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About chiltonstar

  • Rank
    Sub Dwarf
  • Birthday 19/12/45

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Interests
    Wildlife photography + astronomy of course
  • Location
    Wessex/N. Berkshire Downs
  1. See attached pic, although I tend to mount it on my SkyTee2 these days, and have upgraded the finder. Chris
  2. Beautiful again this morning with a slim cresent, well separated from Mars! This time I got the 102mm f13 scope out to have a look, as a practice run for Mars 2018. Even though the disk is only 4.4 arcsec or so, there was some detail at x175, with an obvious N. white polar cap with a dark zone next to it, and a hint of a dark zone at the S. pole. Jupiter was washed out by a band of haze above the horizon. Chris
  3. It is rather a nice triple, isn't it - I managed an hour this evening (Mak 180) despite the black ice everywhere. I see the primary as yellowish white, and the two fainter secondaries as blueish, the brighter one almost an electric blue. Another nearby double is worth a look - Struve 590, looking like a well spaced pair of white headlamps, nearly the same intensity. Chris
  4. A stunning sight - I sat and watched it while The Cat had her breakfast. I thought I'd get my long (4" f13) frac out and have a look at both Jupiter and Mars when the Moon has moved around a little in a few days time. Chris
  5. Star Atlas

    I tend to use both the Pocket Atlas and two screen-based skycharts (Stellarium and SkySafari) depending on the level of detail I want. One thing worth thinking about is the image orientation you will see through your scope; normally N is up, but the view is laterally reversed which you need to think about if you are trying to find something. I copy the screen image, reverse it in PShop, and print it off to get an "eyepiece view". Chris
  6. One to add to the list, in the unlikely event of a clear sky.... Chris
  7. Scopes & Backs

    A perennial topic, I fear! Like many, I have had some problems lfting heavy kit around, particularly when it's dark and cold, as it often is! I've tried putting my mounts on a trolley to move them with 5" wheels, but to be honest, it made the problem worse as I have to go over some rough and stepped surfaces to get to my preferred observing position, so I went back to my workplace heavy lifting notes and tried to apply them. Planning ahead, keeping the scope weight (8kg) close to the body, ditto the tripod and head (11kg), and following the advice below has made quite a positive difference. These are notes copied from the NHS website. Chris Safe lifting tips One of the biggest causes of back injury at work is lifting or handling objects incorrectly. Learning and following the correct method for lifting and handling heavy loads can help prevent injury and avoid back pain. Check out these safe lifting and handling tips, recommended by the Health and Safety Executive. Think before you lift Plan the lift. Where is the load going to be placed? Use appropriate handling aids where possible. Will help be needed with the load? Remove obstructions, such as discarded wrapping materials. For long lifts, such as from floor to shoulder height, consider resting the load mid-way on a table or bench to change your grip on it. Keep the load close to the waist Keep the load close to the waist for as long as possible while lifting to reduce the amount of pressure on the back. Keep the heaviest side of the load next to the body. If closely approaching the load isn't possible, try to slide it towards the body before trying to lift it. Adopt a stable position Your feet should be apart with one leg slightly forward to maintain balance (alongside the load, if it's on the ground). Be prepared to move your feet during the lift to maintain a stable posture. Wearing over-tight clothing or unsuitable footwear, such as high heels or flip flops, may make this difficult. Ensure a good hold on the load Where possible, hug the load close to the body. This should help you make a stronger and more solid lift than gripping the load tightly with the hands only. Don't bend your back when lifting A slight bending of the back, hips and knees at the start of the lift is preferable to either fully flexing the back (stooping) or fully flexing the hips and knees – in other words, fully squatting. Don't bend the back any further while lifting This can happen if the legs begin to straighten before starting to raise the load. Don't twist when you lift Avoid twisting the back or leaning sideways, especially while the back is bent. Keep your shoulders level and facing the same direction as the hips. Turning by moving your feet is better than twisting and lifting at the same time. Look ahead Keep your head up when handling the load. Look ahead, not down at the load, once it has been held securely. Move smoothly Don't jerk or snatch the load as this can make it harder to keep control and increases the risk of injury. Know your limits Don't lift or handle more than you can easily manage. There's a difference between what people can lift and what they can safely lift. If you're in doubt, seek advice or get help. Lower down, then adjust Put the load down and then adjust. If you need to position the load precisely, put it down first, then slide it into the desired position.
  8. M33, a first for me!

    The map of the UK showing sky darkness combined with no. of clear nights per year is an interesting one and says it all........it tends to show of course that those wonderful dark skies are rarely available because of cloud, and that often the best location is one with less dark skies but more clear nights per year (obviously it is different if you actually live somewhere dark). What it will be like for sky darkness with 100 million people squatting on this small patch of land beggars belief.... Chris
  9. M33, a first for me!

    I always find M33 and M101 rather a conundrum - we are so used to seeing images of them that we tend to be over-optimistic about what we are likely to actually see. I personally find M101 a lot harder than M33 because of it lying to the N, where I have a lot of LP - mine is what is euphemistically called an "urban-rural" location. On really good nights, I've seen M33 with the naked eye from home when it's overhead, and it is often very obvious in a 50mm finder and quite nice with my ED80. M101 only really shows well from here on exceptional nights, and when it is high in the sky. From a dark site in Cornwall this Autumn, both were superb in my 15x70s, and again M33 visible with the naked eye. Chris
  10. I've used a green filter with my 102mm f13 achromat to reduce the violet twinkles with Sirius A and B, and tried others including a sodium D-line filter. The jury is out whether there was any real benefit..... An ND filter certainly works in the sense that it lowers the mag you can split a double with, for the reasons above, although throwing light away never seems a good idea..... A blue filter will of course (theoretically) improve the separation of doubles with any scope because the diameter of the Airy disk is wavelength-dependant, and decreases with shorter (blue) wavelengths. Chris
  11. Moons of Neptune and Uranus

    Very much down to the seeing and the collimation of the optics I suspect.... Chris
  12. finally the mak is here!!

    Congratulations on your new Mak! They really are great scopes for high power views, and very robust even when taken around in a vehicle quite often. I have to say, the quality of the 2" back on my 180 Mak is very good, the diagonal is good enough, just one of the two included EPs not up to much. However, Maks are wonderfully eyepiece tolerant, and you will get good views with even cheap EPs - even cheap zooms. Chris
  13. Moons of Neptune and Uranus

    ....Thank you, but not compared with those from the experts like Astrovani with more aperture, skill and better seeing! Chris
  14. Moons of Neptune and Uranus

    Back in April this year, I had a number of really good sessions on Uranus using my 180 Mak at x270, using a 10mm Baader Ortho. Definitely 4 moons on one occasion, 3 on most occasions. I imaged it a couple of times as well, eg:- Chris