Dodging Clouds

This week I managed to get my scope out for a few hours during a break in the clouds. Only advantage of working from home (until July 2021 according to my company’s latest communication :-s ) is that I can setup my scope in daylight during a quick coffee break and spend 1/2 hour first thing in the morning putting it away after doing the school run.

M33 - 2020/11/10
M33 – 200PDS – HEQ5 – Hypercam 183C – 17 x 300s subs – Total exp 1hr 25m

My main target for the night was M33. This was taken in full dark before the moon was up and the seeing wasn’t to bad. There was a bit of light cloud which split my on sky time into two two hour chunks. On the whole I’m reasonably pleased although it could benefit from a CLS filter and I gave up getting the background perfect.

Since I thought I’d got enough light on M33 in the first half of my run I decided to do a ‘bonus’ object and went back to the Crab Nebula again. I had even more trouble processing this and getting the background right but I like this and it’s a lot better than last months attempt (although it was taken with my 200mm refractor and Hypercam so it should be)

M1 - 2020/11/10
M1 – 200PDS – HEQ6 – Hypercam 183C. 9 x 300s subs. Total exp 45m

My shopping list

So, given the above, and that my Christmas bonus is coming around I’m making up a shopping list. I’ve been thinking about this for a few months now and have paired it down quite a bit. Firstly, although I’d love one, I’m not going to spend £5000 on a Polaris dome and drive system however groovy that would be. Secondly, I was seriously considering upgrading my mount from an HEQ5 to an EQ6-R but now I’ve got the belt mod going I’m leaving that for the time being and seeing how I get on with the new and improved HEQ5. So my wife should be happy, I’ve saved myself approx £6500 (with astronomy logic!).

So now on to the wish list of stuff I’m seriously looking at getting at the end of this month:

Item 1 – A new observatory shed.

Two years ago I built myself a little 1.6m x 1.6m observatory shed to put my EQ3-2 (later the HEQ5) and my ED80APO in. It worked well enough with a hinged roof but when I got my 200PDS it was to small so now I’m using it to story stuff in and have to carry my scope out and set it up of a night.

I’m thinking of replacing it with a modified 6ftx6ft shed with a hinged roof.

Price ~ £300

Item 2 – A new CLS filter

Bit of a no brainer really. I have a 1.25″ one for the GPCAM3 and ED80APO but I desperately need one for my 2″ focuser on my refactor.

I’m thinking of the Astronomik CLS CCD Filter

Price £179

Item 3 – A set of narrow band filters

OK, so I’m probably going to slim this down to just a Astronomik H-alpha 12nm Narrowband CCD Filter

Price £266

Whole set – price £802

Item 4 – Baader VIP Modular 2x Barlow Lens (1.25″ and 2″)

Basically I’d like to play about with getting a decent shot of Mars so a bit of extra magnification would be useful.

Price – £162

Item 5 – 0.5x focal reducer

Again, I have one of these for my 1.25″ setup but need one for my 2″ setup. Something like the Antares 0.5x Focal Reducer 2″ looks just the ticket.

Price – £57.99

Giving a grand total of ~ £965. Good job I saved the £6500 by not buying all that extra stuff 😉

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