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Everything posted by Skuber

  1. +1 for Alignmaster - I'm getting the most accurate alignment I've ever had with it. It connects to ASCOM and 'just' works, like PHD. Only thing I found is that it uses the GOTO and you need to set the correct home position for the accurate GOTO.
  2. Pat, I read that article from Hotech suggesting you can't use the V-Block approach because the contact surface should ONLY be the part of the collimator that goes into the eyepiece. The problem with the Hotech is that the thin end that doesn't rest on the block is heavier than the thick end that goes on the block / in the eyepiece. So, I was thinking, make up a simple V-Block for the thick end, then wrap a couple of elastic bands around it to keep the collimator on the v-block. Then only the correct surface is touching the v-block and you should be able to check the collimation. I haven't tried this yet, as my Hotech seems to be perfectly aligned, but this would be my approach if I needed to.
  3. I can attest to the fact that when your scope is not perfectly collimated, without a coma corrector, that you still get the diffraction spikes. They are not always in the precise centre of the star when it's out of collimation. I wouldn't recommend using them as a test of collimation accuracy
  4. Hi all, I've just been sent this link, I found the footage of stunning beauty: http://apod.nasa.gov...d/ap120305.html Simon
  5. @ Thing: I'm a beginner at collimation, so if you could actually tell us the errors in AstroBaby's guide, it would be really helpful for us less knowledgeable members. Regarding collimation, I have a question: My new 10" Newtonian has 4 clips. Out of the box, I can only see 3 of the clips when looking down my Cheshire or the coll cap - so does this suggest the secondary is out of alignment? I don't want to muck around with the secondary unless it is already out of collimation...
  6. One thing to consider is that the Polar Alignment messes up the GOTO alignment, so you will always need to run the GOTO alignment after you've polar aligned by whichever method is appropriate.
  7. Regarding the polar scope, first set up the HEQ5 so that the altitude (up-down) indicator on the base is set to 52 degrees North. If your scope is level, this will get you in the altitude vicinity of polaris. Then make sure the base is pointing North (use a compass or a compass on your iPad). This will get you kind of close to Polaris. Try looking through the polar scope with the power turned off first - my polar scope (EQ6, I expect it's the same) illuminates the whole field, and it can be difficult to see what's going on. When you can see a bright star in the right place, you can turn the scope on, and you should be able to see it faintly against the illumination.
  8. Hi David, If you are controlling your mount using Cartes du Ciel and Ascom, then you can use this software tool http://www.alignmaster.de/ (Alignmaster). It's excellent - you basically pick two bright stars (such as Altair and Dubhe etc.), you do an align to each star, and the program works out your polar alignment error and shows you the exact alterations needed to fix it. I tried it the other day, and it reduced the polar alignment time from 2 hours+ down to 10 minutes... I know I sound like an advert for the software, but I have been very impressed with it so far. Simon
  9. Hi, When I started up, I bought a CG5-GT mount, as I intended to use it for mainly visual astronomy. Very quickly, I realised what I *really* wanted to do was AP, so I bought a small refractor to go on the CG5 to take pictures with (plus Canon EOS 450D & ST80 guidescope). Whilst I have been very pleased with the performance of the CG5, you quickly reach a glass ceiling. Even with a guide scope, the CG5 isn't really good enough to take exposures of more than about 5 minutes duration. Eventually, you will want to upgrade to something better - I've just upgraded to a EQ6. I wish I had spent the extra money right at the start and bought the HEQ5 in the first place, as I would still be using it now. It's not just the weight that the HEQ5 can take, it also has better control motors and a closer gear train which contributes to more accurate guiding. The CG5 is really a visual mount (I loved it), but if you want to do AP, especially at the intermediate level, I would recommend you spend the extra money on the HEQ5.
  10. I've just removed my post, didn't realise how old this thread was...
  11. Wow, that Revelation is BIG! Not sure I'd be able to smuggle that one past the wife!
  12. Thank for the feedback guys. I've got my little TMB80 (FL=504mm ) which does me well for wide field images, so I was thinking of the Newt to pick out some smaller objects like galaxies. Think I'll go for the 10" and see what happens
  13. Hi all, I've just come into a little money lately, and I've purchased an NEQ-6 pro (which I'm very happy with). I am now considering acquiring a 10" newtonian astrograph - either the Skywatcher Quattro, or the Orion US 10" Astrograph (recently reviewed in Sky at Night magazine). Do you think my shiny new NEQ6 be able to take this for imaging, or will it be overloaded? Thanks for your thoughts.
  14. Hi Mark, I'm interested in the answer to this question as well. I've got an F5.6 80mm refractor, and I was wondering what the Field Flattener options are. Looking on the web, it seems like the Williams Optics FFII and FFIII are held in high regard, but I don't know which would be more suitable for my scope, and it would be good to know if there's any other options available... Simon
  15. Thanks again for the info guys - sounds like the V2 could be the one for me Blinky, I live at Fairmilehead right by the dry ski slope - I have to wait for them to turn their lights off in the evening before I can see anything at all!
  16. Thanks for all of your replies I've got another small question regarding the Hutech filters - I notice that there's a v2 and a V4 version available - which is better? Looking at the spectra, it looks like the v4 lets through much less light, so it might need a longer exposure?
  17. You might want to consider pointing it at a bright star to get the focus first - that way if it's out of focus, you should still see something which will help with the focus. Also, if you are getting dead pixels, then I think they can be subtracted if you take dark frames first - the dark frames should clean up the picture a little as well.
  18. Thanks for the info - I'll check that link. I'm pretty sure the main source of light pollution near me is the older orange lamps. There is some of the newer streetlamps to the North, but my view North is blocked by houses...
  19. Apologies if this has been asked before: I was looking at getting an Astronomik CLS CCD Light Pollution filter to aid in my astro imaging as I live on the outskirts of Edinburgh - the by-pass is just to the south of me and gives the sky a lovely orange glow... In the course of my researches, I found that a lot of people consider the Hutech IDAS LPS filter to be the best in its class. Looking at the prices of a 2" filter, I notice that the Hutech is only about £20 more than the Astronomik. So now I can't make up my mind! Has anyone compared the two? Which do you think is the better? Also, crucially, does the Hutech include an IR cut like the CCD version of the Astronomik CLS filter? Many thanks, Simon
  20. Hi Lee, I'd definitely go for the HEQ5 if you can afford it - it's a good sturdy mount that's always in high demand by astro imagers, so it has a good resale price. But it's also got a very good load capacity, so it will probably be quite a long time before you outgrow it and move on anyway. Wish I could have afforded one when I started :-)
  21. Thanks for all your replies I think from everything you've all said, I should have no problem rolling the roof off. Now I just need to decide Pent or Apex (I'm definitely leaning towards the Pent shed solution at the moment...)
  22. Hi Bizbuilder, Many thanks for that - I've had a look at your blog before and found it very interesting. Is that shed you've built an 8x10? I assume you don't have any difficulties rolling the roof off? Simon
  23. Thanks Chris, I hadn't considered a pent shed to be honest, but thinking about it, they could work for me better than an apex shed. Those sheds look like they've got good potential, I'd be keen to see how you get on with your conversion. Does the shed you've received seem to be quite sturdy? Simon
  24. Hi all, I (re)started my Astronomy hobby a year ago, and in that time I've moved from visual observations using a 6" SCT to astrophotography using my trusty TMB80. The biggest barrier I've found is the weather - when I finally get a break in the clouds, I have to spend 1-2 hours setting up everything only for it to cloud over again... So, my other half, in attempt to stop me moping about the house, has agreed to let me build an observatory in the back garden - she's even offered to put some money towards the shed! We have an area of decking approximately 8' x 10' that used to have a shed on it that I can use. I've dug a nice hole and I've started getting the materials for the pillar. However, the one thing I'm a little stuck on is the choice of shed. From reading all of the posts here, it seems that bigger is generally better. Since I've got an 8x10 space, I thought I would go for an 8x10 shed. My wife has suggested that the weight of an 8x10 roof would be too much to comfortably move on my own, even on rollers. Does anyone with an 8x10 shed have any difficulty rolling it off? (I was planning the standard method of a metal channel + casters for it). Next, I was considering converting an apex shed kit. However, almost all of the kits I see online appear to have the top of the door higher than the bottom of the roof. So, with these kits, I couldn't just cut the roof off as it would interfere with the door. Are there any 8x10 kits anyone would recommend that preferably come with the roof already separate? Or is it better to build your own from scratch or convert an existing shed? (My woodworking skills are reasonable, and I have two friends who are excellent carpenters who could help too.) Any help would be appreciated. Many thanks, Simon
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