Dodging Clouds

  • Nik 

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

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

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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