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Marvin Jenkins

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Everything posted by Marvin Jenkins

  1. Tracked it! Wow. A week or so back the ISS came over and my reaction was ‘That thing is motoring’ well done. Next time I know it’s s due I am going for the mother of wed field photos. Should make one hell of a light trail. Marvin
  2. I have just come in after observing Venus with the bins. Caught it by spiral movement at least 30 minutes before naked eye. Fantastic crescent. My question, is it in a waining phase? Appears opposite to the moon, as in the moon is more illuminated but Venus seems less? My second question is, is there an app or site that I can access that shows the phases of Venus, like the app on my phone for the the moons of Jupiter.
  3. I would worry about the effect of the thermal finger print so close to the scope! Heat source like that and the water vapour, serious anti dew kit
  4. Out tonight with a new to me me mount. I was gifted an NEQ6R with Rowan belt mod. Can’t quite believe it. First time out. About to polar align and see how it goes with my 150pds on it’s back. Hardly knows it’s carrying anything! Marv
  5. Completely ridiculous, clear skies every night, keep giggling like a kid with candy. Tuesday night 26th May. Did a load of homework on Stellarium and the star charts (I need both) and I do the usual optimist route. Time will tell. Set up the EQ5 with the 150 pds in bright sunlight. Not a single cloud and I grab the bins and the dogs and walk to the top of the lane to observe Venus and hopefully for the second time Mercury. Venus against the bright sundown ‘amazing’ quarter illuminated disk, like a distant mimic of the moon. I had to wait till 23:00hrs till it was dark enough to do any EP work. Sat back in the chair watching space junk tumble and flash across the sky! Would make an amazing AP trail. First up M13 just to test alignment. I have spent a lot f time on this recently so for me no need to dwell. Next Glob M 92, I prefer this in the EP to M13. Appears to have a tighter brighter core. It’s outer area seems to do a similar thing to Andromeda. Focus on the core but there seems to be much more. Heading over to NGC 6210 Turtle Nebula still in Hercules. Should be beyond my mag limit of tenish. Surface brightness made me say “why not”. First look, three stars, nothing else. Hooded up and the lower star is not sharp. More an out of focus blob, with a light blue green colour. Soooo small. First for me! Then a meteor shoots through the fov, amazing. Into Draco. NGC 5985/ 5981/5982 Draco’s Trio. Absolutely nothing! I have been doing so well but the brightest at mag 12 was going to be a stretch. M102. I would normally talk about this, but I noticed in the charts a nearby edge on galaxy NGC 5907. Gob smacked, better than 102, I have that ear marked for an AP session. Into Lyra. Quite low on my horizon for the time, just after midnight. Would be rude note to look at the Ring Nebula M57. Just want to say that when I do EP sessions I use the voice recorder on my phone. Listening back to record my notes I have the following... Who ever first saw that through a scope must have wondered how there is a polo mint in space. Completely forgot NGC 6543 The Cats Eye Nebula so back to Draco. Nice Crisp Blue Ball. Larger than Turtle. Over to Cygnus. So many open clusters! I am sorry to say that I am underwhelmed by OC’s. Getting close to bed time now so a chance at the Eastern Veil. NO CHANCE, way to low to my horizon. If I could only stay out all night. Now to unfinished business. The Blinking Planetary! For a planetary a bit bigger than I was expecting. White in colour, but could not discern any blinking. Must look into that. Ended with a chancers look at M83 in Hydra. I am 103/110 of Messier’s list. Now 104/110. Very low to the horizon but no averted vision needed. Wishing you all clear skies and the opportunity that I have just had. Marvin
  6. All set up ready to rock. Doing an ep session tonight till midnight maybe a bit more. Starting in Hercules, then Draco. Lyra for the ring men then back to Draco for Cat’s Eye. Vulpecula for a look at the dumbell. Finishing in Cygnus for all those delights ending with the blinking planetary. I f I see half that I will be well happy. Marv
  7. All set up ready to go. Won’t be dark enough for the EP till eleven but it is 20 deg and the deer are calling in the fields. Just had a great view of Venus through the bins.
  8. Looking back through my Astro diary was all the reminder I needed to realise how little opportunity I have had this year courtesy of the weather. Nothing at all for more than a month except bang on the full moon! The weather gods were predicting clear all week! Surely not? and it only went and happened. Despite having to work all week, I decided to use my time wisely and focus on Astro. Sunday 18th set up the 150pds on EQ5 as far up the garden as the extension lead would allow. At 9pm the sun was going down and I started to wonder how late it would be before it became dark enough to do anything. Looking to my west Venus blazing in the bright dusk. Just goes to show there is most often something to see despite the time. All set up by 9:30 to take in a bit of the evening I really enjoy. Sitting back in my fishing chair watching the sky slowly change from day to night. I like to think of it as the shift change. It is a time when so much wildlife comes out to play. Barn owls, Bats and the moths they hunt, the garden is noisy now with innumerable crickets. The first stars are starting to show, Arcturus to my east being the first I see. Another ten minutes and Polaris becomes visible so time to do all the alignment bit. I am sorted by 10:00 but it still seems like daylight, I haven’t noticed that summer has crept up on us. Back to the fishing chair. Satellite spotting, which seems to be far easier these days! Meteors, three in ten minutes but in random areas of the sky, must check to see if there are meteor showers this week. Not until 10:30 is it dark enough to observe so M13 in Hercules. What a fantastic globular. Right then I decide to put on the camera as I have never done an imaging run on a glob. I decide to leave the whole thing running for an hour and a half and curl up asleep with the dogs on the sofa. Being self employed gives me flexibility but I still have to get up in the morning and do a days work sadly. 00:30 I go back out to get some dark frames and pack all the kit away. The sky is so clear and the seeing is amazing. So many stars it is quite hard to make out some of the lesser constellations. If only I could stay out all night. The next three nights are identical conditions so two nights imaging Markarians Chain and Thursday the last night before cloud ended it all I delved into M101. The Pinwheel truly is a remarkable looking galaxy. Other highlights include the ISS passing right overhead Monday 19th, man that thing is motoring. A couple of satellites that gave off bright flashes of light like a camera flash. A Nightjar beating all the bats to the moths, what incredible flight. Stars in my garden!!! Turns out to be glowworms. I finish up Thursdays session at 1:00 am Friday morning by a long over due look with the EP’s. Sagittarius is rising in the south so I chance my arm at M4. I am 101/110 of Messier’s famous list and this glob did not disappoint despite the low altitude. M80 should be do able and sure enough there it is. The book says it is extremely compact and bright but nothing prepared me for that, I guess words cannot describe it sometimes. Now 103/110 After all that. I feel very lucky to have had that opportunity, certainly something I will never forget. I don’t feel I struck quite the right balance as one of those nights should have been EP only but the flip side is that hopefully I have some great pictures as a souvenir. To top off the whole thing, a good friend gave me! an NEQ6R yesterday. It needs a rebuild and new belts for the Roman mod but it’s like Christmas in May and all this on new moon. When does that ever happen? Marvin
  9. Thank you Kev that looks perfect, just what I was looking for. As for the Lynx Astro item that is a sore point. A while back before starting imaging I bought one of these great two port controllers but without the DSLR port. If only I had future proofed that purchase by paying a bit more at the time, lesson learned I guess. Cheers Marv
  10. Just going to take all the gear up the garden. Third night on the trot and they have all been school nights, brilliant! last two nights imaging M13, but tonight and hopefully tomorrow night as well Markarians Chain. Both of these are firsts for me, but last night took the prize, hit the start button for imaging turned around and watched the ISS streak over, splendid. Good luck everyone. Marvin
  11. Maybe the small likes a room with a view!
  12. That really doesn’t make me feel any better.If it was one of those times in life when you miss some nights of total clarity, then moan that clear skies don’t fit with your schedule, then It’s just moaning. But three nights clear, dead on full moon, then heavy cloud and rain, constantly. I have people say to me “Oh you live in France, you are so lucky” two leaf clover!
  13. I know some of us has had bad weather for extended periods. I for one started this mad cap adventure November 2017. It was pretty good till mid February 2018 which gave me an amazing start on this incredible pastime. I did not get another observation session till 23rd June 2018! My latest opportunity to observe other than full moon, which of course was clear was 13th April. My question to all is how do you remain connected to the heavens when ultimately you cannot see them. It feels so long since I have had a clear sky that looking at Stellarium confronts me with a stranger! I can’t believe that a little shy of a month is the longest day! Did Einstein say anything about time travelling faster the older you get? as this year is almost half done and it feels like March. Marvin
  14. I have just finished making a 130 pds! My very first scope was an Orion Space Probe 130 ST which I have been told are made by Skywatcher and compares directly to there own model which maybe a 130P ? A while back I thought it would be a great idea to put my Nikon DSLR on it only to find the horrible 1.25 plastic focuser is just no good. I bought a two inch pds focuser from FLO, modded the tube, flocked it and blackened the mirror edges. With my alternative 130 pds I was ready for AP! Hang on a minute still no good as I do not have enough back focus. I have now moved the primary mirror a small amount towards the secondary by using longer colimation studs and mirror bolts and the camera now gains focus. The weather has been rubbish for a while now so I have only tested it on a very distant object in daylight. The question is ‘Am I a legit member of the 130 pds club?’ If it helps at all I have a 150 pds as well. Marv
  15. Hi everyone. I have a Nikon D3100 and find the battery lasts about two hours shooting Astro. With darks bias etc I get about 1.5 hrs of actual subs, I want to extend this. Now I know I could buy a second battery and swop during the session but sometimes I sleep when the rig is running. There is the option of grip and second battery but that is more expense and more weight on the focuser. I have seen a video tutorial about using a phone backup battery pack with a voltage converter cable connected to a dummy battery in the DSLR. I have one of these 5 volt battery packs and thought great idea, not to mention the battery pack is taken away from the sensor and off the OTA if mounted on the tripod or mount. My question is this. The Nikon battery is 7.4 volts, the camera allegedly has a max voltage of 8.4 volts. The only USB converter cables I can find are 5 volt to 9 volt. Is this critical as I have seen warnings about exceeding voltage which seems obvious to me. If it is critical can anyone suggest where a USB 5 volt to 8 volt cable can be purchased that would connect to a dummy battery. Thanks in advance. Marvin
  16. Brilliant idea with the step ladder by the way. A question about the first picture, does the tennis ball serve any useful function ? Marv
  17. All set out ready for a bit more darkness for polar alignment. Note the three leg plastic table not the wobbly four leg version. Also note the supermarket brand cola! None of your Redbull Monster stuff here, too much adrenaline in the first place. Second picture has Venus dead top. Great night I remember, stayed clear for six hours with greeting seeing. Marv
  18. I have been crippled by astronomy for three years now. I consider it an affliction, similar to a disease but I have no idea if it is physical, mental or both. I know now it is incurable, thankfully it can be treated by exposure to the night sky. I started with a 130 newt, and have progressed a bit in kit and size. I missed the whole binocular bit and have recently dabbled in AP. Just strolled outside with the dogs for evening walks and realised the moon is amazing after five days of constant rain. All my kit is locked away and covered due to house renovations so I grabbed the bird watching bins! Why have I never looked at the evening sky with such easy to use kit. Wobbly as hell, couldn’t see anything until I plonked them on the top of the washing line pole and jackpot. Now, I know I cannot see rilles and crater wall detail but ‘just hand held binoculars’ I went running for the moon map. My bins are now right by the front door. A weekend away (whenever that will be) they will be coming with me. Had a peak at Venus..... amazing view of the phase. Marvin
  19. Like a pile of diamonds on black velvet. Marv
  20. Thank you very much for the info, I will look into it. Access to big scopes for the price of basic cable tv.... I would rather have big scopes than reality tv. Cheers Marv
  21. One of those days when the sun is out and it is raining and blowing a gale all at the same time. I know when it is bad as I have a great big farmers hanger, the sort they store straw bales in. All the doves, pigeons and assorted birds take cover. A bit like like my own bird cage, except they are free to leave and live there lives, I watch them from a distance, binoculars are not just for open clusters. M
  22. Hi OregonEEA, always good to hear from astronomers across the pond. What amazing observational sites you must have in your country. Now I must admit I do not practice EEVA but I follow this section avidly, as it something I wish to pursue in the future. I was also unaware of slooh Canary Islands #1, can you give me more info. I am of course aware that the Canary Islands are home to some amazing professional and amateurs scopes. Marv
  23. Welcome, Boxer owner. No greater more affectionate, loony, lovable companions in life. I count myself lucky to have had twelve years with a pair of those amazing creatures. Nearly ate my entire house though! Marv
  24. Does this mean you have moved into Astro photography John????? Marv
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