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Howdy from Horsham!!


bradfrankshaw
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Hey all - long term amateur who has dipped in and out of astronomy since I got my first pair of binos from my parents back in 1987. I've got an old dusty reflector under the stairs and my daughter has a nice refractor. Over time, I've been the neighbour or dad or husband who pointed out various stars and stuff in the sky.

Now three guys I know who are into photography want to get into astrophotography - my friend has bought a reflector with a goto-motor. As they live in Brighton, they want to come up to a dark area near Crawley to do some astronomy - cue ipad with astronomy software, books, red torch, binos, telescopes and astronomy knowledgeable mate (me!) to go and see what the sky holds.

One question I have is what equipment do people use for pointing out various stars and objects? I mean in a dark area, it's going to be Star City and we'll spend half the night going "No, not that star, THAT star!" lol

An obvious choice is some sort of laser pointer but a) they are illegal and :D Crawley is near Gatwick so big no-no in case of planes. So does any one have any suggestions in this sort of situation?

many thanks

frank

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Well Crawley has a shortage of dark sky locations I would think - I would have thought your friends would be better off somewhere down the coast - Rottingdean way seems to have some darkish areas and the road between Brighton and Hastings always looks a bit black to me. Would have thought there would be some dark skies there. I live in Redhill so not too far from Crawley and have yet to find a decent dark sky site round the area.

If you do find one let me know.

Pointing stuff out - tough one with Gatwick in the way. Green lasers are usually the way to go or perhaps use a red dot finder on a scope and everyone can have a look through that to get their bearings.

Alternately if they have GoTo dont bother - let the scope do the hard work and you can all just enjoy the views through the scope :)

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Hi Frank, welcome to SGL, you'll be quite surprised about how reasonable the skies are around here, as long as you don't want to see something in the North (Gatwick) as the dome from that takes out about 30 degrees of sky. I'm not sure what's going on, and really must get onto the council, as they used to turn off 90% of the streetlights at midnight. All my Astro stuff, imaging and viewing has been carried out from my back garden on the east side of Horsham. East and South are normally pretty good.

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Welcome to SGL Frank. I wouldn't worry about green lasers - they are not illegal, just illegal to point at aircraft. If you are careful, then its not a problem.

The red dot finder is a great idea - that will help you out alot as well, and allow you and your friends to make sure they are pointing at the right object.

I live just down and the other side of the A23/M23 from you in a nice dark spot - a bit closer to Brighton. There is a lovely dark patch right in between Lewes, Burgess Hill and Haywards Heath - I am lucky to be right in the middle of it, more by coincidence than planning though :)

Anyway, enough waffling - enjoy your stay, and hope to see you at Adur AS or Eastbourne AS sometime soon!

Cheers,

Richie

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Hi Frank, Welcome to SGL. I know what you mean regarding trying to point things out in the night sky as my wife vaguely points in the direction of 'up' and expects me to know instantly which point in the sky she is looking at. Perhaps I need a green laser pointer as well.

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If you do get/use a green laser pointer, just be careful with it! You don't need a super-high power one. Mine is very low power (i can't remember how low though, sorry! - Its certainly less than 20mw I think)

Do NOT point it at aircraft, do NOT point it at anyones eyes, do NOT take it to Star Parties.

With all that said, they are very useful tools to show beginners round the night sky.

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Hi everyone! Thanks for the warm welcome! Especially to those in and around Horsham. Tonight the four of us are heading up to a place near Nutley (not so near to Gatwick as I thought!!) to see what we can see.

Where abouts in Horsham, jgs001, are you based? I'm just off the Brighton Road.

As for the green laser, perhaps it's feasible to get a license of sorts from a police station for an "Astronomy Laser"? I wonder if this is worth investigating.

frank

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