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About kiloran

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  1. Can I achieve prime focus for imaging without modifying the mirror position or focuser? Camera is a ZWO 120MC-S
  2. I would say anything that took the full budget and left nothing for accessories, or had a dreadful finderscope. Without a good finder you'll quickly get frustrated and the hobby will be over for you.
  3. If you're just interested in moon and planets for now I think a small Dob is a good choice. I'm in a similar situation to you (my son is 7) and we started with a 70mm refractor. He gets on with that quite well but the mount is fiddly and not very stable. A tabletop Dob would have been a better choice. You'll also be able to find the easy DSOs if you're out camping in dark sites without needing GoTo capability. The issue with GoTo is that kids are likely to grab the telescope and if they do you'll lose alignment unless its a Skywatcher "FreedomFind" mount (as I understand it Skywatcher don't have much presence in the US so you may not be familiar with them) With my son I've found that the most important thing has been to focus on finding the easy things like planets and the moon. Saturn and Jupiter have been huge "wow" moments for him, as has Mars (because of a Curiosity Rover obsession) and the ISS (because Tim Peake). Hunting for DSOs other than the easy ones is likely to get them bored and realising how cold they are and quickly quench the astronomy fire. This is a hobby that needs patience and doesn't delivery a quick fix. One final thing - a small Dob will put the eyepiece at the right place for a 5yo and is robust enough to let them mess around with on their own. I wouldn't expect a 5yo to be able to get on with slow motion control on an equatorial mount or to put up with the wait whilst you spend time aligning it.
  4. With the advent of eBay and classifieds ads of forums like this I rarely consider the total cost of something I'm intending to purchase. I'm interested only in the deprecation (or rather resale value). For that reason I'll tend to buy second hand and take good care of it, knowing that astro gear tends not to depreciate that much. Given how utterly rubbish savings interest rates are (and the availability of cheap credit) I'd rather place some capital into the right gear knowing I can liquidate that asset fairly easily. I say fairly, as its a bit harder to ship a 14" Dob than a Leica Summilux 50mm lens! I've owned tons of lovely photo gear that I'd never have been able to purchase brand new over the years - probably tens of thousands of pounds of kit for the loss of £2-3k in depreciation. In the camera world lens prices are actually going up - when Micro 4/3rds came along suddenly old film & cine lenses were much in demand for their character. If you're willing to bide your time and look for the right kit and the right price (and make sure its insured) you can make this an inexpensive hobby.
  5. In my experience the apps are good enough to get you in the ballpark, but calibration issues hobble them to a certain extent. I find I have to regularly wiggle the phone in a figure of eight to get the compass to calibrate accurately enough. Certainly have their place but at this stage I don't know the sky well enough to do without GoTo.
  6. kiloran

    Full moon.....What to observe.

    Jupiter is looking lovely tonight. 4 Galilean moons seem equally spaced at the moment and all in the same plane. A question for the more experienced observers, in a 25mm eyepiece there was a further object, on the right (currently single moon to the right, three to the left in my refractor). Slightly above the plane of the 4 moons and to the right of the single moon on the right, around about the same magnitude. Not sure what it is? I shouldn't be able to see more than 4 moons should I?
  7. kiloran

    Sony QX1

    Thanks again. Not intending to use any of my Nikon lenses for AP, except if I end up using the camera on the mount without the scope. None of my primes are particularly suited for AP despite all being f/1.4 or f/1.2 Hadn't realised a suitable Canon body was that cheap and will look at those Windows tablets...
  8. kiloran

    Sony QX1

    Thanks. I already have a DSLR (Nikon D700) but that doesn't do video. I'm loathe to invest in the Canon ecosystem as all my lenses, etc. are Nikon so have been looking at dedicated astro cameras. Also can't bring myself to sell the Nikon kit even though it isn't getting used - too many memories! The QX1 does appear to support RAW (specifically RAW+JPG) so that's not necessarily a barrier. I'm really keen to get remote live view as I'm using a refractor. The alternative is a DSLR with an articulated screen or potentially finding a webcam that supports USB-To-Go - my Pixel phone has this capability so could act as a tethered live view screen/storage device.
  9. kiloran

    Sony QX1

    I've done some reading around this camera which is effectively a wireless remote camera with an APS-C sensor. There are a few reports of using it for AP (within its limitations - specifically no bulb mode and limited to 30s exposures). Any experience here using it? The fact I can control it remotely without having a tethered laptop really appeals as it will keep setup time and cabling to a minimum. It also means I don't have to go out and buy a Windows laptop which seems pretty much required for a lot of tools. I should be able to find one for around £200 so it will be "cheap" way to have a little dabble with imaging. The 30s exposure restriction isn't an issue for me because I'm using an Alt-Az mount.
  10. kiloran

    Hello from NZ

    I found when I was in Australia that north felt like south and vice versa for quite a while. Was just adjusting when it was time to go home. This wasn't something I was picking up from the night sky as I really didn't see much of it so not sure what it was. I know when I was in Sydney North Sydney always felt like it was south of the bridge to me. Might be because I grew up close to the south coast and therefore beaches were always due south for me...
  11. We've been fortunate this week to finally have clear skies after weeks after frustration. Monday was pretty good and Wednesday was spectacular. Looks like tomorrow will be even better - perfect timing as we head towards shorter nights. This has enabled me to really get to grips with my new mount (Sky Discovery Alt-AZ) and last night I was able to get a really good single star align on Sirius which when I started was pretty much the only star visible in the sky. What I loved however was that every time I glanced up from the eyepiece more stars had appeared. I stopped faffing with the mount to just watch this unfold and literally watched Orion slowly appear before my eyes - first Betelgeuse and Rigel, then the belt stars, and then the sword. Quite spectacular and a wonderful moment. Also a useful learning experience for learning about magnitude. I got my son to look at Cassiopeia, close his eyes for ten seconds, and then look again. Yet more stars had appeared. We just stood and watched for about ten minutes as the sky unfolded in front of us. He's rarely silent but he was for that As to observing we spent time roving around Orion as the sky wasn't really dark enough for galaxies etc by the time his bedtime arrived. Also no planets other than a murky Mars, much to his annoyance. We plan to spend tomorrow looking at Jupiter and the Galilean moons. We did check out the Pleiades but he was fairly underwhelmed. Was more excited by the Trapezium - I could only see four stars but when I asked him how many he said five. Young eyes make me envious!
  12. kiloran

    Hello from NZ

    Welcome, I can only imagine the awesomeness of the skies where you are. Its a great regret of mine that I spent almost a month in the southern hemisphere years ago and never once looked up at the stars. With flight prices as they are and family commitments its going to be a long time before I get another chance.
  13. I really like this feature as it cuts down slewing time dramatically. Another tick in the box for Synscan over Celestron.
  14. Finally got to use the mount this evening and pleased to report that this relative novice had no issues with the Synscan approach. Surprisingly quick and with the added benefit of FreedomFind I'd have no hesitation recommending it to a beginner - particularly if you've got young children. My LO grabbed the telescope and FreedomFind re-aligned bang on despite him slewing it a good 30 degrees. Impressive stuff. It also happily tracked well enough to keep an object more or less centred in a 20mm eyepiece when I left it for 45 minutes.
  15. kiloran

    GoTo - AltAz or EQ?

    To close out this thread I ended up buying a 150P Star Discovery Alt-Az. Not using the OTA yet but finally after a month of cloudy skies I got to use the mount with my son's Bresser refractor. I had some concerns over the Skywatcher approach to GoTo alignment (compared to Celestron's bells and whistles approach) but I have to say I found it easy and reasonably intuitive. Also quicker than doing a Celestron three-star align. Yes you need to have some rudimentary knowledge of the skies but I'd warrant in these days of smartphone sky atlases pretty much anyone can find Rigel or Sirius. I got my first alignment (Betelgeuse & Arcturus) done in 10 minutes and was pleasantly surprised to find the mount went on to track M42 unattended for 45 minutes whilst I put my son to bed. It was also spot on when I did a GoTo tour of several objects. Now I just need to wait for a properly clear night on a weekend so we can stay up later. Shame about spring arriving (and that's the first time I've ever not looked forward to the clocks going forward!

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