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About Staffy

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  1. As I have a restricted field of view (anything to the south or east is out of bounds) I check carefully on Redshift what is going to be viewable from my balcony before heading out.
  2. My balcony faces northwest. I'd love to be able to see south - have to stay up until midnight to get Orion at the mo!
  3. I got the same scope as you a Christmas. I found with alignment it is best to set up using two stars that are in the same quadrant as you intend viewing in. I set up one night on Vega and Polaris and when it tried to find Jupiter it wasn't even close. Setting up on each occasion after that on stars in a more westerly direction has given me quite accurate acquiring and tracking. Another very important factor is to make sure that your tripod is set up correctly. Ensure the bubble in your spirit level on the mount is central. If your scope is not level it won't be able to look in the right place. As for Stellarium, I run it on a PC but I run Redshift 6 on a netbook and although it is a bit slow to boot up once it gets started it works perfectly - this is on Windows 7 Starter. I hope this helps. Good luck! The tie setting will be important too. I get this from Atomic Clock: local current time London GMT for complete accuracy. To find your correct latitude and longitude try finding your viewing site on Google Earth. Your lat and long will be displayed at the bottom centre of the picture.
  4. Where do you set up your scope? A nearby open window or door from a centrally heated house will cause lots of air disturbance and spoil your view. I also have the Symax 127. Half an hour seems to be fine for cool down time for my scope.
  5. I have the same problem trying to link up my GOTO to my PC. I found a RS232/USB adaptor lead on Amazon for just £1.65 which I ordered a couple of days ago. I'll let you know how I get on when it arrives.
  6. Yup! Same here. I had the scope out earlier to have a go at imaging Jupiter - better than the previous attempt but still only good in a modern art gallery where smudgy blobs are really fashionable. Because my little balcony faces northwest Orion wasn't within range of my scope until 11pm and I have stil not yet had a look at M42 through my Xmas scope but I looked down and saw frost on the car roofs (I refuse to believe that rooves is a real word) and the fact that I was wearing my PJ's assisted my decision-making that perhaps a nice warm bed was in order instead. In retrospect perhaps I should have gone out for a couple of hours cos the baby kept us up til 4am in the end anyway!!!
  7. I have worked as a deck officer on ships for the last twenty-odd years and so always had a working navigational knowledge of the stars - although this skill is seldom used these days thanks to GPS. My interest grew though a couple of years ago when I was actually travelling as a passenger on a cruise ship with my fiancee who worked onboard. It was a Baltic cruise and the weather was lousy for the most part and so I visited some talks on astronomy given by the Cruise Director, a very keen and knowledgeable astronomer and also a great presenter. At the end of the cruise I went home and suitably enthused, found my nearerst telescope shop and bought my first scope. I have looked up a lot since then but I've never looked back.
  8. A while ago someone posted a message asking what people's other hobbies were. Many people said photography. It's only natural then that people starting out in astronomy would want to merge their two interests. Another person wrote recently that no matter what gear we have we always want to improve on it. I made an astro imaging camera from the cheapest webcam available, a bit of plastic and some sticky tape and although the results are not worthy of showing anybody it gives one the impetus and enthusiasm to carry on and do better next time, find a camera with more definition and try harder and gain results. What makes us human is our desire to learn and fulfil our goals.
  9. Staffy

    Big hello!

    Hello and welcome. I'm sure you'll get plenty of good avice on this site. I certainly have.
  10. This is a very useful site and I find myself spending more and more time browsing it. As an inexperienced star-gazer there is so much to learn. Books take you so far but you can't beat the experience of the seasoned star-gazers that visit this site. Thankyou to all the people that have answered my questions in the past (and also to all those who may answer my sometimes inane questions in the future). Keep up the good work SGL!
  11. To turn the decimals into minutes and seconds simply multiply the digits to the right of the decimal point by 60. Thus 0.42168 x 60 = 25.3008 minutes then do the same again to find the seconds Thus 0.3008 x 60 = 18 seconds So your latitude will be 51 degrees 25 minutes 18 seconds North The longitude calculation works in exactly the same way. 0.094048 x 60 = 5.64288 minutes 0.64288 x 60 = 38.6 seconds So your longitude is 000 degrees 05 minutes 38.6 seconds West
  12. I tried it on my old EQ2 mount and it was a right old mess. The only way I could get anything close was by changing the latitude setting from 53 degrees to about 60 degrees. In the end I gave up trying and went star-hopping instead which is much more interesting anyway. Even with the GOTO mount I have now I still do a lot of star-hopping rather than leaving it all to the technology - it takes half the fun away otherwise.
  13. I have noticed that smokers are generally prepared to face far worse weather conditions in order to nip outside for a ciggy!
  14. A Silva compass works well provided you are not on a balcony and surrounded by other magnetic things (handrails etc) as my set-up is. That sends north off in all sorts of odd directions depending where I happen to be standing (or even facing). In the end I would set up my EQ mount on Polaris. Now I have an Alt/Az Goto mount though I don't have to worry about that anymore as it only needs a couple of stars for reference.
  15. Thanks for the link. I've downloaded this software and it lets me adjust the exposure and gain which the other program wouldn't. Haven't had another chance to catch Jupiter again this evening as I'm on first call for nappy changing duties now.
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