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About ScouseSpaceCadet

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    Proto Star

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  • Location
    Liverpool, UK.
  1. There's loads of ways to mix and match. For instance, I have mounted on an AZ-GTI (or AZ5), a cut price customer return 150i tube modified with a new focuser. The supplied fixed vixen dovetail removed and replaced with tube rings to counter the imbalance caused by a heavier focuser. I wanted to use as much aperture as possible on the AZ-GTI without straining the mount and the Heritage 150 didn't exist at the time.
  2. The Star Discovery 150i is popular. The Synscan GoTo is tried and tested. The optics are the same mirrors as the other Skywatcher 150mm reflector variants. The focuser is a cheap plastic horror but plenty of people put up with it. The spider vanes are on the thicker side but again, possible to live with. Primary collimation is fixed. Secondary collimation will need a quick tweak occasionally. This isn't a route into astrophotography (AP). An alt-azimuth mount and a focuser requiring modification to fit a camera. If GoTo isn't a priority then consider a 6" reflector on a dobson mount. Due to a small footprint when stored upright, the more diminutive Dobsonians use less storage space than a mount/tripod/telescope. The Skywatcher Classic 150p at f7.84 will be decent on planets and brighter DSOs while forgiving on cheaper eyepieces. At £220 it's well within your budget, allowing you to purchase eyepieces and still save a bit more for dedicated AP kit should you decide AP is for you. Easy to put into the back seat of a car. Likewise the Heritage 150p at £200 is even more portable and easier to store. The Explorer 130P-DS is a popular route into astrophotography. At £180, it leaves plenty of spare cash from your budget for the really important kit; a decent EQ mount/camera/filters etc. There's a thread dedicated to it in the forum Imaging section. The results people obtain with it are fantastic.
  3. Good choice. You will likely suffer with some wobble. I get around it by laying on a sun lounger and balancing the binoculars on my face. However, a monopod will be relatively inexpensive, highly portable and easy to set up.
  4. If you're new to astronomy and travelling around dark sites in a motor home, then consider saving your cash, buy a reasonably priced pair of 10x50 binoculars and a good book. Just about every amateur owns a pair of binoculars. The money isn't wasted, they compliment the telescope(s) owned. You will be amazed at the number of objects one can observe from a rural viewing area using binoculars. For instance, I took a pair of 10x50s and a 102mm Maksutov to Kielder in Northumberland last September. The binoculars provided so many 'Wow' moments that the telescope stayed in the bag. Once you have learned to navigate the sky a bit, and taken in some of its wonder, and had a think, go buy the gear you feel you need. There's no great rush.
  5. I'm not one to salivate over kit, but those scopes and set up the chaps have, really do look the biz. Luckily I don't have the storage space, otherwise I'd have to send my youngest up chimneys...
  6. The Hyperflex has received decent reviews. The Hyperion zoom would be nice, but buying a £180 eyepiece for a £120 telescope just doesn't compute. The eyepiece seems well made and I'm surprised how small and light it is.. It will fit nicely into the camera bag with the Mak.
  7. Eliminating the eyepiece case when the 102mm Mak is taken camping. An OVL Hyperflex 7.2-21.5mm zoom, and a couple of years overdue but I fancied another book - Turn Left at Orion.
  8. During the fine New Years Day afternoon a quick glance at Clear Outside revealed a clear and chilly night, so I scraped myself off the couch, hoping after weeks of bad weather, illness, family and Christmas commitments I'd manage a first winter observing session. With dusk looming, the modded 150i tube mounted on an AZGTI and steel tripod was set up in observers' corner. The water shaken out of the tarp light shield before being erected along the neighbour's adjoining fence. As the sun disappeared behind the houses, a quick tweak of the red dot finder and a turn of a secondary collimation knob left me good to go for later. The scope pointed north, levelled and covered with the Ducksback outboard motor cover, while I headed back in for tea and to wait for what passes for darkness to envelope the garden. After being warmed by a hearty meal and a hot mug of tea, the layers went on, topped off with a fetching beanie and fingerless gloves. Finally out into the garden strolled the Amateur Astronomer, eyepiece case in hand, ready to rumble after barren months. Aware the Moon in a couple of hours would add to the city light pollution, I quickly got to work. Battery and mount switched on, mobile connected and mount aligned. Mars and Betelguese chosen as alignment stars, the AZGTI worked flawlessly. A good start. As this was an early session, which for me means a blue/grey sky resting on an orange glow there was little chance of observing anything other than some old favourites, but just being out under the stars was rewarding. Much like an angler, not caring too much if the fish aren't obliging, but still enjoying the canal bank and relative peace. In my case punctuated with the sounds of waning traffic. So no great challenges ahead but despite the early evening sky glow, the otherwise incredibly clear sky revealed more than just the core of M31, an obvious extra layer of oval grey smudge added to the view. After touring around the southern sky, taking in Uranus, Hyades, NGC 752, M34, M36, M37 and M38, the AZGTI whirred its way onto the Pleiades, which unusually from my yard, was clearly naked eye visible, with individual stars apparent. Looking into the 25mm Celestron X-Cel I was astonished, for the first time from my garden, obvious nebulosity could be seen around the cluster's stars. Initially I was sceptical. This must be condensation! After checking and observing for longer, I was happy I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. Just beautiful. Before finishing, feeling quite warm, I slumped into the garden chair and spent a few minutes enjoying the clear sky resplendent with winter asterisms and constellations, including the greatest of them all and my final target, Orion. I marvelled at the swirling grey M42 before splitting the the young Trapezium stars and ending the session. Leaving behind a terrible year, while beginning a new year feeling incredibly contented and one with the universe from my city garden.
  9. If "astronomical equipment" includes buildings, then I'd go for option 2, building a small observatory with bedrooms, living space and kitchen or repurpose an existing rural building. Then happily retire early.
  10. Great report Jiggy. The Christmas Eve night sky here was brilliant. Unfortunately life conspired against me and it wasn't to be, except when putting the bins out, I paused to look up and around taking it all in for a bit before dragging myself back in. Let's hope the coming months provide us with a few more nights like that.
  11. Nice pressies. The missus gave me lunar phase print for my office wall as a stocking filler... Please excuse the wobbly photo. I've had well deserved bevvy.
  12. Pain felt... The BBC has a nice photo article .
  13. We're an insignificant speck in space so why would a God bother with us eh? Fair enough, I don't believe in a creator or whatever. However, putting the magic and mystique to one side, it's possible at least some of these events happened and a decent bloke called Jesus who rebelled against the state and preached love etc did exist...
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