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Astronomy Is Out Of This World

Heavens Above

HEAVENS ABOVE

My Journey To The Stars

The idea of owning a telescope was not something I had even given a thought about until I was talking to one of my work clients who had just been given a Telescope for his 50th Birthday. I thought what a great gift and that sowed the seed for my journey to the stars. I was 47 at the time and thought I would suggest that to my wife for my as an idea for my 50th birthday present.
However the idea of getting a scope was now in my mind and within a short time I had purchased my first scope from Ebay in July 2013.  I collected my Skywatcher 200p and EQ5 mount from the seller from Canvey Island, Essex. Virtually unused by the college student seller I was very happy with being the successfull winning bidder. It came fully boxed and was like new.  I loved it.

In The Beginning

Skywatcher 200p and Eq5

 

 

 

At the time my wife and I lived in Grays, Essex. I really did not have a clue as to what I was doing, no idea about Polar alignment, where the North star was, or how to find it. Light pollution was very bad but I made do as did not know any different. With the help of several books and You Tube the learning curve began.

I remember how pleased I was at seeing the Orion nebula for the first time. I had a big smile that night.

Within a short time I had fitted an RA motor to the Eq5 mount and began learning how to control the Telescope with a laptop and a Playstation style controller.

Start into Imaging

Altair

It was not long before I started to look into how to take photos of what I was looking at and so the beginning of my Astrophotography journey started.  "Altair" was the first image I captured on 8th September 2013. It was taken with a standard Canon 550d DSLR camera body attached direct to the SW200p with a T adaptor. From this time I was hooked.
It was not long after that I went down the Web Camera road to capture Planet images. My time on Planetary imaging has so far been very minimal with a poor image of Saturn and a few images of Jupiter (see Gallery Images) but I am sure I will look at this avenue again in the future.

The Moon

The Eagle has landed

I did take few images of the Moon as this is a fairly easy subject to take and test equipment.  I was getting into Astrophography but still only at the very beginning of the steep leaning curve. I find that Astrophotography is so rewarding when you see the final picture coming together after hours of work to capture the images. I am no expert but thankfully there are people out there who are, and through the internet/books I can hopefully continue my journey and improve my own knowledge and continue to enjoy this hobby. It can be very frustrating at times for sure.

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SUFFOLK

The Big Move

At the end of March 2014 we moved from Grays to a Village in Suffolk.  I had already upgarded my Mount to an EQ6 Pro with Skywatcher ST80 Guide Scope and in the Summer of 2014 I purchased my second scope, this time a second hand Skywatcher ED80 Pro, which came with an upgraded TS Focuser.

I was using a Canon 550D with Backyard EOS software to capture images but at present I use a Mono ATIK460ex,  Atik Filter Wheel FW2 and SGPro software.

 

 

 

 

A Wonderful Wife

Pulsar 2.2m Observatory Dome

In May 2017 I had a Pulsar Observatories 2.20m Dome delivered which has transformed the way I now image. No more setting up and packing away dew covered equipment at 3am in the morning. I opted for the Rigel Pulsar Dome drive motor, this rotates the dome which is synchronised to the Telescope. I manullay open the dome shutter but the Shutter Motor Drive could always be added in the future. Please see the "Dome" section for details of the installation. Within 15 minutes I can now be all up and running and operating the Dome, Scope and Camera all from my Study or Lounge.

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Imaging

A selection of Images taken over the course of my journey in this hobby are shown in the Gallery. When I first showed my wife my first attempt at the Horsehead Nebula she did not believe I had taken it. 
Some of the images take hours of data capture often over several nights with software ensuring that the Telescope Mount is perfectly aligned to the same co-ordinates on a return to the same target.

I hope you enjoy reading about Journey to the Stars and my continuing learning of this fascinating hobby can be followed in my Blog.
I am more than happy to answer questions if I can and appreciate comments or suggestions, but remember I am not an expert, I am learning like many others. If I get stuck I ask questions. There are some excellent forums on line which I will be including details of in "Helpful Links" page at some point in the future.

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