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Mr niall

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About Mr niall

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    Star Forming

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  1. I’m new too! I’ve dragged the kids out too many times now! It took me a while to reconcile the expectation with what I was actually seeing which at first sight was underwhelming. I found learning about the targets was really useful in helping understanding what I saw. For me the children friendliest targets are definitely the moon, Jupiter, saturn, mars in that order. Jupiter is a big favourite especially around 75-100x as you can start to see some colour. My kids aren’t that fussed but I managed to get four 13 year olds to stop watching fast and furious and come outside to queue at the eyepiece for Jupiter so must be fairly popular! M45 the Pleiades is also popular and M13 although that’s gone now I think for a while. Personally I like to browse TLAO, or whatever is to hand, pick two or three new targets only and bookmark them well ahead or time and then devote an evening to them. If I find them I force myself to stay with them for at least 15mins as it takes that long for me to really “see” the target and absorb it properly. Then I always do a quick sketch and report - this really helps reinforce what I’ve seen (I’m no artist but that doesn’t matter), If I have any time after that I’ll look at an old favourite so you always finish on a high!
  2. Any suggestions for targets?

    Thanks everyone - looks like if I wait until about 10pm then Cassiopeia and Perseus swing round enough for me to get them and there seems to be a huge amount of juicy stuff in that area! pleiades popped over the roof of the house too about 11pm, I’ve only viewed it through A Mak so seeing it in the 15x70s was a revelation! weather was forecast for clear last night but was only getting 10 min gaps in the cloud.
  3. what is it

    ... or a space ship. If it turns out to be alien invasion I want it stated for the record I called it first! ha ha, was there condensation anywhere in your system? That’s a killer for me, also really bright stars seem to upset my binoculars and do that sometimes too. All part of the fun - can you remember what star it was? i find the eyepieces on my binoculars get really smudgy quite quickly, a good (but gentle) clean works wonders!
  4. Any suggestions for targets?

    Yes! Had it for a moment in the bins then the clouds ruined everything! Lovely will have another go if it clears. Thanks. I’d love to - looks fab but is my scope not a bit widdly?
  5. Any suggestions for targets?

    Thanks Stu, but yes bagged them already a few times (should have said that sorry!)
  6. Hi all I was wondering if anyone could recommend any good targets in the Aquarius / Pegasus areas at the moment? I’ve got quite good views of west and south from the house but struggle with North or East due to buildings, trees and those new streetlights than burn with the power of a thousand suns. light pollution is a bit of an issue - can just about see Sagitta by eye on a good night, M71 all but invisible, M56 is invisible. And I know I’ve said it before but I’m pretty sure M51 doesn’t exist and all the books are making fun of me! Towards the azimuth is possible but My rdf isn’t neck friendly. I’ve been relying on TLOA but it seems a little slim on good stuff for this area at this time of year. I have a 5” mak and 15x70 bins. Many thanks!
  7. Advice on upgrades

    If its a Maksutov then probably a dew shield (but you can make one yourself out of paper) If it were me I'd say only upgrade when you have totally exhausted your existing equipment / or it no longer meets your needs. In my very limited experience, the eyepieces that come with scopes are fine, they're not very good but by the same token they're definitely not going to ruin the experience or hamper it. Same with diagonals. I'd get some mileage out of learning your setup and your existing stuff and then you can decide for yourself further down the line what if anything needs upgrading (hint: everything. everything needs upgrading all the time. Thats the problem!) But yes, definitely invest 10 mins in getting your finder pointing to the right place, will make life much much easier!
  8. Sort of - really helps if you are in a chair, I struggle after more than 5 mins without some sort of support but find the views through them spectacular so don’t mind. My particular bins are viewed a bit like marmite on here - they are not regarded as amazing bins but in terms of value for money I reckon they’re a no brainier. Many on here prefer 10x50s for the comfort and easier to hold aspects, which is true. But I love my bins!
  9. Magnification is largely irrelevant when It comes to telescopes. In theory any telescope can magnify any amount. You have to remember the main idea of a telescope is to amplify the limited light coming from the night sky, not to make things bigger. Your pupil has an aperture of about 6mm give or take in the dark, so a telescopes job is to turn that 6mm aperture into 70 or 100 or 200mm depending on your scope. Magnification is just the icing on the cake - it adds detail to what you are seeing, Binoculars are a prime example, I have a pair of 15x70 binoculars - that’s just 15x magnification but because of the 70mm aperture I can see a lot more than if I were using 15x50s say. And so it goes.
  10. I’ve had good views of saturn at 250x, But 150 is normally the max, same for Jupiter. I often go up to 200x for splitting double stars but honestly do at least 75% of my cruising around at 50x and rarely feel the need to go higher.
  11. Wow that’s a lot of consideration! You’re definitely an astronomer then!... if it were me I would definitely go for the 130 with the eq2. Mostly because of the mount. I’ve had a go an a couple of eq1s and they are a little insubstantial for me. I moved from a cheap 70mm refractor to a 127mm maksutov recently and the difference was massive. They say that “aperture is king” and it’s not wrong. As for the EQ dilemma - I can relate to your old alt az Mount troubles, (I had a bad one as a kid) but good quality mounts aren’t in any way inferior to GEM mounts. In fact comparing my EQ3 mount with the £30 quid tabletop mount off a broken skywatcher heritage 130p, I use the latter almost exclusively as it is much much easier and quicker to setup and rock solid. Targets are easier to find in alt az than eq (I think) Yes polar alignment is dead easy - especially if you are only doing visual astronomy as you don’t have to be bang on perfect if you aren’t doing astrophotography. Setting circles are a total waste of time in my opinion, they just aren’t accurate enough to get you near enough to where you want to be. I moved from a goto to a manual scope. There is no “right or wrong” in this debate, goto was time saving but manual forced me to learn the sky and constellations so I feel like I’m gaining more from the hobby than just looking through an eyepiece BUT it can take me half an hour to find challenging objects and sometimes I’m not even sure if I’m in the right place! Star hopping isn’t difficult and I’m a big fan of the RDF finder over a finderscope. It’s just a practice thing. I prefer manual (I’m also a cheapskate...) Id really really recommend getting a copy of Turn Left at Orion, I’ve not seen enything better for beginners (like me!) But all the scopes you are considering do the same thing (look at the sky), and will provide you with a lot of pleasure. I think the biggest problem with this hobby is that there is always something better or something you can spend money on to improve the experience but it’s very difficult to qualify whether the improvement justifies the outlay! I wouldn’t worry too much about mirror diameter vs magnitudes. Light pollution is always going to be the biggest factor not the scope; there’s more targets out there for my old 70mm than I could have viewed in 20 years IF I had perfect skies but few of us do and you can’t really compensate for that with a bigger aperture. Don’t worry about your eyes, they won’t matter. It’s all about “exit pupil”; but practice is the biggest difference.
  12. Super Winter Skies!

    Nice report (although I’m not ashamed to admit it seems so long since I’ve been out without at least a half moon for company that it was so dark I got a little spooked!)
  13. M52

    Incredible sketch - that must have taken you ages! How do you not get lost??
  14. NGC1023 13\11\2017

    Very nice, not heard of that one I will have to look it up!