Image of the day

From the
ATWB Customer Gallery

NGC 1499

My Account

New to Astromart?

Register an account...

Need Help?

Posts Made By: David Eccles

August 9, 2004 09:41 AM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

Calculating Deep Sky Exposure Times

Posted By David Eccles


I realize there are uncontrollable factors involved in this such as viewing quality, location, etc. But is there a method (formula) for calculating exposure times? I've tried the free online tool provided by Steve Covington, but it only works if you use the default lists the tool provides, so it doesn't really answer my question.

Can anyone help?

September 9, 2004 04:04 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Lumicon products verses other options

Posted By David Eccles

I'm looking to purchase a reducer, radial guider, guiding eyepiece and and illuminator. Until today, I was looking at purchasing these products from both and The total cost w/o shipping is $367.00.

Today I checked out and discovered they have a product called "Easyguider" which combines the reducer and guider into one single unit. The advantage to this device is I no longer need my T-adaptor and I have the option of placing the reducing lense to change my currently F/11 scope to either F/6.3, or F/5. The cost, however is somewhat more. The easyguider is $250.00, and the eyepiece and illuminator is an additional $193.00.

Lumicon is claiming these are the best products available. My question is....Have any of you out there purchased any of these products from Lumicon, and is the extra $80.00 + worth it?

September 16, 2004 10:41 AM Forum: Film Astrophotography - Imaging and Processing

Hypered Film Resources

Posted By David Eccles

Seeking assistance from anyone in the central coast of California who knows of a local resource for buying Hypered 35mm color film. If any of you know of one, please let me know. Thanks and clear skies.

David Eccles

November 16, 2004 09:41 AM Forum: Film Astrophotography - Imaging and Processing


Posted By David Eccles


I'm sure there is a simple answer to this question, but I'll ask it anyway.

I have a photo of a double cluster which I processed and saved through photoshop 7. When I saved the pic, it was converted from a jpeg format to a .psd format. In jpeg in was approx. 350kb in size, but in psd format it's now 16mb. I would like to email it to friends, but the new format is WAY too big. How do I change it back to a format with less memory. I tried putting the jpg extension on it, but photoshop returned an error when I tried to re-open it. Any help would be appreciated.

Clear Skies

David Eccles

November 17, 2004 10:25 AM Forum: After Dark


Posted By David Eccles

I'm not sure why, but why wasn't this news posted on this site? Seems important enough to be worthy of mention.

Article -
Original post at:


There have been two important pieces of space-related news recently, the first of which was the European moon probe's success in entering the moon's orbit.

PARIS, France -- Europe's first mission to the moon has successfully entered lunar orbit, a key milestone in its 13-month trip into space, a spokesman for the European Space Agency said Tuesday. The SMART-1 probe made it to within 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles) of the lunar surface and will begin spinning its way closer to the moon as it orbits, ESA spokesman Franco Bonacina said from the space agency's headquarters in Paris. By mid-January the craft will be in an elliptical orbit that will take it within 300 kilometers (185 miles) of the moon's south pole and 3,000 kilometers (1,850 miles) from the north pole, Bonacina said.

This probe was a significant technical achievement because of its small size, low cost, fuel economy, and innovative ion propulsion drive. Once it gets close enough to the moon, the probe will start x-ray mapping the entire lunar surface in order to find out if the Earth and the moon are made of the same type of material.

The other big space news comes from NASA, which pulled off a successful test flight of their scramjet engine. The unmanned scramjet got up to almost Mach 10 in the course of its 90-second flight. That's fast enough to get anywhere on the globe in two hours. The military is of course interested in the technology for use in missiles and bombers, but it might also see use in space launches.

A scramjet is an air-breathing rocket that sucks in oxygen from the atmosphere and uses it to burn its fuel. Traditional rockets must carry liquid oxygen on-board, which adds to their weight and decreases their payload capacity.

December 3, 2004 04:49 PM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

Seeking Information / Opinions

Posted By David Eccles

I've been reading through a site called planetariumsoftware.htm, looking for an application I can not only use effectively, but can run my scope with.

The two I'm most interested in at this time are "Winstars" and "HnSky". I'm currently using Starry Night Pro 4.5.

I like Starry Night, but it would be nice to know if I can get as good of quality without spending alot of money. In fact, these two other apps are free.

I'm seeking opinions/comments from anyone who has used or is using either Winstars or HnSky. Overall thoughts, problems, does it run a scope accurately, etc..

Any input is helpful. I would have posted this in the Software Forum, but it's rather empty at this time.

Thanks and clear skies.

David Eccles

December 12, 2004 08:32 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Everyone should have one of these!!!

Posted By David Eccles

I may be behind on this, but I wanted to share it anyway. After spending some time struggling to find a way to run my scope (Nexstar 8 ) remotely without using AA batteries, I have found the perfect solution.

There is a product made by Coleman called a Power Converter which takes any 12V DC source and converts it into a 110V AC source.

It's availabe in 400, 800, or 1200 Watt models ( yes, you can run a microwave oven with the 1200 Watt model )and comes with cables with clips which you can attach directly to your car battery. I have the 400 Watt model, which is more than enough to run my scope without interruption all night and not even come close to draining my car battery.

On one end of the Power Converter, is the cables to connect to a battery (it also comes with an adapter for the cigarette lighter) and on the other end are at least two three-prong outlets (depending on which model). It has a 40amp fuse to prevent power surges, has a built-in cooling fan, and comes with a two year warranty.

The size of the 400 Watt unit, including the case is about the same size as a lunch box, so it's extremely portable.

You can also start the vehicles engine while connected in case you feel the battery is getting low. There is absolutely no interuption to the scopes operation or other equipment. The unit will even warn you if the battery you're attached to starts running low on power.

Here's the best part. My model cost a grand total of $30.

So forget the power tanks, forget trying to create portable battery packs. Go buy a Power Converter. You can get one at any Schucks Auto Supply, Costco, or go to the Coleman website.

Clear Skies,

David Eccles
Lompoc California

January 31, 2005 03:31 PM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

Possible viewing list for February and March

Posted By David Eccles

Spring is close at hand. Yes I know It's only February 1st, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy some of the spring-time observing highlights now, it simply means observing later at night(start around 10pm).

I'm gearing up for spring by starting with photographing an entire moon cycle and creating a mosaic. But in case you're interested in getting an early start, here's a list of suggested objects to enjoy.

Clear skies to all

*Note: all objects lie within the Cancer, Leo and Leo Minor regions.

NGC 2775 - Bright spiral galaxy 60 million ly. Easily visible through an 8"

NGC 2773 & 2777 - faint companions to 2775

M67 - Ancient open cluster
M44 - Also known as the Beehive
NGC 2903 - Galaxy at the northern end of the sickle in Leo
Leo 1 - Dwarf galaxy less than 1/2 degree from Regulus. Good challenge
NGC 3190 - Also known as Hickson 44, this galaxy is the centerpiece of a group of four, and is also the brightest of the group.
NGC 3344 - Face-on galaxy in Leo Minor
M95 - Probably the highlight of this region. Comprises a group of nine galaxies in a 4 degree field. larger scopes may be able to pick up remnants of M96, a supernova

NGC 3521, NGC 3632, NGC 3628 (the Leo triplet)

Also look for Abell 1367. A large cluster of more than 100 galaxies, with several easily resolved through an 8".

There you have it. Enjoy the spring. There's more than just apple blossoms to enjoy.

Clear Skies,
David Eccles
Lompoc, CA

January 31, 2005 04:36 PM Forum: Star Parties

Star Parties or Group Meetings?

Posted By David Eccles

Can anyone tell me if there is either a star party or group meeting during the week of July 9 through July 16 in the Yosemite Park area?

Or better yet, anyone have information or a good suggestion for observing locations or maps for the park?

Any help will be appreciated.

Clear Skies,
David Eccles
Lompoc, CA

February 23, 2005 12:19 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Seeking Information / Opinions

Posted By David Eccles

Hello all,

Has anyone read, or know of a site where I can read independent reviews on this product? Is there information on what accessories / equipment will work with this product?

Burgess - SD 101 Backpacker f/5.5 ED Doublet Optical Tube


Clear Skies,
David Eccles
Lompoc, CA