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About ThomasLondon

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  • Interests
    Astronomy, Astrophysics, Mathematics
  • Location
    London, UK
  1. I recently used a swab for cleaning a dslr sensor and the respective fluid, worked great without removing the mirror. Best Tom
  2. Hi, I would like a bit of TLC for my Celestron Nexstar 9.25 Evolution - cleaning it properly, some dust on the corrector, ensuring it's collimated correctly, and I am also not quite sure whether the Vixen bar at the side might be lose - it seems to move a bit when adjusting the scope. Does anybody know who can do this - preferably in the London area, given it's not a device you just put into a little box and post it somewhere - and what it is likely to cost? Any advice? All the Best Tom
  3. I have the pro version - but Point and Track does not seem to work for me, it follows the sun in az, but not in alt. Maybe I am making a mistake? If anything is grayed out or does not react - most functions d not work unless your last telescope movement was up and right. Did you try that? Best Thomas
  4. You do not adjust non-adjustable solar finders. You point the telescope to the sun, then you mark the position of the sun on the screen with a sharpie (plastic finder) or a pencil (SolFinder). The only adjustable ones I know are Televue SolSearchers.
  5. I love my AZ GTi - but it has one really annoying habit: If I roughly point it to the object I want to observe, switch it on and start alignment, it slews to the point it thinks the object is... what nonsense! Is there any way I can tell the mount that the telescope is already pointing the right direction? I would find that much more natural to point the telescope to the star, instead of having to point it North first. The app would just need one more button "Start alignment in direction of first object" (or sth similar). Am I doing anything wrong, or is this just the way the app is working? Best Thomas
  6. Pragmatically: Wait for some time for a 2nd hand one to come up here or on Astrobuysell - they are 50 - 75 pounds. Looks unlikely that the parts and work are cheaper.
  7. I just had a marvelous early morning view of the new active region. You can see a fairly high plasma bridge near the sunspot. If weather permits in London, may become an interesting weekend...
  8. You are going to face two challenges: - Focusing the sun properly without any surface detail (aka sun spots) is extremely difficult. I would be surprised if you would even get close enough to focus to see the difference between a tuned and an untuned etalon. - The wonderful helical focuser of the cheaper Lunts does not help. Wait for a sunspot, then focus that, and tune the etalon.
  9. Hi, I just got a Skywatcher AZ GTI, which is great - but comes with no manual worth the name. In any case, most of the functionality sits in the app, which has an online help which is both well-hidden and requires you to leave whatever you are doing. Is there any reasonable overview of the mount, the app, how it works together, how to connect a hand controller? For example, although I activated solar observing (having to add two numbers to switch it on is the most obscure user interface I ever came across), and still cannot find the sun as an alignment target. And when I align to a target the mount slews somewhere else. It can't be my job as a user to figure out the idiosyncracies of the UI by trial and error, can it? Best Thomas
  10. OK, let's start with - what do you want to achieve? You mentioned you want to study astrophysics - that is great, but has nothing to do with buying an amateur telescope. Assuming you are about to start a university course: Observational data is important, but that won't happen from your back garden or with a small telescope. In fact, a friend of mine with a PhD in Astrophysics once mentioned that she had done a lot of observation with the largest telescopes of the world, but never for her own research. In any case - if you are going to do actual research, your university will have the facilities or provide you with access to them. If you would research into distributional properties of galaxies you would probably tap into existing data such as the SPSS. If you want to observe to keep the link between theory and the "real world", that is great - but then the same questions apply as with any amateur astronomer. Unless you can mount it outside permanently, you need to be able to set it up quickly. If you are living anywhere close to street lights you will want to be able to travel to a dark sky site - you will see more in a dark place with a 6 inch scope than in a light-polluted place with an 11 inch instrument. I have a 9.25 inch and a 6 inch SCT, plus a 102mm refractor and a 50mm H alpha scope - the solar scope is used most (given weather in the UK), then the 6". For me, the 9.25" is at the edge of what I am physically able to set up on my own.
  11. Thanks, that makes sense. Looks like there is always a niece for this size of telescope. Best Thomas
  12. Good point. Even in a perfect night as today it simply isn't dark enough. Only doubt: A triplet would also work for daytime observing - a doublet won't. Any view why not to buy a triplet over a doublet? Would the Tak be better than a triplet? I never considered taking off the focuser. Without the focuser and the dust cap (which then would slide over the tube) the Startraveller would be less than 30cm. Appears precarious, but may be worth a try. Another question, if I may ask: From your signature, you also have an Equinox 80 - how does that fit into your line-up/ what do you use that for?
  13. So does the SkyWatcher handset at least "play nicely" with the app? If I connect the Celestron handset while connecting to the mount via WiFi the whole system gets completely confused - the app does not seem to know of the changes I make via handset buttons, and the handset does not pick up the time and date set by the app. It all is a complete mess-up. Can't imagine how an intelligent human being comes up with sth like that.
  14. Alright - I have collected a lot of toys over the last years, but I am not quite happy with them. I am living in the outskirts of London towards Kent and I am amazed by looking at the skies, but even more at the sun. I can't quite get a hang on astro photography so far, because I think in the end my pictures will always be the same objects which are also captured by Hubble and Co and they look the same all the time - so I am not sure whether I really want to spend a lot of time and money on that. 1) My Nexstar Evolution 9.25 is nice for a dark, clear night - but there are no such nights in London (just tried last night, it's a myth...). And it is too big and too heavy to take to a darker site. So that's a bit disappointing. Apart from that it's probably a bit heavier than its mount is suited for. So far I had few positive experiences with that. 2) My Celestron Nexstar SE 6 currently is my favourite for night time. It easily fits into a standard photo backpack, so I can take it as hand luggage on a plane. The mount is disappointingly bulky, but I am planning to replace that with a Skymatcher AZ GTi, and then life should be fine again. My only disappointment is that I can't use it for solar observation with a Quark, because that would probably blow the secondary mirror into pieces. 3) So for high res solar I am currently borrowing the Startraveller 102 of my kids to use with my Quark. It's an amazing telescope for the money - and chromatic aberration is fairly irrelevant if you are looking at the sun in only one wavelength. Unfortunately, although it is reasonably compact, it is not really suitable for long distance travel as the dew shield does not retract - so this hits the edge even of BA's hand luggage allowance. And the CA does not make it the ideal night time scope. The 1:10 focuser would be a nice addition - but 130 pounds is a lot of money to add on this kind of telescope. In any case - the view at the sun with the Quark is breathtaking (I just come up from the garden, it looks as detailed as the moon). 4) And I have a Lunt 50. An amazing telescope since I spent the money on the Moonlite focuser. (Before buying it I was constantly cursing it - impossible to get focus with the helical focuser). Unbeatable as a "the sun it out, let's have a look", on a heavy photo tripod with gear head. In terms of mounts, I am typically using those of the Evolution plus an old EQ5 (perfect for the sun) and a Celestron Goto Equatorial (very rarely). So now - what to do? A travel-friendly telescope with high picture quality sounds tempting - 100mm triplet such as the Esprit 100. But Skywatcher warns not to use it for the sun. Is that a general problem with triplets? And: A 4" refractor is still half the light of a C6 - a bit concerned about visual observation on holiday. So what now? Spend the 130 pounds on the Startraveller for the focuser, and be done with it? That means no solar observation on holidays, but in the end, I can do that at home, light polution does not harm. Or buy a 100mm triplet? Or an 80mm travel scope as another member of my telescope collection? I am really a bit confused... Best Thomas
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