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Posts posted by Bizibilder

  1. I've been fighting the big mosaic below for over an hour and have finally given up!  Simply not enough overlap to get the southern tip to stitch (with several different bits of software) as well as the missed a bit!

    Same details as above but a 2.5x Powermate used.  14 panes (13 actually :) ) in the final image.

    Worth clicking through to full size though:


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  2. I use 12v LED strips on dimmer switches in the warm room - works very well.  I also have a red bulkhead light.  In the scope room i have a white bulkhead with the switch in the warm room.

    Dimmers are these: Dimmer switch  (of which I bought four I think - useful to have a few spares! ),  LED's come in just about every shape and size imaginable!

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  3. Yup - Ebay is the cheapest by quite a way.  As nigelg said leave a gap - about 1/4 inch (6mm) at winter temps of 1-5°C.  If you don't it will buckle badly in the summer months.  You can buy bigger "mats" of the stuff - look for anti fatigue matting - If you can find the right size you can create a floor covering with fewer joins in it.  It also make a good lightweight dew shield material ?

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  4. My own warm room/observatory window is a piece of clear acrylic sheet let flush into the wall.  This has a sliding black opaque acrylic cover so that I can close it and keep the warm room lights on but the observatory dark - very useful.  The sliding part, slightly larger than the window itself, just runs in a top and bottom "U" channel made from an aluminium extrusion from the hardware shop.  


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  5. You have a decent sized scope there!  I would suggest the Moon as a first object.  You have a magnification of 1200/26 which is 46x with that eyepiece (focal length of scope divided by focal length of eyepiece).  that will give you good views of the surface features.  Most of the planets are not too well placed for observing at the moment (that will improve with time over the years!) .  You could also look at some "deep sky" objects like star clusters (try the Pleiades!).  If you download "Stellarium" (freeware) you can set it up to give you a view from your observing position for any time of night you like - have a look round and see what is there.

    The Moon is visible in the early hours at the moment but after 6th Jan (New Moon) it will appear in the evening sky after sunset.  If you have a camera or phone you could try to take a picture by holding it to the eyepiece - with care the results can be surprisingly good.

    Please, whatever you do, DON'T try to look at the Sun - it WILL blind you!!  After that stark warning the good news - you can buy a sheet of solar filter and make a holder to fit it to your scope so you could observe the Sun in complete safety!  (it is a bit spotless at the moment as we are at the point of minimum solar activity, however in a few months (maybe by the end of 2019) activity should have increased enough for you to see some decent sunspots).  You can probably tell that I'm a bit biased and enjoy observing and photographing our nearest star!

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  6. OSB should be fine - 18mm or more to get a solid floor.  Get the "damp proof" stuff.  No need to use marine ply - its far too expensive and your observatory will not be submerged for most of the time!  If there is a little air circulating underneath then OSB will last for years.

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  7. First Moon picture since April - I'd almost forgotten how to operate the gear!!

    Usual set-up of ED120 AAPO and ASI120mm mono camera.  Six pane mosaic each pane being 100/1000 frames.  Stacking in Autostakkert3, sharpened in AStra Image and finished with Photoshop (stitching the mosaic and a tweak of curves and sharpening).  (A couple of clicks required to get full size).



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  8. I would also suggest three - both for security and to help control things when you open and close the door on windy days. 

    Don't forget that if you put the top hinge 6" down from the top of the door the bottom hinge goes 8" up from the bottom!  It is an old carpenters trick as evenly placed top and bottom hinges just look strange - all an optical illusion of course.

    (I suspect everyone will be checking their doors now ? - honest its true!!!!)

    • Thanks 1
  9. How about the "pins and holes" locking method  Pins and holes  As long as you have a drill you can make these easily enough - use bolts for the pins that only have partial thread, saw the thread off and file the ends "conical".  Just one bolt to lock/unlock.  Mine have survived several storms with no ill effects whatsoever.  The roof is very solidly locked down.

  10. Daytime temperatures (13-15° C) - especially with the Sun warming the EDPM should be OK.  I would suggest you put battens along ALL edges of the roof to have something to attach the EDPM to (sorry if you have thought of this already!).  I would also suggest that you need two people to do the job - Mrs Bizibilder helped with my own roof.  So much easier to have one person on each side.  Also a long handled roller (sold for painting behind radiators) is really useful for getting the glue in places other rollers cannot reach.  Also a spare clean roller helps to push the EDPM into close contact with the glue - but be careful not to stretch it.  Talking of stretching - you may be better off gluing down on a relatively cool day, in the heat of summer the EDPM will have expanded quite a bit and will shrink as the temperature drops.  Hope these notes help.

  11. Rather than trying to bend a strip of Aluminium (some grades will snap if you try!) get yourself a piece of box section (square tube - available on a well known auction site at reasonable cost) and cut a piece out to the required shape.  You can do this either to a sketch or drawing or simply cut away unwanted metal until you have the required shape!  A junior hacksaw should be adequate for this job.

    You can buy a file to get rid of the sharp edges and finally "polish" it with a kitchen scourer (the green type - works a treat on ali!!)

    • Like 1
  12. Excellent image - as for the gaps you could try this software imerge   This strips off the first frame of each of your videos and allows you to (manually) compose your mosaic.  This is assuming you have a computer available as you collect your data of course.  You can see how big an overlap you have which is useful, if you think things are a bit tight you can easily take an extra video of the overlap area just to be on the safe side.  Never "missed a bit" since I started using it!! ?

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  13. My EQ5 has lived outside for about five years now with no problems.  It is covered with an upturned plastic bin and a couple of garden furniture covers.  These allow the mount to "breathe" and I have never found any condensation etc on the mount.

    The GIF below shows the idea BUT this has my old, single, furniture cover.  The new cover is a "premium" quality one from Homebase similar to this one:  Chair cover  




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