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jimhaleysscomet

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About jimhaleysscomet

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  1. M36 is much easier than M38 due to its more compact / concentrated light. But M38's stars seem to resolve easier "out of the cloud". 10x50's will give you a bigger image with probably a smaller field of view. I find my 8x32's (8 degree FOV) much easier for star hopping and locating objects. 10x50s will make the dim ones a bit brighter and larger. Since you did most of your observing on a full moon night, try again when the moon is further away.
  2. I don't have your exact scope (I do have an 80mm scope among several others). I have however looked at the specs. Your scope should provide a decent introduction and is better than many of us had with which to begin. While I would not spend a ton of money upgrading, it would be worth getting a quality 2x barlow so you then have two magnifications (about 45x and 90x). You can always take the barlow with you when/if you decide to upgrade. Then stick with the larger and brighter open clusters (Perseus, Pleiades, Taurus Hyades, double cluster etc). With your lowest power eyepiece the andromeda galaxy (2.5million light years away) will be a relatively large fuzzy spot. You might also consider a wider field lower power eyepiece (about 32mm). A plossl (£30?)would be a great place to start unless you want to spend more for a wider field.... again you would take it with you when you upgrade and combined with a 2x barlow would give you an effective 16mm eyepiece. Planets (especially mars) will bring out all the weaknesses in your scope (and all scopes have weaknesses). Mars isn't much better even in much larger scopes. Right now, the moon is full so that is why you didn't see much more in the Orion nebula. Go back in a few days. For a great introduction to the night sky consider the book Nightwatch by Dickinson. Also visit skymaps.com for a free map and observing list download each month. Any of the "binocular" objects either lists will be great in your scope. One other upgrade is to make sure you can use/align your finder and build or buy a unit power finder for your scope. The following link has a link on it for the manual for your scope. PowerSeeker 80EQ Telescope (item #21048) / PowerSeeker Series Telescopes / Telescopes / Products / Celestron.com By the way, when I asked the same question 15 years ago as you have now (and I only had a 60mm scope) it was suggested I pick up a 32mm eyepiece and a 2x barlow and that is exactly what I did. Good eyepieces really help a scope perform at its best.
  3. Beware of comparing different apereture / make scopes (big dob vs small mak). Apereture wins big on performance (followed by focal length). The only drawback is cost and portability (weight can become an issue). A 10" scope of any type will almost always trounce a 4" scope of any type even on planets.
  4. Forgive me for a slight thread highjack.... How do you all put a map in the post and what program do you use to create the map?
  5. Typical apertures are 114mm (4.5"), 130mm (5.1"), 150mm (6"), and 200mm (8"). In your budget, don't underestimate the difference aperture makes! There is a big jump between a 4.5" and a 6" and similarly between a 6" and an 8". For visual use, you should get the largest aperture you can afford and are willing to move around. It is best to settle on an aperture first, and only then look at the different telescope types for cost and portability. Comparing an 8" reflector to a 4" refractor or 90mm CAT is not useful (the 8" almost always "wins" in performance, no matter what the scope design). Even better, hook up with a local astronomy club as was mentioned before. If you can't do that, then start with a real inexpensive scope (like the Skywatcher Heritage 130p, about £150) and plan on upgrading later after you learn the ropes. The 130P is relatively cheap but still relatively powerful and can teach you a lot before you lay out hundreds of ££££'s.
  6. A 200 mm aperture scope on an EQ mount is fairly heavy. You might want to at least consider some lighter options such as a dobsonian (an alt az non motorized scope). Either way, try to get to an astronomy club to see different telescope types in person, how they operate, and how much effort is required to set up and view through them. In your price range aperture is almost everything, focal length is important, and portability can be a major issue. A pair of binoculars gives the same multiple increase of aperture over the naked eye as scopes do over binoculars. So for 1/5th the price you get about half way to scope performance in an easier to use package (NOTE THIS IS A VERY ROUGH ESTIMATE, MANY FACTORS IN PLAY). You can see at least one of every type of deep sky object in binoculars (except for the rings around Saturn). Plus once you obtain a scope you will still want binoculars for low power wide field views. I even use my opera glasses for even lower power very wide fields of view. My current favorite binoculars are 8x32 but most folks suggest 10x50's.
  7. Steve, It is great fun to look at the planets in a small scope, but realize that planets amplify all the flaws in your scope (all scopes have flaws). Your scope is super wide field so go for the bigger targets like Orion's nebula, the double cluster, and the andromeda galaxy. The andromeda galaxy is just a dim smudge, but the knowledge that you are viewing an object 2.5 million light years away, billions of stars is what makes it interesting.
  8. I rather enjoy my 8x35's more. They are super easy to hold without shaking and have an 8 degree field. Great for starting out. I also have small portable telescopes and, while they can be great, are one step beyond the 8x35's. Personally I have never been able to hold 10x binoculars stable enough, even when leaning against a wall or using a monopod with them. The larger binoculars have been totally useless for me. They just don't work ergonomically when mounted on a tripod (my 15x80 binocular leg collapsed and they fell over breaking the focus). They are just too hard to get "under" when pointed vertically (especially when viewing over trees). I would much rather a small telescope than big binoculars but other folks see it differently. I must say, that my best view of the Andromeda galaxy was through handheld 15x70s at a dark sky site, but that is a very special condition. Go for a decent pair (under a $100) pair of 8x40's and then debate the small scope/ giant binocular purchase MUCH later.
  9. Step 1 is with an all sky map (for the current month). It can be downloaded free from skymaps.com or found in this (or the previous) months astronomy magazines. A bit more expensive is the book Nightwatch by Dickinson... but it is better as step 2. Then go out and jump from constellation making the tiny figures on the page "grow" to the sizes you see in the sky. Most folks start with Orion, the plough, Cassiopeia, or some easily seen constellation. Binoculars might be helpful on the smaller figures (and are a great assistance anyway). Step 3 is to look for some of the objects on the skymaps.com observing list or in Nightwatch. At some point you will need to learn how to align your EQ mount with the North pole.... Good luck!
  10. Step 1 is with an all sky map (for the current month). It can be downloaded free from skymaps.com or found in this (or the previous) months astronomy magazines. A bit more expensive is the book Nightwatch by Dickinson... but it is better as step 2. Then go out and jump from constellation making the tiny figures on the page "grow" to the sizes you see in the sky. Most folks start with Orion, the plough, Cassiopeia, or some easily seen constellation. Step 3 is to look for some of the objects on the skymaps.com observing list or in Nightwatch. At some point you will need to learn how to align your EQ mount with the North pole.... Good luck!
  11. Visit skymaps.com for a free monthly night sky map and observing lists. With your scope, focus on the "binocular" items and use your lowest power (highest focal length) eyepiece. The skymaps.com complements stellarium because it shows you a full sky view. The hardest part is getting the "tiny constellations" on the map to "grow" to match the huge constellations in the sky. There should be some good stuff in the list.
  12. You could always get the Skyliner 200P on a dob mount (easier to move inside and out) and then later add an EQ5 mount for photography. It would save you money at the start. Or start with the 200P on the EQ5 and build a dob base for it (again, to make it much lighter to get inside and out). The EQ5 is not an easy lift object. And another "OR" .... start with the Skyliner 200P dob, take short exposures with it to debug your photo equipment, and then add a very solidly mounted 80mm scope for long exposure photography. Again, this would cost no more in the long run than a EQ5 mounted 200P and would be MUCH easier to move around. For visual use.... aperture is everything and a 250P dob might be transportable enough for you (especially a flex tube model) . For long exposures the tracking mount becomes much more important.
  13. To get a complete answer to your dilemma, read the book.... The Urban Astronomer's Guide: A Walking Tour of the Cosmos for City Sky Watchers (Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series) (Paperback) by Rod Mollise. Best to read it BEFORE you get a scope. But even if you don't, read the "sample pages" at amazon.co.uk.... they give you a good idea of what's what.
  14. Double cluster is a good one. Beyond that, visit skymaps.com and download a free monthly map and object list.
  15. Some folks love big binoculars but I have never been happy with them. It is just too hard to rigidly mount them and still get under them when looking vertical. I much prefer my 8x35's especially on a monopod. Even on a monopod, 10x50s are too wobbly for me. I hope you don't mind a suggestion in leu of the big binoculars.... In conjunction with cheap 8x35 or x 8x40s you might consider the Heritage 130P flex tube dob. It might be motorcycle transportable and will far outperform binoculars and will be much easier to use. An even smaller option is the Heritage 76 minidob, but its planet performance is lousy (like binoculars). The H76 requires a table, but the H130 can be viewed from a chair while set on the ground. Another option might be an 80mm refractor on a tripod or table top tripod. With a 45 degree image erect diagonal, they will be much easier to use than big binoculars.
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