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Posts posted by Hawksmoor

  1. A very generous and exciting proposal. As I  have decreasing mobility and in the week of my 70th birthday, it struck me that the number of times I will be able to lift my 5inch refractor out of the house and onto its pier mount are decreasing each and every year and not only due to the appalling weather here on the east coast. Thank you very much FLO you are a class act and will now keep me astronomy active long after my telescope toting days are behind me.

    Best regards from George in Lowestoft

    • Like 1

  2. My old architectural practice was multidisciplinary (including mechanical, electrical and environmental engineers) and we designed a number of archive facilities which had strict environmental controls  regarding relative humidity and temperature.  I have some experience , some success and more than a few set backs in battles with condensation.

    The key issues are the relative humidity of the air and the surface temperature of your kit. In my backyard where I observe the relative humidity is often somewhere between 85 and 95% at this time of year. As soon as I take out my scope or cameras they start to radiate heat out into space. At some point in time the glass will cool and reach the dew point (the temperature at which the moisture in the air can no longer exist as a vapour). Irrespective of the amount of thermal insulation or the thermal mass of the glass at some point in time the dew point will be reached and condensate will appear where I don't want it. Thermal collars and the like which I have made delay the inevitable for about a hour and a half for the smaller bits of glass (camera lenses, my 66mm refractor and 60mm guide scope) and approximately 3 to four hours for my 127mm refractor's objective lens. The only way to prevent this happening is to add back the heat (that is being lost through radiation out into space) either by using a hair drier or dew heaters.  For this reason I have just made dew heaters for all my bits of kit as I got fed up with having to stop imaging on the few clear moonless nights available because 'Niagara Falls' had turned points of starlight into fuzz balls. I suspect your 'observatory enclosure' will increase the time before the dew point is reached but if the relative humidity of the air in the observatory is high and in reality it will be similar to ambient external RH, condensation will eventually form on bits of kit that have a surface temperatures equal or lower than the dew point temperature.

    I've rambled on for a bit - sorry - old consultants never die they just ramble on for a bit more.😀

    best regards from George 'moist' in Lowestoft next the Sea.

    • Thanks 1

  3. 27 minutes ago, Ships and Stars said:

    This is what happens when a.) my telrad arrived today, b.) it's rainy and I have some down time. My wife is used to this.

    Seriously, with a few slight mods to adjust where the binos point, this might work! Perhaps mount the finder bracket at the bottom of the tube. 

    Agree it is perhaps 'slightly' over the top, but the Celestron binobracket slots right in the finder shoe...

    Never hurts to try, eh? 🤣







    Nicely bonkers mate! 

    I manage to fill my 'down time' with similar eccentricities and my wife has been used to it for forty-six years, you have to admire their fortitude!

    best regards from George In Lowestoft

    • Like 1

  4. 4 minutes ago, Gina said:

    Oh!!  Spoke to soon - steady moderate rain now!

    Hi Gina

    It's raining on one side of my house whilst I have bright sunshine on the other and I don't have a big house!

    I can be simultaneously optimistic and pessimistic - the wonders of living next the sea.

    regards George 'damp in Lowestoft'

    • Haha 3

  5. Today, I made my first prototype 'dew zapper' for a Canon efs 18-55 lens. Powered by a 9volt battery rubber band attached to the insulation. Not a pretty piece of engineering but quite cost effective. (My daughter in law said it looked like an electrically powered toilet roll). A moist night here on the east coast, so I was pleased that it kept the dew at bay for the length of the trial (two hours). Moon very bright in the backyard so a good night for experimentation. Will make more zappers tomorrow for different bits of glass but to the same/similar design - now I know it works.

    Night all 

  6. Hi dyfiastro

    I have been messing about with the data I have collected from my software define radio- spectrum lab meteor catcher. I have used excel as a framework to hold the files I was interested in analysing and exported the result as a csv file. This I imported into INZite for data analysis freeware (available from Auckland University) . This is a non programmer friendly front end for the powerful R software. Once transferred to INZite it is relatively easy to clean and filter the data and then create a number of graphs to suit yourself. My son is an academic and uses R all the time to analyse extremely large data sets. INZite is much easier to use. The OU has a free short course which is run by the Stats Dept of Auckland University. I found this course both helpful and interesting but there is an online manual for INZite which is pretty comprehensive. I have recently put some info and graphs on my LVST Google sites page 're 2016 Perseid Meteor Shower' If any of this is of sounds useful please follow the link:



    • Like 1

  7. North Norfolk has dark skies so well worth bringing kit but recently the weather has been less than kind to stargazers, plus the night does not last that long this time of the year. A tripod mounted DSLR and or binoculars would probably see action terrestrial if weather prohibits astronomical. 

    Have a great holiday

    Best regards from George in Lowestoft


    • Like 2

  8. I quite like Prof Brian and his wistful asides on escarpments. Doubling up on the lens flare in one episode was probably a flare too far but taken in the round it's easy on the eye and brain after we've had our dinner, washed up and sat down with a coffee. Best of all my partner said during the last episode "Brian's beginning to look his age".  I never saw that coming, as for years that man has been cosmology's answer to Peter Pan. Third star from the right and keep on til morning Brian!

    George stir crazy because of the cold and torrential rain in Lowestoft.

  9. The Moon at First Quarter on the 12th of May 2019 - a very clear and stable sky over our backyard in Lowestoft.  Images taken between 21:00 and 21:30 BST as the sky began to darken.   A composite of three x1/160th second exposures at ISO800 – exposures taken in bursts of ten - best three 'lucky' images selected by eye .  Taken with a Canon 600d DSLR  on a Meade 127mm.apo- refractor with 2.5x Barlow (f=2250mm)- all on a NEQ6Pro mount.  RAW images converted to PNGs in Digital Photo Professional  - three images combined using Microsoft ICE– resized and minor colour and luminosity adjustments in Photoshop and ‘iteratively sharpened’ using FitsWork4.

    Moon 12052019c.png

    • Like 4

  10. I have ongoing back problems and underwent spinal surgery some six years ago. Have managed the last 12 months without pain killers and feel better for it. I now do light daily exercises which help with movement and I zone out pain for most of the time with a bit of meditation and intellectual distraction. Astronomy wise, the building of a permanent pier was a smart move, polar alignment was very 'bending' intensive and difficult for the dyspraxic . Now, my NEQ6 sits polar aligned and out all year under a Telegizmo 365 cover but I do keep my refractor a short distance away and in the house.  As my back deteriorates, as I'm told it will, I shall undoubtedly make the decision to leave the telescope outside under the cover. Unfortunately, I have insufficient space in my garden for an enclosed observatory. My 'astronomy endgame' will no doubt involve binoculars, my small 66mm refractor and the star adventurer that I currently use when out and about.  The advantage/disadvantage of being obsessive is that you plan your own future downfall in meticulous detail. The one issue I find difficult to control is dizziness. It is quite alarming in the pitch dark, when I'm holding a piece of expensive glass or equipment and suddenly my internal universe spins. I now try always to set up in daylight and arrange garden furniture to provide  surfaces for temporary storage, laptops and a safe support for the temporarily giddy. A nest of small robust coffee tables, if you can get away with 'borrowing' them from the sitting room, can be very useful as long as you remember where you placed them and don't end up tripping over them in the dark.  A comfortable garden/observing chair (with a back support) and your telescope mounted at a convenient height is a must ( I mounted my NEQ6 quite a bit higher than is usual and find this limits the amount of bending I have to do). 

    One of the issues we all have to contend with is the exceptionally inclement UK weather, so when consecutive 'clear nights' turn up we all go a bit 'astro' bonkers and this can often be followed by laptop imaging software syndrome. The net result may be severe back stress even for those without spinal issues. I try to exercise some astro-imaging restraint and no longer feel as though I've let myself down if I don't take advantage of every 'transparent'opportunity.  Anyway don't give up star gazing as there is often another method you can adopt to achieve virtually the same result.

    Hope helpful  - best regards George in Lowestoft

    • Like 1

  11. What a great image! - Short of going there I cannot imagine a better view of Sinus Iridum. Last week, I watched through my 11x80 binoculars as sunlight touched the peaks of the Jura Mountains whilst the lava below remained in jet black shadow. A spectacular place indeed and when illuminated as in your image it shows a wealth of geological detail. Thank you for posting this fabulous image.

    regards George

    • Thanks 1

  12. 5 minutes ago, Demonperformer said:

    My parents had two children, but unfortunately, some years ago, my brother .... decided to grow up so now there's only me!

    I am the least favoured only child in my family so have sadly no siblings to set me a good example. I am encouraged by my nine grandchildren to remain outstandingly immature. To date I'm not aware of disappointing them in any significant way. Trust in the force DP.?

    • Like 1

  13. 3 hours ago, michaelmorris said:

    Great photo and a nice looking set up. 

    Just one thing - "Backyard"?  :icon_scratch:  Surely, one means "Garden" ?.  Is one perchance originally from across the pond? 

    Thank you for your very kind comments regarding the photo and set up. No I'm not American, born at Maidstone in Kent but after 1968 I lived and worked in other parts of the UK including Manchester where 'backyards' were common currency. Our backyard is a bit small to warrant the title 'back garden' and is mostly paved so yard seemed appropriate.?

    Best regards George

    • Like 3

  14. 'Poundland' tripod mounted Canon 600D -EOS lens at 18mm IS0 6400  1x 10sec RAW exposure - all a bit last minute and half asleep. Took this in my dressing-gown as I had gone to bed because of horizon to horizon cloud. My wife had got up as she is an insomniac and noticing the 'starry sky' decided to kick me into life.  So at 2:00am in the morning on the 16th December 2018, I fell down stairs grabbed my camera fixed it to the first tripod I could find , piled some boxes on a chair, balanced the tripod on the boxes and started snapping using the timer - Then over time lots of fiddlin' about  to reduce a bit of the noise,  lift luminance of comet and accentuate the colour of the stars.  I like comets and love the Hyades and the Pleiades so an astro snap of 46P Wirtanen between the two clusters worked for me even though the acquisition  was all a bit 'Heath Robinson'.

    Wirtanen through the Kitchen door.png

    • Like 5
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