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Everything posted by JohnSadlerAstro

  1. Thats a shame. But its good that we know today rather than having really short notice. A big thank you to everyone who helped get it together, hopefully next year the weather will be a bit better. After saturdays rain we would need to go to mount everest to stay dry John
  2. Complete incompetence in setting up a tent! I'm probably going to arrive around 5ish, so it will be a race against darkness I fear. Is anyone going to bring a tractor to pull us out of the mud? John
  3. I'm wondering about bringing the NEQ6 and 130pds, although everyone's lights will probably dim when it slews! (perhaps thats a good thing, we are meant to keep lp to a minimum) John
  4. It's going to be my first time camping, so I'm not quite sure what to expect! I haven't got a tent yet, hoping to get something this weekend. Are there any types I should particularly avoid? (My student budget will need to take a slap in the face, I fear! ) John
  5. Hi, I've booked! I can only make the Friday night, due to uni schedule. Hopefully I can arrive by lunch time on the Friday though and stay on until after the hog roast on Saturday evening. Clear skies! John
  6. Wouldn't it be funny if budget astrophotographers from M31 are saying the same about the Milky Way right now..... John
  7. Hi Stu, its good to be back! I've looked at the 150 several times before, reviews seem to be a bit mixed about its performance at higher magnification. Otherwise though, it seems to fit the bill quite nicely as its well within the size and weight capability of the neq. Have you ever used one? What was it like for general viewing? Its very tempting, and just down the road from me.... but I really want to tread carefully and go for performance over looks, I have a chronic weakness for fracs which must be kept in check! John
  8. Hi, Well, first a bit of an apology, I haven't been active on here much recently, my 1000d is beginning to breathe its last so the imaging is on hold for a year or two until I can invest in a proper, good camera. Meanwhile, I'm doing visual observing and planetary imaging with my 130PDS and NEQ6. I've decided that I should be able afford a budget-ish (roughly <£300) second scope for visual and/or planetary imaging, so long as its the last astro purchase for a year or two. I really want to get a better view of the Mars 2020 opposition than I did last year with the 90mm frac. I live in b4.5 skies so I'm not averse to some deep sky observing capability too, although my 130PDS does a good job on widefield targets. I'm happy to use the 2nd hand market, although I'm aware that some scopes are more common on astrobuysell and SGL than others. What sort of scope would you folks recommend? I don't know if I should go with a dob or an OTA of some sort for my NEQ. I've owned both newts and a frac before, but I really don't have the experience with different scopes to work out whats best for me. There's also the possibility of a more portable setup, but with uni starting next month I'm not convinced Ill have the time to drive out to dark locations and stuff. (Unless I can find a really nice setup going cheap, that is! ) Clear skies! John
  9. Wow those are really nice echos! It would be so cool to map their directions, your "pings" seem to have far higher resolution than most. Its fascinating the way that they seem to split up on different frequencies. John
  10. Nice shot! That was some lightning, thankfully it wasn't loud, being really high up amongst clouds. We had (at Chippenham) around 3-4 flashes per second during the best 20 mins (not counting the flickering from each flash), the most I've ever seen. The sky seemed to be lit up by a set of failing LED strip lights, quite disorientating. John
  11. Hi, Wow, there really are some nice photos on this thread, definitely worth reading! These were a couple of quick shots from Monday "morning", Saturn with the NEQ6 and ASI120MC. 1. Saturn from a video of around 15k frames, with 2x (dreadful) barlow. Its a small image, really I could do with getting a decent quality 3x for this kind of stuff, still using the one that came with the explorer 130! 2. Again with the Barlow, this time a single 5 sec exposure to show Saturn's moons: (L) Dione, (R) Tethys, just under the planet is Rhea, and under that is Titan. I was able to see all four visually with the 6mm eyepiece, although it was a bit of a struggle. I purposely didnt look at the position of the moons beforehand, its so easy to imagine faint dots! Clear skies! John
  12. Hi Stu, Thanks! The galaxies werent easy at all, i would agree than M82 is the better of the pair, visually. Oops, my error! The optician says my eyes are ok but they would have to be very sharp to see Hadley Rille at 25x I think i put Hadley in the wrong section -- if i remember right I tried to spot it with the 28mm eyepiece, but realised it was far too low mag, so switched to the 6mm in order to spot it. (Which gives just over 108x). The crater was quite easy to spot, but the rille was only a hint of a shadow near to the mountains. There is a chance my eyes were making it up, or got confused with shadows from the mountains. I'm pretty sure it is possible to spot with me setup though, this was with the same scope and my asi120 on a night with poor seeing and a bad lighting angle. Thanks for pointing out that mistake. John
  13. Hi, Last night was quite sub-optimal in terms of imaging weather, lots of moon and not very good transparency, so I decided to have a relaxing visual evening. My 130P-DS and NEQ6 pairing is hardly a typical visual setup, but I wouldn't swap them for anything! I plugged my ears into some Stellardrone and sat back to enjoy the sky. First up was the moon. At f/5, and with the 28 mm 2" eyepiece it felt rather like looking for flies on a searchlight, but once my eyes had adapted i was amazed. The small-scale "rippling" seeing was non-existent. The sharpness of the image was incredible, I was staring down on Copernicus, seeing for the first time the crater-lets on its half-illuminated floor. On the side nearest the terminator, dazzling terraces showed with almost cartoon-like clarity, and 3 or 4 central peaks with their tops picked out by the sun. Truly a breathtaking sight. I got a quick through-the-eyepiece snap with my phone, its nothing like the actual view though. The low-magnification view began to get a little painful after a while, so i switched to my 6 mm wide-field eyepiece and moon filter. The pointy shadows on Copernicus' floor were shorter now, so I moved on south. Drifting down the terminator while looking for Fra Mauro, i was surprised by Straight Wall, which looked like a paper-cut in the moons surface. I also had a look for the Hadley Rille, both it and Hadley were visible against the mountains. --Note: Theres a chance this wasnt hadley rille at all, but some other shadows from the low illumination angle.-- Once the moon began to get a bit low over the houses, i decided it was time for some deep-sky targets. First up was the Virgo Cluster, which was far too close to the moon--I could only see M49 as a pale blob against the glowing sky. Next I moved onto M81/82, they were visible, but not particularly clear. I could distinguish them, though as M81 appeared as a broader patch of light compared to the cigar's narrow shape. Next up was M106, my first time looking at this target. I was interested by its shape, it seemed irregular in one direction, but there was very little to see due to the moon and sky conditions. Finally M51, which looked quite clear, the double shape was apparently (just), and the main galaxy was slightly extended. Unfortunately some haze moved across the view after a while and it disappeared. By this point Cygnus and Vega were beginning to rise, with the milky way. So many stars! I sat for ages just looking up at them...forgetting. Ive never felt nearer to the stars, despite the fact that this was a pretty mediocre night. The Dumbell Nebula was just high enough, so I took a quick look. Hourglass shape was clear, but not much else, there was high cloud around again by this time, obscuring the lower targets. Then I got cold and went in. All round a very successful evening, I think. The seeing was incredible, very surprising with transparency as good as it was. John
  14. Hi, It's something I definitely wasn't expecting! The jet is in the correct direction though, and is in the opposite direction to the coma. It's also strongly luminous in the blue. I would suggest disregarding the standard method of taking short (<1min) subs, my ones were 120 and 200 sec, at iso800, I believe. It's quite possible to get the galaxy core + jet without too much clipping. Good luck! John
  15. JohnSadlerAstro


    wow! thats impressive! what mount?
  16. Hi, Just a small offering for today, I have a Markarians Chain image in the works at the minute, its very poor quality though so looking at the above I might wait until page 105 . I also want to work on identification of galaxies in it etc before releasing. Part of a 3h integration with my 1000d and NEQ6. 120 and 200 sec subs, iso 800. However, I can confirm that it the 130pds can indeed show the relativistic M87 jet, even when a newb with a potato for a camera is operating it, who is by no means a collimation expert! ? This is right at the bottom corner of the image, so theres quite nasty coma, which I think reduces the resolution of the jet somewhat. Overall, a very strong testament to the performance of the 130PDS. John
  17. I would advise against this, I caught a nasty cold after selling three of mine to buy an neq6. I wonder how small the fov would be on that 40in though? John
  18. Hi, I cant truly say ive ever suffered from aperture fever, but I did suffer from the more rare but arguably more dangerous mount size fever a while ago. Thankfully budget restrictions stopped me at an NEQ6. My message to anyone thinking of "going big" is really, really really think about weight and physical size. Its easy to say, "ill carry 25kg easy!", and no doubt most of us would be quite able to do so. However if you're getting out of bed on a cold night to do that, it really puts a fresh light (sorry ) on the entire situation. Also, if you aren't feeling well or are worn out, a weight-lifting session prior to observing is irritating. If you're a setup-each-time sufferer like myself, breaking up a setup and putting it back together again uses up valuable time! This will apply to dob users too, no doubt. I can say quite honestly that my favourite setup of all time was an alt-az AT Voyager with a 90mm achro on. I could go out at any sign of clear skies, and literally carry the entire setup in one hand. Sometimes convenience truly is better than performance. John
  19. Hi, An bit of a side note on this topic, browsing through YouGov the other day I saw that a poll on this topic had resulted in 70% disapproval. Another 10-15% didn't know and only a very small percentage liked it. ? The lunar advertising campaign reminds me of the Chinese proposal to build an artificial moon to light cities at night. Such stupidity and imaginative ability are unrivaled even by Hollywood. ? John
  20. Hi, Thanks for the information, that will be really useful! John
  21. Hi, I'm rather out of my depth here, I normally work on visible wavelengths but the recent bad weather has meant I haven't got out for proper imaging all year so far. Theres little hope of the weather changing and astro dark ends soon, so I have been looking around for a bit of an alternative as a day-to day, educational pastime to last until I go to uni, and hopefully past then. Radio astronomy looks really interesting, but there doesn't seem to be much information about achievable amateur projects or what options are out there etc. I have a few questions, I'm afraid they are very newbish ones, perhaps someone could give me some advice though? 1. Is there anything interesting that amateurs can actually accomplish with radio astronomy, and what should my expectations be? 2. How much money will I need to throw into it before I get anything interesting back out? 3. How much radio and electrical knowledge will I need before beginning, i.e. is this a field for die-hard hams only? 4. Is there a good source of information about the field? 5. Is it fun? Thanks for looking, John
  22. Hi, Loving the fracs, but it's time for a newt ?! The weather has been bad recently, but I did get out to collimate the polescope and troubleshoot the alignment issues I had last month. All round a successful evening, with everything resolved! Cloud was on its way but I got to see a few galaxies before putting the setup away. ? John
  23. Hi, The weather is rather bad here at the moment, so I'm waiting for a clear night to check that the polarscope gives the required accuracy for autoguiding. (I'm expecting that it will be good enough, though.) Meanwhile, I'll be saving for the EQMod cable! One feature ive heard people mention is PAE, am I correct that this allows fine-tuning the alignment without having to re-do the align? John
  24. Hi, I'd say it looks pretty decent already! Really nice photo, I'm a fan of mono fuzzies. Sadly these galaxies are just a little to small to be a realistic target with big 1000d pixels, but in my opinion they look better than the trio. John
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