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Macavity

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Everything posted by Macavity

  1. Thanks for answering a "specialist" question! No more expensive than some of the "fancy" GRAYHILL (BCD output etc.) offerings. The demise of "good old" manual technology? Sometime you might not want to introduce "microprocessors" (noise / complexity) into Audio / RF equipment though... Someone remarked on future "shortage of electronic components". Start collecting VINTAGE stuff?
  2. No fear of the dark... A lot of my country rambles used to end in darkness? Good to have a torch hand in such cases? Often I didn't! I am wary of URBAN environments these days? As a 70's Uni Student, I "knew no fear" -- Even on the wee-small-hours stagger home! I find standing around with "precious stuff" in a publicly accessible place doesn't work for me? Recently I was taking some "panoramic" shots with my standard Camera/Lens on local heath-land and "some weird bloke" started to follow me me around?!?!? But I sense that SOME people may not have seen an old-fashioned camera... or telescope? I admit being glad we are not comparing "man stopping power" of weapons on SGL!
  3. The thread continues. And very interesting it is too! My <appreciation> Still a way to go before making a final decision? For Electronics Nerds: Now have to find the BEST way to read out multiple(!) rotary encoders via Arduino etc. Something of a regular discussion on internet forums?! Aside: 12-way etc. (Budget) Rotary switches seem to have gone out of fashion these days? Always good to know "chassis bashing" still exists!
  4. Yes, pleased to see the ubiquitous "Eddystone Box" (for smaller projects) had not vanished... along with (the original) Maplin.
  5. Very elegant there, Steve! Thanks ALL for your various ideas. I detect something of a theme re. transparency? GMTA etc. NOT doing much today... All the hole drilling has "done my back" at bit. lol. At least this time I managed to drill ALL the various holes the correct size(s)! All praise to a nice NEW set of (sharp for a change!) drill bits... All hail the STEP drill notably.
  6. A lot of you are quite into Electronics | (Observatory) "Electrics", so I wondered: DO you have any favoured methods for *finish* stuff with a NICE Front Panel? Recently embarked on a (another hobby!) "Synth in a Suitcase" MIDI interface: There is very little *active* electronics for this one. Just a lot(!) of WIRES. A couple of Arduino Megas and 48 channel ADC shields. It works on a prototype scale, so I can complete this one "at my leisure"? The keen eyed may recognise the (typical) redundant "Maplin" Eyepiece Case. One of the benefits of Video Astro/Imaging? AT THE moment, I make a mock up of *front panels* using random hardboard. Veroboard functions as a very useful "drilling guide" for pilot holes! Even *I* can get my holes in a line using this method? I buy (find) laser-cut Acrylic as an easy to drill material for panels, but I don't think I can cut out NEAT Fader "Slots"?!?!? I CAN (inkjet) print Panel Designs on thin card. I then use transparent sticky back plastic to "protect" the result. I found an 8mm circular hole punch for controls etc. https://www.amazon.co.uk/LoongGate-Heavy-Puncher-Single-Photos/dp/B07NQFWYRJ/ I PONDER using a professional firm to *Laser Cut* my Panel design in Acrylic? There is a standard .dxm (CAD) file for laser cutters? Has anyone tried? Costs? Laser cutters seem to be limited to A3 size. Maybe I could order transparent (smaller) covers to "sandwich" smaller(!) sections of my (cardboard) printings? I saw a nifty idea recently. The guy used a professional Printed Circuit Board manufacturer to "etch" (and print) his front panels too. As ever, such services seem to be far more available in the USA than the UK. Just wondering! "Brainstorming"random ideas etc. etc.
  7. An interesting thread! I did once tease an art-loving GF with notions that e.g. photography "had rendered the whole of fine art" redundant? lol. Living dangerously? If needed, I have learned the "error of my ways"... In my favour, I had bought books on "how to draw/paint"... I Did *try*! I have rarely found MANY people showing an interest in "my" science... To me, the thing is experience... To discover and learn NEW stuff etc. To some extent, I sense, like "Athletics" some folks are better equipped physically... More sensitive eyes? Greater visual acuity? I once showed a total novice the Sun via PST. He could see (describe) stuff I couldn't! Above all I feel I am (despite my critics) an "Egalitarian"! I want to find out WHY people are attracted to different stuff... different techniques? I suppose the danger is I become a "Jack of all Trades etc." But Hey! There is a (life) time / funding thing: Staff? "Go fund me" maybe? lol (Trying to live to the next "Solar Max"... Favoured Planet positions etc.)
  8. Maybe we should have done "Arts" subjects (I often wish!) Seriously how could one engage the public re. your subject? Dour twitterings re. religion & politics + br****? Or maybe: P.S. I suspect the *video* won't work on SGL, but many of you will probably be able to access Twitter... as a *reader*?
  9. I had one... Came with good old "Vixen" 8-24mm Zoom... But perhaps that means it (or I) didn't *really* qualify? I used it to conceal a drip of superglue on a 90mm MAK! Guess I should finally come clean with the purchaser...
  10. Finished! No "rocket science", but does the (one/two) job(s) needed. I used a 2mm thick "hook & loop"(!) disk to allow a BIT of "flexure"... Marked rotation direction to avoid disk cartwheeling across room?
  11. Like it! Recently thinking about the landing site and the ABC craters... Of course the "scale" of the *actual* landing site is a different order again? I saw someone selling 3D printer files of the latter, somewhere on Twitter...
  12. Still have a couple of "standard" books I bought for myself at the time. Both good in their own way... The US perspective and UK perspective? Former more detailed... the latter has a "complete" mission transcript. Hey, I can still do an fair *impression* of Neil A's "One Small step..." etc. Complete vocal impression with "static"! lol. I doubt I'm unique in that?
  13. I did TRY to TEST a Pancake 24mm f/2.8 versus an EF 50mm STM f/1.8 https://www.amazon.co.uk/Canon-EF-1-8-STM-Lens/dp/B00XKSBMQA I used a Test Card on screen (not at infinity!) and scaled images to match... The left hand image shows Centre performance of the lens.... the right hand image shows Edge performance! Pancake 24 at f/2.8 The following suggests quantitatively the EF 50 STM has to be stopped down to f/4.0 (or more) to match the Pancake f/2.8 ???? EF 50 STM at f/1.8 EF 50 STM at f/2.8 EF 50 STM at f/4 ASIDE: The last image had some *camera shake* rather than astigmatism or whatever! lol Does the above really MEAN anything? Who knows?!? lol! I TAKE it to mean that Canon lens performance scales with price?!?!? The 40mm Pancake is said to be better than a 24mm too? BUT throwing caution to the wind, I tried a 10x stack of 2min images at f/2.8 with EF STM 50! I used dark subtraction, IRIS Gradient removal and image enhancement with GIMP levels... My conclusion is the EF50 STM was "Good enough" for me! The (more expensive) Pancake 40mm may have be better? But I decided to stick with the Pancake 24 & EF50 STM f/1.8. Canon 100D + EF50 STM f/2.8 ISO1600 + Baader UHC 10x2min (Darks, IRIS Flattened. GIMP Levels etc.): [removed word] Grana Salis as they say!
  14. Great Stuff... This is something [another thing] one can do really well with EEVA.
  15. Geoff (or anyone!) there is absolutely no need to apologise. Perhaps I should have mentioned it? It's just sometimes I'd would just love to FORGET my limitations... Oh WAIT... Maybe I am maligning myself: I did actually say: Although ostensibly OK, my dicky ticker "lets me know" afterwards... But then my use of words doesn't always "resonate" with SGL's membership? lol
  16. Hey, Folks! Can we not get into THAT. I hadn't thought a (not often mentioned) Cardiac Issue might be central to this. FWIW, I genuinely did have a "slight" MI back in 2000 or so. Steps were taken to "cure" it... As with many things, success is not guaranteed and things have deteriorated over the years? I do get chest pain & feelings of light headedness/nausea when I lift modest loads to height. I try to be optimistic! lol. And NO animosity! Hey, I've "done" mental heath now. I'm trying not to get involved "fitness" as well? SGL debate gets so complicated... If someone mentions having a personal experience, I tend not to challenge it? I posted a while back re. handles... A saddle "hook"? ALL just random wibbles.
  17. Oh, it has handles and things... But, y'know how it is... I am a covert to the "girly man" method! https://youtu.be/IwVg1M6bURI (Nowt wrong with making it easier) In my (lucky me!) observatory the scope is already at *eye level* when horizontal, so it can see over 6' high walls. Since I mostly image via "remote control" and rarely stay outside I think a mini observatory might have been better / adequate Or closer to the ground!!
  18. Faced with the perennial problem of "lofting" my 8" Newt (and holding it with one hand while I do up the saddle)... I dream of "Sky Hooks"?!?! (Although ostensibly OK, my dicky ticker "lets me know" afterwards...) But the other day, I switched to lifting the scope in *vertical* orientation off an observing stool... That way I can at least do the lift in two stages? Then I remembered the hydraulic platforms we used to service Particle Detectors at work. I see they make "mini ones" for lifting Motorbikes... Cuts out clearance issues re. a winch... dangling the scope on a rope etc. Better to PUSH the scope from below to avoid disturbing optical setup? Who knows? lol! Anyway it's a *different* idea...
  19. Heheh. Thanks for that, Craig! Yes, the table will be FIXED to the baseboard when I "know the distances"! Fortunately this drill has a "lock-on" button and I sense the direction of rotation should tend to push the object INTO the "table" etc. etc. Ah yes... SPEED... A 150mm disk would just about fit my "random" dimensions! People do make some GREAT (fun!) stuff on Youtube... Their Skills impressive... https://youtu.be/noWzYHt4s34 ("Bless" all Youtube enthusiasts for their time!) I suspect a bit of flexure "wobble" is useful (safer) to have in the disk... Draw a line on the workpiece and "eyeball it for accuracy" should be sufficient for me! </wibble> P.S. I'm lazy, so often use Amazon's "Evil Empire" for such things. It can be a tad frustrating at times... What with their sometimes bizarre *grouping* of items for delivery... the (helpful) "add on item" thing! Sometimes I spend more time trying to "defeat" such artificial intelligence. But we digress! lol
  20. Quite often I need to do a simple task like "tidying up the end" of cut timber or metal... Making (circular/other!) saw cuts *be* 90 degrees! Mostly I just "wave an angle grinder at it", but I "hate them"! Personal Lack of patience... a moment's inadvertance - Minus a body part? lol Always remember my DAD having a "Black & Decker DRILL STAND!" He made a little table (from "machined" wood!) to feed the material... I would LOVE to have a "workshop"... disk/belt sander... Then I found: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wolfcraft-6152000-Drill-Euronorm-collar/dp/B0012B5RMM/ Turn out my (recent) power drill has 43mm fitting... so a prototype: Hey, it not FINISHED yet! lol. I still need to buy a (modern!) "sanding disk" thing! There are quite a few Youtube videos re. people doing such things... I still wonder a BIT about "Elf and safety". The above seems fairly safe to my remaining eye. Wonder a bit about "sanding disks"? Dad (and I) previously used a SOLID steel disk and you had to *melt* some sort of *gloop* stuff to stick the sanding disks? These days it all "hook and loop" etc. Some of the things have slightly disturbing SAFETY issues. But this sort of thing shoudl be fairly OK for occasional use??? https://www.amazon.co.uk/Silverline-427547-Hook-Loop-Backing/dp/B000LFU5F4/ For non-standard use of machine tools, 2nd /qualified opinion is often good? P.S. I assume one should fix the table HEIGHT to feed to the "middle" of the disc?
  21. Heheh... Well. sometimes a post generates an *unexpected* level of interest? Usually the ones which I feel are a "bit rubbish" or have obvious deficiencies! lol Sorry to be late returning to your post. AS!3... "Autostakkert" imaging stacking: https://www.autostakkert.com/ In my earlier EEVA days (with Watec etc.) I always used Registax to *stack* the (already hardware stacked!) farems on .AVI files. Since I began solar imaging, I have increasinglu used Autostakkert. I provides a plot of image quality... So I can get some kind of a handle on seeing. AS!3 does seem to require a certain amount of *contrast* in the image to "lock on" re. stacking? But who knows! It is for that reason, I tend to "whack up the contrast" in the (Gstar3) image capture software?!? I sometimes play with the GAMMA setting as well now! I used to be "scared" of non-default [camera] settings, but sometimes being able to see a decent (contrasty!) image on screen is not such a bad quide?
  22. Sometimes it makes you think "just how far" (e.g. amateur) IMAGING has come? When you look at the (non red sensitive) "Palomar Plates" used for the Star Map! It does have a cracking Photographic Map of the MOON though. Like many of my "vintage" books the spine is broken and bits have fallen off! Since some of my books have no resale value, I have been known to "finish the process" and CUT out the pages... put them in pockets w/loose leaf binders etc. Maps etc. can be laid FLAT! Old Books get some *active* use in the present...
  23. Ah, SPM... My very first (and only, for many years) Astronomy Book! All those years spent under my pillow. I can still "quote" some bits. I "graduated" some years later to this one... Still worthy of keeping re. *photographic* maps of the Stars and Moon... Lists of "DSOs" etc.
  24. Yes, certainly Surface Brightness is... "rather different"! Here's a couple of links: https://tonyflanders.wordpress.com/surface-brightness/ http://www.clarkvision.com/astro/surface-brightness-profiles/introduction.html The skies around here are "not bad" for the UK visual limit Mag+5 (better) corresponding to a Sky Background of anything upto Mag +24?!? I know I can just image small galaxies (stars) to Mag+19 with a (fair bit) of effort! The surface of some of common objects can be found in the above. The SB of M27 is maybe +18. The SB of e.g. M42 in Orion gets to significant values... like +24! YET can still be imaged with EEVA (this often surprises people!) From second link above: In answer to @Martin Meredith I have convinced myself so-called contrast masking CAN achieve useful gain over simple stretching when the "number of bits" is limited. You can see how this might be so from this reference: https://tutorialized-gimp.blogspot.com/2008/12/creating-contrast-mask-in-gimp.html Basically you obtain a histo without gaps (which give "steps" in greys etc.) ANYWAY, not trying to make new/significant points, just saying "HI" to a few "veterans" (I hope they won't mind the term! lol) who also started out with "integrating" Cams (Like the Watec... Mallincam... ) a few years ago! Extended nebulae... Nearby Galaxies (M31, M33 etc.) are not the easiest to image. But it is possible to have good results with more compact (and often more distant) objects! Such is a good thing about EEVA generally?
  25. M27 - The (old fashioned) WATEC way! Still persisting with my trusty Watec 910HX eight-bitter... USB Video-Grabber... GSTAR3 etc. Now using AS!3 to stack 100x (5.12s) hardware integrated images. As ever 8" f/4 TS (steel) Newt on HEQ5. Post-processing using GIMP 2.8 etc. A while since I did any imaging and initially the images went much less DEEP that they did a few years ago? But then I remembered... For "better or worse" to increase the software contrast to max! (Hey, it spreads the histo). Not a lot of Astronomical Darkness so just "Testing" with M27 as the subject. First the "ordinary image" with no filtering. Note the nebulosity is starting to "blow out"... concealing stars. If cut deeper, I get into sky background too! So I added a Baader UHC filter and 10dB gain to compensate. This is a summation of THREE different "levels" of processing (lo, med & hi brightness) via GIMP contrast masking macro! Something of *my* desired result? Certainly I can now see a fair bit more of the "outer" regions of nebulosity. As ever and typically a bit rufty tufty with "heat" at the edges?!? But, checking with stellarium, I find I'm getting to STAR Mag +17... Despite the UHC. Casually wondering: What is the Surface Brightness of M27? (Anyone know?). Hope I can go hunting "grey blobs" (Hicksons... ARPs) again --- When it gets a bit darker? "If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be SCIENCE"?!?! etc. etc.
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