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    Alien Neils Images

    A few of my attempts at imaging.
  2. Thats a better description than I got with my SkyWatcher Explorer 200p, as I ended up using the Astro Baby instructions which were easy to follow. Makes a change to get a manual with easy to follow instructions.
  3. It sounds like I have got some serious mulling over to do, thanks for your advice Wouter, it is much appreciated. I am glad to hear that collimating the classical cassegrain is no more difficult than a newt, as I have a 8" newt which I manage to collimate, I check the collimation about once every six months and to date it hasn't changed, but thats probably because it's sat in an observatory either in a case or on the mount, so dosent get moved around much. Do you find the collimation on the Cassegrain remains stable and how often do you have to collimate it? I agree with regards to the weather, although I did manage to get an hours worth of imaging of M33 sunday night before clouds rolled in. Neil
  4. Hi Wouter, Thanks for responding. I would like to keep the budget to below £1000 or there abouts, dont mind spending a bit more if it is worth the extra. The mount is a pier mounted SkyWatcher AZ-EQ6 GT, which I have already got. The primary use will be imaging, but also some visual, probably a 75/25 split. Neil
  5. This looks like a really nice scope, I was looking at getting a Skywatcher Skymax 180 Pro, but having read this and other comments, guess I will be looking at getting one of these instead. What is the Stock Crayford Focuser like? Nice modifications/upgrades by the way
  6. Many thanks to you all, funny enough I was looking at the TS Optics after posting this, but its also good to see the Skymax get a good review. I do like the sound of the TS Optics Classic Cassegrain though which I see already comes with a crayford focuser and sounds like it will not require dew protection like tge skymax. I will deffiniteley also look at the large SCT's as well, but they generally seem to be just out of my price bracket. Will have a good look at the show. Many thanks Neil
  7. Hello, I am going to the UK Astro Show in November and will be looking around at some of the Scopes on the stands there for a Planetary/Lunar Scope for visual and imaging purposes. I have seen lots of discussions on the Skywatcher Skymax 180 Pro and tend to be leaning towards that but I am looking for advice/opinions on other similar scopes before taking the Plunge. For reference it will be permanently set up in an Obserbvatory, so the cool down rate on the 180 Pro would not cause too much of a problem and the camera I would be using for imaging is the ZWO ASI 224MC USB 3.0 Colour Camera. Thanks Neil
  8. Hello, Just got my first set of 6x4 Astro prints back from Snapfish in a gloss finish and I have to say I am impressed as they are looking exactly the same as the digital versions. I am now just waiting for the 6x4 Matt versions and a 10x8 of the Orion Nebula. They are also offering 50 free 6x4 prints each month if you download their APP and order them through that, all you have to pay is the postage, which for a standard delivery of 5 working days only cost £3.49, so I have ordered 50 non Astronomy images from my phone to see how they look. Regards Neil
  9. Many thanks for your replies gents, I will certainly give Photobox a try, I have also had a look at Snapfish as they are currently offering 20 free 6"x4" prints if you sign up with them. So I will give both them & Photobox a try and let you know how I get on. Many thanks Neil
  10. Hello, I am wanting to print out some of my images, so have been looking around online at the many printing services here in the UK and was wondering if anyone can recomend a good one, the photos are only going to be 6x4 or 7x5 and are for personal use, so no need for a top professional service. Thanks in advance Neil
  11. Thanks, Its nice to know that it is good quality before comitting to purchasing it, does it come with some sort of profile plate to fit the contour of the tube as all the pictures I have seen of it on suppliers websites dosent seem to show a plate.
  12. Hello, I am thinking of upgrading my Skywatcher Dual Speed Focuser on my 200P with a Baader SteelTrack Diamond NT for Newtonians and was wondering if anyone else has done the same or had experience with the Baader focusers with regards to quality etc. I would probably also look at motorising the focuser with the Baader SteelDrive motor with controller (with the new version when it comes out), does anyone have experience with the old version motor? Thanks Neil
  13. Hello, On this bleak and windy day, I thought I would share with people a design and make project I did over the Christmas Break last year (2017). One of my Telescopes is a Sky-Watcher Esprit 100ED Pro, the stock focuser is a 3” Rack & Pinion focuser with a 11:1 fine focuser and I find is a very good focuser. I wanted to motorise the focuser, but after much searching around could not find a reasonably priced option, so decided to design and build my own. I did have to remove the single speed focuser Knob to measure the shaft, which on mine was Diameter 6mm. I decided to purchase the Sky-Watcher Auto focuser along with the HitecAstro DC Focus control unit from FLO, all I then needed to do was come up with some way of attaching it to the Esprit Focuser. After some careful measuring and partial strip down of the focuser I drew up a plan and a 3d computer generated model. The tools I used were: Vernier Calliper Steel Rule Engineers Square Hacksaw Metal work Scriber Metal File’s Hand Held Electric Drill Dia 3.2mm Drill for M4 tapped holes in Aluminium bracket Dia 5.0mm Drill M4x0.7mm Tap Set The Materials Used were: 200mm length of Unequal Aluminium Angle from a company called “CLICKMETAL” – Cost £19.33 Pulleys and Fixings from a company called “MOTIONCO”– Cost £33.49 Sourcingmap 6mm to 8mm Bore Brass Robot Motor Wheel Coupling from Amazon, to connect to focuser shaft. – Cost £2.94 HiTechAstro DC Focus control unit, from FLO – Cost £69.00 Sky-Watcher Auto Focus Motor, from FLO – Cost £45.00 I had to remove the focuser Pinion Assembly from the focuser by removing the 4 outer most Cap screws, be careful though not to let the focuser draw tube slide out as this will end up with the ball bearings coming out of the race in the tube. I did not touch the 4 inner grub screws as these are a fine adjustment for the pinion meshing against the rack on the tube. I removed the single speed Knob off the focuser as I wanted to drive off the main shaft, not the fine focus. I then fixed the Brass Robot Motor Wheel Coupling to the focuser shaft, which I was able to tighten up the grub screw through the focuser Assembly casing. I then bolted the Pinion Assembly back onto the tube with the new Aluminium bracket on top with 4 off 30mm long cap head screws with washers from the fixing kit, I tightened them down a bit at a time until fairly tight and then adjusted the 4 inner screws to ensure correct contact with the rack. This took a fair bit of adjusting a bit at a time until I was happy there was no free play or it was too tight. I then attached the Skywatcher Auto focus Motor to the new bracket with 2 off 8mm cap head screws & washers from the fixing kit and added the smaller pulley to the motor shaft. I then attached the 8mm Stainless steel shaft to the Brass coupler and slid the larger pulley onto it to line up with the smaller pulley, the shaft was then marked, then trimmed flush with the pulley. With it all fixed in place I loosened the 2 off screws holding the motor to the new bracket, added the belt and pushed the motor up to tension the belt as the Motor bracket is slotted. The only alteration I had to make was to cut a small slot in the Aluminium bracket for the focuser lock lever. Although it is not a stepper motor, I find it is sufficient for focusing whilst in the Observatory from the comfort of the warm room & the HitecAstro controller does also allow override with the “IN & OUT” buttons if you are stood alongside the telescope. If I want to use the focuser without the motor I just loosen the 2 screws to the motor and slip off the belt. The only thing I have to go careful with is that I don’t run the focuser to its stops as this won’t do the motor any good as I found out, although it only broke the bond on one of the motors internal gears to its main shaft, (easily fixed with superglue). As I had all the tools, the only costs were the materials which focuser came to £169.76 If anyone wants to use my plans to make their own, please do so, but do check the measurements as I believe they can vary dependant on the age of your scope and you do so at your own risk as I cannot accept any responsibility if it goes wrong for you. Alien Neil
  14. Hello All, After much deliberation and research, I decided to make a light box instead of using an LED copy board. I made it out of 3mm Foam Board, used 3mm thick matt white Perspex for the diffuser and the light source was from an 8w Energy saving bayonet bulb, which I turn on about 30 seconds before I use the box. I had to make 2 different inserts to fit my telescopes – Sky-Watcher Esprit 100 ED PRO Triplet and a skywatcher Explorer 200p, the Esprit insert was quite simple but the 200p was a bit more complicated. I also made the back removable so I could change the light bulb. I did plan to take Images as I made it, but got carried away and finished it before I remembered, but I think you can get the general idea from the pictures below. I have tried out the light box this evening and it seems to work very well, when I drag out the levels it shows up the dust spots on my DSLR sensor and also the vingetting, so the final test will be when I can get out to take some real images. Although I have gone a different route from my initial question, I would like to thank you all for your advice, as it did help me make my mind up which way to go in the end. If anyone is interested, I have listed down the items I used to make it below & basically designed it as I went: - 1 10 off sheets White A3, 3mm thick Foam Board. 2 1 off sheet Matt White A3, 3mm thick Perspex. 3 1 0ff Ceiling Rose Batten Lamp Holder. 4 2m length rubber electrical cable & a 3-amp plug. 6 60w Hot Melt Glue Gun with Glue Sticks. The total cost for it all including the glue gun was under £40 from that well known online store with unlimited 1 day deliveries.
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