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About jdg600

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    Star Forming

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    Visual observing - particularly double stars.
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  1. That sir, is a thing of beauty!
  2. I've had a 50mm 1.8 lens on my eos 1100d for about a year now and I've never really had much luck with it for astro shots. Anyway this morning I had the wheeze of using my Rigel Quickfinder for setting the focus at infinity on my lenses. My idea was that as the quickfinder uses a lens to project a circle that is effectively infinitely far away I could focus on this circle with the camera and thus find the infinity focus point of my lenses. This seemed to work ok for my 18-55 kit lens but when I put the nifty-fifty on I found that it wont focus to infinity - it hits the focus-stop just as the ring is coming into focus. Has anyone encountered this kind of problem before? Is it possible to adjust the focus-stop on the lens? I'd be very grateful for any ideas on this as I was hoping to use this lens with my new Vixen Polarie for some wide-field ap.
  3. With a few days off over the yuletide period I decided it was time to clean the mirror of my 8-inch dob which had got to looking quite grubby. This is the first time I've ever performed this procedure but all went well and I reassembled and re-collimated the scope with no problems. This morning presented the first opportunity I've had to give the scope a try so my first job was to do a star-test. The star test looked good with nice round concentric diffraction patterns visible on both sides of focus but I noticed that on one side of the focused position three equally-spaced small depressions were evident in the outer ring of the pattern. I assume that these are due to the clips that hold the main mirror in place. It's entirely possible that the diffraction patterns looked like this before I had the mirror out and I had just never noticed but I'd be grateful for any advice, is this normal or have I made some mistake in reassembling the scope. John
  4. Thanks for the offer Keith, I'd love to pop over and have a look at the XLT 120 some time if we ever have any clear skies. Love the 'gun-rack' Lowjiber. I bet you get some wonderful skies out in Nevada. It wouldn't be worth keeping a mount permanently set up and aligned here in north-west England, we so rarely get any clear skies.
  5. jdg600

    Sigma Cassiopeia

    I understand what you're saying Pat and Chris. The sketches aren't really accurate representations of the view through the eyepiece but I just like to do them to keep some record of what I've seen and to record my overall impressions of the relative brightness, separation and angle.
  6. ... but as we're talking about compact catadioptrics, how do people rate the Omni XLT 127 SCT?
  7. Thanks for the replies guys. I have thought about swapping my Skymax 90 for the 127 version. I would have to get a better mount for it though, I know a lot of people swear by the Skymax 90/Synscan AZ package but I hate my Synscan AZ: I find it slow, noisy and worst of all wobbly. I know the 127 OTA is highly rated but somehow it doesn't have the allure of a refractor.
  8. Thanks Jules. I hear what you're saying about the Tal, I've always wanted one but they come in at about £500 on a EQ5 and that's a bit outside my budget. Also I really want an eq mount so that I can piggy-back my camera for wide-field ap. Do you think the Tal is significantly better than the Omni 102? I did read somewhere that some of the later Tal's have quality control issues?
  9. As I seem to be mostly interested in double stars and planetary these days I'm thinking of trading the dob in for a refractor. I quite like the Celestron Omni XLT 120 or the Celestron Omni XLT 102, both of which are on offer at FLO at the moment, but I don't really know anything about these scopes. Does anyone have any experience of them? The CG4 mount looks sturdier than Skywatcher's EQ3-2 but I'm wondering if the 120 is undermounted on it and if I'd be better off with the 102, especially as I'd like to piggy-back my dslr on it. Any advice on this would be most welcome. John
  10. jdg600

    And yet more...

    More and more doubles...
  11. I couldn't agree more Chris. Doubles are my favourite objects. As you say you can view them under LP skies or even when there is a full moon in the sky and they actually show you some colour. I've just started working my way through the Astronomical League's list of 100 doubles: http://www.astroleague.org/files/obsclubs/DblStar/dblstar2.pdf which should keep me going for a while. I'm also thinking of trading in my dob for a refractor or maybe a MCT which is better suited for this line of work.
  12. I bought a Synscan AZ to mount my little Skymax 90 on but have been very disappointed with the tripod. At the slightest touch of the focuser the whole setup shakes, rattles and rolls more than Bill Haley and the Comets. I know that this mount is supplied with the Skymax 127 which is a much heavier tube and that many people are greatly enamored of this setup so I'm guessing that there must be a way to improve the stability of the tripod. I'd be most grateful for any advice.
  13. A few observations from last night.
  14. Just spotted this tripod on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ravelli-AVTP-Professional-Camera-Tripod/dp/B00139W0XM/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1416912640&sr=8-13&keywords=tripod It looks pretty good for the money and I'm wondering if it would make a decent grab n' go set up with my Skymax 90. Has anyone got any experience of this tripod please?
  15. A quick sketch of Sigma Cass from yesterday evening.
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