Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.



  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by johnfosteruk

  1. lol I was the same, absolutely buzzing, then yesterday I was watching something on Youtube and caught myself wishing I had 'one of those' (for about 8 bits of gear) Saying that though, my sensible self prevailed and instead I spent £14 on a clipboard, 2 little LED gooseneck lamps and some other gear for sketching my observations. I'm pleased that I have a sensible self, I'd be bankrupt otherwise
  2. It's always been the way I am. I took up photography with a 'prosumer' or 'bridge' camera and I wasn't satisfied that I'd 'learned the ropes' to a standard suitable to brandish an SLR until 9 years later and I captured (IMO anyway) some stunning images with that first camera. Same with fish keeping, stuck with small community tanks until I'd learned enough to care for more demanding cichlids and marine wildlife. etc and so on with the many hobbies I seem to have accumulated. I don't like doing things half assed, either do it well or not at all in fact it really bothers me to see missed opportunities for wonder, betterment and amazement for the apparent lack of ability to put some effort into learning something. To the point that now I'm an old curmudgeon in my forties I'm starting to comment on it and not caring who hears!! Add to that the pressures of everyday life and work which mean limited time and you're correct, I don't anticipate observing even half of the lists I've already compiled before my time's up. I will however enjoy every moment of it.
  3. Thanks for a great report, It's great to read someone else had a great night last night as well popeye.
  4. Thanks. It's lovely to have her involved. She's eager to get out again as well which is absolutely brilliant.
  5. Me too mate, and the niece. She's stopping at ours tonight and after we got home she spent about an hour describing the session to my wife. Oh and also, while observing M42 I completely freaked. A satellite passed through my field of view (Flock 1E-6 if you must know, as a slightly OCD geek I love that I can find this out) and I have to admit I thought it might be alien invaders or planet 9 on a collision course for a moment!!!
  6. So I've been out a number of times since getting my SW 130 for Christmas but they've been hit and run affairs, specific targets, in the back yard (quite dark but not completely free of light pollution and obstructed views in 3 directions) getting used to the equipment and spending most of my time familiarising myself with using the German Equatorial and learning to star hop. I've shoved the Nikon DSLR on the end and taken a few pretty good images of the moon, even done some sketches, and I've seen some nice quick views but I've not really focused on observing properly. Tonight was different. I'm in Plymouth and there's some nice spots around the coast that are quite dark, so tonight I bundled everything into the boot and my brother and I took my 9 year old niece who has had a quick look in the garden but has been asking for a proper session for a while to the car park above Bovisand beach for an observing session. And WOW, no DSO's or hard to find targets but totally delightful, the real start to my observing career I think. It was a lovely clear evening, we got there about 19:45, it wasn't too cold and the sun set as we set everything up. The niece was eager for the sun to set, most annoyed in fact that it hadn't yet!! While we waited I checked the RDF alignment on a distant telegraph pole. I roughly aligned so the little economy motor I bought would be of use for prolonged observing. As we finished our coffee and snacks, She noticed jupiter twinkling to the south east, so using the RDF I swung around and found it in the 25mm, focused and gave the eyepiece over to my niece who was absolutely delighted to see 3 moons (Ganymede, Europa & Callisto I think) and the north and south equatorial belts of the giant planet. She spent about 5 minutes at the eyepiece, the motor doing its job quite nicely and we switched to the 10mm, focused and I had to fight her off it about 15 minutes later. Io (I think) was also clearly visible with the 10mm. She clearly described the moons, the equatorial and temperate belts and various 'swirls'. Totally captivated. We even viewed Jupiter with the 2xBarlow, I was expecting poor quality as I thought we were pushing the limits of my scope's resolving power, but the clarity was still quite good, the seeing was excellent and the observing gods were smiling upon us. Eventually my brother and I both had a good crack at jupiter as well, the clarity was amazing, totally surprising in fact, given that I wasn't expecting much from my little 130. After about an hour we swung around to Orion. We'd already observed M42 through the bins to my brother's amazement and after a little bit of mucking around with the finder (next upgrade will be a finderscope) I found the great nebula, very distinctive and immediately recognisable but only a smear in the 25mm at this stage. Despite my awesome descriptions (smudgy wing shape around the stars in the middle, etc and so on) my brother wasn't seeing it and then a car pulled in with lights full beam and ruined it for all of us. With our dark adaptation ruined we stumbled around for some coffee and after about half an hour wait while we re-dark adapted he had another crack at it. This time he saw it and was totally captivated. After a while he asked about a group of stars he was seeing, so I took my place at the eyepiece for a while - it was the trapezium, clear and crisp. The slightest vibration and you can only make out 3 of the stars, the two leftmost (in the eyepiece view) seemed to blur together with vibration. But when there's no vibration it's as clear as you like, and all the while the nebula was becoming clearer. Absolutely marvellous to be able to recognise what you're seeing, almost like seeing an old friend for the first time in a while. We spent a good 20 minutes each observing M42, I know it's easy to find and it's big, but wow, the buzz of seeing it yourself in your own scope, there in the sky in front of you, revealing more of itself as you keep observing - just amazing. I'm certain I'll see more detail on future observations but what I saw tonight was too much to take in. I think I'll be sketching furiously in future. All in all 'twas an awesome evening and, yes I've got scope envy when I look at the equipment forums as I want to see Jupiter bigger, and more detail in M42, and find the Horsehead and take hubble quality images of DSOs and guide with pinpoint accuracy for imaging and build an observatory where everything is automated and the mount is rock solid, but do you know what? What I've got is just perfect for now. I think I'll be viewing plenty more of the objects up there in the sky with my scope before I even think about an upgrade. All in all a great evening, and thanks to the members of SGL for setting my expectations as I've perused the boards, and keeping me patient. It's this that has taught me what I needed to know in order to make a night like tonight possible. Clear Skies JF
  7. Evening all. So I have not an artistic bone in my body in terms of pen/pencil/paint etc to paper. I'm a keen photographer and consider myself to have quite a good eye in that respect. I play musical instruments and love a bit of fine woodwork too so I'm clearly not lacking in creative juices, but I just haven't been able to translate what my eye sees to paper in the past. To be fair though, I've never really persevered. The last thing I drew was my 3rd year art project about a thousand years ago. I've always been of the belief that I can teach myself anything with the right guidance and plenty of practice, and some of the stunning pieces on the forums have captivated me so I decided this evening to give it a go. I've skimmed through "Astronomical Sketching: A Step by Step Guide" from the Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy series to get some rough guidance and raided the wife's craft supplies for pencils, putty and stumps. For material, I'm using an image I captured and stacked from video of the eastern limb of the moon about 3 weeks ago. I'm focussing around the Mare Crisium area and surrounding craters, including Langrenous, Cleomedes and Tralles. This is nowhere near finished and nowhere near what I'd like to be able to achieve, the geometry is off and there's nowhere near the full amount of detail - plenty of work to do in that area, but I thought I'd ask what everybody thought, in terms of critique of the overall effect, what you would be wanting to capture, and how you would do it - there's plenty of technique advice in the book, but I'd like to hear how others do it. I'm particularly pleased with the area at the top of the image, Cleomedes and surrounding craters, I think it's got some good dimension but I'd like to capture more. Excuse the shadows - quick iPhone snaps. Tell me what you think and thanks in advance.
  8. Thanks mate, just bagged one for £25. Why did I not know about this site before???? Looks like when I'm ready to upgrade the mount I'll be cobbling it together with bits from Astroboot!!!
  9. Hey Rob, that's the chap. Fingers crossed, I have Steve from FLO on the case trying to source one.
  10. Thanks mate. But what's worrying me is it says they're for eq5 and 6. I'm concerned they won't fit. Does anyone have one and if so can they tell me the distance between centres of the holes for fitting to the saddle
  11. Evening all, I have a skywatcher 120 newt on a skywatcher EQ2 and one of the ends has sheared off the dovetail bar. Whats the cheapest replacement? I assume it'll be a similar, single bar that the rings mount onto, in which case what am I looking for as skywatcher only seem to have them specifically made for the eq5. Bear in mind there's a nut sticking up out of the saddle, and the holes for the nuts which fix it to the saddle are about 59mm apart at centre. Anyone know of a product that'll do it for me? I wouldn't mind moving to a 'system' as long as the price is reasonable, so what's the cheapest way I'm going to set it up so I can keep the tube in the rings and slide the whole assembly in and out of the mount as required? I hope that makes sense. Bear in mind I will be upgrading the mount to something more robust later in the year as I intend to get a decent finder scope and start fumbling around the crazy world of imaging so the EQ2 won't be suitable for much longer as I'll need tracking and more weight bearing capability. With that in mind I'll need to know that whatever I have is likely sit on something like an EQ5/6 or whatever I end up with. I don't want the 'system' to be redundant if I can avoid it.
  12. Dambuster I'm thinking of going out tonight in about an hour. Short notice but if you read this in time do you fancy it? I'm in Plymouth and was thinking of yelverton aerodrome or wembury beach
  13. That's about right. [emoji3] Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  14. As a noob who has only just got his scope and hasn't seen first light yet I have to say those notes & sketches are inspiring Nick, thank you for sharing.
  15. Hey Paul, I know this is a few months old but are you still looking for folks to meet up with? I'm a complete noob, just been given a skywatcher 130, I've done lots of reading and feel I know a lot but the prospect of putting it in to practice is a little overwhelming so meeting up with some experienced folks would be just right!!! It's only a half hour drive from Plymouth where I am so definitely seems practical.
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.