens it. Hence the existence of "zombie arguments" - objections which have been decisively dealt with, but which keep on coming back into the conversation. Science on the other hand depends on the process of challenging, testing, refinement or even complete scrapping and re-building. Though even in science, dogmatism rears its head, and objectivity can go out of the window in some cases. But science is self-regulating, and the truth always comes out. Eventually. So these days I try to view the astrologers and the flat-earthers as entertainment rather than a source of annoyance. The problems really start when bunk gains traction and is given equal time and weight in the education system. Nigel
  13. Hi Andy, How long did you get into your session before dewing up? I have a similar issue with my TOA-150. I have the dew strap wrapped around the tube immediately behind the dew shield, i.e. as close as I can get to the lens cell without being on the shield itself. My cell is closer to the back of the dew shield than it sounds like it is in the Esprit, but nevertheless, the strap is a few cm from the cell, and so the efficiency of this arrangement is poor. On bad nights I can dew up about 4 hours into a session (my observatory is in a hollow, which is is great at holding on to fog - that doesn't help). I've considered putting the strap underneath the dew shield so I can get much closer to the cell. On mine there are very small grub screws which hold the main shield onto the locking collar (the silver ring on your Esprit). It's possible your shield may screw into the silver collar. If you're going to try, I suggest you unscrew the big locking screws completely to avoid damaging that nice paint work, then wrapping some rubber bands around the collar, and the shield, to help you get a grip. It's a 2 person job, one to hold the collar with both hands, and the other to try to (gently!) unscrew the shield. If you manage, there's still the question of how to route the wire - aside from getting the drill out (never!) it would probably need to come out of the front, which looks odd and also makes putting the cover on a bit tricky - and you don't want a connector rattling around in there when it's all closed up, so securing the cable and connector inside the shield will be necessary, and that will interfere with your ability to extend/retract the shield. All in all, I'd say Olly's extended shield suggestion is likely to be the most effective, and one which I'm going to try myself. Nigel
  14. Hello from East Leicester (the dark part 😊)

    Hi Paul Welcome to SGL, from just east of East Leicester. We like the fact that East Leicester is dark, because it keeps us dark as well! Nigel
  15. Dew heaters

    Should be ok; I think the silicone, or the tape, should stick to the paint (take note of any directions regarding minimum temperature at time of application). The bond will only be as strong as the weakest link, which is probably the paint-mirror interface. If it flakes, just clean off the tape and the mirror back and re-stick on a clean glass surface.
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