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macdee

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  1. Yes I feel I am quite lucky with the darkness in my back garden as it backs onto lots of other gardens, tonight was an exception with lots of neighbour activity causing proximity lights going on and off. Thanks for the encouragement the Shoemaker Levy session sounds amazing.
  2. Frustrating isn't it. I've just come in and things are as bad down here in Bedfordshire, but I found things quite difficult. Did get to see Mars properly for the first time though, so it wasn't a wasted session, but the sky didn't seem as clear as it looked. I'm very new to this too, and find it hard when things don't work out. It's great when they do though isn't it?
  3. Thank you. I really am enjoying it. I took a look on Friday as I can now see it over the top of my house, but the sky conditions weren't great and I didn't have much time so all I saw was some red fuzziness, will keep trying.
  4. Yes I thought it was quite funny when I found out what I'd done. I'm not intentionally focusing on clusters and doubles, Turn Left at Orion has a big focus on multiple star systems and I sort of see the attraction as it is great fun when you can split those stars. As I am using that as one of my primary sources for targets I guess that is where that focus is coming from. For open clusters, I tend to look at them in stellarium and see if I think they are interesting enough to look at and then the challenge is actually finding them! I do suffer from light pollution and that makes galaxies hard to see, I've given up on seeing anything below a magnitude 10, but I am still finding my feet so it's possible I am doing something wrong with my galaxy hunting. Seeing M81 and M82 in the same field of view was fantastic and I learned to be patient with Andromeda to see more detail and the other galaxies in the region. but I have spent what seems like a long time searching for galaxies that I don't think I can see with this equipment and/or with my sky conditions. I do plan to haul the scope out to somewhere darker at some point and see if I can see more with it, I am sure I can. My main purpose for these threads was to encourage others who are thinking about buying a similar scope to go for it, I couldn't really find a good list of targets that I would be able to see with a 6" from a light polluted town when I was trying to make the decision whether to buy or not, so I was hoping that given I can see these things other people would be able to do the same. Sorry for the rambling reply, hope it makes some sort of sense and answers your question.
  5. I got a 8mm for Christmas, it hasn't had a lot of use yet and the one I bought doesn't have great eye relief, but it definitely does better than the 10mm as you suggest. I was looking at my log and I've either missed a lot of observing opportunities lately or they haven't been there due to cloud cover, so I should wrap up my reports in a couple more posts.
  6. As I bought the scope for my birthday, I also asked other to buy me things to go along with it I got a 32mm eyepiece and a 2 x Barlow plus a moon filter. The 32 mm eyepiece was a Skywatcher eyepiece from FLO and it has become the eyepiece I use the most when star hopping to find what I want to see. The barlow is useful for splitting binaries as you will see below I also got Turn left at Orion and Sky and Telescopes Pocket Sky Atlas. The former is a good book to have and has helped me a lot to find interesting stuff to look at. One thing that I find a bit frustrating about it is that the big picture of where you are going to look only uses their pointer stars and not the other stars you are likely to see in the sky so I find myself not getting what they are saying and I have drawn in stars and the imaginary lines for how I see the constellations so it makes more sense. The book shows how things will look in an 8" dobsonian and a smaller scope with a star diagonal display, so it very useful in the former regard for me. The Sky Atlas has been less useful at the moment, but I think as I get more used to where things are in the sky, I think I will get more use from it. One thing that bothered me when I was thinking about buying the scope was what I had read about collimation, did I need to buy a collimating eye piece? I took the risk and didn't purchase one. I then read about making your own with an old 35mm canister. As it turned out my scope hasn't needed to be adjusted in this way, but how do you know? To find out point your finder at a bright star and view it through the eye piece, defocus and you should see concentric rings of light around the centre where the star was, if you see that no need to collimate. Cool. So over the next month I saw these objects: 02/09/2013 M39 Cyg Open cluster M92 Her Globular cluster M32 And Galaxy 03/09/2013 M103 Cas Open cluster 04/09/2013 NGC6910 Open cluster rocking horse cluster, found when looking in the wrong place for M29 :-) 06/09/2013 Cass Eta Binary beta star red 07/09/2013 M29 Cyg Open cluster 16/09/2013 Spent whole session looking at moon, notes to follow can see craters to 14km in size with 10mm + barlow 21/09/2013 NGC7160 Cep Open cluster Smaller than I thought and difficult to see the 10th and 11th mag stars HIP108917 Cep Binary Saw this in passing to NGC7160, was able to split the double HIP95947 Cyg Binary Albireo HIP91919 + HIP 91926 Lyr Binaries The double double, using 10mm can just see the splits, with barlow the split is more distinct, but blurry, 2.3" split about as much as the eyepieces I have will do HIP84345 Her Binary Ras Algethi, red giant and partner (5.3), colours are good 22/09/2013 NGC7243 Lac Open cluster That's it for part 2
  7. Yes I have a tendency to the meticulous. I am now off to search for the Cauldwell list My wife bought me an 8mm plossl for Christmas, got good advice from First Light Optics, probably should have spent a bit more to get better eye relief, but the eyepiece works well for views of Jupiter. Thanks for the tips, any more would be appreciated.
  8. Wow that's good with that level of light pollution. I had some fun with Jupiter, but I'd be jumping ahead to go there at the moment.
  9. That sounds like a good list, I am still waiting to see Saturn and Mars, hoping for Mars this month.
  10. That's cool, I figured I'd try and post where I've got to with my list until I'm up to date. One of the things I was most concerned about when I was thinking about buying a telescope was: what will I be able to see, will there be enough to keep me going out. I wanted to share that for others trying to decide whether or not to buy a scope or not, hopefully it will.
  11. I got this scope last August for my birthday and wanted to tell you about my experiences with it and what I have been able to see. I live in a large town in Bedfordshire, UK and therefore my skies are light polluted. My back garden shows half of the sky facing North, but I can see objects high in the sky over the top of my roof in a southerly direction. I also have a large tree that blocks the NNE section of the sky, but I can work around that. My garden is fairly dark if my neighbours don't use their proximity lights The 150p comes with two eyepieces a 25mm and 10mm, both have proved useful and whilst not of the greatest quality they start you off well. Once I got the scope I had to decide what I wanted to see, early on I was just using Stellarium and looking at what was around in the sky and then seeing if I could find those objects and that was fun for a while, but I soon wanted a more methodical approach to observing, so I looked around for lists of deep sky objects and found the list of Messier objects and then another characterised as the Herschel 400 from here. I took that info and made a spreadsheet. I then started to prepare for observing sessions ahead of time, making small diagrams of the approximate location of the object to observe with the stars I might be able to see as signposts. In my spreadsheet I recorded what I have upcoming to observe, what I have observed and some notes on the date, time and conditions. So in my first month of observing I was able to see: 09/08 M31 Andromeda galaxy large smudge Mizar and Alcor in Ursa Major easy split NGC884 Cassiopiea Double cluster – fantastic! NGC869 Cassiopiea Double cluster – fantastic! 11/08 M13 Hercules Globular cluster Round smudge 12/08 M57 the ring nebula in Lyra Could just about make out the hole in ring nebula with averted vision 26/08 HIP107259 Carbon star Garnet star in cepheus 27/08 M81 + M82 Galaxy Saw M81 + M82 in same field of view in Ursa Major M52 Cassiopiea Open cluster (seems feinter than stated mag) very pleased after yesterday's frustration, needed laptop outside to do it. HIP48635 Binary 27/08/13 A+B both mag 10.45 so I can see to this level of star mag!
  12. I love my Skywatcher, there are factors about apeture and portability too. I can carry the 150p with it's base on my own, but I'd love to see what a larger apeture would have given me in terms of what I could see. I have tried a 8" dobsonian at the local astronomy club and it didn't seem much better than my 150p so I was quite happy about that. That said it was an old telescope so that could have something to do with it. I'd love to be able to compare the 200 and 250 versions of the SkyWatcher side by side, but I couldn't justfify spending more than I did so it would have only made me jealous
  13. Hello, I had a 32mm Skywatcher plossl bought for me and a 2x Barlow and have purchased a 8mm Vixen NPL myself. The 32mm is great for scanning the sky for whatever you are trying to find, and the 8mm is good for Jupiter although I recently found that I can see the GRS better with the supplied 10mm and barlow. All eyepieces from First Light Optics who were very helpful in replying to my questions and were very speedy in delivery. The 8mm Vixen doesn't have great eye relief either (FLO pointed this out before I bought it).
  14. Hello, I just wanted my use my first post to say thank you to those who took the time to help others who were looking to buy their first telescope on this forum. I was lurking trying to decide what telescope to buy last year and as I had a big birthday coming up I decided to take the plunge and buy a Skywatcher 150p Skyliner dobsonian from Tring Astro. The advice here was very useful. I was very concerned whether I was wasting my money as it was not clear to me what I was likely to be able to see from the light polluted skies of the town in which I live. I shouldn't have worried, whilst their are some slight disappointments, the range of objects I have been able to see has kept me occupied and I have been very lucky to have some very good observing conditions in the last 5 - 6 months, I was even able to use the telescope on the first night of buying it. Found the Andromeda galaxy which was one of the slight disappointments and then the Double Cluster which really made up for it. Looking at Mizar and Alcor was great fun, comparing the stars I could see visually with the split I could see in the telescope. I was hooked. With the light pollution I suffer seeing galaxies is a challenge and as I say Andromeda was a bit of a disappointment, but only a bit, I mean you are seeing light from another galaxy that has travelled over two million years to get here and I can see that from my back garden! So what if looks like a smudge in the sky? Anyway I just wanted to add an encouragement to anyone else out there wanting to buy their first telescope. Do it, you won't regret it if you have any interest in astronomy. I would throughly recommend the make and mount I went for: the build quality of the instrument is great and the mount means I can decide to do some observing and be working a few minutes later. The dobsonian mount makes finding things in the sky a lot easier than if you use an equatorial mount (or so I am told by my sister who has an equatorially mounted scope), but beware that you have to manually move the scope to keep things in view, there is no tracking and therefore not a good option if you want to try your hand at astrophotography. The mount is sturdy and solid which makes things easier to see as you don't get a lot of wobble until you are up in the high magnifications. I hope that is helpful.
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