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About Moonshed

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    Star Forming

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  • Interests
    I love to study all things scientific, from the Big Bang to Quantum Mechanics, Cosmology, the Apollo missions, history, geology, astronomy, anything. My book case is groaning under the weight of all my science books. I love reading. I love to learn.
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    North Norfolk

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  1. Thank you for that information, I had no idea it was a standard type USB cable, you have saved me wasting £19 just in the nick of time, I was about to order it from Modern Astronomy. It so happens I have a spare cable of that design so I dug it out of the box of odds and ends where it’s been lurking for some time and it’s a perfect fit. I will download the new software tomorrow, after uninstalling the old, and hopefully that will fix the problem. Weather permitting I will test it tomorrow, fingers crossed all goes well. Thanks again
  2. I will do as you suggest and try uninstalling the existing software and then reinstalling the new and see if that works. Regarding the cable it unfortunately has what appears to me to be a cable with a non-standard fitting that plugs into the Polemaster so I don’t think I have any choice but to buy that particular one.
  3. I have just started using my ‘scope again this winter for the first time since last year and I am having trouble with the Polemaster, it has always worked brilliantly before, I’ve had it about 2 years. I am now finding that after selecting the first star and rotating my ‘scope for the first time it keeps looping back and asks me to pick my first star again. I can’t figure out what is wrong. I went back to Modern Astronomy, who are so helpful, and they gave me a new link to download the latest software but unfortunately nothing seems to happen when I download it and the driver as well. Do I need to remove the existing Polemaster programme from my laptop before downloading the new one? I am also suspicious of the cable that locks into the Polemaster camera as it looks a bit lumpy and bumpy and think I may need to get a new one, they only cost £19 anyway. Has anyone else had a similar problem and know how to fix it? The Polemaster has been so useful I am now lost without it.
  4. Well, so far so good. Your photographs are amazing, I especially like your M31 image, great detail and colour.
  5. I agree with your thoughts on mirror cleaning and that common sense should prevail. I doubt if I will need to clean mine again, by the time it needs cleaning I will have probably be pushing up the daisies. Obviously the interval between cleans depends very much on individual circumstances and the situation you are in demands regular cleaning, whereas in my case, living about 5 miles from the coast, not so often. Having said that, leaving it for 35 years was clearly way too long and I really should have cleaned it years ago but was too cowardly, however, I am now a super hero and fear no mirror!🎖 It does make sense to me to keep it clean in the same way that we keep our lenses, eyepieces and cameras clean. Sometimes the condensation here around November time can be horrendous and after a night’s observing everything will be wet so in that situation my case of optical bits and bobs comes indoors instead of staying in the “Moonshed” ( so named by my granddaughter and been called that ever since, hence my sign-in name) and everything gets a good clean. Makes sense to me to keep everything clean.
  6. Good advice, and the website on cleaning mirrors is also good. I think you have summed it up nicely with your remark that it’s all just common sense, because when you get down to it, it is!
  7. Stu, you are right! I should not be put off from posting my thoughts just because a very small minority are know-it-all highly critical people who love to put people down. You may find this hard to believe, but then maybe not, but one of that group, who has posted here, first responded to a post of mine about two years ago when I was starting out in digital astrophotography for the first time, previously having used a film camera. There was so much to learn, people talking about flats, darks, lights, bias, exposure times and number of frames, stacking, and not to mention the complexities of Photoshop. People were so helpful and gave me so much help and advice, except one or two that is. One in particular said that with my set-up I should forget all about imaging deep sky objects and instead content myself with the moon and solar system! When I eventually produced a nice image of the Orion Nebula many members said it was a good first start and to carry on and get more practice and gave me some good tips, his only comment was to say the image was awful, all nebula. Not once has he given me helpful and constructive criticism, just put downs. Can you believe that? Why do people do that? If they cannot find something good to say or offer helpful advice then they should not say anything! He hasn’t changed one iota. It seems to me it doesn’t matter where you go you will always find a small minority of people like that, I usually just ignore them because the vast majority of people, here and elsewhere, are nice, decent, helpful people who genuinely want to help you succeed in your new venture. For that reason I will not be put off by the few nasty critics here but will continue to post in my usual way. Thanks for the good advice, much appreciated!
  8. I had a look at your website and have to say the advice you give is both good and clear, easy to follow. Well done on a good job, I am sure it will be a great help to many first timers on how to properly clean their primary mirror. Well done.
  9. No Stu, you have not definitely not failed you have helped, I understand exactly where you are coming from and understand the points you are making, with or without smileys . Perhaps in future posts, should the subject rear its ugly head again, (Oh No the Moderator cries!!!) those against mirror cleaning should simply clarify that if not done correctly damage could be done to the mirror (which to be honest I would have thought to be blindingly obvious) so before starting out just be sure they have thoroughly researched how it should be done properly to avoid any possibility of scratching, and that being done then go ahead and clean the mirror if it looks dirty. On the other hand it may not be necessary as some dirt apparently makes very little difference, so if you are not confident in your ability to do no damage then leave it alone. I think that neatly sums up all the anti-cleaning brigade points so as not to mislead any beginners. Are we all happy with that? Funny isn’t it? I started this thread solely for the benefit of virgin mirror cleaners, who, like me, are afraid to clean the mirror. My first “serious” ‘scope is the 8” SCT I currently own and I bought it second hand as I could not afford a new one back then and I felt that surely today there must be others in the same financial boat I was in. It can be very difficult to justify spending say £1500 on a brand new ‘scope and mount etc. when there is a mortgage and bills to pay and kids to raise, Oh, yes, I remember it well. Buying a used ‘scope makes a lot of sense when on a tight budget, as most of us are? But sometimes they may need a little TLC, and dare I say it, some mirror cleaning may be necessary. I eventually found that cleaning the mirror in situ to be such a simple thing to do that I just wanted to let others, principally beginners, appreciate that it was in fact very easy and straightforward to do and not to be afraid of doing it. That was my intention in its entirety, to help others, nothing more, I meant well. I had no idea the hornet’s nest it would stir up with so many members being so critical of my every comment, I would never have thought it. Had I known in advance the reaction my “helpful” post would create I would never have said a single word, it’s just not worth it. Next time I want to be helpful I will resist the temptation and think back on what happened here and think again.
  10. I think it is obvious that before tackling cleaning a mirror for the first time that a lot of research would be done first. As I pointed out there are no end of videos on YouTube showing exactly how the job should be done and I watched quite a few of them before cleaning the mirror. I did not go into it blind, I knew exactly what I was doing so there was no chance of me scratching the mirror or in any way causing damage. Looking at the comments posted by those that say I should leave a dirty mirror alone in case I scratch it or whatever, it does give a very strong impression that they must think me daft because that is exactly how it comes across. You may think otherwise but I am not alone in thinking this, that’s all I am saying. I have grown tired of this, it is endless, every time I say things could only get better not worse after cleaning the mirror, without exception along comes someone who says to leave it alone because it could get scratched. I give up, there was not the slightest risk of me scratching it, I have been observing since 1960 and have a pretty sound knowledge of looking after and cleaning lenses and a reflector mirror that was easy to remove. I have no wish to explain yet again why I cleaned the mirror so will not bother to respond to those that say I should have left it dirty, even though the outcome is very positive. I hope nobody takes offence, none meant
  11. I think it has been made abundantly clear on this thread that some people don't agree with cleaning a mirror that looks dirty. Okay, got it! Honest! However, it just so happens that it is my personal view that my mirror was dirty enough to need cleaning so I cleaned it. I take the view, which I have already repeated, that if it didn’t need cleaning then so what, no harm done, just a little time spent on maintenance that perhaps wasn’t necessary. I, unfortunately, do not posses the skills necessary to be able to eyeball a mirror and tell if the grime needs removing or not, so take the view that if in doubt then clean it. Okay, others disagree and feel it best to leave it as it is. That to me though, to be honest, is just bizarre and illogical, because by cleaning a mirror it will either improve it or make no difference and as I lack the skills to tell which, then I will clean it as it’s everything to gain and nothing to lose. Maybe you could define what you mean by “pretty dirty” because that is just a subjective assessment and not a scientific reading of an instrument. Perhaps someone instead of saying it isn’t necessary to clean a dirty mirror will be good enough to explain to me how on earth you can tell, just by looking at a dirty mirror, if it needs a clean or not, because I have no idea on how to do that, which is why I cleaned it. Many thanks in advance. ps I take it that when you referred to cleaning refractors you were referring to cleaning the lenses as of course they don’t have mirrors. Or perhaps it was a typo and you meant to say reflectors? Just saying for clarification as this thread will read by people in the future.
  12. You made your own 14”? Wow, that’s impressive! I am pretty sure I could grind a blank, maybe, sort of, perhaps, but that’s as far as I would get, no mechanical construction skills I’m afraid and my electrics run to changing a plug. When I was young my brother and I would think nothing of lifting out a car engine in the street and putting in new big ends, or replacing a broken synchromesh gear in the gearbox, but fixing things is very different to making things. Flying rc helicopters sounds difficult but fun, I used to watch the local club fly their planes near where I used to live in Scotland, but it wasn’t for me, I took up gliding instead and absolutely loved it. Flying gliders was the one hobby I loved as much as astronomy until ill health unfortunately put a stop to it. Enough reminiscing, waiting for another clear night to use my super clean mirror! Of course since I cleaned and collimated it there has been constant cloud cover, such is life. Well done on taking on a physics/astronomy degree, bet it’s fascinating stuff you are learning. Good luck with that.
  13. Yes, you make a good point about it being easy to miss-read the tone of the posts when English isn’t the first language. I just felt that by cleaning the mirror I had nothing to lose apart from wasting a little time.
  14. That all depends on what you would describe as “a small amount of dirt”. The mirror looked to me as though it needed cleaning so I cleaned it. What’s the problem? The worst that could happen is that cleaning it makes no discernible improvement, but on the other hand it could result in definite improvement. When I saw them cleaning the 200”at Mt. Palomar on YouTube I decided that if they think it’s a good idea then that’s good enough for me. I am delighted with the result. Those that don’t like the idea of cleaning their mirror don’t have to, their choice.
  15. Thank you. It’s amazing I actually managed it!
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