Astronomical Equipment and Observations

Telescopes and Mounts:
Skywatcher Evostar 150
Konus MotorMax 90
Orion(UK) Europa 250
Skywatcher EQ-6
Meade DS2114
Orion(UK) OMC 140
Meade ETX-90EC
Skywatcher Startravel 80
Synta Skywatcher EQ-6 EQ6
TAL 100R Refractor
Film Astrophotography
Minolta SRT100X
Canon IXUS 330
Other Stuff:
Baader Fringe Killer
My Latest Astro Picture
Star Hopping Guide
Stacking images
Bits and bobs

Moon Phase:
Current Moon Phase

Sun State:
Current Solar Image

as-tron-o-my pronounced ast-ron-o-me

1. The scientific study of matter in outer space, especially the positions, dimensions, distribution,motion, composition, energy, and evolution of celestial bodies and phenomena.

The Astro Blog (NOT)


Welcome to my astronomy site. I am an observational astronomist, this means im lazy, i dont record any of my observations in a log of any kind. I like the challenge of finding objects using either the setting circles on my mount or by star hopping using a pair of 10X50 binoculars or a 9X50 finderscope attached to one of 3 of my telescopes.

Three, i hear you cry, why three? Well the reason is simple, along with being lazy im also quite fond of my toys. I have a large reflector, a Meade ETX-90EC Maksutov Cassegrain GOTO and finally i have what called a Maksutov Cassegrain, an OMC 140. I also have a Startravel 80, a short tube 80mm refractor for general use. These three scopes make for a very versatile set of kit. I also have a few sundries, camera's webcams, smaller scopes(finders and such) and a little eq1 mount for astrophotography!

For planetary views i can use the OMC, for deep sky i can use the Europa and for quick set up and all round views i can use the ETX. Each telescope has its advantages and dis-advantages. The Europa for instance has a massive light grasp(250mm) compared to the others, (4 or 5 times as much as the OMC) but has a very fast F ratio(4.8) making it hard to focus on point lights(stars and planets). The OMC 140 has a smaller light grasp at only 140mm but has a masive F ratio(14+), this gives it great point focus skills and can take large magnifications. The ETX is great for nights when the Moon is small or non exsistant, it can be set up and running in 15 minutes. With the ETX i can view more objects in one session than i could in a week with the others. The only downside is its puny 90mm apeture.

I am no longer lacking in any area of my setup having been bought a 300D for my birthday and buying myself a StarTravel 80 to use as a telephoto lens!

The life of the Astronomer

Weather forecasters have, for once, done their job properly. The high pressure system promising clear skies has finally arrived and has been active for the last 5 days.

I have for the last 4 nights been out with a plethora of instrumentation and can indeed, do a drift polar align with my eyes well and truly closed. During the day I move about as if the walking dead had descended upon the earth, mindlessly bumping into things, repairing 2 year old source code only to realize I have just overwritten the original, using coffee and tea as a crutch in a vain and futile attempt to battle the on-going and un-forgiving increasing tiredness. Fellow workmates ask "are you ok?. yes, im fine. I always wear bags like this under my eyes to give the impression of an older and, all be it wishful thinking, wiser person! "You don't have to be sarcastic...." is the usual reply. This tiredness has given rise to a new Robert, a more snappy and spiteful version than the norm. Posts to on line forums are becoming less tolerant, fools and jokers beware. When my mind is in a state such as this I have NO sense of humour...

My eyes look like they have the entire contents of a coal truck suspended beneath them and my partner is sickening of getting nothing but "huh" replies to all but the simplest sentences. You should have a night off she says! Give up the chance to actually use all this gear I have invested a small fortune in over the last 3 years? Sacrilege! I will not allow it to be so.

4 nights of waking until 4am, hurriedly scanning the sky for that elusive PN or mag 10 GC then sleeping, dreaming of stars and galaxies and planets and settings, then waking to the constant and unforgiving beep beep beep beep beep of the alarm clock at 8am. Again tonight, once my children have been returned to their mother I shall descend upon the harty ferry car park in the hopes that I can manage to get up just one more time tomorrow!

The sky is thickening now with many days of high pressure and low winds, the atmosphere can no longer sustain the particulates ejected from so many vehicles and factories. It is starting to look more like soup than air...One would hope for an hour downpour between now and sunset to clear all the dust and grime from the skies.....

And, after all if nothing else, all we have is hope!!!

Please browse my site, i have attempted to write a review for each peice of equipment i have purchased over the last 3 or 4 years...If you dont like my spelling, tough!

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