Well hello to everybody here, and thanks to Paul for inviting me along!
A bit about me...
You may know me in other places online - i'm markt on the SPA forum and on NLC forum, and are marktownley on Cloudy nights - you'll find me principally in their solar section as i'm a solar nut amongst other things...
I got into astronomy some 20 odd years ago now, when I had the priviledge of living in a rural location with dark skies, at this time I was a binocular observer with a menagerie of different sized binoculars. At one point I had a neat little 20x50 spotting scope which I remember was really nice, and now, when I look back I wish I still had.
I then moved away to the light polluted city to go to university, and with this move a change in binoculars - all the many smaller pairs were part exchanged for a pair of 11x80s. From the city these were disappointing showing more light pollution than celestial objects.
More relocation and more light pollution, and one night a mate tripped over the tripod the 11x80s were on, they were wrecked! Thank heavens for insurance though and a cheque duly arrived in the post. I decided to add some more cash into the equation and bought a 90mm refractor, EQ mount and a nice set of Televue plossls. Somewhere in proceedings a pair of 15x70 & 20x80 bins joined the flock.
More relocation and in this instance actually less light pollution - I soon got aperture fever realising all these objects that were hidden by sodium lighting for 10 years were now visible again... The 90mm was sold to fund a Meade 5" refractor, the EQ mount became too small and wobbly so I got a HEQ6, a flurry of finder, focusser and eyepiece changes then followed.
Then I spotted an ETX90 for sale on ebay - it was a bargain, so I got it, observing the solar eclipse with it last summer. An impulse buy followed shortly thereafter and I got a Coronado SM40 hydrogen alpha solar telescope - this has to be the most used scope I have ever had, and I find myself using it whenever the sun is out...
Earlier this year I picked up a C8 ota at a bargain price and are very pleased with it.
I'm currently getting into imaging in Ha after a friend lent me a modded Toucam, I was really pleased with the results, then earlier today i've just ordered an Imaging Source CCD camera! I also intend getting some lunar and planetary images with this too!
This time of year i'm an NLC observer (weather permitting!), and with the long days the solar stuff is getting quite a bit of attention. I really like lunar and planetary observing (really looking forward to Jupiter later in the year!) I do like DSO, comets, etc, but city living really does limit what you can see in the fuzzy department.
I'm also into my weather and photography, so I reckon there's loads here that I can hopefully make some contribution to!
Look forward to getting to know you all!
Best wishes, Mark