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ottUp

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About ottUp

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    Star Forming

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    http://www.www.themcdonalds.net/richard/astro/

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  • Location
    Ottawa, Canada
  1. Hi Rohun, and welcome. Here is a list of easy beginer objects organized by season, with comments on what they are like in different size scopes, and instructions on finding them. Hope some of these will get you started. - Richard
  2. Here's an article describing the different kinds of mounts. Yes, on mounts ending in a digit (EQ3, EQ4, etc.) the digit is a measure of the heavy-dutiness of the mount, with higher numbers being sturdier. A GEQ (German Equatorial) is one kind of equatorial - the traditional kind with the sloped mounting platform and the counterweight. A mount not designed like that can still be equatorial if it rotates around an axis pointed at the pole. For example, a fork mount on an equatorial wedge is an Equatorial but not a German Equatorial. - Richard
  3. Don't know which of those will fit automatically, but certainly anything can be made to fit - at worst you might have to mount a new "shoe", drilling a couple of holes. Of the finders you list in the links, a few general comments: They are all RACI finders (Right-Angle Correct Image), which means they use a prism instead of a mirror, which means the image you are looking at is correct - it's not reversed left-right. That's important. Cheaper mirror-based right angle finders add confusion to an already confusing geometry.I'd go with the 9x50 not the 6x30. The extra aperture will give you a slightly wider field and, more important, a slightly brighter image. You'll need both if you're trying to see targets directly in the finder (as opposed to star-hopping, in which case it's slightly less important).The Celestron has an illuminated reticle, which is a very nice extra. If you are under good dark skies, it can be hard to see the black cross-hairs in a finder, and the illumination really helps. If you have heavy light pollution, your skies won't be truly black and this is less important. If you go with the illuminated finder, buy extra batteries. You will forget to turn it off.The 5-degree field sounds about right. My 8x50 Stellarvue finder has a 6-degree field. The circles in a Tetrad are 0.5, 2, and 4 degrees.Regards Richard
  4. Here is a list of easy-to-find DSOs, organized by season and 'scope size, and with instructions on how to find them. These should get you started. (And, no, the setting circles on your scope probably won't help.) - Richard
  5. Here are some instructions on assembling and polar-aligning your mount, and here is an overview of the go-to system, including a walk-through with that specific mount. - RIchard
  6. Here's an article that discusses what the various filters are for. Most are very subtle in effect and may disappoint if you are expecting magical results. A narrowband filter for nebula viewing is a good investment, though, if you have dark skies. - Richard
  7. Hi Nighthawk. Your main problem is that you've picked some of the more difficult Messiers to start with. M33, in particular, is a tough visual target, since it has a very low surface brightness. In general, galaxies are much harder to see, and thus to find, than clusters or nebulae. I suggest you start with some less-challenging DSOs - it will reduce frustration, and give you practice in finding fainter objects as you build up toward the hard stuff. This list of easier-to-find targets, with finder instructions, might give you a good start. - Richard
  8. Oops, hit "save" too soon. I meant to add: M31 is huge, so use the lowest-power, widest-field setup you can: a very low-power eyepiece (like a 22mm or 30mm). Even a magnifying finder or low-power binoculars. If you use too much magnification you'll see nothing because you won't have enough of a field of view to see the edges of the light from the core. - R
  9. Apologies for suggesting this, but you did say you're quite new at this. You understand that you will not see any kind of spiral structure such as you've seen in photos, right? What you'll see in a small telescope is a round, dim, fuzzy splotch of light, nothing more. Something like this: k With really good conditions and experience, you will see more of the halo, and will eventually be able to detect two satellite galaxies, something like this: - RIchard
  10. Here's an introductory article about go-to systems. - Richard
  11. Discmount DM-6 (here on a Berlebach, holding a SV-105). Very very sturdy, very very smooth, no counterbalancing, integrated encoders. Occasionally come up used if you keep your eyes open and act fast. - Richard
  12. One other point about resolution (in the formal sense of resolving limit of optics). This is not something that would ever have an effect you'd see, but I find it interesting at a theoretical level: Resolution is a function of diameter, not aperture. What's the distinction? Aperture (in the sense of light-gathering capability) determines the surface area of the light-gathering component (mirror or lens). Area = pi*r2. That's why doubling aperture increases light gathering by 4 times - it's that square in the area function. Resolution, being a function of diameter not area, goes up linearly with increase, not as a square.
  13. I've never had a monitor harmed by being in the cold. However, LCD monitors don't work well at all in the cold - the contrast fades until the display is almost unreadable. This isn't generally a problem for me since I tend to be doing most of my control from inside the house via VNC. However, friends who actually need to use their monitors outdoors have told me that they fasten a heating pad (purchased from a rehab & medical supply store) to the back of the monitor to keep it warm. (I've done a similar thing - fastening a chemical heat pad to the back of an LCD hand control on a mount to keep the LCD display visible in the cold.) - Richard
  14. I have a PC permanently located in my uninsulated observatory. And here in Canada the temp ranges from +30 C in the summer to -40 C in the winter. Most of the winter it spends most of the time at -10 to -20. I used to have problems with a former PC in that it would sometimes fail to start when very cold. The lubricant and joints in the disk drive tightened in the cold and this was reported to the PC as "drive failure". After sitting in that state for 1/2 hour or so (so the power supply was on and the BIOs running) a restart would usually work. For a while I ran that PC with a small heater installed inside the cabinet and that worked very well (here is a link to that project if you're interested) but eventually I needed to replace the PC and I didn't re-do the heater project. The real solution, however, was to eliminate moving parts. My current PC has a solid state drive and is 100% reliable, any temperature. It's an easy upgrade, and I highly recommend it. I also keep a "no-freeze" heater in the observatory - it's a small thermostat-controlled unit that simply holds the ambient temperature just above 0 C. It doesn't seem to take much power, and has completely eliminated the frosting and condensation that I used to experience on cold days. My general workflow now is to open up the roof, start things up, then operate remotely from indoors via VNC to the observatory computer. (I buried power and GB Ethernet cables to the observatory some time ago.) Another very handy setup: I have the observatory PC configured to respond to "wake on lan" commands, and I have the CCD camera powered by one of those power outlets that comes on whenever the PC boots. This means that I can start the PC and camera to take dark and bias frames without even having to go outside. Regards Richard
  15. Here is a list of easy targets, sorted by season and size of scope, with finder notes for each. Hope there are a few here that will keep you interested. - Richard
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