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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. 6/10/17 super Sol !

    Lovely surface action and some very good looking proms this morning,Nick.
  2. Crème de la crème.

    This doesn't have to be extremely mind blowing . I remember being humbled talking to a guy who through his Dob had seen the results of a comet hitting Jupiter. I get that feeling of a stone sinking in the stomach in the presence of greatness ! What "wow !" moments are with you ? Memorable experience or very rare nights when seeing , transparency and ultimate darkness combine. Or even one ! That moment when your socks are blown away and you are glued to the view. Firstly you doubt what you're seeing , then it dawns , like a curtain rising , " that's it !!" My first was M 38 with a Heritage 130, just couldn't believe it was possible to see such beauty.That was my first scope and Messier's after months with a red torch and star map laying on the grass. Neighbours must of thought that the men in white coats would arrive. Then came. First view of Saturn with open rings , Cassini division .Got the boss out of bed at 3 am for this , not a happy bunny. Jupiter , the ragged festooned belt edges and the GRS , changes in shape and colour. Still wows ! Those moon shadow transits and the white pea like moons transmitting , just more magic. Comets , just amazed at these visitors , either by eye ,binoculars or those magic scope sights. Testing the C6r with LeeB. We were both astonished to get some of the central rill to the Alpine Valley " that's a kilometre wide ,at a quarter of a million miles away". The terminator still calls its magic views. Planets at opposition. To watch over some weeks the frost in the Hellas basin and the Mars ice cap melt , more magic. First star party and those that followed ! So much to learn and so many other enthusiasts. All those nights struggling alone are over ! Many many super folk well met . I can accurately recall looking through Mapstar's 22" and being blown away forever. Better reach for the aperture bottle. Catching the many binary , carbon red and coloured stars.Highlight here was getting an easy 1.1" split of 36 Andromedae with Patbloke. First view of pristine dark sky . Things like the spiral arms of M33 and the dust lane and halo to NGC 891. This lead to managing light polluted sky and achieving realistic observing.The search for dark skies led to visiting some wild and remote areas . As a bonus , sitting and watching Aurora displays on seven occasions had been breath taking. Watching the M82 supernova a day after being accidentally found . There's achievement in reading about these things and seeing them. On the gear side, ( I'm not a gear person !) First view of the double double in a Vixen 102. Couldn't believe the clarity , sharpness and contrast of the view. Refractors .....real scopes ! Way to go ! This led to an appreciation of achros and the capabilities of optics. Upgrading from the 130 Heritage to the 200p Dob. Way to go , the Universe is now open for easy viewing and star hopping . Collimation is easy ! GEM mount , motorised ! No more slo mo cables . Just track for hours , viva RA! Goto, as interest grew and observing weather reduced , less time meant more to find and observe. It's still a pleasure to take the Dob and hunt. Conclusions. No amount of spending will get you there , the dominant factor is the sky. Share your findings , failures and experiences . Others will benefit from your knowledge and experience and might be enthused. No better gain. I suppose that there's a lot omitted , looking forward to your thoughts , Nick.
  3. 2013....115 2014....114 2015....87 Last two years I have been considering myself lucky to observe. For example , there was a gap of a few hours last night. The seeing was awful, just about split 3". The terminator could have been made of jelly ! Still , it was great to get out there . Looking at the better forecasts , it seems that the jet-stream has not stabilised its position and the persistent whipping north and south has invited in the most unseasonable and unstable weather. Just grab the moment , it might not be the best. I notice however that the Sun always shines down south ( on tv) ! Astronomers (of whatever church )have enough to deal with, that's why there're so generous and helpful , hurrah ( and double huzzarh!) Nick.
  4. Sun great in white light and Ha - 3rd Oct '17

    You're welcome to sit and watch Ha all day. It's very addictive, every time you set up, you don't know what to expect, Nick.
  5. Mega focussing "wheel".

    You're welcome to try this out and the WO helical focussing diagonal. General focussing is ok , but for those delicacies, some fine work is required, Nick.
  6. Mega focussing "wheel".

    My dear old Vixen 102. I came across an old stock as new focuser. Lovely and smooth r&p. A few O rings and plastic bits to increase the focuser knob diameter produced finer focussing. A good friend ran me up a solid brass wheel which clears the ota and fits nicely in the open hand . This focuses almost as good as a dual. I'm loathe to drastically change anything on older gear, this works just great. Nick.
  7. Sun great in white light and Ha - 3rd Oct '17

    Plenty surface action , got 20 Minutes in the cloud gaps . Good hefty prom , Nick.
  8. National Forest Star Party ,November 2017.

    The skies will speak for themselves, ( thanks for the posts of support !) we're not in the red zone ! There are many acres of dark National Forest . Leicestershire, the next county has streetlight 12-5 switch off . We could post the next star party on Barra or Exmoor , but this is nearer. I live 4 miles from the campsite and for 17 years have enjoyed the skies of this area, hurrah, Nick. http://darksitefinder.com/maps/world.html
  9. National Forest Star Party ,November 2017.

    Our Astro club meets just down the road at the Forestry Centre, it's a dark sky. We've seen M33 by eye from there. I wouldn't have the cheek to post a meet where the skies were not good. Hopefully this will be a tester for more events at this site. I would have preferred October , but dark Cornwall is scheduled. Nick.
  10. Warm winter hats advice

    Just a simple £1 thinsulate hat. There's one over at security light in the Peaks ! Personally , I've found anything too thick becomes far too warm. The place that you lose the most heat is the neck area . A buff is ideal a star you can pull it up to ear level. A thin wooden scarf is ideal if those temperatures plunge, Nick.
  11. National Forest Star Party ,November 2017.

    Yep, it's a good site . The plan is for a Spring Star Party here. Nick.
  12. Replacing the DIY Peak Star Party and at a darker site, Please book online through the website. http://www.beehivefarm-woodlandlakes.co.uk/ Hoping for some fine company , Nick.
  13. Comet c/2017 01 Asassn

    Tiny bit faint for smaller apertures , Nick.
  14. Winter is great. Still can't get over the excitement of darkness to set up at 4 and a whole long night to get through. Unfortunately the weather hasn't played the game. Currently we're going to get battered by the tail end of storms. For anyone with SAD, try a daily pill of Vitamin D and a daylight lamp. The pills do work ! Here's our current dose of excitement , back to plan B, Nick.
  15. SW120ED/lunar ability

    Brilliant , good to hear some excellent optics are still being made and enjoyed ! Nick.