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My Telescopes

My Main Telescope - C14 and Paramount ME

My new Paramount MyT and 8-inch Ritchey-Chretien Telescope

MyT Hand Controller

My Meade 12 inch SCT on a CGEM (Classic) Mount

My 4 inch Meade Refractor with Sky Watcher Guidescope and ZWO camera on a CGEM (Classic) Mount

Skywatcher Star Adventurer Mount with Canon 40D


My Solar setup using a DSLR and Mylar Filter on my ETX90

DSLR attached to ETX90. LiveView image of 2015 partial eclipse on Canon 40D

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About the Site

 I try to log my observing and related activities in a regular blog - sometimes there will be a delay but I usually catch up. An index of all my blogs is on the main menu at the top of the page with daily, weekly or monthly views. My Twitter feed is below. I am also interested in photograping wildlife when I can and there is a menu option above to look at some of my images. I try to keep the news feeds from relevant astronomical sources up to date and you will need to scroll down to find these.

The Celestron 14 is mounted on a Paramount ME that I have been using for about 10 years now - you can see that it is mounted on a tripod so is a portable set up. I still manage to transport it on my own and set it all up even though I have just turned 70! It will run for hours centering galaxies in the 12 minute field even when tripod mounted.


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Clear spell last night

Last night after a dry day the skies cleared and gave me an opportunity to accurately polar align the CGEM mount on the telescope. The stars were bright and the Milky Way was visible as a very bright band crossing almost overhead. Although there are no street lights here as such there are two shoulder level walkway lights that would interfere but fortunately I had brought two black woolly hats that covered the lights completely and removed the problem entirely without even getting warm.  The standard 2-star alignment was followed with 3 additional 'calibration' stars added as advised. The drift method was used to polar align the mount by sighting on a star near the equator just to the east of the Meridian and using only the azimuth adjustments on the mount to maintain the star on the horizontal cross hair of the ccd image(using a small netbook)  until it remained there for more than 15 minutes without moving north or south. This was repeated using a star about 20 degrees above the horizon in the east but using the altitude adjustment on the CGEM until it too remained on the line for a similar time without drifting.  The laptop indoors was connected to the mount and camera via trailing wires from the terrace down through the window so that everything became more comfortable. The telescope was instructed from The Sky software to move to PGC 6382 a very faint spiral galaxy (shown as Mag 30 in The Sky - I must admit a lot fainter than I thought so is not visible) and a 30s image was taken as shown below:


The image on the right is a chart of the same area obtained by a plate solution - confirming that the "Go To" was accurate. The centre of the chart on the right is the exact location of the galaxy. Unfortunately cloud moved in at this stage and it has been raining ever since (Monday 3pm) , so further goto testing has not been possible.