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About this blog

Thought I would start this blog or "project thread" to document what I get up to and achieve with my recently acquired 8" 200P Skywatcher Dobsonian

Firstly why buy an 8" Dobsonian - well for me it came down to price, the last time I looked at telescopes I was at University and being a skint student never though I could afford an 8" telescope, 25 years later and after doing some web surfing and reading up on I was pleases to find out I could get an 8" Dob for £275 from https://www.firstlightoptics.com/ (who I will refer to as FLO from now on) so ordered one, at the same time I also ordered;

  • Baader Moon filter on the advice of FLO
  • ZWO ASI 120MC-S USB 3 colour camera after seeing what others have achieved from using this camera on a 200P

All the above was delivered a few days after ordering from FLO

 

Entries in this blog

 

Telrad finder and right angled finderscope fitted

After my experience with the standard finderscope on my 200P Sky-watcher and you having to either bend over the scope when looking low or crouching down on the floor when almost high vertically I ordered a right angled finderscope (https://www.firstlightoptics.com/finders/skywatcher-9x50-right-angled-erecting-finderscope.html) Now fitted I can see its going to be so much easier pointing the scope and its also the "right" way around so up is up and left if left With the finderscope fitt

PaulM

PaulM

 

Pocket Sky Atlas book

Looks good full index of constellations, objects by type and the charts are very detailed. Charts are organised in 8 ascention sections each by when visible in the evening, midnight and morning so all in all very logically set out. Has a telrad finder symbol for star hopping which is a nice touch Was hoping it would contain what to view guides etc but there is no such info but can get this elsewhere to plan observing sessions Hope the pictures are useful as I never came across any

PaulM

PaulM

 

September - what to observe

September - what I have observed with comments and rating out of 5 stars by constellation for this month Hercules M13  ***** Quite open globular cluster, can make out individual stars around the edge and center, looks to be thousands of stars and seems very dense almost nebulous at the center. Best in 15mm EP and 2x Barlow M92 **** Dense globular cluster, can distinguish individual stars around the edge, nice in the  8mm EP and barlow Lyra Epsilon Lyrae **** - double dou

PaulM

PaulM

 

First night with the new 8" 200P Skywatcher

First night with the new 8" 200P Skywatcher Well after lots of cloudy nights finally managed to get a few hours observing with the new 8" 200P Skywatcher dobsonian Firstly what is the 200P like to observe with - well after collimating it when it arrived I tested this on some bright stars and all looks good when viewing the stars when slightly out of focus, its bulky to move around but manageable as one piece. The finderscope is painful to use, you need to strain your neck to view low l

PaulM

PaulM

 

Raising the 200P Skywatched DOB on a water butt

Having done a few nights observing with my new 200P Skywatcher I've found its too low for comfortable observing So got a 9x50 right angled finderscope which had made things a lot better with positioning the scope as had the Telrad finder but the focuser was still too low for comfort having to crouch down all the time so went to the local garden center on the way home and bought a water butt for £10 which has worked a treat and had a good session observing Jupiter before the clouds inevitabl

PaulM

PaulM

 

Books : Making every photon count \ Turn left at Orion

As I ultimately was to get images of what I observe I acquired the following book from FLO Making Every Photon Count  read the first few chapters - is very good so far and aimed at the absolute beginner I also bought 2nd hand Turn left at Orion Ok book - pretty basic diagrams of the constellations and star maps\objects of interest (all in sketch form) but good enough to find objects of interest and there is info about them 

PaulM

PaulM

 

Drivers\software for the ZWO ASI camera

In preparation for my first nights viewing (been cloudy since I bought the telescope) I readup on how the ZWO camera is used and supporting software Firstly went to the ZWO website (https://astronomy-imaging-camera.com/software-drivers) and downloaded the following onto my Windows 10 laptop; ASI drivers ASICAP software - to capture images with the camera At the same time I also downloaded FireCapture (http://www.firecapture.de/) as this seems to be the most populate soft

PaulM

PaulM

 

Collimating the telescope

Well being new to all this and doing much research and reading up I knew I would need to check the collimation of the telescope so bought a collimation cap for this With the instructions provided with the telescope it was pretty straight forwards to do and as I have also watched a few youTube videos and read some how-to's so I knew what to expect and do So firstly fitted the collimation cap and check things - things were not ideal (see attached image) So using the instructions the

PaulM

PaulM

 

First use of the telescope : Jupiter\The Moon

Since getting the telescope (a week ago) I have had no luck really with getting some observing in as there has been 100% cloud cover  But one evening early on before it got too dark I managed to view Jupiter and its 4 moons low in the sky with the new BST Starguider barlow lens and eyepieces At the same time I setup the viewfinder so it was dead on using the 15mm eye piece  Well what can I say compared to my 4" reflector Jupiter looks great. Could clearly see the four galilean sat

PaulM

PaulM

 

Building the 200P telescope

The 200P Skywatcher 8" Dobsonian telescope arrived in two large boxes, one containing the base, tools and screws etc and another containing the actual telescope\tube and accessories (viewfinder \ eyepieces) Assembly of the base was straight forwards and all the tools required were provided - allen keys \ screwdriver - overall took around 20 mins and due to its size is a little cumbersome for a single person but not an issue - once built seems sturdy enough Telescope was very well packa

PaulM

PaulM

 

New eyepieces \ telrad finder \ collimation cap \ barlow lens

While waiting for the telescope to arrive I went and bought the the following; Telrad finder - looks like a nice piece of kit and looks useful to star hopping as I plan to view deep sky objects (DSO) and the dimmer planets not visible to the naked eye BST Starguider 2x short barlow lens BST starguider 60 degree 15mm eyepiece BST starguider 60 degree 8mm eyepiece Rigel Aline Collimation Cap

PaulM

PaulM

 

Useful websites

After doing my usual research\looking around the web I have bookmarked the following useful web sites I will keep this blog entry updated as I come across other useful websites; Light polution web sites I've used the first website to shorlist a few locations within an hours drive or so from my home for dark sky viewing http://www.nightblight.cpre.org.uk/maps/ http://darksitefinder.com/maps/world.html Interactive Observing Tools - such as Jupiter moon tracker \ Neptune triton

PaulM

PaulM

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