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What are your favourite accessories and why?


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Fun thread, lots of different ideas.

For me:

1) SkySafari Pro, gives ends opportunities to plan sessions, check targets, can be used to help me star hop to a target or guide a push-to mount or drive a Goto mount, so it’s useful however you want to observe.

2) EQ platform, makes high power lunar and planetary observing with my dob so much more relaxing and enjoyable.

3) Catsperch Observing chair, acquired with the purchase of a now sold scope, this is another great help for relaxed observing over long periods.

Honourable mention to my Lumicon OIII and UHC filters, Baader Mark IV binoviewers, oh , and my Baader CoolWedge 👍👍

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#3 Red Light Torch Preserves my night vision yet allows me to look up targets in my astro books out in the field. My friend Bob didn't have one and he fell down a well. All’s not well that ends w

1. Back in the Dark Ages of Astronomy - I wish!! Bortle 1 skies for everyone, lovely!👍👍 2. Star Hopping - I love it!😁 3. No Polemaster - what's a Polemaster?? 4. No looking at the image on

JUST FOR FUN Cost is not a consideration. Name up to three accessories that you consider your best buys and why. (I am hoping to pick up a few good ideas here as a bonus)) To start you

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1 hour ago, John said:

This thread is about our favourite accessories so that's what I posted. Mine are different to yours because the way that I like to undertake the hobby is different to you :smiley:

We could start another thread on how technology has revolutionised the hobby if you like :smiley:

 

Sounds like that could be a good idea, should be interesting.

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My first thought was the Baader T2 system generally, as it makes it possible to really optimise your set up for any given activity.

... but on reflection I can think of only one accessory that is always with me when I'm observing, no matter what scope I'm using, what targets I'm going for, or what the circumstances are.

That turns out to be my air blower(!). I'm pathological about always blowing my eyepieces and mirrors/lenses before I cap them off.

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My ASI 178 MM has opened up so much for me - EEA, planetary and lunar imaging, DSO imaging too.

Another good‘un is the 6.3 Reducer for my SCT - better for photography and eyepieces work better too.

Not many mentions of eyepieces but the pick for me would be my ES 6.7 82 degree. 

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Metal dewshield. I find they do away with the need for dew heaters (which warm up the scope - the last thing you want to do!). They also look so much better than the slide on 'Astrozap' type, which, to be honest, look ugly.

There's a market there is someone wants to invest. I can't understand why more manufacturers don't have them available for their scopes.

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Used on almost every occasion, my astro chair. It represents the final part of the procedure; a quick flick to adjust to height and then settle into focusing and absorbing the target presentation. It brings about relaxation, a kind of meditation, those moments sat comfortably absorbing an image are frozen in time.

 

P1070857.JPG

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In no particular order:

Sky Safari Pro is up there. A huge library at your finger tips and it controls the mount. Bought in a sale.

The AZ-GTI mount. Despite teething problems and a couple of returns, GoTo on the cheap which can be taken just about anywhere and it holds my 6" reflector.

My RACI finders made a huge difference when hunting for objects using my manual alt az mount. 

Edited by ScouseSpaceCadet
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This is a hard one actually, because most every bit of kit I drag along is all key to a successful night's observing. Some of it is a 'frustration preventer', some of it is just a sheer necessity.  

My 'official' three:

1.) Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas (Jumbo edition, spiral bound). The way they break down what to see vs time of year can be confusing at first. Nevertheless, it's a really handy field guide with lots of interesting objects and taught me my way around the night sky.

2.) Dimmable red LED torch from Antares, sold through RVO. While the build quality is definitely on the cheap side, it does the job and maintains that all-important dark adaptation while I'm fumbling around for eyepieces or flipping through the S&T Atlas. For what it is, it's a bit pricey at £20, though I guess it's a speciality item, so not a lot made/sold. 

3.) Telrad for the non-GOTO 300p. Point and shoot! Perfect for observers with short attention spans like myself, or for chasing holes in the cloud to make the most on those partly cloudy nights. I can buzz around the night sky to different areas with the 12" dob as fast as I can using my binoculars on a tripod. A real timesaver and frustration preventer.

 

Edited by Ships and Stars
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My top three.

RA camera viewfinder, used with polar scope so no bending into impossible positions and handy for having a quick look around the sky at X2 magnification on its own.

Pluto trigger for DSLR, as well as a remote intervalometer it can do the "rule of 400" automatically when using a static setup, its also great for catching lightning strikes.

USB power banks, use them to power my EQ3-2 and camera lens dew heaters oh and the little red leds around the base of my tripod (stops it being kicked in the dark).

Alan

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On 02/12/2020 at 14:01, Alien 13 said:

USB power banks, use them to power my EQ3-2 and camera lens dew heaters oh and the little red leds around the base of my tripod (stops it being kicked in the dark).

Alan

Hi Alan, I would like to know more about those little red leds, I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve kicked the tripod legs after having got it polar aligned and star aligned. Grrrrr!

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53 minutes ago, Moonshed said:

Hi Alan, I would like to know more about those little red leds, I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve kicked the tripod legs after having got it polar aligned and star aligned. Grrrrr!

Like you I got fed up of kicking the tripod after going into the kitchen for a brew and not being able to see anything when going back out.

The solution I use is three red LEDS each wired to individual leads with heatshrink sleeve to insulate them and fitted to the mount with those little plastic adhesive clips that you use for securing phone wires. The three wires are taken to a small plastic project box that contains a 1K pot and 1K resistor in series that is wired as follows..

The resistor is connected to + of the power bank with the other end of the pot to -ve via a 5.5mm X 2.5mm socket and matching lead, the LEDs are then connected to the pot wiper and -ve end.

Alan

P.S. the three LEDs are connected in parallel. Instead off the power bank you use a couple off AA batteries with a battery holder mounted in the project box, would need to add a switch of course..

Edited by Alien 13
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30 minutes ago, Alien 13 said:

Like you I got fed up of kicking the tripod after going into the kitchen for a brew and not being able to see anything when going back out.

The solution I use is three red LEDS each wired to individual leads with heatshrink sleeve to insulate them and fitted to the mount with those little plastic adhesive clips that you use for securing phone wires. The three wires are taken to a small plastic project box that contains a 1K pot and 1K resistor in series that is wired as follows..

The resistor is connected to + of the power bank with the other end of the pot to -ve via a 5.5mm X 2.5mm socket and matching lead, the LEDs are then connected to the pot wiper and -ve end.

Alan

P.S. the three LEDs are connected in parallel. 

Thank you for that information but unfortunately I don’t even know what a pot is if you don’t plant something in it or cook with it. I am sure though that if I do a little research it will all make perfect sense. Thanks again, I am sick of kicking the damn thing!

Keith

 

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11 minutes ago, Moonshed said:

Thank you for that information but unfortunately I don’t even know what a pot is if you don’t plant something in it or cook with it. I am sure though that if I do a little research it will all make perfect sense. Thanks again, I am sick of kicking the damn thing!

Keith

 

I am surprised that there is not an off the shelf solution for this as I imagine its a very common problem and not just for imagers but visual also.

There is a topic running at the moment on this..

Alan

Edited by Alien 13
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SkySafari Pro

RDF+RACI combo

Astro Chair, in my case, the "Füssener Astrostuhl", large version. Allows me observing with the 18" safe and seated relaxed objects of 70 degrees elevation. Can be adjusted one-handed in seconds without looking. A real game changer. Here's a link:

https://www.intercon-spacetec.de/zubehoer/astronomie-zubehoer/stuehle/4889-ics-astro-stuhl-magnum-grau-hoehe-115-cm-mit-verstaerktem-sitzbrett.html

 

Stephan

Edited by Nyctimene
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There are 3 accessories perfectly complementing my z12, eyepieces, and NBs, which are essential and frankly all I actually need for my visual DSO observations lately:

  1. The dedicated old Android "phablet" with AMOLED screen and a pen (Galaxy Note 4) with the DIY DSO Planner app custom-configured to my observing flow making the night planning, objects finding, identification, and observing fast, efficient, and not ruining my strictly maintained darkness adaptation.
  2. QuInsight reflex pointing device (Telrad before that) with the DIY modded electronics (targeting the darkness adaptation preservation as well) for the ultimate objects finding and scope pointing aid (with the direct help of the app above). It's also my current astronomy-related tinkering toy (as I'm a programmer) amusing enough in the field and at home (coding, electronics, and 3D printing ideas).
  3. My DIY observing "throne" convertible in minutes to/from the highly adaptable 12" Dobsonian transportation aid, table during the day in the field, and to the slim storage package. Without it I might be stuck observing from light polluted home location too much. A bit heavy, but super comfy.
Edited by AlexK
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