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Mark Daniels

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About Mark Daniels

  • Rank
    Star Forming

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  • Location
    Banstead surrey
  1. I have a pair of the vixens they are great
  2. It might work if you use a steel hose clamp like the ones for clamping rubber hose to water fixtures clamp it around with epoxy
  3. I have the 127 and boight it as the package with mount and tripod. The tripod is well made and sturdy. It is light enough to carry in a shoulder bag. i went with that scope to look at planets as well. But because i live on the outskirts of london i needed something easy to transport and i certainly is a great grab and go. I would say though that the 127 is about the max i would use on the tripod. The tripod also makes an excellent base for an astrophotography set up. the extention pier is great IMHO . I bought a second one as i am putting a shed up to use the scopes , with a perminant pier which the skywatcher one will attach to so i can easily fix set up to it. i have been usingvthe 127 for 2 years now and for its size and price and convenience i cant complain at all.
  4. Yep i agree use it about 4 metres away. Also did the eq update which works fine and imaged a few bits to try out seemed to track well but need to align with polaris better. The counter weight was from a SW eq2 mount i got from astroboot for £10 If you update to eq then when using az mode the scope will need to be place onthe right of mount or at least my version does. great little mount for grab and go
  5. You were quite correct. The scope needs to be mounted to the right not left after update so thanks for that. still s mystery why the wifi switches off. There must be an issue with phone protocol. Works fine in one oart of my garden but seems to drop out in another bizarre
  6. Thanks worked fine it must be something to do with thecrecent eq up date i did. It is also orientating wrongly as if the alt axis is 90degrees out. Thanks
  7. Hi I am having issue with mount dropping out of wifi. set up and align , adjust then start using then intermittently it stops tracking or if i change goto to another object then it may not respond. check back to iphone settings and find it is no longer connected usually nothing else has hijacked it I have adjusted settings on iphone to ensure no priority wifi takes over but i must have missed something. any ideas? thanks
  8. This has three settings rapid slow and constant.
  9. Got this great little bike light from wlikinsons today £5.00 clamps on leg of tripod and gives a nice illumination for tray.
  10. Got a crayford focuser for my SW 102 travel. Really easy to fit and massive improvement. Highly recommoend
  11. my wife is also forgiving. She was fine but we missed being able to walk to a local bar but there really isnt much to choose from. The resort of Peurto Naos north of where we were had beach and seafront walk with a few bars etc but I dont think it would be as dark sky as the area we where. Again the travelling by car would be the same. to get the best you do need to be able to get to one of the islands view points.
  12. Yes i should have taken a tracker but my weight limit was pretty close. The milky way was hard to get without but hey ho. Also moon set around 4 am and i think the local wines prevented me getting up that early! i have ordered a omegon lx2 clockwork tracker which i hope eill solve the problem. As an island i really like Lanzarote so will experiment there next year. Seeing the observatories was great.
  13. So just got back from my La Palma adventure. So letting you guys know my humble opinion and hopefully pass on information that may be of help. Firstly its how I see the island you may obviously feel different. Big question did I enjoy it?......yes Would I visit again?.......No Are there issues going there?.....yes big time Was it value for money?......most definitely What should I take to see the stars?......depends greatly on where you are Biggest disappointment?.....bright moon Ok lets elaborate Firstly if you are going then plan very well for no moon!!!!! This was a holiday with my wife and straight after christmas so no choice. But the skies are so crystal clear that the moon is unbelievably bright. It was 1/3 full on arrival and pretty much full when i left. Also if you are going to stay by the coast then west is best i researched that and it was so true. La palma has a very micro weather system and this time of year east is cloud west is clear. Literately 10 miles is all it takes. We stayed south of the island west side. Only 2 days of broken cloud, rest clear skies ,and amazing sunsets. The resort north of us again gets sun and clear skies. However........ if you head up the island and stay say 800-1000 m this time of year you will be in cloud as it gets held by the landscape which ever side you are. Above 1200 m you get above the low cloud ( Mostly) but 1400m to be safe. What you should take is based on what holiday you are intending. If it is a family break then what i took was just right. Small telescope 50x is adequate also couple of lenses and a few filters. Camera dlsr with wide angle and attachment for scope. Bag to carry it in( Rucksack( A must) and some 10/50 binoculars. Its mainly DSO stuff and a good opportunity to landscape. A good tripod. If you are going as a purely Astro tour then boy thats different and i will elaborate later. We booked a star gazing trip which are a very easy and well planned affair but....... it was cancelled! The weather up at 1500m was windy very cloudy/ misty and raining. Where we were was clear and warm. Now i thought to myself this is a winter thing. No. It can happen all year round though summer is obviously better and clearer. The tour provide talks and telescopes, they are run by astronomers. If you go on a holiday company one ,the coach picks you up and back they last about 5 hours in total including travel time. You can arrange separate ones but you need to get cab or drive. More of that in a bit. Is it value for money Yes we paid little over £500 each the hotel was big clean and well run. The food was ok and the booze was good. We went fully inclusive. The trip we did to the observatories and island tour was one of the best i have done. Full day so high up with stunning views and to stand way above the clouds was incredible. It also included a lunch stop at a local restaurant with great food, a tour of the northwest and the national park which was breath taking and very high also. The weather that day was perfect and the sights will last in my memories for a long time. The other tour was a half day trip to Santa Cruz the capital. That was cheap but disappointing. Very small some nice buildings but not a lot else. It is also a port so not very scenic and the beach is very man made. I would not recommend staying there. We saw all there is in about 2 hours. You need to appreciate the island as a tourist spot is based on its beauty with very limited tourism and is really aimed at hiking and outdoor activities. I would say if you are fit and i mean fit you will have a tremendous time getting lost in the natural wilderness and crazy volcanic landscapes. If you are not very fit then ............ you will need a car.......GULP!!!!!!!! Driving La Palma You will need nerves of steel! Seriously big fat nerves of steel. Until about 30 years ago there were very few roads. With the siting of the observatories there came a increase in tourism and a massive infrastructure program But also ......strict laws to protect the islands natural beauty and strict light pollution laws. Consequently there are limited tunnels and the roads zig zag up and down the terrain. Also most are unlit at night. Ok the highest road we travelled on by coach had a vertical drop of 1000m. It was very narrow and had minimal barriers. All of the roads have minimal barriers and have considerable drops most being very high indeed. Meeting an on coming coach and squeezing around it would be heart pounding unless you are very confident with both heights and driving. And thats day light! I would not drive as it would be very stressful. The other factor to consider is that the island is ( with the exception of two or three areas) very sparsely occupied. Total population is about 80,000 so the small villages (that really only have a taverna ,a cafe or shop ,and a church ), have an average populations around 100 locals spread over several km. Most shopping is done in Mini markets here and there attached to petrol stations here and there. Getting anywhere takes time Example of how much time it takes to get from AToB. Our big trip If we took measurements from hotel to Northwest observatory point and back via national park its about 50 km. the total distance travelled was 179km and the trip took a full 12.5 hours. We elevated to 2460m and the coach preformed 2460 sharp bends winding through the terrain. Even a trip to Santa Cruz some 20km took an hour. Buses are very good run on time but about every 2 hours. Most things shut between 2pm and 5pm so plan excursions accordingly. So what did i see? Best view of orion ever. Beautiful Venus. The Moon ( couldn’t miss the [removed word]). Andromeda was good. Millions of stars everywhere. That was all from a quite spot i found away from the hotel on the cliffs next to a banana plantation about 15 minutes walk. In fact whilst the local band played and the people danced my wife and i strolled the local cliff path and looked up in wonder and she read and drank Cava ,while i gazed through my little scope and took a few snaps. It was magic. So the Biggy question “I am a serious astronomer who wants to go to La Palma and see the stuff only dreams are made of. What should i do?” This what I would do....... 1. Plan your timings so no moon 2. Get a villa high up on the west side ( It will be expensive) 3. On arrival hire a car driven by at least 2 people who are very competent and have very good nerves 4. Drive to Santa cruz next to airport and buy everything you will need for the week....... everything. 5. Get to your place and park for the week unless near local bus or not frightened by drive there (in which case enjoy, you mountain goat you) 6. Take the kit you need but double up on plenty of consumables like batteries 7. 4 G Is excellent so get as much Data allowance as you can. I had 25gb and that was good for me 8. Take stuff to do during the day or walk and enjoy the views 9. Take warm cloths as it is cold above 1200m even in the summer at night I think for me i will try other places with my travel kit, and that was the most pleasing thing knowing that it doesn’t take a lot to get to see some great things. The skies of LaPalma even under poor conditions are well worth seeing even if only the once.
  14. Got these two. Nice and bright
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