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Everything posted by RayGil

  1. it would seem the group has lost it's way since the forums were changed? no idea what's happening, I'm still on Twitter though and my website, I have never stopped imaging : Ray Gilchrist Ray
  2. Being someone who has had both types of scopes and mounts I can honestly say I have learned more with the GOTO set-up than I have ever learned with the manual set up. Previous to my current set-up which is a SkyWatcher 200p (8” Mirror) and a EQ5 with SynScan GOTO added I have either manual mounts or mounts with a RA tracking motor for photography. Both Refractors and Reflectors and I certainly prefer reflectors unless you have a very large wallet. Now unless you use your telescope for large bright objects and have loads of free time then I would certainly choose the GOTO every time. If you like me and have a work schedule and family like to slot in around you hobby (should that be the other way around?) You will find a manual telescope very frustrating on anything other that the brightest object in out solar system. I may only have a couple of hours to go out with the scope and I have spent many frustrating hours searching for DSO’s (Deep Space Objects) and getting nowhere, arriving back home without seeing the objects I was searching for. What did I learn from this experience? Space is very big! Now since having the GOTO option I have learned, a lot about Polar alignment, how to set up and telescope correctly, how to align a telescope to 3 bright stars, to get correct alignment. Just learning the bright visible stars is an achievement and if you go at different times of the night and months throughout the year you get to learn all about the local bright stars that you need to know for correct alignment. When I go out these days it what used to take me 10 minutes to set up (Manual) now takes me 30-40 minutes to get everything, balanced, polar aligned, and GOTO 3 star alignment set up, but once set up correctly that is it for the observing session. A full catalogue of objects and planets are at my finger tips, full visual tracking of objects, anyone who has manually found DSO objects in the eyepiece only for a few seconds later is gone? Things move fast out there! The bigger your scope and the higher power eyepiece you use the smaller your field of view and you are constantly adjusting your scope, where as with the GOTO option once correctly set up objects remain the the FOV for very much longer in fact nearly all night if required. I can spend most of my evenings observing session actually viewing the objects I wanted to view from my observing lists, and yes I'm learning more about the night sky than ever before simply because GOTO made it a less frustrating experience and allowed me to spend my time with the telescope doing what I like to do, which is view our vast expanding universe. People who say to me you are not learning about the hobby is rubbish, I have learned more since I went GOTO than ever before, If you want to learn the sky manually that's great get a star map book and a pair of binoculars and enjoy your hobby, but to say to me I know more about the sky than you, could be true? But ask your self this! What did you come into the hobby for? To sit there night after night learning star charts so you could point out to people oh there is M31 or M57? Or did you come into the hobby to view the wonders of the night sky and out planets? Just because I have a GOTO telescope does not mean I'm not learning, in fact I could point out a vast amount of objects and planets in out sky, simply because once GOTO has positioned the scope and cantered the object, that's not the end! I step back from the eyepiece and look up “Oh that's where it is” can I see it in binoculars? What's the nearest constellation? Any bright known stars in the FOV. GOTO simply means you have options, how you use those options depends on the person. For me the whole galaxy is there, and other galaxies as well so don't be an Astro Snob! GOTO is a fantastic achievement for the average astronomer and has released the hobby into the 21st century . My telescope time is no longer a frustrating experience and is more a giant learning curve learning about DSO’s, nebula's and galaxies and I've now moving on to astro-photography this again is another massive learning curve, but now I have the time to learn about the photography side knowing that I can at least find the DSO objects next step is photographing them
  3. Well Done, very impressive :-) Ray
  4. Latest Imaging Report http://www.raygilchrist.co.uk/Reports/08092011.html Ray
  5. Bahtinov Mask Focus Test - My Imaging set up. My M31:
  6. RayGil

    M31 Blog2

    From the album: M31 & Mask

  7. RayGil

    Imaging setup

    From the album: M31 & Mask

  8. RayGil

    Arcturus Test

    From the album: M31 & Mask

  9. RayGil


    From the album: M31 & Mask

  10. Well done Neil :-) To focus the scope correctly I find a near bright star to the object and then fit a Bahtinov Mask, focus correctly, then go back to the object under study, the masks are cheap, and simple to use, guaranteed correct focus. Ray
  11. http://www.raygilchrist.co.uk/reports.html The Northern Lights and M15 Globular Cluster in Pegasus Ray
  12. The Jupiter shot is just a short exposure from the canon 350D, single image no stacking, any longer and it over exposes the planet and you loose detail, for best images you need to stack video to get a high resolution detailed image. The Andromeda and Swan nebula are stacked images from between 20 - 40 images stacked in deep sky stacker. Thanks for the comments :-) Ray
  13. Imaging report for 27/28th July 2011 I arrived at my dark sky site at around 22:35 and conditions were a little hazy but clear, there was a weather front moving in from the West but I was sure I had a few hours before it arrived. I quickly got the scope set up, I took the SkyWatcher 120mm short tube imaging refractor with me tonight instead of the 200p. I checked polar align app on the Iphone to get the correct alignment position and polar aligned the scope and started with a 2 star goto set-up, which used Arcturus and Vega, this was successful 1st time and my first alignment test was M13 followed by Capella and I left the scope tracking Capella for 10 minutes while I sorted out the rest of my gear. On returning to the scope Capella was still centered in the 32mm eyepiece and I swung the scope over to Arcturus for a final alignment and focus test, fitting the Bahtinov mask and Canon 350D at prime focus. Once I was happy with the alignment and tracking I swung the scope over to M16 and open cluster in Serpens and at 23:27 proceeded to take 10 images at 20 second exposure @ISO1600. At 00:00 I swung over to M31 The Andromeda Galaxy which was located in the North East and well above the horizon, it looked very nice through the camera viewfinder and once I was happy with the equipment I started imaging. I took 25 30 second images @ISO1600 and then 20 Blacks. M31 is 2.5 million light years distant from us, and is made up of 300 Billion stars and is a spiral galaxy. At 00:43 I did another refocus test on Arcturus and then moved onto M17 The Swan Nebular and Images were 10 20 seconds exposures @ISO1600, and 10 blacks. M17 was located in the South-West but still suffered slightly with distant light pollution but nothing to spoil the image. The nebular is 10 light years long, and 40 light years wide and at a distance of 5,000 light years away from us. I also tried to image NGC 7662 and Pluto, but these images need further analysis and maybe put to one side for a future session, especially the pluto wide field image. I ended the session at 01:25 and packed up and headed home, conditions by this time had worsened and the cloud from the West was beginning to encroach on the horizon. 26th/27th July Image of Jupiter and Moons Ray
  14. RayGil

    Panorama 03/07/2011

    Usually from 00:00 - 02:00 The Canon 350D is on Manual focus, depending on the NLC brightness ISO200-800 and exposure times from 3-10 seconds.
  15. RayGil

    Panorama 03/07/2011

    Showing N/West North N/East & East
  16. RayGil

    NLC Event 03/07/2011

    2nd major event over the North of the UK
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