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Everything posted by Totnesdave

  1. I actually bought one of these: Weatherproof bicycle cover on eBay It's light, covers my 100mm APO on its CG5 pretty well apart from the bottom of the legs at full extent, and it's certainly cheap 'n' cheerful ! Dave.
  2. I bought one of those at that price and am loving it. I had it posted to the UK by UPS, took a few weeks, and attracted a customs charge of about £18, still a huge bargain though, and a lovely eyepiece, I wasn't prepared for the size of the box and the eyepiece contained within though, like a big heavy precious jewel Dave
  3. I bought one of those green lasers and brackets from SnS. First laser was weak and faulty, the replacement one works occasionally, when it feels like it, in any case I can't rely on it ... not sure if it's partly the environmental conditions but I personally, cannot recommend them for reliability. I really wish I could, it seems like a great idea ! I think I'm going to invest in an RA finder at some point, tempted to try a red-dot unit also. Dave.
  4. Mmmm must go looking for Saturn again, it's swinging quite low now in the sky I actually find that after Titan, Rhea is the moon that jumps out at me next, then, as long as I know in advance where I'm looking with its less obvious positioning, Iapetus is the next one after that. Fainter for me are Tethys and Dione, and Dione sometimes eludes me, fickle thing that she is I always take a quick screenshot output from Stellarium before going out, set for the approx time I'm going to be observing, and match them up, it's a great tool for that cheers Dave
  5. That star partway between them, as seen in the plot above, HIP 417, acts as a splendid pointer at the moment, it's similar brightness, so just hop from Jupiter to that one, then to the next, which should then be Uranus. Not a 'jump out and grab you though'. In my 4" refractor at x75 it was merely a tiny resolved disk with a slightly perceptible green hue Best of luck Dave
  6. That's nice ... as a refractor fan, and lover of elderly machines with brass on them, that makes me go 'Ooooh!'
  7. Hmm this bulb (the 0.7A) quietly burnt out in my Power Tank last night, blackening, distorting and part melting the rear reflector, I think I may just leave the 'top' light non functional and bulb-less, shame as its more useful at times than the main beam 'super trooper', but in any case, my main purpose for the Tank was as a PSU Not sure if it was the bulbs rating or that, frankly, the bulb contact fitting design is absolutely terrible, it pops in and out of contact when moved. Just a heads up and word of warning ! cheers Dave
  8. Nice images ... and they confirm that I did in fact see it for my first time this morning after 4am, right shape, right place on the disk (though inverted) just wasn't wholly sure of what I was looking at I found my 80A blue filter helped with the surface in general. cheers ! Dave
  9. Yep it's a hilltop 200 metres above sea level with a spectacular southward sweeping view from East round to West down to the coast and down to sea level, or almost so, especially if you set up just outside the small car park to avoid a small low copse to the west. Nearest settlement is miles away, no-one to disturb, no streetlights, just pull in to the little car park and set up. If you walk across the field to the hill fort mound itself you've got an amazing 360 degree horizon. In any case, great to catch early views of rising objects. I may try Dartmoor soon again too. Only 20 minutes from home too, I'm chuffed, will be back soon to go Messier hunting, and I want to spend time with Jupiter without that pesky moon crowding in so close ! Dave
  10. And I did, and boy did i enjoy it Will write a little report, still waking up after sleeping through half the day, excellent observing site, got there at 1am and Jupiter was 'high' over the south eastern coast, left at 5am, will return very soon to sample it on a 'dark-sky' night cheers Dave
  11. Nice report ! I missed Europa actually 'vanishing' too, I observed it at 3.05 am approximately equidistant between Jupiter and Io, but when I returned to Jupiter at 3.40 am after doing some other observations, it was no longer visible. Uranus was a nice easy target, the sky lightened rather too much for me to find Neptune though, pesky moon, and the sun started coming up around 3am ! At 1.00 am Jupiter was riding quite high in the sky at the observing site I was at .. but that was due to having a SE horizon essentially down to sea level from high ground inland The moon was washing things out a lot, and I couldn't stay sharply imaged on the planets beyond about x100 but an 80A blue filter helped a lot with banding on Jupiter. I can't be sure I saw the red spot, but I dimly and definitely saw a spot-like feature rotating slowly onto the south area after 4am-ish Dave
  12. I'm staying up, spur of the moment, must be mad driving out to Blackdown Rings, a hillfort with a small car park near Loddiswell, deep in the darkest Devon countryside, should be very dark skies and horizon actually down to the ocean in parts, going to take a look for Jupiter, Uranus, see if I can seek out Neptune, got another list of nice "M"s to look for. It's about 10 miles away, never been there by night but looks like an excellent dark site in the middle of nowhere with handy car access, just hope it isn't used for other nefarious purposes Packing a wife and a flask of hot coffee to keep me awake, but I am going to be so wrecked tomorrow Dave
  13. Another page of info on this e/p : Baader Hyperion Zoom Mark III (8-24mm) - 1.25" & 2" barrel - Teleskop-Express: Astro-Shop + Fotografie + Naturbeobachtung Wish they would hurry up and get them out the door I've been repeatedly tempted to give up and go for the William Optics Zoom II instead, just so I can get some observing in with it ! Dave
  14. I resolved the four stars distinctly under dark (ish) skies at x75 (barlowed 24mm SWA) in a 100mm apo refractor, this was around midnight so after most of the twilight glow had gone and with Lyra riding high in the sky, so yes I'd agree the darkness/contrast/seeing conditions is perhaps more crucial than the magnification, I could perceive their 'double-ness' even at x37 I haven't found M57 yet, definitely one for my list cheers, Dave
  15. Thanks Guys Pesky marks just vanished on the first touch of the Baader Wonder Fluid ! I had more trouble trying to wipe the leans clear of the slight oil smears after applying the fluid, couldn't get rid of all of them, but that's just practise and technique I guess I was rather nervous about touching these optical surfaces and coatings but I guess they must have 'some' degree of robustness.... thanks again for your all your advice and what a relief it's not scratched cheers Dave
  16. A few notes from this week leading up to observation of C/2009 R1 McNaught from my garden Date : 15/16 June 2010 Location : Follaton arboretum, good elevation, low light pollution, excellent horizons North and West Conditions : Skies very clear Notes : Rushed set up and consequently had issues finding and tracking, especially with some RA slop, and I note that a spirit level placed on accessory tray is *not* parallel with mount ! Bright meteor activity, perhaps six noted between 11pm and 1am, particularly one large one travelling on a line to Vega from Arcturus approx 11pm. Saturn low on horizon, ring shadow, Titan, Rhea clearly visible, the former about 3 ring widths out, the latter half that distance, also Tethys glimpsed near edge of ring Excellent views of M13 with resolution of stars some way into the core under magnifications from x37.5 up to x150 Epsilon Lyrae resolved 'double-double' easily at x37.5 and x75 (24mm SWA + Barlow) Left at 1am, pressures of time, neglected to look for McNaught but it's a heavy haul dragging the gear up and down that hill. Date 17/18 June 2010 Location : My back garden, bottom of valley, surrounding houses, garages, useable horizons to North and South, and marginal West. Conditions : Patchy cloud at first, clearing by approx 11pm Notes : After stripping and correcting RA mechanism earlier, and spending some time setting up fastidiously, using inbuilt CG-5 bubble for level, tracking was spot-on, targets remaining in FOV for half an hour easily Moon very low at around 10pm, and soon dropped from view behind a tree, but excellent views of terminator, most notably emphasised features were the linked craters Catharina and Cyrilla, with the conjoined Theophilus and its central mountain. Bright flare observed in area of sky slightly northward of Mars/Moon, possibly around 10:30 (I must learn to timestamp) lasted at most 10 seconds, brightening to a magnitude 'significantly' brighter than Venus before fading quickly over several seconds. I am thinking this was an Iridium flare ? Mars ruddy yellowish and featureless, unlike recent weeks where a dark patch has been discernible Saturn, heat haze notable from observing across a roofline, still observed Titan clearly near edge of ring, offset from plane. Rhea glimpsed on opposite side somewhat greater then one ring width. At this point I looked North and spotted Capella amongst the branches of a tree (!) and I decided to see if there was any chance of viewing Comet C/2009 R1 McNaught from this rather poor location. This proved difficult with skies plagued by blue twilight in this direction, however I did eventually spot Mirphak which gave me a starting point as I knew the comet is located 'between' them at present. This was awfully low in the sky and I was spotting over fences and using a neighbours England flagpole as a skymarker ! A binocular hunt through the twilight proved fruitless but eventually the sky darkened around midnight and allowed me to start picking out asterisms. The Sky at Night chart showed it to be near c Persei (HIP 19343), and I found a small crossed asterism here to locate, which I did by naked-eye and then binoculars giving me 'scale'. After a few false ID's in this region using my finder, I finally noted a faint unfocussed 'star' in the line between delta Persei and c Persei which looked like a good candidate. It was ! Picking it up in my finder with the help of aforementioned flagpole, I got it in view with my 24mm SWA. (x37.5). Popping in my barlow (x75) boosted things nicely to where I could see a bright core with significant hazy coma, and a definite elongation to lower left in my FOV. Pushing to x150 with my 6mm proved to reveal no further detail, too hazy, but a barlowed 20mm plossl (x90) gave what I felt was the clearest view through my 4-inch Apo. I'm rather short on eyepieces, how I wish I had my Hyperion zoom I could not see a tail but skies were far from perfectly dark and I was sighting low over gardens and houses. I felt that I could discern the green colour cast, but only slightly. Hooray I retired at about 12.45 am feeling rather pleased, as I'm still very inexperienced at locating difficult objects and really did not expect to see the comet at all from my garden. I was glad to have taken the time on careful tracking set up which also meant I could hold the comet perfectly in view for plenty long enough to drag my wife out of bed and say "hey look at this fuzzy smudge" ) Hopefully there's a few tips in the above tale ! cheers Dave.
  17. Yes, I bought a Meade 5000 24mm SWA on closeout from eBay in the USA (actually Agena Astro) on 24th May, for the equivalent of about 60 quids plus 20 postage, which seems a pretty good deal. It finally arrived on Monday 14th June, with an 18.29 UK customs charge slapped on, but all-in-all still less than half the price of being bought over here, so worth the hassle of import So that's about 3 weeks, It was USPS, and obviously got snagged in Customs, but also remember the volcano has been delaying some air mail shipments too of late ! As an aside, couldn't believe the size of this thing, it came in a shipping box 8-inches square Dave
  18. Looks heavy Nice bit of carpentry there, most aesthetically pleasing indeed Dave
  19. Wonder Fluid on it's way .. many thanks Bern of Modern Astronomy .. I think you're the only stockist with some in the cupboard right now wish me luck Dave
  20. Popular stuff this Baader fluid, seems to be out of stock everywhere, I'm busy chasing some down Took a photo of the lens, which was tricky but in the end it shows the main marks that I can see (ringed in blue), they seem stubborn as they won't blow off, or lift off with a lens pen, I'm hoping they're not scratches there is light smudging in the area of that top reflection which I probably mainly caused in my original cleaning efforts. Dave
  21. I thought that too at first but there is also a shower called the June Lyrids, discovered in the 60's June Lyrids Lyrid Meteor Shower June 14-16, 2009 « Galactic Images Blog Peak is 15/16 June, which is spot on. I'm still questioning over the very bright instance though as it seemed to be moving into Lyra, not out of it. Dave.
  22. Thanks for the advice guys, I think the gunge (oily stains and slight marks) is all on the exposed outer surface (which is quite vulnerably close to the tube end on that barlow) so no need to disassemble, I hope. I've ordered the cloth with the wonder fluid, so hopefully will be able to make things somewhere near clean again Dave
  23. I was out last night at my darkish sky site (although not really so till Midnight but that's June), me and my wife both saw quite a number of meteors towards the zenith in the couple of hours we were out. On checking up today I see this may have been the June Lyrids ? One observation in particular stood out as notable though, and seemed anomalous as it would seem 'off' the radiant really. It was marginally brighter than Vega and Arcturus, hence I guess between magnitude 0 and -1. This one was relatively 'slow' and passed along a line heading for Vega (which it did not quite 'reach') approximately from the direction of Arcturus, we observed it for maybe 5 seconds, and the time (forgot to note it, tsk, would have been somewhere near 11pm) Not sure if that was a Lyrid or not, it didn't seem satellite-like to me as it had a distinct flare and fade to it. Besides that, my telescope was having a fit of the gremlins but it didn't stop me getting a beautiful star filled view of M13 and an easy split of the 'double-double' E Lyrae, also Saturn/Titan/Rhea, plus the merest hint of Tethys near the edge of the ring. Dave.
  24. Thanks for the heads-up I've ordered some Baader Wonder Fluid (it better be 'Miracle Fluid' for me !) Any expert tips on the best way to use it to remove marks and smudgery ? I should have posted this thread in "Beginners Help & Advice", just realised If I make a real mess of it, are there any places which do 'professional cleans ? cheers Dave
  25. Oh dear, it had to happen eventually, sat down checking over my gear this morning after a late night out last night and found that something had made a serious mess of the bottom of my barlow lens A scatter of several trailing smudges across the lens and a lump (or at least a very obese speck) of what can only be described as generic black gunk. My trusty bulb air blower failed to make any impact whatsoever this time. Deciding to take action (have to take the plunge sometime I thought) and having read round a bit on lens cleaning I decided to at least have a go at this ... so I tried the clean cotton swab lightly dipped with lens cleaner to lift off the particulate with a twisting action, this cleanly lifted off the lump of gunk (hooray), but still left the scatter of smudge marks. I then tried lightly dabbing at these with the tip of a swab and moistened lens cloth, but this has really just diffused them into slightly less opaque but rather more spread smudges. I hope I haven't just bu**ered my barlow ! I come to conclude that my skill-level score at lens cleaning is roughly equivalent to my skill-level score at guitar fret-dressing .. which usually results in a trip to a luthier to sort out the mess However I need to get the hang of this, because my blower bulb can't solve everything ! Can anyone offer any advice, help, consolation, condolence, "you didn't wanna do it like that's" or whatever ? Dave
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