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  1. On my first scope, a small Mak, I used the dual finder scope for the small standard 30mm finder scope and the Rigel quikfinder. The finders often stood under an akward angle. You do indeed look through the finder scope from above and through the Rigel by keeping your eyes behind it. The awkward angle is caused by fact that the dual mount is bowed. On my C8 we made an other solution. I put the big RACI finder in a finder shoe on the mount. I bought a good one where I can turn around the diagonal, which is very handy. The Rigel is glued to the scope. To not do this permanently, I have cut out a slice of a plastic bucket with the same aperture as the scope and used double sided tape to fix it to the scope. The Rigel's foot is glued with very solid glue to the piece of bucket. This is fixed very nicely. And I can take of the Rigel for transport. You could make a similar solution for your Telrad. Why don't telescope producers make several places to fit a finder shoe??
  2. I would think that an 8" Dob is too big to store inside a caravan. Have a look at Maksutovs and SCTs. They are above your budget, but you might find one second hand. They do however need a mount of some kind. An AZ mount in my opinion takes less space, compared to an EQ with the extra counter weights. But as mentioned, binoculars are very portable. They can also be put on a mount to make them more stable.
  3. Here is another person who can test telescopes. He has a good reputation on a Dutch astronomy forum. http://members.ziggo.nl/jhm.vangastel/Astronomy/bath/testen.htm He can also improve mirrors.
  4. Here are the pictures. The ones on the telescope are on the C8. Here I have only added a foam mat around the tube. Back and front are open. There is an extra long foam mat that I put over the front part as dew protection. This telescope has not seen really cold weather yet, but it has not been fogged since I use the foam mat. The last 2 pictures on the box are the Maksutov foam mats. One for around the tube, including the back. It is fixed with elastics. The other one as dew protection. This solution has been tested in very cold and humid weather and works very well. No electronic dew heating nessesary.
  5. I think my coldest observation has been at -15C or so with little wind. I then used a manual 127mm Maksutov with camping mat insulation and dew cap. Wearing a lot of warm clothes was sufficient. My favorite observation place, at our hut in Darkland is also in one of the coldest places in the country. But seriously, being outside at -20C or colder is only doable if your are physically moving. I have been cross country skiing and running at -24C and that is just doable. But I really can't imagine observing in such temperatures.
  6. I have only found Uranus by manual searching with an EQ mount. I had Stellarium beside me. The starhop was not easy at all. Easy to miss where you are. But eventually I was able to see it. It is not bigger much than a star (without magnification), but it is blueish. Maybe you just didn't recognize it?
  7. Welcome. The Orion Nebula is one of the clearest DSOs we can see. Other DSOs, with visual observing, often look like a small and faint grey fuzzies. When they are star clusters, you can often resolve them into individual stars, when the sky is quiet. But things like galaxies will stay fuzzy. Take a look also in the sketch forum. And if you see a sketch, look at the size of the telescope. Astro-photographers with a modest size telescope and a sturdy mount can take impressive pictures of DSOs. This requires long exposure and an investment in a following mount and learning the right techniques. What will give you the best pictures of DSOs are dark skies! A grey blob that you see at home, can be resolved into a globular cluster with thousands of stars under a dark sky.
  8. I think a smaller instrument might be required to see the rest. In autumn when the sky at my home is darkest, I see M31 best in binoculars or my 50mm finder. In the Mak 127mm of de C8 I usually only see the nucleus.
  9. Just a long shutter time. Not too long, or the stars would have become stripes. Airplanes move fast. Just try it out for yourself and start with 10 sec shutter time. For the light, my hb used his headlight, which gave a better light than the camera's flash. I kept my eyes closed to not ruin my night vision.
  10. Indeed, it was an airplane. Perhaps it was the Santa Claus route from London to Rovaniemi , which should be flying over that area. Above the tree in the middle you see a red spot. That is just a camera artifact that sometimes appears. The green light low at the northern horizon, in the right part of the picture is a bit of northern light. :-) Only visible on camera with 10 sec shutter time. With the naked eye it looked like there was a city in that direction, but there is nothing in over there for many, many kms.
  11. Here is a picture that my husband took of me last winter with my Maksutov under a dark sky. Not much scope to see, but it's my only picture of scope in action.
  12. When I use Stellarium, it shows the direction at the horizon, north, east, south, west. You could use a compass to check which direction you are looking at and then have Stellarium opened beside you. Then look at the sky for the most brightest constellation you see. Check in Stellarium which one that is. Repeat this over time, so that you learn a few more constellations. This might come in very handy when finding reference points in Stellarium.
  13. If you stay up late, you can look at M42, which is easy to find and to recognize and very bright. Could be a good test for your goto system. And it is a very impressive object.
  14. Combination of reddot and finder scope works best. Reddot for the initial star to start starhop from and from there navigating with the finder scope. Yes, a 50mm finder scope was for me a great improvement compared to the standard 30mm. RACI is also great for not having to switch the image in your head when reading the atlas. I got a RACI where I can turn the diagonal/prism independently. That is convenient for adjusting viewing positions. Important when having an EQ mount.
  15. Good for you. Some objects are really bright and can be seen despite light pollution. Galaxies are generally the most difficult. Star clusters are generally much easier. The bright planets don't need a dark sky to watch them.
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