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Wiltshiresaint

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Everything posted by Wiltshiresaint

  1. I had a similar issue a few nights back, I couldn't decide whether what I was seeing was M32 or M110. From what I gather it's sometimes difficult to tell, particularly if you're novice like me and still struggling to relate what your scope does to the orientation of the stars you're looking at! I'm still not sure though, so I'm going back for another look tonight
  2. I'm running Sky Safari on my iPhone and finding it works very well, but I'm looking to confirm something that's puzzling me. Am I right in thinking that that the two numbers in the top right of the display (e.g. 2.3 x 3.0) are the field of view as represented onscreen? If so, is the idea that I can then zoom in/out as appropiate on the display to replicate the field of view in my eyepiece and therefore get the best representation of what I should actually being seeing in my scope? Also, can I do anything to the Sky Safari display on my iPhone so that it matches the mirror image created on my refractor by the diagonal? I'm struggling sometimes to match the star map with the view in my scope.
  3. The more I think about it, the more I believe it was M110. But I'm still not sure... It's definitely one to go back to. Downloaded SkySafari by the way, thanks for the tip. I went for the least expensive version for now.
  4. It proved to be an interesting and slightly frustrating evening. The site I'd chosen looked pretty good in daylight, but at night it wasn't as dark as I was hoping. Too many odd street lights in the distance, cars visible on roads in the distance, etc. I set up my ED80 (I always forget how heavy it is with that mount) but couldn't align it. I found the first alignment star without a hitch, but just couldn't locate the second. SO it was good old fashioned looking for the main constellations, following the guidelines in 'TLAO' and hoping for the best. Actually, it wasn't too bad... First target was what I thought would be the easiest, and this proved to be the case. M31. A couple of minutes and I was onto it. The usual grey smudge, but averted vision helped to give a better idea of it's size. Seeing just wasn't dark enough to bring out much detail unfortunately, although the central core was discernable, showing brighter than the rest of the galaxy. From there I looked for M32 and M110. Here's where the fun started - I could see a faint smudge to the upper left of M31 but couldn't make out if it was M110 or M32. I thought it was the latter but if so, why couldn't I find M110 on the other side of Andromeda? I always thought M110 was more prominent than than M32? Anyway, after a fair bit of puzzling, and with my viewing time passing by, I switched to another TLAO target, Almach. More joy here - found it easily enough and could see both Almach A and Almach B. Very pleased, although tinged with some wishful thinking about having a scope big enough to one day see Almach C! I'd have liked to have looked at some of the other targets but without clear direction I was totally lost I'm afraid. My dependence on the 'goto' system is a little embarrassing. So with time moving on that was it for the night. An enjoyable session, but definitely a few lessons learned:- 1. Must download an App to my phone which tells me the general direction of the stars used in my alignment system. 2. Study and remember more constellations so an alignment issue doesn't stop me locating (eventually) most targets. 3. Choose a darker site next time. 4. Start a notebook. If I'd have drawn M31 and the nearby stars that I was seeing in my viewfinder, I'd have been better equipped to find out what the fuzzy blob was when I got home. 5. Remember to take my eyepieces - I forgot mine and was limited to the 2" eyepiece on the scope. Probably the best one last night anyway, but a higher power eyepiece would have been handy for Almach.
  5. Thanks guys, just off out now while the sky is still clear. Little bit of a drive - either Etchilhampton (just off a minor road so might not too good), or just north of Urchfont on the edge Salisbury Plain. Not tried either spot before but both look over the Plain so should be reasonably dark.
  6. Weather forecast for Devizes is clear skies from around 10pm onwards, so having got my scope up and running again I'm off for my first viewing session in over a year tonight. Looking at Turn Left at Orion, M15 and M31, M32 and M110 might be good targets at this time of year. I try to have just a few each session rather than dashing from one target to the next. Does anyone have any advice/thoughts on this set of targets?
  7. Erm, a little embarrassed to post this but in order to help other who may encounter the same issue in the future. Had a visit from James (JBM1165 on the forum) and we established using his diagonal and eyepiece that my tube was fine. On closer inspection of my diagonal James spotted that I'd put the Barlow lens between the tube and the diagonal instead of between the diagonal and the eyepiece. Doh!! I feel the need to get back to basics :-) All sorted now, and many many thanks to James for taking the time to come over to Devizes from Bristol. Aside from fixing my problem I also got some very good tips on astonomy in general.
  8. Thanks guys, I'll make my way through the checklist bit by bit as suggested. I'm almost certain it's not a spider in the eyepiece but I'll try another just in case. Looking down the scope from the aperture it looks clear but it could be moisture I guess. Thanks for th offer of help, if I get no joy I'll send you a PM James!
  9. No, I've checked and the focus definitely seems to be working as it should (at least, when I move the focussing dials the eyepiece element moves backwards and forwards).
  10. I've tried it both with and without the diagonal and the result is the same - complete white fuzziness with no details discernable, even when pointing directly at a stand of trees some 150-200m away.
  11. I've got a major problem with my scope and wonder if anyone can help. It's an Skywatcher ED80 Pro and put simply it doesn't focus any more! If I aim it in daylight at say, a chimney a few hundred yards away the best image I get is a very very indistinct blog - almost just a darkening in the eyepiece, rather than a crisp image of the chimney. I'm embarrassed to say I haven't used the scope for around a year because of two house moves and a lot of pressure on my time, and it could well be the scope was knocked or otherwise damaged in one of the moves. Do I have any options other than taking it to a repairer, and if not, can someone advise a good shop that could look at it that's not too far from Devizes in Wiltshire? Does this sound like an expensive problem? The scope cost me around £400 I think and I'm wondering if it'll be better to buy a new one even
  12. Ditto here. It's a long drive from Bromham, so a better forecast would be great. Hopefully next week we'll have some luck, I'll be up for meeting on the 19th.
  13. Sorry guys, sods law - man-flu has hit home. Hoping I'll actually meet up with everyone soon, but won't be fit for tonight.
  14. Thanks for posting. That's a nice set-up and I'm sure the photos will prove useful.
  15. What a great thread, I have this one is bookmarked. I'm with the votes for M42, and of course Saturn and Jupiter are always impressive. I'm a great fan of Auriga and it's Messier objects now too, it being the first constellation I looked at and searched seriously, but I think for a complete newbie it's probably not as impressive as some of the other targets mentioned here.
  16. I'm always impressed by your sketches Talitha. And that one appears to be smiling back at me ;-)
  17. The deed is done, Maplins it was and all relatively painless. I'm still a little annoyed about the Power Pack though. Thanks for the info on the 'self-build' Andy. What I've sorted out is a short-term solution just to get me back up and running. This is probably what I'll look into once I've got the astrophotography side of things properly underway and seeing some pics of your build will prove very useful I'm sure. Something that can power the mount, plus a laptop and camera would be just the ticket.
  18. The deed is done, Maplins it was and all relatively painless. I'm still a little annoyed about the Power Pack though.
  19. Hope to be there. Clear skies would be nice for a change :-)
  20. Thanks guys. I tried again last night and the Power Pack is definitely dead. An expensive mistake on my part but one I won’t make again I hope. So as to be prepared for clear skies (yes, I’m confident at some stage we’ll have them again in Wiltshire) I’m off to Maplins later today to pick up their Portable Jump Starter and Compressor for a mere £24.99 – it’s mentioned on a few threads here (cheers Merlin) and seems to be fit for purpose.
  21. Definitely one for the Beginners Forum this one. Having recently purchased a Skywatcher Power Tank (17Ah) from FLO, I’ve managed to accidently drain the battery – doh! It’s now completely dead, and speaking to FLO this may mean it won’t work again. This is possibly the case – I put it on charge last night. It initially made some strange clicking noises but pretty soon it went silent. At no stage did the ‘Charging’ inidicator light show a flicker of activity… Trying it this morning there's no sign of life at all. Have I killed it?
  22. Another interesting thread with lots of good points coming out of a straightforward post. I'd love to get a good look at Mars too, but I'm aware from reading the posts here that a lot of things needs to come together for this to happen. Not least right now is a sky that isn't full of clouds! Too many things in today's world are instantly available. My 'goto' mount is a bit of a cheat I admit, but it's only one small element of helping me see what I want to see. Personally, I find the fact that astronomy is a hobby that requires much patience is one of the biggest reasons I've got into it.
  23. Camping mat sounds a great idea Steve. I think we have a couple buried in the garage, I'll try and dig them out. I'll look up what Filters I have Mark. I bought a set from FLO but haven't really explored what they can do yet. This'll be a good place to start.
  24. Nice report Tom. You'll have to make the telescope loan a long-term thing!
  25. Nice report. I'm still waiting to see Saturn with my new scope so I may change my mind, but I love looking at Jupiter. Not only is the planet fascinating but the movements of the moons are also great fun to monitor. Watching an occulation of one of them must be quite something - I'll have to add it to my 'wish list', but I'll wait for warmer weather first!
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