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Posts posted by tomw28

  1. This is my first lunar mosaic, taken yesterday evening. It contains 10 AVI's, which were then processed in Registax and then Microsoft ICE.

    I'm pretty pleased with it. I know I've got a lot to learn, but I wasn't expecting to get anything like this for my first image.

    Any advice would be appreciated!



  2. I can't comment on the photography side of things, but a 6" newt in an EQ mount would be pretty good I think. They don't take up as much room as you think, and you can get some pretty good views in them.

    I have the F/5 6" SkyWatcher and it's brilliant visually. It would (I think, but as I said I'm not an imager) be fast enough for prime focus. With a couple of barlows it's good for planetary imaging with a cheap webcam, there's plenty of posts in the imaging section to show what can be achieved with a 6" scope and a webcam.

    Again, as I'm not an imager I don't know for sure what mount would be needed, but a cheapish EQ3-2 with motors, or even manually driven, is good enough for planteray webcam imaging. If your more interested in longer exposures you'll need something sturdier, maybe an EQ5 or HEQ5?

    As I said, a 6" scope is still pretty small. It's pretty easy to store, and easily fits in the back of a car.

    It's good for DSO's and planets, though for the latter you will probably need to Barlow it for a decent sized image if you go for a fast scope.

    Basically, I think a F/5 6" reflector would be good for you. That said I'm probably biased as that's what I've got :)

    Hope that helps.

  3. Yep, another first attempt at Jupiter with a webcam!

    It was much more challenging than I was expecting, both in the recording and processing of the images. Fortunately its the school holidays so I've been able to mess about with the AVI's all day, so things are much better now than first thing this morning.

    I took quite a few different captures, using different focal ratios. The small one (second picture) is just the F/5 of my scope, no barlow used. The 1st and 5th are at F/10, using the standard 2X SkyWatcher barlow. The 3rd and 6th are at roughly F/20, using two standard 2X SkyWatcher barlows stacked inside each other.

    The fourth and fifth images are probably a bit over processed, but I'd be pleased to hear any comments and advice.








  4. I phoned on a couple of occasions , more to see an expected delivery time to ensure a recipient being available for the package. On both occasions I was dealt with courteously.

    I rang on a couple of occasions and didn't find them helpful at all. The first time I was told that new stock was coming in that day and it would be sent out immediately. When it hadn't arrived one week later I emailed and was told the exact same thing. Another week later I rang and this time was told it had been posted that morning. Having been told previously that it would be here soon I didn't really believe them when they said it had been sent. Anyway it arrived three days later, nearly 5 weeks after ordering...

    If they had explained what was happening with the problems you described with the filters and adapters I wouldn't have minded, I just found it fustrating that they just kept on saying "new stock is arriving today" when they must have known it wasn't as you were told the situation.

    Anyway, its here now. As is the cloud...

  5. Someone's already said "Champagne Supernova" by Oasis, but I reckon Noel must be a secret astronomer. He wrote "Rock 'n' Roll Star" and "Up in theSky". There's also "All Around the World" for the people on the Space Station...

    Then there's U2's "City of Blinding Lights"...

    And last but not least, "Why Does it Always Rain on Me?" by Travis.

  6. I'm probably being a little unreasonable, but I ordered my SPC880 bundle from Morgans over two weeks ago and still haven't received it. I had an email from them early last week saying that they'd unexpectedly ran out of stock and that a new delivery was due by the end of last week, upon which my order would be dispatched first class. I sent another email yesterday and haven't heard anything back, and the website says its still out of stock.

    Has anyone else not had theirs, or am I just being impatient?

  7. Not at all, all I've got so far is a webcam, IR filter for it, a nosepiece for it, a Bahtinov mask, a screw in cap and a Barlow.

    Actually, I see your point... This can turn into an expensive hobby very quickly can't it:icon_confused:

  8. Not for the first time on Saturday night, I decided to go searching for some DSO's. Usually when I decide to do this, I very quickly get distracted and end up seeing one or two things at the most. Normally they're the same objects that I've seen before so I don't often see anything new. It's also worth pointing out that I've only had my scope since February, so thanks to the great British weather there haven't been that many nights to properly get my teeth stuck into it.

    Saturday night was a clear night, and the skies were darkening nicely by the time I went out at about 10:30. The first thing I did was to check out the Bahtinov mask I'd made myself which worked surprisingly well at first. Once I'd achieved a nice focus with my 6mm TMB I got some good views of Saturn considering how low it was by that time. Im sure I'm not alone when I say that for me, Saturn is easily the most stunning object when viewed in a telescope. In fact it's Saturn that normally distracts me during most observing sessions, so I'm sort of glad that it's disappearing from view for this year.

    My first target was a familiar one, the ever beautiful M13 Hercules Cluster. To begin with I used my 25mm standard SkyWatcher EP to get more of a wide field view. While virtually no detail could be made out with this eyepeice, I enjoy the sense of scale it gives, showing how dense this bundle of stars is. Once I'd taken in the surrounding of the cluster, I moved onto the 6mm again, once more using the Bahtinov to get a crisp focus on Vega before returning to M13. Whether it was down to using the Bahtinov or good seeing I don't know, but I was able to resolve a lot more of the stars in the cluster than I had ever managed before. This really did make it into a different object to the one I'd ever seen before, appearing more delicate than I'd seen it before.

    When I finally looked up from the EP, a very quick and bright meteor shot under Cygnus, north to south, which was a treat. I'd not seen very many of that speed or brightness before. My next targets were Messiers 81 and 82, brand new targets for me. I've still not completely got to grips with using the EQ mount, so it took much longer than I expected to get the scope pointing in the right direction. Still, about 25 minutes later I was in the correct region of sky and after a couple of twists of the RA knob I had two galaxies in my field of view. Up until then my only experience of galaxies was Andromeda, so seeing these two, relatively tiny galaxies, was quite surprising to me. The very different appearance of the two was immediately obvious, with a very circular galaxy being accompanied by a much flatter one. Again these were in the 25mm EP. The only difference was that by this time, my CARDBOARD Bahtinov mask that if made had got a little moist due to the damp cold that had developed and would no longer fit over the end of my scope! I think I need to buy a proper one...

    By this point I was getting pretty tired, it was about 12:30 and it had been a long day, so I just looked at the Milky Way for about 10 minutes, spotting another couple of meteors, both much slower than the first and travelling in completely different directions form both each other and the first meteor. After that it was time to pack up and go to bed.

    Right then, on to Sunday.

    I went out slightly earlier on Sunday after watching the brilliant Space Shuttle documentary on BBC. As I was out a little earlier I spent a bit more time on Saturn. While the seeing wasn't great, with only fleeting glimpses of the Cassini division, I spent a good 20-30 minutes watching it which was pleasing. After spending some time on a nice easy object, it was time to move on to my real targets for the night.

    First up was the Ring Nebula in Lyra. With hindsight, I should probably waited until it was darker, and maybe not used the 25mm EP to try and locate it. However hard I tried, I couldn't find it so, dissapointed, I moved on. The main problem I found at the time was that there were to many stars! I couldn't find my bearings with the 25mm, I think the FOV was just to wide for me to get a true sense of where I needed to be looking.

    To bring back some confidence, I went back to my old favourite M13. The seeing definatley didn't seem as good as Saturday, I found it much harder to resolve individual stars, though again it may be down to the slightly earlier time I was out. I do think it was the seeing as it was quite dark by that time. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed seeing the cluster, it blows my mind every time I see it. The fact that the blur is thousands of suns, all closely bound together by gravity, I can't quite get my head round it.

    Next up was, once again, M81 and M82. After reading up on them during the day, I found looking at them even more interesting. This time I found them almost immediatley, unlike the struggle I had to find them the night before. There was a nice moment when a satellite passed through the FOV, making me grin from ear to ear. I don't know what it is, but I love seeing a satellite, it never fails to make me smile.

    As I was in that area of sky, I had a quick look for M108 and M97 without success. I don't know if they are too faint for me at that time, I was looking in the wrong place or a combination of both those things. Either way I didn't find it quickly so I moved back to the Ring Nebula. This time I found it quite quickly, with it looking like an out of focus star in the 25mm EP. I then increased the mag to 125X with the 6mm TMB. Using that EP, the ring structure was obvious, especially with averted vision. I also used tube tapping with a lesser degree of success. It was suprisingly easy to find the second time around, I wonder why I found it so much harder the first time. It was a very interesting object to see, I'd never seen a DSO with that much structure.

    Next up was the Dumbell Nebula, which to be honest looks nothing like a Dumbell! It was pretty easy to spot, I went to the star to the right of the centre of Cygnus, to the left of Albireo, and then just moved down in the declination axis until I found it. I located it in the 25mm, and then once again moved onto the TMB again. Even with the TMB it looked nothing like a Dumbell, more like a slightly rectangular circle if that makes sense. Which it probably doesn't...

    The last thing I had a quick look at before bed, for the first time this season, was Andromeda. I always expect to be able to see more detail than I do, maybe because it's visible to the naked eye it always seems to me that with a telescope some detail should be visible. Anyway, I was slightly underwhelmed by my views of our neigbouring galaxy as per usual.

    And that rounds up my weekends viewing, well done if you managed to stick with it! Thanks for reading!

  9. I agree that it sounds like a problem with collimation. However I used to have the Heritage 76 and there's no easy way to collimate it. The only thing I used to do is completely defocus, preferably on a star. Failing clear skies, I used to light a candle in a dark room and defocus on that from as far away as I could. Then use the three screws behind the secondary to try and get the shadow of the secondary in the middle of the defocused circle of light. It's by no means perfect, but it did improve the quality of the image I was getting with that scope.

    Hopefully someone will have a better solution, but if not give that a try. Good Luck!

  10. I agree, James May would be brilliant on Stargazing Live. I'm not sure about the idea of Stephen Fry, if he's anything like when he was on The Infinite Monkey Cage he'd just be annoying.

    Talking of The Infinite Monkey Cage, Robin Ince would be even better than James May, though he may not be well known enough for the BBC's liking.

    Anyway, it's good news that it's coming back for another series, it'll mean people won't think I'm weird for liking astronomy! Well, at least for a couple of weeks until they forget about the programme...

  11. The price will probably be going back up soon now that Atlantis is back on the ground, so if you still haven't got it HURRY UP! It's also a lot easier to find now, as its number 1 on the AppStore!

    Even Philip Schofeild is talking about this app now!

  12. i enjoyed the landing view from the cockpit, now i know how to do it on the iphone app!

    Good luck franco, I flew with the same conditions on my iPod while watching the landing. I touched down at the exact same time, it was spooky... And I scored a perfect landing!

    On a serous note though, that was very sad to watch. It doesn't look like we will be seeing an orbital spacecraft land on a runway for many years now. While I enjoyed seeing SpaceX's Dragon land last year, there is nothing quite like a shuttle landing.

    RIP The Space Shuttle, 1981-2011.

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