EQ6 pec bearing

What better way to spend a Sunday morning than replacing RA bearings in your EQ6?


PHD2 health warning

'thou shalt not dither with PE'

How can anyone possibly image with 16" PE spikes? Impossible, no? Shock horror even...

APT eqmod and PHD2
testing somewhere in the sky: time to cut this one short...
...or is it?

But had on a minute. Haven't I always had 16" spikes? I must have had. It's only now that guiding has told me that I know the whole truth. The new reality is heartbreaking. I feel as though I cannot continue with life. I change mysteriously acronymed variables such as RA: Agr, Hys and MnMo because that's what you can change and that's what everyone else changes. So so shall I.

Whereas before I'd set the intervalometer and then have a look through my binoculars. At stars. Now instead, I sit for hours staring at a graph. Thinks: What the hell? Egg-shaped stars and horrific noise. Everyone would advise me to get those spikes fixed and tell me where to start to look, On one list they tell you to buy grease, replacement cables, an 80ED or a 200PDS, a new eq5... Or just give up!

I go ahead anyway expecting to later post the log-file to the long-suffering-patience-of-a-saint devs on the PHD2 mailing list. Everyone would advise me to get those spikes fixed and tell me where to start to look.

I had become a graph watcher. Addiction and obsession. I needed detox.

I stopped looking at the sky and looked only at blue and red lines emanate from a graph. My anxiety grew. Every 2 minutes, PE kicked in. I became more and more of a nervous wreck. I took to drugs and was admitted to the psycho ward at my local asylum. Everyone would advise me to get those spikes fixed and tell me where to start to look.
So, here goes. Here are my 12 dither-stacked snaps of m51. May God one day forgive.
to all the guys @ PHD2
amazingly good engineering
a big thank you



Those of you who know will realise the significance. The learning curve just got a little shallower.

* big round of applause to Andy and the team at openPHD



quite pleased with this snap of m51, over 23 million light years away
galaxy m51 in canes venatici
canon 1200D + bresser 152s 16 x 45s @ iso 1600



Markarian's Chain
Named after Armenian astronomer Beniamin Markarian (1913-1985) who studied the motions of these galaxies in the Virgo cluster. They are all ridiculously distant. One of the closest, m84, is over 60 million light years away. A true study in looking into the past.

In 2001 I built an observatory for my 6" refractor and dreamed about beng able to take photos like this. At f8 the telescope was slow but the views under the dark skies of La Alcarria in Guadalajara were breathtaking. Add a Nikon FM2 SLR with Fuji colour film. You took single shots, guided through an illuminated eyepiece. You yourself, control box in hand, did the guiding corrections. I never thought I'd get anywhere near until last night. Beginners luck, an f5 refractor and the guys over at SGL made my dream come true.

markarian's chain in virgo 
featuring galaxies: r to l m84 ngc4387 ngc4388 m86 ngc4402 ngc4413 ngc4425 ngc 4435 ngc4438 ngc4458 ngc4461 ngc4473
canon 1200D + ar152s  8 x 45s @ ISO 1600


new canon

last time to have a go at this for a while...
m42 in orion
canon 1200D + ar152  12 x 30s @ ISO 1600

... and a quick look at this
m35 and ngc2158 in gemini
18 x 15s @ ISO 1600