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Found 107 results

  1. Hi! I'm Fran Not so long ago I took a picture of the ISS I never thought I was going to be able to get with the equipment I have. After saving for a long time, I was able to buy my first scope, an OTA Skywatcher 200P. I adapted it to be used in a dobsonian base because it was the cheapest way I had to get it to work. One night, I thought it might be cool to try to aim and record with my phone an ISS pass overhead. During the first attempt, I messed up the focus extremely bad but you can't imagine how happy I was to get a white blob in a frame that only I knew was the ISS. The following afternoon I tried again. This time the flyby was almost exactly overhead and the night was crystal clear. So I manually tracked the station looking through the finder scope and recording it with my phone at 1080p 60fps. Without much expectations I downloaded the files into my computer to review them. And was shocked with the results. The video was processed with PIPP, AutoStakkert and RegiStax. If someone told me the image was taken with a phone and manually tracked with a shitty dobsonian base I would not believe him! I got really lucky that night, but I can not be happier with the results. I believe I got to the edge of what I can accomplish with the equipment that I was able to buy. I'm not sure if ext step up should be a real camera or a mount. Anyway, any of them are too expensive If you want to see the frames before processing (and some nice shots of the moon that night), I'll leave a link to the video where I show them: Thank you so much for reading it all. Cheers, Fran
  2. First kit and I feel like I'm starting with the biggest setup I can own. Picked up from astrobuysell.com for £125 including a 40mm and 25mm Celestron E-Lux. Finder scope will be replaced with right angle. It has a Telrad mount (as I found out by accident) and I've alreadyt found cheap one on FB so should have that soon. Next pieces to get will be WA 6mm and 15mm. There's a small mark on the main mirror, but it doesn't seem to affect the view, and at that price I can't complain. The base also needed some attention. Vertical movement is smooth, but horizontal rotation was hindered by the bottom board being slightly bent, and rubbing the corners against the telescope base. I have added some washers between the teflon pads and it's much better. Not buttery-smooth, but I feel like that would make it too sensitive to movement, In the current condition it lets me track Jupiter easily. I guess the real test will be when I get the 6mm piece Collimating laser is also coming to make sure the mirrors are aligned after haling it home for 40 miles. Other than that it doesn't seem like it needs any serious work, so for a 20-30 year old telescope this is amazing.
  3. Hi all I purchased a skywatcher 200p dobsonion from first light optics a few weeks back. During assembly I found that the package containing side handle and the tension control handle is missing. I have contacted the first light optics but they are not sure when and how they are going to make it available for me. Does anyone of you have these to spare??
  4. Hi! I really want to get into watching the night sky. After a looking at the scopes that are available in my country, I chose to buy a SW Explorer 200P (haven't yet) and build a homemade dobsonian base. I really like the aesthetics of the Orion Sky-quest dobsonian bases, so I draw a really similar design to fit the SW scope I want to buy. But while drawing it, I had tons of questions and I hope you can help me. First of all, I just could get some aproximate measures of the parts of the scope out of the internet. If any of you has one of these SW reflectors, I would really appreciate if you can take some measurements for me to make the design more precise. Specially I really need the thickness and size of the holes of the rings. About the bearing surfaces, I can't get anywhere the Teflon pads you usually use. What can I use to replace them? Also, what about the radius of the altitude bearings, Is it important? Finally, which should be the height of a dobsonian mount? I don't want to be bent over to be able to see comfortably, nor I want it to be too tall. Is it supposed to be used on a stool or something? I will really appreciate any other tip you can give me. I have never had a telescope, neither have I seen a dob mount. So I can be making a big mistake trying to convert this OTA to use with a dobsonian mount. Anyway thank you very much. Cheers from Argentina Almost forgot to add some pics of the 3D design I made!
  5. The first two photos were taken using my BST StarGuider 3.2mm ED EP. The middle one was using a 25mm MA EP. The last two were taking with a 10mm MA EP. I was just holding the phone to the eyepiece, using the zoom and exposure compensation. I have no control of the ISO with this phone, even using the Open Camera app.
  6. Found various threads on here and other forums about flocking dobsonians/newtonians but couldn't find specific images of disassembly of the very popular SkyWatcher Heritage 130p flextube and flocking of the OTA. So having ordered some DC-Fix black velour sticky back material (can be got from various places including FLO) I thought i'd share some photos of the process from start to finish as it may help someone else in the future... Images below with notes... 1. Focuser and shield flocking This was the easy bit. A strip stuck inside the focuser, and just unscrew the shield, draw round it, cut the material and align and smooth down. In the last image above you can already see the significant improvement on reducing reflections comparing the flocked shield to the unflocked tube... Notice my version of Bob's Knobs on the secondary mirror which are just black steel M4 25mm knurled thumbscrews bought off ebay for about £7 - along with the thumbscrews already on the 130P primary mirror this makes any fine collimation easy and completely tool free! For full stealth mode I've also painted the edge and rear of the secondary mirror, and any exposed screw heads with blackboard paint to reduce reflections. 2. OTA disassembly and tube before Note the cutout in the lower primary housing and the top ring. This aligns with the ridge of the tube seam, and means there is only one way to reassemble the telescope tube and mirror and one place for the handful of screws (4 at the bottom, 3 at the top). You'll also need an allen key to remove the 3 bolts for the dovetail mount. Simple! Now you're ready to Flock 'N' Roll! 3. Flocking the tube You'll need approx. 50cmx29cm of the material to do the tube in one go, starting along the seam. As others have described just take your time here, peel off about an inch of the backing and get the edge aligned with the tube seam stick down firmly and smooth out any air bubbles. Then slowly keep peeling more backing (rip and remove if the excess gets in the way) and smooth down as you go, turning the tube and affixing the velour material. 4. Finished flocking and close up during application so you can see contrast/reflection comparison of before and after. All in all only took around an hour so not a hard job as long as you prepare and concentrate! I ordered one sheet of 45cm x 1m material which was plenty, however if your not as confident you'll get it right first time then order 2m so you have more to spare if you need to start again. Looks great, so as always I now just need clear skies to go play and see the difference it makes!
  7. I recently decided to give the SynScan app a try on my new Orion XT10g. Now using the hand controller I was familiar with the "Brightest Star" and "Two-Star" alignments methods, indeed I always use the Two-Star method. With the app however I see that the Two-Star has been replaced with the level north two star. What is that? And since there's no manual for the app, what precisely does level north mean? I'm guessing that you level the OTA and point north but with what precision? Any idea why that replaces the Two-Star method from the hand controller? OK, so fine. I did the Level North alignment. I noticed that as it goes to each of the two stars and stops, while waiting for you to center the star, a couple of the directional buttons are flashing. What's interesting is that the ones flashing are not the ones for the direction that the scope needs to move to center the star. Again, what's up with this? Finally, after aligning and doing a Goto (reasonably accurate), once it arrives at the target again, one of the directional buttons is flashing and there's a message above the object name that says that I'm to center it. Huh? Can someone help me make sense of all this. And, is there a manual for this app ?? Thanks.
  8. I recently purchased an Orion XT10g which will be replacing my Evolution mounted EdgeHD 8 and a 10" Zhummel Dob. This scope will give me the extra aperture that the Zhummel has as well as the tracking and GoTo of the Evolution. I made a few upgrades before I took it out for its first night under the stars... Center spotted the primary with Catseye's Hotspot (already have set of their collimation tools) Installed Protostar FlockBoard along the full length of the tube Replaced the focuser with a Moonlight CR focuser Added a couple Farpoint lifting straps Added Bob's Knobs to the secondary holder. Last night it had its first light. Overall I'm quite happy. Collimation was easy as expected using Catseye's tools. Alignment (two-star) was similarly quite quick and easy. Objects were found easily and well within, if not near the center of my lowest power, widest field eyepiece (17mm Ethos) Skies were clear and transparency was above average. Seeing wasn't the best so I kept to low powers. Very impressed with the optical quality. Using my GSO coma corrector I got near perfect images even at the edge of a 100º field of view. As was the case with my Zhummel Z10, the GSO corrector is plug-and-play. No need to do any adjusting or fiddling. Panning around via the hand controller was very smooth. No backlash noted. Now the only issue that I have is that the azimuth movement, manually that is, is very stiff. Stiff to the point of really not possible without toppling the whole scope over. I've already raised this concern with Orion and they are sending a new base out to me. I'm hopeful that issue will be fixed.
  9. Hi all, I'm trying to get back into astronomy (had a Meade DS 2090 Mak when I was 10 but was too young to get into it) and I'm having a very hard time choosing a telescope. My main goal is to observe a bit of everything. Planets and the moon are great and I definitely would want to observe them, but my main focus would be DSO's. That being said, I would also like to have the possibility of doing some basic astrophotography afterwards. Not expecting to do 2 hours of long exposure and getting some insane images, but having a telescope (or rather a mount?) that can track would be nice to get some decent images. Basically, visual observation is a must, AP would be great but only basic, no need to get one JUST for that. I realize that visual observing and AP are 2 very different things, but my question is if it is possible to find something that is mainly used for VO and is somewhat capable (even if it's not great) to do AP with. Furthermore, a push to or goto would be fantastic as well since I'm not too familiar with the night sky. Is it really difficult to find DSOs yourself without reading and learning for hours and hours? My budget would be around 800 euros, that is everything included, telescope, mount, eyepieces etc... (If it's a little bit more than that that's fine as well). After hours of doubt and searching I thought the Orion Skyquest Xt8 Intelliscope would be good (push to) (around 750 euros), however being like most dobsonians, this one wouldn't track. This made me think : Should I rather look for a newtonian reflector with an EQ mount, or just give up my basic AP wish and go for a dobsonian that doesn't track? Some people have suggested to drop AP for now and go for the dob, is there a possibilty to upgrade later to make the dob work for AP, like putting it on an EQ mount, or would I have to buy a new telescope again? Any telescope, mount and added equipment like eyepieces and filter suggestions would be reaaaally appreciated, cause everything just feels overwhelming and I don't know what to look for anymore. Thanks in advance!!
  10. Hi,currently owned 70mm refractor, want to upgrade and many suggested me to get 6" dobsonian. The only 6" dob i can find in my country is GSO 150mm/1200mm dob (https://www.opticaluniversescientificinstrument.com/products/gso-6-dobsonian-telescope), is this brand and specs ok? My main targets is planet and moon, maybe some star, i wonder is it hard to imaging planets? ill be using ccd eyepiece connected to laptop. I live in malaysia city area, very less likely i will bring the scope to darker area because its pretty far from my home,and the scope quite big, so its dobsonian suitable for minor light population? I heard that that dobsonian can affected by weather and cooling the scope be a big issue? hope expert can give some advice. thanks
  11. Just wondering what peoples thoughts are on the pro's and con's of the different types of mounts out there? Do Dobsonian mounts have issues on non-flat surfaces (like a garden) or can Equatorial mounts ever have issues getting out of line too easily?
  12. Hi, Looking for a 12" DOB (or larger) which can be transported to Prestwick, Ayrshire. Any brand, as long as the telescope is optically sound and in good working order. I'm a reliable buyer who has bought and sold on this site before. Thanks, Mark
  13. Hi all, Last night was the best night of astronomy I've had in my short time delving into this passion. It was simply incredible. Fortunately my dear friends the midgies have departed Scotland for another season. This means I can now stand at the scope without ingesting a lungful of tiny biting insects and concentrate on what I am observing. Always a plus! Two nights ago I went to my local dark spot with my 200p SW reflector. It was wonderful. LP map shows Bortle 4, but I would actually say it was a 3 or possibly a 'bright 2' when the lights go down a bit in the wee hours. Last night, I took the 20" dob and parked up. I am finding it easier and easier to move this beast around, but it's still a little bit of work to set up at the end of the day (literally). It can't all be so easy! I'm fairly new to astronomy and my scopes haven't seen a huge amount of use. After several failed attempts to get the GOTO working, I finally sussed it last night. It was just a few simple things really - small errors on my part such as a misplaced washer which blocked the azimuth from using its full range of motion, combined with a limited view at home which prevented me from doing a successful align. A huge relief to get the GOTO up and running, but I now feel a bit like I'm cheating! I don't feel guilty enough to not use the GOTO however Frankly, it's brilliant and was putting objects bang in the centre of the EP. I arrived about 6pm yesterday so plenty of time to set up. I left my counterweights at home and thus ended up strapping a small vinyl bag of tools and tyre jack to the underside of the mirror box with a tie-down. Worked really well actually! Can fine tune by removing a spanner or two. A few drops of rain blew through just before dusk but then rapidly cleared off, so all systems go. I tripped over the power cord after my first successful align. And then did it again a minute later after my second align! Will need to tidy that arrangement up or put some of my glow tape on the cable. Plenty of practice then doing an alignment, haha. M57 Ring Nebula for starters, I've been playing with my Baader 36mm aspheric quite a lot lately, I like the wide views. The Ring was fairly small through the 36mm but bright and crisply defined with an apparent faint blue tint. I then swapped to the 21mm Ethos and OIII which stayed in the focuser most of the night. Next stop was NGC6960, Western Veil Nebula or 'Witch's Broom Nebula' which was mind-blowing. It appeared as a silvery apparition which threaded right across the sky and extended well past the FOV from the 21mm Ethos. Scanning along its wispy tentacles was amazing. There's something unnerving about viewing it, it gives me goose-pimples, just otherworldly. The Eastern Veil and Pickering's Triangle in the central area were also clearly prominent, albeit slightly less luminous than 6960. The Veil was also clearly visible without the OIII, but with much more 'background noise', i.e. stars competing for attention. Following this, I slewed over to the Cocoon Nebula, but only saw a very dark lane practically void of stars. That was interesting in itself as it was so apparent by virtue of its darkness.. I don't know if I bumped the scope alignment of if I was just too impatient to punch another object in to the handset, but didn't spend a huge amount of time chasing it. In hindsight, I think I slewed to the wrong end of the dark lane. I'll find it next go. I then lined up on the Crescent Nebula which was easily visible, lots of fine filamentary details observable after some time studying it. A beauty. Next was Dumbbell Nebula which practically looked 3D through the big dob, just jumped right out at me. Another simply amazing sight. I spent quite a long time staring at it and could easily see the entire shape and structure extending from the 'Apple Core'. I remarked last night it looked like it was hanging inches in front of the scope. That's sheer aperture working I suppose! At the end, I spent some time just slewing around and having a mesmerising look across the sky, just taking in the depth and variable magnitude of stars that a big scope can display. I was already running on three hours' sleep from the previous night and by this time, I was starting to crash but was on a natural high. I crashed into the bed happily. Can't wait for another clear night with the big dob. I was a bit worried a few weeks ago that I'd bought something I didn't have the time or skill to fully appreciate, but getting the GOTO up and running and being able to rapidly slew to various objects really put things into perspective. My 200p is a wonderful, portable scope, but in comparison, 20" of aperture is simply a completely different level. It is like the difference between a small grainy 640px video and high definition 4k with the brightness cranked right up. Tonight I shall stay in, sleep well and dream about how much discarded glass is needed to cast a 36" mirror blank and how many years it would take me to figure it... Clear skies all
  14. Very happy with it! Wish the sky were clear, but as we all know, when we buy astro equipment, it's cloudy! Argh! The telescope was collected from David Lukehurst at noon and then we travelled back to Cambridge. John Nichol primary mirror: 37mm thickness, Suprax. Hilux coated. Optics 1/8 PV wavefront 1/27 wave RMS. Strehl .95. Secondary mirror: 62mm MA. Here a few photos:
  15. Hello all! I just installed this Lacerta 1:10 Micro Transmission focuser on my 8” Skywatcher Dobsonian. It is a direct replacement for the stock focuser and works extremely well. I was surprised at how easy it was to install! Ordered it from 365Astronomy and got fast shipping.
  16. I need a a really accurate,easy to use collimating tool. I have a used laser collimator but it does not fit snugly in the focuser so I feel it’s not very accurate. The idea of collimating causes me some anxiety anyway, so accurate and easy is the key! Can any of you offer any suggestions to help me out?
  17. WOW! Had a great view! Used my Pocket Sky Atlas to plan the night, then I just shot right out there! Saw the 7 Sisters (Pleiades), then hopped to the Orion Nebula! Used my ES 18 mm to find it then switched to the Morpheus 12.5 mm and could actually see wispy parts of the Nebula! ( I guess that’s what it was! LoL!) Really amazing! Called the wife out to take a look. Next I want to find Andromeda! Greg
  18. Hello all! I am mounting an Explore Scientific 8x50 Right Angle Erect Image Illuminated Finder Scope on my Skywatcher Dobsonian. The original Skywatcher mount only had one bolt hole. The Explore Scientific base requires two bolts. I was told to make sure to have the primary mirror cover in place and to place a cotton sock over the secondary mirror. My concern is drilling into the tube itself. Are there any other precautions I need to take so that that it doesn’t look like it was drilled by a bunch of Wallys? LoL! Greg
  19. Hey guys. After many years of waiting, I've decided to finally go for my first telescope. Yet, today find myself stuck between two excellent entry-level options, so I'm looking for some help. Before I get straight to my questions, I'd like to share some information about what I'm expecting to do with the equipment (among other stuff). - Objectives: Deep Sky, and some planetary observation. No interest in astrophotography, GoTo, or any other device (maybe/eventually in the future). - Budget: Given complementary I'll be getting a 2x Barlow (SkyWatcher; achromatic), and a starguider laser collimator (1.25-2), these are my two best available options to fit on its range. - Light pollution: Low-Med. Being that said, here are my questions: - Mount: After days of heavy research, so far hardly found a review about it; What do you guys think about the AZEQ AVANT type of mount?; Could it beat Dobsonians?; Would it be a better option in my case? and if so, why? - Conventional Tube vs Heritage's Compact Flex Tube: What are the differences (pros-cons) I can expect from one and the other? (despite no difference between mirrors and diameter). - Explorer 130P AZEQ AVANT (newbie question): Would it be possible to transport the whole structure armed from one spot to the other in my yard? Any help/opinion welcomed. Happy 2019!
  20. Hi there, Jon from Montreal, just saying hi. Got my first REAL telescope today. Skywatcher Classic 200P Dobsonian 8". I say real cause the 2 other telescopes I've own have been bought at art store or toys r us. Unfortunately I have yet to use my new Dob' due to all this cloud cover, hopefully it will clear up at least for the weekend. If any one has any advice to give me, about eye pieces etc.. feel free to
  21. A couple images I was able to take with my iPhone and my Dobsonian XT8. using the Camera +2 app Anyone know any other good phone apps? ?
  22. In my struggles with finding someone who wants to head out to the desert to do some late night observing... I have taken to my back yard in LA.... Honestly I know these images are not anything compared to the things that people post here... but I am slowly working on adapting to the living xD And with taking the images with a cellphone camera... lol... I cant really complain... iPhone X Camera, 2x Barlow, 25mm Eyepiece... I know sad attempt... but planning my trip out to the desert for when the real camera gets here! If anyone has any advice for city observing... They would be very appreciated... I know that there is a filter that is designed to try to remove most of the city lights.... but I have no idea what its called.
  23. Looking at this scope as my first decent scope. Anyone know pros v cons?
  24. Anyone fancy a punt on this 10" dobsonian. Needs TLC but cheap. No connection with seller of course. https://www.gumtree.com/p/telescopes/10-dobsonian-reflector-telescope-custom-built/1308162351
  25. I wouldn't want to miss observing the Sun in a full-size 300mm filter, the detail compared to smaller instruments is such a joy to see. I do have an off-axis mask for my 300mm dob but not all the time. If daytime seeing is too bad for such a large scope, I'll switch to a smaller one, but the extra resolution and ease of spotting micro-detail thanks to the brightness is something I can't do without. A sheet of 500mm wide Baader fillm allowed me to craft this. I had enough left to cut several smaller filters. To protect it I made a storage box from cardboard of obvious origin. The box had to be custom-made to save space in my dwelling, and it also hosts a bahtinov mask for nighttime. At f/5 fine focus is not too hard with the smooth single-speed focuser, but in order to enjoy moments of clarity immediately at high power, I pre-focus with the bahtinov, which sees through turbulence, what a nice invention, and simply wait for calmer air. No need to rush to fine focus and waste precious moments. This mask needs to be copied in some sort of plastic, the cardboard trial proved the number and width of the slits are fine. The rear of the filter shows the four clips mating the four button screw heads outside the tube. And this lateral view shows the sandwiching. A rigid backing plus two layers of lightweight neoprene foam cut from a cheap mat in tiger-stripe deco, its poor taste matching its 7€ price. The bottom sheet used to be a shower booth panel, my neighbor had in its garage. Hey, do you need that? No? Okay, thanks! The Baader film is held between the neoprene sheets by staples and many strips of tape. The neoprene is held to the shower booth sheet by little collars, and its edges are sewn together for a finished look. Oversize 10mm stitches didn't take too long to do, and the foam layers can be separated for replacing the film, something glue would prevent. Holes in the neoprene allow to check that the clips' bolts are always tight. Close-up of a clip. They are made of a material whose name I forgot, I only remember it is made in the UK (thanks, guys!). This is a PVC foam that's much easier to cut, drill and sand than full-density PVC, and it's much lighter (thanks, air bubbles!), which is essential for an item that's at the front of a scope where leverage is maximal. My GSO dob has four of these screw heads, one for each spider vane. They proved very convenient for attaching the filter. The black knob is an add-on to move the scope without having to grab the large tube with both hands. Pretty obvious what we're seeing here. Note the clip is flush with the tube, and pressed hard against the scope's metal rim for a very secure and tight fit. Only four clips but eight attachment points, really. Building this with tight tolerances was more lengthy but more reassuring. It is impossible to disengage a clip by accident because tolerances are too narrow, and the shower booth plastic tough spring action doesn't allow it. But should it happen three clips would hold the filter safely. All three layers of frame material are flexible, so, to remove the filter from the tube you just bend it at a corner while you lift the clip, and the clip disengages. I already rebalanced the dob by pulling the 7-kilo mirror to the rear thanks to shorter and tougher cell springs but I'm working on a sliding counterweight made of pliable steel ribbon. Adhesive felt pads protect the paint. Thanks to the large hole the 300mm filter is not too heavy (and it's used without the finder) but the off-axis mask has only a 115mm hole, so it's heavier and may require this. While I study the combinations of heavy or lightweight eyepieces, finder/no finder, mask, filter, I can change the experimental counterweight by cutting off or adding pieces of steel ribbon. Little mounting nuts and bolts through the many holes, there's always one at the right place. Ever hated to feel the Sun while loving to watch it? If you have no sunshield you did. Heat is a discomfort on the head, and light kills off contrast. So I cut a plastic folder in this weird pattern to allow sliding it between the shower booth plastic and the neoprene mat. When it's stuck there it makes quite a large area of shadow, that's such a relief. But that's also only a prototype that wants to be made again with a better material. Has to be opaque, quite thin, very lightweight, but rigid enough. I'll stumble upon the right material sooner or later.
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