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Everything posted by ejp1684

  1. I haven't built a dew heater controller, but I did build Robert Brown's focus controller. It was enjoyable to build, and Robert was very helpful when I had a problem. Eric.
  2. I had exactly the same issue, only I have so little confidence in my PC abilities I though it was something I'd changed without realising it! Eric.
  3. Perhaps they hope to sell it in the USA?
  4. A visit to the London Planetarium followed by The Observer's book of Astronomy sparked my interest. The book was a prize at school when I was 13. Eric.
  5. I also use an ironing chair for visual observing with my 150pds. Eric.
  6. Having used both I now prefer to use either my ipad or iphone. I only use them for visual use, as I use a Windows laptop for imaging/spectroscope work. I don't have any problems with the touch screens in cold/damp weather. Both devices work well, with no disconnects. Mine are also password/pin protected, but don't sleep. I believe there is a feature in SkySafari or in the Operating System which prevents this. Eric.
  7. Thanks for this, Robin, I'll certainly give it a go as soon as I progress on to using an 1800 l/mm grating. Eric.
  8. I've called it LOWSPEC.2 as it's the updated version of Paul Gerlach's LOWSPEC, a DIY 3D printed spectrograph. I built the first version but had trouble aligning the guide mirror (which was fixed), and locating the slit by waving a torch down the scope made it difficult to use. The updated version is a vast improvement, for me at any rate. 1. The guide mirror can now be adjusted forward and backwards and side to side. I can now actually guide the spectrograph. 2. Adding an Illumination device (Baader). The slit can now be illuminated and the overlay in PHP2 used to locate it. No more trouble getting the star on the slit. There is also the option to use a 30mm dia camera lens instead of 24mm. The camera lens used is 100mm focal length; I had a 30mm dia lens left over from a previous diy project which is 90mm focal length so I used that. I'm not sure of its quality as I bought it for £15 from ebay, but it seems to work ok. I also had a defraction grating of 600 l/mm from a previous project so used that. Paul reckons LOWSPEC will now cope with anything up to a grating of 1800 l/mm. For calibration I used a Philips S10 starter bulb because I found some calibration charts for it, (I think on one of the French websites) and these bulbs are about £1 in B & Q, significantly less than the Relco ones (if you can get them). I made a hole in the top cover, made a container on the 3D printer and now I simply insert it when I need to get a calibration reading. Not the most practical solution but again, it seems to work. If Paul manages to add a calibration unit inside LOWSPEC, that would be the icing on the cake. And if it could just be attached to the existing body that would be a bonus, as it took me 29 hours to print! Here's a couple of shots of the thing itself. The long tube houses the Philips lamp. Here the calibration unit is inserted into the top cover. The first reasonably clear night was moonlit and there was high cloud coming and going, but I went first for Vega as it's easy to image and calibrate with the Hydrogen lines. The salmon coloured line is the A0V reference. The image of Vega looked quite good on the laptop, so I moved on to P Cygni, one of my favourite subjects, and here are the results. I've taken some of the readings from a PDF version of Richard Walker's 'Spectroscopic Atlas for Amateur Astronomers'. It doesn't seem to be available for download any more, I think there's now a book which you have to buy. I may need to get a better guide camera; I'm using an Altair Astro GPCAM mono and when guiding it used a star with a S/N ration of 9.8, the brightest available. But having said that, it managed to keep P Cygni on the slit for 5 minutes at a time. LOWSPEC is a great project if you've started out using the StarAnalyser and want to move to a higher resolution. It takes a lot of patience and persistence, but worth it. I reckon the total cost for LOWSPEC is about a quarter of the cost of an equivalent 'off the shelf' spectroscope, so if you can't justify spending loads of dosh then this is a viable option. Eric.
  9. Silly me, somehow I missed your post from last week.
  10. Great planning by the weather, it's due to be clear here tonight from midnight onwards and a couple of interesting programmes on BBC 4 this evening. The 'Sky at Night guide: Stars' at 8.00pm and 'How to See a Black Hole: The Universe's Greatest Mystery' at 9.00pm. Not sure if either of these are repeats, but as I can't recall them they will be new to me! Eric.
  11. I reckon the House of Commons controls the weather - they can't make up their minds what it's going to do...sorry, was that political?
  12. Ken, many thanks for your analysis and advice. Lots to do when UK skies are kind once again which doesn't look as if it's going to happen for at least another week! Eric.
  13. Thanks Ken. Here's the guide log. PHD2_GuideLog_2019-03-29_201830.txt Eric.
  14. Very grateful, symmetal, many helpful suggestions. I'll try these the next chance I get. Eric.
  15. I have an HEQ5 Pro mount with Rowan belt drives added. I've adjusted the backlash (I can't feel any obvious backlash and the gears don't grind when the motors work) and went through the PHD2 steps of calibration and Drift align. Here's the result from the calibration: Does this look ok? The Azimuth from the Drift Align is below, and the Altitude was similar. When I started guiding, these are two results: I am surrounded by buildings including a block of flats so there must be a whole load of hot air rising up at night. I've read through the article on the PHD website and felt overwhelmed by it all. I'd appreciate any comments folks can give, basically am I on the right track here, or is something seriously wrong. Thanks in advance. Eric.
  16. I bought one of these from Ebay. No problems with it so far. Eric.
  17. I changed my HDD for an SSD on my Toshiba laptop about a year ago. The SSD was from Crucial, and I just followed the advice they gave on their website. All went smoothly, so I'd take a look at their website and check out their help pages. https://uk.crucial.com/gbr/en/ssd-install Eric.
  18. I've been using a Leisure battery 20ah for a couple of years now with no issues. Cost £35. After 6 hours observing, including a small heater for the guide scope, it rarely goes below 50% charge when it's still pushing out 12.4v. Built a box for it and secure connections. Key to using it effectively is the electronic charger.
  19. Hmm, I found the layer system quite good. Overview Concepts Or perhaps I misunderstood the problem. Eric.
  20. Cygnus. I like taking spectra, usually with the cheap and cheerful Star Analyser, and Cygnus is stuffed full of WR stars plus P Cygni which always fascinates me. Eric.
  21. Welcome to the forums, and a very Happy Christmas to you. Eric.
  22. I use an ironing stool. I don't adjust it very much, just lean forwards a tad if the eyepiece is a bit low, or sit straight if it's higher. Not ideal, but better than standing! Eric.
  23. My main computers are Macs, but my W10 laptop performs well for ASCOM, EQMOD, APT, Sharpcap, Astrotortila, etc, and a 4 port usb to Ethernet thingy. The only infuriating feature of standard W10 is the the updates. Mr Microsoft thinks he has the right to update my computer when he likes, while I think I have the right to decide when it should happen. So whenever I'm using the laptop with the scope I disconnect Wifi, and all is peace and quiet. Eric.
  24. Welcome to SGL. It's always interesting to see the questions other people have, I find I learn a lot from them. Eric.
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