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Les Ewan

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About Les Ewan

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    Star Forming

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  1. Started observing the planet with my Skywatcher 400p just after 23:00 BST on the 20th,seeing was not great but the polar cap was prominant and between the boiling Sinus Sabaeus,Margaritifer and Aurora Sinus all snapped into view. Lower down Niliacus Lacus looked roughly triangular in shape. At this stage I was restricted to a 12.5 Orthoscopic giving a power of 144X. By 1am BST high cloud and thick haze advanced across the sky with only Mars and Vega visible,but on this occasion this was a good thing as the image of Mars settled right down so I could use my 9mm Orthoscopic ramping the power up to 200X( I tried a 6.3mm Plossl giving 288X but that was a step too far). In the 9mm the surface details stood out plainly as did the polar cap,there was no more boiling of the image and the disc only gently undulated and even finer details came and went tantalizingly every few seconds. The haze and cloud got thicker and the planet was slowly lost from view.
  2. My set up is in inaction at the moment. Had some great views of Mars earlier but the cloud has moved in. The observatory roof is not completely shut and the wall flaps are still down just in case it should clear again before morning.
  3. I've had Newtonians for over 40 years ranging from f4.8 to f 8 and managed perfectly well without a laser collimator in fact amateurs have managed for decades without them. Up to last year all I used was a simpe collimator eyepiece cap,I now have a non laser Cheshire collimator which in my opinion is all that is needed especially for short instruments. The telescope should be pretty much collimated when it arrives unless it was severely bumped in transit but it will need attended to eventually.You may be lucky I used a Helios reflector for many years and it never needed collimated. Collimation is nothing to be afraid of the biggest headache is if you unscrew a primary adjuster too far and it comes out, no damage is done but they can be a devil to get back in. What I usually do is screw them in as far as the will go then a back them off a turn or two and adjust from there using tiny increments. I know it sounds daunting but after doing it a few times you get the feel of it.
  4. A lovely setup and a wonderful looking house.
  5. Not very exciting I know but these items has made life a lot easier. I got a set of Bobs Knobs for my Skywatcher 400P and they are a boon,already while out observing Ive managed to simply collimate my secondary enough as do in total darkness after it misaligned for some reason. I also I invested in a mains cable for the drive so now more battery running low misery. When I got this ultimate telescope a couple of years ago I thought I was done with spending on this hobby but not so (of course) and my next dream purchases are a hand control cover,a heater strip for the secondary and wait for it- a telrad cosy! I really must stop browsing on FLO!
  6. I would suggest a Skywatcher as they usually have M42 threaded photo adaptors as standard on their focusers.Theres one smart looking telescope/mount setup at a very reasonable price that made me think to myself 'I wish I had that when I started out'. Its the skywatcher 130P AZ Pronto Newtonian,its a altaz mount with a tripod and manual slow motion controls it also has a extention tube for extra height. The trouble with small dobs is that they can get a bit too low. The Pronto is a shade under £200 which is, what, about 250 euro. This I think would make a great beginners telescope that could be upgreaded onto a EQ mount at a later date after a year or two of honing you obsevation skills.
  7. I really envy people with drawing abilities like this it must be very satifying. My twin sister is a great artist but non rubbed off on me. Seeing here was not so good for Mars as yesterday morning but still managed to use my 9mm kellner for a descent view at 200X. I find the polar cap a bit difficult now.
  8. I can split them with my 16" Newt with a 21mm plossl(86X),I cant recall ever splitting them with a 8"Newt with anything less than a barlowed 15mm giving a power of 133X. I've yet to split Epsilon 1 clearly with a 90mm refractor. I find Epsilon 1 awkward with moderate powers on various scopes except with the 16".
  9. HI Pixies, Great drawing.Syrtis Minor appeared as a indistinct blob at about 04 hours near the eastern limb so had just came into veiw as my obsevation were about 2 hours after yours that would tie in. You may have recorded the first sign of it on your drawing as you made some shading there. As for Mare Tyrrhenium I always thought that it was the southern arm (top)where the two mare appear to split. You seem to have recorded the split in your drawing. I dont pretend to be a Martian topography expert, a lot of us aren't especially from the British Isles when we only get about three or four good veiws every 2 years.
  10. This image of Mars was obtained at 04hrs using a Skywatcher 400P driven Dobsonian. The camera was a Nikon D3200SLR attached to a 10mm Celesstron Ultima Duo Plossl and 2X barlow. 1/160sec at 100ISO. The conditions were excellent but it was raining within a half an hour of this image being taken!
  11. Great views were to be had using my 16" Newt last night a brisk breeze seemed to have swept the atmosphere clear with very steady seeing. So much so that I managed to employ my seldom used 4mm kellner giving a power of 450X . The beautiful subtle bluish green maria stood out with hardly a quiver. The Mare Cimmerium,Mare Tyrrhennium and Syrtis Minor were the main features that were well seen. Even the Mare Chronium was obvious ,pleasing because Ive always had trouble with this feature in the past usin a 8" Newt.
  12. Hi There Kiki, Thanks for the comment,no the photo was taken from my garden in southern Midlothian. My elavation is 210metres however which means I overlook Edinburgh, East Lothian Fife and beyond. When the conditions are right Fife Ness is visiable (60km)and even the snowfields of the Grampian Mountains(100km) when visibility is good lit with a low winter sun. The Pentlands are about 6km to my west well to the left of this image.
  13. What else can I say! Taken with a Nikon 3200 DSLR 3sec exposure at 400ISO with standard 16-55 lens on a undriven tripod. 00:45BST
  14. I'll never forget the evening I went out in August 1975 and saw Cygnus with two Denebs! No internet those days so no warning and it was a shock to see.Although this was 'just' a nova with a magnitude of 1.8 it was still impressive.
  15. A magical summer night among the planets even though it still doesn't get properly dark here yet. Jupiter,Saturn the Moon and Mars and comet NEOWISE. Then adding to the mix at 03:20BST Venus rising in the NE less than a degree from Aldebaran. Image was taken with a Canon EOS 1100D and Sigma DG telephoto on a undriven tripod ,1.6sec ex at 200ISO.
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