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Everything posted by DevonSkies

  1. Thanks for the replies. I do have a garage (in fact that's where the scope is normally stored), so next time I will bring the scope straight into the garage with the caps still on until the temperature has equalised.
  2. I managed to get an unexpected hour or so of observing in last night during breaks in the clouds. When I brought the scope (SW 250PX Dob) back into the house, both mirrors rapidly fogged up and took a few hours to completely clear. During this time I left the scope angled downwards with the caps off and a room heater on. Now the mirrors are dry, I notice there is a little 'dew spotting' on the primary and a little haze on one edge of the secondary. I'm wondering whether I should have done anything differently? Or is this just a fact of life? As you can probably tell, I'm new to telescope ownership. Should I leave the caps off or on when I bring the scope in from the cold? I don't want to end up having to clean haze or spots off my mirrors, so is there anything I can do to help prevent dew deposits when bringing a cold scope back into the house? Thanks! Ed
  3. Thanks. I think I'll give the 5mm Starguider a try.
  4. Hi, I'm looking for a ~5mm EP for splitting close double stars on my f/4.7 scope. I was looking at the Celestron X-Cel LX 5mm but then I spotted a few negative comments about this EP on the web. So now I am maybe considering the BST Starguider 5mm as an alternative? I already have the BST 8mm, 15mm and 25mm EPs. The BST 25mm was a big mistake (awful field curvature on my f/4.7 scope) but the others seem ok to my novice eye. I am going to replace the BST 25mm with the X-Cel LX 25mm. Any comments on the above mentioned 5mm EPs, or recommendations for good alternatives in the same price range (£50-£60 preferably). Cheers, Ed
  5. You're right about 'good to bad' in a matter of minutes - I noticed my ability separate the binary stars varying dramatically throughout the evening. I think I'll be checking out some dark sky sites soon...! Ed
  6. Well, tonight I had an unexpected bonus observing session as the skies cleared for an hour or so before 10.30pm. I tried again with Eta Orionis, and after a while - bingo! I was able to split the double quite comfortably using the lowly Skywatcher MA 10mm that came with my scope, combined with a 2x Barlow. So my failure to split the system last night must simply have been down to seeing conditions. I'm really quite pleased with the capabilities of my new scope, and I'm learing an awful lot about observing in the process!
  7. So, I collimated the scope over the weekend. I mostly used a colli cap to align the secondary and used both a Cheshire and a borrowed laser to align and check the primary. I needed to adjust everything a little, although to be fair it wasn't set up too badly in the factory. I went out again last night to enjoy the clear skies that many of us had. I spent quite a while trying to separate binaries in Orion (the "Dobsonian Doubles" in Turn Left at Orion). I was pleased to separate Rigel easily, despite the mag 6.5 brightness difference between the stars. I used a BST Starguider 8mm eyepiece. However, I struggled with some of the other close doubles, e.g. Eta Orionis and 32 Orionis. I simply could not resolve the individual stars clearly - at high magnification, Eta appeared as a small shimmering blob, and only with a bit of imagination and concentration could I convince myself there might actually be two stars. As a beginner, I don't really have an idea of how challenging doubles like Eta Orionis are to a 10" Dob under typical UK seeing conditions. I think my collimation is OK - a basic defocussed star test revealed a symmetrical doughnut shape with concentric Airy rings visible at high magnification. Was my difficulty in separating the close doubles likely to be due to poor seeing conditions (turbulence) or is it more a matter of practice? Ed
  8. Thanks for the ideas so far. I'm not so keen on using a phone/tablet app, as I find the screen spoils my night vision (even in "red" mode there is still a grey glow from the backlight on my Galaxy Note 8). That's why I was thinking of printing charts on paper. I do use my tablet for browsing the heavens when planning sessions though. Doing a screen grab from Stellarium is a good idea, I hadn't thought of that!
  9. Hi, I'm looking for some software for generating custom, printable star charts. The idea would be to produce one-off star charts of selected areas for my observing sessions, in a format similar to those used in Turn Left at Orion for example. I see the TLAO authors used Starry Night to generate their charts, but I was wondering if there was anything cheaper (preferably free!) available to do this job. What I would like to do is select an area of the sky and print a black-and-white chart at A4 or A5 size. I have Stellarium, but I'm not aware that it has this functionality. I am mainly using a Mac, but I also have a Windows laptop I could use for this if need be. Thanks in advance for any pointers! Ed
  10. Thanks for the link! Good to hear that the you found the collimation straightforward. I've ordered a Cheshire and a collimation cap, so I'll give it a go next week. Even without collimation I was relieved to find the performance at low magnification very satisfactory, but I'm sure some adjustment will be essential to get the most out of the higher magnifications.
  11. Hi Alan, The mirrors were already fitted when I received my scope. But I have no doubt it could do with adjustment: I'll have a go at this once I'm confident of the procedure! Regards, Ed
  12. After a long break from astronomy (I had previously only used binoculars) I decided to treat myself to a new telescope last week last week, and my Skywatcher 250PX Dobsonian arrived on Tuesday. After anxiously following the weather forecast for the next couple of days, I spotted the possibility of clear skies last night (Thursday-Friday) and crossed my fingers. Sure enough, by 23.30 the clouds were starting to part, and by midnight it was clear enough to start observing for the first time. So out went the scope into the back garden! My first target was the great nebula in Orion. What a sight! Despite a moderately light-polluted sky (moon just below the horizon?) it was far more impressive than I've ever seen it before. I spent some time enjoying it with different eyepieces to get a feel for the effect of varying fields of view (a friend has lent me a selection of optics to try out). Next, I turned my attention to the Pleiades - one of my all-time favourite objects, and probably best viewed in binoculars. The finderscope gave a good view, but to be honest the magnification of the Dob was too great to take in the shape of the cluster, even with a 34mm wide field eyepiece. Just getting the hang of the finderscope, I tried to locate M31 in Andromeda. My star-hopping failed me this time, so I decided to browse my star chart app for a different target that might be easier to locate. I decided to try the Crab Nebula, as it's an object I'd never observed before in bins and I thought it would be a good first real test for the Dob. A few minutes star-hopping later, there it was - a bright smudge in the centre of my view. It was very satisfying to find an object I hadn't seen before! Back to Andromeda. This time I revisited the star chart and had another go at locating the galaxy. This time I did a better job, and M31 popped into view as I scanned the scope across the area where I expected to find it. The galaxy filled the whole field even with the 34mm eyepiece, although it was very dim towards the edges. Definitely one to revisit on a darker night. A sister galaxy (M110?) was also plain to see. With a bit of concentration I could make out a dust band one side of M31. Later in the night (went to bed at 2am!) I caught sight of Jupiter and its moons rising alongside our own moon. Again, the first time I have seen a planet through a telescope, and it was a great feeling. The disc was paler than expected, almost washed out, but I could make out 2 bands across the middle of the planet. Several moons were also clearly visible. Slightly disappointingly I was unable to focus the image as sharply as I would have liked (using a borrowed Televue Nagler 6mm). I haven't collimated my scope yet, so possibly this was to blame. Also, the planet was low in the sky so atmospheric effects no doubt played a part. All in all, a great first evening out with the new scope. After viewing the objects I already knew, I was left with a feeling of "what should I look at next?". I was keen to try a globular cluster, but couldn't spot any in my charts. When my copy of "Turn Left at Orion" arrives I hope I will be able to plan my observing sessions in a more organised way! The Dobsonian mount turned out to be a good choice for me. The simple setup and ease of manoeuvering suits me well. It's only a shame I can't quite reach the eyepiece from a sitting on a chair! Anyway, thanks for reading! And thanks to FLO for their excellent service and advice in supplying my scope! Ed
  13. Welcome dobguy. I just bought the 250 version of the same scope, and am also anxiously awaiting my first clear night! Good luck! Ed Sent from my GT-N5110 using Tapatalk
  14. Do let us know how you get on with the new EPs! I recently got the 250PX Dob and I'm also looking at the Starguiders as upgrades to the stock EPs. I just have to decide what focal lengths to get! I'm also planning to get a SW Panaview 32mm 2" to gain some wide field capability. Ed
  15. Thanks. I'm off to check out SkySafari Pro now!Ed Sent from my GT-N5110 using Tapatalk
  16. Interesting discussion. If you don't mind me asking, what software did you use to generate those diagrams? It looks like a very useful tool.Regards, Ed Sent from my GT-N5110 using Tapatalk
  17. Thanks to everyone for the warm welcome. I'm sure I'll be learning a lot over the coming weeks, months and years! Ed
  18. Thanks for the tips. I've downloaded Stellarium onto my Mac and my tablet, and I'll keep a note of the objects you suggest. I can't wait to get started now! As for Dartmoor/Exmoor, perhaps I'll make an excursion sometime once I've got used to my new kit. Ed
  19. Hi, New member here in East Devon. I haven't done any astronomy since I was a teenager, but am getting into it again now after moving to a nice rural location with quite dark skies. I'm also hoping it will be a wonderful pastime to share with my young daughter. I will soon be the proud owner of a new Skywatcher 250PX Dobsonian. Hoping for some clear skies next week! I'm sure I'll be visiting this forum regularly for tips and advice. Best wishes to you all! Ed Sent from my GT-N5110 using Tapatalk
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