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Geoff Lister

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About Geoff Lister

  • Rank
    Proto Star

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Interests
    Railways (full-size and model), radio-controlled model boats, and astronomy
  • Location
    North Somerset, UK
  1. My location at about 51.4 degrees N, and is listed as Bortle 5. Last night, I was using my Heritage 130P collapsible Newtonian on my Skymax mount, to get wider views than its normal 127mm Mak. I used Saturn as my initial alignment - it was as though I was viewing it at the bottom of a swimming pool. Mars, sitting next to the Moon was not much better. The core of M31 was fine, so I had a look at M57. It was a challenge to find, at about 90 degrees azimuth from the Moon, as some of the stray moonlight was illuminating some internal parts of the telescope tube. Normally, I don't have problems finding M57 when (as it was last night) it is at higher altitudes. I added M15 to the list of my observed "Ms", as the moonlight did not seem to be a problem with the internal reflections when looking more in the direction of the Moon. As the Moon was clearly going to obscure most of the faint fuzzies, I enjoyed spending the remaining time looking at the Moon, particularly along the terminator. Geoff
  2. Geoff Lister

    35mm eyepiece

    I've got a 2" 56mm Plossl that I bought to give wider views with my Skyliner 10" Dob. It's big, heavy, needs a short extension tube to reach focus; and as soon as I want more magnification, I have to remove the EP, remove the extension tube, remove the 2" EP holder, and fit the 1.25" EP holder; before using any of my other EPs. I normally stick with my 1.25" 32mm 52 deg. FOV Plossl for the wider views. Geoff
  3. I've got a pair of the cheap 7-21s to go with my binoviewer, a Celestron 8-24, and a Baader 8-24 with its dedicated x2.25 Barlow. The best performance (just) is the Baader, but the Celestron equivalent, at about a quarter of the price, is not far behind. If I were going for one only, it would be the Celestron 8-24, with (if funds permit) a x2 Barlow to extend the range down to a 4mm equivalent. The zoom function lets you optimise the magnification/clarity compromise, particularly on planets. Geoff
  4. Also consider the mount. Many of the smaller telescopes are sold with the cheapest (and often flimsiest) mount that the manufacturer can get away with to get below a certain price point. My Celestron Travelscope 70 is Example 1. With my 32mm eyepiece, it gives me the widest FOV of all my setups. However, the tripod mount, supplied as part of the Travelscope, is almost impossible to use at higher magnifications (it moves as you lock it onto a target). The good news is that the OTA has a "Vixen standard" dovetail plate, and so will fit on most of my (much more friendly) other mounts. In my opinion (others may well disagree) the best (aperture) / (price) * (convenience) beginners setup is the Skywatcher Heritage 130P. Geoff
  5. I use the 127mm Mak most of the time, but if I want the wider views, then the Heritage 130P OTA will fit on the Skymax mount; and because it has the focuser on the top, I can shorten the tripod, giving greater rigidity. I use a 32mm Plossl eyepiece to give maximum FOV on both OTAs.
  6. The mount for the Heritage 130P is a very difficult object to get in aircraft-friendly bags. The main part of the base is roughly 14" square by 3" thick, and the upright is about 14" high and 4" thick. Although robust-enough for general handling, the OTA may require a tweak to the collimation after a plane journey. This is my backpack setup, with the Skymax mount and (very robust) 127mm MCT. Geoff
  7. Geoff Lister

    Hand Controller

    As far as I am aware, the difference is the handset. My mount has the V3 Synscan handset. The same handset, and the V3 one from my Skyliner 10" Dob., both work as a full Synscan system with the Virtuoso mount. Geoff
  8. Geoff Lister

    Hand Controller

    This is the Skymax 127mm MCT system that I have, and of my various system options, this is the one that gets the most use. The mount itself is fairly dumb; all the intelligence is in the handset, which is, unfortunately, priced accordingly. I tend to use a plug-top 12V, 1.5 or 2A, supply (the sort used for the stick-on 12V LED lighting strips) or a series-linked pair of 6V 2600mAh NiMH battery packs borrowed from my radio-controlled model sailing yachts. The system, with handset takes about 90mA when static, 160mA when tracking, and 320mA when slewing at max speed in both axes. I'm not aware of any coupons/vouchers generally available, but when I bought the Skymax, there was a discount voucher for a Celestron cased eyepiece and filter set, redeemable through OVL (the main UK import agents for Skywatcher & Celestron). Geoff
  9. Geoff Lister

    Hand Controller

    Yes. The up/down/left/right buttons work, from power-up, without alignment; but alignment is required for tracking and GoTo. The Virtuoso mount has the equivalent of the tracking handset buttons built into the mount. It needs to be powered up with the 'scope/camera pointing towards the North Celestial Pole, but Polaris is usually good enough. The mount's encoders then measure any movement from this start position (using manual adjustment or buttons) and adjust the drive to the two motors to give sidereal tracking. I can "borrow" the Synscan handset from either the Skymax or Skyliner mounts, and, after alignment, have full tracking/GoTo. Geoff
  10. Geoff Lister

    Hand Controller

    "happy-Kat" is, unfortunately, correct. I have just tried some alternatives with my Bluetooth dongle on my Virtuoso mount. The Virtuoso app worked fine, but the Synscan app wanted WiFi, as did the Celestron SkyPortal. Geoff
  11. Geoff Lister

    Hand Controller

    Another possibility is using a Bluetooth dongle and the Virtuoso app on a tablet/phone instead of a dedicated handset. Have a look at:- Perhaps this will help https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/239925-skywatcher-heritage-virtuoso-controlled-via-bluetooth/?do=findComment&comment=3139423 Also try a search using "Virtuoso" and "Bluetooth" Geoff
  12. Geoff Lister

    Hand Controller

    You could try Astroboot http://www.astroboot.co.uk/AstroBoot or AstroBuySell https://www.astrobuysell.com/uk/ Geoff
  13. Geoff Lister

    AZ Synscan daytime alignment

    The Skywatcher mounts use encoders that generate pulses as they move, but do not have an absolute angle measurement. At power-up, the Synscan handset starts with its Az & Alt angle numbers at zero, and these equate to a level (horizontal) mount pointing towards celestial (not local magnetic) North. The alignment process uses the position of "known" objects to correct for errors in these zero positions and to record the true angles. If you start (power-up) with the mount level, and pointing North, the mechanical (mount) and electronic (handset) angles are effectively aligned already, and a level tripod/Dobsonian base, will avoid cross-axis errors. If, at the end of an observing session, you use the <Utility> <Park> <Home> menu option, the system moves the mount to the correct zero positions, based on your previous alignment. When you power-up again, the handset will have recorded that you parked the mount, and will give you the option of restarting from park, without the need to re-align. The top menu function selected by pressing the button "PLANET 7" gives you a list of the planets (including Pluto), starting from Mercury, and ending with the Moon. The Synscan system works out where the planets are, and politely reminds you if you try to select one below the horizon. Geoff
  14. Geoff Lister

    IOptron Skytracker Power Supply?

    Possibly a bit late .... Did you check the polarity of the PSU's connector. The manual shows +ve on the inner sleeve/pin, but I have had supplies for musical gear with the +ve on the outer sleeve. Geoff
  15. Geoff Lister

    lunar tracking

    With my Starwatcher Synscan systems, I normally do a "Brightest Star" 2-star alignment, and, once aligned, the mount tracks at sidereal rate. If I then go to the "Planet" menu, and step to, and select, "Moon", the mount automatically selects lunar tracking.

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