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Marvin Jenkins

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Everything posted by Marvin Jenkins

  1. Thanks for the info especially as I have used the fitting for connecting a DSLR. Marv
  2. 180 seconds ISO 800 with my Nikon D3100 mounted on an NEQ5. Jupiter and Saturn and an aircraft heading into Toulouse. No real processing, just a bit of colour and contrast adjustment in the windows picture program.
  3. Instalment three. Day light check on my most distant terrestrial object, a pylon about a K away. Turns out I have zero distant focus, the focuser is racked all the way back into the OTA and it is not enough. Now I start to worry as it's not like I can put the original focuser back on as I have cut and ground a huge hole in the OTA! For obvious reasons I am not using the 2 inch or 1.25 extensions that come with the focuser, what are they for? I remove all the 1.25 fittings from the focuser just leaving the 2 inch fitting that a t ring would screw onto and simply hold an eyepiece in the hole to see where it would have to be to attain focus. Seems the 1.25 ext tube is three cm's too long, think about cutting it right down to just retain the two thumb screws that secure the eye piece. Then have another idea..... The old focuser has a short section at the end for the eyepiece to go in. Why cut one down when I can unscrew the end of the old one and join it to the 2 inch fitting with a slim section of grey plumbing pipe (picture above). Tried all my eye pieces and problem solved, the eye piece is now closer to the center of the OTA by 4 cm's and focus has been achieved. That very night it is clear so Jupiter beckons, what better target to test it on. The following is from my diary, and I think proves that the unit is a massive improvement, not just because of the DS aspect, but I can finally collimate this scope. Jupiter at dusk. Lot's of heat distortion, but all four moons clearly visible. Two weather bands showing and fortunate to see the GRS. Can just see some southern features, I would only dream of seeing all that once it is truly dark and it is not. The last thing I need to do is focus my attention to the gap around the focuser due to the radius problem. I have found some 10mm thick medium density foam which I will use as a light sealing gasket, simply cut to shape and size with scissors and pushed into the gap to stop light leakage. I think I have now reached the limit with mods unless anyone has any suggestions. The last picture is 'it' finished. The grey bit around the bottom of the tube is light shield made from camping bed roll that cost 3 euro, is even baffled in texture on the inside. Collimation knobs, and an anti dew band as winter is approaching and my work here is done. Next time I am out observing I will try and get a picture and add it to the thread on here about showing your scope in action. Marvin
  4. Nodding Doc mount, me thinks. Serious question. What was the motivation for building this mount? I can see from the build quality it is very impressive and I can only wish I had the skills to design and make something approaching the nodding doc. More power to you Marvin
  5. I think the only option is to get all of the above! Only joking. I don’t like commenting on Dobs as I do not have one, but it is unanimous that they are the best value for money for aperture. The downside is very limited for photography. I chose the Newtonian on an EQ mount thinking I could do astrophotography. EQ2!!!!!! A smallish newt is a remarkable instrument, but needs a good mount EQ5 and beyond. My personal jump to EQ5 has made me very happy for the time being with the small newt I have 130. Took my breath away what can be seen by a 130 under dark skies on a decent mount. Could probably say the same for a small frac but the cost is somewhat higher. No truer statement, no mount, no scope. Dobs on the other hand have little if no mount issues and for cost give you way bigger apertures. If you are happy with visual only get a Dob, if you want go to with Astro photography possibilities get a Newt or Frac on a decent EQ. Marv
  6. Stage two. Installing the focuser mounting plate. First thing is, the plate is made for a larger diameter tube than mine so the radius is larger. In essence I have a big gap on two sides of the focuser, so I have to add spacers to allow the fixing bolts to bind up on something. The fixings are simple metric threaded, conical headed bolts. I did have to cut them to length as mine were over long. (couple of pairs went in the bin after cutting too short) Now the base plate is in place I realise that the shoe for the finder scope will have to be moved. Only one hole to drill as one existing hole is used. You can see the redundant hole between the shoe and the focuser base plate. I will have to close this somehow, black tape for the time being. Now before refitting the OTA I turned my attention to the secondary mirror. I have seen a few mentions on here of blackening mirror edges to remove light splatter and I can see why. The second pic is the item in question and it has a ground edge with quite a large surface area which light has to pass over to reach the primary. The second picture is with the edge and back face blackened with matt paint, simply applied (carefully) with an artists paintbrush. The paint is still wet so looks gloss. Once all was dry the re-build begins. Once back together but before the secondary mirror goes in, I blacken the focuser base plate nuts inside the OTA. Secondary mirror back in place and then the focuser body re-attached via the three small grub screws. Wow that is a big unit compared to the urrrrr that it came with. I pop in the laser collimator and do some basic alignment checks and smile, no focuser tube movement! ten minutes and it is collimated. (Still using allen keys, no B knobs yet) Next instalment, first light, or at least a daylight alignment on a distant pylon to see if anything needs adjusting, you know it will........... Next instalment. Marvin
  7. Perhaps one of the SGL challenges can be to get selected for the calendar, from a years worth of all the pictures sent in to the challenges. Bit like a best of the best comp. Would cost FLO 12 mugs though! Could probably get that back out of sales. Marvin
  8. A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to be bought a 130mm newt on an eq2 mount. Opened my eyes to what is up there and got me thoroughly hooked on astronomy, to the point that my wife says I speak of nothing else, which is of course a load of nebula. The newt concerned is an Orion Space Probe 130 ST which I like a lot. The mount on the other hand I did not. I very quickly found that anything but guessing polar alignment is out of the question. It wobbles like a jelly. The RA mechanism is rough, that it occasionally binds slightly and squeaks it's disapproval whilst wobbling! Time to upgrade. NEQ5 pro with a synscan upgrade kit version five. Outrageous difference in everyway, this mount has a polar scope which is useless at night as it needs to be illuminated, ordered one of those little plastic jobs that light it up nicely. The main difference with mount beyond all the motor control and goto is that it is so stable it was like I had upgraded the OTA at the same time. I started to see objects that before were impossible without adding anymore aperture. This got me thinking.... How much better could this OTA be if Orion had put in some effort. I drew inspiration from some of the threads on here and in particular from the SW 130 PDS club. Firstly flocking which ironically seems far harder in a smaller tube than a larger one. On this model the base of the tube has a metal cover plate held by three small screws to prevent dust entering the primary mirror area. I have removed the plate as it covers the collimation screws for the main mirror. Try collimating in the dark and getting the plate back on without loosing the screws, plus I figured quicker cool down with the base of the tube open. As the upgrades started to make a difference I found that the 1.25 inch focuser supplied with this model is a horrible plastic chrome thing, the focus tube of which can be moved from side to side easily, so far from accurate. Next decision was to buy a laser collimator, bit the bullet and bought a Hotech. Absolutely no point on this OTA as the focuser moves so much it renders the accuracy of the laser redundant. Now the reason for the title. Big decision! Do I just not bother with the OTA and buy an SW 130PDS and upset my wife by making all of her kind present unwanted? I think not, and besides, I am now emotionally attached to this little tube as up till now it can lay claim to all my astronomy firsts. On to FLO for the PDS focuser order, fingers crossed I can modify the tube enough to fit it and gain focus, here goes. First picture the existing focuser urrrrr. Second picture is the tube stripped with the urrrr at the bottom. Received the PDS finally, after the French postal system disappeared it for ten days. First job to remove the base plate from the focuser body (pic three). Please note black paint around the inside of the plate! Now I am all for productivity but the good people at Skywatcher could at least let the paint dry before assembly. I then used the base plate as a template for enlarging the hole in the OTA. After much grinding with dremmel tools and hand files I had the desired hole size and position and drilled the tube for the new bolt positions. It was during this stage that I realized that flocking the tube after all the mods would have been far better. It took ages getting all the metal fillings out of the flock (hoover, compressed air and sticky tape). Picture four is the end result. I am going to post more on the remaining work tomorrow. Marvin
  9. Inspired. That's the kind of astronomy that makes me try harder. I haven't been to the coast yet for astronomy, but that report has made up my mind. Thank you Stu. Marvin
  10. You should try having something sent from the UK to Southwest France. I have so much first hand experience, where to begin. Father in laws ashes disappeared for a week once in the French system despite online tracking. Received a call from an ape, in a van so badly beaten it looked like some of the packages in the photos. Called from a town 10k away to say “can’t find your house, come and collect, I will be leaving in thirty minutes”. Ordered an expensive direct to space internet system. Watched the van go by the top of my lane at warp speed and kept on going. Three minutes later, call. “Can’t find your house, you will have to come to me”. I explained seeing him go by, so turn around and come back. Complete refusal! Drove to him (outlaw biker) in worse van I have ever seen, he was throwing the boxes onto the verge, If I wasn’t there he would have left the stuff by the side of the road. Waiting for delivery, call again, can’t find your house. Come meet me in your local village, I am outside the farm shop. I drive there and he is outside the bank at the other end of the village. Van condition could be improved but setting it on fire. He tells me my address is incorrect even though it has never changed and post arrives daily. Recently ordered a focuser upgrade from FLO. Usual amazing service, tracked the package to France, where it doesn’t even make it to the sorting depot. Tracking shows no movement for ten days! Then it just arrives out of the blue even though tracking says it has not even been processed at the port. I have noted that only one courier has ever had sat nav! Just about every courier company sub contracts out to smashed up van man. The worst offender for this is..... won’t say in fear of being sued, but there vans are brown with a gold symbol, except round here they have no markings (probably out of embarrassment due to the terrible service) The drivers don’t even wear company clothing. Marv
  11. I am back in the game after finally banishing my go to woes, thanks to all those that helped with my long lat questions. last night was incredibly clear and the seeing pretty good considering the early start and hot day. It was one of those nights I could have slept next to the mount and started viewing at two am, but house renovations mean I have to work today and not mess up the electrics. Started at ten after careful polar alignment and three star alignment. This time I nearly hit the first star dead in the cross hairs, big relief after days of the mount not even finding the right constellation. M54, M55, M19, NGC 6946, M40, M3, M6, M7, M13, M24, M28, M34, M76, M92. All these objects were new to me. I do have detailed notes but no time this morning to write a detailed report (remember the electrics). The order may seem a little random but I was looking down the M list and checking off ones I hadn’t seen before in number order Finished off the session at midnight with my first look at Neptune in the east, didn’t look at all blue to me, but was definitely the gas giant as I checked it against Stellarium. I feel so happy to have had a clear night like that coinciding with a new moon. Went to sleep dreaming of galaxies. Marvin
  12. Thanks both of you that has cleared up that conundrum. Thank you Alan for the online calculator. Steve, I think the iPad is using the WiFi location, but I have the int app on my phone with gps like yours so I will go with that in the future. Hopefully no more alignment issues. Marv
  13. Nice one Max. I have not been in this long enough to move onto astrophotography, but I saw the Dumbbell nebula for the first time just over a week ago through the ep. The shape is classic, just what I saw with out the colour of course and less obvious structure. A really nice natural picture of which you should be proud. Marv
  14. I have had a couple of aborted sessions recently due to my neq5 mount not getting even remotely close to star targets whilst doing three star alignment. When I mean not close, I am talking a couple of constellations away. To remove the idiot effect coupled with the obvious you dumb idiot aspect I went back to zero as many of these problems stem from simple stuff like not imputing the date American style etc. I took the mount and OTA out in the day and set up the polar scope cross hairs on the center point of a very distant pylon. Added the OTA and aligned that to the same point and aligned the spotter scope for good measure. Moved the mount to face north and levelled using the bubble. Waited for darkness. Identified Polaris and adjusted so it was in the cross hairs, then looked through the OTA to ensure the same and finally the spotter scope, all good. Oriented the RA so the zero was TDC and looked at synscan app on my phone. Coordinates read 44, 14’ N 00, 58 E. I check that the read out for reticle position is northern hemisphere. Do polar alignment, power up synscan unit, I imput all data correctly. Start 3 star alignment. First star degrees off, second star same again, third star even farther away! Got me thinking about long lat.... I have a long long lat finder on my iPad which uses google earth. I can pinpoint a spot in my garden that I view from and the Lat is 44.2378 N Long 0.9689. W My question is, why is there a big difference in longitude between google earth and the gps reading on my phone and is this causing the problem? Which one do I use? If it’s the last one should it read 00’0968 ? Any help much appreciated Marvin
  15. Goto opened my head and played with my grey matter. I know that to the purist, I could have found all these from setting circles and I can’t disagree. The problem I find myself in, is that with cheap kit the setting circle method was useless even with lots of knowledge. At the beginning I had no idea about the night sky so team them up and you have stupid combined with uneducated. Goto solved one of these points (probably still stupid) Now I can’t make it work I am back to square one. Tomorrow a full shake down of the whole set up..... probably find I am imputing the day month year rather than month day year. If I get to the bottom of it I will post it on here no matter how embarrassing. Marvin
  16. From the sublime to the ridiculous. Two nights of polar alignment woes. Swear I am not doing anything different but when it comes to three star alignment the mount is more than a constellation away from chosen target. Pay back for 22 Messiers in one night. I am going to do a day time calibration of the polar scope and whole set up then run through all the synscan info to see if I am imputing something wrong. Two great nights missed. I can’t be the only person who has stood in the dark and argued and shouted at an eq. Hopefully back in the hunt tonight. M
  17. What does that thing weigh? I recently borrowed a William Optics 66mm frac (baby) to compare against my 130 newt. Supprised by how heavy it was. Nice bit of kit thought, very well made.
  18. Thanks everyone, the carp barrow is loaded and I have a much smaller list this time. About 8 M’s and four NGC’s. Calm down and breath. The sun is down and the light is failing. Almost time to move out. Good luck and good seeing everyone. I will post again tomorrow, probably with questions as the nebulae viewing for me is a bit hit or miss. Marvin
  19. Last night was incredible, the conditions really good. I always know I am in for a treat when I can see the Pyrenees late afternoon some 150kms away. I decided to do some research early evening instead of just getting out there, setting up, and casting around, then scratching my head to work out what I am looking at. The other thing, like many of us is work pressure, so a midnight cut off is sadly normal for me. Plus the moon rise middle in the night, so I thought that would be perfect. I cannot tell you how much that prep made a difference. Spent an hour on Stellarium and SN7 to single out target constellations best placed for viewing from my position. I then looked up all the Messier objects in the chosen nine constellations. Scutum, Ophiuchus, Serpens, Sagittarius, Aquarius, Vulpecula, Sagitta, Cygnus and Lyra. Turns out there were 22 M's in those constellations that I have not yet seen! Made a list, tucked it in my Messier list folder, packed all the gear onto my carp barrow and walked to the top field. Now I have to say that I had not seriously thought about looking at all of them as I am quite realistic. Six to seven would have made my night as I am not the kind of person who's rushing to 'complete the list' without taking it all in, but like I said last night was amazing. I am currently using an Orion ST 130 newt on an neq5 synscan goto V5. Big downside to this scope is the focuser which should never be fitted to anything unless the thing is to thrown in the bin. I just installed an SW PDS 2inch focuser to this little tube and the difference is...... Stellar. I am going to post a thread with pictures in DIY astronomy heading once the weather turns cloudy. So here goes, everyone of them in 2 hours! with my small notes, and all for the first time. M11 Scutum, Wild duck cluster. Noticeable single bright star in the center. Higher magnification, appears to be offset to one side. M26 Scutum, Open cluster. Very open, small group of perhaps 5-6 stars grouping in the center. M14 Ophi, Glob cl. Strange looking, very opaque, like a distant diffuse galaxy. M10 Ophi, Glob cl. Diffuse, but more compact and a little tighter, brighter, can just recognize it is a cluster. M9 Ophi, Glob cl. Very small faint glob, without knowing it could have been a planetary nebula. M107 Ophi, Glob cl. So faint I can barely see it, without goto impossible at my aperture. M16 Serpens, Eagle Nebular, Cluster + Nebulosity. Can see an open cluster, two bright white stars in the center, no nebulosity. (disappointed) M17 Sagittarius, Omega Nebula. WOW, looks like a diffuse edge on galaxy with a bulging core, big and bright. M18 Sagittarius, Open cluster, Black swan. To my eye it is so open as to appear as a star field. M25 Sagittarius, Open cluster, My notes say.... Open cluster for sure.... obviously not impressed at the time! M24 Sagittarius, Open cluster + Nebulosity. No wonder this is given special mention, richest bit of sky I have ever seen. M23 Sagittarius, Open cluster. The most perfect OC I have yet seen, really set off by a dark surrounding. M8 Sagittarius, Cluster + Nebulosity. Sublime star cluster, two bright stars of equal magnitude and equal distance either side of the central point. Right star has a large patch of nebulosity next to it. M22 Sagittarius, Globular cluster. Now that's what I call a glob! Not diffuse or distant, I can really see it is made of stars. M2 Aquarius, Glob cl. One of the smallest, tightest, faintest globs I have ever seen. Surrounded by dark sky, it has to be a prime target for photography. M27 Vulpecular, Planetary Nebula, Dumbell Neb. I have marked this as one of the main targets, didn't disappoint. I can make out the shape, surprised how big it is, quite bright too. Must have been some bang! M71 Sagitta, Globular Cluster.Very small and diffuse amongst a dense starry background. M39 Cygnus, Open Cluster. Just looks like a lot of stars. M29 Cygnus, Open Cluster. Ditto. M56 Lyra, Globular Cluster. Very tiny, can't really much of it. M57 Lyra, Planetary Nebular. I love Plan Nebs, weird little cotton balls in space. Rather taken by these strange 'odd ones out' of the starry sky. Totally incredible and I couldn't sleep after, so I was wrecked for work this morning anyway. Should have continued for another hour. Going out again tonight for another session with planning, but this time I am going to slow down and enjoy the view. I hope thousands more of you will be doing the same. Marvin
  20. Rather puts things into perspective. Is that you in the photo? Marv
  21. Coastline, safety first, absolutely. mark81 couldn’t agree more. M
  22. There is nothing a large wild pig with tusks loves more than a green beer. Gordon your card is marked.
  23. It’s all part of the deal. If the work doesn’t get you the wine will. Working with a hangover is why everything takes sooooo long down here. M
  24. Time by the sea is time seldom wasted, sadly I am two hours difficult drive from any coast line, so give it all you have and please post something on here so I can say “ you know what, who cares about the drive, I’m off” Marv
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