Lincoln astronomy society meetings. Speakers February – April 2017

Below is a list of speakers for the Lincoln astronomy society from February – April 2017. Location is west street Lincoln LN1 3TZ.

Meetings normally take place on the first Tuesday of each month. See the main website  http://www.lincolnastronomy.org/index.html for more details

  • 7th Feb 2017 – Michael Czajkowski – Pluto
  • 7th March 2017 – Peter Rea – The space shuttle story part tw0
  • 4th April 2017 – Paul Cotton – Finding colour in the night sky
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Celestron polar finderscope for CGEM, Advanced VX , CG-5 mounts #94224

Designed to fit the Celestron CGEM and AVX mounts as well as the older CG-5, the #94224 polar alignment scope is perfect for accurate polar alignment. This is a must have for accurate set up and tracking of astronomical objects.

The recticle is etched with Polaris and surrounding constellations to help set up.

Construction is metal and feel solid. The optics are clear with good eye relief. There is focus adjustment for the constellation images

If you are using your telescope in the Northern Hemisphere, you will recognise the Big Dipper asterism on the reticle, as well as the familiar “W” of Cassiopeia.  Use the Big Dipper to guide you in the spring and summer months, and Cassiopeia during the fall and winter. The North Star, Polaris, is also designated on the reticle, as is the NCP, or North Celestial Pole.  Once you choose which star pattern to use, align your telescope so that the stars line up with the positions shown on the reticle, then move the telescope’s azimuth and altitude adjustment controls to place Polaris right in the crosshairs.

The Celestron Polar Axis Finder can also be used in the Southern Hemisphere.  Four stars of the constellation Octans are etched in the reticle.  Adjust your telescope until those stars line up as shown on the reticle.
FEATURES:

  • Polar align your Celestron CGEM, Advanced VX, or CG-5 equatorial mount with this Celestron Polar Finderscope.
  • Inserts into the polar finder port at the back of the mount.
  • The easily identifiable star patterns of the Big Dipper, Cassiopeia & Octans are etched into the reticle, as well as Polaris & the North Celestial Pole, to help with alignment in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere.
  • Eyepiece has focus adjustments for reticle clarity
  • Click HERE  to purchase from Northern Optics
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Helios Voyager 10-25×42 monocular review #30200

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Taking the Helios 10-25×42 out the box, you are first greeted by an obviously solid and well built monocular. A thick rubber armour gives you confidence that it is going to last.

The zoom is adjusted by turning the eyepiece and the focus is 2/3 of the way down the body. The focus was a little tricky to locate at first when looking down the eyepiece, but just took a minute to master, and learn how to correctly hold it. So not a problem.

As this has more lens elements than many 10×50 (for example) you will not get as bright an image. But was very good across the range.

For testing the optics, it was a dull and cloudy day that would test the optics of any monocular. At 10x you get a crisp view with a very flat field. By flat field I mean it is even focus across the view. Colours were bright and clear considering the dull light. Excellent internal baffling gave a lovely black edge to the view which helped improve contrast.

At 15x with the exit pupil reducing, the level of brightness is reduced, and Chromatic aberration does show. But all in all very acceptable. Hand holding was becoming a little more tricky at this level. But for the solution to this, read on.

Thankfully at 25x the overall image quality was very similar to 15-20x. I was able to get a crisp focus. Chromatic aberration is still evident , but within tolerances

I am pleased to see the magnification range stops at 25x. I have seen some cheaper monoculars and binoculars boasting unrealistic high powers that are totally unusable

Another great feature is the close focus on only 20″. For this use 10x. Although at the time of testing (mid winter) there was not an abundance of butterflies as you imagine. But I am sure it will give fantastic views of bees and butterflies on the flowers while not disturbing them.

As mentioned above there is a solution for the shaky hands at high power. It comes with a standard tripod thread. This means you can attach to many devices such as tripods, monoculars, chest pods, car window mounts etc.

Testing eye relief. I found it can be used with glasses on, but only at 10-12x

Comes complete with a soft case, strap and cleaning cloth

  • Specs
  • Objective diameter 42mm
  • Weight 300g
  • Eye relief 9.5mm – 14mm
  • Field of view 5.8 – 6.7 degrees
  • Length 175mm
  • Coatings – Fully multi-coated
  • Nitrogen waterproof – Yes
  • Prism – BaK-4

Click HERE to buy

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Baader UFC universal filter changer

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The Baader UFC universal filter changer is an inexpensive solution for both telescopes and cameras.

Large telescope-sided diameter of 65mm. Adaptable to fit both 2″ filters , unmounted 50.4mm and 50×50 square filters. Multiple accessories such as extensions and stray light flanges available. As I add this blog post, more adaptors are under preparation.

This is all in all a great accessory for photo / visual use

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North Lincs astro meeting December 2016

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Paul Money was the speaker at the North Lincs astro society for December 2016. As always in his own entertaining way, he gave an brilliant and enthusiastic talk on the Voyager 1 and ll missions to Jupiter and Saturn. We were treated to some excellent simulated fly byes and without doubt the best images we have seen, that got a few Ooos and Wows from the well attended meeting. Around 25 members and guests turned up.

Thank you for the Lincolnshire wildlife trust for the use of the venue and Glenys and Malcolm for the excellent refreshments.

Due to the foggy / cloudy conditions observing was out the question after the meeting. But for the couple of early birds we got some nice views of the Moon through Northern Optics set of 25×100 Helios binoculars

 

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Fieldfair at Far Ings nature reserve 3rd December 2016

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When you see a Fieldfair, you know that winter is just around the corner. When I visited the Far Ings nature reserve they were in good numbers, but frustratingly very easily spooked, meaning I could not get close.

But patience paid off when I saw this one around 50 yards away, which seemed quite curious. As it was still I was able to use f8 and 100ISO, as I knew I would be cropping heavily. The low Sun light in the early morning gave a nice warm effect. But believe me it was anything but warm.

Equipment used was my trusty old Canon EOS 1100D + Tamron LD 70-300mm at 300mm

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Olivon T50 spotting scope OL17

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The Olivon T50 spotting scope is an ideal take anywhere compact spotting scope. The 12x30x magnification range is perfect for a range of uses, with 12-15x ideal for hand holding. 16-30x will require a mount.

As with many higher end spotting scopes, the new Olivon T50 comes with the centre focus system on the body. This means it is easy to adjust with gloves on and will reduce the risk of altering the twist eye cup and zoom on the eyepiece accidentally.

The prism is BK7. But do not be put off by this and modern day BK7 prisms are improving all the time. Lens coatings are multi-coated, which should offer true colours with good contrast.

Although not nitrogen gas filled, it should be OK if in a light shower for a few minutes.

Specs

  • Field of view 26m – 52m @ 1000m
  • Magnification 12=30x
  • Objective diameter 50mm
  • Lens coatings – Multi-coated
  • Prisms BK7
  • Weight 500g
  • Dimensions 228x50x137mm
  • Eye relief 12-15mm
  • Fog proof – no
  • Close focus 8m
  • Exit pupil 1.6mm – 4.1mm
  • Eyecup Twist type
  • Tripod thread – yes

 

 

 

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Skywatcher Startravel ST80 short tube telescope 10729

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Unlike some telescopes that come with mounts unsuitable to handle the weight, the popular Skywatcher ST80 comes in one option with a heavy duty AZ3 mount that can easily handle telescopes 3x the weight of the ST80.

The 400mm f5 makes OTA not only makes it perfect for low power observing of rich field star clusters, nebula and galaxies (from dark skies), it also makes it a great wide field imaging device. A t-thread on the focuser allows fitting of a t-ring. Note that depending on the focal plane of your DSLR camera, you may need to use an extension tube.

Unlike many of the other Skywatcher telescopes that come with a pair of lower end modified achromatic eyepieces, the ST80 comes with a pair of 12.5mm and 26mm plossl. The 2x barlow however is budget.

The red dot finder attaches to a hot shoe. Meaning you can upgrade to the Skywatcher optical finderscopes if you wish

As standard it comes with a 90 degree diagonal. But if using for terrestrial use, we recommend purchasing a 45 degree prism diagonal that will give left / right correct orientation

Click here to buy from Northern Optics

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Baader 2″ UV / IR rejection filter #2459210

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The Baader 2″ UV / IR rejection filter is an absolute must have for webcam and CCD imagers.  Reflects destruction heat radiation. Scratch resistant 7 layer multicoating. Reduces ghosting for pin sharp star images. The only infrared blocking filter in this price range featuring a planeoptically polished substrate, parallel to within 30 seconds of ark.

Can be used on conjunction with Baader contrast booster filter and Solar continuum filters for greater effects

98% transmission across the visible spectrum. Very limited availability with most dealers now only stocking the #2459210-A version.

If still available, click HERE to purchase from Northern Optics


 

 

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Waters` Edge country park. Gadwall November 2016

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I took this photo of a Gadwall at the Waters` edge country park at Barton Upon Humber. There was a number of them on the west pond. Lighting conditions were low, but the soft light made shadows less harsh. I used a Canon EOS1100D with a Tamron 70-300mm lens, f8 400ISO

Gadwalls are a little smaller than the more common Mallards and are very shy. So approach with caution as they are easily spooked. At first glance they seem quite plain, but do have some nice colours and plumage when you get closer. This year there are more numbers than normal. So go along to the Waters` edge country park to see if you can see one

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