70mm Celestron TravelScope

We are please to announce that Celestron have very kindly made a donation of one of the TravelScopes. Ideal for children, very portable and comes with its own back pack!

Watch out for the competition where we will be giving this away!, coming VERY soon!

Mobile Pillar

Background

For some years, i have enjoyed imaging using my Skywatcher NEQ6 and Meade Lx10 mounted on tripod. However a number of things were becoming clear.

The sharp end of the legs start to sink into the group upsetting levelling. Also there were times i would like to move the setup to another part of the garden to capture something else in the night sky. In walked Matthew Armitage.

Matthew has for sometime been pondering on a mobile pillar. For those who dont know, pillars are the more traditional setup for use in observatories. Usually permanent and concreted in. We rent so this is never going to happen.

After sometime, and Matthew was very thorough in asking for measurements and other specs to ensure the build was spot on (he makes these bespoke!).

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Delivery

This was collected from the International Astronomy Show as we were both exhibiting there. It managed to fit in the boot of my Peugeot 307.

After re affixing the wheels* you can see now it sits proudly in the back garden with my NEQ6 mounted. I will say, you will need to use the bolt he supplies with this as i believe the original Skywatcher one is too small.

Another plus with this, if you are ever so slightly off for polar alignment at least (in theory) the whole thing can be moved  little to compensate, fortunately the only swivel wheel is North facing, so massive bonus there.

Caution

1. On this model only one wheel is swivel, the others are fixed, that said i think it is better that way, but something to bear in mind if you want to move it.

2. *Once home though, we did have the problem where it would neither fit down our side entrance or through the house. This might have been a show stopper but the wheels do come off. On this model at least they are fitted on with allen bolts and nuts. (defo consult with Matthew with this in mind if its to go through the house into the back garden.

Benefits of this setup.

Those who have purchased this are those who operate out of garages and need to wheel the setup out. Amazing thing to be able to wheel it about as needed. For me though, this will remain outside. BUT i have something else which may help to keep it dry!

Personally i am VERY optimistic by this new setup. I am not going to get rid of my tripod just yet though as i can see it will have uses if i go to a star party.

Can i also at this point recommend Neil Ross’s covers, he makes these bespoke and i think would compliment this setup nicely!

I am also excited about the levelling bolts on each leg, although it might have been a slight improvement to the setup if a pad had been fitted to the ends of these otherwise they will just dig in when in use. Easy to work around though.

Now all i need are some clear days to properly try this! Can’t wait!

Going to the Moon

So you’re on, what is in affect a giant explosive, over 360ft in length. It is the tallest most powerful space vehicle every built. Over 7 million tonnes of thrust to carry three men beyond Earths orbit to the Moon. The Saturn V rocket. A piece of engineering, to which they have lost the blue prints for now, so possibly could not rebuild.

But what an amazing feat!. How must the first astronauts have felt being on something like this. Knowing they are going boldly, where no man has gone before. To the Moon. I often sit down and wonder about that. Where if anything went wrong there is no chance of rescue.

Even for Alan Sheppard, Americas first man in space. Now how much he have felt. Alone in that module going into space, only the second man to have done so. What a lonely job.

It is little wonder then why the likes of Buzz Aldrin tends to hit someone when they question their experience and achievement. Yup if i had taken my life into my hands and gone to the Moon to be told it was all a lie and faked. I would not be happy either. Looking forward to meeting Charles Duke in September.

GCSE Astronomy 2020

For those interested in enrolling for GCSE Astronomy 2020, we are now accepting students. I know its a way off but the early bird and all that.

There is good an bad news.

The Good, we no longer charge for the exam fee, this is to be met wholey by the student when the time comes. Reason being we are working with so many now we cannot easily factor in the cost. Also we cannot accept liability for any last minute issues exam centres might throw in. So our mission now is to provide the same excellent, high quality education, but passing the liability of the final exam to the exam centres.

The bad, for many years we have absorbed the cost of the textbook, however due to increasing cost of overheads we are now having to pass this onto the student. The whole fee is now £262. Where £137 and £125 are payable respectively for 2018 and 2019 respectively.

We are shortly announcing more exciting plans for our GCSE Astronomy so please remain tuned!

SpaceKidets has moved!

Just to let people know that we’ve moved our SpaceKidets course from www.onlineastronomycourses.co.uk/VLE to www.SpaceKidets.co.uk/VLE

We felt after so long it was time SpaceKidets had its own website and a bit of independence. If you are a member, you should have received a little note from us via email yesterday. But worry not usernames are all still the same but you will need to reset passwords. Otherwise you should find it easier to navigate and work around!