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  1. Hi to all again Being bored with some of my other projects(read that: there's major issues with them), I'm taking a "break" and resurrecting an old one which I've always wanted to start work on. Back in 2016 I purchased from Surplus Shed in the US a small Beseler objective and two other unknown origin eyepiece lens assemblies. The objective sadly seems to no longer be available at Surplus shed but here's a link of it from the WayBack machine. It's a work of art, long FL with amazingly crisp and well colour corrected images given it's size. Front and back element diameters are both 8mm making this roughly an F15 objective, which explains the crispness of the images and overall good quality of the image. At the same time I also got two of these. When they all arrived the objective was in pristine condition however as to the two eyepiece assemblies, well they were in overall awful condition. Brass casing was all green and corroded, on both lenses the front and back elements had grit dust and large deep scratches in them. Don't get me wrong I'm not slagging Surplus shed off, these things can happen and for $5 each you can't really say much. Anyway opened them up and cleaned them to the best of my abilities and they work well enough as they are now. What I wanted to do with them was a very small erecting monocular. Back in 2016 did a few tests to prove it would work and it did, however due to the horrible quality of the two eyepiece lenses I shelved the project. A few days ago went back to Surplus Shed explaining the situation and they were very apologetic about it all and were genuinely sorry. Anyway I mentioned that I'd be ordering two more in the near future and need some assurance that these one will be of reasonable quality optically that is. They assured me they will be scrupulously inspecting each of them before shipping them off so I'm happy with that. I will post some pictures of the Beseler objective later today, it's got a nice screw section at the end making it easy to mount. Don't yet know how I'd mount all of these and what materials I'll use for the tubes. When I did my testing using the two objective lenses I got no chromatic aberration whatsoever and the image was very sharp. The fun thing is that if I want to I could make this zoomable, as adjusting the distance between the erecting element and the eyepiece and then refocusing provides the potential of having a zoom function. Of course due to the small aperture of the objective lens this is not intended for night time use, with the only exception being the Moon as it gave some nice views of the Moon at higher magnifications. This would be used mainly for daytime terrestrial viewing.
  2. Nebulae and Clusters in the North East Quadrant of the Small Magellanic Cloud ( Tucana Constellation ) ( Contains: NGC 292, 299, 306, 330, 346, 361, 371, 395, 411, 416, 422 & IC 1611, 1612, 1624, 1641 ). The Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) is a "small" spiral galaxy about 7000 light years in diameter and is one of our near neighbours. At 'only' around 200,000 light years distance, it shines brightly in the southern sky and is clearly visible to the naked eye even in moderately ligh polluted skies. Links: https://500px.com/MikeODay http://photo.net/photos/MikeODay Details: Image centre ~ RA 1h 2m, Dec -72deg 2' Skywatcher Quattro 10" f4 Newtonian Skywatcher AZ Eq6 GT Mount Orion Short Tube 80mm guide scope & auto guider PHD2 Baader MPCC Mark 3 Coma Corrector & UHC-S 'nebula' filter Nikon D5300 (unmodified) Long exposure noise reuduction on Field of view (deg) ~ 1.35 x 0.90 38 x 200 sec ISO 800 over two nights Pixinsight & Photoshop 11 & 12 October 2015 (re-processed 9 Apr 2016 )
  3. Hi all, It's taken several weekends of graft but I'm finally there, bar a bit of cable tidying. I'd decided to go with the roll-away sentry box style arrangement after seeing a pic in S@N magazine; also andyo was an inspiration with his post - http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/156319-roll-off-shed-not-roof/. The first thing to do was dig a trench to level the ground, with a deeper hole for the pier plinth. In the end I built the plinth with big concrete blocks rather than pouring a single lump - it was much (much) cheaper this way and seems to be pretty solid. I then drilled holes and bolted the EQ6 pillar to this plinth using some M16 (I think?) bolts and Rawlplug's R-Kem concoction. Next was the decking, which went on a frame built over and around the plinth hole so it'd be secure all around the pier. I made sure my extension cable was poking up between pier and decking before screwing it down I then added buffers at either end and some rails to keep the shed rolling in the right place. The shed itself is 4 foot square; I wanted the whole build to be as small as possible so it wouldn't dominate the garden! To start with I sliced a hole just wide enough for the pier in the base, added a bunch of reinforcing blocks of wood, and used 12 wheels to support the shed. I then came up with a way of bolting the shed base to the ground in both positions - this would keep the thing held down during the endless Dartmoor storms, and make it a tad easier to build the shed in the first place. For this I used the original EQ6 feet as the big heads would make it easy to screw and unscrew by hand. Once the shed was built it was easy to roll the whole thing smoothly into and out of position, keeping within the rails and stoppng at the buffers so it doesn't touch the pier. A bit of tidying up and it's all done! Next steps will be to paint all the sticking-up bits white so I avoid auto-kebabbage in the dark. Here's a close up of one of the foot bolts holding it all down: ...and here are a couple of photos of the completed shed in 'closed' and 'observe' mode: Anyway I hope this might help some of you if you have similar plans. Of course I'm yet to actually use the observatory....yes, Storm Desmond is my fault...sorry. Jim
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