Astronomy Information and Images
I have been interested in astronomy for most of my life although when I was still at school I only had a small Tasco telescope. My active interest lapsed when I went to University. Now I’ve got a job, a wife and two children, and after around 20 years I am returning to what must have been my first real hobby.
I now have a Meade ETX90EC and an autostar. Via eBay I have acquired a nice selection of lenses, accessories and a Meade #883 deluxe field tripod. I also have a superb Orion Optics GX200 reflector on a Vixen GP mount. Now I can really see things!
Transit of Venus 08/06/04
On 8th June 2004, Venus passed in front of the SUN. This is a relatively rare event - the last time this happened was in 1876! I was ready for this Transit and here is my account.
#883 Tripod Modification
This is a nice tripod which is designed for the ETX range of telescopes. It is a perfect partner for my ETX90, although I have read that is is not really heavy enough to handle an ETX125. In use I have found that it is not very good at dealing with vibrations or light winds, and the leg clamping arrangement is terrible. After a bit of research and head scratching, I have managed to virtually eliminate these flaws.
497 Autostar Extension Lead
The Autostar is a wonderful tool! It gives you superior control of the ETX, nevermind the GOTO features. It is just annoying that it is supplied with such an impractical cable to connect it to the ETX.
My first Star Party! Rivendale Camp site near Ashorne. Myself and Greg arrived on the morning of 18/11/06. We pitched our tent and went to mingle. It was quite a turn out. I met loads of people from the UKAI Internet group.
I brought my Meade ETX90, Tripod and a selection of lenses. Greg had his Borg 76ED. Both Greg and I observed visually - no imaging. It was a great night. The sky was clear (apparently this is unusual for a Star Party), but it was cold, very cold. Ice was a big problem and observing was only possible with dew heaters. Even the eyepieces froze up, forcing me to rotate them with warmer ones. Very early on, the view finder of my ETX froze up so I was dependant upon my Autostar. Observing finished around 2am. That was when we found that the tent was not good enough, nor was my sleeping bag. I have never been so cold in all my life! Despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but next time I will have a better tent and a heavier sleeping bag.
1. Double Stars
4. Star Charts
6. My Equipment
Ian Neill, 2005, updated 02/09/07.