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The three Amigo's astronomy club!

Matt Mick Neil

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#1 Neil

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 10:04 PM

It all started three years ago now at SGL5. I always thought that star parties were something that you American's did because our weather is so rubbish etc... Couldn't really see the point of sitting in a cold wet field in the UK where the probability of a clear night was very slim.
 
We, my family and I, borrowed a very nice tent and went to our first star party in Hereford, UK and by good fortune pitched it right next to Mick (MickD). Mick's the friendly social father figure out of the three of us! I'm sure that he won't mind that description. He really helped us out being fully prepared for camping and all possibilities and eventualities etc... And he always has a box of red wine handy, which solves all problems. :D
 
Then one night my wife ran into another Northerner (Person from the North of England) at the tea/jaffa cake tent and brought him back to our tent! Big mistake! :lol:  He wouldn't leave and he drank all of our red wine, ours and Micks, yes it's you Matt!
 
Matt is the rebellious one and has a wicked but very funny sense of humor... They say opposites attract, well that how we all met each other.
 
Now what should I say about me! I think its best left to Matt and Mick to do the honors.
 
Matt's missed one SGL star party but we have attended several others now together. The last one being at Mick's home in the forest of Dean. He has a fantastic location and his own observatory. It's during this weekend that the idea of this forum was born.
 
Both Matt and myself were getting sick of the utopia on the other forum, which is mostly forced upon its members by a few admins at the top. I managed to get myself banned, :P  unjustly in my opinion but this gave us the kick up the behind to get this particular venture off the ground.
 
We just want a nice place to share our passion for astronomy and if that's with a sensor of humor and an informal attitude then so be it. You can be as serious as you want or as funny as you want, it's up to you? We are very much hands off and are very interested to see where the community goes of its own accord. Therefore, if you miss something or need new categories or have ideas that you want to pursue we will always do what we can to enable them.
 
You won't hear us making excuses as to why it can't be done!
 
Now lets see what Matt and Mick have to say? Mick is a silent partner in all this since he's too busy designing Airbuses to commit a lot of time to the management of the forum.
 
DENEB (Nadeem) another banned member from the same forum as me also helped us in the beginning to get the forum off the ground. Testing phpbb3 which we eventually decided against, since it wasn't stable enough and setting up the forum categories etc... He's a Global_Moderator here now. Our other moderator at the moment is Josh (JLake) and he is our resident Physics teacher from the USA with access to any ones dream system...check him out. And he is our expert in Pixinsight. Check out his winning Hubble legacy image.
 
Seriously the forum is yours, the community and we want people to step up who feel that they can contribute to certain astronomical fields to stimulate discussions and continued interest etc... Therefore, if you have a passion for a specific section of astronomy and can't find the appropriate place to post it then just let us know and we are willing to build new categories and adjust forum for you?
 
It could be that we have an astrophysisist or two that want a place to discuss the physics of astronomy and the universe in general, who knows? 
 
Best regards
 
 
Neil.


#2 SlipperySquid

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:36 PM

Hi all,

        If you don't know me by now my name is Matt and I've just hit 40 years of age :( I live in the UK in a place called Kingston Upon Hull or as we call it 'Ull (Our accent makes us drop the letter "H" on a lot of things :D )

 

As Neil has already said we first met on a cold spring evening (it got down to -5 which for a first starparty and camping in these conditions was an eye opener to say the least...I thought I would die in my paper thin sleeping bag, though it was uncommonly warm during the day which resulted in sunburn!). My first starparty, after which I was hooked!

 

I am rebellious there is no doubt, though better for knowing if I do say so myself and willing to help anyone that I can. I do find that some people in the astronomy circles can come across as elitist and aloof which I think can put some people off the hobby though meeting Mick and Neil has really changed what was my pastime into becoming some thing that I've grown to love more and more.

 

Specifically an imager with limited budget I try and produce the best images I can with my kit and find as time has gone on my images have got better and better, though I always hanker for more equipment which usually has to be bought without the boss (wife) knowing :(.

 

I think Neil has covered everything about the forum that I would have liked to put across myself and really hope that it will go from strength to strength.

 

What can I say about Neil? Stubborn..yup.... opinionated...oh yes.... intelligent...a given,,,, a good friend...without a doubt :D A real nice bloke all round!

 

Mick (MickD on the forum) is another person that I became acquainted with at star parties and then he invited myself and Neil to our own private star party at his beautiful home in the Forest of Dean, I had a great time and the forum was born one drunken night! Though to be honest myself and Mick admitted  that we would not have the time to dedicate to running the forum, though I was hounded,threatened and my arms virtually twisted across the internet until I too agreed that my life would not be complete until the forum was born.

 

So in closing, I would just like everyone to be there self, we are all different, not everyone is going to agree with one another but hey,,that's human nature!

 

I hope that all memebrs can input when they can and keep the forum alive and interesting for newcomers and old timers alike.

 

As my old school motto says "Spes Super Sydera" or "Hope Beyond the Stars".Lets keep looking up and spreading the word! Astronomy isn't boring, it's for everyone :D

 

Clear skies,

 

Matt.

 

P.S. Though rebellious I'm still not band from any forums! ;)  



#3 Carastro

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 11:02 AM

It's surprising how many people have been barred from a particular forum and I guess we're all referring to the same place.  I am still a member there but was chastised once when some-one was talking about needing a bit of kit and I happened to mention I had one for sale, but as kit for sale had been banned at that time I had my post "doctored", I was made to feel as though I had tried to advertise sneakily, and it was merely said trying to be helpful.

 

I hope once I have had a few IT teething problems ironed out to be an on-going part of this community.

 

Carole


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#4 tich

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:15 PM

It was a shame I never met you guys at Hereford last year but the few folk I did meet there we have remained friends, I did catch up with a few in Wales in October & met a few more although the weather was pretty awful so no imaging was done but at least I got some observing in.

I must admit I do enjoy the banter in shoutbox & you guys have made me feel very welcome & have been very helpful. I don't know what's happened & I won't pry but but all I'll say is keep up the good work.


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#5 Neil

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 04:44 PM

I'm sure at some point in the future we will are have the opportunity to meet up, maybe at our own star party, who knows? ;)
 
At the moment, that’s probably a little bit too ambitious for us, something for next year 2014. I will not say too much however, there is a venue that we all liked that we may try to resurrect if possible!


#6 tich

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 06:45 PM

Sounds like a good plan, I'll watch this space. :)


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#7 MickD

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:48 PM

And I'm the other Amigo - Hello from Mick
 

"Friendly Father Figure" I think I resemble that remark (or is it just cos I'm the oldest?)


I think Matt has described Neil sufficiently well and to add any more would make his head swell to the size of his astro equipment bill...(He is known as Darth Takahashi after all).


I started my astronomy as a teenager in my parents back garden with a pair of binoculars on a  camera tripod. I was quite lucky as we tended to live in rural places with very  dark skies. I then dropped observational astronomy for about 30 years, I kept a casual interest in astro things via books, mags & TV (& did one astronomy course whilst studying Physics at university) but work, marriage & social life kept me from looking at the night sky.


I got divorced a few years ago & moved house to the Forest of Dean , whilst sitting in the garden one evening and looking up I thought "hmmm, the skies are quite dark here, maybe I should buy a telescope...). So I bought a SW 150P and had a look at a few of the more obvious things but very quickly got frustrated at the lack of "wow" factor, where were all those colourful nebula I see in magazines?


I then started to look at some of the images that the amateur community were producing (this was about 2008) and thought "the people taking those amazing pictures are the same as me, not professional astronomers, so if they can do it then so can I...) Many telescopes, webcams, DSLRs, CCDs,  software, money and time later and I'm just about getting some images that I'm pleased with.


However, I'm now  not really sure that I'm an astronomer, I think that maybe I'm just a photographer that has decide to make things really hard for himself by taking pictures of dim, distant objects that usually hide behind clouds.


As Neil said I also went to a Star Party were  I met him & Matt which has resulted in new friendships and made this hobby even more enjoyable. I like the star party idea, spend time camping (which I enjoy) with like minded people, drink wine, talk rubbish & maybe do some imaging...what could be better (apart from the weather maybe)
 

Anyway, I agree that I don't post enough & feel a little guilty as I enjoy reading other peoples posts and know that if everyone was as quiet as me then the forum would not work. So I apologise that you won't hear much from me  but that probably won't change.
 

Mick



 


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#8 Double nut cluster

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:31 PM

Hi everyone. If you don't know me by now I'm Andrea, Neil's better but punished other half. I have the pleasure of knowing the 3 amigo's and sharing many a cold night....so to speak....under the stars with these guys. They have all summed each other up quite well actually. There couldn't be a better bunch of lads (brownie points for using the term lads) to set up a forum. Between the three of them you will find most if not all your answers to everything and anything astro. Even I keep nagging Neil to put stuff on the forum that I've found. He's told me to learn to do it myself....

I have always been an astro widow and a few years back Neil persuaded me and the kids that a star party would be fun. Other than the cold, lack of sleep, freezing fog, rain, sleeping on an air bed, the cold....oh have I mentioned that one....and the hangover.....star parties are actually good fun. The positives are the characters you meet and the sights you see on the clear nights and sunny days. I never realised you could look at the sun through a telescope (yes I know it's not called that Neil) and see the sun spots and the solar flares.

Even though I am no astronomer I have also met some wonderful characters ( and a few weird ones....won't name names ) who I am glad to call good friends. Our children have made good friends and we have always been made welcome. Stargazing is quite good actually.

I'm really proud of Neil and Matt for all the hard work they have put into creating the forum (and Mick's brainstorming sessions) and it's good to see others joining in and contributing to make it the success it should be. It's great reading everyone else's stories and the best thing is that it doesn't matter what equipment you have or where you are in the world, you all share the same love and passion for the same skies....even though some see it from another hemisphere.

One thing you can be sure of here is that between the serious topics and discussions there will always be a laugh and a joke to lighten anyone's mood. Welcome to the gang guys and gals.....keep up the good work......live long and prosper.....the force is strong in this one
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#9 SGaber

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 06:09 AM

What's a jaffa cake?

 

We Americans are insulated from the nuances of life in Europe and hence are thought to be naïve.

 

My name is Steve and I Iive on the West Coast of Florida about the middle of the peninsula and about 5 miles from the Gulf of Mexico.

 

I am a retired archaeologist and park naturalist. My interest in astronomy dates back to my childhood, when I started reading science fiction at age 8 and was curious about the planets, stars and galaxies mentioned in the genre.  My first real job as an adult was at the famed Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia, where I was an Observatory Demonstrator at age 19 (Uh, 51 years ago...).  My salary was $64 for a 5 1/2-day week.

 

I always wanted my own telescope but could never manage to afford one (I have high standards). But when I retired four years ago, I decided I deserved one.  So I used part of my remaining vacation/sick leave payout and got the best telescope I could afford, which was a Stellarvue SV105 Triplet Apo refractor.  It now sits on an Orion Sirius EQ-G (same as the Skywatcher EQ5, cept  mine is black).

 

Two years ago I came across two deals I could not pass up.  One was a Losmandy G11, Digital Drive version (not go-to) that I got for an insane price. The other, a Meade Schmidt Newtonian SN10 which I got for an almost equally insane price. I upgraded the SN10 with the addition of a Moonlite focuser and a Stellarvue 9x50 finder scope. I am building a custom pier for the G11.  When perched on the G11, the SN10's eyepiece is about 6 feet 2 inches from the ground, forcing me to use a step ladder to observe.  This makes me nervous.  By "public outreach,"  I didn't mean kids reaching out to grab the scope whilst perched on the ladder.  So I am building a much lower custom portable pier which will put the eyepiece at a more comfortable height and maybe eliminate the need for a ladder.

 

My plan was to use these instruments, combined with my old Nikon D200, to learn how to do astrophotography. I'm still at the bottom of that steep learning curve.

 

I realize that the D200 is not the best choice for A/P, but it's what I have.  Any aptitude I develop in this endeavor will strengthen my case with the CEO/CFO in lobbying for still more astro gear and a better camera. At the moment, she is not so inclined.  As a lifelong Nikon guy (I have four Nikon Fs and 8 Nikon lenses), I am leaning towards a D5100, which I will have modified by Spencer Camera  into a dedicated astro camera.

 

My house is in an area surrounded by moderately large cities and plagued with terrible light pollution. Now and then I escape to a dark sky spot about 110 miles north of here, where I participate in the Chiefland Fall Star Party.  There I can see the Milky Way from one horizon to the other.

 

I am a member of the St. Petersburg (FL) Astronomy Club.  We do a lot of urban astronomy outreach events.  I will mention this forum to the club leadership and doubt they will have any objection to placing a notice about you in their newsletter.

 

Joining this group is my latest step in this process and I hope to learn a lot from you guys. Thanks. Steve G, Oldsmar, Florida, USA.


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#10 Neil

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 07:18 PM

Well Steve thats actually a difficult question. Is it a cake or a bisket? A Jaffa cake that is!!!

 

All I can tell you is that they are very nice, especially in cold England in the middle of the night with a cup of tea when your imaging.

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

Jaffa_cake.png



#11 tich

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 05:28 PM

Damn I can't like your posts Neil,, a Jaffa cake is the staple diet for me at star parties, probably why I'm the shape of a space hopper!!  :P


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#12 Neil

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 06:08 PM

You can't like it because I posted as Admin but I understand tich. :D



#13 WarriorsDrink

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 09:24 PM

Welcome to the forum Steve look forward to your posts. Oh and it is a cake :)
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