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NickK

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Everything posted by NickK

  1. The way I align is through orion. I know my way around it so it makes the set up easier. Pliadaes is another I can use. I then start with the lowest magnification (21mm) I find the nebula, through the scope, centre it and centre the targeting scope. Next I'll move to one of the belt stars or beetleguese and use that to make a pinpoint reference to the centre. I'll then move up to 6mm and recalibrate the finer targetting. From that point I can use the 6mm without a problem. I think the key is not getting lost in the mass of stars, so learn an area to start off with. You will then get better at aligning and it becomes a kick off point for a night's observations.
  2. I think the BH 13mm will be my first non-bundled eyepiece for my A80Mf. I've had several recommendations of BH and looking at the FOV provided by someone's calculator, it looks like it will be a good match. I have the bundled 21mm and 6mm. The 6mm is good but I feel that the optics aren't as bright as they could be (the A80Mf is probably a contributor but it's done a stirling job so far). The 6mm is just a little too zoomed for some targets.
  3. For the short term just the little refractor, later a VC200L or thereabouts in addition to a guide scope
  4. I have a DIY mount idea that is being progressed slowly (a mate can help weld etc but between his DIY bathroom and his wife expecting it could be next year) so this is more of a longer term thing. So that leaves me with considering a Vixen Sphinx SWD for imaging. Anyone have any experience of this mount? In terms of integration I know it's possible to: a) hook up the box and control the telescope to the PC. replace the electronics with a NexSXD board which replaces the StarBook so you can control the mount directly (has star database internally) so there's less clutter hanging around the mount.
  5. I wasn't too impressed initially with the A80Mf. Beginner's expectation of what would appear in the eyepiece immediately.. It helps when it's cooled down Stars are pinpoint dots, so so.. getting to see the craters along the non-full moon was superb. Seeing into the craters was gobsmaking. Seeing the smudges and recognising the Orion nebula and then twigging they're there but faint got me looking for more. Now I have my 16ic I'm looking forward to developing those smudges further
  6. If it's like A80Mf it should cool down very quickly.
  7. The local birds actually sing their morning chorus during the night around here.
  8. Alternatively drop down to the area south of the M3. I drive back from Basingrad up the M3 at night and it seems very dark on the south side of the M3 around Farnborough. I'll be popping over to the reading club on their public evening on the 5th.
  9. I'm having to resist getting a VC200L just for a little while longer... this is just making it that little more difficult..
  10. Think you may be missing focal reducers in that set... nm I see you have it
  11. Took my overdue videos back, walked there and back in the dark.. got home and looked up - the cloud had gone and wow my night vision was really good. Popped indoors and got the lil'vixen , plonked it down and started looking around without the scope - Orion nebula clear as a bell. Through the scope was amazing as I could easily see the gas nebula against the dark background at full magnification (6mm). I could see plaidaes and thought I'd start searching for andromeda. Looking around I kept catching two faint smudges without the scope but they'd disappear looking at them. I could see M33 through the scope .. small and dim but it was there.. I also kept seeing the smudge of M31 and tried to get the scope on it but the clouds rolled in So now I know where to look, what it looks like - I just need another break in the cloud.
  12. ^^ this is the simplest way of checking it works If you're still having problems we can attempt to diagnose where the problem is.
  13. Drivers can configure the USB power settings. Can you see the device if you look at the windows device manager?
  14. Just thinking about the impact of cold nights on the battery life; the shortening of session could be a pain in the bum. So why not get an old coolbox, run a set of cables through a drilled hole in the top (seal with silicon sealant). Before you leave the house, fill a hot water bottle and put into cool box (make sure it's not going to leak). A hotwater bottle with a cover to prevent burns and keep the heat for longer works better as you don't need a massive amount of heat. Then when you finish the session and the car is freezing - grab the hotwater bottle for the last remaining heat left in it!
  15. Certainly is There are ways to run Windows apps if you can't find a way on the Mac: * Virtual Machine, such as Parallels or VMware (also virtuabox but the previous two I know work with windows etc). * WINE which basically makes a windows application run under various other operating systems- including OSX. I'm a fellow Mac user (and mac developer) who is just starting out with astrophotography.
  16. I think one thing to point out (as a beginner myself) that the more experienced people may have overlooked - if you're travelling with the scope quite a bit in a car you want to understand how to collimate the dob. Todo that you'll need a special eyepiece (forget the laser gadgets) called a cheshire collimator: Collimation - Cheshire Collimating Eyepiece So that would be something you may wish to plan into your budget. Having gone for the manual mount instead of the GOTO, I can say I'm quite happy I did. It forces me to study and navigate by star hopping. The issue you may have with young kids is the time it takes may cause them to lose interest. A GOTO mount with kids, once set up, is simpler for them to interact. Lastly - eyepieces. They always provide one high mag and one low mag. I can guarantee that you'll be thinking of a middle mag quite quickly. edit: bad english...
  17. I'm just waiting for the astrogoggles. You put the goggles on, then it superimposes a star field on the sky. You stare at a star and the telescope tracks to the location and starts imaging. The images are then superimposed over the sky. Twitch your eyes to a new location and the system resets giving you the starmap.. The solar version is a set of solar goggles
  18. Does that price rise apply to all Vixen products (VC200L)?
  19. Just look at the inverse to this.. We're obviously astronomers because we already have too much interesting dinner talk outside of astronomy. I wonder if they're the individuals that discuss TV soaps at dinner parties..
  20. It depends if you're near an MoD area that's doing exercises. Overall it's down to being sensible. Stay legal and identify what you're going to point at before pushing the button. Just don't bring one to a star party where people are imaging.. you may find you can emit green light when you go to the toilet.. Oh.. RedBull used a Laser projector on MI6... http://www.boreme.com/boreme/funny-2009/red-bull-laser-writing-mi6-message-p1.php
  21. Ok it's normally possible to identify the chip that does the usb<->serial bit (normally hidden in the plug). From that we can see if there's a OS driver and then if your applications (or ASCOM/INDI) support it. What operating system are you using? If it's WindowsXP then go: Settings > Control Panel > System > Hardware tab in System > Device Manager. Scroll down the list and if the cable isn't recognised then it's probably under "Other Devices" with an exclaimation mark against the name of the device (which may be something like "USB<->Serial Cable"). Select the unknown device and use the menu mouse button to bring up a small menu - select Properties from this menu. Next goto the Details tab. It should show you a drop down list and some text in the white box. Select "Device Instance Id" from the drop down text and then copy'n'paste the text line in the white box, it should look something like this: USB\VID_0403&PID_E548\22345821 This means: USB - it's a USB device VID - this is the manufacturer's identity 0x0403 (ie FTDI in my case) PID - this is the product id 0xE548 (ie FT232BM chip) The long number starting 22.. is the serial number of the FT232BM chip. It's possible to get the same information form linux and OSX but I figure you're probably running windows xp.
  22. I know that many sources indicate that IR filters are mandatory for refractors, of benefit to SCTs and not required for reflectors - but why? I know CCDs are sensitive to IR but what makes a refractor transfer more IR? Is it chromatic aboration at the IR wavelength that causes soft images on the IR sensitive CCD? Or is it the amount of IR causes damage to the CCD over time? Lots of questions
  23. This is the crux of most of the RS232 issues. Chips such as the FTDI FT232BM are natively 5V so attempting to drive 12V won't work unless there's a driver chip handling the 5V<->12V problem. There's also speed. RS232 isn't the fastest thing out there, for example here's what the RS232 supports: Data transfer rate of 300 Baud => 3M Baud (TTL) Data transfer rate of 300 Baud => 1M Baud (RS232) Data transfer rate of 300 Baud => 3M Baud (RS422/RS485) So that's 1M baud, or about about 122 Kbytes/sec (not including protocol overheads or error correction). The FT232BM is a USB 2.0 Full Speed device (12Mb/s) so will not make any additional use of USB high-speed (480Mb/sec). Oddly enough with my work on AOSX, I'm currently writing a transport plug in (a direct driver) for the FTDI FT232BM on the Apple Mac. The Atik camera I'm awaiting uses the FT232BM. I've also used it many moons ago for a seperate robotics project, so I know a shameful, freaky amount about this chip..
  24. Photo of the 9500.. and a couple of sketches to bound ideas around. The mount is really for imaging rather than observation and for short scopes, so I think an Equatorial Fork idea will be best as this gives space for the sensor discs and load capacity. The tripod is a 'sit squat' rather than being at eye height (I'm 6'4 so that would make it top heavy). This squatness has the advantage of reducing the weight overall and increasing stability. I have an idea that you can just add an extension to the axis with slot in bar that could support a light refractor for observation (or another shorty). I also thought that it would be better to give the fork some room to take two 200mm side by side (the target is at infinity so tracking should cause any issue). So that's probably about 30Kg in total payload. There's a few adjustments needed - mainly to get the centre of gravity over the centre. Additional adjustments are to give the pivot some space.
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