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About philhilo

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    West Midlands, UK
  1. Thanks everyone for the replies, I went back through the light frames and found one image of M103 amongst the M31s. DSS seems to have latched onto that and used it as its primary image......possibly.....I think. I restacked everything pulling out a couple of satellite trailed images, then did some stretches and curves on GIMP and what I got is below. 2 purchases coming up, an 80mm APO before I go to NW Scotland in September ( for the larger stuff, the 200PDS will still go - family will expect to see stuff), and a narrow band filter for use at home in the autumn/winter. Then I just have to get the guiding working and get my head around more complex processing.....there may be more questions. M31 final.xcf
  2. Hi Adrenaline, that sounds like a stack of work - I have just about figured the histogram stretches! Thanks for that, I am using GIMP, Photoshop seems like a lot of £££ for something which I wont be touching the vast majority of it, PixInsight at least seems Astro dedicated if still a fair few £ (also reading the info on the website I do agree that some of the actions I have seen being taken on Photoshop did seem closer to painting an image rather than processing).
  3. So, been working on imaging for a year or so, had a good outcome with M51 1st off - as in I could see it, wrestled with DSS, got 20 minutes unguided together lovely. Have slowly learnt that from a Bortle class 8 location that was a lucky start. Through a long slow process have moved on in tiny increments. Various other attempts with galaxies have shown that the light pollution swamps the dimmer galaxies - I can see them but never manage to pull them out of the background when processing. I thought I would take a stab at M31 - its bright, big (actually too big for my 200PDS) and not too low (unguided I want stuff not rocketing around). I got 20 minutes of 30 second subs with the centre of the galaxy clearly visible - looking good I thought, stars were there, pretty round stars (no coma corrector so coma shaped round at the edges), even some nice colours - put them with darks and bias frames (crushed I forgot to do flats, added to my imaging process checklist) into DSS and waited for the output and …… out came a very dark image, and any trace of M31 had vanished. Was I using the wrong set of light frames? Have I changed a setting somewhere? Tried restacking many times, pulling out various frames that weren't so good but to no avail, not much light and no galaxy. Tried processing the image in GIMP. Pulled the data out from the far left corner of the histogram into the visible realm and no sign of M31.What is going on? Baffled of Solihull. One of the lights and the DSS output attached (yes they are labelled as M103 - not that organised yet with Backyard EOS to switch naming between targets). M103_LIGHT_30s_800iso_+18c_20190808-01h30m38s196ms.CR2 Autosave001.tif
  4. So what did I do? First up thanks for everyone's advice, it gave me lots to think about. I decided the smart move would be to check out the local societies, go along to a stargazing session or two and handle the kit - good plan. What did I actually do, well the stargazing sessions were a month or more away and I had the urge, the terrible urge, and ebay involves pressing a button or two. So I am now the proud owner of a Skywatcher 200PDS on an EQ5 mount, with 2" 28mm lens, rods, a laser collimator, and all beautifully packaged up in carrying bags. This is quite a step up from the point and shoot TAL1! Now I need a book, more research, some time, and some clear skies (after I have put it all together in the daylight). Then the sky is the limit (maybe a few more lenses will help, not sure what but I will figure that out). In the longer term I think the SCT with goto might be the way to go for speed of set up, compactness, and ease of use with a group. But that's a big investment. With this set up I can learn, and always pass it on - it is in top notch condition and is top of the range and still gives me the option of motorising. Clear skies!
  5. Thanks Alfian, that's all very useful info around the TAL. I had thought about remounting the TAL onto a tripod as a starter. Certainly worth considering as a back up, or even an option if space is at a premium (not that a 200mm takes up much more space than a 110mm. I have even thought about a TAL2M (6") - one went for £30 on ebay recently, but that still has the pier problem and wouldn't quite give me the wow factor of the 8". EQ5 - get used to the EQ5 then add 200mm Newtonian. That's a good learning and financial curve, but will check out an AZ4 for group handling.
  6. Yep spent plenty of time in the States in the National Parks looking at RVs bigger than our house, with a Harley on the back and towing an SUV! So yes I can imagine a few thousand dollars on a telescope would be neither here nor there! If they keep buying them then we can snap them up at bargain prices. It is the same in many hobbies, slightly used dive kit is easy to come by, skiwear too.
  7. Thank you all for keeping my brain ticking on this one. Budget, this side of £300 - rules out the CGT alas, and would need a extra 0 for the CGT with GOTO! Something to aim at if the business goes well. All these new to me objects have me salivating and always excited to introduce new folks to really seeing the universe as opposed to being fed images. There are an awful lot used twice telescopes out there on EBay and Gumtree (8" OTAs usually around £150) and maybe something will come up. Hyper Giant - nice simple set up, and ample for seeing bright easy to find objects? Brown Dwarf, good suggestions. It's got me looking at my local astronomical societies to see if I can go have a play with these different bigger set ups to see what is going to work the best. The Dobs are excellent value and I could go to an EQ mount later on. Really struggling with the concept of a group trying to observe without endlessly relocating objects, I guess I need to see that in action. Storage......now that's a factor with the Dobs. They don't pack down well do they, I guess that's where the flex tubes come in, but then you pay a penalty with set up times I suspect, many, many swings and roundabouts. Getting an easily set up flat area would be a solution, not that hard to do......maybe. I think my mission will be to get the TAL1 back up and running (trying to bargain to get a few parts to help it, and then tackle collimation from a pile of pieces to a fully collimated scope), really get to grips with that and at the same time go my hands on other set ups in the field to figure out what's going to work.
  8. Gotcha, I guess that exposes my level of knowledge with the TAL, find object go, find object go. Not too much tracking. I guess a bit of planning will be needed (and a good supply of wild beers and wines to keep people occupied between objects). Cooling fan, I guess it will be sitting in the vehicle all day which might be hot or cold, so would need to think about setting it up early and using a dew shield?
  9. Thanks for the replies folks. Definitely not planning on hiking with it! Put it up next to the car/camper as an after dinner experience. Was thinking tripod would be a better bet on uneven/sloping ground. What's the issue with reflectors and tripods? The TAL's pedestal is bomb proof but impractical in the field - no quick way of dealing with slopes. Thought the tripod mount would at least allow adjustment, and if it all goes well then I could get a GOTO kit and make things even easier when the skies are patchy. As the TAL has never required collimation, I am getting my first taste of that as I rebuild it, and wondered how long and how better suited different scopes are to travelling? Want setup to be reasonably user friendly for guests to view through. The most sensible answer would be a small refractor, but that doesn't really impress with the planetary (as planets are going to be the biggest wow followed by the bigger galaxies) images. I guess the reality is I also want an 8" as an upgrade, but I want to make sure it will be usable in the field and I have found one on an EQ5 mount at a very reasonable price, ~£200. Done some reading on the heritage Dob - wow, what good value for money, and if I was going to keep it at home for me, brilliant. However will it deal with slopey ground, and getting 4 - 8 first time viewers a decent view of a planet, that's a lot of nudging? Phil
  10. I am looking for a scope that I can use out in dark skies places with groups who I take climbing and foraging. I am renovating a TAL 1 but now think that the pedestal stand is going to be a mare in a muddy sloping field. So looking for another telescope ( it might be an excuse). Is a second hand Skywatcher 200P a good idea? Thinking tripod better for uneven ground, higher magnification for better images of dramatic objects I.e planets and galaxies? Will it be mare to set up out of the car in a field, will collimation take forever? Is it fragile (the TAL is a tank, literally according to rumours). Would I be better with a similar Celestron, should I think of something different again or stick with the TAL? I am at least getting back up to speed with the TAL 1 and it's renovation.
  11. I am renovating a 1995 TAL1 that has been circulating around the family and it has a broken ring on the finderscope bracket. TAL dealers only seem to sell them with finderscopes from the USA - which would cost more than a 2nd hand TAL! Anybody have one lying around, maybe a sad TAL beyond repair could be a donor? (I could probably get a modern finderscope bracket and make it fit, but that wouldn't be renovation, or I could do some epically complicated resin casting/gluing fingers crossed mend that breaks on 1st use, but lets hope someone has one?)
  12. Thanks Geoff. No major issue drilling the tube, just haven't seen a suitable 2 ring bracket yet. Cheers.
  13. Hi All, and especially anyone who reads a newbies 1st post. I have inherited a much abused telescope, that I have identified as a 1985 TAL1. I have used this over the years and know it produces great images. It has the original x3 Barlow and a 15mm EP, but no 25mm. After living outside in a box it is filthy inside and out (no tube cap so it is full of spiders, their victims and dust). I have found Astro Babys' guide to renovating the TAL1 however there is one fly in the ointment. One of the finderscope bracket rings is long since broken and the fragment missing (see photo). I am aware that the finderscope is pretty good so am keen to keep that. Before I try to cobble up a wooden or plastic pipe fix is there a replacement bracket option? .....and as a supplementary question is it worth getting a 25mm and a 10mm EP and what would folks recommend? Thanks in advance, Phil
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