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Found 109 results

  1. The focuser on my SkyWatcher 150i is a basic rack-and-pinion, unsurprising for the price point, but sometimes a bit of a pain to control finely enough. I’m not looking to spend any serious money upgrading it, but I did want to see what I could tweak. The first thing I did was to slacken off (slightly) the screws holding the plate against the spindle, as the operation was very tight when new – that helped a bit (and I think that without doing this first, the “friction fit” approach described below wouldn’t have worked). I will eventually get around to taking it all off as per AstroBaby's tune-up. Improving the fine control without a major change means doing something with the focusing knobs – they’re quite small, so the effective “gearing ratio” when you operate them is on the harsh side. Some folk have described fitting larger diameter replacements, either bought or made, and even using ones with a planetary-style mechanism to achieve a reduction in the ratio. I didn’t fancy this, as I couldn’t see how the existing knobs were attached to the spindle without trying to prise them apart (possibly terminally). The other option is to increase the effective diameter of the existing knobs, for which purpose a clothes peg is apparently quite popular, but I’ve also come across descriptions of chop sticks inserted into holes drilled at intervals into the circumference, and punctured lids from peanut butter jars. I wanted something that was cheap, relatively tidy and non-destructive. The answer seemed to be some sort of thick sleeve that I could fit over the knob. It would need to be a tight fit so as not to slip in use, to be not so large as to foul against either the focuser tube or the main OTA, and to be thick enough that it didn’t flex sideways when grasped. I thought I might find some larger rubber washers that would do the job, but none were thick enough to be rigid in use. However, a bit of searching found these spacers that are apparently used in vehicle shock absorbers. My calipers said the diameter of the focuser knobs was around 29.5mm, and the nearest spacers that were available had an internal hole 30mm and outside diameter 60mm. I ordered one that was 10mm thick, not quite as deep as the knobs, but which allowed a bit more space on the inside edge for free operation. I’d hoped the internal hole might be a but undersized when it arrived but it was spot on, so I wound five or six turns of masking tape around the knob first. To avoid taking the tape off when fitting the spacer, I positioned one side first and stretched it across the face as I pushed. When it’s flush with the knob’s outer face, it’s just clear of the focuser body and OTA. There might be enough room to stick some kind of friction surface around the outside to improve the grip, but I don’t think it’s going to be necessary. I decided to do only the one knob, so I now have a very Noddy “dual speed” affair. Because the clearances around the fitted spacer are quite tight, it’s worth checking the positioning of the spindle in the focuser body first – mine was fractionally off centre, so there was more room one side than the other (assuming you have no preference).
  2. Hiya, I'm planning on getting a telescope for my son for Christmas (he'll be 6 by then). I want it to have some lasting potential and would rsther get a decent ish one so he can actually see things more clearly and retain his interest, although obv don't want to spend a fortune. However, we don't have a car, so in terms of opportunities to take advantage of dark skies, it would need to be portable. I was all set on the Skywatcher Heritage 150p and it seemed to tick so many boxes, and it kept getting tagged as very portable and great for travel, but I just noticed the weight is 7.5kg... so it may be portable compared to bigger ones, but I'm not sure about lugging it, a whole load of camping gear and two kids on a bus and a train! Does anyone have any recommendations for anything similar spec-wise, where you can collimate both ends etc, that's also an easy set up and that's just a bit more lightweight? Thanks, Kate
  3. I purchased a Celestron Powerseeker 70EQ at a Goodwill thinking it was a great find for my first telescope. I get home and realize that it may be missing an eye piece. I'm unsure what else it is missing though. Where can I go to get the missing eye piece for this telescope? I don't know anything about telescopes so I'm not sure where to go or what else I will need or what else could be missing. I attached an image of it with what I think is missing.
  4. fossiec


    Hi All, Just a quick hello. Just starting out and interested in shooting DSO's from my back garden. On here to get some tips and hints and ask questions. F
  5. Hi Everyone, Not posted some images since my introduction in the welcome section. With the dark nights finally back here in Scotland I thought Id share some of the DSOs I managed to capture back in Feb-April just before the light nights rolled in at the start of May. These were all stacked and edited in PixInsight. 1. The Running Man and Orion Nebula - less than an hour of integration time (SA pro + fuji 55-200mm lens). 2. Bodes and Cigar Galaxy - Less than an hour of integration time ( SA pro + SW 72 ED telescope). 3. Flame, Horsehead, Running Man and Orion Nebula - Less than an hour of integration time (SA pro + fuji 55-200mm lens). 4. Pinwheel Galaxy - 35 mins integration time (SA pro + SW 72 ED telescope). 5 Whirlpool Galaxy - 21 mins integration time (SA pro + SW 72 ED telescope). 6. Andromeda Galaxy - 1.5 minutes integration time (Move Shoot Move + fuji 55-200mm lens).
  6. Hello, I took a shot of M13 as a first test of my new orion 8 f/3.9. I have a couple of questions about the final result. Equipment list: orion 8 f/3.9 mount skywatcher eq6r-pro canon 500d - astro-modded by me 40 exposures of 90 seconds and 40 darks 200 bias 200 flats capture software: nebulosity4 guide camera: zwo asi120mm guide scope: svbony 20 (80mm - 400mm) guide software: phd2 Processing: siril preprocessing: align/callibrate/stack) siril post-processing: green nois reduction/ photometric noise reduction (very cool!)/deconvolution Result: I attached a screenshot of siril (as the tif or jpg export did not show these "problems") My questions: after preprocessing, I still have 2 problems (see the marked areas); what can be the cause of that? Are my flats not "correct"? The big mark, is a spot on the sensor, that is the "collateral damage" of me removing the Ir-cut filter. The other mark must be an other issue, I don't know so far the right part of the picture, shows some sort of glow; there was no moon during capturing; I live in a bortle class 5 area, but street lights are dimmed after midnight, till 05:00am and shots were taken around 01:00am. what can cause this glow Other remarks are very welcome - I hope to learn from it. Thanks in advance, AstroRookie
  7. Hi, This video is intended to be for someone who is thinking of buying their first scope but isn't sure which one is best. I would love it to be a good jumping off point for discussion and I hope some wise heads will wade in and answer questions and offer alternative opinions. Thx to astrostace and helena's astro and deddy dayag for contributing. I fear I'm going to have my head down making my next video as I'm currently astrobiscuiting full time (or at least till my loan runs out!). So all help much appreciated. https://youtu.be/Na-aBhc_gTY
  8. Hi, I recently looked into telescope's & dso's again due to an interesting sight in the night sky . I wanted to get into telescope's etc... but my budget and other things got in the way. This time there's no budget limit (that doesn't mean I'm bill Gates though). My main concern is size since I will carry the telescope with my bare hands (bag). I don't have a local astronomy club or telescope shop around so I don't know if an 8" Newtonian is too bulky/big. Can someone post comparison pictures, if you have an 8" telescope (preferably newtonian, width and length)? Secondly I want to see dso's in the future (firstly beginner objects etc...) so the 8" is more adequate than the 6", but if an 8" is too big then I am okay with a 6" as long as it's much more portable.
  9. I have a telescope that I received from a teacher. I know it's a celestron but I can't find any info on the model/type, and I can't find the name of the telescope anywhere on it. Can you tell me what type of it and if I need the electrical parts to make if work? Here's a link to a photo of it. https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZtBm1pe1fTszG9FQ8 I don't have a manual for it as I don't know the model so I can't figure out how and what I need to fix it, or make it work(if it's missing a specific piece or something) I need to know what model it is so I can find the pieces for it and learn what it needs to work.
  10. Hi, I’m thinking about getting the skywatcher 72ED for my first scope. I’ll only be using it for astrophotography. I plan to photograph nebulae planets and galaxies. Can someone please give me some advice on what extras I’ll need to buy so I can take pictures. My camera is Nikon D3500. Thanks in advance.
  11. Hey everyone, I just purchased my first refractor telescope but I have no idea where to get started, let’s get right into what my problem is. I purchased a Celestron C4-R; model number 21016; this came with a bunch of little pieces that I don’t know what they do, it’s a refractor telescope. I have the star diagonal but I don’t know where to attach it. I just want to know what I have to do to have it ready to be used thank you I would like help asap thank you
  12. Hi all, as a complete beginner, who is gradually getting some kit together, the question of which Polar Alignment App I should get for my Android phone is exercising my mind. Looking at the android play store there seems to be a myriad to choose from, which do members recommend & why?
  13. Hello all, TL;DR: are there any cheap ways, including secondhand, of mounting a 130P-DS for not-completely-terrible results? I am looking to buy a telescope as a gift for a family member. I had in mind a budget of around £150-£200, and from looking at advice had almost settled on the Sky-Watcher Explorer 130P. But then I realised that there's a good chance that if they get into astronomy there's a good chance that my relative will want to do some photography, and would probably be interested in attaching their micro four thirds camera. I've learnt that the 130P is not great for this as you cannot get prime focus, so you need to look at the Sky-Watcher Explorer 130P-DS instead. Great, I thought! It's a bit cheaper, but it isn't available in a kit with any form of mount. OK, I'll need to get one of those too... Then I started looking at mounts. Oh my, those things crash through the top of my budget! Even the EQ2 mount on its own, when you can find it, is about £115. https://www.bristolcameras.co.uk/p-skywatcher-eq-2-equatorial-mount-aluminium-tripod.htm (Given that you can get the spherical version of the Sky-Watcher 130 on that mount for £155 from FLO, that seems to value the OTA part at somewhere around the £40 mark.) So, I'm after advice on whether there is an affordable way of doing this. I've read enough on this forum and other sites around the web to know that the main recommendation is that the heavier duty the better. Something like an EQ3 or upwards. And that for AP a lot of people seem to view an HEQ5 as a starting point. But since I can't stretch to that, I'm OK with leaving it as an upgrade path for my relative if that's the way they want to go (or option for future gifts!). I know that for next-to-no budget I'm not going to be able to give something that will get the best out of the telescope. I know that getting motors and whatnot to do the guiding that will make DSO photography possible is way out of the realms of possibility. What I'm hoping for is some sort of option that gives acceptable results. Usable rather than unusable. Limiting the results rather than destroying them! Getting this set up so that they can do reasonable observation at first, and maybe give a try at attaching their m4/3 camera to try photographing the moon. If that whets their appetite then mount upgrades can be possible later. Since I'm planning on a new OTA, I'd be happy with going secondhand for the mount. I've been trawling ebay, and see the odd thing like this come up: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Telescope-On-Tripod-Stand-Model-900114-Spares-N-Repairs/124230022581?hash=item1cecafb5b5:g:Ay8AAOSwSz1e7OCu To my untrained eye, it looks like there's an EQ2 mount on that, so I'm wondering whether that would do the trick. (Working on the, possibly faulty, assumption that if EQ2 is viewed by Sky-Watcher as being sturdy enough to supply as the kit mount for the 130 and 130P, it's probably up to scratch for observing with the 130P-DS too.) Even that, at another £58 inc postage for the buy it now would be over my budget, but I'm wondering more generally whether trying to grab something like that to essentially discard the tube would even be feasible as an option if I can get one at the right price. Or, of course, I'm open to any other ideas and suggestions that the forum might have. Thanks in advance, and clear skies.
  14. I’ve been starting to think about my next scope, and knowing that order lead times are quite long at the moment, I’ve been spurred into writing by the pre-midnight appearance of Jupiter and Saturn. I’m hoping for some wise input to break me out of analysis paralysis. Here are my thoughts so far. Please feel free to rebut/add anything at all (but you might want to note my PS). Thanks in advance. Context: I’ve had a "budget" (but quite decent) 70mm F/10 refractor on a GEM for a while now, and recently have started to take observing more seriously, learned my way around a bit, and started to run up against aperture limits. My partner is also interested, but not so keen on spending long hours in the cold watching me failing to find stuff. We already have Telrad, barlow and a few extra EPs. Location: most observation is likely to be from the back garden, which ClearOutside declares to be Bortle 4 (I would say slightly generous, some nearby lighting) but we have darker skies within a 15 minute drive that we would like to take advantage of with the next scope. Likely Targets: equally interested in solar system, DSOs and doubles, so not much help on the decision there I'm afraid. Might be interested in spectroscopy at some point, but not a deal breaker. Not really keen on solar. Imaging: we are both interested to get into this “at some point” but I have taken on board the message that visual and imaging often send you down different paths, and we have agreed that we will prioritize visual for a few seasons, and consider buying further kit later if we do decide to do imaging. It might be a bit nuanced now with decisions like mounts, but ideally we would prefer to spend only what we need for visual work now, rather than going for a higher spec that would also support photography at some unknown point in the future. Budget: not particularly constrained, but ideally looking to spend no more than £600. Aperture: I know some have said good things about some 130mm scopes elsewhere, but I feel anything less than 150mm doesn’t seem enough of a step up from the current scope (and also possibly because Patrick Moore always said six inches was the minimum size for a beginner! ). I even considered a 200mm but decided against on portability (and on the heights of some of the prospective observers! ). OTA: looking to a Newt for bang/buck. There is so much choice that I’ve only been looking at Skywatcher models so far – not because I’ve already decided they’re best, but they seem to be a decent quality/price point for us and then I’ll have something to compare with if people suggest alternative ranges. So in the 150mm arena I've been looking at the Explorer 150P (F/5) and 150PL (F/8). Obviously if we were going to do imaging we’d opt for the shorter model, but for visual the F/8 is quite appealing to me with its 1200mm focal length – better contrast and magnification, more forgiving in various respects (eyepiece design, collimation, …) We’re probably not looking to spend more than £50ish per eyepiece, and may need two or three more yet, so that favours the PL. On the con side, we are obviously sacrificing some TFOV compared with the F/5, and it’s physically longer. I'm thinking a wide-field 32mm will span most DSOs with the PL. The 150P comes with a 2” Crayford focuser, the PL has a rack-and-pinion, I’ve read pros and cons for both? We’re unlikely to make use of 2” ultra-wide field EPs. Both scopes have parabolic mirrors, which I like, and I've read good things about the durability of the coatings. The PL seems to have attracted some good feedback in these pages. Mount: Getting tricky now. But GoTo (or at least PushTo) is an absolute must, because there will be one or more observers who will be wanting fast location (and even I will probably lose the will to live if I have to star hop too much). I have seen good things written about the Skywatcher AZ GTi (and it’s a keen price), but I’m advised that it’s not too stable with anything larger than a 130mm instrument. So if I went for the F/8 150 Newt, then in the Skywatcher range we’re looking at, minimum an EQ3 pro, possibly an EQ5 pro (I’m quite comfortable with equatorials). Is it worth the extra £160 for the EQ5? Would we only see any benefit in the future for imaging, or will a 1200mm tube behave better now on an EQ5 anyway? One other factor: noise. Small back garden, so motors must be quiet, and need to be able to slip and slew by hand without the GoTo losing its fix. So, where I am at the moment: For the sake of convenience, I’m still framing this in terms of the Skywatcher range (in the absence of some revelation of a better value offering elsewhere). I seem to have convinced myself of the following: - Newtonian - 150mm - GoTo (probably on an EQ mount ) - Skywatcher are a brand to beat But still undecided on the focal length. I’ve found one or two “150P vs 150PL” discussions on these forums that are interesting but haven’t been conclusive for me, mainly because I have no preference on planetary vs DSO. I think more of a factor for me on the longer focal length is just the effect on stability, and the impact of that on the mount decision. We could live with the PL on an EQ3 if it were steady enough for regular visual, even knowing that we wouldn't use the mount subsequently for photography, or even for upgrading to a 200mm for visual only. Is it just a question of living with a bit longer wait for the image to settle after focusing, for example? That wouldn't be a problem. But if an EQ3 is only marginally capable handling the 150PL, that would push us into considering either the 150P on EQ3 or 150PL on EQ5. So as I said, a bit deadlocked at the moment. If anyone can chip in with any thoughts that sway it one way or another (or unpick it and take it in some other direction), I’d be very grateful! (PS Yes, I know I’ve not mentioned Dobs. Yes, I have considered them, but as I mentioned, it’s important to me that we have a scope that finds and tracks objects. While I’m sure you can make a Dob do that, I don’t think that’s its raison d’être. Please don’t be offended, Dob lovers).
  15. Hi there, I recently posted a thread getting ideas for what scope and mount I should get for beginner astrophotography. After researching on my own and getting thoughts from others on scopes and mounts here is what I have come up with. Mount - Skywatcher EQ5 GOTO Scope - Sky-Satcher Explorer 130P-DS Guide Scope - Skywatcher Evoguide ED50 Guide Camera - ZWO ASI120MM Mini DSLR - Canon 350D I understand that the camera I am using is fairly old but it is an old DSLR that I have at home and it saves me money on buying a new camera. All in all this setup comes to just over £1000; I just wanted to people's get thoughts on this set up and if it can be improved in any way without stretching the budget by more than £100. Also I wanted to know whether any of the equipment I have chosen isn't great. Thanks in advance, Ryan
  16. Hi there, I am relatively new to astronomy, as well as this forum so I'm sorry if anything seems obvious that I don't pick up on. However after using a very basic set up to capture some photos of the moon I wanted to invest in some astrophotography equipment. Ideally I am looking to spend around £800 - £900, and I wanted some ideas on good mounts as well as scopes that can be used to take decent images of the moon along with other celestial bodies in the solar system. I have been looking at the Celestron Nexstar 6SE as well as the sky watcher explorer/evostar series attached to a EQ-5 Pro GOTO Mount but as I said I am relatively new to the hobby and have no idea what's good and what's bad. I would also prefer it if the mount is suitable for deep sky astrophotography along with planetary imaging as once I get the hang of planetary imaging I would like to take a stab at deep sky astrophotography. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Ryan
  17. Good morning and thank you in advance for your advice and patience! I am looking to purchase my first telescope, budget around £200. I am overwhelmed by the choice, but am looking for certain things: Quite lightweight / easily portable Smartphone adapter for taking iPhone pictures Specifically interested in looking at planets, ISS, galaxies as well as the moon Must be on a tripod and not table-top I would be grateful for your expertise. I am in the UK (Suffolk) if that makes a difference! I look forward to learning A LOT here
  18. It has been torture trying to arrive at a solution where I can use my DSLR with both 16-35mm and 70-200mm with a ZWO mini guide scope and colour camera for guiding. I finally arrived at the solution below that balances perfectly. I think it will take some care to properly align the lens with guide cam but do the more experienced users think this could work? just waiting on my ZWO ASIAIR Pro now to get it working.
  19. Wow, First time I've seen the Moon through a telescope and what a sight. We had a good look at the Moon last night. It was also a chance to play around with the different eyepieces and what a difference that made. The red dot pointer was spot on after I found the little cardboard trick on you tube. Only using the 6SE in manual mode at the moment. Hopefully the cables for the firmware updates will be here today and the sky will be clear tonight. I fear that tonight will be cloudy, seems to be building up now, even looks like we may have a little rain. Looking at the moon was a little bit emotional. I am so happy we have the telescope. One question someone may be able to help with, is there a way to make the focusing on the Celestron 6SE a little less coarse.. It's almost like we need some kind of fine focus. Don't get me wrong, the focus is great , it's just a little bit sensitive, It's almost as if it needed something with a larger circumference. We were looking at the moon with mouths wide open in awe of the beauty of something ordinarily we take for granted. I think we are hooked into astronomy, although there is so much to learn, at least now we have the time. We are finding that we now have the urge to take pictures, and also record our observing. Do people just use notebooks for observing notes or is there some kind of correct way of doing things Thanks for all the words of encouragement D
  20. I'm totally new to astronomy and somehow am amazingly interested in it. I never learned constellations as a kid, and since i'm about to buy my first telescope (SW Hermitage 130/650) in a month or so I figured I should learn the skies with my own eyes first. I was so enormously surpised that I could actually see a constellation with just my eyes and i'm mad no one told me ever (With 10x50 binoculars was way too zoomed-in) A totally new world opened up for me. I tried navigating and finding more using some cool apps that really helped me a lot! Here's a picture of Ursa Minor (Galaxy S10), my first one ever. I'm so hyped to get my scope. Also thanks to everyone for helping me this week in finding out which telescope to get and explaining some terms. I couldn't be any more happy
  21. I had a finely balanced decision to make yesterday about whether to stay up and attempt a post-midnight astro dark session, factors including: - BBC/Met Office forecast was "clear all night" - BBC/Met Office forecasts have been woefully innaccurate, both day and night - Clearoutside was forecasting clear early evening, but later on it had "0% low cloud" and "75% high cloud" cover - Lack of moon - My other half is somewhat keen, but I didn't want to keep her up that long for a potential damp squib - It's very late, and not dark for that long - There look to be one, perhaps two more clear nights forecast in the coming week - I have a new eyepiece and filter arriving soon I decided not to wait up, and instead charged my batteries for a possible session this coming week. I see in the observing reports this morning that at least some UK people did have clear skies, so I am a bit regretful. I've only started observing in the last couple of months, so I may have been spoiled by the number of good evenings we have been having? Looking back at some of the older comments, I see people wishing they'd never bought their scopes, after fifty or sixty days without sight of a star! Anyway, to my question. Was I unwise to be put off by the Clearoutside prediction of "75% high cloud"? I mean, leaving aside the obvious possibility that they might be wrong anyway, Is there any difference in the effect on observation between low, medium and high cloud? Would you take one more seriously than another? I noticed that the "visibility" line was still saying 10 miles (the highest it ever seems to say) even when cloud cover was 75%. Is that significant? Tonight is looking very similar!
  22. This is my third report, the first time having had a bit of good fortune, the second time out having had a reverse and found very little of what I was looking for. Armed with a few tips from members of this forum and some learning points of my own, I start setting up at 22.30. It’s still far from dark, but some patterns now showing above. A little low cloud on the horizon, forecast is for some high cloud moving in from 23.00. I’ve planned a target list in two parts for tonight. First part is objects I’ve seen before but my other half hasn’t (she has to be in work tomorrow and will be staying out for the first act only). I need to be able to find these quickly. The rest of the list is objects I’ve yet to find, which I can take my time over after she’s retired. By 11 I’m aligned and I can see enough to find the first target by eye – nu Draconis. While the contrasting doubles get the plaudits, there’s something to be said for such a perfectly symmetrical pair, in brightness and colour. Next I switch to beta Lyrae, again an easy enough find by eye (though my partner remarks kindly at the speed of operation). A nice contrast to the Draco pair, obviously different mags, and we argue about the colours for a while. Then on to Albireo, which she has heard much about, and seems impressed by, even in the twilight. Again we discuss colours. I’ve left the fuzzies until later, and I now pick out M13 surprisingly quickly. In our 70mm at x27 it’s only a smudge, though as on previous evenings, averted vision does suggest some speckling. I try adding a 2x barlow, which I’ve not done before, and am surprised to see now some differentiation – a slightly denser core. Partner’s eyes are a bit astigmatic, but she does see it too. Pushing it now, I head back to Lyra for M57. The sky isn’t as dark as when I (just barely) saw it before, but we try. I can just get beta and gamma into view in my widest EP, so somewhere in the middle. I flick my eye about as I did last time, and catch it again. I try to describe the procedure to my other half, and after a few minutes, she says she does too. I would have bet against that one, but the last item on list A is one I haven’t even found myself before – the Dumbbell – and it will take some finding. Learning from last time, I’ve ditched the Mag-7 Star Atlas Project maps - pretty though they were, I just couldn’t read them in the dark. Instead, I have printed a selection from the Michael Vlasov atlas (also plugged on this forum) which are larger on each A4 page. The other thing I have realized is that my hopping technique was flawed (or non-existent). I was either just finding a known starting point and then sweeping in the direction indicated by the chart, and hoping to spot the target in the EP, or else I was trying to use the finder but “giving up” too soon and switching to EP view when I thought I was in the general vicinity of the target. The problem with approach 1 is that for a faint target, with a small scope in polluted skies, you could pass right over it and not spot it. The problem with approach 2 is that a refractor pointing upwards (hence with star diagonal) reflects up-down and left-right so if you switch to your EP before you have your target in field, a beginner is going to struggle making that last hop from the chart. Whereas my finder gives a true view. This makes good sense now, but I needed to spend a cold, fruitless evening at the EP to realize it. So for M27, softly softly – there’s nothing especially close and naked eye that I can use. So I start at Albireo, nudge a little down and northwards with the slow-mos, then check in the finder against the chart. I’m just looking to match a pattern of the new stars now in view, and I can see one. I repeat the process. It still works, this is great. I’m amazed that this tiny, plastic 6x30 is delivering the goods. I can now see a star in my finder that I can see on the chart is right next to the Dumbbell. I adjust the scope a last time to centre on where the chart says it should be (and I know that actually M27 is pretty big). And only now do I switch to the low-power eyepiece. OK, I must have knocked my finder alignment out slightly during the evening, but a slight correction and there it is, in all its glorious smudginess. Extra mag doesn’t make much difference; I can see structure alright, but I can’t honestly say I can see the apple core, certainly not as good as the (full colour!) sample illustration in my Bresser instruction manual. But I don’t care, it’s M27, it’s another first, and I found it the proper way. It’s gone midnight now and my other half wishes me luck and heads off to bed. Before I look at the second half of the list, I take a breather and have a look at the sky. It’s actually not that bad, considering we’ve now officially lost astro dark. It looks perhaps better than last time I was out – I could see the milky way behind Cygnus then, but now I see it extending across the eastern sky well into Ophiuchus, and I can see bands of light and dark structure. It’s going to be interesting to see if this is maintained when lockdown is over. Back to the list, and I yet again try to split delta Herculis, without success. This will definitely be the last time until I get a bigger scope. Then to another double, kappa Bootis. I’ve found iota previously, and looked for kappa twice, but failed. That was before I used my finder properly though. So let’s start from lambda, work up to theta, then I recognize the field from the chart. Again, the finder’s slightly off, but there’s certainly a double in the EP, with a companion noticeably fainter. To be sure I haven’t found iota again by mistake, I quickly slew to compare with Mizar (which I know has almost the same separation). Tick. Another previous escapee, psi1 Draconis. This one is a bit trickier and I end up doing three or four separate hops, having to start again at one point. But I do find it, a nice pair at 30”, the brighter one seems slightly whiter to me. The tail end of the list has some clusters: M10/M12 in Ophiuchus, M92 in Hercules and M4 in Scorpius. A bit frustratingly, I realize that these are either now behind houses, or else dead vertical, and after a few minutes trying the starhopping procedure in a painful crouched position (BUY THAT NEWT) I decide I’m far enough in credit now to call it a night. It's nearly two.
  23. My second report, quite different from the first. In fact, I almost didn’t bother writing it up, then I thought it might be some comfort to any other beginners who luck out on a nice evening! I didn’t venture outside until 23.30 (small refractor, minimal setup time) as clearoutside.com was showing astro twilight after midnight now. ISS drifts over at 23.44 as I check the eastern half of the sky, where I have been concentrating. Cygnus is already above the haze, and I’m guessing I can now see bits of Libra and Aquila above the horizon; and Scorpius? Maybe. I’ve made another list of objects I’ve not yet seen – doubles and clusters. I start with delta Herculis, which I found previously but failed to split. And it’s the same result tonight. However I’m not so surprised this time, as in the interim I’ve noted that while the separation (12.4”) is comfortably within the capacity of my 70mm, the companion in this case is only mag 8.3, so the combination may be asking too much of my £29.99 LIDL special. Onwards and upwards – literally, to psi Draconis high overhead (if I consider anything other than a Newtonian for my next buy, please shoot me). Earlier, in the comfort of the living room, it had looked easy to navigate to this 4.6/5.6 pair from the nearby, slightly brighter, chi Draconis, which has about the same declination. After an extended period of crouching, squinting and fumbling, I decide it is perhaps not so easy, and have to give up and stretch my joints. At least this target is circumpolar and will probably succumb on some other night. Perhaps kappa Bootis will oblige? Another escapee from a previous evening, it lies close to another double, iota (which I have split before). Bootes is now high and working southwards. Slewing the scope to its northern end, I find it resisting my push, and realize it’s a problem I encounter now and again – the tube fouls on one of the slow-mo controls, which means there is a patch of sky I can’t access – just the patch where I want to be right now. I have never gotten around to investigating whether there is a way around this (assuming that I want to stay polar aligned of course) – is this what is called “crossing the meridian” or is that something else? Anyway, Bootes is out of bounds until the sky has rotated a bit. So, not good so far – 0/3 ! I feel I now need a bit of encouragement, so I drop the list for a while. Cygnus is high enough that it’s worth another look at Albireo. I try it with a range of eyepieces: a 26mm plossl, a 15.8mm orthoscopic, then both of these with a 2x barlow, and finally with a 6.3mm plossl (the last giving slightly over 100x which adds nothing and loses much). It’s interesting that the orthoscopic shows a tight ring around both components (which I assume are diffraction rings?) and a bit of a faint ‘haze’ around both, which it does with all stars and I assume is an aberration. The 26mm (with or without the barlow) shows no rings and no haze, having a nice, black field making a pleasing frame for the yellow and blue stars. OK, back to the list. M5 Rose Cluster in Serpens Caput. I have some brief starhopping instructions jotted down and had printed off a new chart earlier in the day. Unfortunately, it is rather small and difficult to read in the garden. From memory, I identify the relevant stars in Serpens and track across, but without success. Also on the list as possibles are M10 and M12 in Ophiuchus – I try scanning for those with binoculars instead, in the absence of any obvious guide stars. No joy. Time to switch to something I can find a bit more easily. M29 is an open cluster near gamma Cygni, which is a pretty site in my widest eyepiece (and seen for the first time), perhaps diminished only by being set against the milky way rather than an empty sky. While Looking at Cygnus, I notice that the milky way is visible tonight. I couldn’t see it at all on the 14th, which I thought was as good a night as we were ever going to get here (neither had a moon). The seeing also seems to be better than it was on the 14th – the images in the scope seem to be rock steady. Another cluster on the list, also not seen before, is M92 in Hercules. Again, apparently an easy navigation from the armchair, but not so twelve hours later. My plan had been to find iota Herculis, then track across towards eta in the keystone, which (almost) passes through M92. I do find iota OK, but never find the cluster. Starting to doubt my vision by this point, I see if I can find M13 – and do so immediately. Although I have seen this before, it has only been a fuzzy patch in my modest 70 mil. This time, I try glancing at it with averted vision and I’m pleased to detect the tiniest speckles in the fuzz which, to retrieve a depressing evening, I decide are individual stars rather than artefacts of failing eyesight. It’s now nearly 1 a.m. and I’m wondering if Bootes has moved far enough for me to attempt kappa again, but as I glance southwards I see a massive bank of cloud has swallowed up a quarter of the sky. To the northwest there are also wisps and before long it’s time to pack up. So, not a productive evening, but some valuable lessons. Planning needs to be better. Printed charts need to be clearer, and annotated for every target. I think I’ll laminate them, then I can draw on them and re-use them. Think more clearly in advance about how you’re going to get around the sky. Some of the manoeuvres are either too vaguely specified or too ambitious for the stars visible/scope capabilities. I need to investigate starhopping techniques!
  24. First of all let me say how pleasantly suprised I was to find an active astronomy forum willing to help new people to the hobby! Absolute kuddo's to the people running this forum & the contributors who daily answer questions. I've been thinking of getting into astronomy for a while and I would like to buy my first telescope this summer. This question must have been asked at least a million times but times change, technology evolves & new things get discovered. Since i'm just a beginner my budget would be around maximum €300. My goals would be: Moon & Planets (and only if possible deepskyobjects) I have been looking at the 'Bresser Pollux 150/1400 EQ3' (https://www.frank.nl/bresser-pollux-150-1400-eq3) But after doing a lot of research I found this is probably not such a good choice for me as it's a Bird-Jones telescope, and I read that those are to be avoided by beginners. It seems that the posibilities are immense and I don't know where to look anymore. Thanks in advance!
  25. I'm fairly new and on one of my daily stargazing sessions I viewed, with the naked eye, a huge passing light going SE, from my perspective it was brighter and bigger than any stars, planets or meteors that I've seen before. It was roughly the size of a baseball. If this was a star -> . this is roughly how big it looked -> O It had a trail of similar size, seemingly dusty. It also passed and disappeared between Corona Borealis and one of Hercules' legs. Viewed on May 16th, 22:00- 23:40 I assumed, based on recent headlines, that it was Comet Swan, but upon further investigation, that was far from true. Comet Swan should not be visible with the naked eye, and definitely not to the degree I saw. Additionally, based on my coordinates* it wouldn't even cross the sky I saw, it would be below the horizon. (*roughly 15 °N, 120 °E, PH) Considering again the magnitude of the object amd the fact that I viewed it with the naked eye discounts it from being an asteroid or meteor*. (*More possible but still hard to believe with its size, you wouldn't even see something like that during meteor showers) So I then researched if it could be space debris. I thought that something as big as that should be covered by a news article somewhere. *The only results were of the 18 ton Chinese Rocket but it couldn't be that because: A. It passed over Los Angeles and New York then fell into the Atlantic Ocean, with some pieces landing in Africa. Meaning it wouldn't pass over my country. B. That happened 5 days before my viewing, on May 11 at 11:33 AM ET (08:33 PDT) It's still possible but it just seems unlikely, and with how big it was I'd assume that it would attract some media attention but I cant find anything else. Does anyone have any idea what it could have been? I have to know. If it was debris then all I need is confirmation. * https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cnbc.com/amp/2020/05/16/chinese-rocket-falls-to-earth-space-debris-problem-worsens.html https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2020/5/13/21256484/china-rocket-debris-africa-uncontrolled-reentry-long-march-5b
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