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Everything posted by Synchronicity

  1. http://camerajungle.co.uk/ sell second hand cameras and lenses that have been traded in at Jessops. I've bought a few things from them, mainly because their prices are similar to ebay etc but everything comes with a years warranty. It's well worth a look if you are considering buying second hand. I don't work for them or have any connection, just a happy customer. Michael
  2. I've just recieved this bolt for my EQ5 from Paul (wookie1965) who saw my post asking about them and sent me the replacement I need - wouldn't even let me pay postage. What a great guy!!!
  3. Ouch!! That's well out of my league - especially considering how many dinners and bunches of flowers I'd have to buy my wife if she saw the receipts! All the best Michael
  4. Hi all I'm new to all this and have just bought a Skywatcher Esprit 80 ED Pro. My main interest is DSOs but given the time of year I thought I'd like to experiment with some solar imaging too. So firstly, is the telescope I have, with appropriate filters, suitable for solar imaging? I get that it might not be what you'd choose but is it worth spending time with it? If so, what should I be looking for in the way of filters, without spending lots of money (maybe up to £125ish total)? I'm currently using a Canon EOS 7D DSLR - will that be ok? To put your minds at rest I am absolutely aware of the risks of looking at the sun with eyes or equipment and will be taking all the required precautions. Many thanks Michael
  5. Hi John, I've got limited experience for comparisons but the greatest benefit if you have like-for-like lens and build quality is the ability to use the higher magnification without a tripod/monopod. I guess that is most useful when looking directly upwards which is awkward if your trying to use any type of support. Sitting on a garden chair, a bit reclined I could get lost wandering the skies for hours! The also do an 18x50 set but reviews I read from astronomers often said they felt the field of view was too narrow with these. All the best Michael
  6. Hi Ed I'm heading up to Strathcarron at the end of July and was wondering the same thing. If you take the scope I'd love to know how you get on. All the best Michael
  7. That's exactly what I would say about them as well. My only complaint is that the eye cups are quite wide so for me they sre pressed hard against my nose when using them. Some people have resorted to cutting them for more comfort. Michael
  8. Having wanted to do astronomy properly for decades I finally took action late in 2017 and bought a pair of Canon 15x50 image stabilised binoculars. I was absolutely blown away with what I could see using these from my garden with what I now know are Bortle 8 very light polluted skies. For the first time in my life I saw the Orion Nebula M42 - only as a small cloudy area but I knew there was more to see with better optics. When I saw the Pleiades, directly overhead, for the first time I knew I was hooked! I'd been reading posts here and on other sites and blogs and I knew that I'd need to think through what I wanted to achieve and what to spend my money on. I used a strategy that has served me well over the years - Start from where you are! That might seem obvious but I have read so many posts - facebook is the worst - where people go out and spend thousands of pounds on equipment because it is the 'best' but they don't know how to set it up never mind use it! I experimented with what I had so that I'd know what I needed. I started with my wife's Canon PowerShot SX730 which takes great pictures but isn't suited to astrophotography and then I got out my old Canon SX1. That was a bit better and I used CHDK (Canon Hack Development Kit) to allow longer exposures. I tried taking pictures through my binoculars but would have needed some precision DIY to hold the bins and the camera together. I wasn't getting any good images, but I was learning about aperture, exposure length, ISO and the importance of keeping the camera still! My first purchase was a Canon EOS 7D Mark1 and a couple of lenses (18-55 and 75-300). I got an Amazon Basics tripod - very well built for under £50 and set about trying to capture the universe. Using the 7D with Canons capture software I was taking lots of pictures and learning the hard way about star trailing. With the 300mm lens fully extended the longest exposure I could manage which kept round stars was 0.8 seconds - so I took lots and lots of them and fed them to DSS. Of course DSS sometimes struggled to stack them and I couldn't see the results at first because the images were still extremely dim but I'll do a separate entry about software and how I got round these issues. It was clear I would need to buy a mount or a tripod mounted tracker if I was going to progress but first I had to think seriously about how I planned to use it long term. My Priorities - Transportable, sensibly priced, good quality. As mentioned, the sky where I live is Bortle 8. I'm fortunate that I live on the southern outskirts of Glasgow and my back garden faces south so I can do a lot of practice and get some reasonable images but I really wanted to be able to pack my stuff up and drive to better sky. 20 minutes takes me to Bortle 4-5 so it's worth doing. I'm trying to do this as a hobby and not go overboard with the budget but I also don't want to waste my money on cheap stuff that doesn't perform well. That's been great because it's forced me into researching options and being strict about what I need and what is just a 'nice to have'. I don't buy stuff just for bragging rights! I'd thought seriously about getting an Ioptron Skytracker or Skyguider sized device but I didn't want to be too restricted on what I could mount on it, and I'm not likely to take my kit on a flight very often. In the end I saw a 2nd hand Skywatcher EQ5 Goto mount at a reasonable price and I already knew it would do what I need for now. I had originally planned to use the DSLR with a large zoom lens but when I costed these it was clear that I'd need to spend several thousands to get what I wanted. That led me down the path of a short APO refractor. Again, into the classified ads and someone here pointed me in the direction of a Skywatcher Esprit 80 which I am absolutely delighted with! So that's me got all of the hardware I need for now... but then I saw a 60mm Guide scope and Orion SSAG for a good price... So now I have everything I need for a while. Why am I still looking at the classified adverts? Just in case there's a bargain
  9. This was taken 8th April 2016 from an apartment in Hamilton Island, Australia. The equipment I used was a Samsung Galaxy S5 and an old but good quality pair of binoculars left by the owners. The skies were incredibly dark and we were able to attend a talk by a local astronomer who guided us around what could be seen with the naked eye. I was delighted last year when I used Stellarium last year to look at the view on that date and confirm that I had indeed captured Jupiter and 4 moons!
  10. A huge thank you to Wookie1965 who is kindly sending me the part I need. It's great to be a part of this wonderful astro family.
  11. Thanks folks. Astro Panel app claims I'll have clear skies tomorrow night so I've got some threaded rod and nuts from B&Q to keep me going until I get something proper sorted out. Michael
  12. Hi All Does anyone know where I can get a spare adjusting bolt as shown in the picture for my Skywatcher EQ5. It was forced in by a previous owner but as you can see it's been seriously bent! Thanks Michael
  13. My question was after my first session with my new scope. The weather here has been poor for ages and it had rained quite a bit earlier in the day so there was a lot of moisture in the air. The scope and mount were damp with condensation when I stopped for the night and I knew this would get worse when I brought them in. I hadn't thought about leaving it in the garage to dry off - but I'll need a skip or two before there's space in there for anything!! All the best Michael
  14. I'm hoping this is the correct forum for this question. While I've been practicing my image processing I've been thinking about all of the data that DSS filters out of my images - I can't help but think it would be interesting to see what was discarded. I know it'll be mostly hot pixels, satellite trails and alien spaceships but there might be something worth seeing too Is there any setting in DSS or other stackers that would do this? All the best Michael
  15. I've attached a crop of the original, it's 17 x 60 seconds, no darks or flats, stacked in DSS and tweaked with Pixinsight. Bortle 8 skies with high cloud thickening - I had to discard another 24 shots. The full image shows light from 5 other galaxies - to say I'm chuffed would be putting it mildly!! All the best Michael
  16. Thanks Demonperformer. Hi Jeff, the scope is great and I learned a lot last night. I had a few issues with aligning my mount but that just needs experience. I managed to get some nice shots of the Whirlpool galaxy before the clouds rolled in around 1am. All the best Michael
  17. I've just finished my first ever astrophotography session with my new scope and as I was dismantling the equipment I realised everything was covered in condensation. I'm leaving everything to dry off overnight indoors at room temperature but I'm wondering about the lens in my scope. So, the silly question is, do I leave the optics covers off to allow them to dry or do I leave them on to avoid dirt or dust contamination? Thanks in advance Michael
  18. Thanks for the input folks. I'm now the proud owner of that Skywatcher Esprit 80 and am enjoying looking at it and wondering if the clouds will ever go away so that I can actually use it! Michael
  19. I had similar on my 2nd hand EQ5 but it was worse at slow speeds. I plugged the RA cable into the Dec socket and it worked fine every time. I eventually traced the problem to the control unit. There are inline connectors that take the signals from the PCB to the external sockets. The plug for the Dec was very loose and the problem disappeared when I reseated it. I also had intermittent freezeng of the hand controller. The mount would continue to track but the controller was unresponsive. That was down to poor connection at the power input socket. I had bought a 5m extension lead and when I plugged that in the problems stopped. Close examination showed that the connectors were slightly different and so the one on the PSU was breaking connection momentarily where the other was, and remains rock solid. I did a lot of googling trying to fix these and most of the issues I came accross ended up being power related. All the best Michael
  20. Do you know if there's an update to the GT 81 in the pipeline? Michael
  21. Thanks Dan It was NGC 3628, but I was impressed anyway! I've attached a part of the image - there's no detail but it is there. I wasn't sure it was a galaxy but I ran it through Astronomy.net and it confirmed NGC 3628 I used a Canon 7d with a 75- 300mm lens on a EQ5 synscan mount. All the best Michael
  22. Hi All I've been interested in all things space and science since I was a wee boy watching the Apollo moon landings but am now finally getting the time and money to get into astronomy. I'm an engineer by profession - and by nature - and one thing I'm enjoying at the moment is learning the new skill of astrophotography. I've started with a point & shoot, bought a dslr, then mount, and am hoping to buy my first scope soon. Every step I've taken there's been lots of skills to learn and problems to solve and for me that's part of the fun. After a few weeks I came up with the idea of using a scope and camera to control a mount and track the stars rather than rely on a mmount being accurate and aligned. The fact that this had already been invented a long time ago didn't bother me at all! That said, I can't explain the buzz I got last week when I saw a galaxy in one of my images for the first time. It was the Hamburger Galaxy NGC 3628 and I'd been aiming for the Leo triplet but I was delighted anyway! I'l not post the image because it's awfull and I don't yet have the skills to process it properly but that will come... So, what is your favourite part of astronomy and has that chenged over time? All the best Michael
  23. Thanks Kaliska I've been in touch and hopefully going to see it soon. Michael
  24. Thanks Paul It might work out slightly cheaper too! All the best Michael
  25. Hi All I’m looking at options for my first telescope and am seriously considering the William Optics GT 81. It’s at the top end of my price range and I’m not seeing any second hand ones for sale so I’m looking at what other similar scopes are available and wondered if anyone here had any opinions / experience to offer. Any makers to look out for or to avoid? I’ll be using it primarily for imaging with a DSLR (Canon 7D) and mainly for DSOs. I’m in a high light pollution area but can drive to better areas reasonably easily so portability is important. It’ll be sitting on a EQ5 Synscan mount. Thanks in advance Michael
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