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Nigeyboy

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Everything posted by Nigeyboy

  1. Well, it appears to have been over three years since my last Blog entry . . . . . so what's been happening? Well, shortly after I my last entry, I was made redundant from my job as a Projects Coordinator. When I say 'Redundant', I was contracting, and the work dried up which was pretty crap. However, I wasn't out of work for long - got some more contracting work, and then just over a year ago I got a perm job with Greene King Pub Co. as a Regional Systems Manager - basically, I look after about 500 pubs IT equipment. My region is East and West Midlands, and the North East of England - so anywhere from Kidderminster in the South, to York and Scarborough in the North. It's a lot of driving (about 35,000 miles per year), but I love it! I get to see loads of the country, and always manager to catch Pop Master on Radio 2 now!! So, back to it - last time I blogged I was after a new scope. Well, I still am!! I have got myself a pair of Celestron Skymaster 20x80 bins as a stop gap, and have managed a couple of evenings out with them since I got them on my Birthday a few weeks ago! I still have the EQ3-2, and have now decided to get myself a Skywatcher 150PL OTA. I have been doing lots of research, and I think it is a good compromise between aperture and focal length. My 10 year old son is now getting interested in space and astronomy and to be able to see the planets is especially important!! Looks like I will have to wait from Crimbo for the scope - I have sent my letter to Santa already, and I am pretty sure I have been a good boy this year!! So, I hope to start Blogging weekly again now, to start with, with observations with my new bin's, and the in the new year, with my shiny new scope! Thanks for reading! Nige
  2. Hi - welcome! I'm a Noob as well, and have just started back on SGL. Sounds like you will have some dark skies when you move!! Good luck!
  3. Hi Merlin - I honestly don't know the answer to that. I would hope not, as they are marketed as 80mm. I would feel pretty cheated if that were the case!!
  4. Update, and some pics: Popped outside again late last night, after I got back from a pub installation in Bristol. Seeing was not so good - there seemed to be a very slight haze in the atmosphere that dulled things slightly. I returned to M45 - has to be my favourite at the moment! I could also just see Taurus rising over the neighbours hedge ,so took a look at Alderbaran - the orange colour was quite evident, and the loose cluster that makes up the Hyades was quite something! Here are a few pics I snapped off today. The 'small' bins next to the Celestrons are my poor old battered Miranda 10x50's! The eyepiece shot was handheld using my mobile phone camera, so its a little OOF, but gives an idea of magnification and FoV.
  5. Nice set up there Kev - I like the idea of a pistol type grip. I have a traditional photo tripod, so might look into getting one of these!
  6. Hi Kev - they are good! Can't wait to get to a really dark sky site and give them a proper go. Just need those pesky clouds to clear for an evening or two . . .
  7. Hi all, Been a while since I have been on the site – work has been really busy these last 18 months, and although it’s still manic, things are slowing down a bit!! Viewing my previous posts, you will see that I was in the market for a new scope to adorn my EQ3-2 mount that I had purchased ages ago now!! Well, things didn’t turn out as expected, and while I am still hoping to get a scope, hopefully at Christmas if Santa is kind to me (I have been a good boy lol!!) I decided to get a pair of Binoculars to fill the gap! Budget was tight, and I did want a pair of larger aperture bins. A lot of reading up on the internet, and I settled on the Celestron Skymaster 20x80’s. I already have a pair of 10x50’s so was after something with a bit more power, and larger objective’s. The skymasters seemed to fit the bill, and the price was right as well! I dropped into Rother Valley Optics with my cash on the off chance they would have a pair in stock – they didn’t, so I left my details, and less than 24 hours later, Adam from the shop called me to say they had a pair in! I drove over to their shop, tried them out outside the shop, as I had read that some pairs are known to have collimation issues. These where perfect, so I parted with my £99 cash and went home with them! First class service from RVO, and I will be using them again when it comes to getting my scope – thanks guys! So, onto the bin’s. They came double boxed up, and within the branded box inside the plain box, the bin’s were securely packed in foam and wrapped in plastic. They come with a basic carry case, which won’t protect them from hard knocks, but will keep the dust off them while not in use. The eye pieces are protected by a one piece cover, while each large objective is covered by its own, separate cover. There is also a basic neck strap, but it appears quite flimsy, and I won’t be using it. The bins have a built in tripod adaptor, on an adjustable slider, meaning they can be securely attached to a tripod and balanced up. Weight wise, they tip the scales at just over 2.6kg. This isn’t hugely heavy, and while I did use a tripod for some observing, when I wanted to look at things nearer the zenith, I hand held them, and did so for quite some time. I didn’t feel they were overly heavy, even after prolonged use. It seems that new scope curse also affects owners of new binoculars, as I had to wait 5 days for clear skies!! I went out at about 10:30pm into the back garden, and while the side of house has a street lamp directly over the hedge, round the back its cut off, and quite dark. I began by finding M31, which at is currently nearly at the Zenith. I could see the central core clearly, and with some averted vision, make out some finer details in the disk. Moving on to M45, the Pleiades, that was just rising over my neighbours fence – what a sight!! Even though it was quite low down, the cluster filled the view, and I could see loads of fainter stars within it. Moving through the Milkyway, the view was filled with thousands of stars and star clusters!! I was really impressed. I intend to go to a dark sky site up in the Peak District, just north of Ashbourne when time and the weather permit, to get some proper dark sky viewing in! I have not yet been able to look at the Moon or any planets through them – the Moon hadn’t risen by the time I turned in, and is now a very small waning crescent. I will have to wait a bit longer, and will update the review once done. Mars was up, but low in the sky, and due to the street lights, swamped with LP. With terrestrial viewing, they provide bright and crisp views. While there is some CA when looking at things with bright edges, general viewing wasn’t affected in any way. I plan to take them to my local nature reserve to test them out on some wild life as well. I am also a bit of a plane fan, and when time permits I park up near East Midlands Airport to watch the aircraft coming and going – these will be great for that, set up on my tripod for easy viewing! Conclusion – the Skymaster 20x80’s are a decent pair of binoculars. While they don’t have the build quality of more expensive ones, treated well I can see no reason why they won’t last for years. They actually come with a 5 year Celestron guarantee anyway! For causal use when you don’t want to set up the main scope I think these fit the bill nicely, and I would recommend them to anyone. Cheers all Nige
  8. Wow!! Brilliant capture, and bright even behind the cloud! I’m going out tonight to try and see / capture some.
  9. Some really interesting explanations here, and things I hadn’t considered – like gravity decreasing as you descend!
  10. Thanks for he replies! @Ronin – I have looked at the barn door tracker idea, and I am always amazed at something so simple can be so effective! I may well have a go at making on when I get my new shed! Currently don’t have an area inside where I can bang, drill and saw without upsetting my other half!! @Knights – you have some amazing shots on your website! I am really taken by the difference between a modded SLR and a standard one! The view you have taken of Orion shows this difference very well indeed! To think that’s all there, but unseen to the eye! The more I think about, the more I think that maybe I will leave getting a scope for a while, and concentrate on WideField AP. I have seen a used modified Canon 100D for £199, and I already have the lens . . . . . . .
  11. So theoretically your body would be pulled in each direction from the centre point at a force of 1g? Would make a fun ride!! I worked out (possibly incorrectly!!) that if air resistance stayed the same all the way down it would take about 32 hours to reach the middle: Radius of Earth (3950miles) / terminal velocity of a human in freefall (124mph) = 31.8hours
  12. OK – got a bit of strange question! I’m pretty clued up on physics etc, and although I won’t be challenging Prof Hawkins any time soon I can’t work out the answer to this hypothetical question!! Imagine you drilled a large hole right through the Earth, so it passed through the exact centre point of the planet. Also imagine that some amazing shielding protects you from the heat etc. Now imagine jumping down that hole . . . . . . . . . you would be falling down for quite some time. However, when you shot past the centre point you will be falling ‘up’ in relation to Earths gravity. This would then slow you down and pull you back. The question is, what would happen when you stopped shooting back and forth and were held at the exact centre point of earths gravity?
  13. Hi Rob, From the research I have been doing on DSLR WF photography, and the results that are possible from such a humble set up I think it’s well worth a shot. Good idea to post a wanted ad – can’t do it on here yet as don’t have enough posts, and can always pop one on ABS! Cheers Nige
  14. D’oh!! Missed both S@N and Horizons – iPlayer here I come!!
  15. Nigeyboy

    In the Beginning

    Hi Steve, I enjoyed your post – this hobby can be a money pit that’s for sure! It’s like painting the Forth Bridge – it’s never really finished!! I’m still in the setting up process, and am blogging on here about it – as much for me to look back on than anything else really. I look forward to your next post! Cheers Nige
  16. Hi all, So a quick blog today, just to keep things ticking over, and to keep track of my ideas etc – more for me to look back on more than anything else! Foot is a lot better now – I am getting around ok, and have even started a new fitness ‘regime’!! I have lost 6lbs in one week, by cutting out crisps and flapjacks, and doing 20 minutes of high interval training each morning! Go me!! I’m still scopeless, and will be until at least Autumn I think. Had my hours knocked down at work from 5 days to 4 days. We can still cope on the reduced income, but it means my scope will be delayed slightly! I’m not too upset about the lack of OTA right now. Nights are still short, and the weather isn’t exactly brilliant either. It will give me time to finally settle on what I actually want to set – newt or frac!! Its either a 130p-ds or ST102. Both have their pros and cons, and I can’t guess the amount of reviews etc I have read on both scopes!! In the meantime, I have decided to set myself up with a widefield DSLR rig. Budget is key here! I already have the mount (EQ3-2), DSLR with fast and wide lens, and a means to mount it on the EQ. I just need a polar scope and a motor kit. I am keeping my eyes peeled for them to come up on ABS, AB or on SGL (remember key word – Budget!!). The mount is still due its MOT, which hopefully I will carry out later this month. I want to have it all together for my trip to Pembrokeshire in mid August. With this set up I am hoping to get my first astrophoto’s of the Milky Way, and perhaps some of the larger constellations. From what I’ve been told here on SGL, 2-4 minute subs should be achievable if PA is good, and LP is not too bad. I will update this blog as each stage is completed, and hopefully with my first photos as well, however they turn out!! I have been doing a lot of reading up both on SGL, and the wider t’interweb about DSLR widefield, and it’s something I can get into fairly easily, and with minimal outlay. As a keen landscape shooter, I am hoping I can use my current skills to create some pleasing images. We shall see - this blog could well turn into a ‘How To Take AP With No Money’ blog!! Well, that’s all for this entry – thanks for reading, and sorry it a bit dull this time!! Next entry I am hoping to blog about my mount MOT, along with photos!! Ooooo!!!!
  17. That made me chuckle!! "Just popping down the accelerator for a few hours dear"
  18. Not sure about the QE , but as a Canon fanatic I can tell you the 100D is the newer model. It has 18mp compared to the 12mp on the 1100D. The 100D is also Canons smallest and lightest DSLR (3oz lighter than the 1100) which is a consideration when imaging. Of course Megapixelage is not the ‘be all and end all’, and the 1100D is still a very high res camera.
  19. I have used (a borrowed) 70-200mm f4 on my trusty 400D before. It’s a fairly light lens, at 700g – only 50g more than my 17-55mm. When using my tripod for some early morning landscapes, I just used the thread on the battery grip as the lens didn’t have the tripod collar anyway! Was perfectly stable and I didn’t feel it was unbalanced in any way, or in danger of tipping forward. I would have thought a 4kg ball head would be more than sufficient to support the camera with grip and the lens together.
  20. Hi all Been a while since my last blog entry. Following a meeting between my left foot and a rusty nail in the garden a few weeks ago, I contracted a very nasty infection that knocked me out of commission for nearly three weeks!! I am well on the mend now though, and finished my last course of antibiotics yesterday!! Still walking with a limp like some sort of peg-legged pirate!! It does mean on Tuesday I can finally open the bottle of Single Malt I got for Father’s Day!! Three different antibiotics has meant it has had to sit on the shelf – normally I would have had a tipple, but the doctor was adamant that I should not drink any alcohol at all as one type I was on is used for alcoholics on detox!! Nice!!!! So what’s been happening with me other than nearly losing my foot? Well not much to be honest! The same day I nailed my foot, I had located a nice SW ST102 on ABS that seemed to fit the bill on what I was looking for. However, following arrangements to meet the seller the infection really started up, and I was unable to walk / drive. So I had to let it go which was a bit of a disappointment. The seller was very understanding, but I felt bad having messed him about. So I am still no closer to getting an OTA!! I have set myself the goal though to get one sorted before our family holiday to Pembrokeshire mid August. That gives me 6 weeks or so to get my butt into gear! I did manage to get my 10x50’s onto the Venus / Jupiter conjunction last week. I had been watching them get closer and closer, and to see them in the same field through the bins was a great view! Am sure it would have looked better through a scope . . . . I will have a trawl through SGL and see if I can find any pics! I also came across something interesting when reading the latest from New Horizons – something called ‘Pluto Time’. It’s an interesting little item that compares what the lighting is like on Pluto at noon, to your time / place on Earth. I tried it, and was surprised at how light it would actually be on Pluto at noon! Worked out about 20 mins after sunset. HERE is a link if you want a go yourself! Goes to show, that even 4.5 billion miles away, although the sun would be a point source of light, you could still easily read a book by its light. Well that’s it for now. Clear skies! Nige
  21. Hi all Just wanted to share the exciting (well, to me anyway!!) news that I will finally have an OTA to adorn my lonely EQ3-2 mount by the weekend! I settled on a SW ST102 in the end. It ticked all the short term boxes for ease of use, portability and cost while I look, save for and plan my longer term goal of an AP set up. Am also thinking that when the time comes I can use it as a guide scope as well, while also keeping the ‘lil EQ3 for keep obs sessions. The scope came up on ABS the other day. It’s coming with an AZ3 mount, so am planning on selling that to recoup £20 or so from the £120 I’m spending. So apologies in advance to anyone in the Derby area if the clouds come over on Friday night – you can blame me lol!! Sorry – just a bit excited about it all!!
  22. I imagine the discoveries will keep on coming! The more we push the scientific limits, the more we seem to learn. I find it really cool that the largest scientific apparatus built by man, is looking into the smallest of things!
  23. It is amazing when you think what they used to do with just observation and a slide rule!! When you look at the energies involved it does get a little weird – in the TeV range. Sounds huge, but 1 TeV is the same kinetic energy as flying mosquito!! I think it’s the fact that the proton beams are bout a trillion times smaller than a mosquito! For a real high energy proton check out THIS. The so called ‘Oh my God Particle’. A subatomic particle with the kinetic energy as a baseball travelling 60mph!!!
  24. Cheers Beulah! Will wear me goggles as well lol!! Did you see a marked improvement after the process?
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