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About MikeStickley

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  1. Hi Neil, Thanks for the tips - the mount I have is the one you've linked to on ebay. Ref collimation I guess that's all I can do is to put the dot in the centre as close as I can gauge it...
  2. Well finally I've had a non-cloudy/rainy night (albeit with nearly full moon) to give a good long test drive of my new (well 2nd hand bargain) Astromaster 130EQ out and I had fun with it and managed to get reasonable views of the Moon, Betelguese (didn't blow up), Pleides, M42 (practically compulsory I bet everyone goes for this 1st time out!) and Venus (bright but boring - not unexpectedably). Overall I'm reasonably pleased given the price I paid. I loved the view I got of the southern highlands on the moon and crater rims just peaking over the leading limb! I had the expected issues with the bog standard RDF that comes fitted but will just have to wait until the Rigel I've ordered arrives to get any improvement over that. A few queries/ niggles have arised after this first viewing session:- 1) The slow mo controls feel a bit "gritty" and un-smooth, particularly the RA adjustment - can anyone point me in the direction of a good tutorial on giving these a bit of a service or what may be causing this? The RA seemd to have a bit of a "bounce" in it and when adjusted seemed to go briefly in the opposite direction before jerking back to moving prograde (if that's the word! - I mean following the earth's rotation in the RA axis) 2) I'm aware the mount that comes with this scope is not the best - is the scope worth upgrading to a better mount in future? or would I be looking at replacing both the OTA and the mount, particularly if I wanted to move into astrophotography? (this would be quite a while down the line when budget allows). I guess what I'm asking is would the scope reward getting a decent mount when I've saved my pennies? and then afterwards maybe replacing the tube itself? I know I'd need at least a tracking motor to start with to get longer exposures... 3) Any tips and tricks for a fast but accurate polar alignment? I just kind of did it by eye last night and it was good enough for what I was looking at (I think I'll need to sort the issues with the slo mo controls first to be able to judge how accurately I've aligned) Strap a laser pointer to the polar axis? 4) I've found I've been using the scope with the tripod legs not at full extension as it seemed a little wobbly - this does lead to some rather unusual viewing positions however... Any ideas if I might be doing something wrong here? 5) Collimation - I have a laser collimator but with there being no centre point marked on the primary have no real way to check the secondary - any hints and tips here? The scope seems to be in good order anyway so maybe no rush to dive into this for now. Thanks in advance for any replies I may be away from the computer for a few hours from now so please excuse any slow responses/thanks
  3. Is it just me or does the angle of the eyepiece look slightly skewed on the first picture of the scope above? Does the eyepiece slide smoothly into the eyepiece holder? Could be just the lens cap being wonky I suppose...
  4. Thanks everybody for the replies so far! The BSTs certainly seem to be getting a lot of love so far. I'll probably go for the 25mm, but should I replace the Celestron supplied 10mm with something for high mag? or split the difference for something medium power, say a 15mm, and put up with the existing 10mm (that's to say if I can only get the one for now)
  5. I should be so lucky, some made up Chinese brand worth all of £8.99 when I looked it up ... Now here's the real question, what astronomical accessory can I buy with the 4 quid I might get for it on fleabay?
  6. Hi, been pointed in your direction from over here. Would you be open to offers? I'm after a set of EP for my starter scope. Happy to pay via transfer
  7. Thanks, I did wonder about the size on the telrad, any suggestions for a lightweight budget alternative?
  8. For the last few weeks I'd been mulling over getting a starter scope and had narrowed it down to a few choices (Astromaster 130EQ or the SkyWatcher 130P being two of the main contenders). Over the weekend an Astromaster 130EQ came up on Facebook marketplace at £75 which looked to be a good bargain. I went to take a look and was in pretty good condition (almost new and practically unused I suspect), the only downside being it only had the original 10mm EP and the orginal 25mm had been lost. I ended up going for it, at which point my wife announced she would buy me it for my Birthday! WooHoo! Free telescope! Which of course now means I have the money I was originally going to spend on a budget scope now burning a hole in my pocket ... Now being somewhat impatient to spend spend spend like a crazy man I immediately headed over to Amazon and bought an cheap and cheerful 4 piece eyepiece set, a barlow and a moon filter. I almost immediately regretted the eyepiece set after clicking the buy button however I'm happy enough with the barlow and the moon filter I went for. Well Amazon today delivered the package to me, which was missing the eyepiece set and the moon filter, but had somehow gained a wireless doorbell in the process... hey ho. Needless to say I've been on to Amazon and they could re-deliver the moon filter but not the eyepices as they were third party so they're just refunding me for those. They told me to just keep the unordered doorbell (Anyone need a doorbell?) Having calmed down from my buying frenzy I'm hoping for advice on what eyepiece(s) to go for - I'm thinking a 25mm as a priority for low mag wider field and maybe something in-between that and the 10mm that came with the scope? I know the price range can go from cheap as chips to eyewateringly expensive but was thinking to maybe budget £30ish per eyepiece (is this realistic for decent quality?) The scope itself is a 130mm aperture Newtonian with a focal length of 650mm. Other future upgrades I'm thinking of is a Telrad to replace the finder (which I gather is pretty cruddy on these scopes and in any event came with a flat battery) and at some point maybe a motor drive so I could make a start on trying some basic astrphotography - although for now I plan to just play with the scope and get familiar with it's capabilities and use etc. and I do realise that it's not by any means a great scope/mount for serious astrophotography so I'm mainly planning a little visual astronomy on Moon, Clusters and the easier DSOs and so on. Thoughts on what might be a good buy eyepiece wise? I'd rather buy from FLO than Amazon if possible.
  9. Hi Steve, thanks, I have come across you guys and was thinking I might pop along to the next meet
  10. Nr Helston, just a gnat's whisker away from the proposed new dark sky area
  11. Hello All, I've decided to ease back into my childhood love of astronomy and stargazing. I sorely miss a 6" home made Newtonian that was passed down through the family but at some point over the all too many decades since has been lost to history. I plan to ease myself back into stargazing, starting with relearning the constellations by naked eye and binoculars, and then, when the time is right to maybe treat myself to a telescope. This is the plan anyway (seen plenty of advice ref not rushing in). My sole purchase so far has been a binocular tripod adapter (I already have the binocs and a good tripod). I will resist the impulse to rush out and buy a scope. I will Resist! Now if only the recent Jovian levels of cloud cover would just go away, maybe I could actually get out there to see some stars... Mike
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