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Silent Running

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About Silent Running

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  • Interests
    Desert camping. Visual observer, and aspiring astrophotographer.
  • Location
    Saudi Arabia and Glasgow
  1. Haha same! I couldn't resist after reading your review. Over last week with beautiful clear nights I've been turning my refractor on the Moon a lot. Since I don't have my imaging gear here in lockdown, its visual only. Its been great! Now I'm looking forward to reading more about the Moon
  2. Last week was just amazing and sadly a bit unusual here on the edge of Glasgow: night after night of pretty clear skies. I had the Rowan AZ100 out almost every night. Early impressions... this is a really great mount. I ordered a Berlebach Uni18 tripod with mine which was both lighter and a bit less expensive than the Planet tripod. The tripod and mount (minus counterweight) together are not lightweight but are not hard to carry out to the back garden. Separate trips for the counterweight and bar, and the Telescope. Initially I didn't have the counterweight for my refractor which weighs almost 8kg. It worked OK without counterweight, but movements are certainly smoother now. I also went for the Nexus DSC setup. This has been a revelation to me, never having used setting circles before. For alignment, jit asks you to point the scope vertically press OK, then proceed to align on 1st star, press OK then on to second star, OK. Done. It gives a readout of the pointing error after the second star. After that I went to the Messier Catalogue. M13...spot on. The objects were always nicely in the field centering depending on how carefully I had done the alignment. I am quite limited here, with no widefield eyepieces and no reticle eyepiece for more accurate alignment. I only have zoom eyepieces in a binoviewer. But the Nexus makes a beautiful paring with the Rowan. For large slews just release the clutches and move the mount... so smooth, following the directions on the Nexus screen. When you are close, tighten the clutches, and use the slow-motion controls... they are such a pleasure to use. I would strongly recommend the AZ100, with or without Nexus. But for me with rather limited starhopping skills the Nexus is a superb addition.
  3. Amazing! I was fairly delighted to get barely perceptible smudges of M101 and M51 with my refractor last night. Reading your and others reports, I am starting to understand the allure of large Dobs...
  4. Thanks, it felt fantastic just being able to see M101 and M51... even though of course no structure visible. Looking forward to more
  5. Living in lockdown like everyone else, I haven't been able to return to my work in the Middle East. All my astrophotography gear is over there... so frustrating when the last few nights have been so clear. Luckily I had a refractor scope in the attic and put it on an alt-az mount. No motor, but I do have Nexus digital setting circles. Fortunately i have a binoviewer and a pair of 8-24 zoom eyepieces. I downloaded an e-copy of Stargazing in Suburban Skies from the Patrick Moore series, and decided to try and work my way through it. Armed with these i have been rediscovering the joys of observing from my Bortle 5/6 back garden on the edge of Glasgow. Although the Clear Outside app gave heavy cloud cover, the reality was a gorgeous crystal clear night... but cold. Starting with the gorgeous crescent Venus at dusk, I spent a long time looking at a Planet I had never really studied before. I concentrated on the circum polar regions mainly. I really enjoyed simple things like splitting Polaris, Alcor/Mizar group, Castor and Archid in Cassiopoea. Then a few star clusters in Cassiopoea and Perseus. NGC 457, the Double Cluster, alpha and the nearby Muscle Man Cluster. Sadly, zoomed out to 24mm (magnification x34) was too much to see the whole figure of the stick man. And my favourite, the Owl Cluster... many of these I had never seen before. With rising ambition, I homed in on M51 and M101 expectantly. With averted vision and slight movements of the scope, I could make out faint nebulosity in both galaxies. They were at the edge of perception given the LP. M51 was slightly more prominent. I hope there will be more nights as clear as this. Clear skies and keep well everyone.
  6. OMG! I think that Horizon program was back in the 1990s!!!
  7. Full cloud cover now in Glasgow and just packed up. Unfortunately the 'attic' refractor doesn't have a finder scope!!! It was in the attic for the last 4 years and I completely forgot that important point. But at least great views of the moon and venus and a few beautiful double stars. I've ordered a finder and the astro shops are still trading online, and DHL still delivering, so fingers crossed. I guess it's important that the economy doesn't shut down completely. Seeing all your images, I wish I had a camera of some sort here! .... I love Wagner too! Actually I still have fond memories of a BBC Horizon Special on the Voyager missions approaching Jupiter and Saturn with the sound track playing Siegfrieds funeral music from Gotterdammerung
  8. Gina, arent you in Devon? Down there in the balmy South? I used to work down there at a hospital in Plymouth before moving up to Scotland!
  9. Oh, i'm checking in from Glasgow
  10. All my imaging gear and goto mount are back in Saudi Arabia and out of reach, but the 5" refractor I was keeping in the attic waiting for my final return is dusted off... I've just put it on a manual alt-az. So I'm set up like Dave1. No brasso though I'm just going to enjoy the night sky visually I guess over the next few weeks... rediscover the pleasure of observing... omg star-hopping?? The Moon looks simply stunning, and I think this is the best view I have ever had of Venus. Still getting darker. But having been in Saudi for the last few years I had forgotten how none chillingly cold it is here at night... I've got some salopettes somewhere!!
  11. Hi Gerry, Please do keep reporting. We all need distractions from the current situation in order to maintain our mental health, which contributes to a better functioning immune system and therefore reduces our chances of transmitting infection Now with flights cancelled, I'm 'stuck' back here in Scotland and couldn't return to my work in Saudi Arabia. One has to try and see a kind of silver lining I suppose. Only problem... most of my astro gear and all my imaging stuff is over there in Saudi. Actually I do have a 5" refractor up in the attic, which I've not really used yet, which was waiting for my final return from Saudi. Although not in your big scope league, I will try and get it up and running for visual use. Clear skies, Jo
  12. Hi John, Welcome to SGL. Wow you've made quicker progress than me. I love your image. I must try harder! Clear skies, Jo
  13. Hi, I enjoyed hearing about your early progress. You begin with one thing... phone app... binoculars and become quite expert in a small way, then branch into something new, and find you're back on the bottom rung of a new ladder, and it's the same story again and again with the steps always beckoning upwards and onwards... I guess this is the joy of our infinite hobby. There will always be something new for each of us to discover. I keep making new 'discoveries' at my basic level that I'm sure are so obvious and familiar to the old hands here. But everyone is so supportive of your steps along the way, and I think relives their own discoveries in reading your account. Enjoy your voyage to the stars...
  14. What a fascinating thread. I am feeling inspired. I haven't so far had the chance to look through a large dob, and can't quite imagine seeing the HH neb with my own eyes. Looking forward to more reports...
  15. Thanks for info and opinions. I guess it will be a little while before I can justify more gear!
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