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Got my Skywatcher 250 FlexTube! :)

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Another night under the stars  :shocked:

We drove out a bit this time, not too far, to a "secondary" dark-site... still light polluted, but not as much.. (and definitely no street-lamps overhead).

Hopefully sometime soon I'll go to a completely dark site (

Saturn! ...BAM!!

Might be the most impressive thing I've seen.. 

For some reason, I could focus on Saturn really well with the 4mm eyepiece. Something that didn't work as well with Jupiter last night.

I could see it really good. It was amazing... I could make out a pale brownish band across it, and the rings were spectacular. I could see a tiny bit of the shadow they cast on Saturn itself. 

Our jaws were on the floor. 

There was also an open-field Rave party going on nearby, probably due to the meteor shower (which we were lucky enough to see 3 meteors streaks with the naked eye while we were there, and it had to be just the absolute beginning of the shower! too bad it's morning here during the main event).

Some strangers drove up to where we were, thinking the party was there, so we told them where it was... but as they started turning around, I called out to them:

- "Wanna see Saturn?"

- "Hehe... Can you really see it?"

- "Come take a look and see"

So we were joined by 5 people, showing them Saturn at high power (4mm). I aligned Saturn and the first person looked through the scope... and I think it took his eye some time to focus, but then he was like: "Oh yeah... oh wow".

And then Saturn went out of the field of view, so I re-aligned it for the next person, and she was also pretty amazed.. and they went one by one, some wanted a 2nd look, and then they thanked us and left.

It was pretty awesome  :grin:

Then we pointed the telescope to another planet...

Mars!

We viewed Mars only though the 4mm eyepiece.

It was like a ball of light, but if you looked really closely, there were parts which are a little less bright than other parts. I can only assume those are really faint hints of surface area.

I guess I need more magnification (and a darker site) to see it better.

Some questions please  :laugh:

I noticed that some time into the session (maybe 2 [or 2.5] hours), some dew has started to form on the primary mirror.

It didn't really look like the secondary mirror had dew on it (when I removed the eyepiece and looked directly at the mirror), but I may be wrong.

And the finder scope and eyepiece front lens were also covered in dew, but it's an easy fix in their case...

1) Will a shroud prevent the primary mirror from dewing up? If not, is there another way? I'll also try to search around about that..

2) Is there some way to clear the dew on the primary mirror after it has formed? 

3) What is the best way to find a specific star? :) I was trying to look at Altair (just because it sounds like my last name) 

It was high up at the sky, and I tried to aim the telescope to the general direction... then I looked through the finder-scope... I saw a LOT more stars lol ..I had no idea which one I'm searching for.. 

I tried to find the brightest one, but there were a few of them... and that's assuming I aimed the telescope in the general direction correctly...

Is there a way I'm missing here to do this?

Thank you all! 

All the help is muuuuch appreciated

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Congratulations on your new scope and welcome to the Dob Mob! I'm sure you'll have lots of fun with it.

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Sounds like another good session, it really gives you a buzz to show someone else what has excited you, couldn't do better than start with Saturn.

You say that you had problems finding Altair, have you aligned the finder accurately? If you have then Altair will be by far the brightest star in view.

As to dew I'll leave others who have a similar scope to answer but one thing I do when dew is a problem is replace the caps on the finder when not in use.

Good luck and keep telling us of your adventures.

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Thanks, Alan.

I think the finderscope was aligned pretty good... but I guess I need more practice, and to get to know the sky a bit better  :laugh:

Speaking of practice and uncertainties... I tried to observe Neptune in a quick session...

Could it be that I managed to aim the telescope correctly and actually observe it from my front yard?? (4mm)

Seems wayyyy too good to be true... but it's hard for me to tell...

zWoPQds.jpg

(Taken with an iPhone held against the eyepiece... no DSLR yet, due to my brother's bad memory lol)

I'm feeling like I'm getting sucked into this "hobby"  :p

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I've done a few reading-up and was glad to realize that a shroud will help with the primary mirror dew,

so I'll buy some black camping mats soon and make a shroud and a dew-shield.

That will at least bring me to a solid-tube level of dew protection.. I'd look into a fan if I still have dew issues.

I also looked into Chromatic Aberration, since I thought I was experiencing some... From what I know, a reflector shouldn't have this issue, so I assumed the fault lies in the Eyepieces.

But in my search, I've come across a term I wasn't familiar with: Atmospheric Prismatic Dispersion.

I think this might be what I'm experiencing.. I need to take a better look to see if I only see it in really bright objects (right?)... I think it can be seen in the last picture I posted. And I also saw it on the edge on the moon last night (during moon-rise).

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How do you all usually move around your ~10" telescopes? (from inside the house to the backyard).

I hope I'm not damaging the scope when I'm picking it up fully assembled, from the 2 adjustment handle-bars...

Would it be better (for the scope) to take it off from the mount each time, then take the mount outside, and then take the scope outside?

Thanks.

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I move my dob in two parts. Not sure how much heavier/bulkier it is compared to a 10" though. But I think I'd do the same with a 10" just to be safe (and 8 or 6 for that matter).

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I move the 6" in one piece, mainly because I can and it's a faff to make 2 journeys (lazy!).  The 10" I definitely move in 2 pieces, mainly because it's heavier, but also because it's wider and I worry about bashing it on the door frame.

Great to read your reports, we bought the 10"/250 flextube secondhand a little while ago, so learning alongside you   :grin:

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Hey, that's awesome  :grin:

And thanks for the replies,

I think I'll start moving it to the yard in two parts, just to be on the safe side.. 

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Just to clarify though..

was I putting too much stress on the tube by lifting all that weight up in one piece from the tension handles?

thanks 

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Great choice and a cracking scope which will give you lots of fun and show you loads and some very good advise given there.with mine i had a few niggles...when extending the tube only one of the ball bearings would lock in place and if let go it would have fallen back down but yours seems ok.also when viewing close to the horizon with a weighty eyepiece it can become top heavy even when fully locked up.. so some counter weights come in handy.but for all the extras i have bought the one i would"t be without is a telrad which makes finding objects so much easier.   enjoy

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Yeah, I also noticed that the tube can become top heavy at shallow angles.. but if I tighten the other handle a bit (which is usually kinda loose) when I go to shallow angles, then it seems to help.

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Counterweights do definitely sound like a good idea - have to hold it up when observing Saturn!  Love my Telrad - I have different bases fitted to my scopes so I can use the Telrad no matter which scope is out.  Limited places to fit it on the flextube but it does sit nicely next to the finderscope.

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Just to clarify though..

was I putting too much stress on the tube by lifting all that weight up in one piece from the tension handles?

thanks 

I lift mine like that if  moving it short distances through the garden.  mine is 8 months old, no signs of breaking yet by lifting it like that. Seems okay to me, but a mount can always be remade  if it comes to it a few years down the line :smiley:

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Lousy seeing conditions here in the past few days, feeling like I'm going through withdrawal or something  :p

Jupiter looks like a boiling ball of blurry light? I can still make out a couple of moons there... give me just one.. more.. moon.. 

lol  :grin:

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As the weather is clearing up, I've made myself a simple "astronomy portal" which aggregates information from 7Timer! about the seeing conditions at each desired site,

and I also embedded a widget that shows the current moon phase, and I've pulled an RSS news feed from Space.com (although I'm looking for an RSS news feed which focuses on observing), 

and a links section that currently links to my calendar at CalSky (bummer they don't have an open api).

It started out when I looked for a way to show a bunch of 7Timers in one place, but couldn't find it anywhere (I was sure there would be an option on the 7Timer website itself, but no...)

Later I noticed there are Android / iPhone / WindowsPhone apps that use the 7Timer api, so I assume it's possible there, but since I work in-front of a computer most of the time (programmer...), I wanted it in my browser  :grin:

I also started to add some customization options, to make it a bit more of an open web-app so other people could use it as well eventually (right now it's very hard-coded and specific)...

(and it was also just a way to pass time while the clouds covered the sky...  :tongue: )

Also, I was wondering...

1) What sources of info do you use to plan for seeing conditions / cool observations opportunities / etc...?

Thanks!

BdGq0Ixl.png

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Nice job! I carry my 250 like you do... Its heavy / awkward but its only a few meters and a couple of steps. I don't think you'll damage it so long as the handles are screwed in. If they're undone a bit then there is tremendous leverage and possible bending opportunities :-)

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Recently I've heard about a feature on the moon that I wasn't aware of... Huygen's Sword (Rupes Recta / The Straight Wall)

It should be best visible when the sun hits the moon at a certain angle (for the shadows to look like a sword).

In the pictures I found online, the shadow on the moon seems to be parallel with the straight wall, but tonight it seemed like it's at an angle to the wall.

I assume it's due to the little wobble the moon does... so I'm not sure it will look like the classic pictures.

I believe that tomorrow night or the night after that it should look best (although I have no idea, really).

But I took a shaky snapshot some hours ago with my iPhone, just to double-check with you all that I'm looking at the right place  xD

Also... I know that what I'm looking it at is flipped vertically & horizontally, but I'm not sure where should I see the "handle" of the sword... at the top (where it seems to split), or the bottom (which was still in darkness).

Thanks!  :smiley:

o8JnhYd.jpg

P.S, I showed the Moon and Saturn to a neighbor friend tonight... she was really amazed (especially with Saturn, actually).  

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oh oh..

a few more days..and then the Mods will come...

I have the same scope...it was nice and white..with the finderscope still attached..

now look at it...

Before...

post-35125-0-06550600-1405973510.jpg

After

post-35125-0-87743400-1405973641_thumb.j

post-35125-0-38397600-1405974541_thumb.j

post-35125-0-46044400-1405974609.jpg

post-35125-0-95177400-1405974647.jpg

Mods..?

- Flocking (that terrible grey paint must go!)

- Telrad...(that stock finderscope is eh....bad!)

- Made a cooling fan (see pic)

- Some focuser mods (mine was a bit too sticky)

- Lazy susan mod (rocker box bearing)- optional of course..

- Ball bearing mod instead of those white nylon 'bearings'

- Adding a setting circle

- Adding a Wixey inclinometer

- Stabilizing weights

- Re-centered the primary mirror spot (they can be off center)

- Dew shield made from high density foam

- Leveling board

- And..repainted the scope matte black..paint all the nuts and bolts inside the OTA

- Painted the focuser tube matte black

- Painted the secondary mirror matte black..(eh..the back ..)

Well...you might think..pfff !..not going to do that !

But..you will !!!

:)

But first, master yourself in collimation, it's fun and gets easier every time..

And don't be afraid to take your scope apart...just be careful with the mirrors..

if you do smudge your secondary mirror just use a soft cotton bud with some

isopropyl alcohol...don't rub...just use the weight of the (ear)bud.

And don't worry, these scopes are strong and sturdy..

Have fun !!!

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and your next task..

find the great nebula in Orion (quite easy..)

use your 25mm to find it and then switch to 10mm..

even better than the moon !

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Buy yourself the book turn left at Orion to give you some targets to go for as autumn approaches..

Practice finding things using the finder and lowest power eyepiece.

Try a globular cluster..say M13 in Pegasus from your dark sight. I guarantee you will never forget the first time you look at one...nearly as good as Saturn????

Mark from bristol

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