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About Girders

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  1. Like Peter, I've got the 114 Newtonian version (but may have gone for the Mak90 if I'd found it at same price). I've added the synscan WiFi and found it works well - although for planets you can find by sight the tracking on the mount is sufficient and I only hook up the synscan if I'm hoping to see something else (rare in my light polluted skies). I've never been tempted to use a tripod with it - just varying sizes of garden table. It has a reputation for racing through batteries so a DC adapter if you'll have an outside socket is an essential - or power tank type battery if you'll be using away from home.
  2. Interesting discussion. With very limited experience/equipment for astrophotography it hasn't really been an issue for me - all my lunar/planetary shots are single images - not really capable of being greatly improved by processing. But I think my guiding principle (for me) is that I want to replicate as closely as possible what I can see through the eyepiece. I have however had a similar dilemma with the northern lights. A few years back we had a great trip on the Hurtigruten Norwegian coastal ferry and saw some good (but not hugely strong) displays. Camera's capture the colour much better than the human eye - but the colours are genuine and very real, it's just our eyes do colour vision very poorly in low light. So I've got wonderfully colourful images - with almost no processing done other than noise reduction. But they have little resemblance to what we actually *saw*. Of course we have to 'show off' the best looking ones but I always make sure I explain to people that unless you are very very lucky they rarely look as colourful as that to the eye. And I think that's the important bit - to try not to set people up for disappointment when they try to repeat your view/image. Pic attached hopefully - left side the 'original' as per the camera and the right half is a quickly photoshopped version much closer to what we actually saw.
  3. I'll not weigh in on the benefits of the scopes suggested by others far more qualified than me. But I would give back to your comment regarding involving your almost 4 year old. My daughter has been involved in our stargazing since she was just over 4. In fact it was her interest in space that motivated out telescope purchase. And the big thing I've learned (fortunately before our ourchase) was that motorised tracking on a scope is a HUGE benefit if you are sharing viewing and (in my experience) essential if trying to let a little one view. You can manage fine without for the moon but the magnification required for the planets means they move across the field of vision too quickly. Even if YOU can manually track when viewing the kids won't be able to (at that age anyway). It just takes them too long to focus through the eyepiece and it's gone before you can be sure they ever saw it. And that's not even including the accidental nudges. If you can stretch to something with tracking (full go to not essential) I'd really reccomend it it intending to view with small children. And a smartphone adapter for live viewing rather than through an eyepiece makes a huge difference too. Great for the moon although tricky to line up well enough for planets. There have been a few threads on here talking about observing with small ones that will give more info on balancing the technical aspects with the specific needs of youngsters.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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...
  13. Thanks for the link. And, yep I've been there. I went for pointing it at a nearby streetlight.
  14. 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.
  15. 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!
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