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David J H

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  1. Thanks very much for all the responses. I'm really struck by Mike's comments that EEVA can exceed a 20" scope, and I think that is what I have been realising as I've been reading through the various EEVA reports. Nevertheless, I will probably stick with what I have, and see what how visual observing goes over the next few months - there is already a lot for me to discover, and I have already blown my budget. Hopefully we will have some dark, clear nights over the winter months. That said, is there an NV monocular at a reasonable price (say up to £1K?) that would enhance what I can already see with my 12" dobsonian? £5.5K is way beyond my price range!
  2. After many years of using a Vixen 4” refractor to observe mainly the planets and moon, I’ve recently bought a 12” dobsonian (Meade Lightbridge), and have added encoders to allow it to be used with a Nexus II. The idea being to begin to visually observe some of the DSOs that I’ve only seen as images in books or on the web up till now. I’ve been following the threads in the EEVA – Reports section with real interest, particularly the Arp, VV and Hickson galaxy groups, and have been spending days reading as much as I can find about these groups, some of which I’d not heard of before. If only the deep cloud cover would clear! I’d like to try to see some of these distant galaxies, but am concerned that I’ve bought the wrong telescope, and should have bought an SCT or RASA, on a guided mount. Is it possible to do any form of EEA with a dobsonian? Also, are people here generally using a form of video astronomy, or some form of night-vision monocular? The Televue or OVNI NV equipment is way beyond my price range, but I seem to be reading that nothing else is suitable for astronomy – is that broadly correct? Apologies if these are obvious questions - I'm a bit worried that I could have spent my budget on more suitable equipment.
  3. If stored outside in a shed or garage, how do you deal with dust & dirt building up on the mirror?
  4. It was great to have a clear night, after an extended period of cloud and rain. Jupiter, Saturn and Mars all on display, and I caught good views of M31 and M57 as well. Couldn't find M51 - another night, perhaps. The moon was indeed glorious, and I did take a quick iPhone snap through my 12" dob; Waxing gibbous moon, 25th October by Tantris88, on Flickr Then, around 4.30am, I went downstairs to be greeted by Sirius, Orion, and Taurus in a completely clear sky. In 10 minutes, cloud had come in again, and in an hour, we had the first rain of the day!
  5. I’ve been reading with interest many of the comments here on the Nexus DSC, and been thinking about installing it and some encoders on my recently acquired Meade 12” Lightbridge dobsonian. Has anyone on SGL done this, and could report on their experience? Some of my initial questions include; the installation of the encoders looks fairly straightforward, but does the magnetic tape to give the reading to the altitude bearing encoder actually work well in practice? The magnetic tape looks to me to be potentially one of the weak points – is that correct, and would the tape be easily replaced if damaged? How would you rate the quality of the encoders and the final installation - at US$ 300 for the dedicated Lightbridge kit, I’d hope that this is good quality, well-made and robust kit, but you never really know until you can see it in person. If I was planning in using this with an iPhone (with something like Sky Safari), I don’t think I would need the Nexus DSC, but the less expensive Nexus – is that correct? Is there a UK distributor, or would I have to order directly from Australia? (And is there anything similar that I should look at?) Apologies if these questions have obvious answers – this is new for me, and I’m looking to get confidence from others’ experience.
  6. Interesting. Could this be done for any dobsonian? I have a 12" dobsonian, and might be interested in installing 'push to' functionality, if this was relatively easy, and used standard, off the shelf components.
  7. I've had my 102M for about 25 years, with a Super Polaris mount. All that is needed to convert the original Vixen fittings to accept 1.25" eyepieces is this adapter; https://www.firstlightoptics.com/adapters/baader_1.25-36.4_adptr_2408195.html However, the original 0.965" eyepieces that were supplied (20mm, 12.5mm, and 5mm) still work quite well. Observing Mars with the 5mm in the last couple of weeks has worked really well.
  8. Venus was beautiful at dawn this morning, close to the crescent moon. I quickly set up my 12" dob to have a look, and it looked like the full face of the planet. In retrospect, I should have looked for Mercury as well, but am just a bit nervous about moving a telescope towards the rising sun.
  9. Thank you - that looks very interesting, and I'll read it this evening as it's another wet & cloudy evening in store! These NASA / Hubble guides to the Messier and Caldwell lists have kept me occupied over the last couple of days, and I like the guidance on finding the objects; https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/hubble-s-messier-catalog https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/hubble-s-caldwell-catalog
  10. Some great suggestions - and I will definitely be adding the Caldwell catalogue to the list. Many thanks.
  11. The best for me was in late September this year (can't remember the exact date), where I tracked it manually for over an hour and could make out several surface markings, and clearly see the southern polar ice cap. I also found Uranus and Neptune which weren't too far away. Subsequent seeing has not been of the same quality, and I've just seen a reddish disc.
  12. Thanks - I will have a look at these suggestions. I will probably see how the Baader Zoom performs, and whether I need anything more than that.
  13. I’ve enjoyed astronomy for many years, and can navigate the sky from constellation to constellation reasonably well. It’s been interesting to see the sky from different locations, and to see how the map you have in your head changes depending on location. I’ve also had a 4” refractor for many years, but always found most deep sky objects difficult and disappointing through the eyepiece, so I pretty much gave up on them - M31 was never more than a grey smudge - and I spent my time on lunar and planetary observation, a lot of reading, and admiring other peoples’ photos of DSOs. I bought a 12” Meade Lightbridge dobsonian yesterday, largely on impulse, but with the idea of giving DSOs a good go over the next couple of years, as I would really like to see many of them with my own eyes. My main reference is the Messier catalogue, and I’m particularly interested in galaxies. I must say, some of the threads on here – particularly those by Qualia – are a brilliant reference point. I’m drawing up a list of the main targets I’m going to try to observe over the next year using the dob, and would really welcome experienced input into this, so that I can make the most of any clear skies that appear! Anyway, here is the current draft; Does this make sense? I'd really appreciate comments and suggestions on this approach, and what would be realistic to aim for.
  14. Hello everyone. I bought a Meade 12" Lightbridge dobsonian yesterday, on impulse frankly, and enjoyed dodging clouds & rain yesterday for some initial views of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. I'm genuinely excited about what this telescope might be able to do! The person who sold me the 'scope was really friendly and helpful, and included both the original Meade 2" 26mm wide angle eyepiece (59x on the Meade's 1524mm focal length), and also two 1.25" eyepieces (a 25mm Plossl (61x) and a 20mm Plossl (76x)). I'm mainly interested in using this telescope for visual astronomy on DSOs, for which I think these eyepieces will work well - is that a reasonable assumption? For planetary and lunar observation, I think I need higher magnification. I do have a Baader Hyperion Zoom on order from FLO (8 - 24mm / 191x - 64x, in theory). Will this give me good quality higher magnification for the moon & major planets, or would I be better off looking for something else? Are there one or two absolutely stand out recommendations, for either 2" or 1.25" eyepieces, which will cover both DSO and planetary observation?
  15. Thanks for all the help - much appreciated. I've now ordered the Baader adaptor, together with a 1.25" prism diagonal, and a Baader zoom eyepiece. Hopefully these will arrive fairly soon, and we get some clear skies!
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