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About rolpol

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  1. Thanks all, will let you know how I get on!
  2. Yes, and it has plenty of hard drive space too;
  3. Can only reiterate what has been said above, try to find a local group to have a peek through theirs; I very nearly ended up with a Heritage 76 as I was looking for a sub £100 starter scope, but I quickly realised I would have been disappointed with it and outgrown it very quickly after I'd had chance to look through one. Of course I ended up spending more than I originally intended, but I eventually got something that met my initial needs and expectations.
  4. Thank you all for your interesting and thought-provoking responses- Firstly, I do plan to upgrade in the future, but for the time being I have to play along with the pretence that this is somehow all for the children (The Scalextric Principle, as I believe it is called), so when the children get bigger, so does the scope and mount! Obviously as has been pointed out Ultimately the equipment counts, and it is reasonable to say that for the best image of any sort you can produce all the equipment needs to be better then your capability. Otherwise the equipment is limiting you However it's going to be a little while before I can scratch the symptomatic rash of aperture fever. A decent Planetary cam on a 114 may not be the answer, although I am blessed with comparatively dark skies. If I read you all correctly it's going to allow me to achieve better images, (I do recognise the flaws in my smartphone snapshots, and my dslr efforts too), but won't get the best out of the camera itself. I was particularly struck by the notion Jupiter, in comparison, changes from minute to minute. It's never the same object twice, something I had barely considered due to thinking of the obvious visual riches of the lunar landscape. Another thought that's interesting me is stacking dslr images, the tracking on my mount is never going to win any prizes but it should allow me to get 100 without losing the Moon from view. However the thought of stepping back and thinking what I would like to achieve strikes me as a red herring in some small way - what I actually want to achieve is a memento first and foremost. One of my favourite photos is of when I was first trying to get a shot of the ISS back when I knew a lot less than I do now, I thought I'd finally cracked it but the object I thought might be a space station banked left and headed for Gatwick Airport about 6 seconds into the exposure! That shot means much more to me than the technically 'good' one I took much later on. I don't want to emulate results of others, I want to capture my own experiences as best I can. Finally, thank you all again for sharing your experiences, this is most helpful for the novice like me as, more than cash, equipment or knowledge, it is experience we lack the most.
  5. rolpol

    New tripod needed

    Hi Charlie, happy-kat pointed me in this direction as I have the Virtuoso mount; unfortunately I don't think I can be of much help as it looks like you're setting it up right (or at least in the same way I did, which may not be the same thing!) Once I'd entered the latitude mine seemed to track ok automatically, no need to change slew speed. When I am using the scope with power (sometimes don't bother and just resort to 'nudging', if I am looking at something specific for a short time), all I have to do is centre Polaris and switch the power on. I try to get the star as central as possible in my highest mag ep, go off to have a cigarette and swear at the weather forecast, and see if it is still there when I get back. However, I have found the tracking is visual only, I still get lines instead of stars if I mount my dslr on and expose for anything above 10 seconds or so, and of course rotation is an issue too. Furthermore, if I get the initial centring of Polaris wrong, or do something dumb (like switch the power on, decide not to centre and subsequently forget to switch the tracking off), then the auto-tracking is a definite hindrance, and things disappear very quickly from view. Sometimes I nail it, (like when it kept the moon in view for the hour I spent all goggle-eyed at the eyepiece, only occasionally nudging around when I spotted another crater I wanted to marvel at), sometimes it just doesn't want to play ball and I have to keep recentering. So, if you are using the power (especially without centring on Polaris) and the mount is not pulling the scope away from what you're looking at (as opposed to the natural drift out of your eyepiece view) then it seems the tracking simply isn't working as you'd feared - sorry to be the bearer of bad news...
  6. Hi all, once again I have some irritating questions... I've been toying with the idea of getting a webcam for Solar System imaging; I only have a small 'scope (Virtuoso 114) but I've been very happy with the views I've been getting of Jupiter (in the wee hours) so far. I also have been reasonably happy with the Lunar shots I've been getting with my smartphone and my Canon too. Ironically, I'm getting better images with the smartphone than with the Canon! (smartphone held up to eyepiece) So my quandary is this; Would a Webcam get much better Lunar images? (I am a bit of a lunaphile, and only get mildly irritated when a full moon washes out the rest of the sky, and I'm interested in the kind of images where the uninitiated assume I must have taken them from Lunar Orbit ) What difference would I notice between the entry level (say, a £60 Orion Starshoot 2) and a £250-£350 cam, (such as Starshoot 5MP, or QHYCCD 5 II)? I notice lots of posts about difficulties with software, especially drivers, for webcams? Are these issues pretty much universal? How many images of Saturn and Jupiter would I really need anyway? Sounds facetious, but what I really mean to ask is 'do planetary imagers find themselves going back again and again to get images of the same planet, or is there generally a "done that" plateau of interest'? Thank you for your time spent reading this
  7. rolpol

    First WOW! moment!

    I've got to admit my first breathless moment was splitting Albireo, I only have a small scope and had dampened my expectations during my research before purchasing. Then the second moment was clapping eyes, (well, eye,) on my first dso, the Great Gobular Cluster. I think most of my amazement was aroused by the fact I actually found it! But it's the Moon that I keep coming back to, simply because of the emotional response to exploring this vast, dead, ageless landscape. It can be tremendously moving when, in the lonely early hours, you find a new piece of dramatic detail you've never seen before. I am now a complete lunophile, although my wife prefers the '-tic' suffix....
  8. rolpol

    A Year of Imaging

    Very enjoyable post, hearty congratulations on what you have achieved so far and I look forward to seeing more!
  9. rolpol

    My first Moon shot

    I've had this before, think it was a white balance issue. I usually set mine to auto, (also do the same in Photoshop elements). Nice shot otherwise though
  10. A word on the "Wife-friendly" bit; my wife assumed I'd ordered something similar to what Nelson would have used to spot enemy ships on the horizon, and considered the 114 to be something of a monster at first...
  11. rolpol

    Where do you observe from?

    I'm a back garden watcher at the moment, not so good to the West, east is ok and North and South are fine. Next door neighbours security light can be a pain, but otherwise it's fine. Planning to go to some darker places, like Ranmore Common, Newlands Corner, and Emmets Garden now I'm getting to grips with finding things in the night sky...
  12. I have the 114 Virtuoso and, although I don't have much experience to compare with, I find the mount easy to use. I just centre on Polaris with my highest mag EP and switch the mount on, and this tracks accurately for many a minute (certainly compared to when I didn't centre on Polaris properly one time!). I haven't attached my Canon onto the mount yet, (I'm keen to do some wide field shots in the near future), but I got some great Moon shots through the telescope. I use a Halfords 12v power pack rather than batteries, but even with this extra bit of kit I can set up in 5 minutes flat. I haven't bothered with the handset and probably don't intend to, after upgrading the EPs to Meade 5000 9 and 25mm I don't have any problem finding DSOs. The main thing for me is that it's fairly wife-friendly, it sits in the bedroom with minimum grumbling from the missus, and I can get it out twice a week without too much tutting or rolling of eyes. I plan to wallow in aperture fever in the future, going as big as 250 or 300, but I don't feel like I've been short changed by not getting a 150 to begin with. When I was able to show the conjunction of the Moon and Saturn to the kids last month, during a brief break in the clouds, I was very happy indeed!
  13. Many thanks for this, much food for thought... It's just not possible at the moment, I bargained my way up from a 76 to a 114 and can go no further at present. However, if I am good then the next step, a year or two down the line, is not to a measly 150 mm. Try doubling it...
  14. Sorry, but the one thing I'm not changing is the telescope. Just looking to make the most of it...
  15. This is part of the master plan, but Mrs rolpol regards the current tube as being "enormous" and will not entertain any suggestion of anything larger at the moment...

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