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About Girders

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  1. Thanks for the great answers - exactly what I was looking for. I'll have a look at Stellarium to see what's likely to be visible from my location when I'm there and I'll get the wifi adapter ordered.
  2. I've had a SW Heritage 114p since November and have enjoyed lunar and planetary observing (weather permitting). My sky isn't dark enough so DSOs aren't really a viable target, so I'd not got round to adding a WiFi adapter to the Virtuoso Mount. But I've got a week away at a relatively dark sky area and am tempted to add the Go-to function, but I'm not sure whether (even if I'm lucky with the weather) my score is capable of showing much. Any thoughts on what my 114mm mini dobbson is likely to show (factoring in that during summer in Scotland it's never truly dark). I don't want to throw £60 at the adapter and find it's of limited use. Thanks in advance, David
  3. I think the problem with ebay - for a beginner at least - its that you will inevitably find yourself at times unable to get the scope to do (or appear to do) what you expect to see. At that point it can be very difficult to tell (even with help on here) whether it's something you are doing wrong or if it's a problem with the scope. And while with 'proper' retailers or fellow 'proper' hobbyist astronomers you can probably easily go back for advice with eBay it's *likely* to be someone who bought or was given a scope and never/rarely used it so can't tell you if it ever worked properly, or help you with any problems you're having. I suspect eBay can be useful once you know what you're doing but even then there are other options where you can be more confident what you are buying has been looked after.
  4. The Heritage 114p with Virtuoso mount has positives and negatives. I've had mine (in Glasgow) for 6 months now - although observing sessions have been weather limited. Positives: If the best scope is the one you use, it can't be beaten if your main plans are for back garden observing. You just pick it up, cart it outside and put it on a table. Let it cool for a but and you're good to go. No tripod to set up or bits to put together. The motorised tracking of the mount is a huge plus even without full goto. If you'll be regularly observing with someone else there is nothing worse than having to relocate an object each time you "switch". I believe goto can now be added very easily with the Skywatcher wifi adapter (around £60) which combines with your smartphone (this is my next purchase). Negatives: Although fantastic for the moon, I've struggled with Jupiter. It shows a good size disc and the moons clearly but I've only got glimpses of the bands. My skies aren't dark enough anyway but I suspect the smaller aperture will limit any use for galaxies etc beyond the "easiest" ones.
  5. I've had my Heritage 114p Virtuoso since November and enjoyed some good backyard sessions (not many lately though due to weather). In June we're getting a few days (and more importantly nights) away in rural northern Scotland where the skies will be significantly darker than my light polluted location outside Glasgow. I know in the Scottish "summer" there's limited proper darkness but I'm still thinking it will be worth taking the scope on our trip if I'm prepared to put in a shift in the early hours. But transporting it on a 3 hour car journey is a worry... And although I believe the primary mirror is fixed I'd rather not have to delve into collimating on arrival. Is the original packing box my best option or should I be looking to get a carry case? It's not a common size (500 length x 114 diameter) so I haven't found one made to fit - and I don't want to pay silly money. And yes, I know that if I take the scope I'm just going to jinx my whole holiday with clouds and rain. Thanks David
  6. Thanks Geoff - very useful to know what some of the alternative options are for this mount (it's not always easy to find OTA weights in specs).
  7. I've got the Heritage 114p - the same Virtuoso mount but with 114p newtonian scope. I've been very happy with it - although as a beginner my use has been limited. It seems well built and it's quick and simple to set up - I can't imagine there's anything better as a truly portable "grab and go" as I can literally just pick it up and carry it outside and onto the garden table. The concept of the tabletop mount works (fairly) well for me but you do need to be aware that regardless of how solid the table is (or whatever you sit it on) it still depends on the ground/surface underneath - decking with a little too much bounce in my case. You do also need to work out a seating/standing arrangement that gets you at the right height for viewing. Tracking has been fine for visual, but I think I read somewhere that as it's movements are very small up/down left/right rather than a true equatorial movement it isn't the best for long exposures? I believe it also happily works with the Skywatcher wifi adaptor to provide go-to control via tablet/phone instead of having to buy a synscan handset. This is next on my purchase list! The 114p has been good as a starter scope (had it since November) but I am now thinking of upgrade options and trying to find what the best scope I can get that will keep under the virtuoso mounts payload of 4kg. Lastly, I have seen the mount and 90mm mak turn up individually on Astroboot (been tempted to go for the mak myself)
  8. Girders

    Dirty eyes?

    I've always noticed them now and again, and yes looking through high magnification eyepieces with small exit pupil definitely makes them more obvious. Generally nothing to worry about, but as mentioned above if *lots* suddenly appear *in normal vision* ie not when looking through an eyepiece you should seek *urgent* attention particularly if you are very short sighted. I get regular warnings at eye tests that as I'm so short sighted I am at a much higher risk of a detached retina - the early signs of which would include lots of floaters. If it detached it can be re-attached if treated in first few hours so don't mess around if you fall into a similar category and notice them suddenly affecting your general eyesight.
  9. Ok, I'm a bad stargazer. Even for a beginner. I know I shouldn't do it for loads of reasons including temperature variation, double glazed glass etc etc. But last night I did. And it was pretty much exactly the same as all those nights I'd spent out in the cold... Now I do have a good excuse. I've got a really stinking cold so there was just no way I was heading out into the freezing Glasgow night at 2:30 am even though the same stinking cold had woken me up and I could see Jupiter nice and clear in the sky. As my RDF battery had recently run out I thought I'd pop downstairs and set the scope up on the dining table and view through the double glazed patio doors and use it as an opportunity to replace the battery and re-align the finder. And my views of Jupiter were almost as good as I've ever had before. OK, so the banding wasn't clear - but it never has been. The planet was a crisp circle with the moons clearly visible around it. And I'm pretty sure I'd have got a view of the bands if I'd had the time to settle into it before my 4 year old also woke up needing cuddles. Now I'm sure if you have a big scope or are interested in DSOs etc then observing from indoors will be hugely unsatisfactory, but with my little Heritage 114p it was very comparable with "the real thing" and keeping cosy inside was a huge bonus. Of course I'll be back out in the cold the first chance I get, but if similar circumstances arise again I'll definitely be giving it another go from inside.
  10. Girders

    Does it *ever* get relaxing?

    Oh dear. When I started this thread at the end of February I wasn't expecting my observing to become quite *this* relaxed. So relaxed in fact that it's been entirely non-existent ever since! Not through lack of interest but through lack of anything approaching clear skies. But early this morning I finally got out again. Despite making the rookie error of not checking the battery on the red dot finder, I had an enjoyable hour or so in the cold. Partly following the tips in the thread, and partly by the necessity of not having a working RDF, I just stuck with Jupiter. With no pressure of chasing "the next target" it was definitely more relaxing and I think I will try to do this going forward. Thanks again to all who contributed. Fingers crossed it won't be as long until my next session!
  11. Girders

    What to spend £130 Amazon voucher on?

    My geeky wife (said the bloke who bought a telescope) asked for a weather station for Christmas 2016 and we went for this one (or at least a differently branded version of what seems to be the same thing). A little over your budget but she's been really happy with it. https://www.amazon.co.uk/MISOL-OBSERVER-Wireless-Internet-Monitoring/dp/B01CSBJAN6/ref=sr_1_22?ie=UTF8&qid=1520023961&sr=8-22&keywords=weather+station+wifi Here's the one we actually bought: http://www.aercusinstruments.com/copy-of-aercus-instruments-weatherranger-professional-weather-station-with-wifi-and-real-time-internet-publishing/ Connects via wifi and there's no real display but you can set it up and view on the Underground website or apps on tablet and phone. https://www.wunderground.com/
  12. Girders

    Does it *ever* get relaxing?

    Thanks for that. I'll have a look tonight (seeing as I'll have no clear sky to look at!). Much appreciated.
  13. Girders

    Does it *ever* get relaxing?

    I've not experienced a summer where observing has been on my mind, but I still expect to get sufficiently dark in the early hours for me to see the things I'm interested in and my scope is capable of - Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and the moon. All of which should be viewable on the basis that I don't mind dragging myself out of bed or staying up until silly o clock (which I'm definitely willing to do for a clear night).
  14. Girders

    Does it *ever* get relaxing?

    Thanks again for all the interesting replies. I’m fortunate in that I’d been careful choosing my scope - with a lot of input from people on here. So, it’s a tabletop mini dob which makes set-up very quick - and the downside of a small aperture scope (114) and light pollution is that I don’t really have long lists of targets to work through - really just the moon, whatever planets are in view and a couple of clusters. Although I realise now I do need to spend more time on some of the more interesting coloured and double stars. ”relaxed” was maybe the wrong word, but I can’t think of a better one. I do find my time observing very enjoyable and usually finish very chilled - in every sense! I’ve not been doing this long enough to get frustrated, but as many of you picked up it’s more about missing opportunities or equally as bad of rushing through them. But I’ve seen lots of good ideas here and also been reassured by those saying “yes time is almost always a pressure - but don’t stress about it”. I’m also starting to feel more comfortable with the scope - which was a big pressure for me. The point was to help spark my wee girl’s imagination and needed to get the hang of things myself before really involving her in sessions. And I think I’m just about there. And of course the lack of decent weather I’ll just need to lear to file as “out with my control”.
  15. Girders

    Does it *ever* get relaxing?

    Thanks for all the replies. At least I know I'm not alone. I think it's got to me a bit this week with waking up to a couple of clear mornings despite forecasts of wall to wall clouds. In the three months of doing this I've realised just how limited the opportunities really are and it's hugely frustrating to miss them.

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