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  1. In The Urban Astronomer's Guide, Rod Mollise makes a case for M5 in Serpens Caput being at least as good as M13 in challenging skies, though he admits he's in the minority. I think I managed to resolve more stars in M5 when I caught it for the only time last year. Looking forward to globular season again.
  2. ... or "Intergalactic Wanderer" as my app calls it. I finally got it last night, at the fourth attempt. I couldn't understand why I kept missing it, having found several other globulars without too much trouble. Then I re-checked the magnitude (10.4, compared with 6.2 for M3). So I positioned the RACI crosshairs exactly, and I just managed to see a smudge with averted vision. I had another look at M3 and M13 too. I can certainly resolve a few outer stars on M13 (150mm/Bortle 4), and I'm starting to convince myself I might be seeing one or two in M3. I'd certainly like to see a globular
  3. I'll add my voice to the others - it made a huge difference to me when I finally got one. Star hopping is much easier, but as I also have goto (when it's behaving itself), I find that - nine times out of ten - I can immediately match the view in the RACI to the star chart, work out exactly where to position the cross hairs, and then find that the target is in the eyepiece, however short it is. I found six doubles in a row the other night, without having to swap out the 150x eyepiece once.
  4. I've not read it for a very long time, but I remember that same passage. This is the cover version I remember, painted by the peerless Chris Foss:
  5. I read that the app charges for features that the web site includes for free (like cloud cover). But I can't get the web site to display properly on Firefox (which I use), though it does on Edge (which I hate). Does anyone use Ventusky with Firefox?
  6. I had much the same a bit to the south of you, John. At times it was as transparent as it ever gets here, then it came over a bit milky. I agree the seeing was pretty good, in contradiction with the forecasts I saw earlier. Luckily I decided to go for doubles as well.
  7. The 3-star alignment can be done with either alt-az or EQ operation, but it's an option in the Pro version of the app only.
  8. Zermelo


    Welcome to the forum. Irrespective of pole star visibilty, unless you really want to start off with imaging, an alt-azimuth mount is usually simpler for new starters to get the hang of. You can choose from completely manual versions or ones with computerized goto/tracking. The extra tech obviously costs, but tracking can be very useful if you're sharing sessions with family. You'll find many threads from beginners where a refractor has been recommended, and much can be seen with them under reasonable skies. A shorter one (faster focal ratio) would be a good compromise if
  9. I only use AZ mode, but when I do a 2-star alignment, I have to slew to the first star myself. If I do a 3-star alignment, the mount does a goto for the first star. ? "common" as in, consistently, or just frequently? As @Gfamily says above, most of the problems like this are caused when people are using the handset and entering the data incorrectly. The app usually does everything correctly (but do check that the location and time are being relayed properly). This couldn't be a left-arm/right-arm thing could it? I believe there are different versions of the firmware
  10. Your location "sensor" will be a combination of GPS, wifi and cell info that Android uses to establish a location with differnt degrees of accuracy. You can disable some all/of these in Android, which will affect the accuracy, and the apps themselves need to be given permission to use the location.
  11. Hello, and welcome to the forum. I have the 150i/Star Discovery and can confirm that you can view to the zenith without hitting the tripod (I was hunting objects in Ursa Major last night, more or less straight overhead). If you're not aware already, the Synscan app has a setting for altitude range, and the default maximum is set below 90 degrees (I presume to stay on the safe side), but you can set it to 90. As far as I'm aware, the two mounts are the same with respect to software; when I'm looking for advice on the Star Discovery, I also look at threads about the AZ GTi (there seem
  12. Yes, I think the 3x was recommended more for imaging. This one is often recommended as a low-price model. I have this one and get on well with it. It comes apart to give two different magnifications (provided the back of the eyepiece can accommodate it). Some other barlows can also do this.
  13. You may be having problems with either the pointing accuracy of your goto mount, or battling light pollution with insufficient aperture, or both. How accurate is the pointing at objects that you can see (planets, or known stars)? The best that is usually expected is that it will place the target somewhere in the field of a low power eyepiece (like your 25mm). For a target that's very obvious, that is usually fine, but possibly not with a faint one. It does become a bit easier once you have seen a galaxy or planetary nebula because you know what to expect. With no experience, it's easy
  14. 'Keep things simple.' is my motto. I had another go last night. I adjusted the OTA in two directions using the spirit level, but also varied the dovetail angle away from 0 at the same time, until I had it level all the way around. Then I compared the OTA against the fence planks, and it looked good both ways (I have fencing on two adjacent sides of my patio/observing location, so it's actually quite convenient). During the session, the pointing accuracy and tracking were amongst the best that I've had so far. I'll need to experiment more, but it looks like I put up f
  15. Others on here will have much more experience than I do, but I too live in an area that's supposed to be Bortle 4 so I'll offer an opinion for what it's worth. Until recently, the longest EP I possessed was a 26mm Plossl that gave me a 1.6 degree TFOV with an exit pupil of 5.2mm. Like you, I was wondering how far I could push it, and settled on a 30mm Vixen giving 2 degrees but at the cost of a 6mm pupil. The first outing was a bit disappointing, the background sky was noticeably lighter and the contrast not that great. But there was a half moon on the other side of the sky; when I tried it
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