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    Reading, Writing, Pipe Smoking, Star Gazing, Philosophy, Physics, Snooker
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    Islamabad, Pakistan

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  1. Thanks a lot everyone for your kind responses. I am much clear about many things now... Wishing you all clear dark skies.
  2. Hello Everyone, Posting after a long time. I am trying to upgrade my current telescope. The reason for upgrading is to get a bigger aperture. Although I would like to try my hands on photography but that is not necessarily the reason for the upgrade. I might want to image but perhaps not for now. So my current scope is a humble Meade Polaris 76mm 700 FR 9.2 reflector and the one I am eyeing is a used Celestron Astromaster 130mm 650 FR 5 reflector. It is with a bloke who wants to sell it. The price is somehow OK I would negotiate a bit so that is not the question here. I need suggestions on the following two areas: 1. General performance (would it be a good upgrade for viewing only? What differences in terms of observation to expect. Would jumping from 76/700 to 130/650 be of benefit in terms of clarity and detail? IF yes, to what extent? 2. The condition of the scope is such that the small red dot finder is repaired and looks bad aesthetically however it is fully functional. I can live with that. The rest of the scope if fine. OTA is perfect the EQ mount is good it comes with a motor on the mount which works fine and has accessories kit with a couple of extra lenses and three filters (not expecting much from filters though) but that is what is there. The only thing that is a bit off putting is the primary mirror. Although I have had a peek and saw the moon and a star its collimated and there is nothing wrong with eh view. But then, when I put a flash light to the primary I could see something strange. The mirror is dark tinted but from the outer edges it was transparent white as if the tint is some kind of coating that is coming off. Strange to me. the owner has no idea for he never had issues and never looked inside. However, if it is the coating that is coming off (5 years of use) and if I buy it I was wondering if in another three years it might come off more ??? There is a bit of dust on it too but that's not a problem. What is happening here ??? I am in Pakistan where telescopes are not easy to come by. We need to import an item and with duties and all it doubles the price. Getting it taken here is also out of question because I cannot bother anyone with such huge luggage. So what to do in this situation. Should I sell mine and wait for months and try to see if some other scope gets available or should I go with this purchase??? Any insight / suggestions is welcome.... Thanking you all in anticipation.
  3. So I have used my new scope Meade Polaris 76mm for a couple of viewing sessions recently and have really enjoyed myself. However, I just nee dot ask about the following few questions really in order to satisfy myself as to whether I am doing everything all right and my scope has limitations or would more time and patience reveal more to me. The scope came with two eye pieces 26mm and 6.1mm and a barlow. I shall explain the experience and then ask my questions: The first night I missed the moon, jupiter and saturn as they went towards the western part of the sky which was not visible from my balcony (6800 feet high in the mountains with clear dark skies- saying this for perspective in relation to my questions) so I went for Andromeda (yes crazy but true- the first thing I viewed with my humble 76mm was andromeda). So once I viewed it and locked it through 26mm I wanted to switch to 6.1mm and when I did that and tweaked ot find it again in 6.1mm I suddenly noticed everything was so dark in there even the stars near the galaxy went dim and dark and totally out of focus - I tried to focus but to no avail. Same results with 26mm and barlow as I could not resolve any detail on it. The next night I saw the moon and saturn and to tell you the truth 26mm and 6.1mm and barlow on both worked really well on these brighter objects. So the lens aren't bad but its just that viewing fainter distant objects isn't going to be easy. I also viewed the orion nebula with 26mm with ease, with 6.1mm it was kind of ok but with barrow again I think I needed time and patience. Finally- my question is this: Is this what I am always going to view given the humble specs of my scope 76mm/f700 or do you guys think that with a bit of experience and patience and more and more sessions like these my viewing and focusing is going to improve on the same eye pieces and I will be able to resolve the objects better ??? Looking forward ! thanks
  4. Hello everyone, After a bit of practice finally I have been able to learn how to control and move my mount. Getting it assembled was easy really except for a couple of things that I needed to work out. Got the finder aligned easily. The balance was only done with the weight because the tube doesn't fit on the mount with a ring its just a bracket that is fixed with screws on the top of the mount so it cannot be rotated afterwards or balanced on that axis. The other balance with the weight on one end was rather easy to do. However, I did not polar align the scope really and started off with my viewing session. Inasmuch as moving and controlling is concerned- I learn how to lock and unlock and move the right ascension as well as declination controls and also the azimuth, which the whole base of the mount on the tripod. So I got hold of three controls and used them nicely for my viewing. I also used the slow motion control knobs many times as needed with ease. However, I did find out something that the scope has a limited movement and cannot go beyond a particular point. Some viewing is in awkward angles because the scope can't be rotated and the eye piece goes really awkward unless the whole tripod is moved or rotated. But other than that it was really good experience. Anything I need to know or is it that for the purposes of this beginner scope and mount- I ma all good and need ot play with it and shall learn more automatically.
  5. Thanks a lot. Yes indeed the experience or as you put it, first light was surely impressive and mesmerising. And yes, having a balcony away from the city lights 6800 feet high in the mountains lying only at a distance of a 2 hour drive from my home is a Godsend really.
  6. Hello everybody, I am posting after quite a long time to be honest. Had forgotten my password but got it somehow- thanks to the Mac I guess. I am happy to report that I finally bought my first scope. I have been gazing at the stars naked-eye for about quite some time getting used to with the brilliance that lies up there. Then I got myself a nice pair of 20x50 binoculars and mounted them on a tripod and continued to view things closely and enjoy the views. However, last week I got myself a telescope, which is a Meade Polaris 76mm/700mm on a German EQ mount. Then as you take your new car for a spin, I took my new scope for a spin to a hill station over the weekend. The hill station where my father-in-law has a flat is about 6800 feet high and at a pretty quiet place. Utilising the clear and darker sky I managed to view the moon in its beauty, (missed Jupitor), Saturn and its rings. These sights were really mesmerising and I only viewed these because I was still learning operating my scope and all that. The next night was really amazing because during the day I was able to learn as much as possible about using the mount as well as the scope and also had the binocular to my advantage so I could see everything right side up with binoculars and then move my upside down Newtonian reflector calculating where I need to move it to view something. I viewed the following three and remained motionless and breathless for quite some time, sipping on my pipe and trying to come to terms with the beauty of my friends above: 1. Pleiades- lovely indeed. I has seen it naked eye and then with binoculars and finally gazed upon it for a good amount of time with my scope, changing magnifications and focusing the beautiful collection of the seven sisters. I must say that the lower the magnification the fuller the beautification of this item. 2- Andromeda Galaxy- I had seen this with my binoculars and was really able to speedily point towards it without mistake through my binoculars, however, it always used ot be very faint with binoculars but I was always able to view it. I always use star hopping to get to it - From the arrowhead of Cassiopeia to Mirach and then above. However, with the scope it becomes a bit visible and I loved it. However, with bigger magnifications and barlow it went too dark in the eye piece for some reason and I could not focus it at all. Perhaps I need more learning and experience with this. 3- Orion nebula- I had seen it with binoculars of course however the details increased with telescope and I could easily detect and be indulged in the cloud of gas that surrounds the newly born stars which could be seen easily with the telescope of even the low power 76mm that I have. Overall, it was beautiful. I will see posting my experiences. I am back to my city for now and waiting for the weather to get a bit pleasant so I can take my telescope to the roof and see what lies here in this light polluted atmosphere.
  7. Dear All, I have recently had my first stargazing session a couple of weeks back. Although I shared about it in another thread however I have written an article about it. I have planned to record all my sessions through my articles given that it would keep my passion for writing alive and also enable me in properly recording my sessions before the details of which get faded away in my memory. Please feel free to read, comment and share further f you like. Happy reading... qmsidd.wordpress.com/2017/08/21/the-question-of-a-question/ Regards, Sidd
  8. Plus I am writing a detailed article about my recent stargazing sessions will try to share it here somewhere once published.
  9. Thanks for the answers. They sure resolve my queries as I gain more knowledge. thanks a lot sir !
  10. Dear Dave, thanks a lot for the information and the links. I shall surely make use of them !!!
  11. It sure does. Spotting is easy and getting familiar with the sky is fast and one learns sequentially and as you said it will help me once I get a scope !
  12. Oh yes sir the bug has bitten With my interest in physics and philosophy, astronomy was only the missing link Thanks a lot
  13. Hello everyone, It has been a while since I posted here. I was waiting for my telescope but unfortunately my friend could not bring it along from UK Anyway since that happened I decided to continue my search for a telescope and in the meanwhile I decided to get myself a nice binocular and carry on until I get hold of a good scope. Perhaps, I could continue with a bino for some time and gain experience and then if the passion doesn't die I can get a scope. Anyway, I went to a hill station where my father-in-law has a couple of flats (at a height of 6,000 feet) and so they spend every summer there. I usually go for a few nights with my wife and kids for vacation and then come back. I had noticed in previous years that the sky is a delight in the balcony of that flat if clear. However, in those days I looked up at the stars and well that was that. So this year I wasn't able to wait to go there and observe it rather than seeing it like before. It mostly rained however I had two clear nights to myself and I cant tell you how lucky I was in those two nights. I enjoyed myself a lot and learnt and also thought quite a lot. I also have a couple of questions from my first night that I would like to ask in order to ascertain my understanding. Anyway, during the first night I did not have the binocular that my father-in-law has as I had forgotten about it. So I just went there and saw things and tried to make sense out of them. I knew it was a pre-night to the Perseid peak but I had no idea that I will see the shower with my naked eye and that it would be that much. I saw the shower with my boy in my lap who would point out at every flash with excitement. However, there are my questions: 1. I saw the shower where different (shooting stars) kept coming. they were like little balls of fire having a head a trail of light following them. But then I also saw something else during the same time and it happened more than the shower. I saw little flashes of light in the sky. One after the other and there were about a dozen of them coming from the same part of the sky more or less. Those were like little tiny dots of lights igniting at a spot and then going out in a second or less. However, they did not have any trail or streak in the sky they were like little spots that would shine in a spot and then go out. what were those ??? 2. I also spotted a satellite that was a very bright and moving very fast. However, some website suggested that it was the ISS. How does one differentiate between a satellite and the ISS ? How to know what you are beholding ??? It was during the next night that I remembered the binoculars. When I got them from him those were a 12x25 not that good but not bad either. So I gazed at the moon and enjoyed its majestic beauty. Seeing the moon not as a disk and as a spherical object with your own eyes have n effect on you ... it was just lovely. Then I also spotted the Cassiopeia and observed it for some time. And then in the end the last thing was the seven sisters in the Pleiades and that was mesmerising. the distinctive question mark in the sky that made me think and contemplate on many things including, on a lighter note, the fact that I observed the sky and had questions in my mind but the sky responded with a question mark telling me that there is more that there are things even they don't know of I shall be writing an article about it soon. cheers, Sidd
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