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Littleguy80 last won the day on September 18

Littleguy80 had the most liked content!

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About Littleguy80

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  1. Littleguy80

    The inaugural StuPOD, winner announced!

    Carefully crafted with Pixelmator for iOS
  2. Littleguy80

    The inaugural StuPOD, winner announced!

    I found myself thinking that an award such as the StuPod needs a prize. There are strict rules and winning takes real dedication! I've created the following image that can be added to your signature. I should say that this image is in no way endorsed or approved by the judge of StuPod!
  3. Littleguy80

    What has experience taught me?

    Thank you, Dave. Very kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the post!
  4. Littleguy80

    What has experience taught me?

    Thanks Calvin. It would be awesome to observe with the mob. Dark skies guaranteed
  5. It was Christmas 2016 that my first telescope sat under the Christmas tree. I immediately had requests from friends and family to come round and have a look. I nervously said I'd need some time to figure out what I was doing. Even then I knew that there'd be a bit of a learning curve with this hobby. I'm a long way from calling myself an experienced observer but I've learned a lot since that first telescope arrived. In no particular order here are the things that my experiences have taught me: The process of finding targets can be as enjoyable as actually seeing them. It took me a good few months to get my finding process working well but the exhilaration when I found my intended target was immense. There were several fist pumps in my back garden. Even with experience, a smile will cross my face on finding a new target. Repeated viewings will reward with new details. When I first started it was almost a box ticking exercise. Working through the Messier list and other famous targets that I'd read about. The Veil was the first target where I really learned the value of repeated visits. It showed how conditions can greatly change the appearance of an object. Sometimes barely visible when the moon was out or transparency was poor. Then bright on moonless nights with excellent transparency. Recognising the familiar shape allowed me to start to pick out new features. This year I've found that Pickering's triangle has become more prominent. I now appreciate a session spent on familiar targets as well as a session chasing new ones. Dark skies rule. Obvious right? It was 9 months before I took my telescope to a dark site. I was glad that I had used my telescope for that long before taking it to a dark site. It really allowed me to see the difference. It gave me a basis of reference when viewing familiar targets under dark skies. Dark site trips are like buying a new bigger telescope for the cost of the fuel to drive there and back. The dark sky hangover is real. Observing from home after a dark site trip can be a very disappointing experience. Targets that shone like beacons from dark skies become barely visible from home. I struggled for a while with this. I now use my sessions from home to look at the brighter targets, there's no shortage of them. If conditions are good, I'll also spend time building familiarity with targets I want to visit under dark skies. Small sections of the Crescent nebula can be seen from home but it really opens up under dark skies. The practise of finding and picking out the brighter sections pays dividends when I come to viewing it under dark skies. Equipment and the never ending desire to upgrade. It's so easy to get caught up with endlessly wanting to upgrade. I've upgraded my telescope once and have bought quite a number of eyepieces. The process or researching, buying and having new toys come through in the process is really fun. However, I've gone back and used my original set up and found my stargazing to be just as enjoyable as my current set up. I wouldn't want to go back to my old set up, I enjoy being able to see more objects at a greater level of detail but I don't think I would astronomy any less if I hadn't upgraded. I'm not sure if that makes sense! I found myself likening eyepieces to a movie collection. It's nice to have a good selection but there'll always be a core of 3 or 4 that you'll always come back to. Don't make logging your sessions a chore. I struggled to figure out how I wanted to record my observations. It's great to preserve the memories but be careful of systems that require a lot of upkeep. At one point, I was spending 15 minutes or more writing up notes after a session. Time that would have been better spent at the eyepiece or getting some sleep! I now have a much simpler system and tend to write observing reports on SGL to capture the memories of my best sessions. It's ok to not observe. With the unpredictable nature of the British weather it can feel like every clear night must be taken advantage of. Sometime I'd go out when overtired and not really enjoy myself. If I didn't go out, I'd feel like I'd wasted an opportunity. Now I've settled into going with my feelings on the night. It's better to have fewer sessions that you really enjoy. It's just a hobby after all! At this point, I think astronomy is something that will stay with my for the rest of my life in one form or another. It's a fantastic hobby. I'd love to hear any other lessons learned from your own experiences. I'm sure I have many more lessons to learn over the coming years.
  6. Littleguy80

    Altair Astro contact

    My experience has been a bit and miss with them over email but good over the phone. Busy people I imagine!
  7. Littleguy80

    Nearly Horse Head Season

    I’ve used mine on the Trifid Nebula, California Nebula, Flaming Star Nebula and on the Orion Nebula (recommended for the M43 section). I think the California Nebula has been my most successful observation with the H Beta filter.
  8. Littleguy80

    Lunar X - 2018 OCT 16

    Despite some cloudy conditions, I managed to pick up X and V. Always a fun one to catch. My kids always look for X when they look at the Moon now. Despite seeing being a bit wobbly had a nice look at Mars too. Some nice detail visible. Split the double double for fun before coming in. Good way to pass half an hour!
  9. Littleguy80

    Nearly Horse Head Season

    I’ll most certainly be trying for it. My expectations are low for success this season but it will hopefully give me a good grounding for future years. I’ll be interested to see how much of the flame I can pick up. My H-Beta filter has seen some good use on the California and the Flaming Star nebulae recently. Very interested to hear how you get on with the 8” dob, Iain. As you know, my dob is 10” so your reports will give me an idea of what I’m up against!
  10. Littleguy80

    Mind the gap

    It’s quite amazing to see how the detail slowly comes through. I was really surprised by how much of the crescent nebula I could see in this session. It was only a few months ago that I first observed it and even then just a small section of it. The horse head should prove a great challenge. It’s reassuring to hear that you went from seeing nothing to now seeing it with relative ease. No doubt there’ll be reports of my various attempts over the coming months
  11. Littleguy80

    What did the postman bring?

    Christmas has come early in the form of an original Lumicon OIII filter! Looking forward to a shoot out between this and my Astronomik OIII
  12. Littleguy80

    Mind the gap

    Thanks Iain. Felt really good to be under dark skies again. I’m really looking forward to observing the Flame over the coming months. I dream of seeing the horse head but have told myself that it’s unlikely to happen this year unless I get an exceptionally transparent night. It’s been seen from Seething with 12” scopes so I hope my 10” gives me a chance. Whatever the outcome I shall enjoying trying! I still find it a strange concept that repeated viewing reveals more detail. You would think if it’s there then your eye would see it. There’s no doubt that it’s true though. I’ve seen it for myself! I wanted to see the Skull PN last year but never managed it. Thank you for the reminder. I shall add onto the list
  13. Littleguy80

    Mind the gap

    Thanks Stu. Was great to try out some of the new gear under dark skies. Fingers crossed for clear skies at SGLSP. Was hoping to go but sadly I am required at work. I’m looking forward to some reports from the party though
  14. Littleguy80

    Mind the gap

    Cheers Calvin. Have fun in Skye. I have a feeling your views of 6946 will be more impressive than the ones I enjoyed last night
  15. Littleguy80

    Mind the gap

    Dark skies are like getting a free upgrade to your telescope! It was indeed the Astronomik OIII. The 18” was very impressive. I saw M57 through and the number of fainter stars I could see around it was amazing. I didn’t see the central star but it probably just needed a bit more mag than we were using.

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