Equipment for Astronomy

Solargraph – worked… (sort of)!

Six months has flown by….

Time to collect the solargraph we ‘planted’…


Yes, a few days early to be collecting, but today is my last one in the office and I wasn’t thinking of doing a 124 mile round trip to collect from Leominster on the shortest day!

What a lovely start to the day, a slippy stile and muddy walk!

If you remember from the last post, the first attempt had been damaged – probably due to the shiny  ‘foil’ pinhole being pecked out by an interested magpie!

2x previous photos of new solargraph in situ…(Above and below)

The site from Google Maps:

Kimbolton Church (Nr. Leominster) is in the centre. The solar graph is sited in that first tree-line (towards 10/11 o’clock), looking back to the church – thought it would make a nice view/foreground…

This time, we had forgone the foil (you pin-prick it to get a fine hole and therefore sharper image recorded) and instead drilled (No 1 drill bit), straight into the tin. No bird was going to get through that!!

Would this one fair better…?

This was it’s rough view as seen this morning upon collection at 8.45am….

First impressions were good… the baked bean can pinhole camera looked to have survived it’s six months and was in remarkably good condition with hardly any rust – sheltered under the trees.

Back at the office, second impressions were of an unremarkable small image and some image shift (double exposure)…. look how the church is double exposed on the original below….      ;-(


I don’t think it was ‘vandalised’ if it had, it would have been ripped out and strewn across the hedgerow… ‘Mother Nature’…. perhaps…? More likely a horse or sheep rubbing up against the stake (or wire fence) – although I did try and protect it somewhat…

(Above: Initial scan – 900DPI, Colour-Millions, mirror reversed on the horizontal plane, cropped).


If this hasn’t worked, that’s 18 months from the first try (summer>winter 2016) – I didn’t have another pinhole camera prepared after the first go to put imediately back in place, so waited until this summer solstice in 2017 to try again.

Again, I didn’t have another prepared to start again this morning either, so another camera would have to wait until summer 2018….




With a little Photoshop magic, it’s amazing what can be achieved!

Phew  😉


For January’s RAG end-month meeting, I’ll bring the laptop, scanner, etc. So if you tried your own solargraph and want some help processing it, bring it along and we can have a play!

If you want to preserve yours until then, I suggest you remove from the tin, ***dry completely with a hairdryer*** and then put nice and flat inside an envelope (or two) out of direct light.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!



Observing Log 15/12/2017 @ 22:36 – 16/12/2017 @ 02:04, LRO, Andy and Damian – first ever views of some faint nebulae

Observing Log 15/12/2017 @ 22:36 – 16/12/2017 @ 02:04.

Andy & Damian


What a night! Incredible views from the centre of Lichfield – we can only imagine what the views must have been like from a dark sky sight. Tonight, we saw things we have never seen before – at least by eye – and only ever expected to see on photograhpic images. Wow! Just goes to show – it is worth going outside in the freezing cold.

  • 10” Orion Dobsonian Telescope with Explore Scientific (ES) 20mm, 14mm, 9mm 100 degree apparent field of view (APOV) eyepieces and Telrad finder.
  • 80mm Sky Watcher Equinox Pro telescope on William Optics EzTouch Alt-Az mount with 31mm Nagler and 6mm Televue eyepieces and 8x50mm finder.
  • Sky Safari Pro 5 planetarium software on iPad

Photos through image intensified eyepiece (IS):

Orion Nebula (M42):

M81 and M82 Galaxies in Ursa Major (below) – note that the Image Intensified eyepiece has significant field curvature and coma towards the edges of the field so the thin smudge of the top left of this image is not another galaxy but a spread-out star:

Double Cluster in Perseus (below):


Orion Nebula – Messier 42, Bright Nebula in Orion,15 Dec 2017, 22:36:35, Using my ten-inch Orion Dob in my back garden, standing in the snow, after tripping over the remains of the snowman built by Rhys and Hannah, and survived the treacherous and very slippery icy steps (and having put salt on them to keep myself alive), my first target was Orion’s nebula. Magnificent and stretching over half the field of view in my 14mm Explore Scientific (ES) 100-degree AFOV eyepiece. My eyes are poorly dark adapted, but the nebula looks green rather than grey tonight, suggesting the sky is very clear after the snow falls.

NGC 1975, Bright Nebula in Orion, 15 Dec 2017, 22:42:48, Visible other side of the fish-mouth, little detail visible.

Flame Nebula – NGC 2024, Bright Nebula in Orion,15 Dec 2017, 23:00:41, Definite observation of the Flame Nebula nebulosity. Once our eyes were relaxed, we could see filaments and tendrils over 1+ fields of view growing in brightness towards the main part of the Flame Nebula. Realised again it is a question of learning to observe this very faint object.

Messier 78, Bright Nebula in Orion,15 Dec 2017, 23:04:08, First ever observation of M78. Two stars with definite nebulosity. I thought it was an open cluster at first, but Damian realised what it was, and we star hopped around the area to confirm it.

Orion Nebula – Messier 42, Bright Nebula in Orion,15 Dec 2017, 23:05:20, Image intensified eyepiece – we could see tendrils curling around in circle behind M42 from tips of the wings of the nebula, these were not obviously visible in ES eyepiece. M43 also showed more detail in image intensified eyepiece BUT we could not see the Flame nebula in the image intensified eyepiece.

Messier 78, Bright Nebula in Orion,15 Dec 2017, 23:07:31, Seen in image intensified eyepiece (IS) but nebulosity less obvious (although still visible) than in ES.

Barnard’s Loop – Sharpless 2-276, Bright Nebula in Orion,15 Dec 2017, 23:25:05, I thought I could follow part of this – a C-shaped lightening as a strip at centre field of view – which I followed upwards and then right on to right in next field of view. Damian was not convinced so we will call this a possible observation only……

NGC 2244, Open Cluster in Monoceros, 15 Dec 2017, 23:29:33, First seen as definite smudge in Vixen 2.1x binoculars by myself! I am doing well tonight, as I have seen first most observations above. Damian mentioned NGC 2244 in his talk at RAG end last month. These Vixen binoculars are really growing on me as they do such a good job of identifying such objects. In ten-inch with 14mm ES, we saw definite structure in the Rosette Nebula itself and not just the star cluster. Wow! What a night! And from the centre of Lichfield. But it does require one of the clearest skies we have ever seen. In the IS only the stars of the cluster could be seen and not the nebulosity. This appears to show that the IS responds very poorly to very faint diffuse objects.

Messier 35, Open Cluster in Gemini,16 Dec 2017, 00:39:12, Damian tried out my Skywatcher Equinox Pro on his William Optics EzTouch alt-az mount. He found M35 with his Nagler 31mm, one of the most famous eyepieces of all time.

Pleiades – Messier 45, Open Cluster in Taurus,16 Dec 2017, 00:41:34, In 80mm with 31mm Nagler, masses space around stars just like binocular view. Never seen like this in telescope. Like binocular view -magnification 500mm/31mm = 16x magnification with excellent field of view much better than most binoculars.

Double Cluster – NGC 869, Open Cluster in Perseus,16 Dec 2017, 00:44:33, Likewise with 80mm Equinox and 31mm Nagler this gives excellent binocular view without aberration unlike most binoculars. Obvious uni-ocular view.

Stock 2, Open Cluster in Cassiopeia,16 Dec 2017, 00:49:03,80mm Equinox plus 31mm Nagler best view to view this. Looks like a man with Double Cluster at edge of field of view.

Double Cluster – NGC 869, Open Cluster in Perseus,16 Dec 2017, 00:50:17, Every bit of kit has its place. That includes a ten inch Dob with 20mm ES -spectacular!

Pinwheel Cluster – Messier 36, Open Cluster in Auriga,16 Dec 2017, 00:53:12, What a way to pan M36/37/38 in Auriga – the 80mm Equnix+31mm Nagler. Wow! Wow! Wow!

Pinwheel Cluster – Messier 36, Open Cluster in Auriga,16 Dec 2017, 00:54:39, Throw away the 80mm binoculars!

Double Cluster – NGC 884, Open Cluster in Perseus,16 Dec 2017, 00:55:41, Lovely view through 80mm Equinox with 14mm ES. More magnified at 37.5x although of course will not match light gathering and therefore brilliant diamond like quality of ten inch Dob. But 80mm is a lot more grab and go. Damian thinking of something similar for American trip in 2019.

IC 1805, Open Cluster in Cassiopeia,16 Dec 2017, 01:04:47, Started by identifying the cluster and checking it was correct by panning around and checking location. Once this was certain started looking for Heart Nebula.

Heart Nebula – IC 1805, Bright Nebula in Cassiopeia,16 Dec 2017, 01:05:59, Once we identified cluster we could then identify nebulosity. This is certain observation with tendrils of nebulosity evident. However, one criticism is applicable. If we did not know from or planetarium maps that this was the correct location could we be sure this nebulosity was not background star fields, too faint to resolve individual stars? Answer is we couldn’t as brightness only slightly different from elsewhere but once location established fact is we could see the nebulosity with certainty. Is this only going to be tonight when sky so clear? Possibly but in fact it is starting to mist up now so perhaps this is part of the skill-set l-learning to recognize things for what they are in the sky. Note all our observations so far have been by direct vision. Averted vision has not been required so far tonight.

Soul Nebula – IC 1848, Bright Nebula in Cassiopeia,16 Dec 2017, 01:13:01, Adjacent to Heart Nebula, also seen initially via cluster stars. Again, once identified, we could then start to see the nebulosity – becoming more obvious as we spent more time observing it – particularly one bright patch. Both Heart and Soul Nebula seen with ten inch and 20mm ES.

Messier 65, Spiral Galaxy in Leo,16 Dec 2017, 01:22:28, Failed to find these,

Bode’s Nebulae – Messier 81, Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major,16 Dec 2017, 01:23:00, Neat little objects in centre of field inn 80mm – of M81/82 and M42 – with 31mm Nagler.

Damian then changed to 6mm Ethos for M42 inn 80mm. Masses of detail. Quite bright. The combination of Equinox and WO mount seems to work well.

Orion Nebula – Messier 42, Bright Nebula in Orion,16 Dec 2017, 01:37:54,80mm through IS M42 bright but M43 not visible. Smaller image means less affected by field curvature and coma inherent in the IS.

Finished observing @ 02:04 – sky too misty and its too cold and my secondary has fogged up!

Review : Skywatcher Sky Fi Adapter.

About £70 and you’ll get a unit that really works with the Synscan Pro ( eq mount) or the Synscan ( az mount ) free app for android or phone. You get two connecting cables , one for an eq mount and the other for an az mount. The unit is powered by the mount and connects directly into the handset socket on the mount. Note that it does draw a bit of power , make allowance in the cold with a battery or power pack.You’ll need an handset socket adapter cable for the eq6 mount. Otherwise you can plug it into another SW mount.

Level and polar align, switch on power and connect to the local wi fi that comes up on your device settings. No need to add time of location. There’s a polar clock as well. The built in gps is very fast. Then Align . You can easily set the direction speed. Up and right directions light up to endure that you finish your alignment with these two directions. Then select your menu , Messier’s , ngc , IC and Caldwells. There’s named stars , tonight’s best and double stars. There’s also user objects , you can put in your own ra and Dec ( easier with a screen stilo ), it’ll store 25 of these.

There’s PEC , backlash etc. There’s even solar , lunar etc. tracking options. Accuracy ? I was really shocked. As good as my recent V4 handset. It appears that PAE is continual with a press on the star button. There are other features , “point and go” . Point your phone at area of sky, press and the scope will move there. ( not through space !)

For the money it’s not a punt , toy or a gadget. It’s a really viable upgrade to using or replacing a handset. At the moment there’s no easy way of using Sky Safari Pro with it ,( Southern stars have their own unit) but the phone app is straight forward to use. There are alternatives at twice the price and it’s a big thumbs up for SW .

Love this unit and can really recommend it for your Synscan mount. There’s a long review on Youtube.


Volvox slide from Chinese 91 slide selection under Zeiss IM microscope with different illuminators – Andy’s birthday present November 2017

Rachel and David, good friends of ours, bought me this selection of slides for my birthday this year. It is an eclectic collection plant, animal, insect and protozoal slides, mostly stained. At only £25, it was an absolute bargain – although the number of 91 is a bit strange.

My first forey into looking at these came today. It also provided my first opportunity to compare images between the LED illuminator and 100W halogen illuminator.

I chose the Volvox slide – these multicellular organisms are found in lakes and ponds and inland waterways world-over and can be amazing to look at under a microscope.

The following images show Volvox using the two different illuminators and at varying magnification.

Volvox is a polyphyletic genus of chlorophyte green globe algae in the family Volvocaceae. It forms spherical colonies of up to 50,000 cells. They live in a variety of freshwater habitats, and were first reported by Antonie van Leeuwenhoek in 1700 (Wikipedia).

The following diagram comes from Wikipedia and shows the structure of a Volvox colony – which can be seen in my photos below.


The dual illuminator setup on Zeiss IM microscope:

The 91 Chinese slide selection:

Chinese-Volvox-slide-x20-obj-Halogen-100W-illum-011217.bmp – whole Volvox colony showing many daughter colonies – with x20 objective. The picture also shows that it is not possible to get all of the spherical Volvox colony in focus at the same time:

Chinese-Volvox-slide-x63-obj-LED-30W-illum-011217II.bmp (below) – same field as above with LED illumination rather than halogen illuminatation (which was used above). Photo looks similar – in practice colour temperature was very different – much warmer with the halogen – and the similar colours reflect the effect of the auto-white balance adjustment present in the Bresser Mikrocamlab7 software:

Chinese-Volvox-slide-x32-obj-Halogen-100W-illum-011217.bmp (below) – Halogen, now magnification increased using x32 objective – which brings out detail in the daughter colonies inside the Volvox:

Same field and magnification as above with LED illumination (below):

The following three photos are a series of photos of the same field all using LED illumination but this time using the 63x objective to concentrate on one of the daughter colonies. Volvox is spherical so it is not possible to get the whole daughter colony in focus at the same time so the three photos are at different levels within the colony to bring different parts into focus. It looks to me as though the daughter colonies are already forming grand-daughter colonies within them, even before separating from their parent!

How to improve lubrication and striction on Astair Astro Sabre mounts – instructions from Altair Astro engineer at International Astronomy Show UK 2018

I had a go tonight at improving the stiction on my heavy duty mark I Altair Astro alt-az mount – I was given the following advice by an engineer on the Altair Astro stand at IAS in Coventry, UK, 2018. I have got so upset by this stiction (jumping effect when try to nudge the scope at high power) that I have seriously considered selling it – particularly when trying to move around the solar disc during daytime observing with my Equinox Pro 80mm + Daystar Quark. The Altair Astro engineer told me the problem was all to do with the company’s choice of lubricant at manufacture and changing the lubricant would do miracles – unfortunately I cannot find the lubricant he advised so am trying an alternative.

NB For anyone with a Sabre mount who is wondering what the black plastic ring is on the photo below at the bottom of the mount – this is the top of a HEQ5/EQ5 extension tube which I use with my HEQ5/EQ5 tripod and the Sabre mount – this allows me to keep the extension tubes on the tripod closed to maximise stability in use.



How to improve lubrication and striction on Astair Astro Sabre mounts – instructions from Altair Astro engineer at International Astronomy Show UK 2018:


  1. Buy killiapoise lubricant
  2. Unscrew large screw on side
  3. This part I found I did not need to do as mount now pulled apart vertically: Inside delrin puck black plastic disk – get long wood screw with sharp tip – stick into delrin and pull out 2mm only to clear shaft
  4. Pull hard on top and pull it off
  5. Clean gloopy mess
  6. Put killiapoise on the shaft and reinsert
  7. For horizontal bar (altitude bar) undo dog screws couple mm. only on each side of bar
  8. Pull on sides of bar and shafts come off
  9. Remove top large bolt
  10. Pull shaft out
  11. Clean well
  12. Coat liberally with killiapoise
  13. Ensure do not get killiapoise on clothes
  14. Wipe off excess that oozes out

Image intensifier photographs from observing session 17-18/11/2017 (home-made image intensified eyepiece, Samsung S7 phone, Orion UK 10″ Dobsonian, Lichfield)

The following photographs were taken during the observing session at LRO, Lichfield, UK, by Andrew and Damian 17-18/11/2017. Photographs were taken from views through our two 10″ Orion Dobsonian Telescopes, using our home-made (ATM) image intensified eyepieces and my Samsung S7 smart phone hand held at the eyepiece end of the image intensified eyepiece.

The home made image intensified eyepieces were made using old 2nd world war image intensifier tubes purchased from ebay for £50 each a few years ago. They give good views although suffer from significant image distortion towards the edge. However, they represent excellent value for money and provide a quite different way of observing the night sky. Although technically what you see through these image intensified eyepieces is not a direct view of the night sky but instead an electronic image, they give an excellent “through the eyepiece” experience because of where they are located (in the focuser) and the intimate experience of observer and telescope is therefore retained, albeit with a green view!

Andy & Damian

Andromeda-Galaxy-Satellite-M31 & M32-Image-intensified-eyepiece-10-in-Dob-17-181117.jpg (below):

Christmas-Tree-Open-Cluster-NGC2264-Image-intensified-eyepiece-10-in-Dob-17-181117.jpg (below):

Crab-Nebula-M1-Image-intensified-eyepiece-10-in-Dob-17-181117.jpg (below):

Eskimo-Plantary-Nebula-NGC2392-Image-intensified-eyepiece-10-in-Dob-181117.jpg (below):

Galaxies-M81-M82-image-intensified-eyepiece-10-in-Dob-17-181117.jpg (below):

Hubble-variable-nebula-NGC2261-Image-intensified-eyepiece-10-in-Dob-181117.jpg (below):

Open-clusters-M35-NGC2158-image-intensified-eyepiece-10-in-Dob-17-181117.jpg (below):

Orion-Nebula-M42-image-intensified-eyepiece-10-in-Dob-17-181117.jpg (below):

Pleiades-Open-Cluster-M45-image-intensified-eyepiece-10-in-Dob-17-181117.jpg (below):

Observing Log Friday 27/10/2017 7-9:30 pm

The forecast was correct, clear skies, a chance to used the skywatcher ST102 bought earlier in year and only used for solar work so far. ( see pic.1)

I started under the carport ,as moon was not visible from back garden, not quite first quarter, used it to complete lining up red dot finder, took some getting use to smaller image after the 8″ Newtonian or the 9.25″ SCT. When at IAS I bought a smartphone adapter to take afocal images using the wifes’ new smartphone, now was on opportunity to try it out, pic.2 shows adapter and phone, pic.3  image of moon, notice the chromatic aberration, however visually it was not noticeable. The image was taken with a 30mm plossl eyepiece with this 500mm focal length refractor this gives a mag of x17. The crater marked with a red dot in the centre is Ptolemaeus, at slightly higher magnifications the centre of crater appeared to have horizontal bands across it, is this an artefact, blemish on objective/ diagonal?? at a mag of x83 (6mm plossl) all was revealed there were shadow bands from the peaks on the Eastern crater wall, the wall reaches heights of 3000m (9000+ ft) and with the sun relatively low on the moons horizon the peaks cast some long shadows, it was fascinating watching the shadows shorten even over a relatively short period of time , Liz had taken her phone back, so I have attempted a sketch of the shadows cast over the crater floor ( see pic.4),  the floor is relatively smooth, having been flooded with lava, some very minor impact craters formed since, the darker shading on the west is due to floor slumping towards crater wall. This was the first time I have seen such marked shadows on a crater floor formed by the crater walls, shadows from central  peaks are usually observed and just blanket shadow from the wall, the continual changing of relative positions of sun and moon makes the terminator a dynamic visual environment, there is always something new to see, even in one evening.

I then relocated to the back garden, starting in the SW with Albireo in Cygnus, the 10mm plossl  ( x50) clearly showed B1 cyg ( Alberio) as a orange red K class star and B2 cyg B class blue star. Taking a line down to zeta Aq from Albireo, bisecting the line from Vega to Altair, just slightly left the Coat hanger asterism fell neatly into the field of view using a 40mm plossl ( x12.5) , normally I would use binoculars for this target, but the wider field of view afforded by this small refractor enables it to be seen in its entirety. Up into Lyra,aiming between Sulafat and Shellak to locate the Ring Nebula ( M57), fuzzy ring but no hint of central white dwarf in this planetary nebula. Continuing west into Hercules M13 and then up to M92, even with 6mm plossl ( x 83) not a lot of detail. Better with the double cluster in Perseus and as I headed to M31, Andromeda galaxy the cloud had rolled in bring the session to a close at around 9:30.

It was nice to get out with some clear skies and I found the AZ3 mount that came with the ST102 easy to use and manoeuvre and although the refractor shows some chromatic abberation as shown by the photograph of moon , visually it was not noticeable enough to be a problem.

here’s to more clear skies!!!

Pete H

Binocular observing in Lichfield 27/10/2017 @ 22:00-23:30: Vixen SG 2.1×42 Widefield Binoculars vs. Canon 10×30 IS binoculars

When we went to the International Astronomy Show, Damian was not going to buy anything……but then got tempted by a discounted pair of Vixen SG 2.1×42 Widefield Binoculars at 76% normal price. These premium binoculars are quite different to your usual astronomy binos – they are only 2x magnification with a massive 25 degree field of view.

The following is an extract on a review on these unusual binoculars from

“So why use 42mm lenses? In a Galilean system, the actual field of view scales linearly with objective diameter.  As such, for any given power, a doubling of the objective diameter results in the real field doubling.  As the exit pupil is virtual and located inside the optical system there is no fixed eye point and hence to maximise the field seen, the eye must be placed as close as possible to the eye lens, with the obvious implication for spectacle wearers.  However, the Vixen SG have fairly generous sized eye lenses which provides a more comfortable “eye relief” (stated as 8.4mm) without cutting off parts of the achievable field of view.

The question of light grasp and magnitude gain is not approached in quite the same way as a Keplerian telescope. The magnitude gain of a telescope (ignoring the benefits of darkened sky background) can be calculated as 5 x Log10 (D1/D0) where D1 is the diameter of telescope’s primary objective and D0 is the diameter of the eye’s dark adapted pupil.  In a low power Galilean system, the light grasp is dependent on the magnification and light transmission.  For the sake of simplicity, if we assume that the transmission efficiency is 100%, the Vixen with their magnification of 2.1x results in the effective increase in your pupil diameter by 2.1x, and as such the increase is 2.12 which is 4.41x more light.  The magnitude gain is given as Log10 (4.41) x 2.512 = 1.62.  If we assume 95% transmission, that factor is applied to the light grasp gain and results in magnitude improvement of 1.56.”

So, how do they measure up in practice? First light for us occurred last night – Damian bought the pair he bought around to my house and we compared it to my Canon 10×30 image stabilised binoculars. This is a pair I bought years ago from Astronomy Buy and Sell and I am particularly found of them – small, portable, great contrast – and they often go with me on holiday, when I have been banned from taking anything larger for observing….I even bought a “portable” 80mm Equinox and have been banned taking that!

Saturday night was predicted to be clear all night on BBC Weather website – which in practice meant rolling banks of cloud with intermittent 20-30 minute periods of clearness. It was not the best sky out although the Milky Way was visible overhead and the Double Cluster visible to the naked eye, although we debated whether we could see M31 with the naked eye.

Neither of us could see > 1 or 2 stars at best in the Great Square of Pegasus by naked eye alone tonight.

….Then we used the Vixen binos. Wow!! Wow!! They fit snuggly over your eyes and you move your head around as if you had no optical aid. The vast field of view makes it an experience similar to naked eye observing but the increase in number of visible stars was dramatic. I could see 11 stars in the Great Square of Pegasus. M31 was obvious. We could not see M33 last night with them but clusters were often obvious, especially in Cassiopeia and the Double Cluster was impressive. We each saw meteors x several that the other could not see with then naked eye – and they appeared bright in the Vixen binos. I can’t wait to try these out at the next meteor shower.

The view is quite different to that in the Canon IS binos. Not surprisingly, with the Canon IS 10×30 binoculars, the large light grasp and higher magnification meant that more could be seen – M31 was magnificent and big and bright and M33 just visible by averted vision and the Double Cluster incredible and smaller open clusters became visible including at least 2 of the main clusters in Auriga. However, the Canon did not allow you to move your head around the sky in the way you do with the naked eye or with the Vixen binos. The higher magnification means you need to know what to look for and where and aim for it.

Our conclusion is that the Vixen binos do have a unique role. They open up a whole new vista and have a solid well-made feel. It is worth buying eye cups to prevent stray light to go with them. Damian mentioned that after their initial introduction into the marketplace, Vixen did start to supply hard plastic cups that just fit over the metal eyepieces. These appear to push the eye just slightly further away from the eye lens – thereby reducing the field of view (FOV). He then tried some spare Televue eyecups he’d received when buying extenders for his 40 and 32mm TV plossls that he uses for solar observing. Even though they practically only extend a mm or two past the eye lens on the binoculars (once secured so they don’t fall off), they did start to cut stray light from your periphery. After some investigating on the web, he found a review of the binoculars on US forum Cloudy Nights. One post mentioned the use of Baader Hyperion ‘winged’ eyecups. These are around £10-14…. each! The ‘best’ place to buy Baader gear in the U.K. appears to be MicroGlobe – although you often have to wait for them to order the stock themselves!

The new winged eyecups arrived on Friday morning and do indeed cut stray light when observing, helpful both in the daytime and under darkness.

They are quite expensive and are not a total observing solution so this needs to be considered if you are thinking of buying them.

Andy & Damian

Barton All Sky & Meteor Observatory (BASMO)

The Barton All Sky & Meteor Observatory (BASMO) is now operational with the addition of the All Sky camera and realignment of aerial which has started to work loose in mount. The radio section detects the reflections of the Graves Radar signal (near |Dijon) 143.05 MHz detected using the Yagi aerial( az 140 deg , inclination 20 deg) connected to a Fundongle pro+  and signal processed using SpectrumLab on laptop. The Allsky camera runs using Ispy and is set to record video if motion detected in the selected sectors. Unfortunately the All sky camera will not show the meteors detected by the radar ( usually over southern England/ channel/ France)

Images below as follows:

  1. BASMO aerial and Allsky camera
  2. BASMO attachment of camera using wickes bracket suggested by Ed
  3. BASMO Meteor detection top, allsky camera feed bottom.
  4. Radar meteor detection, long duration trace as meteor “burns” up leaving ionised trail
  5. Radar meteor detection showing Doppler shift of approx. 100Hz as meteor approaching Graves signal slows in atmosphere.
  6. BASMO  All Sky camera pointers.
  7. All sky camera and rain drops, design fault ,Ed forgot to include wiper blades!

Click on the links to show videos .

  1. Video clip showing effect of raindrops, giving false movement as security light comes on. falsemove
  2. Video clip showing Plane overhead. Plane
  3. Video clip showing Meteor trace, probably a Draconid. Meteor