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MJP

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Everything posted by MJP

  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. MJP

    Dew prob?

    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 works and how easy they're to transport. Is collimating a problem and is it needed frequently ? Would the 200p give me reasonable access to deep sky objects? Basically I am confused as to which route to take. My interest is in the planets but also messier objects etc. Any advice, views etc. will be appreciated. Mike
  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 continue to see the cosmic background radiation. I would expect the burst of light (at microwave wave lengths) to have passed us or maybe we are in a favourable position and it will cease to be visible at some point in the future. Or maybe I just don't understand something basic! Mike
  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 the evening polar aligning it. An alternative might be an Alt/Az goto but I have not been able to identify one which would both meet my needs and budget. Any advice on (a) Skywatcher's EQ5 goto, ( Alt/Az goto mounts, and © mounts in general will be really helpful. Many thanks Mike
  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
  16. I have a 120mm Celestron Refractor and from my light polluted garden I found using the finder presented some problems. These were mostly because the magnified view through the finder showed lots of stars which were not visible to the naked eye and I found it difficult to know exactly where I was looking. A red dot finder seemed the answer but I did not want to get rid of the finder scope. All this brings me to the point. Celestron tube rings have a screw thread for mounting a camera. I was able to make up, and tap, an aluminum plate to fit this thread and then to screw the mounting, for a red dot finder, to that plate. It works well and because it is a little way up the scope it is easier to bend down far enough to look through it for items high up (a consideration as you get older!). Mike
  17. I agree 15x70 Bins are very good, especially when mounted on a tripod. Not so good when you want to look at the planets though. I find they compliment my scope rather than replace it. I do, however, just take the bins for grab and go. It saves the set up time needed for the scope. Mike
  18. :icon_scratch:I have Skymaster 15x70 binoculars. I actually prefer using these to my scope. Quicker set up, lighter,easier to find targets. The problem is with looking at planets such as Jupiter and Venus. Instead of a disc (or crescent) I just get a flare with no shape. The focus seems correct as I can see Jupiter's moons as pin points of light, its just the planet that is unclear. I can get clear views of the Moon, Orion Nebula etc. and star clusters. Is it usual to get a problem viewing the brighter planets? Mike
  19. I have found 17x50 Skywatcher Bins idea for the moon, star clusters etc but when I look at Jupiter the moons are clear but the planet is just a sparkle (like a star) and not a disk. Same applies looking at Venus. Is there anything I can do to improve this. Mike
  20. Two questions. Has anyone tried fitting a red dot finder to the camara mounting on the tube rings of a Celestron Scope? If so how did you achieve it? Second I have some Celestron Skywatcher Bins but get lense flare when looking at Jupiter, Venus etc.Is this normal and how can I correct it? Thanks for any help. Mike
  21. I would like to fit a Red Dot finder to my Celestron Refractor but wish to keep the existing finder scope. The obvious mounting point is the camera adaptor thread on the tube rings. Has anyone tried this and does anyone know where I can obtain some sort of fitting which will screw onto this camera thread to hold the red dot finder (or red dot finder bracket). Many thanks. Mike
  22. In response to the comments about sky beams, if you are on a route into an airport (even if its 90 miles away in our case) the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) get very interested. We had a problem with a nightclub shining a green laser into the sky. The CAA warned the owners that although they could not stop the use of the laser, if it endangered aircraft the penalties were almost unlimited. The nightclub shut down the beam. Hope this helps. Mike
  23. Just a quick query. I am viewing from a town centre site and get a fair amount of light polution. I am using a 120mm refractor. Is it worth considering a larger scope (a reflector I guess because of the price) or will I just pick up more polution as well as more starlight and be back where I started? Mike
  24. I was observing around 23.00 hours. It was on identical brightmess to Io. Mike
  25. Interesting! I've just posted a thread on the same subject (before seeing yours). I also could see what looked like 5 moons. I was using a 5 inch refractor. Mike
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