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Found 46 results

  1. I am considering buying a Skywatcher al/az+eq mount to use in alt az mode for lunar CCD photography. I currently have a celestron 11 CDC and a celestron 8 on a nexstar evo mount. I can use both these telescopes with the celestron 'solar system align' and sharp cap for short (~10 sec 300-500 frame) captures. I want to replace the nexstar evo mount for the C8 with a sturdier Skywatcher AZ-EQ 5GT mount BUT - 1) the altz/az option is supposed to be 'for visual use'. Does this mean its tracking in lunar rate/alt-az mode is very poor ? 2) I am confused about 'alignment' (is this only necessary to accurately access the database of interesting object positions?) The skywatcher mount does not have solar system align - but it does have lunar rate tracking in alt-az mode. If I align on any random stars in lunar rate+alt-az mode with the moon centred in the telscope will the mount then track the moon? If not ,is there another way to track the moon ?
  2. POLAR ALIGNMENT IF THE POLE STAR IS OBSTRUCTED (e.g. OBSERVING ON A S-FACING BALCONY!!!) Set up your scope on the floor (assuming it's reasonably level) in equatorial mode, with a rough guess at North. Put the tube into whatever 'home' position the instructions specify, or that you have chosen. Now choose an easily recognisable bright star at mid altitude. Pretend you HAVE polar aligned, and tell the scope to go to this star. When the slewing stops lift the scope very gently and turn the mount round till the star is in the centre of the field of view and you should have a fairly good polar alignment. If you are for example videoing planets and can also autoguide, this alignment may be all you need. But you can now refine it by the drift method if you need to - see https://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-resources/accurate-polar-alignment/ This method should be quite useful for Southern hemisphere observing, where the 'south pole star' - Sigma Octantis - is difficult to find especially in light polluted skies. And of course my advice here applies if you have a North-facing balcony!
  3. Hi all, not sure where else to post this, but I've managed to secure access to a handful of pretty good observing sites over the years I've been at this, and wondered if anyone in the Dorset area is interested in sharing them or perhaps arranging meet-ups/stargazing sessions. I don't want to post the locales publicly, as a couple are on farms to which I've been granted access. I kinda wish there was a Dorset community sub-forum, but I don't think the mods are too keen on expanding that section of the site. Anyway, let me know if you're interested. Kev
  4. Well, I was finally able to put the newly repaired Sphinx through its paces over the weekend, Saturday night turned out a bit of a bust weather wise, however it gave me the advantage of already being set up for the following evening which was a completely different story. Sunday...? Transparency not all that great, (perhaps NELM variable 3 to 5) and with a half moon shining, not ideal conditions for deep sky observing, however was still able to bag a few old favourites, including M53, M13, M92 and M51, M81 & 82. Then spent the next two hours exploring some galaxies in Canes Venatici, Coma And Virgo. Managed to pick up M63 - The Sunflower Galaxy, NGC 4565 - The Needle Galaxy, M64 - The Blackeye Galaxy, M104 - The Sombrero Galaxy, NGC 4631 - The Whale Galaxy, NGC 4559, M84 and M86 from Markarians Chain, The Leo Triplet and M87 - Virgo A, plus a whole host of other NGCs. Not much in the way of detail, (mainly due to variable conditions), they pretty much all lived up to their names as ‘faint fuzzies’, but nonetheless a most rewarding couple of hours. The Sphinx performed spectacularly, with each goto resulting in the target well within the FOV. The most gratifying aspect of the evening was the integration of the Avalon X-Guider into the ensemble, getting the main scope and finder dialled in is just so much easier now. Also the laser pointer performed its function perfectly as well, that being to improve efficiency of initial star alignment. All in all a most enjoyable two hours or so of observing. Date: 2018 03 25 22:00 to 00:00 Wind: None NELM: Variable 3 to 5 Seeing: II Antoniadi Restrictions: 1/2 Moon to SW Scope: C8 EdgeHD with modified longer focal length due to 2” Crayford and Diagonal. Aperture: 200mm FL: Approx 3200mm FR: F16 Eyepiece: 22mm T4 Nagler: Mag: 3200/22 = 145 AFOV: 82 Deg TFOV: 34’ Exit Pupil: 22/16 = 1.3mm
  5. Well, this happened to me last night. I was packing up at around 11 (a combination of chilly breeze, being a bit tired anyway, and the sky being a bit hazy). I was at a spot (the Cerne Abbas Viewpoint), where, on average, I must have been at least once a month over the past five years, when I saw a car approaching, fast, from the direction of the village. Something about it made be stop getting into my car and watch it, and, as I sort of expected, it swerved quickly off the main road, and swept into the car park, pulling to a stop right behind my car, blocking me in. A police officer got out and immediately a spotlight in the roof was shone in my face! The police officer asked me what I was doing, to which I replied 'stargazing', and opened the back door to show her the dob across the back seat. Immediately, the atmosphere changed. She said, 'oh ... would you look at that! See much? See anything nice? This is a good spot, isn't it? Well you can't be too careful, what with this being a secluded spot and all ...' Anyway, she then asked me for my name, and where I lived, and that was it ... she got back in the car and they left! I've been left feeling very odd ever since. Clearly they were on a mission, and came right to the car park (it definitely wasn't a case of just passing by and noticing me). Someone definitely called them, having decided I was up to no good! Anyway, as I said, it feels odd now, the police having my name and address as a result. Kev
  6. Richard Hather

    Observing Hood

    Purchased this hood from R-Sky a few weeks ago because I felt my hoodie wasn't sufficient for the job and at £29 I thought it was money well spent. How right I was, the hood easily blocks out all light and allows me to observe with both eyes open the quality of the material is excellent very well made. It has 3 buttons for different sizes and also keeps you warm as a added bonus. You can also purchase the solar hood which would be also high quality. In conclusion if your tired of neighbours lights or reflections of your scope or just want to observe with both eyes open then you can do a lot worse. Clear skies
  7. ShrewView

    Decisions decisions

    So, I’ve set the scope out in the garage to cool but now I’m trying to weigh up the pros and cons of observing tonight. Pro - It’s the last clear spell forecast here for a week so I might regret not taking the chance. Con - Its -3 already and only going down from here. Pro - The seeing was great last night. Spent a couple of hours on the moon at over 450x! Very stable and detailed so it decided to max out by barlowing my 3.2mm BST to give over 700 for a test and although that was less detailed it was still acceptable, so wouldn’t want to miss conditions like that again. Con - Moon is very full now so perhaps a little less to interest me. Pro - I’d have managed 11 nights this month which ties with my best for a February. Con - Work again tomorrow and I’ve been a little tired all day from last night. So a bit of a tie so far. Anyone else in a quandary tonight?
  8. My regular news-sheet for binocular observers, the Binocular Sky Newsletter for August 2012, is now available: http://binocularsky.com/newsletter/201208.pdf There is also a printer-friendly version: http://binocularsky.com/newsletter/201208p.pdf
  9. Polar Bear

    Star Party Virgin

    The summer equinox has passed and people are looking forward to Star Parties. I have never been to one, don't know what to expect, have never met the participants. As a solitary observer tucked away in my small North West garden I have been happy to gaze the night skies alone (Mrs Polar Bear often pops out for high mag views of the Moon and Planets) but otherwise I enjoy my own company and get along very well with myself. So I have taken the plunge and committed to attend CSP9 oop North in Cumbria. Watching the CSP9 thread develop I noticed comforting words such as friendly, whisky, bacon butties, and with a host called delilahtwinkle what could go wrong? Being a tent snob, and loving Glamping my 'usual' nights out are spent in a Cabanon that is the size of a Jovian Moon and takes 2 people an hour to set up. Not ideal, so ebay to the rescue and luckily a smaller Cabanon (think Europa vs Ganymede comparison) was found just up the road from me. Sleeping will be the usual twin air bed and duvets, a single burner will suffice for snacks, unsure as to whether to take the BBQ and the fold away hanging wardrobes ! So camping equipment sorted, onto the scope. Easy decision as I only own one (this week) so the C8 will be coming. Do you put the scopes away each day? unsure, so I found a new moped cover on the local car boot for £3.00 that will do the trick of protecting it. Red light etiquette is an unknown to me, I always observe at home amongst the fairy lights strewn around the garden. As a smoker I worry about lighters, do they affect dark adapted vision? Can I open my car door or do I need to shield the interior lights if I do? So much to learn regarding Star Party etiquette. I am really looking forward to it, and to meeting up with like minded individuals (whisky drinkers) :wink:
  10. Stupid question time! My 2" Altair dielectric diagonal has a thread on the tube end that inserts into my Skywatcher ST120 telescope, so if I buy a new 2" filter to use I assume that I can screw the 2" inch filter in here OK so I can then use either my 2" EP I have, or with my 1.25" adapter inserted into the diagonal also with all my 1.25" EPs to right? None my other 1.25" diagonals has a thread at that end of it, so can't test any of my 1.25" filters like this with any of my current equipment line-up,
  11. DeepSkyMan

    Miracles do Happen

    Well, miracles do happen, just spent an evening with the bins under my first half decent local clear skies of 2017. Bagged the following objects in two stints M81, M82, M92, M13, M3, M42, M45, M31, then later on between 23:00 and 00:30, Jupiter, M44, M51, Leo triplet (very faint with averted vision), M53, NGC5053 and a whole host of very faint unidentifiable smudges in the coma and Virgo regions. Most pleased about M51 and the Leo triplet, first time I've managed to see these with the 15x85 binoculars
  12. Hi, After using Stellarium on my tablet for helping me find stuff with binoculars. I was wondering on the PC version is it possible to see the FOV through a certain telescope? Have been using something similar https://astronomy.tools/ but was wondering if it’s possible in stellarium . I know there is a telescope tab but not sure how it works, I was wondering if there are any other programs like this that you recommend . Any help will be appreciated PS Sorry if I e posted this in the wrong section.
  13. Knighty2112

    The Stargazer's Notebook

    After wanting to start a good log book for astronomy of any interesting observations etc that I make, and wanting also to start to sketch some of the things I see through my scopes, I looked for a astronomer's notebook to help me do this. I found this from Amazon by Paul Abel, however as I really didn't know what the contents was actually like, I got a new copy from another seller listed on Amazon for just £3.78 which included the price of postage too. It arrived this morning in good condition, with just a small imprint on the cover where something has pressed into it, but this is a small niggle as you can only see it close up really. If I had paid the full price wanted by Amazon I would have requested a replacement no doubt, but as it is I can live with it. I'v added a few images of the contents and the report pages for anyone who might be interested in one too.
  14. Hello, The link below is a round up of the southern sky in January from the point of view of Wellington in New Zealand. We’ve tried to capture a bit of a cultural flavour too with some of the night sky descriptions that are relevant to Māori. So if anyone is heading down to the Southern Hemisphere in January then be sure to have a look at some of the objects - if you’re already in the Southern Hemisphere, you might find it useful too. Here it is :The January 2018 Night Sky. Sam
  15. I saw a pretty clear sky on Monday 8th Febuary. I decided to set up the new ( new to me!! ) 300 mm Skywatcher truss tube dobsonian in the back garden and get some practice collimating and give some of my new ep's a workout. I love the fact that I can be set up in just a few minutes with this scope - for me that is a big plus. After purchasing a new SUV ( not entirely unrelated to the purchase of aforementioned new scope ) I will be heading out as soon as I can to the resevoir my astronomy group use which has darker skies than my back garden can ever hope to provide. Despite my record set up time the clouds had rolled in. Never mind - I shall get to collimating. With my old 6" and 8" reflectors it was an easy task as even after a night out in the wild they held collimation brilliantly. The larger aperture of the 12" means a lot more movement of the primary mirror while handling it. For this task I have a cheap laser collimator I purchased from E-bay. It seems to work well enough for visual astronomy and certainly provides crisp and clear views. This was also done very quickly and for my perseverance the cloud gods rewarded me with an hour and a half of relatively clear sky which was a nice surprise, especially in Edinburgh, Scotland. Indeed to see anything but clouds this season is a real win. I've pretty much only got a South-Western view ( besides the zenith ) which is great at this time of year as one of my favourite winter objects is in full view - M42. Zeroed in my Telrad and wee RACI finder and aquired it with my SW 28mm Nirvana ( Thanks Lorne ) and it was great to see pin sharp stars and some nebulosity at 53x magnification. Changed up to my ES 100 degree 20mm and the view was really stunning at 75x. Next in I used both SW Nirvana 16mm and 7mm. The 7mm gave me 214x and although a lot of people ( quite rightly ) think that is too much on a nebula I would have to disagree - the effect was almost like being in that cloud of dust and gas and I could see the trapezium stars like never before. After that I chucked on my new 4.5mm TV Delos at 333x and although this was far too much power for the atmospheric conditions in the seconds of clear seeing the dark gas was really visible against background. It was fair zipping across the fov but a worthwhile observation nevertheless. My girlfriend Jahmila has been getting more interested since popping up to the resevoir at the end of last year and looking through one of the guys telescope at some star clusters and double stars. She had asked if we could have a look at m45 so back out came the 28mm Nirvana. Now, some of these eps weigh a fair bit so after some advice from you guys I purchased magnetic taxi plate holders - 2 of them weigh just over 500 grams and this seems to be enough to balance out the scope even with the 28mm monster which weighs in at a mighty 1000 grams. We had a look through and the massive 82 degree afov ( which provides 1.53 degrees of actual sky ) and really let us see a lot of the open cluster and also gives you that "spacewalk" feeling I keep hearing about. That ep and the Explore Scientific 20mm at 100 degrees afov ( or 1.3 degrees tfov ) really give you the impression of being in space as the fov is so wide you don't notice the edges at all. That was enough cold for Jah though so I began using M45 to look for any coma which is the reason I wanted to upgrade my ep's having purchased a big, fast scope which can be very unforgiving on some eyepieces. Skywatcher Nirvanas have 72 degree afov and are really crisp and clear almost right out to the edge with maybe a little coma in the last 5 percent. To be fair I just do visual and had never noticed coma before as I tend to keep things quite well centred. The same with the ES 100 degree - Fantastic views and great contrast with a little coma present in stars at the very edge of the field. The Televue Delos has a 72 degree apparent field of view ( 0.21 degrees tfov ) with zero coma present. I noticed that it makes the background very dark compared to the others which makes for a nice contrasty view but I would need to use this ep on the moon and planets more to see how it performs on the objects it's meant to be used on. I am delighted to add these 4 gems to my collection as it will really help me bring out more detail in some of the DSO's which I will be looking for over the next month or so. I purchased everything in my collection, including my 80mm travel refractor and 305mm dob, second hand from Astro Buy and Sell, Secondhand Astronomy Equiptment on Facebook and from the classifieds here on SGL. It's always worth having a browse through these sites because you never know what you will find. Astronomy doesn't always need to break the bank if you are patient. For any of you that know me, you realize that I am in no way an expert in anything astronomy related - I am only in my 2nd season ( and what a terrible season it has been so far ) but I wanted to post regarding these ep's on a fast scope as I know it can catch some people out, especially when you are starting to upgrade your kit. I was caught out with some Hyperion ep's which work well on my wee travel frac but were just terrible on my 8" newt and not exactly cheap either. I am selling through some other, now, unused ep's to fund a light shroud and some other accessories ( tables, ground and insulating sheets, dew shields and observing chairs ) which will make observing sessions more comfortable in the future so I will be sure to keep you posted on how useful they turn out to be. Keep looking up All the best Andy
  16. perseus2

    IAAC

    Does anyone know where the IAAC (internet amateur astronomers catalog) disappeared to? The thousands of reports were all at least 10 years old, but it was a useful data base. Andrew
  17. Had a superb night last night / this morning at Seething. From about 00:30 to about 02:30 (just before the clouds and rain hit). Milky Way was superb, could easily see constellations that I struggle to see from home such as Sagitta. Andromeda and Double Cluster visible naked eye too. Haven't had many nights like that for some time. Used the "precise GoTo" function on my 5SE mount to see Uranus and Neptune - at about 02:18 the ISS made a very very bright pass too - awesome. Think that the massive thunderstorms and torrential rain we had during the afternoon must have "cleaned" the air. More nights like this please. Chris
  18. Hello, last night was the second clear night in a row. Quite rare here in Ireland! I took my telescope out side to set it up when I noticed something amazing! I inserted my 25mm eyepiece into my LCM to focus it ( I haven't even moved the tube yet ) when I noticed I placed my telescope bang on in the direction of the Orion Nebula! It was only a couple of arc seconds of the center. I was amazed but since I was looking at the Orion nebula I figured I should start my two star align with a star in Orion, so the two stars I aligned were Rigel and Deneb since they are nearly polar opposites at the moment. Also, when I was trying to center Rigel in my finder scope, a dazzling meteor fell through the atmosphere passing through Orion's belt, followed by another passing near Betelgeuse and another near Gemini. For the hour and a half I was outside I seen about 10 meteorites, very cool! I started my session by continuing to look for Messier objects I can see to add to my list.The objects I observed last night were Messier 35 in Gemini, 36 and 37 in Auriga, 50 in Monoceros and 67 in Cancer. All beautiful open star clusters. I then observed some regular stars such as Sirius, Meissa, Procyon, and Beta Canis Minor. Sadly even though it was clear and I live atop a hill, I was aware of a huge fog devouring my quaint, quiet town. And by 12:35 AM this fog reached me and the only thing I could see was my telescope and my hands. I could barely see the neighbors house it was that thick! But I enjoyed my night and I hope you enjoyed reading. Clear skies Adam
  19. Rhushikesh-Canisminor

    Need tips for solar outreach events

    Hello! So I need little bit help to make my solar outreach events better. Usually most of my solarsolevents events have been for schools and little bit for general public But now I am going more towards college students and arranging events specific for solar observation. (It used to be more like complimentary with night sky observations) Since I am not a science student (learning physics by myself only), I don't have exact idea about what topics should I cover in theory. (Also what should I learn as well) Usually I take a projected image of the sun using my 90mm refractor and do H-alpha observation using my Lunt 50mm telescope. As for theory, I cover little bit about nuclear fusion, sun as a magnet, little bit about solar spectrum. If time allows then I refer Sun's images like magnetogram and all to have a better idea. Any suggestions would be helpful! Because it looks like I am still the only one here taking H-alpha observationsobservation. P.s. I will be putting up this question in solarchat as well. But more help will be better! Thanks! EDIT : currently I am thinking about adding a small radio telescope. Also, looking out for something to make so that I can see the solar spectrum much better.
  20. Aside from Mizar and Alcor are there and good and bright doubles near the Plough? I'm using an ST80 and I have city skies...
  21. I recently posted about my first successful collimation experience (an SCT). I'm sure we all have our stories, of those moments when we perceived optical clarity. Come on everyone tell us of those collimation 'eureka' moments and your experience of your first observing session immediately following. Paul.
  22. Rhushikesh-Canisminor

    DIY refractor for solar projection questions

    Hello! My friend and I are trying to make a DIY refractor based telescope which will be used only for solar projection as our personal monsoon project. We don't have any specific plan yet but roughly this is the idea : suppose an 80mm achromat f/10 (or similar) with a zoom eyepiece attached to a Sun funnel. (Or similar) My major concern is the heat build up in the scope. I use my 90mm f/10 refractor for solar projection and within 15 min I can sense the heat built up inside. Any ideas or suggestions on this? Are there any specific coatings which can work for heat reduction? Any thoughts are welcome! P.S. I am from Mumbai region and summer temperature does rise up to 40+ degree Celsius. Also,I don't want to have a telescope smaller than 70-80mm aperture.
  23. crcooney

    Pluto

    Ok guys, So I was reading an article in Astronomy magazine about finding and viewing Pluto. According to them, Pluto can be viewed with an 8" scope and great conditions coming up next week to mid July....supposedly. It will be transiting nearly in front of a star (I'll have to find the SAO #, don't have the magazine with me at the moment) making it a little easier to find I'm guessing? I haven't seen any posts about the little fella (didn't look very hard). So who has seen it? I'm imagining a dark shadow about the size of a grain of sand. I have an 8se and I plan driving a little ways to get to high ground and better my chances if future skies cooperate. But not gonna try if it wouldn't be worth it.
  24. cs1cjc

    Weekends for Observing

    My partner and I seem to spend a lot of weekends away with friends and family and too often I fail to take a telescope. Further, these weekends seem to be the ones nearest to new moon and the sky is inevitably clear. To manage this in future, I have drawn up a list of Saturdays with midnight closest to the new moon for marking on the calendar in advance. Where the new moon is on a Wednesday I also indicate that the previous weekend (-7) or following weekend is also good (7). I am sure we will still go away at these times, but at least it will be done in the knowledge that I may be missing dark observing time. The list of Saturdays through to the end of 2015 follows (and I hope it is correct...). 2013-11-02 2013-11-30 2013-12-28 2014-02-01 2014-03-01 2014-03-29 2014-04-26 2014-05-24 -7 2014-06-28 2014-07-26 2014-08-23 2014-09-20 2014-10-25 2014-11-22 2014-12-20 2015-01-17 2015-02-14 -7 2015-03-21 2015-04-18 2015-05-16 2015-06-13 2015-07-18 7 2015-08-15 2015-09-12 2015-10-10 2015-11-07 -7 2015-12-12
  25. Not much chance of any actual observing in the coming days, so instead I've been thinking of targets to look for when the weather finally improves. I was browsing around on SkySafari on the iPad and noticed that there's a globular cluster in Cygnus - M56. I realised I'd never seen it, and I sort of wondered how I'd missed the fact that there's a glob so well-placed at this time of year. So, that's top of the list. I'm also keen to have a go at M33 through my 4" refractor - I've only ever seen it in binoculars before, and a few months ago I failed miserably to see it at all in my 10" Dob at 50x. I suspect it's just too large and diffuse to show up against the skyglow with that setup, so I'm wondering if the 4" at 20x will be a better bet. There are a few others I'm keen to see, mainly drawn from the Moore Winter Marathon which I'm about halfway through at the moment. Hopefully I'll be able to report some success at some point soon...
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