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About Nik271

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  1. If you can see specs of dirt inside from the eyepiece this suggests they are very close to the focal plane, otherwise they will be totally invisible. I had similar issue with a cheap 20mm eyepiece and I took it apart, cleaned it carefully and this solved it. But this may not be sensible option with and expensive EP with many elements inside, especially zoom ones. Actually zoom EPs tend to get more dirty with time because the internal movement of the lenses displaces air in and out of them. But they are hell to dismantle and clean safely, best to leave it to a professional cleaning outfit
  2. Very nice, so much detail! The seeing was excellent last night, I was observing visually with Skymax 180 Mak-Cass and the views were very close to this. Cassegrains really excel in Moon and planetary imaging/observing. I guess Takahashi quality helps too
  3. The next brightest moon of Jupiter after the four Galileans is Amalthea at magnitude 14. I doubt many people have seen it visually. It was discovered by Barnard in 1892 with the 91cm Lick refractor. The magnitude itself is not too dim for a big telescope but the proximity to the bright Jupiter makes is very difficult. A big refractor is needed
  4. I just had a look at this sunspot with a WL filter. The spot has rotated a bit further into the disk with a rather large plage region around it. Surprisingly the seeing was excellent in some moments I could see the surface granulation in my 127mak with a binoviewer.
  5. I had a very clear evening yesterday and noticed the new Moon was 5 degrees from Venus. This year Venus is hard to see, pretty close to the horizon at sunset.
  6. I tried with my 127 SW Mak at about 11pm. Sadly the air that low was very turbulent, Antares was sparkling in all colours of the rainbow. I checked Izar and the Double Double and got superb clear views even at 250x, so the seeing higher up was good. I think Antares requires a vacation in middle East or thereabouts. Some dry desert air and no light pollution. We can dream
  7. I wonder if a blue filter will help, it will dim the orange primary while (as far as I know) the secondary is blue.
  8. Excellent! Every time I tried Antares last year the seeing was hopeless, but I should give a try this weekend, it looks like a good calm spell. I'm thinking to use the 127 Mak, instead of my 180 Mak, it's more resistant to seeing and the 120mm aperture should be sufficient. Antares reaches only 11 degrees altitude for me, so it will be all down to the seeing.
  9. Managed to take a few shots around 10:40am Then the clouds closed in.
  10. Being a cloud feature the GRS is not 100% predictable, it has been known to do strange things, even (slowly) fade, change colour and size, so any software needs updating with an actual observation on a regular basis. Project Pluto page says it's updated at the beginning of each year.
  11. I have found that the desktop version of Stellarium is quite accurate for both transits and GRS, while the mobile version gives moon transits accurately but its predictions for the GRS are off by more than an hour. As a quick reference Project Pluto is very good: https://www.projectpluto.com/jeve_grs.htm Today I overslept and only got at the scope at 4:45am by which time Jupiter was no longer prominent with naked eye. It took me some time to spot it in the finder, but eventually I managed it (I'm using EQ5 in manual mode, very quick to start observing but hard to find objects you can't l
  12. There will be another moon shadow transit on Jupiter tomorrow morning starting at about 4am: the shadow of Europa will be visible and the great red spot. 4am is already quite light, but say about 150x the sky background is dark enough for good contrast and Jupiter is high enough to good seeing. I am planning to get up for this, an hour of observing and then can start the day early
  13. PS, Just realized that @CentaurZ plot above is for 42 degrees latitude, in the UK it will be even worse - Venus will not even reach 10 degrees
  14. This post by @CentaurZ plots the position of Venus 30 mins after sunset for the rest of the year. Most of the time is only at 10 degrees altitude rising to about 15 degrees in October/November/December. That's when it will be larger and best to see this year. Nik
  15. Hi Chris, welcome to SGL! Some very good advice above. I don't know if you've done this already but if you haven't: a dew shield is very useful on cold nights, that is all nights except maybe midsummer. I have two Maks, one of which is the 127 Skymax. I made dew shields for both from a single foam exercise mat. Its very cheap and with Velcro straps works just as well as the custom made dew shields. I still use the supplied diagonal after more than two years. In my view the improvements with more expensive diagonals will be very small, I've compared with a dielectric but did not
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