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About DavidB

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    Salisbury Plain
  1. Last night at about twenty to eight I was driving west on a straight road from Salisbury to Warminster. The sun was a dull red orb low in the sky directly in front of me. However it had a ring system just like Saturn. It was truly beautiful. However by the time I had found a layby and got out my camera the "ring system" had drifted upwards away from the centre and the photo was lost. It turned out that there was one wisp of stratus cloud in an otherwide cloudless evening sky and this one wisp was just in the right place for a few minutes to resemble a ring around the sun. I'll never forget it. No alcohol was involved in the event. David B.
  2. Oh dear, what can i do? Sky isn't black, and I'm feeling blue Tell me Oh, what can I do? (apologies to the Beatles) AA batteries aren't up to it for goto units. Hybrids are possibly the wrong voltage. Lead acid batteries not the best. Mains transformers are no good in the middle of Salisbury Plain where the darker skies lurk. And piggy bank has been hidden by wife. I guess this is where I beg borrow and steal then experiment. Perhaps I should change my eye piece addiction and start using the microscope which is in the same cupboard as my (very) old Tal. At least I would not be at the whim of the weather. Must stop drinking this red wine in the middle of the day.
  3. Thanks Ron. It was a worry. After it happened I went out with some trepidation but all seemed OK. However I am a newcomer to this so don't really know how the scope should behave. There is a guy called Carl who lives near me. I haven't met him yet but he has offered to help. However I didn't want to bother him. I think I might take him up on his kind offer now though. David B.
  4. Many thanks for your help. I will try the inner tube to keep the scope in the mount. I was actually in shock for a about fifteen minutes when I thought the whole shebang would be bits of glass and twisted wire inside the tube. These things can take quite a battering can't they? Or was I very very lucky I wonder? The battery problem. I was using the AA batteries that came with the scope last October. I didn't realise they did not last long. It got pretty cold last night as well, which I guess would not have helped. I did buy a couple of sets of hybrid rechargable batteries for when the present ones ran out. Just didn't realise they would run out so soon. I will put them in and try again when we have a good night again. The night was not completely lost because I had a good go at Mars and a trip round Orion before the problems started. It is really wierd when the star you wants goes at high speed across the eyepiece view!! I have since read up on the battery situation and it seems the very best to have is a caravan battery. Have started saving the pennies because there is nothing worse than having to admit defeat after an hour and a half on a perfect evening for stargazing. Once again, many thanks for the information. Good old Stargazers Lounge.
  5. The words serene and peaceful come to mind. However I then remember the tumoult of what is happening out there which makes me feel totally insignificant. I live near Salisbury Plain so we get military helicopters over (three tonight). I often wonder if they lock on to my red spot laser finder and have switched it off before now in case it confuses their instruments. Crazy really.
  6. I bought a NexStar 130SLT last October and have not really been able to use it since because of illness and cloud cover. However this evening I was taking it out in what seemed like perfect viewing conditions. Unfortunately the tube slipped out of its mount just as I was exiting the garage and crashed to the floor. I was in shock for a considerable time but it still seemed to work OK (although there is a crease mark now in the tube body) and I had a good couple of hours looking at Mars (but still not seeing much) and the Orion area. However after this time the goto on the mount, which had not been damaged, started to play up and I could not stop the traverse when I pressed any of the direction buttons. It just continued past where when I wanted it to stop and I had to press the opposite button to stop it. It then whizzed past the point I needed in the other direction. This happened both horizontally and vertically. I tried the ultimate of switching off then switching on again but it still continued to play up. Please can anyone suggest what is happening and how I can correct it. It completely spoilt the rest of my evening and I had to resort to a bottle of red and an hour of television to keep my sanity. Why fail on this of all nights? Any ideas gratefully received.
  7. DavidB

    Hi from wiltshire

    Hi there, Welcome from Wiltshire. The people on this site are really friendly to newcomers and extremely helpful. The SPOG (Salisbury Plain Observing Group) now has its own website and they are a really great bunch meeting in the Rose and Crown at Tilshead - next "home meet" on the 19th March at 8pm. The Wiltshire Astro Soc is meeting tonight (Tuesday 2nd March) at Seend village hall and I was made very welcome there at my first meeting last month. Will be going again tonight for definite (a talk on the radio sky). Hope this whets your appetite. David B.
  8. Welcome Barry. I managed to get to my first group session with the Salisbury Plain Observing Group last night. They make you feel very welcome. Look forward to meeting you at future sessions. PS It's a nice pint in the Rose and Crown too!!
  9. Thoroughly enjoyed myself last night. Good pint, good sky, good company, best tea I have ever tasted. And patience explaining it all to a newcomer. Thanks. Can now relax having seen detail on Mars. Lets do it again - soon. David B.
  10. Can I recommend to other beginners that you check websites to cross reference what you should see. For instance the Sky and Telescope site does a little diagram showing the position of Jupiter's moons at any time of night or day. The first few times you look at the planet it is always astonishing that the moons are exactly where the aplet (?) has worked out they are. Also, on advice, I have downloaded a virtual moon atlas which I consult before/during looking at the moon. Left clicking the part of the moon you are interested in brings up the name of the item and much information about it. This adds value to observing. Then there is the Jupiter Chaser. Gives the times and dates for getting a good view of this planet.
  11. Much agreement from me as well. I have had some really good advice, not just in the posts but in personal messages as well. I, too, am new to threads and posts and, looking back on my efforts so far, I am amazed at the patience shown to me.
  12. Thanks for the info. on Mars viewing. Never thought of looking in daytime or mist. As to coal fires etc. I was thinking of the astronomers in the eighteenth century who would presumably not had smog to contend with either. Hope BrownClaw found these posts as useful as I did. Have learnt so much since joining Stargazer's Lounge and still on the steepest part of the learning curve. DavidB
  13. Definitely count me in for the Mars observing session. I have become obsessed with that planet as all I have seen up to now is a small reddish disc using a 9mm EP in my NexStar 130 reflector. Facing the wrath of a good woman I bought and took possession of the Celestron eyepiece and filter kit yesterday in the hope that things might improve (astronomy wise, not marriage wise). It would be great - but probably unwise - to see what results others get through their (probably much more expensive) scopes. Will it be at the Red Lion, Tilshead? DavidB
  14. Forgot to mention. Astronomers in the past did not have to put up with street lights, fluorated hydrocarbons in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide, space detritus etc. Human technology is making better and cheaper telescopes but balancing this is the grot in the air. Will now step down from soapbox and wait for the virtual rotten eggs and squashed tomatoes that might be aimed in my direction:D
  15. So when will be the best time and date to study Mars in 2010? I have just upgraded my EPs in the hope of getting a better view. I must admit I thought you just pointed and "saw". Didn't realise you need to watch for some time in order to get a few seconds/minutes of polar caps etc. By the way, please can someone make the snow, minus temperatures and clouds go away. David B
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