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NigeB

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About NigeB

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

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    Rutland, UK

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  1. Agreed, this is an excellent discussion and I've just been reading the previous analysis of drizzle integration by @vlaiv. Bookmarked this one for future reference.
  2. Hi Mike That's a really useful comparison. Clearly there's no substitute for a weather station right next to the observatory, but the general trend in the wind speed looks consistent, and I'd feel confident in using the API wind data on the basis of what you're showing. It makes sense that the gust data are different - those measurements must be strongly dependent on the local environment in which the sensors are mounted. (Aside: I speak as someone who, many years ago, received a text from a neighbour telling me how my home-made dome had just been seen floating across the fields. It was
  3. @Commanderfish Very nice! And don't worry about the heavy sustained cloud (which does seem to have arrived - thanks) - if you can't look through it, you can have almost as much fun looking at it...
  4. Hi All, Many thanks for your comments ( @hughgilhespie that does look quite familiar!) @skybadger thanks for those suggestions. Interesting observation on the Hydreon - I went out yesterday when it was snowing and checked it - indeed, the telltale green light wasn't on, yet it's able to detect the slightest bit of rain. That makes some sense based on the detection method - a useful heads-up which I'll monitor carefully). Re: the battery, I've got the charge controller set so that the electronics are not powered between dawn and dusk, which improves the charge/discharge ratio som
  5. Hi Alvin, That's a short question but the answer is perhaps a little longer... It's true that the central obstruction reduces the effective aperture, though there are other things in play that could have a bigger impact on performance. The amount of obstruction varies by telescope design, but ~30% reduction in area is fairly typical for a reflector. So in the case of the examples you give, a 90mm refractor has an area of pi*(90/2)^2=6362 square mm of unobstructed aperture , whereas the 114mm reflector has an aperture area of pi*(114/2)^2 = 10,207 square mm, but a 30% obstruction
  6. Hi All I've been into astronomy since I was a kid, but somehow I was oblivious to the existence of this fabulous place in Switzerland until earlier this month. It looks to me like the archetypal "fantasy observatory", teetering on a mountaintop. All that's missing from the image is the big refractor poking through the slit. The camera angle in these photos is carefully chosen - from other angles it's clear there is a significant building (and a substantial research facility) here, and it's not as precarious as it first seems. Still, it made me smile. I've hyperlinked the photos to th
  7. Excellent choice... I see we're clangers in quite close proximity as well...
  8. +1 for Baader fluid, but I also use Purosol, which is a bit pricey once you add shipping, but a couple of bottles will last most of a lifetime... One point on the Baader lens cloth - don't use fabric softener, and do use a non-bio powder/liquid. See this earlier SGL thread: N.
  9. Hi All, After months of faffing about, I've finally got a reliable, working solution to full automation of my 2.7m Pulsar dome which I thought I'd share here. The automation of rotation using a timing belt and pulley is well documented elsewhere. In particular I made a lot of use of the detailed threads and discussions by Steve @sloz1664 (along with a few pm's - thanks Steve!). This uses the LesveDome driver and electronics scheme, based around a Velleman VM110N USB Experiment Interface Board (see http://www.dppobservatory.net/DomeAutomation/DomeDriver.php). I won't dwell on that p
  10. Yes that's right - the UK office responded to me - they're based in Norwich, but I believe the factory is the one in Portugal.
  11. Hi All, Wanted to briefly share my recent experience with Atik. I've been out of action for the last few months while replacing my roll-off-roof observatory with a dome. When I came to set everything up again a couple of weeks ago, I found that I couldn't get my Atik 460ex down to my normal operating temperature (-15°C). A bit of sleuthing with a DVM showed the power was getting through to the fan, but the blades weren't moving - so it was pretty sure to be a blown fan. It's a good few years old, well outside of warranty. I contacted Atik via their support forum and described t
  12. Hi Steve, That's interesting. I'm toying with the chain approach and have had a very helpful exchange with @hughgilhespie regarding the design of his system, in parallel with the discussion with you here. I'm reluctant to give up on the belt yet - you've clearly managed to make it work, and actually seeing some of Hugh's solutions to the chain guide, has given me an idea for improving my implementation of the belt drive. I got the dome rotation working at the weekend (relief!), but in doing so I realised that the pressure needed between the pulley and belt to get skip-free performa
  13. Hi Steve, Many thanks! Interesting, slippage is what I'm also seeing (but only the first few cm, which I understand in terms of the force exerted by the shutter at that part of the travel, and I think I may be able to fix it with some better spring tensioning design for the motor mount). I can see how the wheels you've implemented would help this. The other problem in my case is the lack of torque from the wiper motor, and that's more fundamental. Those planetary gear motors are much better from that perspective, but tricker to mount - however, I may need to embrace that challenge. I
  14. Hi @sloz1664 Steve, That looks absolutely fantastic! As you know, I've been following your work and implementing your design in my 2.7m Pulsar. I've got the timing belts fitted, and am about to test the rotation. However, I've already tested the shutter drive and found that my 12V wiper motor isn't up to that task. I can open and close the shutter, but it's a heavy shutter and the load on the motor changes significantly across the range of travel from fully open to fully closed. The torque available is not enough to keep the movement under control. I see from your images that yo
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