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George Gearless

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About George Gearless

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  1. There's no feeling quite like it, is there? I offer both my congratulations as well as commiserations for getting the photo bug. Joking aside; it IS a crack shot. You have every reason to be proud and happy about it.
  2. I have access to a summerhouse on a small island. Not only is it very dark, since there are only about 100 local inhabitants and no public lightning. But I've often found that when people on the mainland complain about grey skies or even rain, it's (almost) clear skies over the island. There's propably a meteological explanation for this, although I don't know it. In fairness, if the whole region is covered in thick heavy clouds, then so are the skies over the islands. It's not like islands are perpetualy cloudfree (if they were, I'd quit my job and move there tomorrow ). I just think they're more likely to have clear skies than mainland areas. Island weather and costal weather are propably not the same. But then again neither is costal and inland weather. So it's an interesting issue to ponder when searching for a good site.
  3. Yeah, I understand. Given my poor record of having the night off when there, quite exceptionaly, are clear skies I'm probably looking at 3 maybe 4 nights until the summer sun starts ruining nightviewing. If this solution can tide me over until then, I'll have the summer to save up for a propper powerbank. The car battery is just sitting there anyway. So I might as well get out of it what I can.
  4. Yes, it's sealed. And yes, I've got an impulse charger that should allow perpetual 'recharging' without causing damage or overload. As I said, I'll give it a whirl and see what I can get out of it. If I can get 2-3 hours worth of operating time, I'm good.
  5. Hmm, hadn't thought about the deep cycling issue. I suspected there was a reason why the powerpacks designed for this use, were so expensive compared to the price of a car battery. Apart from the lightweight benefits, ofcourse. But hadn't thought about how differently they operate. I had, in my mind, considered some sort of safety in order to protect the equipment against powersurges. Was thinking a 0.5 A fuse would do the trick. Anyway, thanks for your reply. Since I already have everything needed, I'll propably do a dry-test run at the house anyway, and see how long it'll keep things running. But with your post in mind, I find it likely that I will be browsing the web for a lithium based powertank. Thanks.
  6. I'm often frustrated that my 'targets' of the evening are hidden behind my neighbours big tree or my own house. So, I've been doing some reconnaissance around my neighbourhood to find a suitable site for setting up shop. I've found a spot a good 1 km away. Needless to say, power will be an issue. After doing some research into how much power I'm going to need, I figured I'll be needing a rather large powerpack. Mount, heatbands, Stellarmate/laptop (I'm currently without a Stellarmate because I dropped it and broke it ). As you are no doubt aware, a 'proper' powerpack designed for this type of use, is rather expensive. They are, as far as I can tell, Lithium based for easy lightweight handling. But since I'll be hauling my equipment in the trunk of my car anyway, I figured a car battery would serve the purpose. I have a brand new car battery (660 Wh/55Ah) that my girlfriend bought by mistake and could not return. That would give me all the power I need. And then some. So if I fitted two 12v sockets on that, I could plug in my mount and my heatbands directly to the battery. I also have a 12v DC to 230V AC inverter, which I could potentialy use for powering my Stellarmate (when I get a new one) or extra power for a laptop. But I am worried that a car battery will mess up the electronics of my mount motor. Also, if the voltage of the battery isn't precisely 12v, what will that do to the siderial tracking rate? The question is, if the controlbox of the stepping motor can handle a somewhat unequal voltage? Or will that not matter significantly? Anyone got any experience with this?
  7. Great picture. You must be very pleased with the result. I know I would be. As far as photoshop skills are concerned; once you have the data on your harddrive, you can sit and fiddle about with it as much as you want. It's not going anywhere.
  8. This is an excellent post. We (as in 'I') tend to get bogged down in all the wonderous stuff that is readily available for purchase at various supplier sites. You will NEVER have enough gear! I actualy thought about it the other night when I was setting up to take some pictures of the moon. It takes me about 30-45 mins just to set up everything the way I want it. I caught myself thinking "things were so much simpler in the old days". By the old days I mean only a couple of years ago when all I had was a Wifi Alt-Az mount, a 127mm Maksutov and a realy old DSLR. The enjoyment of watching the skies and making a 'good catch photo' with that equipment, was just as great as it is for me today with much more advanced (and expensive) tools at my disposal. I know that your post was directed at a beginner who sought specific advice (and I think he got some good advice from you). But I think that intermediates as well as experts could stand a bit of 'grounding' every once in a while.
  9. I have that mount as my primary mount. EQM35-Pro. One of the parameters I chose it from, was definately the price. Money is a huge issue for me :). But as a first equatorial go-to mount, it does allow you to grow, kit wise. I started out with a Mak127. I then got the Evostar 80ED Pro. And this summer I got a Skywatcher 180mm Mak. The max additional load is listed at 10Kg. So with the Mak 180mm (7 kg tubeweight), DSLR, finderscope and heatbands, I'm realy stretching its capabilities. But so far it has performed without missing a step. I have taken some great shots of the moon with it, but have yet to record my first planet. Which is the real test with this scope. Of the features that you would not normaly get with a mount of that pricerange I'd like to mention: Built in polar scope. Com port for guided photography. 10 kg payload. Idealy, I'd have bought an EQ6 for the greater payload. But it was, for me, prohibitively expensive at the time. Or put another way; if I had bought an EQ6, I wouldn't have been able to afford neither the Evostar 80 refractor nor the Mak 180mm. At the time it didn't make much sense to put a Mak127 on an EQ6 when you're still just starting out. In rounded numbers the EQ6 is twice as expensive as the EQM35. I whole heartedly recommend the EQM35 to beginners and experienced users alike.
  10. Belated congratulations on a stunning photo. 'Wow' is the most appropriate word I can think of. Wow.
  11. What a great and useful reply! It's a lot to process (pun intended), but I think I follow. It's like the Canon Powershot camera I have with 50X optical zoom lens. I can push the 'magnification' to over 50 with the digital zoom. But this is just the camera processing it in the same way I would use the magnifying glass in the Windows Paint program. I can digitaly magnify it ad infinitum or until I'm blue in the face. But the picture will just become grainier and grainier until I'm looking at one single pixel. Sampling rate is a term that I've been missing in my vocabulary. While I may have had an intuitiv but somewhat misguided understanding of it, it is extrememly helpful to have it explained all the way down to a mathematical formula. I guess the trick is to accurately distance the camera to the Barlow lense to achieve critical sampling. Or 'the sweet spot' as I've dubbed it in my mind :). I'm sure there is a mathematical formular to calculate the exact theoretical distance. But since I have no way of accurately determining or adjusting the distance between the camera and the lense, that would just be an academic exercise. Trial and error will suffice, now that I know what to look for. So, armed with my Mak180, my Barlow, my 385MC camera AND my new gotten knowledge, I now stand a fighting chance in getting some 'award winning and never seen better before' pictures of the moon :). Thanks a bunch Vlaiv.
  12. Well, as my father says: "The best picture is the one you never took".
  13. Glad I'm not on the commitee to pick the winner. An almost impossible task. I say 'almost' because the moon eclipse is particularly stunning in my oppinion.
  14. Thanks Vlaiv. The bottom of the Mak does indeed have a T2 male thread. And yes, I can screw the camera on directly to that. Good tip about the nose piece , btw. But without eyepieces I will not be able to achieve different magnifications. Which was kind of the point of inserting the tube in the first place. Particularly for moon photography but also for planetary photography. I understand your point about the smaller sensor on the 385 vs my DSLR. But it does still surprise me that the difference in aberation is so pronounced. In fact, I had not noticed it at all until the problems with the 385 came about. To be honest, even knowing what I know now, I'm still struggling to see it. So, it still leave the question: How do I achieve different magnifications for moon/planet photography with my 385?
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