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Swithin StCleeve

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About Swithin StCleeve

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  1. I wonder why neither Sky at Night or Astronomy Now weren't there? I've enjoyed their stands in the past, and have come away with some bargains.
  2. I use 20 second exposures at 3200 ASA, and use manual focus (which I focus on the brightest 'star' I can find, which was Jupiter the week before last when I took this). It's onlt a 50mm kit lens, and I'm hoping to get a wide field lends soon. This is with a Canon 750DSLR. I think, with a wider lens, you may be able to do longer exposures and take down the ASA. My pics are quite grainy. Not astrophotography standard, but I like them. There's slight star trailing.
  3. I'm in the same boat. I use cheap 1X glasses to read maps and handsets, after years of not needing any. It's become a pain having to take them off and on every time I come away from the eyepiece, and only last night I thought 'there must ne an easier way'.
  4. I will say this though - if someone had given me a go-to scope when I was getting into the hobby, I don't think I'd have become as involved. I spent hours reading books and sky maps and trying to find stuff, and it was a bit of a journey of discovery which led to an understanding of the universe that I'm still finding out about. If I'd have had a go-to when I was a teenager, instead of a manual mount, I honestly think my interest might have dried up. Though I expect not many teenagers get given a go-to as their first scope anyway.
  5. This is a very good point. If you're confident your go-to is aligned correctly, you'll be much more inclined to spend time looking at that specific field of view. Because you know the object is there. When you star-hop, you'd be more inclined to look at the same field of view and think 'no, it's not there. I must be in the wrong place'. Interesting.
  6. Of course, you're right, and I'm being a little tongue-in-cheek, but I must admit, the 'thrill' of seeing a new object will be slightly lessened by the fact I haven't found it for myself. But, as an astro friend told me, in defence of go-to mounts, "I want to see as much as I can in one night, we don't get that many clear skies, and I'm not going to live forever!"
  7. As a seasoned dob-wielding star-hopper and map-reader, last night I used a go-to mount for the first time. An 8" S/C that belongs to our local society, really nice piece of kit. After a faff of setting up (I had the scope upside down, I didn't even know there was an upside down on telescopes!), I got it aligned and with a break in the clouds by Hercules, typed in M13. It whizzed into motion and there it was! I must say, it was like magic. Since the early 90's I've kept a list of Messier objects I've found by star-hopping. I've about twenty yet to find, a lot of then galaxies in Virgo, which I find hard to navigate. With this new go-to, I could mop them up and tick them off in one night. Somehow, it seems wrong. It seems too easy. I may have go-to guilt. Has anyone else made the transition from star-hopping to go-to?
  8. At least with Pluto not called a planet these days, we can say "I've seen all the planets in the solar system". For that reason alone, I'm kind of okay with it being de-classified.
  9. When we discuss our Messier lists, are we talking about just using maps and star-hopping, or are people with 'go-to' mounts involved too? I have a Messier list, but they've all been found by me through star-hopping. If I see something through someone else's go-to mount, it doesn't go on my list. Because I haven't hunted it out and found it. Or does it simply matter that you've clapped eyes on it?
  10. Lovely post. This is what astronomy is about, for me. I haven't seen Mercury since the 2006 solar eclipse, I'm ashamed to say. Except for its silhouette in transit, a few years ago.
  11. I like your style! It did occur to me, at Elan, when I was looking at the Milky Way overhead..... why bother looking for faint fuzzies when our very own galaxy is above me so distinct and wonderful!
  12. I didn't want to correct him, as I'm the world's worst for miss-reading posts! But yes, I'm not much into phone apps for astronomy. When we have observing sessions at our society there's people there with their phones in the air, trying to recognise constellations, and I often think it's not as good a way at remembering them as a map, where you have to keep shape in your head, if you know what I mean. And recognising the constellations is one of the pleasures of astronomy, for me. The Pleiades rising in the early hours of a late summer's night, the first glimpse of Sirius... somehow an app telling you it's Sirius isn't as 'romantic' as a map. That said, people who embrace and conquer technology will undoubtedly see more, and take better photos that I ever will!
  13. I did a lot of observing in my parent's garden in the 90's, and had a hiatus for a while when I moved to the city. About three years ago I bought a little caravan, and when I got out under dark skies again I realised there were great portions of the sky I knew well, and others, which were shielded by buildings where my parents lived, that I didn't know at all! I can easily find M81 & M82 straight away in 10X50's, skies permitting, but if you asked me where the Beehive Cluster is, even now, I'd have to think twice! I was lucky enough to have three clear nights in the Elan Valley dark sky site recently, and the first night I didn't even get the scope out! This is a three second shot with a DSLR, 50mm lens I thing. You can pisk out M31 and M33 easily. I've only ever seen M33 with the naked eye once before, in Wiltshire, in the 90's, after a rainfall.
  14. Nah, I'm a 'maps not apps' kind of observer ?
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