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About Sargs

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    Astronomy (surprise!)
    Computer games
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    United Kingdom

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  1. Being a technical decision based on objective criteria, that's an easy choice. You pick the red one. Red ones go faster.
  2. Most definitely agree, though it's a bit of a special case: the quieter I am, the higher the probability that the police will buzz me in their helicopter, setting the dog off on a five minute barking session at four in the morning. I am the best neighbour.
  3. I had the same problem with an insanely tight latitude adjustment, even after upgrading the bolts. I upgraded to the Vimech EQ6Wedge, and it's a huge improvement over the original design and worth the money if you do astrophotography. I managed to remove the black end-caps by running a hair dryer on them for a few minutes. This heating softened the glue and possibly the caps themselves, making them less likely to split when I levered them off using a thin bladed butter-knife. Both were only very slightly marked on the edges to the point that you'd only see it if you were looking for it, and t
  4. One idea would be to look on eBay for companies that take old IT kit from businesses that are upgrading or going out of business, and recondition them before selling them on. This can be a good way to get hold of something like an older Lenovo ThinkPad. I got an old T420 that I used for a year or so. They're designed to be dragged all over the place by office workers and business travellers so they're a little tougher than the average consumer laptop and the battery life is generally excellent (though that may not be the case for a second-hand unit, replacement batteries are relatively cheap).
  5. One thing you could also try is to take an astronomical picture with your gear set up as you plan to use it and the camera set at 1x1 binning. Take the image and platesolve it at nova.astrometry.net. The results contain the pixel scale in the "calibration" section in the right-hand column. This was handy for me as I have an adjustable flattener designed for a range of scopes and the amount of "reduction" it performs varies according to the spacing, which in turn varies according to the scope.
  6. Why AP over Visual? I'd been an on-again-off-again visual astronomer since my teens. Mostly off-again, to be honest. About five years ago, I treated myself to a Nexstar 6SE and had a play with it for a few months. At some point, I read about using webcams with scopes and had a go imaging the moon and Jupiter. I took the photos and showed them to friends and relatives and I really liked the interest they generated. I'd previously not talked much about astronomy to people who weren't already interested, since just being told someone spent the night staring at the moon isn't very exciting, but be
  7. Don't let them get too friendly though, or you might hear the pitter-patter of tiny catadioptrics.
  8. I was born at the very end of the Apollo program and grew up in that sort of post-moon era when space was still very much a major part of pop culture with Space:1999, Blake's 7, Dr Who and so on. One of my uncles was a keen amateur astronomer and had helped set up the local astronomical society while another had done his Masters in Physics with Manchester University at Jodrell bank. I grew up very keen on space and sort of dipped in and out of active astronomy as a kid, but in the eighties I got distracted by the latest big thing- CB Radio, wait, no- home computers. Eventually, after a r
  9. I did much the same but I used plate solving to get the initial alignment. When it works, it's the best thing ever. When it works...
  10. Thanks on confirming I was probably looking at Vesta! I was reasonably sure that it should be in frame from what CdC was telling me, but I've been wrong before.
  11. Had a bash at some minor planet spotting on Friday night/Saturday morning. Pointed the scope at a fairly nondescript bit of space between Gemini and Cancer and started taking pictures. The star in the middle of the field is (I believe!) asteroid 4 Vesta at a distance of some 227 million kilometres. I took five frames over a period of twenty-five minutes before the clouds came over to see what I was doing, but even over this short a period, you can see some elongation of Vesta as it drifts relative to the fixed background stars. Interesting way to spend some time since the weather wa
  12. More or less true- We never encrypt your password as we don't know it and never, ever store it. We only store the interesting stain it leaves behind when you put it in a bag full of jam and hit it really, really hard with a hammer. Then when you log in, we put your input in another bag of the same jam, hit it with the hammer again and compare stains. In both cases, we never see your password, only its mangled, jam-smeared remains. We call this process salting and hashing because we don't think hackers will realise we're really using jam and smashing. https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Passw
  13. In my day job, I work in cybersecurity. I've devoted the last few years of my life in to making safe, secure systems based around high-end cryptography and sophisticated anti-hacking techniques. Systems secure enough that I'm willing to trust them not just with your money, but with my overdraft too. What winds me up? That in 2016, the most common password in use is *still* 123456.
  14. Do you have a Barlow? If so, try setting your focuser to a position where it is in focus for the DSLR, then take off the DSLR, fit the Barlow and add an eyepiece. With some luck, you may be close enough to focus to get a sharp image in the eyepiece (possibly with a bit of judicious sliding the eyepiece out of the Barlow a bit without touching the focuser). If that works and you can see diffraction spikes that you wouldn't normally see without the barlow, then it's the focuser drawtube. You can do the same trick with simple spacing tubes, but you'd need quite long ones. Sky-Watcher Newtonians t
  15. When imaging, how far in is your focuser? Wondering if maybe it's possible the focuser is racked in so much that the inner edge of the drawtube is clipping the light path. Someone with more experience that me might be able to tell us what that would actually look like!
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