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Captain Magenta

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About Captain Magenta

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    Middlesex & SW Ireland
  1. Captain Magenta

    Fixed Height Tripods - Opinions Please..

    I've just taken the plunge in very similar vein - I'm not impressed at all with the tripod that came with my AZ-EQ6, which I believe is either the same or a scaled-up version of the EQ5 tripod. It's very springy, and the accessory-tray-tripling-as-spread-limiter-and-head-securing-platform is to my mind a dead-wrong design. I use it on a hard surface, and it regularly "jumps feet" even when I've thought I've been thorough in stabilizing it. As I write I await delivery of a Berlebach Planet, which I admit is adjustable, but shares the good features of the one you picture of being wooden, huge, and possessed of a proper spread-limiter. Plus it'll take 130kg!! Magnus
  2. Just Wow https://phys.org/news/2018-06-image-fireball-moon-venus.html
  3. Captain Magenta

    Jupiter and Zubenelgenubi

    Nice pic. It really has been hounding Jupiter. With dots at 7 day intervals, this chart shows Jupiter as of 01/06/18 being so regretful about leaving Zubenelgenubi it decides to go back and re-introduce itself . (The dotted line lower right is Mercury's path getting in on the act). Magnus
  4. Captain Magenta

    Dark sites in Kent, UK

    For very little money the 50mm f/1.8 ones are very good, but obviously not very wide especially with a crop sensor. For a little more, look at the Rokinon/Samyang range, 1.4 or 2.8 and 14, 24 or 35mm - they're all supposed to be very good for MW and minimal star-distortion. They keep the cost down by being manual-focus only, which is OK as auto-focus doesn't work at night anyway. I have a Samyang 24mm f/1.4 and I love it. I also have an Astrotrac but by now you're slipping down the slippery slope of spending...
  5. Captain Magenta

    Collimating Astrotrac

    Also check it for parallax, mine had terrible parallax out of the box. And the collimation of the rotating polarscope arm, mine was significantly out when I checked it (fix = pieces of tape under one side or the other). Finally, get a couple of inches of pipe-insulation to prevent it dropping out every time you breathe too hard Apologies in advance if you've already done all this, but I'm spelling out my own experience... Cheers, Magnus
  6. Captain Magenta

    Dark sites in Kent, UK

    Hi Billy https://www.lightpollutionmap.info is a good resource - apparently the Atlas 2015 setting is most meaningful. However, looking at that area, it may not be good news. Also, you'll probably need significant exposure time at f/4-ish on that lens, requiring some way of tracking the sky to prevent star-streaks or an excessively noisy (ISO-boosted) image. If you can get hold of an f/2.8 lens or faster, you'll be better off. Cheers, Magnus
  7. Captain Magenta

    Help for planetary newby please

    With a Mak 127 attached to the camera body of course there's no in-lens aperture as such, unless I'm missing something. You could jury-rig one by making up a lens-cap with a hole (offset to avoid the scope's central obstruction). Other controls might include reducing ISO and perhaps using the Neutral Density feature on the camera (not sure if the Canon 1000D has that, though) Cheers, Magnus
  8. Captain Magenta

    [POLL] How many telescopes do you have?

    SW Mak 180 (permanently resident in v dark SW Ireland) SW Mak 127 (permanently resident in light-polluted SW London) SW 300p Newt (bought off @neil phillips, just been transported to SW Ireland, yet to receive 1st light ... is "1st light" appropriate for a 2nd hand scope?) Also, in related vein, I'm a bit of a cyclist, and the cycling community's Roolz state that there are actually 2 formulae for calculating the correct number of bikes to own. I think it applies perfectly to scopes too: correct no. = N+1 and/or S-1 where N = no. of scopes you currently own; S = no. of scopes that would cause your partner to leave you Magnus
  9. Captain Magenta

    20x80 binocular balancing

    With Porro-prism binoculars the prisms themselves are often not very securely held in place, a sharp knock can be enough to shift a prism in its housing, resulting in an off-centre view at best. Actually dropping them can obviously be far worse. I bought a pair of new Opticron 10x70s recently which had clearly been dropped. But, as Peter says, easily fixed for not too much. Cheers, Magnus.
  10. Captain Magenta

    M13 Hercules Cluster First Attempt

    Much better than my first attempt at M13. Magnus
  11. I love the "double double". It's a beautiful sight when it's all sharp. In fact I've named the double-scull I half-own "Epsilon Lyrae": in our day the other owner and I were national champions in double sculls and we've struggled to name this boat for many many years. When I suggested this name to him, he said (finally) "that's good enough for me". Makes for a much more romantic name than "MBC290". Magnus
  12. Captain Magenta

    Jupiter and Venus 12/6/18

    Nice. Reminds me of my first "proper telescope" viewing session just under a year ago, also with a (Skywatcher) Mak 127. I never fail to be amazed looking at Jupiter and Saturn especially, and judging by planetary comments from far more experienced observers than I am, that thrill never goes away... Magnus
  13. Captain Magenta

    The sweet smell of honeysuckle.....

    Midges I can handle, it's the horse-flies that scare me. They have a particularly evil look, they don't budge when you try to shake or brush them off, and worst of all I'm allergic. If I get bitten on the hand, it looks like a boxing glove shortly thereafter.
  14. Thanks John - I won't be using it for imaging, just visual, for which its stated capacity is 25kg. If I can scrape off bits of weight here and there, such as by using a lighter saddle, I may be able to get within spitting distance of that limit. And I've PM'd you about the saddle you're selling. Cheers, Magnus
  15. I recently bought off a fellow SGL member his Skywatcher 300p Newt. It will amount to around 30kg once I stick on rings, eyepiece etc. The person I bought it from had it mounted, I believe, on an NEQ6, so not dissimilar to mine. For the time being at least with this scope, I’m only really interested in observing. My Mount is a fairly new AZ-EQ6 GT, whose specs suggest a 25kg limit for visual. I assume there’s a certain amount of overdesign allowing for a margin to exceed that number. So I’m trying to think of ways to save or optimize weight at the scope end of the assembly. The first thing that occurs to me is to replace the (~4kg?) Skywatcher saddle-puck with a lighter and maybe even stronger alternative. A quick look has brought up ADM and Altair Losmandy Puck/Saddle arrangements. My questions: - Has anyone upgraded their EQ-6-style saddles to save weight? - What experience do you have using the AZ-EQ6 Gt with a 30kg payload? Thanks, Magnus

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