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SlyReaper

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Everything posted by SlyReaper

  1. So yeah, just spent some time in my back garden doing some stargazing and marvelling at my view of Saturn. I come back inside and turn on the lights and ARGH THE PAIN. Wowzer. So, I guess I'm not alone in feeling the sting of turning the lights back on after a stargazing session?
  2. Are they better? I notice they're CMOS, not CCD. Does that make much difference? When researching th DFK, it seemed that was also very well regarded, getting a 92% score from Sky At Night magazine. You may be rright and I've been looking at old information.
  3. I took 3 minute videos at my webcam's maximum framerate of 10fps, then stacked the best 5% of frames. Yes it's serious kit, but I find myself in the enviable position of having money to spend at the moment. If I don't spend it on a big treat for myself, it'll end up getting spent on beer and snacks over the years.
  4. Clouds are the big obstacle. My solution is my cloud zapper, just mount on the side of my scope, press the button, and whoosh, the cloud is gone. Handy.
  5. So... I've been trying my hand at a spot of astrophotography. I have a 5 inch newtonian, and am using a webcam to take the photos. My first lot looked very purple, and it was pointed out to me that I need an IR cut-off filter. So I got one, and here are my first results. Jupiter is getting closer and closer to the sun as the weeks move on. I can only capture it during twilight now, so not as good as I might otherwise have managed. Soon, it won't be an evening object any more, and it'll be gone until next year. I took another shot, this time deliberately overexposed to show three of the moons. It is maybe a little sad that Jupiter is fading now, but in its place, Saturn is now an evening object, rising earlier and earlier in the evenings, but still late enough to be in true night. That thing is incredibly difficult to find with the webcam, because the one I use seems to magnify the image to a ridiculous degree, with a very narrow field of view. But on Monday night, I finally acquired it. Super happy with that one. Nowhere near as spectacular as what I've seen others post here, but I think that's not bad for a 5 inch scope with a £15 webcam. A yellow fuzzy ball surrounded by a yellow fuzzy ring, it's my first Saturn picture and I'll probably treasure it more than any subsequent Saturn shots I manage with more capable equipment. Speaking of more capable equipment, I'm thinking http://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-250px-flextube-goto.html with http://www.firstlightoptics.com/imaging-source-cameras/dfk-21au04as-colour.html. Anyone had experience with either of these two? Not after DSOs at the moment, I'm primarily after planets. Just for good measure, here's a shot of some moon craters. See what I mean about the high magnification and narrow FOV?
  6. You got that on an 8 inch scope? I think I know what my next upgrade is.
  7. Thread necromancy! So, I stuck an infra-red cut-off filter to my webcam, as you guys suggested. It was second hand, so only cost me a tenner. Here's my first go at Saturn. Much better colour balance than my Jupiter shot, this looks like how I'd expect the colour of Saturn to look. It doesn't look that impressive, but I'm super happy to have captured this one. Saturn is so hard to find with the webcam! Can find it very easily with eyepieces, but I plug the webcam in, and it's usually just black space. But this time, I was able to find it by manually pushing the scope around. Thanks for the knowledges, guys. I now officially have aperture fever, because I want to CAPTURE ALL THE PHOTONS!
  8. Thanks, that's helpful indeed. From how you describe your 130p, I'm really regretting not spending that extra few quid for the parabolic mirror. I've never seen the GRS, and the dark albedo features on Mars are so faint I thought I was imagining them when I first glimpsed them. In the interests of not cheaping out again, would it be worth putting a bit more cash into it and get a 10 incher? Like, a Skywatcher 250P on an EQ6? Or an Orion XT10i? My only worry about huge aperture scopes is they won't get used as often because they'd be unwieldy. But if I go for an 8 incher, I'll probably want to upgrade again. Decisions decisions.
  9. Sorry, it just came across as a little condescending. Apologies if I overreacted.
  10. My eyepieces are 25mm, 10mm, and 4mm plus a 2x Barlow lens that I never use. I'm well aware the scope I'm thinking of would duplicate the 25mm and 10mm eyepieces. I'm also well aware that I'm not going to get Hubble quality images, not really sure why you felt the need to point that out. I'm not some starry eyed fool who gets disappointed every time I look through the scope. At the moment, my scope can see fuzzy cloud bands on Jupiter, very faint dark albedo features on Mars, and the rings of Saturn very clearly but not the Cassini Division. I'd like to be able to see the great red spot, the Martian polar caps, some ring detail at Saturn, and perhaps some cloud bands on Saturn as well. Also, hope to see some DSOs with it.
  11. I currently own a Skywatcher Explorer 130 (spherical mirror, not the parabolic one). Thinking of getting the Skywatcher Explorer 200P on an EQ5 mount. Am I being daft? 5 inches to 8 inches should capture more than twice the light, but I live in a suburban area with some light pollution, so will I actually see that much difference? The fact that the mirror is parabolic might sharpen some of the images a bit? I actually have a fair bit of money to spend at the moment, so would it be worth going for a 10 or 12 inch? Can you even get telescopes that big on an equatorial mount? I'd rather not go for a dob just yet because I want to be able to track, and by my understanding, the only way to track with a dob is by using a goto system? Aside from the cost, I like the organic feel of manually pointing my scope, so I'd rather not use a goto system just yet.
  12. Yep I want to go down the astrophotography route, mostly because I want to be able to share what I see in a way that's better than just enthusiastically describing it.
  13. It began pretty much the moment I bought my first telescope 4 weeks ago. First week, I spent 70 quid on a 4mm eyepiece and some colour filters, second week, I bought a tracking motor for my mount. Just to check, dobsonians can track, right? Want to get a big old light bucket, but it would be useless if it couldn't track.
  14. I've just looked it up, and it turns out Titan and Rhea were in right in the positions I saw those dots on Sunday night. Nice to know my telescope is sensitive enough to see those moons.
  15. I wonder how much they'd raise on Kickstarter?
  16. It's not all doom and gloom - the forecast said it would be cloudy all weekend where I am, and it was wrong. You know, just to balance out all those times the forecast said it would be clear and it wasn't. I had some fantastic clear skies this evening. A little hazy to begin with, but not too bad. In fact, the haze seemed to serve to spread out the light from Mars a bit, to make it seem redder to the naked eye. Couldn't make out any detail on Mars through the telescope though, which I've been able to do before. We're less than a week away from Saturn's opposition, which means it's now rising early enough in the evenings to be viewable by a casual newbie like me. The best I've been able to do with Saturn up until now is to have my scope in one of my upstairs rooms pointing out the window at low magnification, because it was always so low it was blocked by my neighbour's roof from the garden. This time, I was able to view it properly from my garden, and was able to get a crisp clear image with my 4mm eyepiece at 225x magnification. Absolutely breath-taking view, the rings were clear as day. I couldn't quite make out the Cassini Division (that remains an elusive ambition for me), but I could clearly see a couple of bright points to the side of Saturn. Not sure if they were moons or just background stars, but I'd like to think they were moons. It's hard to be sure. A brightish one quite a way out, and a dimmer one closer in. The bright one might have been Titan? I know it orbits a fair old distance out. Eventually, Saturn vanished behind my neighbour's chimney, so I switched off the tracking motor and started to pack up. With the naked eye, I don't think I've ever seen so many stars from England before. Normally, I can make out the major constellations like Ursa Major and Orion. Could see a good deal more than that this evening. Maybe it was an unusually clear evening, or maybe I'd spent so long outside that my eyes had properly adjusted. Stars behind stars behind stars, fading into what tastes like infinity. I love this hobby. I think I want a bigger scope.
  17. Not sure about that. Even if the oceans are deeper, the gravity is small. Pressure results from the weight of the water and ice above, so I'd expect the bottom of the Earth's oceans to be under much higher pressure than Europa's.
  18. I wondered what that knob was for. It didn't turn when I twiddled it, so I assumed it was set in the factory and glued down.
  19. So I bought one of these at the weekend, installed it on my mount, and got a clear enough night tonight to test it out. It... does not work as advertised. Often, it doesn't bite properly on the attachment point on the RA fine control. Even if I tighten it up as much as I can, it almost immediately comes loose. So it just rotates uselessly without turning the scope. When it does bite, it seems to run about twice as fast as it should. With the motor turned off, the target drifts from right to left across my field of view. With it switched on, it drifts left to right almost as quickly. Yes, I set up the polar alignment quite carefully, and I tried both N and S settings just to see if that was the issue (it wasn't). Is there something obvious I might have missed (I'm still a bit of a newbie at this)? Or is this a case of me having gone for the cheap option and the build quality just isn't up to scratch?
  20. Except it will. Another couple of weeks and it'll be another almost full moon in the evenings, washing out the view of anything remotely interesting. And like last time, by the time it goes away, it'll go cloudy again.
  21. Yeah, Chile (and Argentina) seems to be a very attractive place to visit for many reasons. I said Patagonia was half the reason I want to go, but in truth, it's probably most of the reason. Everything I've seen and heard about the place makes it seem like one of the few remaining wildernesses left on this planet, the flora and fauna there are said to be spectacular, and the terrain magnificent. And if I can spend a night or two on top of the Andes on my journey there, all the better. South Africa is another fascinating place, but it's not as high on my list of places to visit as Patagonia.
  22. Honestly, South Africa scares the bejeezus out of me far more than Chile does. I'm sure it's probably an unfair reputation South Africa has, but knowing that on an intellectual level doesn't make me more inclined to visit. Also, Chile has the aforementioned ridiculously colossal observatories, which is in itself half the reason I want to go there. It's like a pilgrimage for the cosmology enthusiast. The other half of the reason is I've also always wanted to visit Patagonia for the spectacular terrain and wildlife, and I like the idea of making a holiday of travelling down the entire length of Chile to get there.
  23. Been wanting to visit Chile for years for this very reason. However, I suspect such a trip would cost more than I've ever spent on telescope stuff. Would want to take along at least a 10 inch scope on a super sturdy tracking mount to make it worthwhile, I think. In the meantime, I make do with the stunning images and video that come from that corner of the globe. Found this one the other day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zr6VQDCLdlk
  24. I'd say I'm around 5. A few miles out from the city centre, but there's a ridge in between, so not much light pollution from that. Really looking forward to the next cloudless nights, I'll drive out to Brecon and do some proper dark sky viewing.
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