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  1. Thanks for the replies all! Good idea about the skirting - I think I have some of that damp proofing stuff so that sounds like an easy first mod. I'll look at the French drain idea too as we're getting plenty of rain - though so far the garden appears to drain pretty quickly. The obsy is sited at the higher end of the garden so water doesn't tend to accumulate there. Mind you the ends of the decking are likely to get rather moist so gravel may be the solution. Ceramus I too worry about strong winds; we get plenty of them here on Dartmoor...but it's been blowy as hell here for the last week and it hasn't budged. Also whilst I tried to level the site as much as possible there is still a slight slope towards the scope, so it will naturally tend to stay 'closed'. Those bolts seem to be doing the job so far too. Here are some images taken from here with my temporary set-up (i.e. no guiding)...all Canon 6D with either Canon lenses or Takahashi FS78. Cassiopeia North America Nebula M33 M31 & M32 Oh and one of these Jim
  2. Hi all, It's taken several weekends of graft but I'm finally there, bar a bit of cable tidying. I'd decided to go with the roll-away sentry box style arrangement after seeing a pic in S@N magazine; also andyo was an inspiration with his post - http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/156319-roll-off-shed-not-roof/. The first thing to do was dig a trench to level the ground, with a deeper hole for the pier plinth. In the end I built the plinth with big concrete blocks rather than pouring a single lump - it was much (much) cheaper this way and seems to be pretty solid. I then drilled holes and bolted the EQ6 pillar to this plinth using some M16 (I think?) bolts and Rawlplug's R-Kem concoction. Next was the decking, which went on a frame built over and around the plinth hole so it'd be secure all around the pier. I made sure my extension cable was poking up between pier and decking before screwing it down I then added buffers at either end and some rails to keep the shed rolling in the right place. The shed itself is 4 foot square; I wanted the whole build to be as small as possible so it wouldn't dominate the garden! To start with I sliced a hole just wide enough for the pier in the base, added a bunch of reinforcing blocks of wood, and used 12 wheels to support the shed. I then came up with a way of bolting the shed base to the ground in both positions - this would keep the thing held down during the endless Dartmoor storms, and make it a tad easier to build the shed in the first place. For this I used the original EQ6 feet as the big heads would make it easy to screw and unscrew by hand. Once the shed was built it was easy to roll the whole thing smoothly into and out of position, keeping within the rails and stoppng at the buffers so it doesn't touch the pier. A bit of tidying up and it's all done! Next steps will be to paint all the sticking-up bits white so I avoid auto-kebabbage in the dark. Here's a close up of one of the foot bolts holding it all down: ...and here are a couple of photos of the completed shed in 'closed' and 'observe' mode: Anyway I hope this might help some of you if you have similar plans. Of course I'm yet to actually use the observatory....yes, Storm Desmond is my fault...sorry. Jim
  3. Nice one John! Looks like we need to head slightly further afield to get the darkest spot - hopefully something will come up!
  4. Thanks Pete! Yep, this will be a longish selection process with many local visits. I figured the clearest views to the south will always be best, so will definitely keep that in mind. Cheers Jim
  5. Thanks for the helpful replies all, I shall investigate these links. I fear I need to be further away from Exeter then but there can always be trips to Dartmoor (likely anyway)
  6. Hello folks, So the missus and I are relocating from dirty smelly London to the south-west. Hooray! Dark skies at last....or are they? Obviously I would like to be as far from civilisation as possible to guarantee magnificent views, but sometimes it's not so practical. Now we have seen a lovely place close to Exeter which, while only a couple of miles away from the city's edge, is nevertheless as rural as one can be with such useful access to amenities. The particular area has no nearby street lights, and is in a valley where the city cannot be seen (or heard). My question to folk who may live in a similar area is - how much would the skyglow of a city like Exeter affect the skies there? My guess is it would be very dark looking straight up or in a direction away from the city, but if looking in that direction there will be some noticeable pollution. The obvious answer, I realise, is to get there on a dark clear night and see for myself - but I may not be able to do that any time soon. So I wonder if you lovely people can share similar experiences. Just how far do you need to go from the actual urban areas before we get to, say, a 90% drop in pollution? Thanks all, Jim
  7. Just saw this in April's S@N magazine. Absolutely stonking image and a great advert for Orion and Nikon! I shall be examining your processing write-up with great interest - many thanks for that.
  8. Thanks all! I'd really like to get the holy grail of all 4 moons and the GRS all together one day...no doubt that will happen at the same time as Hurricane Boris* arrives to blow my observatory to bits. * not real but figure what better thing to name these things after than political windbags?
  9. Hi all, been pretty quiet lately due to shoddy weather! Finally spotted about 5 nanoseconds of reasonable seeing here on Saturday night, so managed to get a bit of a Jupiter family portrait before the atmosphere boiled over again. Sadly couldn't stay awake long enough to wait for the GRS to appear (next time) - but happy to get what looks like some sort of detail on Callisto (or is it just exposure anomaly...ho hum) Celestron 9.25" SCT on EQ6, DMK 21 camera with RGB filters. Separate exposures per object to get the best image I could for each. Cheers Jim
  10. Lovely shot! Weather has been a complete ball-ache lately hasn't it - but with any luck things are starting to improve.
  11. Not sure but a quick Google reveals http://www.satview.org/?sat_id=28380U which may be where the info came from. Looks like this site might be worth a closer look for this sort of detective work; Calsky has a bit of a steep learning curve... Loving your work by the way Alexandra!
  12. Had a reply on Flickr that confirms this object as a Russian military satellite, Cosmos 2407. So there we have it!
  13. Now having taken a look at some solar images from the last couple of days on this site, it appears I've oriented my sun with west at the top. Which means my object was travelling pretty much east - west....which hopefully, at least, rules out the balloon / chinese lantern idea....maybe I'll send this to the S@N team and see if they can figure it out!
  14. OK, I've had another go on calsky.com but still can't find anything - having put in my location details, I've used the Satellites - Sun/Moon Crossers option, searching for anything on 6th July from 4pm for 2 hours. No matches. So now of course I want to disprove all theories other than it being a near-Earth asteroid... time to get my A-level maths book out! (It's probably a balloon. Or a Chinese lantern. Or one of those pesky Martians invading our air space with his new toy.)
  15. Those White Light shots are something else; here was me thinking only Ha showed what was really happening....it;s definitely time to get more into my Baader filter! Excellent work.
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