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About Girders

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  1. Yep, I was going to suggest one of the scopes with the Virtuoso mini Dobson mount. Goto can be added later but I found tracking to make a huge difference to my early experiences.
  2. Not sure if you changed anything at your end but the third time I sent it I didn't get a bounce back so I'm assuming it got through.
  3. Glad it was helpful. And it's good to wait and not have to buy something under the pressure of Christmas. As various people on here told me - the stars will still be there when you and he are ready for a scope.
  4. Firstly - it's great that you're doing that. Meteorites. My 5 year old loves holding them. And what kid wouldn't love to hold a piece of a shooting star. The Camp Del Cielo ones in particular make a definite impression due to their surprising weight. https://www.firstlightoptics.com/meteorites.html
  5. Hi Jenb, I was exactly where you are now about a year ago with my then 4 year old daughter. After lots of research on advice on here I went for a Heritage 114p with the Virtuoso mount (which has motorised tracking). It doesn't have Goto (computer/smartphone control but you can add that later for around £60) https://www.firstlightoptics.com/heritage/skywatcher-heritage-114p-virtuoso.html At £175 it's a fair bit above your budget (and I started out with a 'hard' £100 limit too!) but I was really glad to have the tracking. Looking at the planets with high magnification they drift so quickly that it was really hard to handover to my daughter before we got round to setting the tracking up. She loves getting out to use the telescope but I really hadn't appreciated how rarely we would be able to get it out. Between clouds (and wind which makes it wobble too much), and the times of the planets rising and setting, and the long days over summer, combined with a 4/5 year old's bedtime restrictions makes it really tough. In the year she's probably only been able to view (a very tiny) Mars and (a very tiny) Jupiter a couple of times - and (a very very tiny but with visible rings) Saturn once. With my later bedtime I've been up and out there at all hours, but most of her experiences have been focused on the moon. Which she's fine with, but it's important to manage expectations. And viewing through eyepieces is tricky for the wee ones - even getting the 'one eye' viewing right it's still hard to look straight down the eyepiece. I often use a smartphone adapter attached to the eyepiece to show the image one the screen - which is great for the moon but can be tricky to position for the planets. It has certainly kept her interest in space going, but if I'm honest I think there are other more cost effective and interesting ways to do it. If you can get out to a true dark site on a moonless night - even without a telescope - it's amazing to see with the naked eye. And even standard binoculars will be a revelation. She also really enjoys watching any launches we can find on youtube etc - and some historical ones too. And every so often Nasa offers the chance to have names added to an upcoming space probe. Lastly (for now anyway) she's loved being able to hold meteorite samples. I got small collection 'from her' for my birthday and Christmas last year and she likes being able to hold them. https://www.firstlightoptics.com/meteorites.html I'm happy that as she gets older I've got a scope she'll get use out of over the years, but it's the other stuff that's really kept her interest for now. Hope that's of some use, David
  6. Just tried sending a suggestion to the suggestions@firstlightoptics.com and got a bounce back email including: Your email to group suggestions@firstlightoptics.com was rejected due to spam classification. The owner of the group can choose to enable message moderation instead of bouncing these emails. More information can be found here: https://support.google.com/a/answer/168383. Suggestion was fairly detailed including a couple of URLs so shouldn't have been flagged as spam. Hope that's of some use, and I'll try resending it tomorrow.
  7. This sounds like something I've encountered sometimes when using the wifi adapter attached to my SW Virtuoso mount. The issue was to do with a dialogue box / warning on my android phone. The phone needed me to acknowledge that the wifi network I was trying to connect to did not have internet access and that I wanted to connect anyway. If I missed the chance to say "Yes" it was a hassle to track down the setting and I think I just disconnected and reconnected and made sure I was paying attention to the phone when trying to connect. Hope thats some use.
  8. I'd forgotten about these, but came very close to buying one. I was struggling to find reviews and then got the chance of a deal on my Heritage. You might be able to find some more info on them one year on... Compact tabletop dobsonians available in 5" and 6" https://www.bresseruk.com/astronomy/bresser-messier-5-dobsonian-telescope.html https://www.bresseruk.com/astronomy/bresser-messier-6-dobsonian-telescope.html
  9. Interesting question - and although the general request for recommendations in that kind of range as a first scope come up often, I can't recall many where they are "downsizing" (for want of a better word). I'm happy with my Heritage 114p Virtuoso and find the tracking (and adding goto with the skywatcher wifi adapter) very useful. Quick to set up and easy to store. But that's on the basis it's my first scope. And although I'm happy with my choice, I would definitely like "more" scope. I'd love to go for a SW 200 dob, but haven't for pretty much the reasons you sold yours. I can live with the compromise I've made because I've never really known better, but I think it would be very hard to go "back" from a 200 dobsonian to something in the 100 to 130 range. I know plenty here rave about the Mak 127 from various manufacturers, but I don't know whether that would be closer to what you aim for. Good luck, and I'll follow your choice with interest.
  10. I’ve got this very similar one... https://www.amazon.co.uk/Solomark-Universal-Phone-Adapter-Mount/dp/B0188KP6T8/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1534028121&sr=8-3&keywords=Phone+telescope+adaptor It is great for the moon but tricky to align well enough to look “straight down the eyepiece” to make it reliable for planetary viewing. And most of the options available give little ability to set the distance from the eyepiece (again making it difficult for high magnification). Im also not sure if it’s due to the adaptor or phone camera quality (old iPhone 4) but it’s no use for me for picking up stars at all. sorry - iPad won’t let me attach pics, but the one in my avatar was taken with it. My 4 and a half year old can now use the eyepiece but the phone/adapter combination is still our first choice if I can get it lined up. But do be aware of its limitations.
  11. I’ve been there with the 4 year old - although it’s my first scope that was bought with her in mind rather than an upgrade. If it had just been for me, no question I’d have gone for a 200p dob, but when I thought it through and took advice on here I realised that having motorised tracking was a must for anything that involved a “handover” between me locating a target and her looking at it. I went for a Virtuoso 114p which is a small tabletop dob with tracking but no goto (unless you add the Skywatcher WiFi adaptor). We used it a few nights before we got the power and tracking running and found it really frustrating, but once we could track it was so much better. I just don’t think a non-tracking scope is workable for people taking turns at viewing - especially when one is a small child. But I don’t think the 114p would be a sufficient upgrade for you (I’m planning to upgrade myself before too long). I have added the WiFi adaptor for goto but in fairly light polluted skies it’s been of little benefit really. My other big lesson from working with the wee one is how difficult it is for them to work viewing through an eyepiece. I’ve got a smartphone adaptor which can be a bit hit or miss and takes work to get properly aligned for planets but works well for the moon. Finding one that works with your new scope (or considering a camera to laptop option) would greatly increase ease of use and limit frustration. Good luck getting your daughter involved - my little girl loves looking at stuff and made us wake her at 1am on holiday last month so she could see Saturn. And if you haven’t found it yet, give her a look at some of the planet songs on YouTube...
  12. Thanks for the link. And, yep I've been there. I went for pointing it at a nearby streetlight.
  13. I'll follow your posts about this with interest. In particular I'm curious how quickly/reliably you can get it satisfactorily lined up with "smaller" targets. I've got what I guess is a 2D adaptor: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Solomark-Universal-Phone-Adapter-Mount/dp/B0188KP6T8/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1531171440&sr=8-3&keywords=telescope+smartphone+adapter It's fairly good for lining it up for the moon, but getting it perfectly centred (and at the right eye relief distance) for Jupiter/Saturn/Mars is very problematic. Great when you manage but more often than not I give up on it before then.
  14. Girders

    First Planetary Image Ever!

    Sunshine posted in my "Six months in" thread: "And if it will reassure you, ive been in the hobby for two decades and am just now imaging for the first time, you beat me to imaging jupiter, i will be looking to do that tonight, so score one for you sir! love the images!" Well, that was worth the wait! If it takes me two decades to turn my blurry little striped dot into something close to your image, I'll be more than happy with that! Well done!
  15. In the hope that it may help/reassure anyone starting out now... I've had my little scope for just over six months now, and after a fair bit of frustration, poor weather and a little more expense than planned, in the last two weeks I've finally got to where I wanted to be. It's been a bit of an up and down journey but my main goal was always to get decent views of Jupiter and Saturn and with some helps from the forum I got there. Big learning points along the way... My 4.5 inch tabletop mini dobsonian (Skywatcher Heritage 114p Virtuoso) is as small a scope as I'd consider for starting out. I'd nearly gone for the Heritage 100p and although it's not a huge difference I really wouldn't want anything with a smaller aperture. I've only recently added go-to with the skywatcher wifi adapter. It's handy but not essential for me. Tracking on the other hand, for me anyway, is a must for any future upgrade. Sharing viewing sessions with my wife (and at times my 4 year old daughter) without tracking losing objects while taking turns caused no end of frustration. Don't get frustrated if seeing conditions and planetary positions conspire against you. For months Jupiter was a bright white blob with 4 moons for me. It's only recently that I've been able to see the bands and a glimpse of the great red spot. But it's not that I'm doing anything better or differently, or that there was anything wrong with the scope. I just had to wait... and wait... and wait until things fell into place with timings, positions and conditions. Take the time to work out and note which eyepieces/combinations work well. I now know that for my scope my 6mm with 2 x Barlow is my default option for planetary viewing (giving 167x magnification). Smartphone adaptors are great for the moon and really let my little girl be involved, but they are a bundle of frustrations for planets and stars. It's really tricky to align them correctly for smaller targets - and even fixing them using the moon before switching fails more often than not. I've had some success but not with any consistency. Even at my low points I've never regretted getting involved. I reckon I've spent £150 on my scope plus £100 or so on a couple of eyepieces, barlow and power cables plus £60 for the wifi adapter. So just over £300 for about 30 hours of hands on scope time (did I mention the weather's been bad?). I can live with £10/hour - especially as I know I'll get many more hours in the future. Anyway, six months later and I'm still here, still learning, and still getting set up when the sky allows. And I've got what I was hoping for. (The pic of Jupiter is slightly better than it was in the scope, but Saturn was much clearer/sharper visually.) Thanks to everyone who helped me along the way.

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