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About hgjevans

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    Star Forming

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    Worcestershire, UK
  1. Wow - I just mentioned it, and hey presto - it's gone! Now that's what I call a feature.
  2. Just about beginning to get to grips with it here. Thanks, admins, for all the hard work - I guess there are a few of you with caffeine hangovers today! But as quite a few others have noted, I'm also wishing there wasn't so much empty space padding out the forum - it does make for an awful lot of unnecessary scrolling - especially on a mobile. I've had to switch off everyone's signatures to try to cut it down a bit, but of course that only works onl thread pages, and not index pages. In a similar vein, is it really necessary to have sub-forum lists expanded on the main page? Getting rid of that would help. And do we really need to download and display the hundreds and hundreds of names of users who've been on the site in the last 24 hours every time we load the front page? At least the old desk-top site allowed that list to be collapsed, and the mobile site dispensed with stuff like that altogether (and rightly so).
  3. The apps I use are listed in the thread that Chris linked to above, but since the subject has cropped up again I'll take this opportunity to get something off my chest. The one app that I see recommended here over and over again is SkySafari, and it seems to have several versions at different price points, which is great. But there isn't one that is 'lite' enough to be offered for free - no time-limited, or function-limited 'demo' version - nothing. Or at least none that I can find. Often apps that work fine with some Android devices won't work with others, so I feel I need some way of trying tham before I'm willing to pay for a full version. Equally, some apps might work fine, but I just can't get on with them - again I need more than just a brief description on Google Play and a bunch of screenshots. What I did eventually find - quite by accident - was a Celestron-branded app that seems actually to be a version of SkySafari under the skin, and is free. I can't remember what it was called, but anyone who similarly would like to try it out before deciding if it's for them could, I'm sure, track it down. As for me, it didn't work properly with my tablet, and I didn't pursue it any further, but YMMV. If you do try it, be warned: it was a gargantuan download (as compared with most of these things), and as soon as I opened it it insisted on downloading another massive chunk of data - even more than the original! Edit: I've just realised the Celestron app is the same app that Mak the Night linked to in the early part of this thread.
  4. Thanks again everyone. Gerry, thanks for the Monkeyhead tip - it does look spectacular in the images I've just found. My filter-buying days have yet to come, so I'll put it on the list for later. Alan, yes the Crab never does seem to quite live up to its billing - I guess the fact of having records of spectacular observation going back to the 11th century, and its position in the No.1 slot on Messier's list do rather raise expectations a bit. Still, I was happy on this occasion that the overall shape was standing out fairly clearly. Normally I'm just aware that there's 'something nebulous' there, often just in averted vision.
  5. Well, I have now! (Thanks to Google and S&T). And I'm encouraged to note that I've already got 'L1' in the bag!
  6. Thanks Piero - I was enjoying your report earlier from the previous day, but cursing myself for not having picked up on NGC2301 for my session. It sounds lovely, and would have been perfectly placed. Ah well, next time!
  7. Thanks Alan - I have heard of the Lunar 100, which is to say that it has crossed my radar, but I've not got a list or map, or whatever. I've not really got much beyond the initial resolution, in fact. That was mainly because I just finally decided there was no reason to keep writing off perfectly good observing nights just because the moon was up! I do need to get organised about it, but I thought I'd start by simply getting more familiar with the major features. At the moment I couldn't name more than a couple of maria and three or four of the more notable craters - long way to go yet!
  8. Thanks everyone - glad it was of some interest. I just hope I don't have to wait so long for the next session. Clear Outside, however, is showing an awful lot of red blocks!
  9. I think most of us in the UK have been frustrated by the weather these last few months. Many poor souls up in the north of England, and in Scotland too have had much worse things to worry about than mere star-gazing conditions, so I shouldn't complain too much. Still, a look at my notes shows that the last time I had my scope out was in mid-November, and before that it was the first week of September! I've had a few nice binocular sessions in that time, but a good scope night was long overdue. Various weather forecasts had, for several days, pointed to New Year's Eve being a good possibility, and it didn't disappoint. I had the scope out by about 9:30 and as Orion would soon be behind a tree I just cracked on with it. I guess the earlier downpour must have cleared the air pretty well, because I was seeing more of M42 than I usually do from my present location, and M43 was also much more distinct - normally I barely notice it next to the brightness of its more imposing neighbour. The Trapezium is always beautiful, with its close, tight, colourful group of stars - still darned if I can see any more than four of them though. From there it was on to Mintaka (delta Orionis), which is lovely in itself, but in this case was just my starting point for locating M78 - just a short hop back in Right Ascension. It wasn't standing out very clearly for me, so I didn't spend long on it. I was filling in time, really, waiting for my real intended target, M67, to get up a bit and clear next-door's roof. The Eskimo Nebula (NGC2392) used up a few more minutes. This is one I'd only first seen back in the autumn, despite looking for it many times the previous year. With the LP here I can only really see the brightest central part, which I suppose may account for the difficulty I had pinning it down. Before too long Cancer was well enough placed, and I could just barely make out the Beehive with the naked eye, so it was time to go looking for M67. I could see it easily enough in the 15x70s, but getting my finderscope on it was a little more tricky. I think it was on the third attempt starting from delta Cancri that I got it - a beautiful cluster of resolved stars with, I presume, many fainter ones showing as nebulous clumps - worth waiting for! With the skies wonderfully clear, I started doing the rounds of more familiar friends - a glance at the the Auriga Messiers, and it was on to Ursa Major. I thought I'd try for M97, now that it was again getting up to a reasonable altitude at "sensible o'clock", but nothing doing - too much LP in that direction. M81 and M82 were much more obliging. Back over to Gemini and M35 - I nearly didn't bother with it, but I'm so glad I did, because NGC2158 was showing up really well, almost on the meridian, and much better than I'd seen it on previous occasions. It had barely registered with me as worthy of note, but I know better now! And since this was evidently a night of good clarity I thought I'd grab a look at M1 while it was up there too - I was rewarded with the most contrasty view of it that I've yet had. I rounded off the first stint of the night with a look at M31/32/110 - nice, but too low now to be really dark in that part of the sky. And finally Almach - a beautiful colour-contrasted double, similar to Albireo, but much closer together, and all the better for it, IMHO. Approaching midnight now, and my feet were resembling blocks of ice, so I packed up the eyepieces, and went in to watch the fireworks. The second session - and my first of 2016 - started at about 1am. I had only three things in mind - Jupiter first, as it was by now above the roofline. The four Galilean moons were strung out all on one side, so no transits or occultations to watch, and no GRS either. But there were occasional moments of good seeing despite it being so close to the house, and glimpses of detail in the equatorial belts at 200x, and some visibility of temperate belts. My other two targets took longer to emerge - the moon first: I have resolved for several months now that I am going to make more of an effort with lunar observing. This seemed like a good opportunity to finally do something about that. The moon was wobbling about like nobody's business in the warm air above the roofline, but it scarcely mattered - the richly abundant and large scale detail visible in the 5mm eyepiece was immensely satisfying, and I kicked off my new lunar observing career with a look at what I later determined was the Hyginus crater and rille system just off the terminator. It was just a pity I had left the tablet indoors and couldn't consult my LunarMap app to have made a little more of it at the time. Finally, Arcturus was rising above the shed, and that was the marker for finding comet Catalina. The moon's presence wasn't great for this, but still... It was easy enough to spot - more nebulous than comet-like, but I was encouraged to see some definite irregular shape to the faint cloud passing just a degree or so off Arcturus. I didn't bother trying to view them both in one field of view - too much exit pupil, I reckoned, but it showed up nicely enough in various eyepieces from 16mm down to 8mm. I watched mostly through the 16mm until I had clearly seen it change its position relative to the little group of mag 9 stars just west of Arcturus. A moon-free night in a few days' time would be nice, before it fades much more.
  10. Happy New Year everyone. I'm taking it as a good sign that tonight has been the first decent scope-night in months here - I'm only indoors at the moment to thaw out before part 2 of my observing session! :-)
  11. If you tap on that little circular icon next to the map folder it brings up a little slider that will allow you to change how much object labelling you get at each zoom level. You can also customize the font size in the settings - all in all I have found it remarkably configurable for such an inexpexsive app. I do wish it would show a simple scale though.
  12. Saturn is also pretty low down for UK latitudes at the moment (<20 degrees, and getting worse for the next few years), and that makes it all the more awkward for seeing things like the Cassini division. I only managed it on a couple of the better nights back in the summer with an 8" scope - mostly it was all far too mushy. Should be peachy in about 15 years' time though.
  13. Oops sorry - redundant post. Should have read to the end of the thread!
  14. I use LunarMap HD - it does me fine but I don't know how it compares to other offerings. There's a free version which uses lower resolution maps so you can try it out, but the full HD version only costs a few pence.
  15. I think part of the problem here is that if you want to think in terms of photographic optics then you have the analogy the wrong way round - the lens on a camera is analogous to the primary optics of the telescope - not the eyepiece. Swapping eyepieces is, rather, the equivalent of swapping camera backs. And that's something that you can indeed do with the right camera system - LF cameras and many medium format camera systems have (or perhaps I should say had) this capability, and changing the back for one of a different format will indeed enable you to 'see' more or less of the image projected by the primary optics. In fact, if you take the ground glass back off a large format camera and then use a loupe to examine the aerial image you would, in effect, have yourself a refracting telescope.
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