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Found 44 results

  1. 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
  2. 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?
  3. Hi i was wondering how many of you do sketching? I’ve tried to find some sites to help me get an idea on how it can be done but slightly struggling. For example what type of pencils and paper are preferred is it better to draw on black paper or white? I won’t have goto on my Mount when my scope comes so not sure if it will make it harder without one.Obviously I need a red torch as well. Would like to get some good sketches of the moon and clusters first and then galaxies/nebula and spend a good amount of time on sketching an object. If you have any tips It would be much appreciated also if possible would like to see some samples of sketches that you’ve done
  4. Hi, i was wondering do any of you wear eyepatches when you observe through you scope ( Covering the unused eye) the reason I bring this up is I was thinking if it would produce less strain instead of squinting and probably a better view! or you could put it over the observing eye and stop it from getting the night vision ruined. wonder how many pirate observers there are.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. Hi, The link below is for the night sky next week, in the Southern Hemisphere. Because the Moon will be up, it focuses on the Moon, Jupiter, Mars and a few clusters. The night sky for 22-28 January 2018
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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.
  11. I was discussing with a fellow stargazer, during a cloud induced intermission over a few drams the other evening, the merits of the QHY Polemaster and an interesting question popped up. Would it be in QHY's interest to collaborate with a mount vendor and package their Polemaster product with that vendor's mounts? Their is a key argument against such a move that being that QHY could probably make more selling individual units to the market than via such a collaborative effort. Would be interested to hear fellow forum members views on this topic. Kind Regards Paul.
  12. 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.
  13. I had a moment of optical understanding this past weekend. Our stargazing group were away at our favourite dark skies site in the Scottish Highlands for an observing weekend. Weeks prior to this I swapped out the old phillips collimation screws on my 8" EdgeHD for a set of Bob's Knobs knowing that I would need to re-collimate after the installation. Sure enough the optics were way out, I spent the next 3 weeks waiting for a weather break that I could take advantage of. Sadly no such opportunities arose to get the scope collimated, the result being that I knew I had a collimating exercise to go through before I would be able to carry out any observing. So on arriving at our observing site, I immediately set up an artificial star at about 90ft distance from the scope (being new to collimating an SCT I wanted a stationary target to work with), and set about collimation. After about 20 mins at about 200 mag, I believed I had the collimation decently in order. Following recomended procedure I then bumped the mag up higher (about 400), and with the typical degree of defocus things still looked good, I then proceeded to bring things into focus. As I adjusted the focuser closer and closer to focus I noticed that one corner of the image seemed to be coming into focus significantly sooner than the others, resulting in the typical comatic image of an uncollimated set of optics. I compared this image from memory to what I had been experiencing prior to installing the Bob's Knobs and thought that in all honesty this was pretty close to what I was getting before installation of the Bob's Knobs (I received the scope second hand from a recognised vendor in London, that unfortunately went out of business about 6 months later. I should also note at this point that up until this occassion I had not been able to collimate the scope due to the screws being seized in position). Was I happy with this level of collimation accuracy? Not really. Unfortunately I was now running out of daylight and wanted to start prepping for the nights observing. I hummed and hawed about what to do, live with what I believed was a tolerable image, or persist with collimation and risk compromising what I already had. Having read up considerably on the collimation procedure I had heard people referring to '...seeing an Airy disk...' and what I was seeing was certainly not that, so I determined to try and get things better. After a further 20 mins or so of tinkering, I believed I had the defocused image much more concentric, and proceeded to bring things into focus. As I wracked the focuser closer and closer to focus, I noticed that there was still a little variation in concentricity of the diffraction pattern, a little more adjustment was required. Then proceeding to focus, I noticed each outer fresnel ring disappear until I only had a central bright spot and two unbroken rings... Eureka!!!... so thats what an airy disk looks like. Further movement into focus and the remaining rings just disappeared simultaneously and I was left with a pinpoint image of the artificial star. At this point I locked the primary (observing focusing is done solely with a Baader Steeltrack). The moral of the story? Have the courage of your convictions. Proof was in the pudding that night as we experienced some excellent sky transperancy, seeing wasn't perfect but the double cluster in my newly collimated scope was just simply mind blowing, this is the first time I have seen the scope perform to the level implied by its name, pin-point stars from edge to edge across the entire field of view. Thanks for Reading Paul.
  14. As the weather is bad, I thought that I would count up the number of nights out observing that I have to done over the last 4 years (from my notes). To keep it fair I just counted the first 9 months of the year for comparison. Here are my results... 2017 (Jan 1 - Oct 1) = 44 nights 2016 (Jan 1 - Oct 1) = 30 nights 2015 (Jan 1 - Oct 1) = 22 nights (moved house which affected count) 2014 (Jan 1 - Oct 1) = 63 nights 1. I knew last year was bad but you can see just how bad it was 2. 2014 was a great year for clear nights. 3. This year is not as bad as I thought . In fact 50% better than last year - Hurrah! Hope this clears you all up a bit! Alan
  15. 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 🌌✨💫🔭🎨
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Check out my website

    Recently I made my own website based on astronomy, and I have just posted my 2nd post. I would really appreciate if you checked it out, and gave me some feedback and maybe even some tips and tricks for making a website. https://myastronomyjourney.wordpress.com/
  19. 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
  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. 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.
  22. 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😃
  23. 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
  24. Seems to have come round again very quickly! The latest edition of the Binocular Sky Newsletter is ready. Despite the short, not-very-dark nights, as well as the usual overview of DSOs, variable and double stars, this month we have: * χ Cyg is brightening nicely * Neptune and Uranus are now becoming observable * We have the grand total of 3 observable lunar occultations To grab your (free!) copy, or to subscribe, log on to http://binocularsky.com and click on the Newsletter tab
  25. The latest edition of the Binocular Sky Newsletter is ready. As well as the usual overview of DSOs, variable and double stars, owing to the very short period of darkness this month we only have a few lunar occultations and not a lot else. Nevertheless, I hope you find it useful. To grab your free copy, or to subscribe, log on to http://binocularsky.com and click on the Newsletter tab.
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