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Mars and the Moon - Jan 2010 - 01

Mars and the Moon - Jan 2010 - 02

Jupiter September 2010


I recall my work colleagues taking the "P" out of it because it had a square section tube instead of tubular. But then he explained that the square section tube did not suffer from air eddys as tubular tubes do. Sadly I think I was so busy using the scope that I never got round to taking any photos of it before I sold it a few years ago. I hope it is still going strong now!

Now I use the Helios scope which is almost 6 years old now (having mirrors re-coated later this year). I do have a nice framed photo of the Moon, sat on a shelf at home, taken through the home brewed scope with my trusty old 35mm SLR camera.

The eclipse photos were taken through a small Skywatcher stumpy refractor I bought to take to Spain in 2005 for the annular eclipse out there, October 5th 2005 I think. Got some nice photos even though some of it was clouded out, AHH those damn clouds!

The Helios 200mm scope

The images were all taken from my back garden, in Park North, using my Helios F5 200mm reflector and an Opticstar PL130M monochrome astro camera (1.3mp but with zero compression). Images stacked using Registax3 and Gimp image manipulation software.

Notice the homemade mount for the secondary mirror, with curved, instead of straight vanes. The idea of curved vanes is that it reduces the diffraction effects of the spider. These effects are normally seen as the classic spokes around bright stars. With the curved vanes you do not get that effect and therefore better contrast.

Illustration to the right: Rob's superb Helios F5 - 200mm Reflector

Rob Slack - Exploring the Solar System

I suppose I have always been interested in space, watched a lot of Star
Trek when younger. Have vague memories of the Apollo missions in the
sixties (I was about 5 then). But what really fired me up was Christmas
1998 when my wife bought me a telescope from Argos (oh dear!!). It
wasn't that wonderful but I persevered with it until I managed to track
down Saturn. I couldn't see very much detail but enough to have that WOW moment. Here was something real that I had only seen on TV or in books before.

I remember that Christmas we went to the library and I borrowed a
Patrick Moore video about astronomy. We watched it and found out about the solar eclipse the following year, in August 99. That was it.

Our holiday was planned around that date and we visited Dartmouth, Devon where we stayed for a week and viewed the eclipse from our campsite, but thats another story.

In the mean time I had tired of the little refractor from Argos and got some books on DIY telescope making. Within a few weeks I had amassed some MDF and a mirror set, some springs and bolts and set about building a six inch reflector on a dobo mount.

Saturn 2007

Saturn 2008

Saturn May 2009

Solar Eclipse 1st August 2008

Solar Eclipse 1st August 2008

Venus as seen from Swindon
Click on the illustrations to see the larger picture
Copernicus - Reinhold
Background Image - The Moon

Copernicus, named after the first astronomer to formulate a comprehensive heliocentric cosmology, which displaced the Earth from the center of the universe, with Reinhold to the south-south west, named after Erasmus Reinhold, a 16th-century German astronomer

Click on the smaller image above to see the full picture

Solar Eclipse October 2005

Transit of Venus 2004