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Found 18 results

  1. Hi folks, I captured a few shots of Mars and Saturn in the early hours of Monday morning. Unfortunately the Saturn images were waaaay too dark and dim to be useable. Even though they looked bright enough on my laptop screen when I play the avis back now, I realise I needed to bump up the settings significantly before I’d be able to create an image recognisable as Saturn! So anyway, boosted by my attempt earlier in the month with the 2x barlow, I thought I’d have a crack with the 3x. Truthfully I was pushing my luck as the seeing was pretty poor, and very few frames actually captured the round disk of Mars. I believe this explains the ‘mist’ of noise around the planet in the images from both cameras! When I ran the DMK21 version through Registax, I noticed a white splodge on the upper right section of the planet itself. Bit frustrating I thought, but then there’s streetlamps everywhere here and I’m using a £9.99 3x barlow of no known brand, so these things happen. But when I processed the SPC900 version taken about 10 minutes later, it cropped up again, and appeared to have moved a distance relative to the other features on the images, in line with Mars’ rotation. Any ideas? In comparing the cameras, I think these confirm the suspicions I’d formed from the Jupiter images I'd managed earlier in the year, that this camera is very strong in good seeing conditions, and picks up a lot more detail in good seeing than the SPC900 does. However, in poor – average seeing, the SPC900 actually does just as good a job really. I guess ultimately any equipment we have is going to be limited by the atmosphere we have to look through... Can't wait to have another crack at these two fascinating targets, hopefully in better seeing, and when I get my settings right!
  2. Just cos I'm interested... We know Maks are great at planets and lunar. Lets showcase any images that are NOT planets or lunar. Has to be done through a Mak. Any camera setup. Any mount setup. My two first tries are single frames of Dumbbell and Ring nebular from a couple of years ago. Once the clouds clear I intend to try some proper stacked DSO imaging... so this thread is to give me inspiration of the art of the possible...
  3. Walky

    Waxing Gibbous

    From the album: The Moon

    Canon 550D, 250mm, f/13, 1/250, ISO 800,CELESTRON C90
  4. From the album: The Moon

    Canon 550D, 250mm, f/13, 1/250, ISO 800, , MAK celestron C90
  5. Hello there! If someone has a 127 mak, in great condition (and reasonable price), that doesn't use/want anymore, (and he's/she's willing to post to Europe, at buyer's cost) can surely drop me a message! thanks!!!
  6. Here is my little Mak with 3d printed finder/focusser bracket, along with nice red sky-watcher logo
  7. I’ve been enviously watching the detailed Mars images appear here on SGL from the 8+ inch scopes, when my previous efforts over the last couple of weeks have been absolutely awful. You wouldn’t have known it was a planet, it just looked like a small fuzzy splodge, through the SPC900 or the DMK21! I’d been starting to wonder whether that was all I would be able to get on Mars, and I’ve been struggling to reconcile that with the view I had of Mars a couple of years back through the little Mak, where I could see bags of detail (by Mars standards anyway! ). Anyway, just after midnight I set the camera up to run on Jupiter and the moon for a while, before I realised I was about to lose Mars behind a huge tree for an hour or more, so I swung round and had a crack at it. Thought I could see a hint of detail, just a dark patch on the right hand side when I was trying to find the right settings, so figured I must be close. Did 3 runs with different settings, praying the dew didn't get any worse, packed up for the night and came inside. OK, so in hindsight, imaging the ‘Red’ planet in mono means that a certain amount of the wow factor here might have been lost, but I was dancing around like an absolute loon when this popped up in Registax… Far from perfect I know, but a huge ‘personal best’ for me on Mars. The seeing wasn’t great here either, though it wasn't terrible like it has been recently, though most of the frames looked real fuzzy. This gives me some hope that I might even be able to improve a bit more over the coming weeks. This was 5 minutes at 30fps, Exposure -6, Brightness 15, Gamma 97, Gain 809, with a stock Skywatcher 2x barlow, run through PIPP and then stacking the best 20% in Registax. I’ve been on a high ever since! Picked up a couple of reasonable lunar shots as well – I think the DMK21 (which I actually picked up in FLO’s clearance last year, but have had very little time / clear nights to use it) will be amazing on the moon once I get my settings and focus right. Can’t wait for Saturn to rise a little earlier – I tested the camera out very late in the Saturn season when it first arrived last year, and it outperformed the SPC900 by a mile, so even though Saturn isn’t going to be particularly well placed for us this year, I’ll be ready for it!
  8. Walky

    Waxing Gibbous I

    From the album: The Moon

    Canon 550D, 250mm, f/13, 1/250, ISO 800, CELESTRON C90
  9. Walky

    Waxing Gibbous

    From the album: The Moon

    Canon 550D, 250mm, f/13, 1/250, ISO 800,CELESTRON C90, MAK
  10. I've been toying with te idea of getting the skymax 127 for a while, and I've noticed the picture has changed now to one with a rather unsightly green dovetail. https://www.firstlightoptics.com/maksutov/skywatcher-skymax-127-ota.html After seeing this video, I noticed that the older one says Schoot glass on the side, and came with 2" diagonal. The newer version seems to have a 1.25" diagonal now and doesn't have the label on the side. Can anyone confirm this? Would it not using Schott glass anymore have an impact on quality?
  11. Hi all, I have posted in another thread that I have purchased a Celestron StarSense autoalign accessory so I thought I would create a dedicated topic to review it and feed back how I get on with it. I got it from Rother Valley Optics for £295 although I think the price has now gone up to the RRP of £329. There was a slight delay in delivery due to low stock in the UK but to RVO's credit it was only a week which I thought was pretty good. On unboxing I was suprised how much bigger it was than expected. It is very solidly built from good quality plastic and metal - no movement or flexing of the case when gripped or squeezed. In fact if you handle it with your eyes closed you would swear it was solid metal. It is supplied with 2 mounting brackets. The one it comes fitted with is the larger of the two. You may need to change it to the smaller one depending on your scope. According to the manual use the large bracket with: All Celestron Schmidt-CassegrainsAll Celestron EdgeHDsNexStar 4SE Maksutov-Cassegrainand the small bracket with: Celestron 6” f/8.3 RefractorNexStar 102SLT RefractorNexStar 127SLT Maksutov-CassegrainNexStar 130SLT ReflectorAll Celestron Reflectors and Refractors Packaged with the Advanced VX MountAll NexStar GT optical tube assembliesSeveral other optical tubes from other manufacturers which use a similar finder dovetail base.I have a NexStar 127SLT Maksutov-Cassegrain so needed to fit the smaller bracket. The supplied manual gives very clear instructions with photographs that show you how to change the bracket. You need to loosen the allen screw holding the bracket in place and remove the lens shroud by unscrewing it in order to slide the bracket off but it is very simple. Just make sure you put the two large orange washers back either side of the small bracket when you slide it on. Then the lens shroud is screwed back on. It doesn't mention tightening up the allen screw once you have changed the bracket - hopefully most people would work that out for themselves. I wasn't sure what orientation to leave it in but assumed it would need to match the view the scope sees so I rotated it to match once it was attached to the OTA then tightened the screw. There is also a replacement hand control which has the extra functionality to control the StarSense - this replaces the existing NexStar+ hand control and plugs into the same socket on the mount. A new cable is also supplied. That's about it - here are some pictures showing how I changed the bracket and the StarSense mounted on my scope. I'm waiting for a clear evening to try it out now. I'm hoping to video it in action as it aligns itself and if I manage I'll post the results in this topic. I'd also be interested to hear from anyone else who has used it on the Nexstar 127 and especially what orientation they set the device to in it's bracket - perpendicular to the OTA or level with the horizon (so the logo on the back is horizontal). I'm not sure if it makes any difference - maybe the device adjusts for that when it solves the images it takes of the stars. The StarSense as supplied with the large bracket fitted. (AA battery included for scale). With the lens shroud and bracket removed. With the small bracket fitted and lens shroud replaced. Note orange washers either side of bracket. Attached to the OTA (The CDs are not part of my setup - just there to stop it rolling )
  12. Hi, Has anyone tried any of the skywatcher skymax telescopes on the Az4 mount? I guess the finder will be off at 8 o'clock somewhere but is the lack of slow motion control a real stumbling block? Cheers, Dave
  13. From the album: The Moon

    Canon 550D, 250mm, f/13, 1/250, ISO 800, , MAK celestron C90
  14. From the album: The Moon

    Canon 550D, 250mm, f/13, 1/250, ISO 800,, MAK celestron C90
  15. I threw an opinion into the mix in the beginners forum the other night and decided I should expand on my reasoning here. Even somewhere as benign as SGL, you still have to remember this IS the internet. That means opinions repeated enough by people with large post counts, gain credence as fact among the rest of the forum. It does not hurt to challenge that, if only to get people thinking, as long as you do it in a reasoned way. So..... What got me thinking was the humble 8" Dob. For instance, I've noticed that the most recommended scope for a beginner is an 8" Dob; 10" if there's a sniff of the OP having a bit more to spend. The thing is, a rake of this recommendation appears straight off the bat, without further quizzing of the OP, but for most newbies, I think it is wrong. True, a great many people started there and went on to bigger (some might say better) things, but a lot do not. You don't have to be Poirot to notice it's also the most sold scope on Ebay, along with the EPs it came with; reasons (excuses) of needing the space, etc, being given. The ratio of 8" Dobs for sale on Ebay is greater than on here. A lot of people don't stick with it long enough to achieve the fifty posts required for access to the classifieds. Why? Because if you don't know your way around the skies, you'll find it really hard to find stuff and you'll break your back grovelling around doing so. It is also a scope that will likely be way off the mark in collimation out of the box and be harsh on the rather basic EPs* it came with. When I started, my Explorer 200p only showed half the primary when looking down the focuser. They really can arrive that far out of whack and dealers these days are driven by price, so they are extremely unlikely to have seen more than the outside of the box you've been shipped. Few would actually check the scope and if they did, most people would whine they're too expensive. Service costs. So, if you do find something on your first light with your new scope and then pop in the 10mm MA it came with, it will look rubbish. De-collimate your scope with a half decent EP and have a crack at Jupiter. It's not impressive and that's as easy as it gets. For a n00b, it's confusion time. In other words, it's not the most intuitive scope, it has a built in steep learning curve just to get it to work and requires immediate upgrades just to get near what this, admittedly capable scope in the right hands, can deliver. The 8" Dob is best suited to someone who has at least used binos, or a friend's scope. That way, they'll have advice on hand. So my contention is that, in this push button, battery driven age, the ideal beginners scope is a 127mm AZ GOTO Mak. I can hear the hackles rising, so let me justify this. I'm not interested in the cries of 'It needs to be level, it needs to be pointed North!'. That involves a bubble level and the one star everybody knows. People who get the date format wrong should RTFM! Anyway, if this is tricky, how are they going to get along with a Planisphere? No, the learning curve is minimal and when the crisp little optics and it's long FL, which is easy on cheap EPs hits a target, it's going to be a sharp view. If it doesn't hit the target first time, the erstwhile n00b will slew around a bit and unless they're complete attention deficient, will hit the target. This is my point. Getting the first few targets a newcomer sees to be clear, is the hook that keeps them engaged. Jupiter will look good in a Mak. Saturn at any size when sharp is unforgettable. The moon will look amazing and M42, M57, globs, etc, will be good enough to show people there's a universe out there they hadn't even considered. I know an 8" Dob will do these subjects better, but it's not exactly Wow! territory. There are plenty of atmospheric UK nights and particularly from suburban locations, where a 5" Mak might actually do these subjects better. Now I know that hardly anybody reading this will still have their first scope, but if one of these had been, it would still be a great little grab 'n' go, plus a handy mount for an 80mm ED/Apo for the same purpose, plus white light solar, etc, etc. Nobody who starts in the hobby with an 8" Dob stays there. In the long run, rationally, the humble 5" Mak GOTO is a very handy little weapon on a number of levels and one that has uses further down the line. Russell * One of the scopes I bought at a time when my collimation learning curve had long since flattened off, came with the usual 10 & 25mm MAs. For a laugh, I thought I'd give them a go. You know what? In a 300mm F4.9 Dob, they weren't that bad. The deficiency I recalled, was in fact, mostly mine in terms of collimation - It was far easier to blame the EPs and post yet another 'What EP for a n00b' thread....
  16. Hi all, I wrote earlier about a Star Party here in Sweden, now I have been on a second one this year, the MAK or Mariestad Star Party. I took some photos from the party and wrote some text to it for all people that couldn't visit the party, you can see them here: http://www.astrofriend.eu/travel/sweden/mariestad-star-party-2018/mariestad-star-party-2018.html There is also some photos from the travel to the party and back home. I hope some of you can visit Sweden in the future. BR Lars
  17. I've been eagerly awaiting a good clear night to fully try out my Mak 150 and heq5 GOTO mount. Having never had GOTO before it's a bit of a novelty but I've mastered a pretty quick setup using 1 or 2 star alignment. I'm ignoring full on polar alignment at the mo cos I haven't got round to any imaging yet. Early this AM, Buxton, Derbyshire. The last night of our camping weekend saw a fabulously clear night albeit very dew full. Luckily I'd invested in a dew shield so it payed off. My first 2 star alignment went well with Vega and Dubhe. I may stick with these cos they are easy! First target; Jupiter. Outstanding is the only thing I can say. I used the supplied 2" 28mm ep to start with and was amazed at the clarity. Clear banding and 4 moons in FOV. Dropping to my 10mm Baader Ortho didn't do much but make Jupiter bigger but it was still the clearest I've seen it for a while. Next Saturn; Stunning with the 28mm. I have never seen it so clear and absolutely not seen Titan before but there it was. The 10mm was even better. The GOTO both times dropped these planets almost in the centre of the finder and similarly in the ep. Great! Mars; now hidden by trees!! Should've looked at Mars first!!! Note to self. Time was ticking on, cold settling in and things starting to dew over but the scope stayed clear, so, 'Tour' button caught my eye. I rattled through a few items until I got to the Ring Nebula. OMG. Directly in the middle of the ep view, there it was!! I was hooked. GOTO rocks (although it feels very much like cheating!!). I then went on to other familiar Messier objects, each of them appearing without much need for me to adjust anything. I really can't wait to spend a few hours exploring further now. Today, when we got back my Revelation 40mm camera ep had arrived so now I can hopefully get some cracking pictures that the Mak will deliver, both planetary and brighter DSO's. I can't believe I'm saying this but roll on a full moon cos I wanna see what this baby can do with Lunar - and I can hopefully get a pic of it!!!
  18. I am toying with the idea of temporary putting an RDF on my Mak to compliment my RACI using double sided tape for the shoe. can anyone see a problem with this ? Any one done it before?
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