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About MJP

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    Wiltshire, England
  1. Well done. My Council claimed that turning off lights would breach human rights legislation! Mike
  2. The weather forecast for tonight was clear skies. I just got everything set up and aligned when in rolled the clouds. All I could observe was Jupiter, for a while, then the Moon through cloud. Jupiter seemed to have three distinct bands. Maybe it was just poor seeing or have others seen this? Mike
  3. Most chemists will sell you silica gel crystals. Mike
  4. I am new to web cam imaging but have read that an Xbox webcam works. Can anyone advise what needs to be done to the camera in order to use it. Also wil it work with Windows XP? Does it come with driver software? What program would I need to process images? Is there a 'primer' available on web cam photography available on the Web? Advice will be appreciated. Mike
  5. Thanks for the comments. I've been doing astronomy for nearly three years. My dilemma is wether to spend the money on a GoTo mount for my current scope or go for a dob. Both will cost about the same. It's a question of which is the best use of scarce resources! Mike
  6. I have a Celestron Omni 120mm refractor on a manual CG4 mount and also 80mm Viven on a mini port - a-mount (for grab and go). I regularly go to a dark sky site a few miles from home. I am thinking of getting a Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro Synscan go to mount because from my light polluted garden I often cannot see enough stars to star hop. Then again for the same money I could get a skyliner 200p flex tube dob with GoTo. I assume the dob would be better for deep sky than my refractor which I could use for lunar and planetary. Is this right? I have no experience of dobs and am not sure if the GoTo wor
  7. Many thanks to all who replied. I appreciate your time and effort. Clearly I was looking at it in the wrong way. Mike
  8. I rather wonder why the cosmic background radiation is still visible. My thinking is that this burst of light happened early in the history of the universe but was a "one off"event. Now if we imagine I shine a torch out towards space for an hour, and then turn it off, then someone at a point way out in space would see that light (let's assume it is a very powerful torch!) then one hour later the light would go out. The light wave will have passed them and could still be seen from a still more distant point but again only for one hour( although obviously not the same hour). Therefore why do we
  9. I notice FLO and others sell motor drives for the Celestron CG4 Omni mount. I wondered if anyone had experience of these. How easy are they to fit and how well do they work? All advice appreciated. Mike
  10. I have a Celestron XLT 120mm refractor on the supplied non powered mount. I would like a goto mount for this scope. The main reason is that many of the things I want to see (including Neptune) cannot be seen with the naked eye from my suburban garden. It is therefore very hit and miss, time consuming and frustrating trying to locate the object. I had thought about a Skywatchers EQ5 goto mount which is reasonably priced. In my garden i can set up marked points to polar align the scope. My main concern, however, is that if I take this mount to one of the dark(er) sky sites I might spend half th
  11. It's not bad here, some mist but most things visible. I went out with bins earlier and found M52 (I think). Mike
  12. I find a planisphere very useful except that both the ones I have have star and constellation names printed in black. They are almost impossible to read under red light. Anyone know why they don't print them with white ink so they can be used without spoiling your night vision? Mike
  13. Many thanks everyone. At least I now know where to start. I have to say that since taking up astronomy in a serious way just two years ago I have been amazed at how generous SGL members, individuals and organisations (like NASA) have been in providing help and advice. It is greatly appreciated. Mike
  14. I am interested in trying astro photography with a Web-Cam. I understand this is posible with a non powered scope by taking several short bursts. The problem is everyone recommends the Philips ToUcan which, it seems, is not generally available. Has anyone any experience of another suitable Web-Cam which is currently on sale and if so are adaptors etc. available? Any other advice on this subject would also be welcome. Mike
  15. I have a 120mm Celestron refractor and have recently bought a 80 mm Vixen refractor for grab and go. To my surprise I am getting images at least as good from the Vixen as I get from the larger Celestron. Is that what you might expect? I rather expected to be able to see less with the smaller scope but I could see strcucture in the Orion nebula two nights ago with the Vixen. Something I have never seen with the Celestron. Mike
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