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Posts posted by Hawksmoor

  1. Nice set of images Reggie. I particularly liked the image from April 03. I managed a widefield photo on the 29th March but weather here on the East Coast of the UK was very poor for the first few days in April. I reckon April 2028 is a bit optimistic for a stargazer of my age. I can but hope that I'm still going strong and remain enthusiastic for astronomy at the end of the decade.

    Best regards from George in Lowestoft.


    • Like 2

  2. Hi and welcome to SGL

    I'm a bit of a Star Adventurer fan. Very quick to set up and get imaging fast. Use mine regularly with my dslr  (with or without my 66mm refracting telescope).

    Hope you have lots of fun and clear dark skies in your bit of Norfolk.

    from George in Lowestoft

    • Like 1

  3. I live close to the North Sea. Weather is often variable and affected by the tide. So clear skies are difficult to predict and often at odds with the met office. The one big issue I have is 'condensation'. With standard insulation jackets, camera lenses dew up after an hour, so I now use battery powered 'Dew-zappers' on all my camera lenses and telescope objective lenses. 

    Hope helpful 

    George in moist Lowestoft

  4. 11 hours ago, kbrown said:


    We've recently moved into a house with a back garden where I'd eventually like to build a RoR obsy at some point. There is an existing concrete slab at the location where I'm thinking to put it in. It's what's left of a garage that used to be there ages ago. 

    I know it's not and ideal foundation as the concrete absorbs heat during the day and releases it at night causing heat turbulence. I'm thinking of decking the slab with deck risers to alleviate this but the bigger question is how to erect a pier on the slab? Has anyone done anything like this? Would be shame not to utilise the existing foundation for the building itself. 

    Been thinking maybe bolting down a large brake disc on it with some steel rods poking up from it and then cast a concrete pier over and on top of it. Does this sound feasible? 

    Not sure if I want to use a commercial steel pier bolted onto it as they all seem quite pricey for what they are. 


    I've cast a reinforced concrete pier onto existing concrete paving slabs sitting on top of a 100mm concrete slab. As my wife had agreed to me installing this 'sculpture' in our tiny backyard I decided digging a big hole in the recently installed patio was pushing my luck! 

    I drilled through the paving slabs into the concrete and then used specialist adhesive to anchor mild steel reinforcement bars into the existing concrete. I then wired and welded a cage of mild steel reinforcement for the column to the bars anchored in the existing concrete. To give the whole construction additional mass for increased stability I cast an integral cube of concrete directly on top of the concrete slabs and at the base of the pier. This cube had continuity steel drilled and bonded through the paving slabs and into the existing concrete. Basically, instead of having a big lump of concrete under ground as a foundation I cast a big lump of concrete on top and anchored it to the existing concrete slab with steel and adhesive.  There is a image on my SGL Blog somewhere I think named Lowestoft Pier.  This isn't the prettiest piece of construction but seems to work fine. I haven't got an observatory as the garden is too small but you could use a similar pier in an obsy, particularly if you raised the floor level to the top of the base cube. This would enable easy isolation of the floor structure from the pier to minimise vibration.

    Hope helpful George

    • Thanks 1

  5. Received this week - 6x 9volt 700mwh rechargeable batteries and a charger - reserves for my homemade 'dew zappers'. Delivered in snug fitting brown cardboard boxes. Small but nice!

    Am awaiting the delivery of an 'embossing press' that I can use as an intaglio printing press for up to A4 size etchings. It should arrive on Monday. 

    • Like 1

  6. Hi Danny

    I built one back in 2016 which I have been using with cameras and telescopes effectively for 4 years. There is a picture of the finished box on my blog entry on this forum Blog 19648. (July 2016).

    Easy to make and quite inexpensive. Originally I was going to use white plexiglass for the light diffuser but as this was quite expensive to purchase, I used plasticard much favoured by model railway constructors. It works just fine, but in between use I protect it from dust by wrapping the lightbox with cling film. I used 3 ribbons of leds equally spaced  as a light source all powered by a 9volt battery. I made my own frame from softwood but you could use a box picture frame if you can find one in a charity shop that is the right size to suit the aperture of your scope.

    Hope helpful best regards George

  7. Quite a clear sky over Lowestoft in the early hours Jan 04. Moon set about midnight. Observing from Midnight until 3:30am. Saw 24 meteors of which 23 probably Quadrantids. Imaged 2. Bright white meteors some leaving a momentary trail. 

    About 2:0am, with only my little red torch for company, went to sit down on garden chair missed and ended up in flower bed. Must be getting old! No dignity left and arthritis now playing up.

    Regards from George.

    • Like 1
    • Haha 1

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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 

  13. 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:



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  14. 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


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  15. 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.

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