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Hello from Nailsea

Geoff Lister

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Hello All,

The 1986 visit of Halley's comet started my interest in astronomy. My commuting companion was working on the space side of BAe, and kept me updated on the progress of the Giotto probe. I bought a 4" Tasco Newtonian, on a fork-and-rod tripod, and got some reasonable views of the comet. The telescope sat in the corner, unused, until a few years ago. I dusted it off, and started using it again, and quickly realised that I needed something better, so I bought a Celestron Astromaster 130EQ-MD. This was certainly much better, once I had got to grips with polar alignment, and regulating the speed of the motor drive (not easy).

Having to set the mount up each time I wanted to use it, and rotating the scope tube to get a comfortable eyepiece position for viewing the intended target, seemed to take an age to do properly, so I decided to buy a Skywatcher Skymax 127 MCT with its AZ/EL mount and Synscan "goto" control. I also took advantage of a Celestron offer, and bought the eyepiece and filter set in its nice foam-lined case. Now I was able to start viewing much faster with the 2-star alignment (as long as I did not select the first-suggested 2nd alignment star, that was almost invariably behind my house). I now usually check on "Stellarium" before starting alignment. Another bonus, the Astromaster ring assembly fits on the Skymax mount, so I get a choice of optics.

After enjoying the view of the nearer planets and some of the brighter DSOs, I decided that I wanted to collect a few more photons, and, as I was reasonably familiar with the Synscan system, I went for the Skyliner 250px flex-tube Dobsonian with the Synscan attachments. It doesn't take much longer to set up than the Skymax, and the 2 parts are not too heavy to move from my garage to my preferred viewing point on the patio. I have found that, if I do a careful alignment at dusk, I can leave the scope pointing at a planet (mains-powered 12V supply), let the optics to cool whilst I go in for tea, and come out again with the planet still nicely central in the eyepiece.

I have used this site for many searches, so I thought it was time I joined, and, hopefully, contributed.


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