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Top 10 Useful inexpensive things


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  • 2 weeks later...

daft question really but do most go for the 'primary red' or the 'pale red' acetate? I presume the former but perhaps the latter is a little less dark on the lighter screens?

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Four things immediately spring to mind although I'm sure there are more.

Small Step Stool from Argos that cost about a tenner.

Cheap torch and red felt tip pen.

Large plastic washing basket which is very useful for carrying stuff up my steps into the garden. Take dirty clothes out first. These can be safely left on the kitchen floor or if you really must you can put them in the washing machine.

Old sheets and bed covers can be used for covering the scope obviously making sure that nobody is still sleeping in them.

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Having spent many hours watching my son playing football or playing golf myself in the winter I have tip for the pocket hand warmers.

They charge around £1.50 - £2.00 a packet in the pro shop but you can get a box of 50 from Costco for about £10.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had wondered about some night sight saver goggles like they had in Das Boot when they were about to go on watch - white lights down in the sub with red goggles on. Wonder where I could get a pair...

I had a wind-up torch/radio but something in it stopped working, I replaced the rechargeable batteries (they were not just AAs that popped out, they were two AAAs soldered in) but I think the winder mechanism must have worn out because it never seemed to hold a charge. I have since got myself that old joke - a solar powered torch! It really does work, very bright and lasts a long time, just sit it on a window sill during the day and it'll be charged by night time. Must think about making some sort of red cover for the LED end.

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I had wondered about some night sight saver goggles like they had in Das Boot when they were about to go on watch - white lights down in the sub with red goggles on. Wonder where I could get a pair...

I had a wind-up torch/radio but something in it stopped working, I replaced the rechargeable batteries (they were not just AAs that popped out, they were two AAAs soldered in) but I think the winder mechanism must have worn out because it never seemed to hold a charge. I have since got myself that old joke - a solar powered torch! It really does work, very bright and lasts a long time, just sit it on a window sill during the day and it'll be charged by night time. Must think about making some sort of red cover for the LED end.

How about.....get a pair of swimming goggles and stick on two dark red sweet wrappers.:)

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Personally, I dug out my Mini-maglite (takes 2 AAs - previous Xmas pressie) and went online to get a little filter kit (£5) which included a little pen-type clip to stop it falling out of my pocket. Re-use/recycle!!

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Good helpful list with lots of food for thought. I was wondering why there isn't a separate sticky for clothes? I know they are given a mention here, but this is a whole subject on its own. Stargazers can learn alot from mountain climbers and skiers for winter wear, I know it is often argued that climbers don't stand still but if you had ever camped overnight on the side of a mountain in minus 20c you might think otherwise.

Food can also be useful, things like flap-jacks, jaffa cakes, even jelly babies can help to re-energise you if you are out in the cold for a while.

Am I being pedantic adding the following - Reading glasses, compass, watch, pen and notepad.

Edited by You can't be Sirius
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As far as clothes go, have a look at what anglers wear - especially **** (swear filter won't let me use the word c@rp!) fishermen who sit out night and day waiting for a bite. There's no real difference between them and astronomers really, both static and needing to stay warm.

Have a look at this - might be useful:

Trakker 2 PIECE UNDERSUIT (Medium) TRA059M from Fosters of Birmingham

Edited by Gweedo
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Maplin have some heated kit that looks helpful - I've just bought a pair of these heated insoles (my feet ALWAYS get cold!). Will post how I find them after I've opened them as Xmas presents icon11.gif

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Glasses cord for hanging the specs round my neck.

I'm forever taking my glasses on and off when doing astronomy - then putting the blumming things down and losing them in the dark.

I must look like Larry Grayson, but who cares?

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  • 4 weeks later...

Some stuff on my list of useful things....

Sheet filters in different colors

If typical red acetate filters don't work for you....everybody is slightly color blind in one form or another...or your computer monitor just doesn't get on with a given shade of red...

"Gel" color filters used in theatrical lighting are an excellent option. Your local community/high school/college theatre can usually spare a sheet or two.

Rosco has a large color selection.

Gaff Tape : Like Duct Tape but cloth backed and won't leave a sticky mess behind when removed. Black for obvious reasons. White for labeling big, flexible (tarps, bags) or oddly shaped stuff...writing with a fat red Sharpie works best.

Gaffer tape - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Glow Tape : Excellent for marking tripod legs, table edges, cars and other stuff you need to find/avoid in the dark. Also good for locating items that tend to wander off....like small children.

Gerber Tool : The human sized Swiss Army Knife. If you can't fix it with a Gerber you probably shouldn't be messing with it.

Gerber Gear (might not be considered inexpensive but worth a mention)

Wire, string, rope : A must if you need to tie or tether something (or somebody) up, down, left, right or indifferent.

Lighter, Matches, Blowtorch : You never know when you might need a little fire.

Bug spray, bug spray, bug spray.

First-Aid Kit : Because stuff happens.

Extra water : Setting up and taking down all that gear can be more strenuous that you might think or be aware of at the time.

Don't forget to bring the stuff you forgot to bring.

Rusty.

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  • 2 weeks later...

5. A good book

When I first started observing there wasn't really anything like GOTO,

Please excuse my ignorance as a complete novice with lots to learn but what is GOTO, am I right in saying it is a computer motor controller which will point the telescope in the right place when the correct coordinates are entered?

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Please excuse my ignorance as a complete novice with lots to learn but what is GOTO, am I right in saying it is a computer motor controller which will point the telescope in the right place when the correct coordinates are entered?

Pretty much. You align the scope so that the laptop or handset knows where it is pointed, and then use the GOTO to move the telescope where ever you want it to go.

Great invention :)

Ant

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Please excuse my ignorance as a complete novice with lots to learn but what is GOTO, am I right in saying it is a computer motor controller which will point the telescope in the right place when the correct coordinates are entered?

Almost... you don't need to plug in the coordinates, you can plug in the name (or choose from a menu). So you choose say Moon, and it'll take the scope to where it thinks the moon is :). The accuracy does depend on the initial set up (time, date, location) and the initial alignment (most goto scopes need you to accurately centre 2 or 3 stars to start with). It can save a lot of time - but finding things without help is also fun!

Helen

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I'm totally surprised that nobody has mentioned velcro yet.

I put the rough side on the mount and the soft side on everything that I might want to stick to it (hand controllers, cables, etc).

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