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joncrawf

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Posts posted by joncrawf

  1. 40 minutes ago, Paul M said:

     Just center the first alignment star by either slewing with the hand control or slacken the clutches and hand ball the scope. Once centered accept it and the mount should then find the second alignment star quite accurately. 

    It just needs a starting point. That can be from either an accurate parking position or by manual location of the first object. 

    1

    Thanks Paul, what you say makes good sense. But I'm still confused!

    If you're 'hand balling' the scope presumably the mount can't 'know' it's position until i accept the alignment in the handset? I'm confused as to why it can find it's way from the park position (pointing accurately at Polaris) to some random point in the sky in the general direction of Vega but then find it's why back to Polaris. 

    Getting foggy now so I'll have to give up tonight and try another time.

     

  2. Hi All

    I have been waiting for a clear night to set up my new NEQ6 mount. It's new to me but I picked it up 2nd hand a couple of weeks ago. 

    So far I've done an approximate polar alignment which I'll tweak and improve when the pier adaptor finally arrives from Pulsar Observatories and I can mount it permanently on my pier. However, when I start my two-star alignment procedure (beginning at the home position) the scopes slews off to find my chosen star (Vega or Altair this evening) but only points approximately in the right direction - I'd estimate I'm off by 5 degrees or more. I presume I should be much closer than this? Have I made a schoolboy error in my initial set-up? It almost seems like I might have entered incorrect info into the handset but I've double checked all of this several times.

    When I use the 'park scope' function the scope returns quite happily to Polaris.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Jon

     

  3. On 12/22/2015 at 09:28, alcol620 said:

    Has anyone any experience with one of these?  

    Rigel Pier for EQ6 (EQ6 pro etc)

     

    http://www.pulsarobservatories.com/products.php?category=pier 

     

    I started out with a home made concrete pier but I wasn't too pleased with the result.  So, in the end, I caved in and bought the Rigel. I bought mine with an EQ5 adapter plate but I intend to replace it for an EQ6 plate later on this year if and when I upgrade my mount.  It arrived on a pallet and I moved it into position fairly easily with a sack trolley - 75kg sounds about right.

    It's been in position for a few months now and I'm happy with it. I think it's a lot of cash to pay for a simple piece of engineering, but it's tidier and more convenient than my previous solution so I'm not complaining.

  4. 1 minute ago, joncrawf said:

    Why?

    I'm a relative noob but I enjoy double stars. Always much easier to spot than hunting down some obscure 'faint fuzzy' in light polluted skies. I enjoy being able to split a double for the first time. When you split a pair there is no doubt about it, whereas discerning the dust lanes in M31 (for example) to me is a bit of a dark art that requires more experience than I possess, for the time being.

     

     

     
     

    Genuine question by BTW, re-reading it I'm not sure if it comes over more confrontational that I'd intended!

  5. 4 minutes ago, Ben the Ignorant said:

    Always a useful reminder but I'd say start with single stars.

    Why?

    I'm a relative noob but I enjoy double stars. Always much easier to spot than hunting down some obscure 'faint fuzzy' in light polluted skies. I enjoy being able to split a double for the first time. When you split a pair there is no doubt about it, whereas discerning the dust lanes in M31 (for example) to me is a bit of a dark art that requires more experience than I possess, for the time being.

     

     

    • Like 1
  6. Thanks for that @Putaendo Patrick.

    It struck me the other day when I was walking the dogs at my local beach that it would make a great spot to set up my scope to view the Eastern sky which is now beginning to bring forth some of the winter constellations, Taurus & Pleiades are beginning to make an appearance. The beach I'm thinking of should be fairly dark as there are high cliffs behind the beach and access is easy too. I just wondered if beaches or coastal cliffs are often used for observing

     

  7. should have stayed at home! 

    I left home at 9:15pm under clear skies, arrived at my dark site near Bellever where I sat looking up at skies that were at best 50% clear and more usually 25%. Packed up and went home at 11:30pm where the skies were still clear.

    • Like 1
  8. Can't help with Taunton sites but I'm familiar with the Okehampton area.

    I use a site near Bellever on Dartmoor (not far from Okehampton) https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/50°34'58.5"N+3°53'02.3"W/@50.5830908,-3.8886392,16.25z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d50.58291!4d-3.88396 . I'm heading up there tonight to see the Perseids, actually. It's always quiet, dark, t's relatively dry underfoot, there's plenty of space to park off the road and there are good horizon's all around. It is very exposed in the wind, but along that road are plenty of other spots with hedges or dry stone wall which will give shelter.

    I would avoid the car parks on the main roads which cross the moor. Although many are dark I've found that they are not as quiet overnight as you'd expect.

    Another option is to head up past Okehampton army camp and head for the firing range which is open to the public when no live firing is on. There are darker skies here but i wouldn't reccommend it as you are likely to attract attention from the MOD or squaddies who are still likely to be exercising here even if there are no live firing exercises planned. Years ago (early 90's) I was walking up here in the dark (hill walking, not stargazing) and 'found' a helicopter which in my naivety I thought had been just been parked in the middle of Dartmoor. I decided I'd like to get inside and sit in the pilots seat and strode right up to and tried to open a door! Needless to say the helicopter had not been abandoned and was being guarded by a number of squaddies who were less than impressed by my attempts to gain entry. They were even less impressed to hear my excuses in my Belfast accent. 

    • Like 1
  9. I spotted a spectacular meteor last night (about 11pm) zipping through the Square of Pegasus from the direction of Perseus. It's tail lingered in the sky for a good 10 seconds before it dispersed. It was one of those ones where your mind imagines that you can hear it fizzing and crackling! I got the kids out of bed and arranged them around the lawn looking up, over the next 2 hours we saw another handful (from a variety of directions) but nothing as spectacular as the original. 

  10. 2 hours ago, JKstargazer said:

    As far as the previous comment that a lot of EP's will not work well due to the focal length, is that something that should lead me away from the xt10?  I did not consider the focal length when I was trying to pick a scope.

    I'm a relative newbie too and was asking similar questions recently. I think you've probably made a good scope choice but a fast scope REQUIRES good eyepieces. Slower scopes can get away with cheaper EP's. This is my understanding. if someone with more experience in such matters corrects me I'll stand aside! 

  11. Hi All 

    I wonder if we can expect any comets to make an appearance in our skies over the coming months? Does anyone publish a list of known comets and the times they are likely to appear? I'm particularly interested in comets that are likely to be visible in modest amateur kit (such as my SW200p).

    many thanks

    Jon

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