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About cotterless45

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    " Look up at the stars and not down at your feet."
  • Birthday 18/06/52

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  1. Some superb binaries in Orion. 32 Orionis is widening up to 1.8". 52 Orionis is lovely pair of +6 eyes. Cracking views in a refractor , Nick.
  2. Very accessible with 4" aperture and up there with the best triples, Nick.
  3. I removed the central bolt and the white "polo" spacer. Then placed two cds and a circle of milk carton plastic with hole in centre. You might need to add a further disc if needed. Then buffed in some Turtle Wax to the surface facing the small Teflon pads. Then put the original bolt back through the plastic and discs, just smooth. Nick.
  4. Just a lovely scope. There's plenty mods on here , just a couple of simple ones. Cut out two circles from plastic milk bottle cartons, put hole in middle of each . Then slide these down each side where the removed handles go. You might like to cut long strips to easily place these or reposition after transport. They make the movement very smooth. Get some car Turtle Wax , apply it to the base surface opposite the Teflon gliders and rub in. This'll make this movement silky smooth and stop "sticktion". You'll notice the whole weight sits on those little gliders and a small round disc. You can easily remove the wee disc. Slip on two cd /DVD discs ( Cliff Richard is ideal )and a disc of milk carton plastic as spacers. It'll glide and sit better. A bit of Wilko's flocking (website) or blackboard paint opposite the focuser increases the contrast as does blackening the edge of the secondary mirror with a thick permanent pen. Make sure in all operations that the tube is horizontal. Ditch the finderscope, real pain and so difficult for beginners. A red dot finder or Telrad with no magnification or inverted view let's you keep both eyes open and get your target. An 18" high small table / bench at the eyepiece will let you sit comfortably and enjoy the views. Telrad finder maps are free to download. The only glad you need is the Pocket Sky Atlas, that has Telrad scale at the front and you can cut your own with a plastic sheet to put over the charts. Ace . Never ever do anything to the scope with tools without putting the tube horizontally.Finally , leave the mirror alone. You won't need to clean it until you can't see your reflection. They keep collimation incredibly well. Get to a local club in the very best advice and enjoy ! Looking forward to your first light under clear skies ! Nick.
  5. Superb once again ! NGC 2419 is a favourite , we caught it at sgl one year with an 8" Newt. We had an extraordinaire morning here, galaxies popped out everywhere. Lots of non light activity in the early hours ! All the best for 2017, now where are the aperture fever pills ? old Nick.
  6. Just a very rare and special morning. Came in frozen with a huge grin . Up and out at 3.30 and what a sky ! Ursa Major overhead, Leo in the south with Virgo, Coma Berenices and Canes Venatici. Just a tester onto M65 and there was the Leo Triplet. I'd seen this once from here, an easy target under dark skies. An 8" Newt is very useful on an eq mount for picking up overhead targets. To some old favourites in Canes Venatici. The glow of M94, then off from Chara onto NGC 4490 and NGC 4485. Up to the two bright cores of M51 and NGC 5195. Dust lanes to M63 ("sunflower ") , little detail in M109 and M106. Revisited some real favourites, showing shape and granulation, NGC 4449, resolved into stars at x150. NGC 4631, the curved shape of the "whale galaxy" NGC 4656/57, "hockey stick galaxy". NGC 4490, the bright "cocoon galaxy". NGC 5005, bright spiral galaxy. So many in Ursa Major, best and brightest here, NGC 2841, bright with core and spirals at x120. NGC 3077. Even NGC 4236 and NGC 4125 showed in Draco. Onto Coma Berenices and the stunning resolvable M53, the faint adjacent NGC 5053 by averted vision. Onto NGC 4725, NGC 4565, M85, M100,M98, M99,M88. M86 and M84 both wide apart in the fov at x50, as are M59 and M60 straying into the Virgo bowl where groups of galaxies fill the view. Turned to Jupiter and a lovely "L" shaped arrangement of the moons on one side. Some band details, but difficult wobbly seeing here. Just couldn't believe how good the sky was . It was a great treat to find the galaxies, some firm favourites usually do easy from those dark and Clear skies ! Old Nick.
  7. Holy moly ! Thought I was seeing double reading the title ! My skies have got so bad that for sheer joy there are only binaries and clusters left . There are colours , challenges and magic in binaries. Add on the magic of triple and multiple stars and the imagination can only grasp how they'd look from s close planet.Your chance to see a red and white dwarf in orbit, your chance to thrash the limit of your gear and get down to 1.1". Follow in the footsteps of Herschel Burnham and Struve. Even basic wide binaries are available to the beginner with simple gear, let's not sit on the fence or sidelines ! Binaries rule the town skies ! Hurrah ! old Nick.
  8. Probably my only Astro pic, then climbed into the freezer for a warm up. Mars, Moon and Venus , mobile phone ,Old Nick.
  9. Having a string of milky nights , last night was dark. It's not often that all the stars pick out Orion's Belt. Even Cassiopeia changed shape into a kite with a tail , later on. There were hardly any lights on around the place, a joy to be out. Frost locked up the moisture , but the seeing was quite bad with stars wobbling at x200. A view of Vesta in Cancer, then over to "The Spirograph " in Lepus, just so non stellar. The Auriga and Gemini clusters gave lovely views. Even looked north west to Cassiopeia. Cloud piled in from the north, just leaving Cancer and Monoceros available. What superb darkness, hope it bodes (!) well for this year, hurrah ! old Nick.
  10. Awesome report, lovely to hear of these wonderful sights. We used to get the Canes Venatici galaxies here a few years ago. Light pollution has got so much worse. Always worthwhile getting to a dark site. NGC 891 is very beautiful as is NGC 4449, unique in that a modest scope can resolve it's stars. Now reaching for the aperture fever medication ! Old Nick.
  11. Avoid stacking and playing around with filters. Just select your photo edit. It'll make stuff lighter or darker and there's "enhancement" with a magic wand type thing, old Nick.
  12. Right ho festive frolickers ! Time to shake off and have an ice cold detox ! An early star as it darkened, my granddaughter (8) was eager to see some sights, what eyes ! Counted seven stars in Pleiades and spotted Mizar Alcor. Then onto M31 after explaining what it was , " there's another one there ", M101. Then some doubles in Aries, M34, M35 and the Auriga clusters. We made some resolution in M15, but mainly it was high targets to get the ep down to her height. We had a look at the bright cut out of Venus, very impressive .Ended up excitedly ,"Daddy's going to buy me a small scope next birthday ", "err tell him to see me first !" A scoot around including Draco, before early to bed.... to wake uptake 1.30 and find the skies dark and still. The incredible yowling ,all moaning whinging cat kept me awake from a few gardens away. Leo draws the eye straight to NGC 2903 high in the head. Very nice comparison to bright Bode's . Onto the Leo groups and Coma Berenices up to Canes Venatici and Ursa Major. Back down into the bowl of Virgo. No great sights here, most of the Messier's were amorphous blobs with little sky contrast. Best here being NGC 4725, NGC 4565, M64, M85, M100, M88 through to M60. Algieba and Regulus providing some sights. M3, the dim NGC 5466, M53 (resolved) and the dim NGC 5053 provided some good views. Spent some little time on the binaries and triples in Leo and Leo Minor. Jupiter climbed over the roof tops, quite a sizeable disc with a good array of moons. No transits, but some lovely belt details. Some very strange seeing, one moment I gave up with even wide separations , then Tegmine at 1.1" snapped into shape. It's not optics, just atmosphere. After midnight is just ace. ε Draconis gives yellow and blue. As does 54 Leonis, 83 and tau provide a lovely double double view. Σ1374 and Σ1447 are particular favourites , very delicate and a pleasure to observe. Sight of the morning was the keystone of Hercules in the north east , just line up between Arcturus and Vega, hurrah ! It's still amazes me that in the midst of winter , the Summer Triangle is still on early show , clear skies and all the best for 2017 ! old Nick.
  13. More trips away from light pollution and getting more folk involved via our local club and the PSP 2017. Hoping that 2017 gives better skies than this year. Would like , if given time , to revisit a lot of binaries that have been challenging in a 150 . This time stepping down to 102 and 90mm, hurrah ! Clear skies ! Old Nick.
  14. Betelgeuse rises followed by the whole of Orion. Notice that Alnitak , end belt star always rises due east , should you be lost. Famed for the great nebula M42 there are many other attractions here, even for small aperture. The shape that we see is composed of stars differing by many light years away . ( see below, white drawing). Stars. (D indicates a drawing below) Betelgeuse (α), obviously reddish by eye, large enough to fill the orbit of Mars. Find the wide companion +11 at 176.4″. Rigel (β), a +6.8 companion at 9.4″.A tiny companion in the glow. Mintaka (δ), a complex multiple , a companion +6.8 at 52.8″.Really beautiful sight. Meissa (λ),a quadruple treat set in the open cluster Cr69 ( “Aunt Margaret’s mirror”)(D) Rho Orionis (ρ),SAO 112528 at 7.1″ its a lovely tangerine and blue pair. RA 05h13.3m. DEC +02 52′. Iota + Σ747, SAO 132323, a yellow 11.3″ pair contrasting with a 36″ pair in the 102. RA 05h35.4m. DEC -05 55′, both in fov. Trapezium (θ), quadruple group set in M42. Good skies will give a fifth “E “star and even the difficult sixth “F” star. Sigma (σ) Orionis, lovely “fish hook ” triple , drop down from Alnitak.(D). SAO 132406 RA 05h387.7m. DEC -02 35′. Tau (τ)Orionis, orange and blue violet triple, delicate at 33.7″ and 35.9″ separations.SAO 131952. RA 05h17.6m. DEC -06 05′. Alnitak (ξ) Zeta Orionis, lovely triple in the 102.(D) Psi(ψ) 2 Orionis,SAO 112775, at 2.9″, just glimpses of the faint companion at x200. 33 Orionis,SAO 112861, bright and very close at 1.9″ . 52 Orionis, SAO 113150, pair of +6 twins. 59 Orionis, SAO 113315, RA 05h58.4m. DEC +01 50′. 36.5″ averted separation of +10.4″ companion. S509 } double double in the fov with Σ877 in the 102. RA 06h14.3m . DEC +14 30′. Σ700 at 4.9″ , pair of close twins at RA05h23.1m. DEC +01 03′. Σ750, set in the cluster NGC 1982 (D).RA 05h35m. DEC -04 42′. Σ788}triple.(D)with Σ789 in the fov. RA 05h44.7m. DEC +03 50′ Σ848 on the edge of NGC 2169, 2.3″ , find this at the top of the “3” in the cluster.(D) Σ855, triple in the 102.(D). RA 06h09.0m. DEC +02 30′. Open clusters. NGC 1981, NGC 2141,NGC 2186,NGC 2194 and a favourite , NGC 2169 with the figure “37” in stars. Nebulae. A UHC filter with aperture over 4″ will show many of these in dark skies. M42 shows a green colour without a filter , dark skies show find tendrils over a large area. Quite remarkable for a naked eye target. Beautiful in binoculars, a dark site brings out tendrils and extensive nebulosity. M42, M43,NGC 1788,IC 423,NGC 1977,NGC 1980,NGC 1990,NGC 1999 ( “rubber stamp nebula”),IC426,NGC 2163, IC430,IC432,IC434( includes the “Horse Head”),NGC 2023,NGC 2024(flame nebula”),IC435,M78( reflection nebula. Comet like),NGC 2071,NGC 2174-75 (+6.9, the lovely bright “monkey head nebula” high up near Gemini). The large “Horse Head” requires a Hβ filter, darkest skies and a minimum of 10″aperture. It’s 8’x6′ at RA 05h40m59s. DEC -2 27’30”.
  15. There are Yurt type things and lodges for the glamper. Our friend Wookie 1965 (Paul) will be in a Yurt with a welcoming wood stove ! It would be great to see you and everyone else. Hopefully we'll be able to build this star party into something special, old Nick.