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About Girders

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  1. Saturn in the mornings?

    Thanks for the 'heads up'. I'd had a look out the window around 2am and it looked promising (thinking of Jupiter/Mars rather than Saturn really), but by the time I woke again shortly before 6am it had clouded over (just outside Glasgow). Forecast isn't looking great for next several days but if I get an unexpectedly clear morning I'll try and have a look.
  2. Saturn in the mornings?

    Just as an update, I did manage to get myself up and out for just after 5am. And after letting the scope cool for a bit, I was rewarded with some nice views of Jupiter and Mars. I'm still struggling to get a proper look at Jupiter's bands, but was definitely able to spot them as slightly varied shades of cream/magnolia/off-white/yogurt. Annoyingly, I couldn't quite get the smartphone adapter to line up, so no pics. And yes, as expected, there was no chance I was going to get a look at Saturn before the sky got brighter - think I'm probably a good few weeks away yet.
  3. For the first time in what seems like weeks the forecast is for a clear night in Glasgow on Thursday night into Friday morning. Got our first scope in December and have been counting the days until we get the chance for a peek at Saturn. It's due to rise around 6:40 am on Friday and sunrise is 8:22 am. I'm concerned it will be too bright to see Saturn by the time it's high enough above the horizon. Has anyone given it a go in recent days or should I resigned myself to having to wait a bit longer (I'll get up and out for another go at Jupiter and Mars anyway). Thanks
  4. Hello

    Welcome. That's a cracking introduction image!
  5. Sorry, no real suggestions for anything portable, but I'll be following responses with interest as I'm in the same position. I've got the Heritage Virtuoso mount and use it on a solid metal garden table (dining table type height) which itself is pretty stable, but the fact it sits on decking is a problem when I move! I've not taken it anywhere else yet, but am thinking about the practicalities of doing so. I'd been thinking more along the lines of a thick "builder's" mixing bucket or a large/deep rectangular plastic storage tub.
  6. Frustration to Elation

    Good Luck!
  7. Frustration to Elation

    Thanks for the report. I enjoyed reading that much more than MacCaig's "Aunt Julia" - although I do remember large parts of the poem despite my schoolboy studies being almost 30 years ago! Like you, I nipped out to the garden this evening for a couple of hours before the haze shrouded over most of the sky and I was happy to get decent views of the Orion Nebula and the Pleiades. I think we've got too much light pollution for much more than that but I'm slowly gaining confidence with the scope so will aiming for a trip to darker skies soon. And thanks for the reminder - I think my RDF battery will need replaced soon. "Aunt Julia spoke gaelic, very loud and very fast..."
  8. Might give that a go (to keep warm as much as anything!).
  9. Cheers. Managed Pleiades a few nights, but it was disappointing under the light pollution having had a brilliant view of it under a dark sky with binoculars not so long ago. Also spotted the Orion Nebula on one of our first sessions with the scope, but when I've tried to spot it again the conditions haven't been good enough. And looks like I'm in for a week of heavy cloud cover. Stellaruim it is then...
  10. That's a great image. The SW wifi adapter is on my "list" but I think to make it worthwhile we'd need to be heading out to some dark sky sites and before then I need to get a lot more familiar with what I'm doing in the dark - and sort out a portable table to sit it on. Going to keep taking any chance I can to get out in the back garden and then start thinking about getting out and about once Jupiter/Mars/Saturn are up in the evening again. DSOs aren't really an option with our light pollution from the garden but happy to practice on the moon for now - and occasional early rises for planets.
  11. Hi happy-kat, and thanks for asking. I got the motorised mount up and running and the tracking set up. Having the motorised control makes things much easier - once I've found a target I won't lose it. The tracking is good - although there's still an inevitable (but much smaller) drift for the planets (although my accuracy for north at 5:30 am in the dark may not have been perfect!). Weather sadly has curtailed any sessions since the Jupiter/Mars conjunction. For the couple of sessions I managed around then Jupiter was still a bright solid disk. I know the seeing conditions were poor at the time - although I did detect the merest hint of a couple of less bright bands for a fleeting second. But I was happy to see Jupiter and 4 moons in the same view as Mars. I'd got a variable moon filter and although good for the moon, it didn't reveal anything more on Jupiter. And from seeing other posts in the forum I know my experience wasn't much different from most others. Photo below... Essentially I'm happy that the scope is working as designed and I'm resigned to the fact that I may be in for a considerable wait until seeing conditions are better, the clouds disappear and Jupiter is higher in the sky (and preferably in the evening). But before then, I'm counting the days/weeks until I'll get my first proper chance to have a look at Saturn.
  12. Observing on a budget.

    Great post - speaking as someone who has just jumped into the hobby but carefully limited my expenditure to things that will make a difference (tracking was an essential for sharing with a 4 year old!). Think we've spent about £225 on scope and mount followed by a few bits and bobs. And we've definitely got our money's worth even just in those few weeks with the interest/learning my daughter is getting from it. I like to compare it cost wise with golf - where you have an outlay for kit, but also likely on going membership or green fees too. At least once we've bought our gear the sky is essentially free. And as a former fair weather golfer the number of days in a year I made it out on the course were pretty similar to clear skies here. The other thing I take from your post - and my experience over the last couple of months - is that effort is rewarded more than expenditure. Someone with a basic telescope but willing to brave the cold late nights and drag themselves out if bed in the middle of the night - or travel to a darker location - or just persist until they get lucky with good seeing - will see things much better than someone who has spent thousands but isn't willing to brave the elements or let his/her vision acclimatise. My other comment is that if looked after, there's always a home for gear you grow out of - either through selling it to recoup costs or pass it on to the next generation.
  13. Mars & Jupiter nearing conjunction

    Managed to drag myself out of bed into -4 degrees around 5am to let the scope (Heritage 114p) cool for a bit before starting. Still frustrated by lack of visible banding (apart from some very subtle shading) despite trying a variable moon filter, but thrilled to see Jupiter (+ 4 moons) and Mars in a single view. Weather in Glasgow was very helpful and it stayed clear for a good couple of hours. Used magnifications mostly of 83x and 100x - couldn't get them both in at 167x. Photo/video from an old iPhone 4 hooked up with a smartphone adaptor - so no real control (or even a self timer to remove shake from the still). Only had the scope a few weeks and just set up the tracking a couple of days ago, so I'm calling this a successful beginning. Enjoying seeing everyone else's photos from this morning. Thanks for sharing. J4MM - 1 - HD 720p.mov
  14. Now we've got our first scope up an running my four year old daughter is enjoying getting some close up views of the moon. Wide image taken with a Google Pixel phone and the moon image through the scope is with an old iPhone 4 attached by a smartphone adaptor with a 25mm lens (I think). No processing. Scope is a Skywatcher Heritage 114p. Lets call the wide shot a competition "entry" and the moon pic a "For info only" companion piece. First time using the smartphone adaptor and it was a real bonus - made things so much easier for her to view than trying to get her to see through the eyepiece without ever being able to know what she's managed to see.
  15. Thanks Pig. I did consider collimation being a problem but ruled it out as it's absolutely perfect for daylight terrestrial and lunar observing (any blurred edges are due to the photography)