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    3rd rock, north
  1. Yes, I suppose knowing where the actual cone of useable light is going within tube and possibly it isn't with the 3mm or so that a nut would intrude into the inside. I recently did a 200P to move the finder to a more comfortable position and it obviously has easier access and for the swarf aspect, making a little 'bubble dome' with sellotape to go around where the holes will be and extra sticky tape pointing toward the holes' points helps capture the swarf.
  2. If you use higher power EPs in the BV the floaters will still appear alas. Of course there's floaters and floaters and for mag, the <10mm EPs will probably be too much and show them up. However, they are ameliorated enough for normal power/magnification to be a better experience as both eyes are relaxed enough to concentrate on the object. I'm sure there's an optical/anatomical reason that with higher mag EPs they will be emphasised but the other question is - what about your left eye? I know I have a dominant eye but I can see myself going BVing from now on because it's just so more comfortable.
  3. Lifeonmars, the handset Setup menu entry, it's the "LED backlight" setting which controls the brightness of the keys. You press the <> keys to decrease/increase how much the keys are backlit. I know some might do an auto-turnoff until you press a key and then they all get backlit, not just the one you press.
  4. Don't know why it took me so long to get a "round tuit". Concentrating on faint fuzzies, or trying to and even if I have managed to block most of the streetlights they still light up the creamish painted masonry on the house, gets a bit steamy-up if using a towel around the head. So, enter the add-on blinkers for the eyepieces. A trip to supermarket for the cheapest spare cycle inner tube, a small wheel one is better - 20"x1.75 - and some glue, staples and elastic and voila! The inner bit, I glued in cutouts from the top part of an old sock. I was going to use some of leftover tube flocking material but a recycled sock had better merit! You might think that using a velcro strip for attachment to various size EPs would be better, but with gloves on it would be tricky finding the exact point to prise apart, never mind the glove itself being caught by the barbs.
  5. Fantastic seeing between midnight and 05.00 today! As they came over the roof about 04.30 M81,M82 were seen in a different light!. Amazingly, M82 with a single EP at 180x looked like a teased out piece of manky cotton wool, the various grey shades giving it a 3-D look. And using binoviewer didn't make much difference. The flatter M81 had much lighter shades with its brighter core showing up more compared to previous views. Just so stunned by that M82 though.
  6. Ah great, thanks. Interesting they say that turning off the Auxiliary Encoder (used to allow de-clutch and manually move) will enhance pointing accuracy. I have tried a de-clutch and move in Alt-Az mode and it kept up fairly accurate GOTO. Perhaps if one doesn't intend to use a manual move during a session then starting an alignment after disable the Aux-Enc might be the thing to try seeing if accuracy is better. I think I would have liked more about the display of Polar align error. Obviously it's for EQ mode, but should they have said do some more tweaking using the polarscope to get it to zero?
  7. About 12 hrs ago, looking at M42 with a UHC filter I got an impression of the toothy, long-eared Gremlin from the "Gremlins" film!!!
  8. It seems the old 'YMMV' applies. My AZ-EQ6 is pretty good for GOTO. On the first night a couple of weeks back it was variable in accuracy as I tried different setups in both EQ and AZ but lately as I stick with AZ it's fairly spot-on. Meaning even with EPs giving up to 150x, not dead centre but still in the FOV. The point about the procedure for Brightest or 2-star align with first slewing to it, hitting ENTER and then being asked to centre. That I understand is similar to the Celestron Nexstars, where you find that the initial slew is done at a high rate to get the star in the EP FOV but the centre movement is done at a slower rate to help accuracy.
  9. Try this out. You should be able to keep the tube rings on finding a spot on the circumference away from the dovetail. Lay the OTA down horizontally on a hard surface with no EP or just the lightweight provided 25mm. See if if tends to rotate to one side. Now put in a heavier EP or your camera on the adapter.. That rotation about the tube's optical axis will affect the balance on the mount. Having a method to counterbalance that will help.
  10. a "sticky post" listing all the year's parties, such as:. Title (Star Party list 20xx) with a content format for each party of:- Name (obvious) Location (exact county location) Date (obvious) Details (just a link to actual post/page info) would give easily found, when and where, information for anyone, particularly newcomers, considering attending such events. There seems to be a point in the year when an info post appears for a party concerning the following year. For example, this year 2012 the Forum had info posts for xxxxx-spring-2012 as well as xxxxx-spring-2013. Therefore, before the end of 2012, a sticky titled "Star Party list 2013" should be up at the top. Then, some time in 2013 as organisers prepare, a new sticky for 2014 should appear alongside. As the next year's party info isn't going to be ready all at once, the mods can decide who can edit the post to add the info and so keep it as a single post. To keep the Forum navigation uncluttered, once the year has ended, the older year title can be made un-sticky and left to drift down date-wise, thus a maximum of 2 sticky party-list titles would be at the top of the thread listings.
  11. Ta, should have said body of course! Nothing beats empirical action for gaining knowledge, it must be said.
  12. Those with the Pentax XWs, would you be kind enough to spare a minute or two and provide the barrel diameters please?
  13. I'd reached a stage where with the very sporadic sessions over the last 4 months and the last few recent ones not feeling quite right, it was time to get some different stuff. However...I've just finished one of the best sessions ever and I'm well pleased with the gear, having used it in a novel way compared to previously, so before I go to bed I had to write it up. The Met site had sunshine for the day and a little evening cloud becoming clear from 2200 all the way into today and it was much the same on the Beeb's pages. Well there was cloud from lunchtime and it only got patchy about midnight so started getting things ready and the sky cleared about 0100 and after a brief cloud resurgence around 2'ish it was just so good!. It was lining up to be a visit to all the Messiers and fuzzies but I ended up just being fascinated by Jupiter and M42 in my binoviewer. I had briefly used my BV in the 200p before now but wanted to try something different. The standard BVs have difficulty getting focus in newtonians, and other models come with extra bits - extension tube/optical cells - to make it easy. My Denkmeier has such bits and the extension puts the whole shebang out a fair bit from the focuser and with heavy EPs it upsets the balance, especially if you want to rotate the tube to get a better EP position. Suffice to say I've added a balancing extension opposite the focuser/finder so rotating in the rings maintains balance. This session I thought I'd try the barlow method, using a barlow can be the way for those standard BVs to get focus. And I can't help thinking it was better. The thing was that using it with the Denk's shorter extension and cells I got a wider range of magnifications than with only the Denk bits. Jupiter was just so amazing and I watched for ages as a moon shone as it made its way towards the edge looking like a little lighthouse. The belts' mottling was obvious but the north and south areas seemed pale and rather colourless compared to previous times and I didn't see the Red Spot so I'm hoping it's around the other side and not some optical failing. I would spend a good 10mins at one mag then change a cell and do another 10min and so on getting 5 combinations with 1 pair of EPs instead of 3 with Denk bits only. And Orion too, using 2 eyes does something for those gas clouds in M42. So much veining and variation in density. I have a UHC filter that's helped bring out the structure in it but it's a 2" and I can't use it with this combo. I'll need to get a 1.25" to fit on the barlow or end of a BV cell. I'm unsure how much mag I was getting numbers-wise. There was a point where Jupiter's 2 closest moons were just away from an edge and the slightly further out moon was just away from the opposite edge. I did catch a few of the major M's before hitting on the Moon as the sky got lighter. Boy, does them thar terminator craggies and craters jump at you in BVs! Well here's me started the previous night with an itchy wallet but now I think I'll rein in and take stock, though there's 1 or 2 items still on the agenda.
  14. They push-fit onto the EP top and have a rotating tightener to keep in place once optimum is found. The Hyperions have a roughly similar top so useable on them.
  15. Just in the mood to share this little idea. I'm sure any diy-ers have a folding workbench with gripping tops, a vice, g-clamps. I was in the position where mine were all used for holding glued stuff and starting another small project I needed to cut some 32mm sided cubes. Only prob was the length I had was just 97mm. Not easy to grip and keep steady and yes, my U-block for 90/45deg sawcuts was also holding wedged-up bits for setting...light bulb! Using my shortish stiff-bladed tenon saw, I put it on the floor teeth up, its end wedged into a corner and kneeling, gripped the handle with my knees. Now, holding the wood with both hands I could rub it back and forth along the blade. I suppose if I'd really needed accuracy I'd have waited till the glued pieces were done and used the vice or bench but I needed the cubes now!
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