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Everything posted by martintblack

  1. Hello Everyone I have had the privilege to be a tester for at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh for a cool bit of software currently under development. It is basically an add on for Stellarium for use with VR headsets like the Oculus Rift. Having had first hand experience of it, all I can say is WOW! If anyone is interested in more details and maybe even supprting the next stage of development, more information can be found here: http://starsightvr.org.uk/ http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/starsight-vr/ Thanks very much! Clear skies Martin
  2. I have previously helped install a scope which used tube rings from Orion Optics. I believe they were custom made, but not sure of the price for these though. Might be worth giving them a call, I have fiund them pretty helpful in the past. Martin
  3. I will let you know how I get on with the suppliers. Firstly I would like to say this is not my personal setup, I am helping install it for Edinubrgh University. I would have gone with a Paramount ME (which I've installed and used before so know what a nice piece it is to work with), but this was bought before I was involved. The mount was bought with the Meade 20" LX400-ACF. The mount, OTA, and counterweights come in at just under 700lb! Stick on camera, filters, etc, and I am guessing we are looking at something just under 320kg. Safe to say I am not looking forward to lifting this into place
  4. Thanks for all the speedy responses. I will contact Astrotec later today with some details. Do you feel that your run of the mill heavy engineering firms would be able to deliver telescope piers to spec? I had assumed I was best going with those who specialise in piers, as they know the tricks to avoid vibrations and the inherent issues with telescope piers. However it is entirely possible I am over thinking this...
  5. Hello Can anyone suggest companies who supply custom telescope piers? I need one made due to issues with the supplier not being able to provide one as originally ordered! *must not go on rant* Given the time scale on which this is needed, it would most likelt need to be a UK supplier. Oh, and it's to fit a Meade Max mount, so it's going to need to be a custom job to hold the weight! Thanks Martin
  6. Yeah, those stickers are still all over the mount and instructions. There is also one now adoning the board in my office! Swinging the late round to the 'zenith pointing' position does seem the way to do it. The issue was that there are no clutches on this mount, you can only move it under power. I did a test run yesterday though, and it seemed to move into position fine with all the weights off. Will do this again for the install, and support the tube on while its on. We can then add the weights so there is no out of balance forces on the gears. The telescope is for the University of Edinburgh.
  7. Thanks for the suggestions. I think we actually have one of those lifts somewhere on site, so I am calling in the 'heavies' (technicians) to take a look today. Think they would still rather the dovetail was lower though. Even then, once we get this up into the dome, we won't be able to get anything that size in and out again, so we need to do it by hand then. Meade say to get 4 people to just lift it on! Guess they are all 8 foot body builders in the Meade design office! If I do drive this round I will take off all the weights, and when the scope goes on, add the counterweights back on. I wouldn't try moving it without it being in at least close balance.
  8. We are looking at engine hoist/fork lift options at th moment. Issue is getting any of these into the dome we need to install it in. Crane options are under discussion, but timing may be an issue. The reason for the test assembly is to demonstrate the size and difficulty of the final install to those who I am working for. I have some mechanical enginers looking at it now. I should maybe say that I work for the UKATC and its our guys that are looking at it. They are proffesionals... I think! There are suggestions of crane mountings and such, but getting the dovetail plate horizontal or vertical would help a lot. I will post some more details about how we get on, first light etc, when we get to that stage!
  9. Hello! Has anyone here ever set up a Meade Max 20" before?! I have presently setting one up and have run into some trouble. I should say this is not my own but I am helping out my local University. Eventually we are putting it into a dome on top of the building, but that's going to be a whole other task in itself . We have now built up the mount (pic 1), but not yet added the OTA (pic 2). The reason for this is according to the instructions we need to lift the 86kg OTA onto the dovetail mount which now sits about 1.6m high! Even with 4 of us this is a lot to lift, quite high. The plan is to now take off all the counterweights, turn on the mount with no scope or weights, and drive it round until the dove tail is in a lower more accesable position. Then we can attach the OTA and counterweights, turn the mount on again, and return it to home. Then we can cycle the power and go through the usual balance set up etc. Can anyone who has one of the larger autostar powered Meades see any issues with this? Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Martin Pictures removed by request.
  10. Hey We had a few problems at first getting it set up, clamped down, fitting guide scopes, needing extra weights, computer issues, a bird in the dome; you get the idea! Most of them have been sorted now (the bird left unharmed of its own free will :-) ). We are yet to do a t-point run! We were trying to get the system as accurate as possible using drift align first. So far the mount makes small movements accurately, but is pretty far off when its over 1/4 of the sky or more. I hadn't realised T-point could help with the polar alignment that well, so shall try to get time for that soon. We have recently managed to fit a C5 for guiding with, and are now more or less set on the final configuration of everything. What we really need now is a clear night and time away from studying! Thanks for the help and advice, it is much appreciated. Martin
  11. Hello, I realise this is a bit late however: Just before Paul takes all the credit for this, he did not install it! I am the one standing at the computer trying to get the software to work. It is working okay, however it is not aligned to finding objects everytime. We will keep you up to date with any further developments, and if anyone has advice on how to improve the alignment, please let us know! Martin
  12. Thanks Angeleyes, it is a good idea, however we already have a couple of Dobsonians. Must be said though, they were very rarely used until recently, think the lecturers were a bit too rusty on being able to find things without a computer to point them to it!
  13. yeti Mosnter - Not sure what the plan is for the old scopes. I think the plan is to keep the OTAs from the C5s, but chuck the mounts (trust me, best thing for them!). As for the 8" Meade, I do not know. I would like to take a bash at fixing it, or maybe making use of it for something else, but they might want to try to sell it. Need to speak to them about that.
  14. The specific use is a little bit loose. There isn't very much practical observing done within the department (hence the asking me!), so it is for general observing use in general. I though the GOTO AZ is the best for the small scopes, so it is nice to get some back up on that one. The other one is a bit more complex to set up and use, but it's also for the more 'advanced' students. Makes a decent set up for imaging too, which is my interest, so that's a plus! Ignoring the manufacturer, any other suggestions of kit you think might be of use?
  15. Good Evening All I have been asked by my lecturers to look into some new scopes for undergraduate students, to replace their aging C5s, and 8" Meade lx200 Classic (I think). I came back with a list of recommendations: Skywatcher Explorer 200p DS on a HEQ5 pro Synscan Mount. Skywatcher AZ GOTO mounts with the old C5 OTAs on them (since they aren't bad, just the mounts that have gone) Originally they asked me to find telescopes inexperienced students could 'shove down, turn on, and find cool things with'! I know there is the new auto-leveling gps all-singing-all-dancing Meades around, but I thought they were very pricey. I am being asked now why I have chosen Skywatcher over Celestron or Meade. Personally, I've just had better experience with them, over the other two manufacturers. So I put it to you fellow SGL-ers, what are your opinions? I am only a 3rd year undergrad myself, so the more experienced observers backing I have the better. I am open top other suggestions too, but the price needs to stay fairly low! Thanks very much Martin
  16. I had a similar problem when trying to use PHD with a capture card. Some error with the version of the Amcap driver we were using. Try getting an older version, might help. We had an old driver disc, but you might be able to find one online? Hope that helps.
  17. Hello The mirror at the back of the scope is made in such a way that the focus will be where you sit the eye piece. My extending the tube, you will move the location of the secondary mirror, and the eyepiece. This will mean you can no longer focus the telescope, making it useless. Martin
  18. The star we were guiding on definitely covered more than 1 pixel. It tracked fine in the RA, moving only a few pixels. Even in the dec, for most of the time (about an hours continuous tracking) the movement was only a few pixels. There is however a singular jump of 14 pixels at an arbitrary time. Compared to other runs I have examined, there seems to be regular similar jumps in dec. If I get time I will post the graphs produced.
  19. Thanks for the help everyone. Had a look at the PHD logs, and managed to graph them. There is a 14 pixel random slip in our dec drive! Good old meade! Any suggestions on how to fix that one?
  20. Hey Paul Got a few things to look at with you tomorrow now. Bias sounds good, and there some issues with the SXV i want to speak to you about. How long for the bubble do you think, 10 mins?
  21. Hey Again, that has helped a good bit more. Sadly M42 has gone too low now, so trying for the Bubble Nebula instead. Thanks for all the help guys.
  22. Hey We haven't biased the balance, only tried to get it even on all sides. Will need to try that tomorrow when its light and I am a bit warmer. Taking images to test a theory just now at least. Have increased the exposure time in the guide camera to about 5 seconds, and that by eye at least looks better. Will let you know in a few minutes how it works out!
  23. That's helped. Had to change it to lx200 classic, and enter focal length etc. Still not perfect, but will keep trying. Thanks again.
  24. Hey Ken It is on a wedge. Have adjusted the ASCOM driver settings, will let you know what happens.
  25. Hello I am presently attempting to image M42 in narrowband. We are using a 16" LX200 (with a 6.3 focal reducer), and a SXVF-H16 CCD. We also have a C5 as a guide scope, with a Watec 120N camera. H-alpha filter at the moment. We are fairly sure we have it focused, but our images are still coming out very badly. We think it's a problem with the guiding (using Phd guiding). Have played with the aggression setting, as well as exposure, and the rest, but seem to have a lot of movement between each exposure on the guide cam (about 1 second exposures). The movement is random in all directions. Any suggestions are more than welcome!
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