Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

sgl_imaging_challenge_banner_through_the-_eyepiece_winners.thumb.jpg.236833c5815bb321211a43f4d5214ba8.jpg

Sign in to follow this  
  • entries
    12
  • comments
    17
  • views
    8,470

First Light At Last!!!!!

Sign in to follow this  
Nigeyboy

482 views

It finally happened – after waiting two weeks and a day, the clouds parted, and I was greeted with a clear, still and cloudless sky!! Whoop Whoop!! 15 days is a long time to wait! The scope (SW Explorer 150-PL) had been sitting in my dining room since Christmas, and despite a very short outing last week, that lasted about 10 minutes, last night was the first time I used her properly.

I popped the tube outside a good hour before I intended to go out to observe, giving it plenty of time to cool down. I then put the mount together – I did this inside, so I could see what I was doing! Once it was all secure and bolted together, I set the declination (?) to 53 degrees and took the whole thing outside through my patio doors. Before I popped the scope on the mount, I did a basic polar alignment. I was chuffed – I had the declination spot on, and just need a tweek to the left and it was there – not perfect, but enough for my first observing session.

I then put the OTA onto the mount and secured it. I had been playing around with it in the house the previous week, and had found the balance point, and marked the dovetail bar, clever eh?! I then moved the counter weights about to get that balanced as well – it all worked out fine, and the lightest touch when the clutches were off was enough to move the scope about. I fitted the finder scope and got it aligned with tube – I did find this a bit tricky to start with, and a couple of times during the evening I managed to knock it out of true with my arm / head / face!! And I was now ready to go!

IMAG0841.thumb.jpg.f28e22263bebb3e798a1fadabf64eea7.jpg

 

My observing location is pretty limited at home – the front / side of the house is now flooded with light from an LED street lamp – the red circles show the street lamps, and the red cross is where I set up the scope. I had good views to the North and to the West though:

HOUSE.JPG.14adb3e5cf5057cf7daff04fbae7717a.JPG

I'm not shy to say that my knowledge of where things are in the night sky is limited!! This will change as the year progresses, so i content myself to first locate M31. I found this quite tricky - the finder scope is a straight through job, and the angles can sometimes make looking through it a challenge. So I bought out the 20 x 80's and quickly found it. I then pointed the scope in the same direction, and a few twists of the slo-mo controls and there it was. I had the 25mm eyepiece in and I realise that the target was waaaay bigger than the view through the eyepiece!! However, the core was revealed. I looked for quite some time, and small details began to come out and I'm sure I saw the darker dust lanes.

I then took a look for the Double Cluster, and wow!!! What seemed to be hundreds of stars, packed into the view! I was getting happier by the minute! I content myself to just scan the star fields in that area for a while, and then swung around to try and and find M51. Using the 20x80 technique I found it, and turned the scope to it. It was a faint fuzzy at 48x, so I upped the mag to 120x with the 10mm eyepiece - it became a larger fuzzy object, and I couldn't really see any structure, but knowing the light coming into my eye had covered 20 million light years was awesome!

It was getting late, so I took off the tube and carried it round to the garden with the street light over it - I wanted to look at M42 before I packed up. However, the glare from the street light overpowered the finder and I couldn't see anything. Tried to shield it with my hand, and although it stopped the glare, it was all a bit washed out. Shame - perhaps an air rifle would be a good investment . . . . . !!

So, overall I thoroughly enjoyed my first night out with the 150PL. A few early observations on the scope and mount (this blog will be like a long term review for the scope):

The OTA with tube rings and dovetail bar weighs in at 6.4kg / 14lb, according to my scales. This is right at the limit for the NEQ3-2 mount. Added to the weight, the tube is long at  and although I got the balance spot on, it took several seconds for the vibrations to die down following focusing.  However, using the slo-mo controls didn't induce any noticeable shaking when tracking objects, so thats a bonus! I think a heavier mount will be needed at some point. I hope to try and save for the HEQ5, but with daughter going off to uni in September that may be a while down the road!!

The eyepieces and barlow that came with the scope appear to be fairly solid - I only really used the 25mm, and I have nothing to compare them too, but the view seemed bright and sharpe. The finder scope is a generic 6 x 30mm. While the view is crisp, trying to look through it gave me a cricked neck after a while!! A 90 degree finder will defo be required

The dovetail bar is a lovely green colour, but does appear to be quite soft - just mounting the scope the few times I have used it as already left some marks and dints in it.

The focuser is fine for my use - not stiff at all, and with enough friction to make small adjustments easy. I see no need to upgrade this yet.

So - lets hope the weather stays clear, as I am keen to turn the scope on to the Moon!!

Thanks for reading, and a Happy New Year to all!!

Cheers

Nige in Derby

 

 

 

  • Like 6
Sign in to follow this  


4 Comments


Recommended Comments

Hey well done! I think I've read your previous posts and know you've waited a long time to finally get a scope and be able to use it outside.

We had a clear sky last night for the first time in ages too. It's such a welcome after so long isn't it!?

My back garden is pretty limited too, with the only benefit being that Orion is directly behind me at the moment at night, so that works well at this time of year.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I looked quickly at M31 last night too as that's always a good one, but I was really disappointed with the views of it last night. It was quite high in the sky but, (and possibly due to the neighbours' sodding external lights), I could hardly see anything! So if it was looking good for you last night and you managed to find it you did well.

Well done for getting out with your scope last night and the write up.

 

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

Cheers Lurcher - its been a long time coming and i am so pleased I finally have the scope!

M31 was in the one direction where there wasn't a huge amount of LP - guess I was lucky!! 

Share this comment


Link to comment

A good success story Nige. I am having issues with a cloud magnet too. I bought an ES30mm a month ago and it has been cloudy ever since.  The one night it was clear, I was under the weather (no pun intended) so someone up there hates me... 

 

Share this comment


Link to comment

Seems to be the way of it at the moment!! Hope you get some time to test out the ES30 soon!

Share this comment


Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.