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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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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