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DevonSkies

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Everything posted by DevonSkies

  1. Nice! The weird colour is caused by Saharan dust transported north by ex-Hurricane Ophelia, by the way... :-)
  2. Hi. My AZ4 has the heavy, round steel legs. I think it's sometimes called the AZ4-2, distinct from the AZ4-1 which has the lightweight aluminium legs (same as the AZ3 I think, and similar to my Porta II). The steel legs on the AZ4-2 look the same as those on the the EQ5. Hope that helps!
  3. I haven't tried that yet, but yes it would be worth a try! Not sure if they're compatible, but I'll have a look. Thanks.
  4. Yes, I did adjust the altitude tightness as loosely as I could without the scope starting to slip. I'll see how it goes over the next few weeks.
  5. Yes, the tripod is also new - the AZ4 comes with a pretty heavy steel tripod, much better than the aluminium legs of the Porta II. To be fair to the Porta, the mount itself is nice, it's really the lightweight legs that are the problem.
  6. I've been using an ST102 f/5 refractor on a Vixen Porta II mount for a couple of years now as a grab and go. Nice and light, but the incessant vibration at high magnifications was driving me mad, particularly for planetary viewing. Last week I was attempting to observe Saturn at 100x and the vibration just wiped out all the detail. So, I decided to "upgrade" to the heavier AZ4 (I say "upgrade" in quotes, as the AZ4 is actually a cheaper mount and lacks the slo-mo controls). Well, I'm pleased to report that the difference is tremendous. The AZ4 is solid as a rock, and there is no hint of vibration even when focusing. Best of all, when I turned the scope onto Saturn I could immediately see the Cassini division and some surface detail for the first time ever! The moral of this story - something as simple as improving the mount has made my humble ST102 work like a whole new scope! The only negative so far of the AZ4 is significant "stiction" in the altitude axis. I find I have to nudge the scope up and then down again to make small adjustments in altitude. I'm hoping this will smooth out in time... The azimuth axis is nice and smooth. Next job - save up for the 100ED I've been lusting after! :-)
  7. I bought my 10" Dob just over a year ago with the hope that I might interest my daughter (then nearly 5 years old) in the wonders of the universe. Well, apart from a few seconds looking at the moon last December she showed no real interest. This evening was the first clear slot for what feels like weeks (just a couple of hours) and I decided to get the telescope out before bedtime. To my delight, this time she was keen to come out and have a look with me and we spent an enjoyable half hour or so looking at some of the sights. I showed her the clusters M36 and M37 in Auriga, the Double Cluster, Orion Nebula and the Pleiades. She spent a good length of time looking at the open clusters and obviously enjoyed how pretty they look. Hopefully she'll join me for a few more observing sessions this winter, when conditions are better!
  8. Funnily enough both mine fell out the other night when I dismantled the scope in the cold. Luckily I found them. After that experience I glued them in place so it won't happen again! I hope you manage to find replacements. Sorry I can't help with a source, but as Julian says, try Optical Vision, Astroboot or maybe FLO.
  9. I use the X-Cel LX in an f/5 reflector, and find it very good. A huge improvement over the 25mm BST, that's for sure. Hope that helps!
  10. My first serious attempts at imaging Jupiter with the ZWO ASI120MC camera on my 127 Mak. Jupiter with Europa and Io: Jupiter with a Revelation 2.5x Barlow:
  11. Thanks for the input. Good point about the imaging FoV, I hadn't considered that. I only have a micro 4/3 camera at the moment, which is slightly smaller than APS-C so won't quite capture the full disc with the Mak. In other respects, though, the Mak sounds like a better option.
  12. I'm interested in dipping my toe into white light solar using Baader solar film. I'll probably buy one of the ready made Astrozap full aperture filters sold by FLO. I have a Startravel 102 f/5 refractor and a 127mm f/12 Maksutov. I was wondering which would be the preferred option for white light solar? As I'm thinking of buying a ready made filter I need to choose which scope to use so that I get the right size. Thanks for any opinions!
  13. Geoptik Variable Artificial Star. Designed for collimating telescopes - also useful on cloudy nights for reminding you what stars used to look like! This is the one: http://www.geoptik.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=95&product_id=75 Used only once, hence in "as new" condition. Includes 9V battery, original box and instructions, all perfect. Originally cost £71.99 from RVO. Will accept £50 including postage. Payment by PayPal or Bank Transfer (preferred). Thanks! Ed
  14. Nice report. Solar viewing sounds fascinating. I'd love a H-alpha scope myself some day.
  15. Yes, dreadful conditions down here the last couple of nights - thin ice cloud and jetstream turbulence messing everything up. Pity, as I was keen to try out my new ZWO camera on Jupiter. Oh well, good to hear some people were getting a decent view!
  16. Thanks for the info. Good luck with your efforts!
  17. Nice pictures. I've just ordered one of those cameras myself. What telescope are you using? And what software? Thanks!
  18. Hi, I've just ordered a ZWO ASI120MC-S and I want to get into planetary and lunar imaging. I'll be using my Nexstar 127SLT Mak. So, I was wondering what beginners resources people would recommend? Obviously I want to get up to speed with capture software and stacking, etc. I have downloaded Firecapture, Sharpcap and Registax to have a look and familiarise myself before the camera arrives. What else should I be looking at whilst I wait for my new toy? Any good online tutorials, or books even? thanks for any pointers! Ed
  19. A Mak sounds like a good idea, but remember more aperture will give you more resolution, which will be important for planetary imaging. Have you considered the 127 Mak, which isn't a huge jump in price over the 102, whilst still being compact and portable? The 150 would be even better, but it's double the price and I imagine it would be significantly heavier.
  20. If you mean can they be adjusted without losing their effectiveness, then in my experience, yes. I have adjusted the locking nut on my Dob base a couple of times and it still holds tightly. In general, I believe nylock nuts can be reused, but they are so cheap to replace that you might as well put a new one on if you're stripping down and rebuilding.
  21. As Chris says, the nylock nut should just be just tight enough to hold the base together without squeezing on the washer. I have mine set so it just takes up the slack and turns without any sideways slippage. The friction on the Teflon pads comes from the weight of the telescope sitting on top, so there's not much that can be done to reduce it. It is a little stiff, but I can live with it and don't feel the need to do any mods. Just be careful not to tip the scope over when enthusiastically swinging it round, especially near zenith. Sometimes it helps to hold the side handle as well as the front handle for extra stability.
  22. Thanks for the replies. I've spent quite a bit of time trying different alignments and checking the various settings, and there's no improvement. The only success I did have was with using the "Precise Goto" feature. After aligning with the suggested nearby star (which the Goto would initially miss by a country mile!) the scope would then find the desired object very accurately. This was the only way I could get it to locate objects with any accuracy. I have arranged to exchange the scope+mount for a replacement. Fingers crossed that the new one will be better. My current scope has a crooked corrector plate on the front - it looks like the retaining ring has been cross-threaded! *eek!* So who knows what else the QC might have missed!
  23. Yes, you will be able to see the Crab Nebula, as long as you are under a dark sky. I saw it last night in my 127 Mak from my back garden. As with any small telescope though, it will only appear as a faint smudge. Seeing the Andromeda Galaxy will be no problem, but the narrow field of view of the Mak will limit your ability to appreciate its full glory. There are many DSOs within reach of your scope!
  24. Thanks. I've tried realigning to 'missed stars', and yes it fixes the alignment for that star, but then the original alignment star (the one it replaces) goes off kilter! As far as I understand, it only stores two alignment stars, so repeatedly realigning doesn't add any accuracy.
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