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Julian Hands

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About Julian Hands

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  • Interests
    BSA Motorbikes, Aston Villa and a Scout leader.
  • Location
    Glanamman, Ammanford, Carmarthenshire
  1. Geoptik are slightly cheaper, better quality and they offer a much greater range. Great service and very rugged product. Highly recommend.
  2. I've been storing my scope in the original boxes for the last 3 months, which are taking a bit of a hammering from the regular unpacking and packing after each session, I was looking to buy some storage bags via Amazon and saw the Geoptik range that had all the bags I needed to cover all the kit I have and would then allow me not to just store the scope more safely, but would also make the kit more mobile. The cost was a bit of an issue when you consider that Amazon request for example £88 for an EQ Tripod bag. I googled Geoptik and setup an account on their site. The savings you achieve are staggering. The EQ tripod bag costs £48.20 and I have indulged in a mass purchase of EQ bag, Refractor Bag, Counter weight & shaft Bag, Accessories Bag and Bag for EQ mount, totalling £260 inclusive of carriage. What a massive saving, I appreciate that Amazoon need profit but nearly doubling the Geoptik prices does gripe me allot. Hope this is of some use and wishing you all clear skies. Julian
  3. My EQ5 mount is manual and not Synscan setup, hence t'm unable to teach the mount to componsate for any inherent error from setup. I appreciate that I'm not carrying out astro photography, but just wanted to make you all aware that better alignment of the EQ5 mount can be made by levelling the tripod head first. It definately made a difference and gave me more eyepiece observation time, as I never had to take my eye away from the eyepiece and feel around for the Dec handle. RA adjustment kept it tracking beautifully. I've just looked at my Scope Nights App and I have 4 nights starting tomorrow of clear skies. Can't wait and hope you all share the clear skies ahead.
  4. I've been using my EQ5 mount since January and always queried my polar alignment, as I always seem to have to compensate with Dec adjustment. Tonight I studied YOU TUBE and found a good setup tip via Astro shed which prompted me to use a level across the tripod head on each of the three legs, before added the EQ5 mount. Thankfully I have a very accurate machine level which I used to setup the tripod and after 10 minutes of fractional tweetkng, had the tripod spot on. On mounting the EQ5 head, I was surprised how far out the bubble was, but left it alone and observed Orion for a while, which now tracked beautifully with just the RA. I've now used a permanent marker to dot where the centre of the EQ5 bubble level needs to be, but will use this machine level procedure for future observing as it certainly gave a brilliant result tonight. Lesson learnt, don't take the bubble level for granted. Surprised me and what a difference I got.
  5. The sky I have is pretty good, although Im yet to go to an area of perfectly light free pollution which I will do in the next couple of weeks to compare. This is great advise guys and will try to get and view through a Dob before I purchase.
  6. Just come in due to cloud cover after a wonderful evening following Jupiter and trying to get to grips with searching for DSO's on my manual EQ5 mount. I set myself up with my laptop and Stellarium in order to get a good indication of the location of the Clusters/Nebulae in the sky. Originally I began with locating Aldebaran and moving to Pleiades with ease and the goal was to work across to M34 (Spiral Cluster). This proved tricky as Stellarium represents M34 with an array of detailed individual star clusters, yet I never managed to view any such detail with my EVOSTAR 120 Refractor? I then went to Orion and the Great Nebula in Orion, which is a site to behold. After viewing Orion I decided to stay in this region and look to locate the Heart-Shaped cluster. Again I located Sirius and Procyon with ease and the Heart Shaped cluster should be almost halfway between these 2 points, using the viewfinder I could locate the dim light of the feature and with an 8mm BST eyepiece in the EVOSTAR 120, I could see about 3 stars in close proximity, but no gas cloud or the high concentration of stars that I can view in Stellarium. I would like to upgrade to a goto mount to help locate DSO's and an EQ6 or HEQ5 mount appears to be much better value as a package with an 8" or 10" reflector. Would the 10" reflector view the DSO's with a great deal more clarity than my EVOSTAR 120 Refractor and would I see the gas clouds on DSO's or can I view this already with a decent Filter on my Refractor?
  7. I recently brought my skywatcher Evostar 120 and I know allot of people seem to think the standard eyepieces are okay, but my 10mm was absolute junk and changed it immediately for an 8mm BST Starguider eyepiece. The difference and clarity of Jupiter was totally mind blowing, I highly recommend that you change your eyepieces to the BST range as a starting point. These eyepieces will compliment your scope beautifully, if you get a variable polar filter, this also helps to take the shimmer off Jupiter and pull out more clarity of the rings. Good luck and clear skies.
  8. My Evostar 120 is 1000mm spot on, from the end of dewshield to the end of the focusing tube fully retracted into the scope.
  9. All setup and can't wait for tonight's clear skies, been nearly 3 weeks of overcast skies every night, I really want to see Andromeda M31 tonight and really hoping with my 25mm BST eyepiece, I'll get a glimpse of that smudge in the sky?
  10. Thank you for this valuable info, Like the idea of upgrading to a HEQ5 or NEQ6 mount and sell the EQ5, it will probably be allot easier as well in setting up the upgrade kit, I must admit though that I thought this EQ5 mount was already sturdy enough for the scope and guidescope equipement, the counter balance weight is only positioned about 1/3rd of the way down from the top of the bar and it was supplied with 2 weights, the second is still in the box unopened? I have seen a few you tube videos of astro photography via 80-100mm APO scopes, but that is a huge leap in cost and unfortunatley there are some financial constraints :-). I haven't got great expectations on what I intend to image, but would like to have some basic setup that can capture the moon, planets and Orions nebulae as a basic starting point. I've read that one CCD won't do all and will probably require colour & monochrome ccd maeras? Again thanks for your valued help here and I'll start trawling the internet for deals. Many thanks, Julain
  11. SInce Christmas I have been totally fallen with my Skywatcher Evostar 120 with EQ5 manual mount, I would like to motorise this mount to assist in tracking and with the possibility to have some ability for imaging. If I purchase the Synscan V3 Upgrade kit , is it also worth investing in the Orion Deluxe Autoguide scope package along with the Orion Mono or colour G3 CCD camera to start taking images? From what I'm reading on the internet and on this forum, to get any images, ideally you need autoguide, is this the case or with my scope would the Synscan upgrade be sufficient? Last night was a fantastic oppurtunity missed and would of loved to have had some images captured from what I was viewing. Jupiter was again stunning with a cold clear sky ( the first in 2 weeks :-() , Orion M42 was also beautiful with the gas cloud beautifully defined through the scope. I couldn't get my daughter off the eyepiece with the beauty of the new moon crescent and the clarity of the Crater Morphologies, some of the Central Peak Craters were stunning through the Evostar and I started to explore around Alcyone and Merope, which again were truely stunning, when through the naked eye you just see a smudge of light in the sky, but the density and clarity of the stars last night were amazing through the scope, just using the BST 25mm eyepiece. Any advise on setting this scope up for imaging would be gratefully received and any recommendations for CCD cameras would be a bonus, I appreciate it's not a high end scope, but I beleive this will give some nice results and don't mind investing in the mount and autoguide, as I'm sure this kit could be used on other scopes if I get the oppurtunity to invest in a larger scope in the future. Everyones got to start somewhere, so appreciate any advise and recommendatiosn you can offer. Many thanks, Julian
  12. I'm looking to upgarde my EQ5 mount with the synscan upgrade kit but have seen that the controller for the upgrade is version 3 which was phased out in April 2014. Why is there no Version 4 upgrade kit? I'm not prepared to invest just shy of £300 on something that has been phased out for 12 months?
  13. A quick question, Is there allot of difference between the TS-OPTICS 25mm eyepiece and the BST 25mm eyepiece, the price suggests there should be (£79 for the TS & £49 for the BST), visually they both look identical but the TS states N-ED where BST is ED?
  14. I will check again when this weather clears, but I always get a feeling that this view is restricted with the 18mm eyepiece. It maybe that the detail seen is so clear that I'm getting lost and thinking that it's so magnified? Would still prefer to have a wider field for searching the skies with this scope.
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