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Top 10 Useful inexpensive things


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Great thread Ant very helpful :) daft question coming up

Why dont you take a laser pen to a organised star party

Generally, laser pens are frowned on at star parties because they can be dangerous and can ruin people's viewing and astrophotography.

Helen

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  • 2 weeks later...

One not on the list:

WHITE cables.

I lost count of the number of times I would pull somthing over because I couldn't see a black cable.

For that matter, white almost everything else.. why all this obsession with black... the only things that should be black is the inside of the scope and any other optical accessories.

My mount is now powder coated white.. and the only thing I now bump into is the counter weight as that hasn't undergone the white out treatment.

Derek

Edited by rfdesigner
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One not on the list:

WHITE cables.

I lost count of the number of times I would pull somthing over because I couldn't see a black cable.

For that matter, white almost everything else.. why all this obsession with black... the only things that should be black is the inside of the scope and any other optical accessories.

My mount is now power coated white.. and the only thing I now bump into is the counter weight as that hasn't undergone the white out treatment.

Derek

I bought some 3M reflective tape and fix that to things that I might bump into. They're reflective enough to stand out (better than white) under whatever ambient light conditions you may have.

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

It was mentioned on page 1! With the re-usable hand warmers, dont forget you have put them on to boil. I forgot mine and they boiled dry and ruined the pan, not to mention the smell!!! :D

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It was mentioned on page 1! With the re-usable hand warmers, dont forget you have put them on to boil. I forgot mine and they boiled dry and ruined the pan, not to mention the smell!!! :D

Ooops, so it was! Rather embarrassingly I learnt about the velcro idea from Ant at Kelling so perhaps I should have read the first thread in a bit more detail :evil1:

As for boiling handwarmers, that always makes me a little nervous but I've always wanted to try making one of those sodium acetate liquid sculptures with the contents :)

Edited by MikeWilson
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For a very reasonably priced alternative to red gel sheeting or acrylic for your laptops at night, try a roll of red cellophane wrapping paper, it's quite clear and easy to see through.

I found it at Michael's (a local craft store here in Wisconsin) and IIRC, it was about $4 for a roll the size of Christmas wrapping paper. Double or triple it in thickness to get the desired darkness.

So far, the static has been enough to make it cling to the screen but it might benefit from a frame of some sort.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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

Lost out on this one as "we" were one present short for Grandad - has anyone else tried this kit? ;) (Before I buy a second set!!)

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I bought my mother a few of those microwave-able (grain-filled) small neckwarmers last year....turned out to be one the best cheap things I have ever bought!

After 2 mins in the microwave, they keep warm for a fairly long period. I never thought of getting one myself and using it for stargazing. D'oh!

Mike

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A bit late for this winter, but a longwave radio would get my vote - listening to the Ashes would have encouraged me to stay up longer into the night and not feel the cold so much! Maybe any Aussie friends can try this out in 2013?

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Wow...the checklist is getting longer and longer!

Dunno if anyone has mentioned this yet, but we've found that a spirit level can come in useful when setting up.

The fingerless gloves were the first thing I bought...not for me, but for my husband who dropped my first scope because his fingers had gone numb in the cold!

I've lately been adding more stuff to my wishlist...some of the above I already have, but really need the eye patch and red torch (was thinking one of those bike lights might do). Thermos flask would not go amiss either, along with one of them folding step stools for small people like me who can't reach the eyepiece when it's at a funny angle! I've also been wondering if I ought to get a car charger for the laptop so we can use Stellarium.

Oh and food...just can't see myself not having any cakes to eat! It's like having a picnic, but at night! Woohoo! :D

Edited by ruiyyanko
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Oh and food...just can't see myself not having any cakes to eat! It's like having a picnic, but at night! Woohoo! :D

Amen!

Hot coffee. Pastries? Cake? I always get a pang for unhealthy food when I'm out stargazing!

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It would be really handy to have all these good suggestions listed together on the first post.

That's a good idea :D Do you fancy pulling it all together in one post? and I'll then sticky it :p

Helen

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A Summary of suggested useful inexpensive things

ORIGINAL 14
  1. Warm Clothing
  2. Red Light torch/ LED head torch
  3. Spare Batteries / Hardware / Tool kit
  4. Velcro / sticky backed Velcro
  5. A good astronomy book / star maps / star lists
  6. Eye Patch
  7. Laser Pen/ Pointer (do not take to star parties!)
  8. Storage Box / Containers
  9. Table
  10. Glow in the dark paint / nail varnish / stickers / tape
  11. 12vDC Hair Dryer
  12. Pocket Warmers (snap/microwavable)
  13. Red Acetate (red film sheet)
  14. Nylon Tipped bolts
    ADDITIONAL SUGGESTIONS
  15. Hand held spectroscope
  16. A comfy chair / stool / deckchair / sun-lounger (horizontal seating for binocular viewing)
  17. Night Vision Goggles
  18. Portable radio
  19. Bahtinov Mask / Focusing Mask
  20. Those 3 drawer plastic storage units that you see in PoundStretcher. Wilkinson.
  21. Small Step Stool
  22. Cheap torch and red felt tip pen.
  23. Large plastic washing basket for carrying stuff
  24. Old sheets bedcovers for covering scope
  25. Light sheets can be used as a ground covering to outline dropped pieces
  26. Snack foods, coffee, water
  27. Reading glasses, compass, watch, pen and notepad
  28. Glasses cord for hanging the specs round your neck
  29. Heated insoles
  30. Dew shield
  31. Gaffer Tape
  32. Multi-tool
  33. Wire, string, rope
  34. Lighter, Matches, Blowtorch
  35. Bug spray
  36. First aid kit
  37. White cables
  38. 3M reflective tape
  39. Spirit level
Edited by prbaxter
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* A thermos

* Anti mozzie/midge cream/spray

* polythene sheet - better to put your scope on a sheet of poly. You're almost bound to drop something. It's easier to find on a smooth sheet of plastic than among tufts of grass or in puddles of mud.

* following on from that, a magnet. Easy way to find small screws - just wave the magnet around

* a mobile phone (probably doesn't need saying, but make sure it's charged)

Edited by pete_l
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Thanks prbaxter. It might be nice to make that list into a new thread and for a mod to sticky it. Just a suggestion, but it would have been really useful for me when I started out last summer and I'm guessing it would be useful for other newbies too :D

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