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The Head Gardener

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About The Head Gardener

  • Rank
    Star Forming

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  • Gender
    Female
  • Location
    Cumbria
  1. Just heard from Steve, manager at the campsite. He recommends stout footwear and a canoe! None of this, of course, will dampen the indefatigable Starcamp spirit
  2. Last weekend at Kielder. Conditions were excellent and I could see banding and slight brown colouration in the southern area. The four main moons were in direct alignment, from 8.00pm across to 2.00pm, as we looked at the planet - beautifully balanced with two either side, (sorry if that is a technically inept way of describing this). What made it particularly special was being able to share this with quite a few novices (even more novice than me, which takes some doing!) who all went "WOW" when they looked for the first time, and then came back for more, and more, and more .... Two years ago we were the the lucky recipients of "Kielder Kindness" when we attended without a scope and had the opportunity to look at other people's scopes, and chat, and learn. It felt really good to be able to repay some of that last week
  3. Outstanding, thanks for taking the time to share this A stark reminder of what I miss by being a wimp and going to bed before 1.00am.
  4. Back home late last night and we've spent all day in the (thankfully sunny) garden washing down groundsheets, the bottom of the awning, and all the other essential post-Kielder housekeeping. Just want to thank everyone for a fabulous weekend. Obviously Lynn, Kevin and Richard because without them we wouldn't have such a wonderful Starcamp, to Derek for help above-and-beyond with a badly behaved awning and a completely flat car battery, to Rob for his endless patience and advice, and for all the other folk who I won't even try to name because I will miss someone out, but if you spent any time with us and Daisy-dog then you know who you are! After a fairly miserable start where I threatened to go and look for a wooden boat and animals in pairs, the weather cleared and we had some of the best skies you could possibly wish for. The night-time viewing was awesome and I had a (nearly) all day session with the Lunt on Saturday, and another few hours solar watching on Sunday before we packed up. The massive prominence we watched on Saturday is still there and very changeable, with a lovely active region and two big spots visible today.
  5. Yes, I've got it and - within a given value of "you get what you pay for" - it seems to work. We had a play with it at Kielder in October and the readings it gave were not a million miles out from the numbers Rob Ince was getting at the same time on a proper meter. Bear in mind we're using a mobile phone camera and an app which costs less than a bar of chocolate, and a properly calibrated meter probably sells for about £200 . . . .
  6. Mmm, thanks for that link. I had slipped out of the habit of reading Spaceweather.com . . . smacks self on wrist, write 100 lines "must do better" Guess my lovely Lunt won't be overtaxed in the near future, although with the snow, sleet and 100% cloud we've got today, there was never any chance of that happening.
  7. Definite ditto with a black towel, £5 from Dunelm when they were having a sale. From experience using a DSLR and big lenses the Manfrotto head can be clunky if you don't have the torque adjusted properly. When my 60mm arrived I tried putting it on a Manfrotto ball head, not because I wanted to use that as a mount but because a certain Spousal Unit kept saying "why don't you see what it's like". An experience that most certainly falls into the tried it once, never going there again category. Yes, everything was set up and locked off, yes in theory the ball head could take the weight, but it felt so horrible and insecure that I refused to even let go of the Lunt itself and rapidly disassembled it. I now use a 150mm dovetail on an EQ5 Pro Goto. No way I am trusting something as valuable as my lovely solar scope to a 'just about OK' mounting.
  8. Great catch 150% cloud cover today so no chance here.
  9. Ditto Michael, great progress! I don't see any evidence of a pulling cord in your drainpipe cable conduit ?
  10. Nah, not really. Just the result of having spent the last ten years creating a decent garden from nothing, and now wanting something different . . . of course, when we started to lay out that part of the garden, if we had known that an old (and at the time dormant) interest in astronomy would re-surface we would have done a couple of things differently. But with the benefit of hindsight we're all Einstein! And yes, we do have a decent log pile (or three), comes from cutting down a small forest of leylandii
  11. Stu, Put all your unseen cables in rodent-proof conduit . . . you might not be aware of nasty little nibbling creatures at present, but once it gets really cold, and once you have created a snug, warm, insulated space, be prepare to make their acquaintance unless you have it well built and well-sealed! As you're using the 68mm drainpipe there will be plenty of room for adding extras in the future (great suggestion from Michael re: length of pulling cord). I would work out a way of having the end of the 68mm pipe flush with, or proud of, the floor (trip hazards not withstanding!) That way the only access for mice/rats is if they are already inside your obsy, and hopefully you can prevent that.
  12. Welcome. You'll find loads of help and advice here and no-one looks down on beginners or makes sarcastic comments because you don't know something, it's a rather special and unique forum in that regard. You're also nicely placed for future star parties in D&G - have a look at this thread https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/260199-galloway-autumn-star-party-2016/
  13. Really sensible Stu, but before you make it any more permanent, run a pulling line through it. I know from the experience of taking power from a shed to the greenhouse (same distance you as you have there) what a pain in the wotsit it can be to get cables through conduit without a line to help you (and if you can work out a way of doing it so the pulling line stays in place to allow for future cable enhancements, so much the better).
  14. Err, yes, but . . . We have a large garden with (theoretically) plenty room for an obsy shed but in order to avoid going for planning permission (unsympathetic local council) we need to keep the obsy back from the existing building line. Which means that a shed which is already sited where the obsy will go has to be moved (no, it cannot be converted). But for the small shed to move I have to relocate my cold frames. But for the cold frames to relocate I have to move/use a log pile that's 12' long and 7' high . . . Nothing here is ever simple
  15. Until we get started on an obsy of our own there is great vicarious pleasure in watching someone else build one! Our garden slopes so I'm more than familiar with the problem of setting out and getting a level; takes ages and you feel like you're making so little progress {{sigh}} Question for you - are you going to do anything to reinforce the timber edging on the raised bed behind your build? It already looks like it is not 100% straight, and sadly over time that will only get worse as rain and soil bacteria do their best to the timber supports. Or in real life does it not matter, and if the timber rots then you'll just allow the bed to come closer to the back of the obsy?
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