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Everything posted by runoffshed

  1. Love the shots, Sanmatt and Mel...terrific! I would be delighted to get anything half as good as either of them. (Stonehenge was like last year, Mel. Got wet and cold packing up and sat in the car looking at clear skies all the way home. No showers at The Stones?)
  2. Don't be embarrassed, Pel, we all do daft things from time to time...me more than most... But whenever I do, I console myself with the thought that at least I didn't send a 2.4 mtr 'not fit for purpose' mirror into space in a much anticipated 1.5billion dollar project. Nor did I lose a 125 million dollar Mars orbiter because at some point someone forgot to say " so this is in Kilometres, right?" Suddenly, our mistakes don't seem so bad after all.
  3. Like many others have already said, I would go for the dob. I belong to a club and we have had a fair number of people approach us for help with their recently purchased GE or, heaven forbid, "Go To" mounted scopes.....not that they are not great mounts, just not great for starter scopes. I would go for the dob and stick a Telrad on it.
  4. Lucky enough to pick up a 2nd hand Ultima off here last year for £60 and am delighted with it. Had been using some generic un-named nasty before that and had no idea what I had been missing out on. I use it with a 12mm on my Vixen 4" when conditions allow (not very often!) and am amazed how good it is.
  5. I think Catweazel is spot on. The theoretical maximum magnification may be 50x per inch of aperture ie. in your case, about 250x, but realistically, in this country the atmosphere seldom allows more than 25x or 30x per inch (perhaps more with 'high end' scopes) so with a 5mm giving 130 x (26x per inch) I wouldn't bother with a 6mm and a barlow. With my 4" refractor I rarely use more than 120x or so on moon or planets as I find can actually 'see' more than if I up the magnification. The exception to this is for splitting some double stars where sometimes one needs to 'go mad' and go to 180x or so. Anyway, just my two bob's worth
  6. Good to see you too, Eddie. Hope trying out a few other eyepieces helped your search for the ideal match for your set-up.
  7. I use Baader Planetarium Optical Wonder and can highly recommend it. I have used it on many pairs of binos - some old, some newer, some cheap and some high end and have never damaged any of the coatings on the lenses/prisms etc... I have also used it (once) on a Vixen 4 inch with excellent results. Just google it and you will find many suppliers. Good luck
  8. Huge improvement on last year! Although it has created quite a bit of interest I wonder how long it will last. Television has a habit of 'creating a stir' only to let it all drift away. As Malc pointed out, what a good opportunity to carry this forward; but do the BBC have the inclination to do so? It will be interesting to see how this affects the viewing figures for The Sky at Night for the next few months. Overall though, really enjoyed all the shows and the events put on by my local group have been VERY well attended
  9. I didn't think you did as these are settings to let you organise the site and its workings to suit you. When I click on CONTROL PANEL from the home page I get a USER CONTROL PANEL with numerous options concerning avatar, signature, messaging, friend lists etc... Sorry I can't help further; I'm sure someone will have the answer.
  10. Hi, you just log in, click 'control panel' at the top of the home page and on the left hand side look for the option to 'edit signature' under the settings section. Hope this helps
  11. You're right ....although the head is pretty good. It's just the terrible aluminium tripod that came with it. Members on SGL have posted fabulous wooden tripods they have made to improve their mounts and this is, yet another, project to be started! (Apologies ...not trying to hijack thread) Anyway, Celestron Ultima .... very good indeed
  12. I bought a 2x Celestron Ultima from the Buy/Sell section last year for £60 and am very pleased indeed with the quality. I would have liked the Televue 2.5x as I could have done with a little more focal length for image scale but they tend to go for £100 plus. They have a great reputation, though. Using the Ultima to image with my Vixen refractor gives F20 / 2000mm effective fl which I think should be ok for Jupiter/Saturn etc...(I'm new to imaging). However, still found it mighty difficult to get an image on my Phillips SPC880 - and keep it there - as the tripod on my old Vixen GP mount is so wobbly. Good luck!
  13. Both Chippy events were very well attended and great fun. One of our members brought along his homemade 16" newtonian and the kids (both young and old) loved climbing the ladder to get to the eyepiece! Fabulous views of Jupiter through your scope, Mel! (and no colour fringing like mine)
  14. ok, probably a bit daft but I wonder if wrapping some rope around the four threaded rods (all the way round, not individually) might dampen or lessen the vibration. It probably won't but the fact that it's not rigidly fixed to the rods may help with dampening. If you did it tightly from top to bottom you could also experiment with filling the void with various materials - sand etc... It might not improve matters much but at least it's quick to try and reversible.
  15. Thanks for the info, Marijn, much appreciated. As I said before, stunning scope!
  16. Fabulous work, Marijn, just stunning. Can I just ask whether you needed to add any weight to the mirror box end or mirror cell? I only ask as that looks like quite a chunky focuser and yet you still have the balance point quite near the mirror. Also, what's the secondary cage made of? Any more projects in mind for the future? All the best
  17. You're quite right, Michael, it is 2x and 16x ...not 4x. Funny how one can use a thing like that for years and still get it wrong. My handset is a DMD-3 but AWR said that this model - and at least one of the other Vixen handsets - have no protection against voltage overload so suggested the minor addition they made to the circuit. My knowledge of electronics is zilch, though, so I'm not sure what they did; it was cheap, though. Overall, very pleased with mount and drives, although RA worm needs adjusting quite often as it works loose.
  18. Well done for working that out ...alas, I wasn't so bright. On my vixen controller, the RA fast speeds - 4x and 16x - would work but not the base drive rate. I sent it off to AWR who repaired it for a reasonable amount - and also added something to stop any future problems with voltage overload - but like in your case, it turned out to simply be a bad connection between the cable and plug. They told me it is by far the most common problem on these controllers. To be fair though, mine must have already been over 20 years old when this problem arose.
  19. Can I just ask how long it had cooled down for? It doesn't sound as if this is the problem with it not being 'uniform' in nature but it's very difficult to assess possible faults until the mirror temp is reasonably close to the ambient. Also, as you rack in the focusser, does the 'soft image' get sharp at any point in the travel?
  20. Breathtaking! If I could do that I wouldn't be faffing about taking poor quality lunar photos!
  21. With my Flowerpot projector I just went for very basic focussing in that the front element is a "push fit" and can be moved in and out. The eyepiece is in a fixed position - and is actually inside the plywood casing - so you focus by watching the screen and adjusting the front lens. It may be simple - and for a quick job it's fine - but if doing it again I would definitely incorporate a proper focuser. Although great for group viewing and really safe as you cannot physically get your eye to the eyepiece because of the screen holder, the main drawback is the huge drop off in performance with any haze etc...At a public event I sat it alongside a tal 4" which was projecting onto a sceen. They both produced pleasing images of the disk with sunspots clearly visible, but when some haze developed, the image in the flowerpot degraded far more than the projected image - not surprising, I know. Some better back projection material would help. I still like it though and have no regrets at having made it.
  22. Hi Stan, I don't use anything apart from the Baader film front aperture filter ( very good instructions on this site for making one with card etc..) but obviously the fit of the baader film filter should be tight. I always tape mine on with electrical insulation tape which keeps it secure but peels off for removal. The finderscope caps should be left on. You should also check the baader filter each time by holding it up to the sun off the scope to look for any tell-tale pinpricks of light that would indicate damage etc...I would keep it in a tupperware type box with tissue rather than leave it in your equipment box. You mentioned an eyepiece filter. If you have one of those "solar filters" supplied with telescopes in the 80s and 90s which screw into the eyepiece barrel it should be thrown in the bin! Projecting the image is probably safer, although there are still dangers with this as there is always the possibility of someone 'having a peak' through the eyepiece whilst your back is turned. Good luck
  23. Hello Ian, like all my best ideas ..... it's someone else's! A guy in the states built a back projector for solar work that I think he called the "Solar Gun" - basically a refractor projecting onto a sheet of material held as a screen behind the eyepiece. The problem is that the direction in which you are looking at the screen is obviously looking towards the sun, so you need another shield / screen to kill the glare. Anyway, a few years ago, a member of the BAA - I'm afraid I don't know his or her name came up with this variation in which a flat or prism bends the light 90 degrees so there is far less glare and it's a far more comfortable viewing position. Because they used a flowerpot to hold the screen material, they called it their Flowerpot Projector. I copied this idea and made this for a public viewing of the transit of venus in 2004 and luckily it worked really well. The lens is an old 50mm diameter job of focal length 900mm, a prism bends the light, a simple Kelner eyepiece projects it and a flowerpot holds a circle of tracing paper for the back projection. (I've heard that shower curtain can also be used very successfully for the back projection material. Hope this helps and thanks for the interest
  24. Apologies for huge image file above - can someone please tell me how to attach "thumbnailed" images?
  25. Ok, from the sublime to the ridiculous...here is my solar set up. Pros - very good for 'group viewing' of high contrast sunspots and transits of Venus (occasional use only) Cons - can't see anything else! Good fun though and people like to see the disc moving over the screen.
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