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Blog Entries posted by beamish

  1. beamish
    .....don't mess about when great opportunities come along.
    Great skies tonight and what did I try to do? Something different that's what. I thought I'd mount the camera with the stnd 75-300 lens and guide via the ZS66SD. Nowt but so**ing problems. Co-aligning and focusing being the two biggest probs. Which do I align as primary with the mount or does it matter ?-ummm well surely it should when it comes to synching the mount with planetarium s/ware.
    Anyways, having gone out in bare feet and slippers, thinking it wasn't going to take long......2hrs later and frozen tootsies and nothing achieved, other than highest order frustration, I packed up.
    Shiess what a waste !:mad: Shan't try that again for a while
  2. beamish
    I was setting up last night for Saturn viewing /imaging. I was going thru a 3x star alignment routine ( don't ask why, just fancied it), just aligned on Regulus and took my eyes away from the Telrad just in time to see a fantastic fireball fly thru from NE-ish Ursa Major across to Castor Pollux region.
    That was a first !!! Quite spectacular :icon_eek:and surprised to see how bright it was !!By Eck it was fair moving thru the sky, sooooooo fast with a brilliantly bright tail.:glasses1:
    No it wasn't an Iridium Flare, moved far too fast !!
    Karlo :):)
  3. beamish
    Last night proved to be a bit of a bonus after Saturday !! I had planned on capturing some more Avi's of Saturn ( and I did ) but thought I'd stick a few EP's on the scope for a change cos the cond's were so good and the opportunities to observe here in Leeds' LP sadly rare ! ( only 3x miles West of Leeds City centre).
    Apart from the open clusters in Auriga which I thoroughly enjoyed re visiting, I spent some time with the ringed planet, moons were clearly visible and bright, the sharp definition of the planet's rings was a marvel. A mate popped round late on in the evening and had never looked thru a scope before, sooo you what's coming......
    I teased him by starting really with a low power EP, the 32mm 2", then moved on to the 17mm plossle, then the 10mm and for a sure sign of the night's quality I stuck in the TMB/Burgess 4mm. Given the fact that he was pretty blown away by the 10mm, the 4mm "rocked his boat" !!:):)
    Now the 4mm equates to 300x power on my Cape and because the conds. were so good I thought I'd be really cheeky !! I have never done this before but thought well.. why not ? so I stuck the 4mm into a Meade 126 2x barlow and seriously did not expect anything but disappointment !!
    WELL KNOCK ME SIDEWAYS !!!!:eek::eek: it focused up really well This really was a "wow!" moment for him !! EVEN with the collimation of the scope a wee off still !!
    GREAT just GREAT !!
  4. beamish
    The dreaded thick stuff was slow to clear last night, forecasts suggested 2:00 hrs- turned out to be closer to 22:30hrs !!
    BUT when it did start to clear it became quickly apparent that it was going to be something very special indeed :)
    First order of the evening was to check the collimation of the scope-again using Capella, the image under high power was very promising, under very high power (600x) I was happy !!
    I still happened to be plagued by little niggles though, like the newly recognised condition of Bahtinov's Syndrome, this is where the observer, satisfied with the focus of their instrument then proceeds to lose all sanity and proceed with their plans whilst leaving the mask on !!!
    The clarity of last night was more than a treat it was a rare event for someone who lives just 3 miles west of a large, light polluting city centre like Leeds. M51 was clearly visible to the naked eye !!!
    Soooo many stars- thankfully the thin Moon had set and not interfered with our viewing pleasure.
    I did try to get in close to the Cigar, but without a 2x barlow, the 2x teleconv for the camera just wasn't good enough, too much CA introduced. Balance issues started to show themselves, but when I thought about packing in I noticed that M51 had slew n around the Birch tree and I thought eh up, it's just too good to miss ( I've wanted this for a while) so set about capturing.
    What a tremendous night, mesmerising and truly awesome - now if this was a dark site I'd probably just be coming in !!;)
  5. beamish
    Okay , well with all this talk about SCA collimators, as lovely as it is I simply couldn't justify spending all that money. I had a look at the Youtube video link that SteveL posted regarding it and well something akin to a penny dropped.
    As some of you will remember, I made a right dog's dinner of collimating my Cape the last time I tried, using a laser :mad:, requiring me to go swanning off to North Wales in search of Peter Wise and ask him kindly to re-collimate my scope.
    For obvious reasons I can't and have no wish to carry on this arrangement even if the company still existed and Peter was willing !! I began to do some reading around the subject and apart from our very own AstroBaby's site describing the collimating technique I found this one especially helpful, http://www.oarval.org/collimatE.htm
    He somehow managed to describe it in a very simple staged way which just worked for me.
    Now, owning a Cape is a bit like being "the only gay in the village" !! It's not quite a Newtonian more akin to a Schmidt Newtonian but having a flat optical plate as opposed to a corrector. Now when crud collects inside the OTA ...... and it does, it helps if you know can take off the front plate (holding the secondary) or the mirror cell and have the confidence to put it safely back together again.
    Following Kielder last October and another very cold setion in Dec', I found lots of crud in the OTA courtesy of a brilliant plan I had to try and to try and dissipate the accumulated dew on the primary ( I told you it was very cold) by blowing warm air from a hair dryer into the focuser ( told you it was a brilliant plan-NOT!!!)
    I also wanted to centrespot my primary mirror whilst it was out, to aid in collimating.
    Being a bit short of brass I decided to make my own site tube from a length of tubing from an old vacuum cleaner and info from this site, http://web.telia.com/~u41105032/kolli/kolli.html
    and a spare focuser blank with a 2mm hole drilled in the centre. ( I will also be making a laser collimator/cheshire Ooooooooher missus)
    For me collimating is a HUGE step but it was made easier by the very fact I had to do it and would learn agreat deal from the experience. Having got my bits made I set to-
    1) Centre the secondary with the site tube. This wasn't the nightmare I thought it would be, partly because I had the foresight to paint the bottommost rim of the tube white !! and set some X-hairs in there too !!
    2) Once centred, move to the primary. Now this WAS a nightmare 'cos I was trying to get the centre spot aligned with the X-hairs !!!! UGH !!
    It soon became apparent this just wasn't going to happen and then BLAM !! It hit me ! YOU GREAT DONKEY !!! You're supposed to line the white ring you can see (reflection) with the centrespot.
    I have to be honest, once this had dawned on me, the whole process was done within a minute. I double ,triple, quadruple checked that everything now appeared centred and decided it was done !
    Tonight I hope to do a quick star test-if it isn't too windy, but I feel like I have really achieved something this afternoon and feeling rather pleased with mesen.
    Nothing to fear but fear itself !!
    Collimating a scope , pah nowt to it when you know how !!:)
  6. beamish
    I shan't complain cos it's just been SOOOOooo long since the scopes have been out. It was a very pleasant surprise to see that the forecasters got it almost right.
    Set up early for cooling about 7:30 but too cloudy to get out until 9:30/9:45- finished off the setting up and then started dodging the clouds trying to get some pics of Lulin (haven't checked the results yet). Clouds started get heavier about 10:45 with total cloud cover due at midnight pah ! waited waited and waited some more.................NAFF ! started packing it all away ,yeah you guessed just about cleared up when HORROR !it cleared up !!
    Right, bang on the w/cam and take a butcher's at Saturn for the 1st time this yr WOW !
    Air was turbulent and there was increasing breeziness nr the ground too, but just SO glad to have caught something of the planet.
  7. beamish
    I'm trying so very very hard to remain positive and not let this remarkably long run of sh%^y weather get me down, but I feel I'm beginning to lose the battle.
    Expensive kit, including some that hasn't even seen the dark of night yet, sit in their respective recepticles waiting for the call up.
    I find myself going and uncovering the mount and pier, stopping short of apologising to it for it's lack of use, just to make sure it IS still there-inspite of the conspicuous lump under the shroud.
    Perhaps now's not a good time to quit smoking (again).
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