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About tuc

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  1. todd8137, What I learned from making my barn-door tracker was that the measurement of the drive bolt hole has to be exact, and it must be measured precisely from the centre of the hinge. I cheated and had it done with a drill press at a local hardware store. If you can get that one measurement correct and align the tracker within a few degrees of the NCP, that's pretty much all there is to it. Having said that, I understand your frustration. Overall, I'm pleased with mine. I've had problems too, but mostly from experimenting with push-processing film, and not stopping the lens down enough. Tangent error is another problem too, as I've been taking 20 minute shots, which is beyond the design's limits. Keep working on it. Even if you can get it to go for 2 minutes you can stack the images and make some terrific images. I used a piano hinge and it works well. (I read that you should avoid using door hinges.) Here are some photos.Flickriver: hyperfocally's photosets
  2. Trull, I lived in northern Canada for two years during an auroral peak and witnessed displays at least 2 or 3 times a week. I am 99% sure that your photo does, indeed, show an auroral display. If you look at the rays in the photograph you will see "hot spots" where a portion of the same ray is quite brighter than the rest of it. This is typical of pulsating aurorae. Also note the subtle colour variances--I can see pale red, green, and yellow. Aurorae can be bright enough to be seen through thin cloud. (I noticed in your video that only the large, dark looming cloud completely obscured the rays.) There also appears to be a few stars present in your photograph. If they are stars and not just dust, then the cloud must have been thin enough. Finally, there is a "magnetized" look to the rays. I can't really explain this one. It just looks like other ray-type aurorae I've seen. It's easier to confirm them with your own eyes because they are usually dancing around. Were you able to see them pulsating? (It's not clear if you could see them yourself or if they just appeared on the photo.) Types of aurorae:
  3. Aggelos Kechagias, In honour of Al you could have said: "I'll be back...with colour!" I'm with smoggy on that. That is truly one of the most beautiful images of 1499 I've ever seen.
  4. Hey Michael, I like that flotation suit. It looks really warm, and I think it would assist in scaring critters away too. The best investment for telescopic viewing in the cold is definitely a warm pair of boots. I've pretty much tried them all and nothing kept my feet warm. Even more expensive boots rated for -25C always have a disclaimer that their boots will only keep your feet warm if you're moving and not standing in one place. But then, about 10 years ago I discovered men's hunting boots that are rubber on the outside and lined on the inside. They're also rated for -25C and they're only $30! They are ugly as heck and I really do try not to wear them in public, but they beat other more expensive brands by far. Luckily, they are available in boys' sizes for smaller feet.
  5. Amateur Astronomers, I used to take just my 9x50 finder scope out to the country and find various objects. One such night I found M33 and I was baffled by how easy it was to see in the finder scope, yet I could never find it in my telescope! The next night I set up my telescope and centred M33 in the finderscope. But when I looked through the telescope--it wasn't there. That night I read up on it and it all made sense. My astronomy book said that because it's so large and has such low surface brightness, you could be looking right at it in the eyepiece and not see it! Oh how true. I realize now that what contributed to my difficulty in finding it was that I only had a 25mm/50deg eyepiece. Today I can see it decently in my 31mm/72deg eyepiece. Once you've seen it, you'll be able to find it over and over again; I promise. So keep looking. It really is there.
  6. Hi Tom, Nice report. It does sound like you've got decent skies there. Shame about the floodlights. Well, I've been using the cloudy/not cloudy charts you made and I have to tell you--it's depressing. For January: 25 out of 31 nights were too cloudy to observe. On a scarce few of those nights it did become clear late at night, but too late to drive to my dark site. From what I've been reading on this forum, January seemed poor for observing in the UK as well.
  7. Depending how things go, I might still go for a Moonlight but the cost is not insubstantial of course !. jahmanson But it's worth it. I thought it was a ridiculous amount of money for a focuser, so I bought one that was $100 less, thinking it was probalbly just as good. But there was so much slop in the 1.25" adapter that it was really unacceptable. So I returned it and bought the dual speed Moonlite and I love it. Everything stays nicely centred. The only complaint I have is that the screws holding the entire set-up to the tube are a little short and I have to remember to tighten them from time to time. But a trip to the hardware store would solve that I guess.
  8. Hi Thunderbird,This is a good time of year to start learning them because if you can find Orion, you can use it as a guide for finding the others. I began with Orion and just learned the constellations in that area, such as, Gemini, Auriga, Canis Major/Minor, Taurus, etc. The more familiar you become with these, then it becomes easier to add to the list.As already suggested, a planetarium and flashlight is a good way to learn them.I used the monthly star maps in astronomy magazines instead, and brought them out to the countryside where it was dark. Another thing you can try is to pick out the brightest stars and match them to which constellation they belong to on your sky chart. Then try to connect the dots. It sure would be a lot easier to learn them if the constellations would just stay put. I found it so confusing at first--how their positions changed throughout the night. It does get easier though, so keep at it.
  9. PM sent. Sorry for hijacking your thread, Steve.
  10. Lol, I'll take you to a darker area (oh, that sounds creepy). 10 miles out of Sarnia is too light polluted for me. Have you been to the Pinery?
  11. Well, those are my stomping grounds, so if you're in the area and want to look through a telescope just let me know.
  12. Well then the skies were definitely mag 7. I've passed through Marathon about 10 times in my life while driving out west. It is a day and a half drive from Algonquin park, so I was way off! I know what you mean about watching planets/stars over the lake. Last fall I was observing late at night at Lake Huron and I watched Vega setting-about 3 degrees above the horizon-and it cast a long reflection on the the lake. So rare to see that because usually there is about 10-20 degrees of lake smudge above the horizon. It is particularly rare for Lake Superior to be calm, so you really lucked out. Oops, I'll be quiet now. I could talk about the Great Lakes all day!
  13. Was this at Algonquin Park? If it was, the skies there are more like mag 7! I was also there in 2002--did you see me?
  14. Steve, Loved reading that! Thank you.
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