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About BiggarDigger

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    Star Forming

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  • Interests
    Astronomy (obviously!), IT (work - ugh), electronics and radio engineering, meteorology, fresh air and wide open spaces.
  • Location
    Carluke, Scotland

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  1. We used to stay a few miles west of Biggar, but times change, so a couple of months ago we moved a dozen or so miles north towards central belt. The old place had stunning skies. Thus far, away from "that light" the light polution is not too bad to the south at the new place. North is a big fuzz of central Scotland towns and cities. Under clear skies, away from the town, the new scope should be rather nice. Richard
  2. Hi Lee, I can only comment based on 3 hours of comparing the two, so others here will have far more experience. Looking north west over the central belt of Scotland, the background sky was brighter, but M57 and M27 were much brighter (and with structure visible) than through the 8 inch dob at my old darkish sky site. M81 and M82 to the north were similarly brighter, but I have observed better at the old place. To the south it was almost a non starter due to the intense streetlight shining directly at me. But that was the same with the 8 inch. The core of M31 was brighter than with
  3. Hi everyone, it's been a long time since I posted. Life in general has got in the way of stargazing this year. Family and very heavy work commitments plus a house move have combined to limit what I could do so far. However, the fires still burn and I recently stumbled upon a 9 month old "unused" used Flextube 300p on eBay for a very decent price. A colleague has been interested in buying my 200p dob for a while, so it seemed to good an opportunity to miss. The previous owner of the 300p was a complete newcommer and had bought too large for a first scope. I suspect it had been an
  4. It's been a while since I managed a decent session under clear skies, but tonight was another opportunity to experience a wow moment! The Clear Outside app predicted clear skies from about 9pm, but I had to wait until 11:30pm tonight before the mid level cloud rolled back to leave unobstructed views. There was still a little murk now and then over Clyde Valley and seeing was a tad variable at times, but good enough I hoped to locate my quarry for the night. Virgo was well presented for my 200p dob. I popped in a 27mm Starguider and had a bit of fun around The Eyes and Markarin's Ch
  5. It is possible with an 8inch Newt. But, you have to have extremely dark skies, no light pollution, near perfect conditions including seeing, sky, time and patience. I observed it last Saturday 18th January from my garden under Bortle 3 skies with an 200p Dob. The seeing was as near perfect as I've experienced it. I've studied that part of the sky many times and had familiarized with what to look for. I'm afraid it's not an object that one can just turn up, point the scope and have any hope of seeing. The nebulosity that defines the HH was right on the limit of visibility and it took
  6. I'm very lucky to live under Bortle 3 skies about 3 miles outside of Biggar in the Southrrn Uplands of Scotland. NELM is difficult to be consistent. Some nights it's a soup of murk looking south over the Clyde Valley, other nights, such as last night NELM is at least 6, probably better. A lot depends on my neighbours too. Outside lights from the farm down the hill can be difficult some nights. A few weeks ago when I looked, Uranus was naked eye object. Last night Cassiopea was a sea of stars and there were so many stars in Orion's shield that I practically lost count. At least 11
  7. For various reasons, I've not been so active recently. So it was with great anticipation that I was able to get out with my trusty 200p Dob. Dark, crisp, clear & moonless skies awaited. Picked up on a few of my go to objects to check sky quality. An earlier squint through field binoculars suggested it should be good. An so it was. M31 and M33 looking good. Dust lanes in M31 visible over the extent of roughly three field of views. The lop-sided presentation of M33 mottled with brighter patches showing at least some of the star forming regions. Round and up to M1. Bright and w
  8. The chart tallies with my anecdotal experience. We live quite close to the brown blob in Southern Scotland and it does feel like it's been a bit drier than normal. We're about 220m asl in Upper Clydesdale and the river is low for the time of year. Yet my daughter at university in Aberdeen, complains about getting soaked through on her recent field trips. Youth eh? I have a feeling the winter will make up for it - it usually does, and there is an active weather system due in a couple of days. What's notable however, is the brown areas are uplands: Lakeland, Southern Uplands an
  9. -7C here. Too cold for me. Retreated inside 45 minutes ago. Bagged some new galaxies mind, so that's ok.
  10. The list is of aircraft navigation beacons, in that specific case in Greece. The beacons are used for radio direction finding using carrier phase modulation as far as I can recall. They radiate carrier signals that will scatter from incoming meteor strikes int eh same way as the GRAVES Space Radar transmitter, but since there are many more and they are closer to you than GRAVES, you have much better chance of receiving signals. Being lower in frequency the signals will scatter and propagate better than at 143MHz too. I wouldn't discount GRAVES - it's a very high power space radar illumina
  11. The LNA will help, but I suspect you'll also need a directional antenna if attempting this with the GRAVES Radar. Since you'll be close to maximum range for meteor scatter, the signal will be very weak. The LNA will help with that, but a directional antenna will reject local noise sources making detection much easier. FM radio stations are typically wideband to give better audio bandwidth and fidelity (greater modulation index). Meteor reflections of such signals will be phase and frequency shifted and making automated detection rather more difficult I suspect. This list of navi
  12. A quick look on the web this evening finds this resource http://radiomap.eu/ which may help identify suitable VHF FM stations. However, I recall now that there was some discussion a few months ago in this forum about using aircraft navigation beacons as the transmitter source. These might be a better option if only because its unlikely that there would be interference from a transmitter local to the receiver. It's also likely that a aircraft navigation beacon radiation pattern would be better suited than that of FM radio transmitters too. Whichever route is taken, elevation of the
  13. A quick reply before work. I'll try add more detail later if I can. For the FM transmitter route, try to find a station at least 300km distant (ideally more). From a meteor scatter perspective, it doesn't matter which direction the station is, but if it is behind mountains signals will be reduced and if in the direction of a large nearby city a lot of noise will be present. You should look for a transmitter with no other stations on the same frequency nearby which will mask the return echoes. I should think there should be lists of stations, frequencies and locations somewhere on the w
  14. There is certainly the possibility of receiving signals from GRAVES in Greece. However, there may be real world limitations that make it very difficult. Many years ago, I ran a system of 4 stacked and bayed yagi antennae on the 144Mhz amateur band. The array was as large as domestic garage mounted on top of a lattice tower. Not something the average meteor observer might be interested in. I was successful in many long distance contacts up to and exceeding 2000km on both meteor scatter and Sporadic E propagation, plus successful moonbounce contacts too. On occasion I made contact wit
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