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Everything posted by JonH

  1. Thanks for the feedback, you make a good argument for getting big bins. What make are your 20x80s?
  2. Hi Martin, I'm a professional travel photographer and have been using a Gitzo carbon fibre tripod for about the last 10 years. Fantastic piece of kit, nice and light, takes a lot of weight and fits in my suitcase, but expensive though. A Manfrotto would be a good choice as well. Check to see if it has a hook on the centre column - useful to hang your bag on to help steady the tripod when windy. I'd recommend a good quality B&S head - much easier to use than a pan and tilt. Avoid cheap ones if you can because they tend to sag when long lens are used - very annoying if multi-exposing. And get one with quick release plates. You won't regret it. Manfrottos are good, so is Kirk (stocked by Warehouse Express) and Arca Swiss. If you're anywhere the NEC check out FOCUS on Imaging, the annual photographic trade fair 7th March - 10th March. There will be tons of kit there to look at and discounted show prices too. Sorry but being an absolute newbie astronomy wise, I can't comment on Astrotracs. Hope this helps. Cheers, Jon
  3. Okay guys, so what binoculars do you recommend? I've got a nice big sturdy tripod so size isn't a problem, although I don't want to spend too much as I'm planning to kit myself out for imaging. The Celestron 15x70s have a good reputation and seem very inexpensive for what they are, but are bigger bins more desirable?
  4. I got both off Amazon, Backyard Astronomers Guide first and then a few weeks later Turn Left At Orion. I can thoroughly recommend both for beginners.
  5. Bummer about the ice. I got a pretty good view of Mars and Saturn through a 5mm ep which gave me 200X.
  6. I bought the 190 because I intend to start imaging once I've gained enough know how and can at least set up the scope and mount properly for guiding, etc. However, two evenings spent faffing around in the dark while struggling to find targets has left me with the realisation that I know even less about astronomy than I thought I did. I have a very long way to go but, having said that, I'm enjoying my new hobby and will hopefully get there in the end!
  7. Thanks for that Coxie. Sorry no scope mentioned, I haven't figured out how to have my gear embedded on my posts. Anyway, it's a SW 190 MN with 5, 10, 20 and 30mm eps. Nice one Paul, it really does get a hold of you, doesn't it? I'm with you mate, bring it on!
  8. A clear night over Somerset last night so a second time out with my new scope. Is there such a thing as 2nd light? As I now have a mains power converter I really wanted to have my first go at polar aligning and using the GoTo handset. Well, the clouds were a bit hit or miss early on and for much of the time were obscuring Polaris. The moon, on the other hand, was looking fantastic and so I couldn't resist slewing the scope around and just gazing at it through my 10 and 5mm eps. This was the first time I've looked at the moon through a telescope and it was absolutely amazing. It was also great to be able to share my new hobby with my 7-year son, who despite leaving a warm spot in front of the telly, thought the views of the moon were really cool. His bedtime was fast approaching so I showed him the Orion Nebula and a quick look at Mars before packing him off to bed. He declared that those were really cool too but I don't think they had the same impact on him as the moon. Give him time though... Alone once again and with the moon setting, I connected up the electrics, fitted the dew strip and plugged in the mount and handset. Polaris still wasn't playing ball so I thought I'd save polar aligning until 3rd light(!) and just use the handset to manually slew the mount rather than having to loosen and tighten the two lock nuts each time I wanted to move. After turning it on I entered all the data when prompted and did the 3 star alignment thing (which would obviously be inaccurate as I hadn't polar aligned), but once this had been done the direction controls seemed not to work. It must be me, so a lot more studying of the handbook and research to do before the next sess. So it was back to twisting nuts and hand slewing again, but never mind, pleiedes is an easy target for me and kept me enthralled while waiting for Saturn to appear. Having my Turn Right At Orion to hand, I also had a go at trying to find the Whirlpool Galaxy. I chose this because I thought it's close proximity to The Plough might make it a little easier for a novice to find. Well it wasn't as easy as I'd hoped, but I think I briefly caught a small round smudge where the book stated it should be. Hmm, not sure if I saw it or not. So where was Saturn? I was having great time but the cold was starting to bite. I'm lucky enough to travel with my job and tend to head south for warmer climes if given the choice as I don't do cold very well. Actually I waited longer than I needed to, because what I thought must be Saturn fairly low on my eastern horizon was in fact a star. Doh! No matter, a bright star that seemed to stand out from the rest fairly high in the south east was unmistakably the ringed planet once I'd clumsily untwisted and twisted nuts and zeroed in. Wow what a sight. Not my first time with Saturn, that was about 15 years ago through a friend's scope while full of beer (me not the scope) but still a real thrill and the perfect end to a wonderful evening. Half an hour soaking the view before packing up for the night and a mug Horlicks. So all in all, I was pretty happy with my 2nd light - although much more work needed on setting up and using the NEQ6, but I'm slowly becoming familiar with the night sky and handling a telescope. Roll on 3rd light! Cheers, Jon
  9. Thanks for the feedback guys. I guess I'll give it a go with the Mk3 to start with and once I gain some experience, consider a more suitable alternative. Cheers, Jon
  10. Being a total newbie, I have no idea how you produced this shot but speaking as a photographer I think the tonal range and definition is stunning. A beautiful image and a real inspiration to those of us just starting out. Nice one Peter.
  11. I wasn't sure if I should get myself some binos, but the thought of warm summer nights, comfy chairs and beer(s). Maybe I should reconsider...
  12. Is anyone imaging with a full frame DSLR? For my day job I shoot on a Canon 1DS mk3 and also have my old 1DS mk1, now retired and gathering dust in a cupboard. Modifying the mk3 for AP is out of the question but I'm unsure if it's worth getting the mk1 done as it's quite old technology now and was always a [removed word] for noise in shadow areas. Despite being a fantastic camera and the one that persuaded many professional photographers to make the switch to digital from film, it really doesn't handle underexposure well and hasn't got live view either. So basically what I want to know is - is it worth modding the mk1 and whether or not I'm heading for a world of pain by trying to use either of these very heavy camera bodies. I'm a complete novice when it comes to AP but my intentions are to start with lunar views (fairly close and wide view) and work up to DSOs. I have a Skywatcher MN190 mounted on a NEQ6 and intend to add a guide scope, etc soon. A CCD will follow too, depending on how long it takes me to tackle this steep learning curve and if it ever stops raining in Somerset. Actually, it's snowing now! Many thanks, Jon
  13. JonH


    Nice one Peter. I once saw Saturn through a friend's scope about fifteen years ago and have never forgotten the excitement I felt at the time. Now the proud owner of a shiny new scope of my own for the last 10 days, all I need is a clear night for a second look. Hope I haven't got to wait another fifteen years!
  14. Hello Robin and welcome from a fellow Somerset beginner, but unfortunately one without 45 years experience!
  15. Just registered my interest. It's a long drive for me but will be well worth it!
  16. The 10A version it is then. Thanks James!
  17. Hi guys, I need a little help in choosing a mains power supply for my EQ6 mount. Steve at FLO has recommended Maplins for their 13.8 V units but I'm not sure which model would be best for me - 3A, 5A or 7A. As well as powering the mount, it will also need to supply a dew heater and in the future all the paraphernalia needed for imaging. I know next to nothing about electrics but I'm guessing the 7A version would be more suitable for running several devices. Any advice would be much appreciated. Many thanks, Jon
  18. JonH

    Hi from Somerset

    Thanks for the welcome! I've got a Skywatcher MN 190, EQ6 PRO and various eps. It was a very tough decision between the 190 and a APO refractor for my first scope, however, an APO will follow in due course. As Steve at FLO told me - no one just has one! Cheers, Jon
  19. JonH

    Hi from Somerset

    Hello everyone, I'm a travel photographer based in Somerset and after a life time of being fascinated by the night sky, have finally bought a telescope to get a closer look and (hopefully) start imaging very soon. Last night was my first observing sess, just swinging the scope around while swopping eps and generally getting the feel of the thing. Absolutely amazing. Mars was my first target, then the Pleiades and I think I saw the Orion Nebula. Next time I'll attempt to polar align the mount and try the GoTo thingy. Visiting this site over the last month or so has really helped to get me started so thanks very much guys. Regards, Jon
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