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mcrossley

Random Top Tips

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Not sure if this is the right board for this but... How about a thread on random top tips, things or methods that people have found useful that they want to pass on?

I can kick it off with a couple:

Install Live Mesh (http://www.mesh.com) for file synchronisation and remote desktop control. I have set it up so that the image capture folder on my Obsy laptop is synchronised with my desktop indoors. Whenever I capture an image it is automatically transferred to my desktop. There I move it to another folder for processing, and it is automatically removed from the remote lappy. The remote desktop works great and you can access it from a IE browser anywhere on the 'net, even across NAT firewalls.

Waterproof paper! Brilliant, originally meant for printing maps for walking, but you can print out your observing list or (finder charts if you are going visual) on an ordinary inkjet printer. The printout is completely waterproof (drop it in a puddle and just wipe the mud off) and tough, you can't rip the stuff. I bought mine off eBay and it is only single sided, but you can get better quality stuff from MemoryMap and other places.

So any other Top Tips?

Mark

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If the finder or eyepiece (on a newtonian) aren't in a comfy position just remember you can always rotate the scope within it's rings.

When balancing the declination axis don't forget to retighten the dovetail!

Make sure your eyepiece is secure before doing a meridian flip.

Sticky backed velcro is the best astro investment you can make.

Don't breathe on your eyepieces

If you are setting up for imaging, stuff night vision, use a 100w lamp. Just remember to switch it off when you start imaging!

Borrow TJs luminous tent pegs and stick them by your tripod legs

Don't believe metcheck...unless it forecasts cloud

If you think you can see the Horsehead you have a floater.

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When balancing the declination axis don't forget to retighten the dovetail

So true... cost me a 8" SNT.

Droped to the floor and smashed the corector which damaged the primary :oops: :hello2:

You live and learn.

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Observing sitting down is so much better (a mechanics stool works well).

I agree about velcro! for cables management, keeping handsets handy, on the lens cap of my PST so that it stores on the side of the PST when not in use, etc etc

Helen

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- Velcro Velcro Velcro! My "white" EQ6 looks mostly black from Velcro stuck all over it!

- Dont breathe out when raising the binos to your eyes <sigh>

- Dont expect people to see your black tripod and black mount and black OTAs at a star party... they will bump into it when you are imaging <ggrrrr!>

- In the winter, a thick coat can never be too warm, nor can you be wearing too many layers

- Ensure you have plenty of spare batteries for your RDF, torches, etc

- Spare cables for everything are essential, especially if they happen to have fuses in them

- RCD protect any mains supply outside, your other half doesnt wnat to find you dead in the garden in the morning

- A celestron lens pen is a life saver!

- Only believe your own eyes and the IR satellite images on sat24.com, everything else is a "bad guess"

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Quadruple whatever budget you put together - spend it, then quadruple it again.

Mike

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If you observe in the same place on the patio every time, drill some tiny guide holes in the flags for the tripod legs so that you can be more or less polar aligned straight away.

If you are imaging in a particular piece of sky, balance the scope so that it's balanced for that bit of sky.

When doing a three star align on EQ5/6, let the GOTO move the mount to the first star then manually move the mount by slackening the clutches so that the star is dead centre.

Don't forget to enter the date in 'American' on your hand controller, IE month, day, year.

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Great tips guys :D:hello2:

Quadruple whatever budget you put together - spend it, then quadruple it again.

Mike

I'll second this one!!!!.....and so will my wife! :)

Stef

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Kielder isnt warm

Kielder isnt dry

Kielder is however, dark.

Kielder is only dark when not raining.

Remember dew tapes . . . Kielder is also cold.

That enough :hello2:

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Cut the feet out of a pair of tights and wear them under your socks, keeps your feet warm as toast. Fishermen actually wear tights in the winter.

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When balancing the declination axis don't forget to retighten the dovetail!

Make sure your eyepiece is secure before doing a meridian flip.

Don't breathe on your eyepieces

Borrow TJs luminous tent pegs and stick them by your tripod legs

If you think you can see the Horsehead you have a floater.

Martin, just wondering how many of your tips you learnt yourself the hard way? :hello2:

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I have a couple myself (and yes i learn't them the hard way):

Always make sure the catches on your eyepiece case are secure before picking it up!

If going to a remote site check and then double check you have everything you need. For instance don't take all your camera gear but leave the battery in the charger at home!

If the dew looks like its going to be really bad, set the dew straps going long before you observe. Dew straps are good at keeping dew at bay but not so good at clearing an already misted up scope.

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When balancing the declination axis don't forget to retighten the dovetail!

Make sure your eyepiece is secure before doing a meridian flip.

Don't breathe on your eyepieces

Borrow TJs luminous tent pegs and stick them by your tripod legs

If you think you can see the Horsehead you have a floater.

Martin, just wondering how many of your tips you learnt yourself the hard way? :hello2:

:D All bar the last one Rus! The astro life of hard knocks (literally)

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thought that might be the case. I fear most of us have learnt those the hard way.

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Always remember to pack your tent poles

Always remember to pack your counterweights/centre bolts

Keep your feet, hands and head warm. Once they get cold, your done for!

Know how your gear goes together. Don't waste precious time working things out

Always have a handy SGL'er nearby :hello2:

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Attach pencil to observing book with a piece of string (and don't forget to take a sharpener).

Take at least two torches: the second for if the first needs its batteries changing.

As with meals, finish observing sessions when you still feel you could manage a little more. Then you'll have the energy to drive home.

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When imaging there is no substitute for loadsa data.

Stick to one target don't be tempted to move onto another unless of course you lose it to obstacles.

Mike.

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It's time to start worrying when you think you have got it all sussed...as things are bound to go wrong next time out...

Billy...

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Learn to collimate. It'll be the best and cheapest way to improve the view from your scope. Unless you own a refractor...

Tony..

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When it comes to anything involving mains electricity.... if you have to ask how to do it...it's probably not a good idea to do it (yourself)....

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