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D Wright

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305 Excellent

About D Wright

  • Rank
    Star Forming

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  • Location
    Carlisle Cumbria
  1. Were you on holiday or do you live in Cumbria?
  2. It was looking due north. It was so bright it was casting a shadow.
  3. As most of us are, I am longing for the return of astronomical darkness. So here is a photo taken from Kielder in Nothumberland this February, just to remind us.
  4. Spent a very pleasant night sitting in the garden with a vodka and tonic watching the display of NLCs after a very rewarding observing session with my new scope.
  5. D Wright

    Drunken Astronomy

    I went to the Dumfries and Galloway star camp the year before last and the first night it was clear at first so we observed for maybe an hour then it clouded over. I went to one of the caravans and started sampling some malt whiskys. I got a little bit drunk and had to go to bed about 10pm. I got up the next morning with a sore head only to be told it had been clear all night and I missed it. The rest of the nights I was there it was cloudy. I think I learned my lesson.
  6. I feel really lucky as I volunteer at Kielder observatory once a week and all the staff are complete nerds and all heavily into astronomy and I class them as friends even though I don't see them socially. Also there are public events on every night and some of the public love to talk telescopes and astronomy. So I have lots of people to talk to. On the other hand when I talk to the missus she just glazes over and looks blank.
  7. I had my first light with my new Skywatcher Stargate 450P last night. I had the scope in the house and put it up in the garden (I have now got it down to about 15 mins). No need for cool down as it was warmer outside than in, but I left it for 30 mins to be sure. When it came to collimation after my previous failures with the loose mirror, It was so close that it took very little adjustment. I put the 31mm Nagler in and looked at Jupiter. A beautiful view, could have been clearer but with the low altitude and the heat it wasn't very good but still better than I am used to. I swapped for the 17mm Nagler. Wow I was blown away, I could see all the bands and even the GRS. The view was coming and going due to the heat but I have never seen Jupiter like that. Time to pour a glass of wine and wait for a. Saturn to clear the trees and b. for it to get darker. About 11.30 I started touring the sky, by now the moon was up but behind next doors house. I pointed the scope a M57 and was amazed that even with so much light I could even see it, but I could clearly see the ring. Next I swung over to Albireo, beautiful and clear with lovely colour in the stars. Back to the 31mm. I could even make out M31 though just the core. M13 was easily visible and I could see more stars in the cluster than I normally can in full darkness with my 8" dob. Lastly and this for me was the highlight of the night was NGC457 the dragonfly cluster. I am used to seeing it fairly small in the centre of view but it filled the eyepiece and was so clear with so many stars visible. I am now a very happy bunny and can't wait for true darkness to unleash the true potential of this magnificent scope.
  8. I set the scope up again and the colimation was so close I hardly had to do any adjustments. At 10.30 even though it wasn't dark I could still see the bands on Jupiter and all 4 moons. I do think I am going to need a coma corrector as the coma is quite bad.
  9. I am going to look into a replacement cover for the mirror. If I can't find one I will make one. The scope came with a shroud.
  10. I got the scope set up outside last night and spent 2 frustrating hours trying to collimate it and getting nowhere. I used a laser collimator and lined the secondary mirror with the centre of the primary. The dot from the laser was now missing the secondary by about 6". I also tried to align the finder with the main scope. When the main scope was centred on something the finder was so far out I couldn't even see what I was trying to align to. I knew something was wrong so I took it apart and rebuilt it thinking I may have done something wrong. Again the same result. I noticed that when I was adjusting the primary collimation screws nothing was happening. I had a look at the primary cell and noticed the mirror was not level. On closer inspection I noticed that I could rotate and rock the primary mirror. This was causing the mirror to flop when the scope was angled. This morning I had a look at the back of the cell and where the cell is held into the frame the locking ring was cross-threaded hence not tight. I managed to remove the locking ring, Cleaned the thread and put it on correctly and tightened the grub screws. Job done so I will try again tonight. Very poor QC by Skywatcher letting the scope go with a loose mirror but luckily an easy fix.
  11. Tonight I hope. Targets: Jupiter, Saturn, Mars? (not sure I can see it as it is low). Then I will try M13, M27, M57 and M3. I will leave all the faint stuff until true darkness returns.
  12. Thank you I am honoured to be a member even though I have had an 8" dob on a homemade base for about a year. I think that my new scope makes me a proper member.
  13. Well it came this morning. 4 huge boxes with a total weight of nearly 90kg. It was actually very simple to put together and the build quality seems pretty good. The only thing I don't like ,which I was expecting is the cover for the main mirror. It's a flimsy floppy bit of plastic that doesn't stay on. Wouldn't you think after about 8 years of making this scope they would have come up with a better cover. The scope itself is a big heavy lump of a thing and impossible to move without wheelbarrow handles. Saying that it only takes 15 mins to take apart and the same to put together and the separate components are movable for one person. I am fairly certain that it will fit in my car as I have a saloon with a big boot. All in all I am very impressed with the scope. I am looking forward to tonight as the forecast is clear and Saturn is at a good height for viewing. I will post a report on how tonight goes. Still won't be able to try it properly until true darkness returns. As estwing says I will try it first then if I need one I will get a Paracorr.
  14. I will see if I can get there for a couple of nights.
  15. If I can't get it in the car to go to star camps and public viewing sessions then it will stay permanently in the garden, hence the 365 scope cover. Eventually I hope to build an observatory.

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