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Found 18 results

  1. In between Jupiter I gave the moon another go last Saturday. Haven't really done a lot of moon work. Mine's not in the same league as some of the other's on here - those big mosaics must take ages! Anyway here's the moon from the 11 Jan in the day from Stratford-Upon-Avon whilst I was out for a walk with my superzoom bridge camera. At night And my first close up attempt Rob
  2. Hardly had time to use my telescope since moving house but finally managed to get out for a very quick look up at the moon and about 20 minutes of trying to get a decent picture in between fireworks. Here's my best effort from tonight.
  3. Afternoon all, I have set my sights on this OTA, as I think it is a good compromise between aperture and focal length. What I am struggling to find is some good reviews from people who have actually owned and used this scope themselves! So - any of you peeps had this scope now / in the past? What are your thoughts, and are there any issues / problems I should know about? It will be mounted on an EQ3-2 for the time being. I hope to have saved up enough by next summer to get a more substantial mount! Thanks in advance Nige
  4. I finally got a decent image of M1, last year all I managed was a blurry fawn blob that looked like something out of the pocket of a duffelcoat.
  5. rjc404

    Jupiter 2014 11 01 Gif

    From the album: Planets

    10 runs put together for a short animation from 11 January 2014

    © Rob Carlton

  6. Here's one of my efforts from 11th January as seeing was really good compared to what I've seen over the last few months. Still trying to figure out planetary photography and this is just one of 20 runs (still got loads to process! Plus more to come if I get time). I think my focus was a bit better on this one as I managed to get really sharp on the moon and it's craters before moving back to Jupiter. This one was taken through a Philips Toucam in a standard Skywatcher 2x barlow attached to my 150PL at 30FPS, full gain. If anyone has any ideas on a better barlow for my scope that would get better results let me know (2x, 3x, 5x?) Thanks for looking, Rob
  7. It finally happened – after waiting two weeks and a day, the clouds parted, and I was greeted with a clear, still and cloudless sky!! Whoop Whoop!! 15 days is a long time to wait! The scope (SW Explorer 150-PL) had been sitting in my dining room since Christmas, and despite a very short outing last week, that lasted about 10 minutes, last night was the first time I used her properly. I popped the tube outside a good hour before I intended to go out to observe, giving it plenty of time to cool down. I then put the mount together – I did this inside, so I could see what I was doing! Once it was all secure and bolted together, I set the declination (?) to 53 degrees and took the whole thing outside through my patio doors. Before I popped the scope on the mount, I did a basic polar alignment. I was chuffed – I had the declination spot on, and just need a tweek to the left and it was there – not perfect, but enough for my first observing session. I then put the OTA onto the mount and secured it. I had been playing around with it in the house the previous week, and had found the balance point, and marked the dovetail bar, clever eh?! I then moved the counter weights about to get that balanced as well – it all worked out fine, and the lightest touch when the clutches were off was enough to move the scope about. I fitted the finder scope and got it aligned with tube – I did find this a bit tricky to start with, and a couple of times during the evening I managed to knock it out of true with my arm / head / face!! And I was now ready to go! My observing location is pretty limited at home – the front / side of the house is now flooded with light from an LED street lamp – the red circles show the street lamps, and the red cross is where I set up the scope. I had good views to the North and to the West though: I'm not shy to say that my knowledge of where things are in the night sky is limited!! This will change as the year progresses, so i content myself to first locate M31. I found this quite tricky - the finder scope is a straight through job, and the angles can sometimes make looking through it a challenge. So I bought out the 20 x 80's and quickly found it. I then pointed the scope in the same direction, and a few twists of the slo-mo controls and there it was. I had the 25mm eyepiece in and I realise that the target was waaaay bigger than the view through the eyepiece!! However, the core was revealed. I looked for quite some time, and small details began to come out and I'm sure I saw the darker dust lanes. I then took a look for the Double Cluster, and wow!!! What seemed to be hundreds of stars, packed into the view! I was getting happier by the minute! I content myself to just scan the star fields in that area for a while, and then swung around to try and and find M51. Using the 20x80 technique I found it, and turned the scope to it. It was a faint fuzzy at 48x, so I upped the mag to 120x with the 10mm eyepiece - it became a larger fuzzy object, and I couldn't really see any structure, but knowing the light coming into my eye had covered 20 million light years was awesome! It was getting late, so I took off the tube and carried it round to the garden with the street light over it - I wanted to look at M42 before I packed up. However, the glare from the street light overpowered the finder and I couldn't see anything. Tried to shield it with my hand, and although it stopped the glare, it was all a bit washed out. Shame - perhaps an air rifle would be a good investment . . . . . !! So, overall I thoroughly enjoyed my first night out with the 150PL. A few early observations on the scope and mount (this blog will be like a long term review for the scope): The OTA with tube rings and dovetail bar weighs in at 6.4kg / 14lb, according to my scales. This is right at the limit for the NEQ3-2 mount. Added to the weight, the tube is long at and although I got the balance spot on, it took several seconds for the vibrations to die down following focusing. However, using the slo-mo controls didn't induce any noticeable shaking when tracking objects, so thats a bonus! I think a heavier mount will be needed at some point. I hope to try and save for the HEQ5, but with daughter going off to uni in September that may be a while down the road!! The eyepieces and barlow that came with the scope appear to be fairly solid - I only really used the 25mm, and I have nothing to compare them too, but the view seemed bright and sharpe. The finder scope is a generic 6 x 30mm. While the view is crisp, trying to look through it gave me a cricked neck after a while!! A 90 degree finder will defo be required The dovetail bar is a lovely green colour, but does appear to be quite soft - just mounting the scope the few times I have used it as already left some marks and dints in it. The focuser is fine for my use - not stiff at all, and with enough friction to make small adjustments easy. I see no need to upgrade this yet. So - lets hope the weather stays clear, as I am keen to turn the scope on to the Moon!! Thanks for reading, and a Happy New Year to all!! Cheers Nige in Derby
  8. I think I am happy with this one.
  9. Right I was out the other night and after all these years I got so annoyed with the wobbly slack focuser on the SW Explorer 150PL that I really wanted to snap it off and throw it over the wall. This got me thinking, I do love the 150PL and I've done a lot to it like flocking, Bob's knobs and blacking the edges of the secondary and I'd like to keep it but that brings a few thoughts up. Should I just bite the bullet and find a new focuser? I do try to do something a few years ago and got a TS baseplate but ran out of funds before I got an actual focuser. Or do I just go "meh" and just get an upgrade OTA? I wouldn't mind imaging quite seriously in the future which is another bundle of questions but the dismal focuser stands in the way.
  10. From the album: Planets

    Final reprocess of my 11 Jan runs

    © Rob Carlton

  11. From the album: Learning to use my kit

    This is the first test run of my finder guider set up on my Skywatcher 150PL and EQ3/2 Pro. About an hour and a quarters worth of exposures at ISO1600 (just thought I'd try the higher ISO) with flats. darks and bias. About 30 minutes of 5 minute subs, the rest made up of 3 minutes and 1 minute subs. It seems less noisy than my other M31 unguided attempt. Hopefully the images will get a bit better as I get use to the guiding system.

    © Rob Carlton

  12. This is the result of my first go at using 16-bit RAW mode instead of 8 on the ASI 120MC, with a 3X barlow on my 150PL, then resampled 2x. I realise this is actually just 12 bits, it also limits the capture rate to about 15 fps on my awful lappie (I was using full screen resolution, but I think I may have the confidence to crop in future). Seeing was very steady, bahtinov mask said focus was dead on. This was the first 60-second capture, put through PIPP, AS!2 and Registax. Though I say it myself, I think this is getting close to the limit for what the 150PL can deliver, such a shame that no Red Spot and the quadruple moon and shadow transit will be after Jupiter sets :-(
  13. After the debacle of my only Newtonian telescope (a Celestron Astromaster 130EQM), I've tended to favour refractors and currently enjoy using my Starwatcher Startravel 120 refractor (and my two other smaller 70mm fracs too). However, I am thinking now of perhaps going left field a little and getting a Newtonian OTA to use for planetary & lunar work, and am looking currently at the Starwatcher Explorer 150PL OTA. The 1200mm focul length of this scope will double the power of all my EP's in the new scope as against when used in my ST120 frac. Plus the extra light gathering of the 150mm mirror should come in handy too. For space reasons I don't want to go any lager than this really, or get into dobsonian telescopes at all. So I guess my query first off will be would the new scope give me better views than my current ST120 frac? I realise that seeing comes into play here, but on an average UK kind of night where seeing is around 3, and pushing up to 4 occasionally, will the view through this telescope be better, crisper, sharper than through my ST120 frac after the Newtonian has fully cooled down of course when for example using approximately the same power in each scope? As I would want to use this for planetary & lunar observations then I would be looking to try to get around x150 at least on a average night, and when seeing allowed push it up to perhaps x200 if possible. Any feedback from anyone who has/had a 150PL would be appreciated, plus any other thoughts on this potential OTA upgrade from other SGL members is as always very welcome. Cheers! Gus
  14. Here's a shot of the moon I grabbed today. Turned on my mount and the handset date read that it's two months since I've last been out so roll on spring and some better weather! Anyhow, this one was taken at ISO 100 at 1/60 of a second with my Canon 700d on a 150PL.
  15. From the album: Moon

    A final reprocess of a raw image I took of the moon on the 11 Jan. Maybe over-processed but this was the best image from about 50 raw shots taken on burst mode on my DSLR attached my scope.

    © Rob Carlton

  16. From the album: Planets

    Latest go at our favorite gas giant. Taken through a 2x barlow attached to my Toucam at full gain.

    © Rob Carlton

  17. rjc404

    Moon 2014 03 07 19:56

    From the album: Moon

    One processed raw image of the moon from 7 March. Single shot at ISO 100 1/60 second.

    © Rob Carlton

  18. Seeing as I had plenty of DSLR subs of M57 at along f/l of 1200mm I though I would have a go at drizzling the data at x2. It was also a chance to see how Astra Image 5 performs. I thought I got better colour from the undrizzled data so the colour layer is simply resampled x2.
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