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NAS meeting Thursday 6th February 2014


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February 6th, 2014, 8 pm: Members’ Evening
Telescopes and Astrophotography


John Hurst will be giving a short presentation on how to use a webcam for simple planetary imaging, followed by a surgery session on a range of telescopes in the foyer.




- - - - - -


The society has sent around an email asking people to bring along any kit they want help with, so if you want to come along with stuff, or just come along, do so; you don't have to be a paid up member to attend.


See you there.



Edited by Daz Type-R
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  • 2 weeks later...

Reminder about the meeting this Thursday. Non-members are welcome to attend; free tea and coffee and biscuits too!


And remember if anyone wants to receive the society's monthly journal by email it is free and you don't have to be a member to receive it:


"If you wish, you can receive the Society’s Journal free by e-mail. Just send an e-mail, asking to be added to our e-mailing list, to secretary@nottinghamastro.org.uk."



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Just had an email update about tomorrow meeting:



"I've put together the following programme for tomorrow's members evening, doors open at 7:30pm.

7: 30  doors open, sign in, tea, coffee and biscuits .

A wide variety of telescopes and mounts will be set up ( on the ground floor area ) and manned by members as follows:

10 " Newtonian Reflector  on a Dobsonian mount and a 3" Meade Refractor  on an Alt Az  GoTo mount

5"   Newtonian  on an Equatorial  mount,  plus a camera and video display.

10"  Ritchey Cretien Reflector  on an EQ5 mount.

120mm   Refractor on an Equatorial mount.

11"  Schmidt Cassegrain  Reflector  on an  EQ6AZ  mount.

6"  Nexstar6SE  SCT  Reflector   on an Alt Az  GoTo  mount.

Other committee members will be  ' floating around'  to help as required.

At 8:15pm John will be giving a short talk on  basic Webcam Astrophotography,  upstairs in the lecture theatre.

We hope you l have an enjoyable and informative evening,"


- - - -  -


Might see some of you EMSers there.



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Was a good meeting.

Met up with Kim at the event and gave him the battery grip and chatted with an interesting new NAS member who is primarily interested in photography but wants to experiment with widefield photography. We are going to swap emails and i'm going to show him some star trails i've done.

Various scopes and mounts were on display, so started looking around those and chatting with the owners.

I got collared by a lady who'd been to the EMS SGL 2014 event in Wyneswold, and who'd I'd spoken to about star trails; she'd brought her camera along for some advice in settings for star trails, so had a nice chat with her and her mum.

Then went for a lecture on webcam imaging, aimed largely at the newbie starting out with this but good to listen to, and interesting to hear the sorts of questions people ask. Despite all the info out there on the web, I don't think there is a single guide which adequately explains the fundamental theory and practical steps to take when starting out with imaging the planets and moon with a webcam. This could be a little summertime project for the planetary-minded EMSers :)

Had a bit more of a look around the scopes on show after the talk, and had another cup of tea with Kim; boy that guy can drink tea :)

Chatted with the C11s owner about guiding it, and also about his new Schmidt-Newtonian which I'd like to see.

Spoke also to a guy who is doing some really impressive imaging with a 130mm newtonian he has pimped up. And what was great is that he is printing his results out and sticking them in a folder to show others; really inspirational.

Finally had a good chat with the NAS president, Chris Jackson, and a look at his kit. I loved the wireless control of his mount, and he is going to send me the circuit diagrams for the home made wireless thing he's made (Leigh I might have another little electronics job for you!). Spoke also about a NAS event that's in the pipeline involving Ian King and Nik Szymanek in Nottingham, and will be a day long workshop on a weekend; I've already told him a few weeks ago that once the date is set that I can easily get a few EMSers who will be interested in supporting. Then i marvelled at his camera, a fancy blue and black box, QSI, which has par-focal filters in, essentially looks after itself when doing narrow band imaging... If there was a way to automatically rotate filters in front of a mono camera and me not to have to fiddle with it too much or to need to re-focus too often, and designed for planetary imaging, i'd get one. Felix and I have been talking (again) about the higher resolution mono cameras can achieve, but also about the hassle of cheaper end filter systems; again something else to explore in time.

Lovely evening, and nice to catch up with some NAS members and committee who i only see once a month, and some new faces. And great to see Kim too.


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Yup - it was a nice meeting and good to see James - especially as he had a new toy for me - a dual battery grip with remote shutter release for my Canon dslr. That'll come in very handy - but I can see Di pinching it for her 1000D. I hadn't intended staying - but glad I did.


It was good to catch up with a few folks I'd not seen in a while. Last time I saw Chris he came round my place and I was helping him to set up and polar align his then shiny new NEQ6 Pro. Now he's got it singing and dancing with EQMod and wifi remote control - and it still looks shiny and new lol. I was quite impressed that a few of them had remote wifi mount control with X-box style paddles. And Chris's ccd camera was pretty cool too.


Also good to see John (who attended Wymeswold a couple of times in the past) and listen to his talk on webcam imaging where I picked up a new "focusing set up" tip. And it was noticeable there's a lot of engineering, IT, and electronics expertise in the group - they have some very highly qualified members there who have turned their skills to astronomy gear.


James's Jupiter animation was very highly regarded by the members there - and quite rightly so. So it was good to see skills from EMS well represented at another Astro Soc (kinda raises our credibility). They were buzzing about it - nice one James! 


But I had to drink a lot of tea cos James kept me talking so much I kept drying up hahaha! :lol:

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Oh yeah sure Felix. It's just something that never really occurred to me before. The idea is simple - set up in daylight - focus using an eyepiece (preferably with illuminated cross hairs) as close as you can to the webcam point of focus, as near the eyepiece center as poss, and note the focus position. Then focus the webcam counting the turns (in or out) of the focus knob from that position, to achieve focus.


Then at night just focus your object using the same eyepiece/position, and you'll know how far to go (and which direction) when you change it for the webcam. At least you'll know you're at the correct focus point for the scope and webcam, even if you can't see the object on preview.


The only possibilities left are: object in fov but invisible due to software settings, or, object not in fov (ie pointing error or magnification problem). But because your focus is correct - if it can be seen, it will be seen. :)

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Hmmmm, might have to give the NAS another try.

I have been to 3-4 of their meetings in the past (about 3 years ago) and they were not that entertaining.  I tried asking questions about scopes etc (this was prior to EMS and me owning the dob) and I just got shoved a load of magazines and then got told to make sure I brought them back.

Needless to say I never took them and after that I never went back.

Shame really as from work it is only 10 minutes.

You might see me at the next one.

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They have a new chairman Daz - Dr Chris Jackson (also an EMS forum member). Very nice chap (and personal friend of mine from Leicester AS). He seems to have had a good influence on NAS which has a very friendly, open, and amicable feel to it. They also seem to do a lot more public outreach stuff than I've noticed in the past. So I'd deffo recommend a visit up there. :)

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Sometimes all it takes is a new chap with a few ideas to turn things around.


The NAS of old was nothing like what James and yourself wrote about so I`m thinking if I can make their events I might just start going again.



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