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Swithin StCleeve

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About Swithin StCleeve

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  1. A bit of a belated update on this, but I've found an erecting finderscope and I've fitted it on my dob, with the Telrad finder. My thoughts are - I can get in the area with the Telrad, (and that will help with my needing to 'look along' the finder, in the direction of the object), then I can use the finderscope to star-hop the fainter stars that I can't see via the Telrad. I don't know the magnification of the finderscope yet, but I can compare with my 10X50 bins, and get a good guess. I've really found the suggestions on this thread helpful, thanks guys.
  2. That's a very interesting link, thanks Paul, I've bookmarked it, and I'll buy some paper later and do some printing off later, there's some pretty good PDFs on there. You're right that all we really want, after exhausting the Messier list, is a list of the brightest, coolest stuff to see that isn't in the messier list, basically. My observation notes only have about thirty or so objects that have no Messier number, so I've got plenty to try and find. I also like it that they differentiate between go-to scopes and star-hopping. I've nothing against go-to scopes (having used one to work my
  3. Rother Valley Optics list Hidden Treasures at £39.00, but they also say check with them for stock before ordering. I'm going to get the Secret Deep, and keep my eye out for a second edition of Hidden Treasures if it gets printed. I've still got loads of objects that are new to me in the Caldwell book. The forward of the Caldwell edition - where O'Meara gets a phone call off the ill guy asking about the name of a star, actually got me choked up. I wasn't expecting that!
  4. It's also good to read modern books written so enthusiastically about visual astronomy as a leisure pursuit. More and more frequently it seems that astrophotography has become the main part of the hobby, (particularly if you look on line). I love it that these books are written for the people who like to seek out these objects and see them with their own eyes.
  5. Thanks Olly. I have found a copy of the rarer book, now I've got to decide whether to take the plunge.
  6. Thanks for that reply Mark, very informative. I've been using an 8" Skywatcher (as in my pic) for the last few years, but I'm in the process of renovating my old 10" dob. I just need to find a way of fixing the spider back on, as the welded nuts have fallen off. So when I get my dob back working, I'll have a little more light-gathering power. This is why I'm reading up on none Messier targets, (I've pretty much seen all the Messier objects visible from here). I was aware some of the Caldwell objects weren't visible from here, but O'Meara's article in the April Astronomy Now magazine got
  7. I have Steven James O'Meara's The Messier Objects book, and The Caldwell Catalogue. They are both fantastic, and I've since been browsing to see if there are more in the series, and it seems there are three more. There's the Southern Sky, (which won't interest me unless I go one day), and two more; one called The Secret Deep, which is in print, and one called Hidden Treasures, which is out of print (2007) and harder to find. My main question is - are the objects in The Secret Deep different to the objects listed in Hidden Treasures? I think both books feature none Messier/Caldwell objects, but
  8. That's great, thanks. I've got O'Meara's boom on the Messier objects, and it's superb, so I'm looking forward to getting the Caldwell one. I think I was looking 'too close' for C1, if that makes sense. I should have looked for a brighter, larger star field. Thanks again
  9. That'd be great, thanks. I'm going to treat myself to the James O'meara book on the Caldwell objects in the next week. There was an article by him in the Feb or March 2021 Sky at Night magazine, and a full two page list on the objects. I'd like to know if C1 is a telescopic object, or a star field visible in binoculars for starters.
  10. With the renovation on the dob not complete, tonight was my second session with the Helios 15X70 bins on the parallelogram mount, from the semi-rural Bortle 5 site, (which I suspect may be more like 4.5). Please excuse the quick memory type-up, as I didn't make notes tonight due to the cold. Riiight, the winter constellations are heading westward. Two weeks ago I saw Orion, Taurus and Canis Major easily after sunset, now only Gemini remains, with M35 strangely elusive tonight, (why?). But Leo is in the 'sweet spot' of dark sky between the lights of Telford and Wolverhampton, and I'm happy
  11. I agree! Friday night, under rural skies with nice crisp seeing, I saw M101 for the first time ever, through 10x50 binos! Yet I've looked for this without success with a 10" mirror dob (admittedly in more light-poluted skies). I think M101 is one of those Messier objects that is just out of reach unless you're blessed with nice dark skies. I've seen most of the Messier objects and it's always been a source of some embarrassment that I'd never seen it. I never expected to find it in bins, but there it was, and quite bright too!
  12. Cheers Steve. It's a fine, sturdy mount with the right scope. I was hoping putting bricks under the legs might help, but it needs raising at least 12-18". I ended up putting it on the plinth that John made for the 16" Dob, but it was wobbling about. Thanks for letting me try it out.
  13. Thanks Rob. A couple of years ago I bought a £99 Skywatcher Heritage table-top dob, (it has a 4" mirror.) I made a box for it (out of floorboards, the cheapest way to get real wood!), I varnished it and put brass handles on, and I keep it in the back of my van. I've got this so that I always have a scope ready, with zero set-up time. I use a 9mm Plossl eyepiece, and this little scope has saved the day lots of times. It's got a red dot finder, It looks like a toy, but it's so easy to use, just take it out the box, pop it on top of the box, and you're away. I've seen galaxies, nebulae, d
  14. Some great replies folks, thanks. My only problem with the Telrad is that under not quite dark skies, you can only see naked eye stars. Last night I was trying to find Caroline's Custer, just to the left of Sirius, and through my bins I could see exactly where it was, but I had to guess where I was pointing the Telrad, because the stars I saw in my bins weren't visible to the naked eye. If my bins were attached to my scope, I'd always hit the right spot.
  15. I had quite a healthy list of targets when I set out tonight, but the mount I have for my 8" reflector - a borrowed Vixen EQ - is just too damn short. And I've come to realise, I don't like equatorial mounts, I’m too impatient, I don't like anything that takes time to set up. This is why I'm now officially committed to getting my old dobsonian back in action, ease of use is everything. I had this EQ mount tottering on a wooden plinth to gain height so I wasn't crouching or observing on my knees, and it was ridiculous. And every time I wanted to move it to a new target, I had to grapple round,
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