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My Telescopes

My Main Telescope - C14 and Paramount ME

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

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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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 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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« Day 111 Friday 11th July 2014 Lots of 11's, IC 2944, Murcia to Manchester via France and more cloud when it got dark! | Main | Day 109 Wednesday 9th July 2014 Declination Axis Balancing Step B. »

Day 110 Thursday 10th July 2014 R.A. Axis Balancing, Polar Alignment and Lightning Strikes.

R.A. Axis Balancing

1.This may look familiar – i.e. as in Step A – but this time the idea is to balance the OTA precisely against the weights so that you can release the polar axis and the weights will balance the OTA in this position. (An off balance  OTA can cause  different weight position requirements on the counterweight shaft.)


2. This time lock the declination axis and release the RA axis – taking care to hold the counterweight shaft in case of imbalance .

 3. Slide the counterweights along the shaft until there is no rotational movement around the RA axis in either direction. Lock the counterweights in position. 

4. Now unlock the RA axis and rotate the counterweight shaft to be vertical with the telescope at the top pointing towards the pole.

5. Now try pushing the bottom of the counterweight shaft to either side  - it should move to where you push it and stay there.


A bright Moon and misty night with intermittent clouds. I managed to get a few minutes in to roughly polar align the Paramount by homing it to its fixed mechanical position, slewing to where it thinks Saturn should be and then using the altitude and azimuth adjusters to centre Saturn. I opened a new T-Point model and synched on Saturn, slewed to a few nearby stars and mapped them into the model. I was clouded out at that point.


I can see why the new Paramounts have polar finderscopes. With my ME you are really working blind until you can find a bright star to synch on to get started.

I extracted this image from a video of the storm a few weeks back - no strikes near the telescopes - I hope the lightning conductor does its job if there is a nearby strike!


I didn't fancy being out on the balcony to film the storm so the extra images are caused by the double glazing!


 A rare occurrence here but the house was hit once!


I don't know if it is a good or a bad thing to have the lightning conductor so close to the telescopes!!