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Successful return


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Haven't been able to get out for a few months now due to pesky illnesses, but have just come in from a rewarding session (despite the Moon).

Earlier this week the forecast was for cloud until the weekend, so I set about collimating my 150PDS. Did it several times and it didn't seem right - turned out the secondary was too close to the primary. Also modded the secondary holder with a penny washer (M10x35) and milk jug disc - worked really well in preventing the tilt screws from biting into the back of the secondary holder and stopping rotation adjustment. Star tested tonight and all was fine.

Started the session early (about 8-8.30) to do a polar alignment with the polar scope, rather than the Synscan handset - haven't done that for a good while. Don't know where I read it but a tip to do polar alignment in twilight really paid off - the first star visible in the northern sky was indeed Polaris, and the extra light in the sky made it easy to put Polaris in the circle. Pretty sure I saw the ISS go over east to west around that time (maybe a tad later). Neat!

Once it got darker I took a look at M5 and M3, which were visible as grey smudges. Tried and failed to see M81 though. Split Mizar which was a new thing for me. Couldn't split Polaris though. By the time I'd taken a look around at other stuff, Jupiter was up over our hedge and I got some really good clear views first with the 15mm and then with my 3.2mm. With that EP it seemed to waver in clarity, sometimes pin sharp e.g. showing detail in the bands, less so other times, but the larger image does help. I popped back in for a bit to do other stuff and left the scope tracking the Mighty One.

When I went back out it was still bang in the middle of the FOV, which while kind of expected, still impresses me.

Dew took its toll about 1.30 or so, so I called it a night. Just need a moonless night to have another go at the grey fuzzies and I'll also try some other double stars. Really pleased with everything I tried tonight though. Kit's now all away and am back in the warm with a certain Mr J Daniels :)

Edited by Yearofthegoat
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Thanks both. Am going to make a proper list of targets to go after next so that I don't spend valuable time outside thinking about what to look at. Can't beat Jupiter though!

Was very pleased with the penny washer+milk jug disc mod - and getting good collimation of course. While off I also managed to collimate my el cheapo laser; took a good couple of hours but then I got it to within 5-6mm at a distance of 20m. Using kid gloves when I handle it now for fear of knocking it out!

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