Binocular Parallelogram Mount

Last summer was my first as an amateur stargazer, and I confess I found it rather frustrating not having anything much to look at. So in my usual fashion I started to get Garage Project Syndrome and was looking for something to make.

Then I visited fellow SPOGger Mark Radice, who had prototyped a binocular mount for his giant bins and showed how simple it was. Well, clearly this would not do – I had to try my hand at one.

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Astro DIY: Homemade Telrad Dewshield

I’ve got a secret love my wife doesn’t know about: I’m in love with my Telrad. It transformed  my 10″ dob when I first got it, and I would literally be lost without it. But there’s one problem: at some point in the evening, I inevitably find myself wiping buckets of dew off the glass.

I tried a couple of solutions; first I wired up a homemade dew heater using high wattage resistors – but it didn’t work. Then I tried Rod Nabholz’s homemade dewshield; that worked, but kept getting knocked off by the barbeque cover I use to keep the dust off the scope when its stored in the garage.

So I needed a more robust solution. There are several available on the market, but whenever I’m confronted with a website asking £30 for a couple of pieces of plastic my response is always the same: get out the tools and make it myself.

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Introducing My Kit – part 2

In part 1 of my kit review I introduced my telescopes and binoculars. In part 2 I’ll take you through the contents of my eyepiece case. Not because it’s anything special – quite the opposite: it’s a typical selection for a cost-conscious stargazer. It’s also a work in progress.

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Introducing My Kit – part 1

In this post I’ll introduce you to the astro kit I use – you’ll get an idea of what is available, what it all costs, and what you can do with it.

I’m lucky enough to own some reasonable equipment to help me find my way around the sky; the emergence of China as a manufacturer of good quality optics has transformed the market in recent years. When I was growing up 30 years ago the standard advice was to save hard and get a 3″ refractor or a 6″ reflector – scopes which would have cost around £400. Now the same cash amount buys you a bigger and better scope, despite inflation.

I’m a big fan of simplicity and grab-and-go: I don’t get on with equatorial mounts*, I can’t be bothered with polar alignment or charging up powerpacks, and I don’t do astro-imaging. My kit is a reflection of my observing philosophy: get set up quickly, maximise your observing time, then get back in the warm.

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