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About FenlandPaul

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    Sub Dwarf

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    Cambridgeshire, UK
  1. I think that’s such a good question. Like many, I work quite long hours, have a youngish family and other responsibilities elsewhere. Ultimately my life is more complete for all of those things including astronomy, so it’s all about balance. The stars won’t be going anywhere. I used to feel guilty for not going out when it was a clear, moonless night -I would be torn between going out and enjoying things, and not getting overtired for family and work. But I’ve come to realise that it’s ok - this is a hobby, for enjoyment, and I should just go out when I feel I’m able to. Since deciding on that I’ve had much more relaxing and enjoyable observing sessions. All that said, I was out several nights on the trot recently for NEOWISE during my busiest time of year for work, so I found the short term answer was just more coffee!!
  2. I keep getting prompted to upgrade from the SkySafari 4+ version I’m using. Does anyone know what the 6-series has over the 4, which, by the way, I think is brilliant and a fine complement to using Interstellarum in the field.
  3. This is my first ever time posting in the imaging section, so a little nervous, but I’ve recently been enjoying some time playing with my DSLR. Neowise couldn’t have come at a better time for that!! Here’s a handful of shots from Friday and Sunday nights, the former just capturing the NLC that brightened considerably over the following half hour, and the latter showing the comet’s reflection in a lake not far from home. I’ve also attached an attempt at a panning timelapse using the StarAdventurer mount set at 90 degrees latitude and at 6x rotation speed. Hope you enjoy!! Not a patch on the output from more seasoned folks here, but these pictures will, like my Hale Bopp shots from long ago, be treasured memories of some spectacular nights. B6D3521F-853E-4D81-BC91-E078CAC7E2E8.MP4
  4. It was stunning here in Cambridgeshire for about an hour, starting rally early at 10pm (I’d set up to photograph the moonrise). Looked to the north and they were already very bright and quite high - maybe up to about 40 degrees altitude. Couldn’t believe how they shone through the twilight with ease. But within an hour, they’d died down and the real cloud had come rolling in.
  5. Of course! Managed to get out last night with it for a couple of hours, with a DSLR and 135mm / 200mm lenses. Observations so far: The instruction manual could do with a proper proof read and sense check!! It’s a nice solid unit - well built and with controls in sensible places, with a nice level of red illumination at night. The only thing I was disappointed with was the design of the illuminator for the polar scope, which basically means you have to unscrew the cap completely to turn it off - necessitating messing around with fiddly batteries and trying not to drop / lose them (fine at this time of year but in the winter that’ll get annoying!). I’ve attached mine to the lightweight skywatcher tripod that came with my AZ5. Initially I had it on the little extension pillar that comes as standard I think with that tripod. The tripod is bordering on hopeless - very wobbly when handled - but once I’d removed the extension pillar it has was robust enough for a dslr and heavy lens. I operate the dslr remotely so don’t need to handle it much. The whole arrangement felt a lot less secure when I attached my 70ed, star diagonal and Nagler eyepiece to do so some solar work yesterday. Touching the focusser would cause vibrations that lasted a while, but it was just about tolerable. It felt the whole arrangement was more strained, but I’ve not used it in anger with the camera and scope in tandem yet, so might be fine. It easily kept the sun at x45 dead centre for 5 minutes or more using the solar tracking speed and a general “point north” rather than polar align. Under the stars with the dslr it was a dream. Polar aligning (rough) was simple, the dslr felt sturdily held and it just did exactly what it said. I managed 60 second subs with the 200mm lens and they stacked with no problems, but didn’t try any longer. Interested how long I can do. Output from the evening was these two pictures of Lyra and Corona Borealis with the 135mm lens, with subs of 30 seconds each (I think for Lyra I stacked about 8 of them, from memory). As a complete newcomer to imaging, I’m excited where this might go - these won’t win any competitions, but they’ve definitely encouraged me that I can do this with some practice and patience!! One thing I do need to do is order a ball head for the dslr. In its native form, the Star Adventurer doesn’t allow you to alter the orientation of the frame - you just get whatever it spits out! So a ball head will solve this. Wouldn’t be a problem with my 70ed as the focusser can be rotated. Definitely glad I bought it.
  6. Thank you. I have two Canon EOSs (an unmodified 1000D and a modified 450D without the IR filter), my little Altair Starwave 70ed frac and a small collection of old Vivitar lenses. So that’s my starting line-up, but I’ll see how I get on!!
  7. Not a thread I’ve contributed to before, but this arrived for me today: unfortunately accompanied by this: Up until recently I’ve been a purely visual observer, but I’ve had some fun of late with a DSLR and some prime focus work on my two (Undriven) scopes, so this felt like a natural next step.
  8. Fantastic progress!!! Looking forward to seeing the end result with kit installed.
  9. You seem to be getting on just fine, Mark. But I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels a little under-skilled in the presence of some of the engineering genius on here!!
  10. I had an ST150 for a while, Martin (one that’s done the rounds on SGL actually!). I did have a bit of a soft spot for it. On open clusters and the star fields of the Milky Way, it was quite hard to beat for all round relaxed viewing pleasure. I seem to remember good colours on things that weren’t too bright - never had a lovelier view of Uranus’ colour. Need a decent mount though. I had it for a while on an AZ4 and it was very much on (or beyond) it’s limit.
  11. Nice selection, Iain. Whilst in Monoceros I love to take a look at Hubble’s Variable Nebula, NGC 2261. Exciting to see if there’s any discernible change from the last observation, although as my drawing is so poor it’s fairly hard to tell!! I always wonder how this didn’t make it into the Messier catalogue given just how bright and comet-like it is.
  12. My wife kindly bought me volume 7 of this (and there’s an identically sized, as-yet-unwrapped pressie that I suspect is volume 6): I’ve been enjoying collecting this series, but I’m a little worried about the pace of release at the moment!! Lots of my favourite constellations seems to be in the back three-quarters of the alphabet...
  13. Super report, Stu - and that Stu+MW is very much the icing on the cake - fantastic!!
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