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About Relpet

  • Rank
    Star Forming
  • Birthday 03/06/39

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Interests
    Astronomy, films, history books, French Resistance, sitting in the sun pondering the ineffable mysteries of life.
  • Location
    South-west France
  1. Observatorio de Tenerife

    What a wonderful experience, captured beautifully in your YouTube posting. Thanks for sharing. Where does the queue start?
  2. A thoroughly enjoyable and valuable posting, Jason. In spite of efforts to re-introduce bears to the Pyrenees, our nearest mountains about an hour away, the last native bear was shot by a frightened hunter a few years ago. So we don't have a problem with bears, but I will watch out for the spook in future!
  3. ROR shed that looks like a shed

    Tried the link. This is the message I got: "Sorry, this content isn't available at the moment The link you followed may have expired, or the Page may only be visible to an audience that you aren't in. Go back to the previous page · Go to News Feed · Visit our Help Centre"
  4. ROR shed that looks like a shed

    Thanks for that. I was impresssed by the qualifications of the people running the company, exactly the kind of background you would like from a specialist supplier but with the level of light pollution in my Surrey village in sight of Gatwick and the low number of clear skies anyway any kind of obsy here would be an extravagance at any price. Maybe some ideas for SW France, though.
  5. ROR shed that looks like a shed

    I guess you get what you pay for. The description in the text is written by someone who either can't spell or doesn't bother to read back what has been written. This would make me uneasy. They trade only through ebay and if you want to see an example you have to go to their yard rather than to the site of a satisfied customer. This looks like an opportunistic attempt, with no considered input from anyone interested in astronomy, to sell more sheds. Companies like this: http://outsideology.com/home-farm-observatories/ don't quote prices so probably go along with the old maxim "If you need to know what it costs you can't afford it" but would give me more confidence. (My roll-out is a Dob on a trolley, by the way). I look forward to more feedback on this, though.
  6. Hello from Crawley, West Sussex.

    The next thing you have to get away from, Kevin, is the English weather! So much for the clear sky forecast for tonight. You have to grab your chances where and when you can, but every now and again - when that chance comes - you'll find your eyes widen in wonder. Best wishes Peter
  7. Hello from Crawley, West Sussex.

    Hello again, Kevin, I'm back in UK now for a few weeks and just picked up my messages from this site: http://gostargazing.co.uk/ You might like to subscribe as they will send you regular information on stargazing events near you. The Seven Sisters AS have an open evening near Haywards Heath this Saturday, for example, from what looks like a very rural site on what promises to be a clear night. Much closer than Iping! It seems to me, looking at recent Gostargazing posts, there is a great deal going on around you which will help you along quite rapidly. Best wishes. Peter
  8. Hello from Crawley, West Sussex.

    Hello again, Kevin, If you were planning to go to Iping in early December the South Downs AS meets in Chichester on Friday 1st December when there is a talk on a subject that might interest you. More info here: http://www.southdownsas.org.uk/index.htm It's just an example of what help is available, though it would be another 30 minutes drive from Crawley, probably. Whatever you choose to do I would advise you to immerse yourself as deeply as you can in the benefit of advice from experienced observers. They can help guide you through the potential minefield of expensive mistakes. And as Dave and others have implied, there's no such thing as a stupid question. Don't be too shy to ask for advice; it can be a very steep learning curve but SGL is blessed with any number of good, informed and willing teachers. Peter
  9. Hello from Crawley, West Sussex.

    Hello, Kevin, I do most of my observing in France as my home in England suffers much the same ghastly light pollution as you. Gatwick, Crawley, Guildford, Horsham, Dorking pour a ring of bright light into the skies around our village in Surrey where, ironically, we don't have a single street lamp. Never-ending road traffic and late night flights into and out of Gatwick don't help either. You might find the lights from Brighton and Worthing quite bothersome even from Devil's Dyke. A little bit further from you is a dark sky site in the South Downs National Park at Midhurst. If Devil's Dyke turns out to be too bright you could take a look at Midhurst. There are also a number of astronomical societies in your area, including one in Crawley founded by Patrick Moore. Guildford AS has occasional open evenings at Newlands Corner, which is pretty good, and (I think) Ewell AS meets frequently at Ranmore Common outside Dorking. You can meet people there who will help you with imaging, I'm sure. I've never had bad advice from anyone in SGL, or any fellow astronomer I've ever met. Good luck.
  10. A memorable night on a bare mountain

    Thanks, Dave. Ah, the Lincolnshire Wolds. I remember being snowed in for three days at RAF Binbrook in the winter of 1959/60 shortly before the station was closed down. Cold war: cold times. Never thought I'd live this long. Thanks again. Peter
  11. A memorable night on a bare mountain

    Thanks Alan. We raised a glass to stargazers everywhere.
  12. I had the chance a couple of days ago to spend the night at the observatory on the Pic du Midi in south-west France. If you're interested in my account please open the pdf file attached A memorable night on a bare mountain.pdf
  13. Waiting for Venus

    A call of nature brought me from my bed shortly before 5 in the morning. Naturally, at times like this, one takes a peek outside. Oh, glory be! Shining from an almost black sky the brilliant figure of Orion once more strides across the sky after his summer holidays, faithful dog star Sirius at his feet. So, over the pyjamas it's on with the gardening trousers, the woollen pullover still perfumed with the smoke from a recent bonfire, the Green Flash tennis shoes, the ancient, scarred but still warming anorak, the astro gloves and the ski hat. Those who know me would remark on this level of sartorial elegance, but when a special visitor arrives you have to put yourself out. Across the yard to the barn where I fumble with the key by red torchlight before wheeling out the 8" Dob on it's pneumatic-tyred trolley. (The yard is roughly laid.). A bull from a neighbouring farm sought refuge in the yard the other day and I have to tread warily, trying to remember - as I can't see them - where he left his souvenirs during what was a worrying time for him. Orion's nebula needs a decent EP so slip in the Televue 14mm with a nebula filter and the ES Barlow to see how deep I can get into the Trapezium. It's a clear night and rarely have I seen M42 this clearly, but when did I last collimate? Some months ago at the start of what turned out to be a very drab observing summer. The seeing is good so my focussing must be a touch out but it's still a wonderful sight. Without the preparation time to see what else might be out there I wander around the Milky Way, stopping here and there before spotting a bright light to the east glinting between the branches of a cedar 50 metres away. It's Venus and I have been missing her. The elevation is too low for a clean shot so I shall have to wait. The dustcart can be heard whining up the hill and round the corner. I duck into the unlit barn to avoid the glare of its headlamps while they empty the wheely bin. My rubbish disappears into the night. Five minutes, ten minutes; slowly Venus rises but still hopping from branch to branch of the neighbour's cedar. Fifteen minutes and we're almost there; but now the sun is rising. Twenty minutes and at last she's in the clear and I can take a look. But the cold has been eating into my bones. I'd swapped to a 1.25" 6mm EP but by now it's misted over. Out comes the 7.5mm but, as ever with Venus, the brilliance is blinding but the image is soft. After a moment or two it's time to turn my back on these early morning glories and put everything back in the barn. By the time I have finished only Sirius is still visible where Orion was so vivid 90 minutes before. The sun is rising into a beautiful day - but I'm going back to bed. Is this normal behaviour or am I a suitable case for treatment?
  14. Canon DSLR vs Nikon DSLR

    More great advice for anyone on a budget. Many thanks.
  15. Canon DSLR vs Nikon DSLR

    Thanks a million to you and Mike for this advice. Have just checked ebay and found one compatible with the Nikon model at a very affordable price. SGL members, you win again!