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About davhei

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    Star Forming

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  1. When I observed Mars last week with my 10” dob it had gotten pretty dark and I struggled to make out details. Realized the night vision I had started to build up was working against me as the bright glare from Mars blotted out a lot of contrast. Shone my white light flashlight at the white painted OTA and stared at it for a while and when returning to the eyepiece it made a world of difference. The south polar cap popped out and also some albedo features on the red surface. After a while the features started becoming less obvious so I repeated the process and then they came back again. A powerful tool to try out. Not to mention simple.
  2. Had a chance to try out this counterweight setup last night. Was doing mainly planetary observing at low altitudes that previously tended to cause the scope to slowly tilt downwards. This time the balance was excellent! Could loosen the handles on the dob almost fully and still it maintained position. What a joy! Tried some deep sky when it got dark enough and picked out M57, the double cluster and Albireo reaching altitudes of +60 degrees and still well balanced. What a difference counterweighting does. Very happy about it!
  3. As long as you can comfortably lift it, throwing a 6” or a 10” into the car is a similar exercise and set up is also more or less the same, bar a bit more collimating with the larger one perhaps. Granted I’m saying that from the perspective of having an estate car. Would definitely recommend more aperture to increase the chance of long term enjoyment, unless storage space is at a premium and the weight is an issue. Choices, choices...
  4. I second going for 10” as a first scope, if you think you can manage the heavier lifting. In my view it hits a sweet spot balancing portability and light grasp. 12” would be a bit too unwieldy for me and 8” would present a similar threshold in lugging it into and out of a car for instance, but with slightly less aperture. Wouldn’t be deterred by light pollution but if mainly dso’s are your thing I would certainly go to your darker site for observing as often as possible and save the home location for moon, planets and maybe double stars and bright clusters. I also spent a year stargazing with swaro el 42’s. Finest binos I have looked through and wonderful on the night sky. I really enjoy the flat field and pinpoint stars but also the steady view and large FOV of 8.5x42 binos compared to larger ”astro binos”. Observed 30-odd messier objects with them from a reasonably dark site, bortle 4 or there about. Great way to familiarize yourself with the sky before jumping at a scope. As you might have guessed I had first decided on an 8” but got talked into a 10” by a more experienced gazer at the local club. Haven’t regretted it. Welcome to the lounge!
  5. Much better conditions today than my observation from two nights ago. I’m at a more southerly location and there is less cloud. Definitely a naked eye object now which is wasn’t two nights ago for me. Been sitting outside observing with binos for two hours now, time just flies by.. Image with mobile cam through binos. Pretty desperate I know...
  6. Away at a small rural retreat with the family a good way up north at close to 61 degrees latitude. Decided to set my alarm to go out and have a peek at the sky at its darkest. Beautiful noctilucent clouds in the northern sky and Jupiter and Saturn shining prominently in the south. Moon rising bright yellow above the treeline and Mars following it with a distinct red hue. Tried to locate comet NEOWISE with the naked eye using Capella as a reference but couldn’t make anything out. Northern sky bright and plenty of thin cloud. Tried using my small 8x25 binos and found it! Core clearly visible and the wispy tail stretching out a fair bit. Lovely. Still no luck seeing it naked eye even knowing where to look. My wife had asked me to wake her if I found it so I did. Bleary eyed and wrapped in a blanket she joined me on the lawn. Handed her the binos and showed her where to look. Saw her straining for a while: ”That was a tiny little thing wasn’t it?!” Guess I had gotten her hopes up a bit too much talking about a naked eye comet and all. Well, noctilucent clouds, rising moon and planets made her happy all in all. Snapped a picture of the clouds. Can’t see the comet in it though.
  7. Here’s yet another solution I slapped together. Got a number of metal plates with M5 holes from the hardware store. Had two neodymium rubber clad magnets with M5 threads that I fastened to a stack of plates using two bolts. Finally put some duct tape around the arrangement to soften out the edges. Perhaps not that elegant but seems to balance the scope nicely. Counterweight weighs around 2,2 kg which seems enough for balancing my moonlite focuser with spacers and my heaviest eyepiece which is in fact not that heavy at just below 0.5 kg.
  8. Excellent weather here, but also bright nights with the sun barely reaching seven degrees below the horizon at one o’clock. I will take my 10” dob out to view jupiter around midnight, try to catch a GRS transit and have a go at saturn as well. Planets are low obviously but I have a nice location in mind with a clear horizon by the sea that works well. If nothing else a beautiful place to enjoy a northern white night. Edit: I will take a nap now.
  9. CentaurZ, I sent you a DM with some details on timing to confirm your model. Thanks again!
  10. Snapped this with mobile phone through the eyepiece, surprisingly good I thought considering. Was fairly easy to locate the pair in binos when I set up two hours before. When I tried again an hour or so later, I couldn’t find them. Luckily i kept tracking in my dob, nudging it every five minutes. Magnificent event!
  11. Welcome Nicolas and thank your for that fascinating introduction.
  12. In one of those rare occurances it seems Sweden will have a sunny midsummer's eve (Friday). Any swede will tell you this is almost the stuff of legend and myth, not sure it has ever happened before to be honest. Well, there is still time for unforecasted rain clouds to roll in though so I shall not get my hopes up.
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