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  1. I thought it was greatly improved on last year... enjoyed it all. I do prefer the more relaxed bonus half hour, particularly guessing what weird excuse they will dream up for the cocktails each time
  2. I absolutely loved that, thanks for posting it!
  3. I'm interested in trying this soon as well. I'm wondering whether plonking the phone on top of the telrad might be enough of a gap - if so I could probably rig something up with one of the cheap car mounts from ebay to keep my nexus 4 snug.
  4. I'll be watching this with sadness but also admiration for a life well lived by Patrick. Reading between the lines, particularly on some tweets from Chris Lintott, now is the time to really make sure the BBC understand that there is a large audience for astronomy and space programming and that they must continue The Sky At Night. Let's face it, Auntie can make some very daft decisions and they seem to be ever driven by ratings these days at the expense of their public service broadcasting remit. Let's hope this weeks extravaganza with TSaN and Stargazing Live help convince them to do the right thing.
  5. I've been listening to all the podcasts over the last few days and just wanted to write to say what a great job you're doing - keep it up! Also, I really like the 20 minute approach. I find many podcasts are just way too long... starship sofa is the worst for this (SF podcast) and I never manage to get through it all in one sitting. As someone who also dabbles in podcasting (I do one occasionally about a musician, Roy Harper) I'm interested to know what equipment you're using to get such a nice sound in the pub! Any chance you can spill the beans on microphones, mixer, and special settings for post production (compression etc)? Just thought I'd ask Paul.
  6. Mine (received in January) is the same, I think it's normal - something to do with cooling more rapidly?
  7. Just had my first ever view of Saturn as well. Wow! The atmosphere was a bit "wavy" from time to time, but when it stabilised, I got to see the Cassini Division very clearly, and the banding on the planets surface... and Titan as well. Wonderful.
  8. That Messier maps site is fantastic! Many thanks for the link. Paul.
  9. And here's an update! The council have just been (I work from home and heard a commotion outside the back garden). They've spray-painted the side of the lamp facing our house, and put a screen on the back of it. This photo isn't quite from where I have the scope, it's normally further up the garden so more of that backplate will cover the light. This looks like it should really help, so it's three cheers for Herts County Council from me! Paul.
  10. I did have to collimate mine. The secondary was a bit off (the reflection of it was very oval) and then the primary was quite a bit off. I'm quite pleased with myself now though as I did the "defocus on a bright star" test at the weekend and got nice concentric circles. I think, like everyone says, that once you've collimated for the first time, you know what to expect and it'll take seconds to recheck it, and just a few minutes to adjust if necessary after that.
  11. Nice one Steve! I particularly enjoyed your description of the specks of dust I got on better with the supplied 10mm eyepiece (I have the same scope as you) but it's a bit too fussy about eye position/distance. The 12mm flat field I got from SkysTheLimit is much better, and with a 2x barlow bringing it to 6mm, Jupiter is amazing... if you have £41 to spare I have my eye on the observers chair from FLO but it's quite expensive. Maybe I'l ask for it for my birthday but that's not until May! Paul.
  12. I already got some new ones, the 12, 16, and 19mm flat fields from SysTheLimit (Alan is local and we happen to both shoot at the same archery club! He thought they might be good for a Dob user. Have to say the build quality and DoF is so much better than the supplied ones). Jupiter was superb through the 12mm with the TAL barlow. I'm pondering getting 5mm BST and/or 8mm... and something nice and wide at the top end, though the supplied 25mm is OK for now. I got a Rigel and a right angle finder when I bought the scope and the Rigel is brilliant, it makes the initial alignment so quick. Glad to hear everyone's views about Andromeda. I'll have another go soon. I do have the cheapo Bresser 10x50 bins as well, so next time I may start with those first.
  13. I've not had my skyliner 200p very long and last night was my first proper night out in good conditions. I started off with Jupiter. It was trivial to find (big bright thing in the sky) and showed as a tiny ball using the wide angle eyepiece. Once I switched to high magnification, I was amazed to see it clearly - bands and all but no great red spot. Initially I could see one moon. Then another popped around the side of the planet as I was watching! And another was busy traversing the face of the planet, I hadn't noticed it before. I then went on to the pleiades (seven sisters) which showed a huge number of stars in one small area. Again it was easy to find (looks like a miniature plough). After that I went over to Orion and spent some time looking at and around the belt, and at Rigel (the brightest star in Orion) then got ambitious and went for the Orion Nebula. Found what I thought was probably it, a large area of cloudy gas containing a few stars and I sketched it so I could look it up later and confirm it. Looks like it was indeed the nebula having looked it up this morning. My final target for the evening was the Andromeda Galaxy. This was to be found by using three stars in Cassiopeia as a pointer. Much frustration followed as I'd expected this to be an easy one, but just could not found it. The bright orange street lamp behind me (that the council will apparently shield for me soonish) was stopping my night vision from working properly; some of the guide stars would only seem to pop in if I used peripheral vision. I used a skymap app on my phone to confirm where it should be. I was just on the point of giving up when a cloudy mass appeared in my eyepiece, not the large galaxy-like object I had been expecting. It appears that this was the centre of the galaxy and conditions (light pollution, air quality) may have been preventing me from seeing the dimmer outer bits. I shall return to this another night. Everything had started to frost up at this point (both me and the scope!). Would like to hear how others got on, particularly regarding Andromeda Paul.
  14. Here in Sunny (well, cloudy mostly) Hertford I recently got my first telescope, a Skywatcher Skyliner 200P dobsonian. It's a lovely bit of kit. Apart from the weather difficulties, the other main fly in the ointment has been my back garden. There is a very bright orange lamp right on the edge of the side of the garden, lighting up a public footpath that goes down the side of the property. It casts a lovely yellow glow all over the garden, and the back of the house, and for my initial few observation sessions the excitement of seeing things through the scope have been tempered with dismay because of the light. Yesterday I thought I'd try talking to the council and found that Herts have a very decent reporting system for faults, where you can see a map of your location and click on offending items such as street lights. There is also an encouraging reporting category "Glare from street light". So I submitted it yesterday, mentioning both my astronomy problem and also that it casts light into the rear bedroom, and this morning got a response (paraphrasing): Encouraging? I am really pleased at a positive response, I was really expecting to get fobbed off. Paul.
  15. Ecosse, may I ask what you think of the BST explorers? Eyepiece upgrades will come next (not just yet, as my wallet is recovering from xmas)? Right now I only have the 10mm and 25mm ones that came with the skyliner 200P and I see you have the same scope... sorry to hijack the thread
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