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About Size9Hex

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    Hampshire, UK

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  1. It's in the bag! Thanks once again for your great report and tips for identifying the supernova. Time and time again this forum has enabled me to see something truly unexpected and remarkable. To see the supernova at a similar brightness to the foreground stars despite being so much further away gives these events some perspective. What a sight it must be to any local residents in the Fireworks galaxy (although maybe they're used to these by now)!
  2. Thanks John. The skies are clearing, so maybe a chance to bag my first supernova tonight!
  3. Not exactly the kit you're asking about, but my ES 2x focal extender rarely leaves my case, as I prefer to just use a high power eyepiece. But sometimes it's the only tool for the job and on those occasions... In rare seeing when my highest power eyepiece still isn't enough, it has given me some of the best views I've ever had of Jupiter and the moon. Good for pulling faint moons out of the glare around the outer planets too. Surprisingly useful on DSOs too - it loves bright planetaries and galactic cores. Not too shabby on doubles either... So it has shown me things I would not have otherwise seen and I can't see myself parting with it despite the infrequent use.
  4. Thanks John, I'd not spotted that. Patchy cloud here, so fingers crossed. Hope you get a good view yourself. It'll be interesting to compare the two alongside each other.
  5. Hi Merkhet. I'd also agree it might be worth mounting your existing pair if you've not tried already. I use a cheap camera tripod and it transforms my binos. That said, I've got the 7x35 Nikon Action EX. Nice binos for the money I'd say. I bought them primarily for their very large field of view for Milky Way scanning. Optically pretty nice, although there's a bit of pincushion distortion and lack of focus at the edge of the field. The field is so huge that there's still plenty of good quality view in the centre though! I'd hope/guess this would be significantly less obvious in the 7x50 with their reduced field of view. They are sturdy and well made but as such are fairly heavy - not much lighter than my 10x50s (different brand/model), and the 7x50s Nikons would be a fair bit heavier than my little pair. Despite the low mag, the 7x35 aren't as easy to use as I expected, due to the weight. Overall, I'm happy with them and looking forwards to reclining back later in the year for some good Milky Way views! Hope this helps!
  6. Mine is the solid tube version. I took out the primary and secondary mirrors and did the whole lot, plus the focuser tube and I also blackened the back/sides of the secondary. I can't say I noticed any difference when observing faint targets under dark skies, but the distracting flare around the moon and Jupiter were improved. It was a bit awkward to get the primary back into the tube, but other than that it wasn't too tricky. I've read other folks have just done the area opposite the focuser, but I figured if I was taking the secondary out anyway, I might as well get the whole thing done, plus it was a chance to chance to give the primary a careful clean.
  7. Nice one Alan. I've got the 10" SW dob and I know what you mean about flare around bright objects. After a few months, I flocked the tube and focuser tube which made for a worthwhile improvement on the moon and Jupiter.
  8. Thanks @scarp15. Barnard's E has gone onto the list now and that book definitely merits a look. @jetstream I'm rather envious of your skies! Can't yet see the Milky Way from home when it's this low in the sky, although there's a whiff of it on the horizon when I'm out in the countryside. Your post brings to mind the (apocryphal?) stories of city dwellers on the west coast of the US calling 911 during a black out when they saw eerie silver clouds in the night sky!
  9. Mine too! I spent a fair bit of time at the eyepiece last year searching for those elusive details in distant galaxies and not appreciating the great big and richly detailed one right in front of me! I'm going to try sketching it this year to help draw out those dusty details. I'm hoping to get a first glimpse a bit earlier here, maybe even before midsummer. It's not quite far enough south here for year round proper astro darkness, but it's not too far off. Even so, the far southern region was a juggling act last year between catching it at a reasonable altitude vs. catching it when it was actually dark enough.
  10. Fingers crossed that the rural site works out. If you do get to mag 6, I think you'll notice a massive difference. I can see the Mlky Way at mag 5.5 as a band across the sky but the structure starts to pop in at the mag 6 site. Half a mag doesn't sound much but the diffference is very noticeable. Looking forwards to swapping notes when the time comes. I'll be going a bit lower power with a fairly wide 7x35 pair.
  11. Thanks Iain! I'm without Flash, so can't view it but have done some further googling, finding a couple of non-Flash static versions and it looks absolutely stunning. By coincidence, I'm using a version of it (not sure if it's the full resolution version) in Sky Guide on iOS, but until now had no idea what it was. I almost completely stopped using Sky Guide when I got Sky Safari... but I kept hold of it because I seem to come back to it for one purpose - every time I'm trying to make sense of what I see in the Milky Way! The image really does show the beauty, complexity and general awesomeness of our biggest DSO.
  12. Yeah, I think I'm beginning to realise. It's easy to compare the skies against better skies elsewhere, but around here we do have a good combination of reasonable darkness and clear weather. In terms of the darkness the one thing I'd add is that even a couple of miles from home, it gets an extra half a magnitude worth of darkness which is makes a massive difference. Always worth seeking out those relatively dark locations within ones local area!
  13. With your talk of the Veil and NAN, I can almost taste the summer! Memories of frozen toes and finger tips are fading fast! Hope you get some good use with those binos. They sound just the ticket! I wonder what else you'd find up there with with a UHC at those low powers. So much of the area around Cygnus seems to glow red in the images, but not sure how it comes across (if at all) visually. Good point on the transparency. I've had some great views from a mag 6.2ish site with loads of chewy details, but a few nights later quite disappointing even though it still seemed really dark. From home, mag 5.5 at zenith but worse in the south, even the Cygnus region is faint. I'm lucky to have such skies I guess, but I wish it wasn't so washed out in the south. The rift is stunning, but really starts to fade as I follow it down into Aquila. A trip to the south coast may be in order!
  14. Sorry to hear that Rune. I guess long summer nights can be enjoyed for other reasons despite the lack of astronomy. An excuse to invest in some solar kit perhaps! It's not so bad down this way, although a month either side of the equinox we don't quite get full astro darkness. Even so, it still seems pretty dark if you're prepared to stay out until 1am, but I can't survive many such sessions back to back though!
  15. Cygnus and the southern end of Cepheus are just starting to appear over the rooftops by midnight. Vega is up there too and the full Summer Triangle can't be far behind. Won't be long before the star clouds of the central Milky Way are reaching up in the south (and probably already are for early risers!). One of my observing highlights last year was the naked eye and bino Milky Way under mag 6 skies. Very excited to see it return - so much that I've picked up some lower power binos in anticipation - and to spend some time studying and enjoying it. Has anyone else made any efforts to observe the Milky Way as if it were any other prized target that we so carefully study? Are there any tips to share? Any good resources to look at? Any areas you particularly enjoyed or details that you found particularly amazing? Any good Milky Way don't-miss lists or tick lists? I'll start things off with a neat reference I found: So many areas I want to see again, but particularly Cygnus of course (loads of structure east of Deneb, plus the dark nebulae around the swan's neck) and the whole Scutum-Sagittarius region - so much visible its hard to fathom, even though its low in the sky! I'm going to take a look through the Astro League Dark Nebulae program too.