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    Wyoming, MI. USA
  1. I am glad to see you have been doing some more work on the observatory. Been checking in now and again. Was getting worried. Spring has sprung I see. Ray
  2. Too far...more like the bathtub fills to quickly and starts overflowing.
  3. I would say, of course depending on how much you would use and enjoy it, to build one if you believe it will be of use. The best and cheaper method would be to use mostly re-purposed wood, but I am not sure what is available or feasible over there in the UK. Here in the states, decent used wood is plentiful at times, although one must do a little work to get it and then make it usable. All one needs to do is scope out the back lots of local businesses, later bring their trailer, dismantle large crates and other wooden partitions (no skids), and load up. When you get it home, you must further tear it down to separate the usable pieces, and discard the rest. With a little time, one can accumulate enough material to either get a good start and even finish the project at home within a few months or sooner, depending on their enthusiasm. Of course, one must be competent and have all the proper tools to build too. I did this myself a few years back and managed to built two completely finished units, a garden house and a storage shed, and my entire cost was the price of screws and nails.
  4. I have an EXT 80-AT, and my Autostar 494 controller does not even give me the option to choose a model (as it should), but instead asks for the focal length only. And consequently, will not align properly. Even though my correct city/state, date, time and time zone are all entered correctly (42.5 North Lat/USA Eastern time/Daylight Savings, AM/PM correct, etc), the scope attempts to align below the horizon when I choose stars that are overhead. I will be curious to hear from others with any ideas on that as well. Ray
  5. Awww.....disappointing, but completely understandable. Look forward to seeing further progress when our upside down world rightens itself again. Ray
  6. I notice a lot of people on this site incorporate the horizontal braces in their framework when building their OBS. I have never seen that done or done it myself, except in places for windows or door frames. Probably because we use more vertical studs, one every 16 inches and the caps (top studs) are always doubled up. Your construction looks sturdy enough to weather any wind at any rate. I would be more worried about having electronics installed without the walls or roof complete, because of the dampness in the air. I have replaced many radios inside my unheated garage over the years due to humidity and temperature fluctuations throughout the year. In my experience, anyway, it seems to destroy electronics. Looking good. Keep up the good work.
  7. The references indeed, did not make sense to me. With over 240 TV channels to choose from at home, not much British TV is available to us. We do have BBC America, but that is mostly American geared programming (with an accent) and other documentaries. YouTube is the choice place to watch British programming for me. I have seen every back episode of The Sky At Night and always look forward to the new monthly episode. (One program a month is not enough, I think, but I suppose is a BBC recipe that has worked for decades, so who am I to say?) However, in the time of the Internet, I was quickly able to get your point. I understand it to mean your yard looks half like a botanical garden and half an archeological dig site. Haha. Mine once resembled the same after I took large pool out, that was destroyed by the winter of 2013-14, and the hole sat unfilled for a few years until I got around to filling it in. Here's hoping the forecast is correct and better weather is coming so that you are able to get some more work done on your project. I look forward to it! Ray
  8. At least the sun was shining when you took those last pictures. Hopefully a sign of better days ahead. Looking forward to your progress!
  9. Hello. Look at a star map (or Stellarium, etc.) and use the narrower angle of the "W" asterism of Cassiopeia as a pointer out just past the halfway point of the nearest star that it points to (in the constellation Andromeda). Center your binoculars at that area and move slightly up and down, left and right slowly, until you see a faint, white oval blob. That is M31 (Andromeda Galaxy). I know the method I gave sounds odd, but it really does work. Give it a few moments and once you find it, do it again and again. Years ago I found it this way, and ever since, remembering where to aim, I can now point to it in my binoculars almost instantly every time. By the way, M31 has the best appearance visually in binoculars. In all of my telescopes, visually, it is less noticeable and impressionable compared to when viewed in binoculars., because the FOV is narrower and due to the magnification, it is dimmer in a telescope. Also, M31 is 6 times the width of the full moon in the sky, just so very faint, and unfortunately, is very easy to miss. All that can be seen anymore due to LP, with the naked eye, is the galaxy center, which appears as a faint star.
  10. Awful the rain you have been experiencing over there. Almost time to put on your life preservers and abandon ship! You get all the rain, while we had less precipitation (snow) this past winter, although I am not complaining. I am wishing for a much drier spring for you!
  11. Welcome from sunny, but soon-to-be-raining Michigan! The folks on this forum are a much friendlier and easygoing bunch. You'll be happy you dropped by.
  12. Great. The winches should work perfectly for you needs. Again, very nice Obs and visual timeline. I wish you many clear skies!
  13. Beautiful. Those are close enough to and considered to be palm trees by me. The daffodils and snowdrops are a sight too. Actually, the snowdrops should be up here too (SW Lower Michigan, USA - I'll have to look back by the pond where they thrive), but not yet the spring bulb flowers, the daffodils, tulips and crocus. Soon, hopefully, depending on the weather. The coldest months of Jan/Feb for us here have been milder than normal, and the seasonal snowfall is down (we had about a 1-1/2 feet total, where normal is around 7 feet or more, so who knows? I am in an area of the country where we experience the extremes in weather within any given year. It can be -20 F (-29 C) in winter and then nearly 100 F (37 C) in the hottest part of summer. But, it was clear out last night for a change and I was able to drag my Nexstar 8SE and test my new dew heaters, long enough to make my toes go numb. The heaters work well. Looking forward to see your Observatory progress, as it comes along.
  14. Very nice observatory and great work and visuals throughout the process. May I ask about the steep roof incline downhill? Do you have it motorized or somehow assisted in it's return route? The roof's grade downward looks awfully steep and I could imagine a struggle bringing it back if done simply by human power, depending of course, on the weight of the roof, and with snow and ice buildup possibly being a factor in added weight. Opening it up would pose another problem with the weight working to pull away down the incline.
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