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First night with the new 8" 200P Skywatcher

PaulM

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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 lying objects and its even worst viewing directly above so have ordered a Sky-Watcher 9x50 Right-Angled, Erecting Finderscope, it also stands a little too low so will have to get a base for it to stand on when required. Optically its fantastic - beyond expectations for the price.


First target was Jupiter and I took the opportunity to perfectly align the finderscope. It was still twilight and Jupiter was low looking South above nearby roof tops. Could clearly see the four Galilean moons all were quite close to Jupiter, Jupiter itself was clearly a disk and two bands could be observed on the disc. Very pleased with what I saw. I first used the BST starguider 60 degree 15mm EP and then the BST starguider 60 degree 8mm EP to observe - very crisp images and was able to keep Jupiter and all the moons in view for a good time even with the 8mm.

Next I connected up the ZWO ASI120MC-S camera and attempted to view Jupiter with no success - couldn't get an image up at all

The moon was visible low in the sky to the left of Jupiter so with the camera still attached and using Firecatpure I could clearly observe the moon through the camera on the laptop - amazing - childhood dream come through viewing using a laptop !!!

After playing around with the settings in Firecatpure (mainly gain and exposure) I could clearly observe many features on the moon and also through the BST Starguider 2x short barlow lens. I had also downloaded the ASICAP software from the ZWO camera website and managed to take better and larger images through that compared to Firecapture. ASICAP also has an auto function for gain \exposure which was very useful - maybe I need to get more familiar with Firecapture?

Next was Saturn - again no luck getting any images from the camera so viewed this through the BST starguider eyepieces and barlow and wow! Despite it still being twilight\getting dark and close to a waxing gibbous Moon and low in the sky and above some local roof tops Saturn could clearly be seem as a orange\yellow disk. The rings clearly defined and the cassini division visible. Titan was to the upper left of Saturn and clearly visible. Spent a good half hour observing Saturn in awe.

As the moon was close to Saturn I spend a little more time observing with the camera and getting some more images and playing with the settings

Looking around the sky I decided to concentrate on Lyra as it was high up and away from the moon

Could clearly observe the "double double" that is Epsilon Lyrae, have to say the clarity of the 200P telescope and eyepieces was impressive - could clearly make out the separate stars

M57 ring nebula - clearly observable as a ring structure was very impressed with what I saw

Finally to end my session I looked behind me and decided to view M31 and could see the bright center surrounded by a very light haze, no structure could be seen and was to be honest a little disappointing , hopefully I will make better observations of M31 later in the year when the moon isn't around and also when I view from a darker location

Overall a great first night of observing and was very very impressed with the 8" 200P Skywatcher, the BST starguider EPs and barlow lens less impressed with the ZWO ASI120MC-S camera

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I went along the same lines as you with my old 10" newt but when I fitted the RACI finder I couldn't tell what the scope was pointing at. I would advise getting either a simple red dot finder or a Rigel or Telrad so you can tell which part of the sky you are pointing at.

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I 'm not sure I could keep very still whilst standing in the dark next to my Skyliner, yet I find the Skyliner to be the perfect height for observing whilst seated. Thats the reason I've never bothered with raising the scope off the ground on a water butt as many folk suggest! however, my newest DIY screen is a little too high, so a butt may be the answer, or better still, I'll just modify one of the panels, or buy another panel  with less height.

As for M31, it's  nothing spectacular from my garden, however, away from the house, darker site, something magical occurs? its as if Im using a better scope, such is the difference between the two extremes of viewing.

You might feel the  need a wider AFOV when M31 fills your eyepiece.

Good luck with the Skyliner.

 

 

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