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Everything posted by Mognet

  1. Looks quite bad there, and that even without the light dome in the distance
  2. Thanks everyone I've just bought a thick but lightweight yoga mat just for that purpose. Skies are clear again tonight so I'll do that soon and give it a try Definite bonus. As far as I remember you have good skies in that area. I've been out that way a couple a couple of times, and I don't think there was much around apart from Colchester, Ipswich and Harwich Not quite in sync, but that was self inflicted last night. I can cope with going to bed at 4, but add in the clock change and it goes awry again! That's the spot. Head down East End Road from Bradwell and it takes you straight there. On Google Maps it's https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Car+Park+to+Dengie+National+Nature+Reserve/@51.7333156,0.9298082,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x47d919b81c0bcf31:0x8f7ea9872bc8988e!8m2!3d51.7327945!4d0.9298843
  3. On Friday night I decided it was time to pry myself off the sofa and brave observing from somewhere other than my garden. Just for once it was decently clear on something other than a school night, but neighbours had left lights on, and LED light pollution from a nearby town seems to be ruining my view to the south, so I thought it would be a good time to pack a scope into my car and drive out to the dark skies of Dengie Nature Reserve near Bradwell-on-Sea. It's a good spot there, being one of the darkest places on this side of Essex, and from the car park it has a wide view of the horizon to the south east that, with the exception of Clacton some five miles away to the north east, has no visible lights. The rest of the view is over farmland and sea. To the north of the site a row of trees and bushes partially obscures the lights of Mersea and the nearby power station. After some necessary food and sleep, and a quick check of both the weather forecast and the skies at home, I packed my SW mak 127 and other bits into bags and headed out. As appropriate time keeping was never my strong point I didn't get to there until 11:50, and as I pulled into the car park I saw a car and a van parked up already. It wasn't until I was almost level with the first of these that I spotted a small white scope behind the car and something large and wooden looming behind the van that I realised I wasn't going to be observing alone. I parked up quickly, set up and aligned my kit, and then paused to look at the skies. Conditions weren't too bad as there were plenty of stars overhead, but a haze on the horizon extending up to some 25 degrees ruled out anything low down. It was certainly better than my first visit there when the moon and a general haze washed everything out. This time I could see the dust lane of the Milky Way overhead and had trouble getting my sky bearings as there were more stars visible than I'm used to! It was just after midnight when I was set up and ready, and my two fellow astronomers had started talking, so I went to introduce myself. They were Nick and Pete. Nick was using his astrophotography setup, and Pete had his 20 inch dob. We spent some time looking through Pete's scope at Andromeda, Mirach's Ghost, Bode's and Cigar galaxies (both in the same view, and an incredible sight!), and various other objects. Most of the time we spent talking rather than observing, and just generally looking at the stars with naked eyes. 2.30am rolled around and Nick and Pete decided it was time to pack up. Dew had got to my mak (next make/purchase, a dew shield for it), so I switched out the OTA for a camera to do some experimental DSLR astrophotography. All in all is was a good night, even if we spent it not quite observing, but chatting lots and sharing scope views. For me it was the first time observing with anyone else, and finding that decent skies are just thirty minutes drive away. Not so good was going to bed at 5.30am after being up since 7.15 the previous morning! I've written off today, but that's no surprise. A trip to dark skies makes it all worthwhile This is the result of my DSLR and SW SynScan alt-az mount experiment while I was out. 18 minutes (36x30 seconds with a Nikon D3100 and 35mm prime lens, at f4 ISO1600). The gradient is from haze rather than light pollution. The Orion Nebula is visible, there's a glow from the Flame Nebula, and a hint of the Rosette too And I believe this is Pete's 20 inch dob
  4. I want to do that to my work computers on a daily basis! Usually it's something software related as my laptop at home never misbehaves
  5. The migraine was unfortunate, and there's nothing that can be done once you've got it except to sleep it off That's the spot. There's space for about 10 cars with scopes. Good views from there as long as you don't mind wasting one side to some trees. The power station, and the lights of Clacton and Mersea are not a problem
  6. It was a good night, and I wasn't alone as there were two other local astronomers already setup when I got there
  7. A bit late for the clear skies tonight, but the car park for Dengie Nature Reserve is dark and there's very little traffic out there https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapel_of_St_Peter-on-the-Wall I've been there once, and there's almost nothing around it apart from the distant lights of Bradwell power station and Clacton. I might be heading up there myself later, if I can ever get organised!
  8. Defender was a joystick. Missile command used a trackball https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missile_Command. as did Centipede https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centipede_(video_game). I wasn't any good at any of them either!
  9. I believe the look these days is called "retro" rather than old fashioned! Discovered them when doing CAD work 20 years ago and I prefer them, even if they look a bit odd
  10. Have you tried using a trackball instead? Something like this https://www.maplin.co.uk/p/logitech-trackman-marble-usb-wired-mouse-ua90x
  11. I've had plenty of rubbish nights. Not just with failing to find things from lack of planning, but with things like dew, changeable conditions, and neighbours forgetting to turn their lights off. Worst one was when one of them was decorating late at night and kept making the lightbulbs swing in the room! Auriga is rising in the north east at the moment, clearing the horizon around 8pm, and directly above Gemini at midnight. It looks like a distorted pentagon, and is easy enough to find. There is a very bright star at the top of it too, which is Capella. You might find that using Capella combined with Vega is better for alignment than Altair.
  12. First views of Jupiter and Saturn, finding the Ring Nebula accidentally, and looking at the moon when I had first light on the 8" dob and seeing how beautifully three dimensional it is But nothing has yet beaten when I was living in a dark sky site up on the Suffolk/Essex border, and watching the lunar eclipse by eye on a superbly clear night. As the moon dimmed through the red stages into totality the sky changed to an amazing carpet of stars, so many that I couldn't make out the constellations. That was also the time of Comet Hyakutake, which had spread its tail brightly across the southern sky. I didn't even own a telescope then, but that night I didn't need one
  13. I haven't used it in years, but I know Celestia allows views from Mars and elsewhere https://celestiaproject.net/
  14. It's very easy to do. And even after having my 2 inch Panaview for six months I've still done it. And stacked the 1.25 inch adapter on top of the 2 inch. And not just as a beginner, I still do it occasionally when swapping in the dark I'm sure you'll enjoy using the 32mm Panaview. Some nights it's the only eyepiece I take out with me
  15. Having had a ginger cat, I've learnt that they can do this kind of thing just by being in the same room. Seems that the slightest draft will pick their hair when they shed and deposit in on everything
  16. I've noticed in my town that the new LED streetlamps on the main roads are definitely less bright than the old sodium lamps that they still have in the side roads. The illumination is about the same even though they are mounted higher. The shielding seems to be much better too. If the local supermarket had installed them in their car park the same way, instead of just swapping the bulbs, and also turned them off at the same time as the streetlights, then that would be great
  17. I'm heading to Iceland at the end of November and hoping to do the same too. Found this on an Icelandic website, which might help http://happyworld.is/northern-lights-photography-settings/
  18. For something you describe as 'experimental', that's a great image
  19. I've had that a couple of times recently. Last month I got back home at 1.30 one morning after a long day seeing family back in Suffolk to find that the sky was perfectly clear here and I didn't have the energy to go out and look. Another time was after a disappointing visit to a dark sky site and finding that the sky was better at home
  20. Looks like you had great skies for it Did I see someone write their name in red light about five seconds in? There's a brief flash of something starting with CAMM I think
  21. Clacton is your nearest http://www.clactonastronomy.co.uk/ And there's a monthly stargazing event just the other side of Colchester at Abberton Reservoir http://www.essexwt.org.uk/events/2017/09/30/stargazing?instance=0 organised by North Essex Astronomical Society. They also have a regular stargazing event at Great Notley and a club meet just off the A12 at Rivenhall End https://northessexastro.wordpress.com/ They are more of a trek for you. If you fancy an excursion into Suffolk, there's the Orwell Astronomical Society near Ipswich http://www.oasi.org.uk/index.php
  22. I don't think the Cloud Gun is dispersing the clouds very well. It seems to have pushed them over Essex instead! Maybe I should get one as well, then we could push the clouds out to sea
  23. By coincidence, the aurora was apparently visible from Scotland Thursday night. Maybe you will get to see it soon
  24. Thanks The D3400 is close enough to the D3100 that it's almost instantly familiar. It seems to handle low light better by being less noisy at higher ISOs. And the focus speed with the new 18-55 kit lens is so fast as to be almost instant. Haven't really given it a proper test yet, but it seems like a good improvement on the D3100. No idea for astrophotography yet as they've lost the connector that my intervalometer uses. It can still be driven via the USB port via digiCamControl though, and I picked up a Nikon IR remote for it too. This is Mr Grey Triphazard, my noble looking test subject. ISO 1600, fl 18mm on the kit lens, f5.6, 1/50th second, shot in RAW and only minor processing in RawTherapee 5.1. Light source was halogen spots in the kitchen, and white balance on auto A slightly out of focus Mara. Nikkor 1.8G 35mm prime, f1.8, 1/40th second, ISO 100. No processing, only a Save As in FastStone image viewer
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