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Everything posted by AlentejoSkies

  1. AlentejoSkies

    new SCT

    Sounds like there is a fair variation between instruments in any case. I haven't got a feel for this one yet but I guess that will come with practice. This was the first time I had it out on my own. From now on, I will be finishing with a CCW focus adjustment. Thanks for the tip.
  2. AlentejoSkies

    Daytime Blue Sky Moon - Aug 13th

    Thanks for the image. Daytime moon is one of my favorite sights. By the way, I was talking to a guy recently who didn't believe me that the moon was ever visible during the day...
  3. I'm also around 18-month vintage. Loved your post and fully stand behind what you say. One thing I would add is that having had Sky Safari 4 on my phone for a while and then upgrading to Sky Safari 4 Plus for a few quid has meant that I can always check what will be visible tonight, or in a few days etc. and read a bit about the history, mythology and observing hints for pretty much anything I will be able to see. That little app has made a big difference to my astro-life.
  4. AlentejoSkies

    which adhesive for secondary

    Hi, Gradually putting my Darkstar back together after a bit of maintenance... The secondary was originally held in place with epoxy around its edge, still strong after all these years. Had to take it off though to recoat, and now I wondered about using silicone to give a bit more flexibility, but with such a small contact area I am worried it could come loose with catastrophic results. So actually I guess it will be epoxy again and I have answered my own question. Unless anyone with experience tells me otherwise? Douglas
  5. AlentejoSkies

    which adhesive for secondary

    Neutral curing silicone it is then. Thanks a lot!
  6. AlentejoSkies

    which adhesive for secondary

    Regarding the acid in silicone - I would not put it in a sealed box to cure, for sure. But I think the acetic acid is gone after a few days. It would be in direct contact with the back surface of the secondary, and the plastic of the secondary holder. (I did once leave an open tube of silicone in a sealed tool box for a year, made a real mess... everything heavily corroded and smelling of fish & chips.)
  7. AlentejoSkies

    which adhesive for secondary

    @Chris, do you mean there should be no movement so the collimation doesn't shift?
  8. AlentejoSkies

    Beginner advice

    Hmmm, tricky. If I was the student I would rather choose for myself - with the costs covered by a willing parent!
  9. AlentejoSkies

    Antares double

    Thank you John. I never got the allure of doubles - until now!
  10. AlentejoSkies

    To Plop or not to Plop

    So I have a David Hinds mirror set, the generous gift of a certain Tom Yates (he's a jolly good fellow!) It's present home is a darkstar telescope that is not really doing justice to such fine optics. As time and budget allows, it's going to become my favourite instrument... For now, secondary is going in the post to Orion Optics for a recoat, and the primary - coating still fine - is getting a new cell. First discovery is that the 8 inch primary is actually 223mm diameter. That's nine inches. Great! (Is that normal?) Second is that it's quite thin. 25mm. And now the question: Is my planned mounting method of three blobs of silicone at around 2/3 of the diameter a good idea, or do I need to go into this a bit more deeply? It looks like there's a whole world of mirror cell optimisation out there. Do I need to open that chapter? Thanks for any advice, Douglas
  11. AlentejoSkies

    To Plop or not to Plop

    Thanks for the info Chris. Interestingly counter intuitive with 0.5 of the radius, at least to my intuition. Douglas
  12. A definite yes vote for the Telrad. I wouldn't be without one. Big and clunky for no obviouos reason, but a joy to use.
  13. AlentejoSkies

    June 16, 2016: 49-pane H-alpha mosaic

    Mother or father or grandfather Sun, our ever-giving source of energy. Thank you for this amazing image!
  14. AlentejoSkies

    To Plop or not to Plop

    So, blobs it will be. I think three underneath, correctly sized, and three at the sides. And then star testing to check for asymmetry. But that will have to wait until the secondary is recoated and so on.
  15. AlentejoSkies

    To Plop or not to Plop

    Thank you for your comments. As far as leaving well-enough alone, the Darkstar did need some attention coming into my hands after a good few years unused: missing focuser, damaged spider, corroded collimation screws, coating damage to secondary... so it is anyway a project - and with it in pieces anyway the temptation to tinker is just too high... and then I would like to add a fan, for which the exisiting cell is not ideal... Actually I just enjoy it. And now reading Suiter's inspirational book I'm in the mood to play around a bit. But slowly, slowly. Looks like there is already a range of opinions on this one. Good, I can enjoy the planning! Douglas
  16. AlentejoSkies

    Never Been Able to Observe a Planet

    Maybe you need a Telrad. Without a finder of some kind it's really hard to find anything, and with, it's a doddle. My first Telrad changed my life. Before then it took me 20 minutes to find the moon and I almost gave up completely. Ever since then life is just better.
  17. AlentejoSkies

    Shipping from the states

    I'd second the recommendation not to do it - unless you enjoy long delays and unexpected bureaucracy. Or unless you or a good friend is traveling there anyway and can bring it back personally.
  18. AlentejoSkies


    I'd also add that it's good to use what you have - almost whatever you have - for a while and develop a sensitivity to what you want to do next (although it's for sure also good to ask advice so that even if you take the next step quite quickly it will be a good one...)
  19. AlentejoSkies

    Hello from Essex UK

    Welcome! People do say that a pair of binoculars is the best starting point to get to know the sky. I think they are right.
  20. Hi there, I'm looking for an eyepiece holder to fit a William Optics 2" diagonal. So that would be T2 male thread on the side facing the diagonal, and 2" eyepiece holder on the other end... Or creative suggestions... Thanks, Douglas
  21. What a great night that was. Out with my 6 inch f/8 dob watching the planets, first time for a while that I'm on my own so I get out the special reserve kit. Most of the time I'm showing others the sky and there I soon found that people see more with the most basic equipment. But today I can use the binoviewers, push the magnification a bit and take the time to watch, not just to look. Jupiter to start. Everything working okay, tube is cool. Seeing is really good ! 6mm SLV showing its worth for the first time. I have a lot of experience in optics but very little in astronomy, so each observing session is a revelation and coming together of theory and practice. When I got this eyepiece last year I just couldn't handle it, thought is was a poor match for the OTA, but now I love it. Learned so much over the last months, just basic stuff like tube-nudging technique, careful focusing, relaxing the eyes... So now it's time. It's after midnight and I want to see Mars. And there is detail tonight!! Not a lot, but there is a grey bit, and there white!! That counts as detail. Saturn. Low, but let's have a look. 6mm in. I have my first confirmed Cassini Division sighting! A defining moment for a novice observer. It's undeniably there. But at f/8 the 6mm is probably pushing it a bit, I want to try 8mm. Only way at the moment is WO binoviewer with two stacked 1.6x barlows, so I guess we are at about 8mm focal length, that's anyway the only way to reach focus with the binoviwers. Wow, wow, wow, Cassini confirmed and more. Saturn is pink compared to the rings. There is structure visible, this is unbelievable! Saturn is crisp and clear like it's just been born. I never knew my scope could do that. Those WO 20mm wide angle eyepieces in the binoviewer are good I guess, and the Barlow too, but it can't be that they are better than the SLV? Surely not massively better. Is it the advantage of two eyes? Am I somehow able to do better internal image processing like this (or did the seeing just suddenly get really really good?) What has changed over the months? Mostly me I guess. I know a bit more what to look for, take a bit more care. I was also watching Saturn last night, not just looking. There were moments when I forgot to anaylse the image, and just watched the planet from curiosity, and suddenly I saw details jump out as if seeing a friend's face in a new light. So I had to start the day by writing. Anyway a bit tired to jump straight into work. Thanks for listening. Douglas
  22. AlentejoSkies


    Looks great! Good luck with the kinematics. And thanks for the 6mm SLV last year, I'm really getting good use from it at last!
  23. AlentejoSkies

    Hello from the cotswolds

    Welcome to a wonderful forum. Grew up in Cheltenham myself, but living a bit further south these days in Portugal.
  24. AlentejoSkies

    Keeping Both Eyes Open

    Thanks guys, never gave this a moment's thought before, but for the last few sessions I've been trying it out. Both eyes open gives me a kind of spaceflight feeling, with the starfield superimposed on 'normal' reality. Very interesting. But not yet the easiest thing. One major benefit of spending time watching the heavens is that I have become a more perceptive observer of my own vision.
  25. AlentejoSkies

    Tips for Viewing (and staying Warm!)?

    Thermos of tea/coffee/chocolate etc. makes all the difference. Just stay careful with where you or your companions leave cups standing around...

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