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Everything posted by NickK

  1. I'd love to have some sample pics for playing around with my own processing application (still being written - hence the desire to have some decent sized pictures).
  2. The old T40 series is a bit long in the tooth now. I used one for work - at that time travelling globally - and it's bomb proof.
  3. mmm just thought of an idea... slow cooker + broth = warmth through the night
  4. You need a fully computerised mount - 5 minutes to dump it outside, 30 mins (at that temp) to drop to operating temps (no chiller on CCD required!) and then surf from the warm inside. Then when it's time to pack up.. send your loving hubby out with a set of gloves to haul it back in! Only problem I can see is the thermal cycling may cause an early demise of electronics.
  5. Astro-Physics 305mm F3.8 Riccardi-Honders Astrograph. Have a look under telescopes at Astro-Physics Inc. Minor sticking point: $17,500.00 ... and the waiting list lol CCD would probably be a Fairchild Imaging (Fairchild Semiconductor) based custom cooled CCD camera.
  6. I'm looking at what the best option for ensuring that, although my Vixen A80Mf is 1.25" diameter, the equipment is usable on other scopes further down the line - including imaging. Are there adaptors that will work for a 1.25" scope or is this a case of replacing the focuser with one that is capable of taking 2"? I know that most CCD equipment will take a 1.25" to T-ring adaptor however is that any advantage that 2" would give?
  7. There's also google.com/moon too for the basic map. I'm attempting to locate the crater I observed last night during a quick gap in the clouds (having a grab and go setup - vixen A80Mf+porta mount - is really turning out to be real boon). The crater was close to the dark boundary with three smaller craters in a line and a smooth section to the 1-2 o'clock position. I'm amazed how much detail you can get!
  8. Has anyone had any experience of an iOptron SmartStar GEM5 GOTO mount? I'm thinking ahead for an imaging setup that would consist of a Vixen VC200L (~6Kg), Filterwheel+CCD (~1.5Kg), guidescope+cam (~2-4Kg). I'm interested as it: (a) has a 12Kg payload (although it states 16Kg for 'observation') ( is ~£540 © is made from steel (possible mods being welded to it) (d) has motorised with a basic goto ability (I may write my own) (e) includes tripod Thanks
  9. I work in Basingstoke, live Ascot-side of Bracknell, well Martins Heron to be precise. I'll be starting at the Reading club shortly.
  10. Cat with buttered toast upright on it's back?
  11. Hehehe... The G500 certainly does have an Avago ADNS-9500 It's just arrived, took it out and checked it worked via USB then took the screw driver to it and opened it up. So this weekend, if I have time, I'll see if I can jerry-rig the 9500 and the blackfin together. edit: this is going to have to wait till next weekend (sofa due feb is arriving early).
  12. Know the feeling. I had mine a couple of days and then magically a 2 hour window appeared. Nothing since then but that allowed me to do some programming (also involved with astronomy).
  13. To resolve the situation, I'd make posts in the welcome area not count to the post count. That way the social interaction is based on people's want to interact rather than post count whilst those that contribute to the main area are actively involved in discussions. Another forum that I frequent has a 200 post rule. Although I think the 1 month is good too. After all 1-2 months is likely to shoot past - watched kettle and all. Wolfytom - whereas I can appreciate the frustration (I'd like to see if there's kit in there), it is a judgement call by those that are responsible for running the forum as to what constitutes "in the spirit". Them be the rules, accept them and I think the 1 month and 50 posts will shoot past.
  14. It's mainly used as part of a two man sniper team. One guy uses the scope on the rifle who remains on the target, the spotter uses this to provide a wider context and to confirm the shot.
  15. I'm currently developing some software and I'm interested in what functions you use in Photoshop et al? I know of some of the features but I want to get an idea of wht feature and why. This many also uncover some novel ideas that other users may find interesting.
  16. Hmm the 80mm finder would depend on it's focal length which would then give you your brightness (from my understanding). For example my little Vixen A80Mf is 920mm focal length (f11.4). This is what I'll use for a guide scope when I move to a larger SCT. As the a80mf isn't as bright as a smaller 80mm I figured that the guide camera could get a better contrast. Although for high mag imaging I suspect you want a larger set of prospective stars to guide by.
  17. The G500 mouse is in transit according to UPS, I should get it tomorrow/thursday if I have to collect it after work..
  18. That's awesome Do you get any vibration at high magnification?
  19. Hmm astronomic weather centres I'm interested in this as I'm writing a Mac framework in the similar vein to ASCOM.
  20. http://stargazerslounge.com/observing-reports/124683-gap-clouds-first-night-first-scope.html
  21. Well there was a gap in the clouds this evening and as it was my first time out I was wracking my brain where I could go near Bracknell that would be a quick journey and be dark enough (the local area is all domestic and I was initially worried about telescope+houses=pervert! Then it occurred to me that the area I park my car is in a little square with no lighting (save a path light a couple of fences away). I looked using Stellarium at targets. Orions belt to the south, moon towards the west (I can see from my bedroom). So I set myself a goal - Orion Nebula. I memorised the location as bottom belt star and then 90 deg down from the plane of the three stars. Should be simple enough! So it took me all of 5 seconds to walk and set up the scope - Vixen A80Mf and porta mount. The sky had thin clouds heading up thicker stuff from the east /west/north however there was perfectly clear sky to the south. Perfect - Orion's belt stood out like a sore thumb. So I found a local laylandi and zeroed in the 20mm EP and the view scope. Not great but it will do to get me started. Target one - Orions belt. Simple I thought. Ok got the target on orion's belt and preceded to look through the EP. Stars.. lots.. of.. stars. More than I was expecting! I found the middle star but between moving to the target scope the mount would move… ok time to resettle the mount as the focusing and EP has put the centre of gravity out of whack. With that done.. I though I'd not bother realigning the target scope but use the porta's manual controls to star hop.. I got down to the base and after a little zig zagging I found Orion's nebula. My night vision was getting better. More stars were appearing. So I thought - 6mm EP time. Woah, it was evident I was resting my had on the mount control and wobbling it! I could see the stars of the Orion nebula but the light pollution stopped me from seeing any clouding around it. Just looking at it now, I can't identify which of the set of stars it was in the nebula but you could see the cluster of stars by naked eye and faint tinting (I assume that was the nebula). So I looked around a little more.. almost straight up there was a set of stars which has a similar tinting. Mental note where in relation it was from orion.. Draw a line straight across from the belt, take Betelgeuse (the only star I know in Orion!) make a box with the belt being one corner, betelgeuse being the top corner… follow the top of the box out past a bright star and that took me to the little cluster of stars (you could probably guess this by now). After getting an alignment with my targeting scope and the 20mm picking up a beautiful set of stars.. it was time to realign the target scope and the main scope by selecting the bright centre star. Perfect.. far better alignment and I could now just pick any of the stars in the target scope with the 6mm and it would right there in the centre of the EP. It was a really nice set of stars, my mystery cluster, however it as better viewing in terms of faint colouring with the 20mm however the 6mm made it very contrasty between the stars. I thought with the scope aligned perfectly I'd have a look at Orion's nebula again.. but it looked different. I could see the star light but not the bluish tint. Sure enough the thin cloud had rolled the nebula. Looking up at my mystery cluster I could see the thin cloud also starting to cover it. Time to pack up. Just looked for my mystery cluster.. the bright star on the way was Aldebaran. The cluster appears to be Pleiades! The star I aligned my scopes on was Alcyone (HIP 17702) I could see Pleione, Atlas, Merope, Asterope, Taygeta, Celaeno, Electra and Maia clearly (although without the cloud as bright as you see through processed imaging). So I came inside, my fingers burning with the cold. Very happy - more than I planned to see on my first night! I'm also happy for going manual and having to star hop. I noticed more stars between them than I thought. I tried taking a photo through the EP with my little Ixus but it wasn't playing ball.. however I did manage to get a very wobbly crappy handheld shot through the targeting scope of orion: The three stars of the belt (bottom to top) Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka, with Betelgeuse top left and Rigel bottom right. Third point of the triangle from Betelgeuse and Mintaka is Bellatrix. I'm making a guess that the bottom star is Sirius due to it's brightness. Pity you can't make out any nebula from this but hey About the scope and mount... The Porta mount.. 1. The magnet to keep the alan keys in the tool holder is a nice touch. They don't jump out at all! 2. It would have been nice to have the struts between the legs (where the tray sits) to be aluminium rather than plastic. 3. The porta mount is a nice mount for pickup and go. The controls make it easy, with a little practice, to move around the sky. 4. 6mm can be used once the scope targeting is aligned however it's very sensitive to the porta's wobbles if you're not careful. 5. The scope requires a good centring of gravity 6. A half pillar for the mount would be good unless you like bending down for high DEC objectives! (I'm 6'4) The scope 1. The focuser is a little too coarse for the 6mm. If you're using this then you'll want to change the focuser. 2. Needs a 10-12mm EP to complement the 6 & 20mm that come with it. Would have liked to have seen some dusting however I think the 80mm aperture and the light pollution saw to that!
  22. 1/3" SONY Super HAD CCDII... hmm interesting.
  23. Done Mentioned all but Jonny Ross as I didn't think he worked for this type of program. Would love to see a summer special
  24. I'm expecting the G500 to arrive next week, I can then give it a once over and see if I can get it and the blackfin talking.
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