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Newbies thoughts

Astro Imp

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OK Guys,

There have been a number of new members since the start of the year (I'm one of them), just wondering how you are all getting on.

Are you enjoying your new hobby, do you find it more difficult than you thought, what's the hi-light of your observing so far.

I'll kick things off:-

I bought my scope at the end of January when it was so cold the first time I took my scope out it ended up covered in frost. I found it very hard to find anything, just moving the scope around was a challenge and as for polar alignment, don't ask :)

Gradually got the hang of things but for me there was definitely a steep learning curve.

At this time Jupiter was low in the west and I had to set my scope up on my front drive to get a view, but had the first great night viewing Jupiter and the new crescent moon, couldn't look at anything else as there are four street lights in the front two more or less opposite.

Spent the next couple of weeks trying to locate objects without much success except M45, M42 and M43.

These were all located with the standard 6x30 finder but found this really hard. Having taken advice from this forum I got myself a Telrad, what a difference ;):hello2:

Having started to get frustrated and thinking I had taken up the wrong hobby I now can't wait for the next clear night.

I wouldn't say that it is easy but I now go out with three or four objects in mind and usually manage to find them. Of course Saturn is always on the list.

Would like to compare my experiences with some of you other newbies.

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Joined this year and bought a Meade Light Switch - 1st time I see Saturn was amazing - seen some great deep space objects but sometimes I feel I am cheating with this scope (which I adore)

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Hey Imp,

I also joined at the beginning of the year when I bought a SW 130P on an EQ2 mount. A few weeks later I upgraded the mount to an EQ5 and bought some better ep's, a finder scope and a telrad and then a few weeks after that I upgraded the scope to a 200p ds and bought a pro synscan upgrade kit!!....bringing my total expenditure to about £1,600!!....to date,I can honestly say that my only succesfull observation has been Saturn and that was better with the 130 than with the 200. I can't get to grips with the goto and I struggle finding anything.

You might say that I should be on the point of giving up, but no way!!..I'm determined to crack it, learn the skies and start seeing things regurlarly. My enthusiasm hasn't wained yet and has even increased after a visit to Jodrell Bank today.

One lesson I have learnt though is that throwing cash at this doesn't necerssarily work and that you should give what you've got a good go first, I'll keep at it, hope everyone else does aswell, I'm now looking forward to my first star party at the Peak District in October, booked and looking forward to it.....Oh by the way, if you count camping equipment, that another £500!!!!!!

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.... after a visit to Jodrell Bank today.

Hehe, thought you visited a bank for a loan to get even better equipment,'till

I googled it ;)

But anyway, I started out this year too, got my first scope April 2nd and

have been lucky enough to have a decent amount of clear nights until now.

Saturn is always on the to-see-list and of course the moon in the first week.

As for DSO's I've only seen M13 so far and what a joy that is to finally see

something new. It's difficult to find something at first but it is a matter of

experience and a lot of patience i learned. Yesterday I had set my mind on

M81 and 82 but after struggling for an hour looking straight overhead I gave

up (mostly because it's an uncomfortable position to look.

I know where to look (Stellarium and the android-app SkEye) but to find it in

your EP is really hard. Practise, practise I guess....

Still it's a great hobby and with the help of "Turn Left at Orion" gradually

I will find things! Never give up (unless your back hurts :))

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I started about a month ago too the day..I was watching a documentry about the james webb telescope on youtube what was very interesting, from there the suggested vids on the sidebar i watched a vid on how too make your own VERY basic telescope using a magnifing glass a cardbord tube and a jewlers eyepeice.

I happened too have these things and made it, it didnt work very well and hurt my eyes, but it did work, that made me more interested..so i decided too buy a cheap telescope on ebay and bought a jessops TA800-80 reflector for £35, i still am using this at every opertunity but have now bought and am awating a 150P newtonian reflector on a EQ mount, im also saving for a large dobsonian.

Since my first view of saturn iv been hooked and like you just waiting for the skys to be clear! iv also located the double cluster.

It also amazes me how much more you see in the night sky when your acctualy looking, in the past month i have seen a meteor breaking through the atmosphere and breaking appart and a UFO, yep a UFO!! ok i dont think it was little green men, but i still dont know what it was!!. (i personaly believe it was a peice of space debris, plenty of that orbiting us!)

The forums have been great and too be honest im kinda hooked on this too, very friendly and helpfull members and the forums have a nice friendly feel for such a large forum.

Edited by Madhatter
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to date,I can honestly say that my only succesfull observation has been Saturn and that was better with the 130 than with the 200. I can't get to grips with the goto and I struggle finding anything.

Goto is worth it, but I think the mount needs to be permanently set-up. Site it in a slightly different place, not so level etc and it will never find anything at all!

Once i have set mine up, levelled and aligned it, - it is time for bed! -almost!

Once successfully aligned, it has found m57, m51, m33, m3,m42 and Saturn all in the space of twenty minutes! By then I was knackered, if I had just used the dob mount I would have extended my observing time considerably.

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Started in January as well.

Absolutely loving it!

I was quite lucky as far as being able to set up and use the eq mount as I'd spent a couple of evenings with my mate (who introduced me to astronomy) and he showed me how to use one.

Finding objects has been the frustrating/fun part. The first few nights I was out looking for galaxies which, with a 5" newt in my polluted sky, I now know isn't going to happen! Setting my sights lower, m42, m44 etc, has proved to very rewarding. Stellarium, Cartes du Ceil, this forum and various second hand books and star charts have proved invaluable.

However, maybe it's due to the limitations of my scope and site, (I'm not sure) I've found myself especially drawn to the moon and planets.

I've been to a local astro club meeting and plan to continue going and although moneys tight, there are plans for upgrades and an obsy!

To sum up, I've made the right choice of hobby!

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hi all

i got my telescope (meade etx 90) as a christmas present after badgering the wife for quite a while.

after initial set up i was really enjoying jupiter and later orion and its amazing sights,

then i got my first view of saturn and was amazed!!

but after acouple of months i was getting a little fed up with with the etx as it never seemed to align correctly even after i,d alligned it and trained the motors for what seemed like the hundreth time.

so the telescope sat in the conservtory for a couple of months untill i visited my father inlaw in west runton norfolk and we spent a long weekend out in his garden in pretty decent dark skies saturn again was the show stealer but the goto function could only choose cambridge as the nearest town so was in effect hopeless and we veiwed the sky manually with me being a complete novice was very frustrating for me and my father inlaw!!

anyhow i,ve not given up and im determined to find some deep sky objects and maybe upgrade the scope in the near future.

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I bought my first scope a little over three weeks ago. I'm a little overwhelmed by how much I have to learn at this game but am really enjoying the challenge!

A local astronomy organisation staged a "Saturn Watch" night which I missed. I rang them up and enquired if they were holding another. They weren't, so I asked them about what kind of telescopes they had on sale. I had been thinking about my own scope for a long time...

I ended up impulse buying a Celestron Omni XLT 127 and they threw in a C6-N newtonian for an extra 100 euros. I excitedly brought the scopes that night around to a mate's house and we eventually figured out how to set it all up and locate Saturn. My friend had a 12mm EP and that first view of Saturn just made our jaws drop!

I then bought a Celestron EP kit and wowed my wife and her friend recently with views of Saturn through a 6mm EP. Next, I decided to move on to DSOs and that's when the first frustrations kicked in. I tried to locate M51 overhead - the 6x30 finderscope was a nightmare to use and I had to gave up before I hurt myself! I have since ordered a Telrad thanks to the advice on this forum.

I can see myself having lots of fun over the years and the possibilities are endless and exciting! The help and advice on here has been invaluable. I have since ordered a TV 2.5x barlow, a philips spc 880 webcam, a laser collimator......I think I need to slow down LOL!! :)

Anyway, that's my story.


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Hi Astro Imp, I joined a little after you and have the same scope.

The astro bug has really bitten now, and the scope is out every chance there is a possibility of some observing. I joined the North Lincs Astro Group, nice to get together with like minded people.

Like you Jupiter was the best object in the sky when I got my telescope and is probably my favourite object so far and am looking forwards to it's return.

I'm working through the Messier list and although sometimes frustrating I'm enjoying the thrill of the hunt :)

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Joined this year as well. Scope sat at home (2months) awaiting my return.

I have been home now for three days. Put scope together and realized the manufacturers manuals do not work. So off to explorer land.

Looked at sun, with solar filter (of course), and enjoyed that brief few moments before the clouds found out I was in the backyard, not still in the house.

Tried to collimate, wanted to learn how, before I need it. That was not pretty.

Going to restart with Astro-baby's guide.

I used both a chesire and a laser collimator. They do not agree.

Has anyone had that issue?

I will admit one magnificently stupid thing i did, It will be funny later. I was trying to figure out how to adjust the secondary mirror, loosened up knobs to spider vane. The op man from celestron does not address what all these knobs, screws etc do. The guide from Astro-baby even has pretty pic's. That I can handle, I hope.

having fun

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I got my scope at the end of feb and i can see the learning curve lasting quite a bit longer.I've seen some good stuff tho, moon, jupiter, mercury, saturn, m13 and some cool open clusters, orion things,gemini things, and managed to see andromeda galaxy just before it disappeared but i know i'll get a better look at that now i know how to collimate. The 6x30 finder is a bit naf but the rest will suffice.


Skywatcher 150pl

25mm ep

10mm ep

2x barlow

spc900 webcam

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I got my first scope after watching a TV programme called Stargazing Live. Anyone know it?!

Yes, I just jumped in and didn't know what I was really doing and bought a cheap one from Argos. It was (and still is) a 76mm Newtonian which can magnify up to 525x (haha, what a con!).

I will always remember the first time i used it. Seeing the moon in so much detail was amazing. I also looked at Jupiter. i remember 3 things about my first sight of it. 1: 4 moons floating beside it, 2: the lack of anything interesting to see on the planets disc(no detail at all) 3: How much it moved around due to the incredibly wobbily mount. TBH, it was a bit of a dissapointment really.

Since then, i have found this wonderful place and with the knowledge that floats around here so freely, i bought myself some better EPs, tinkered with the mount to make it at least useable and collimated the scope.

The things i am most happy with seing, are Saturn, with its beautiful rings, and the Beehive cluster of stars. I saw M44 with the naked eye, a fuzzy patch of sky. Through the scope was a sea of stars. such a wonderful sight.

I would say that i am really enjoying my new hobby, as i can't wait to get my next scope.

Now whenever i am outside at night, i can't help but look up.

I would just like to thank everyone on here for being so helpful and thanks to all the mods/admin for their efforts to make this a great community to be part of. Not to mention FLO for their support

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Hi Everyone,

It's great to be part of this community. I'm enjoying my new hobby although so far I'm sticking with the sun and moon since I'm not convinced that I'll see anything useful unless I spend a significant amount on a powerful scope with all that light pollution. Maybe I can be convinced. I did invest in a Coronado PST a couple of months ago and the solar shots that I'm taking with a modified web cam are quite satisfying, although there is always someone, somewhere, with somthing much more impressive! I guess it's down to how much you want to spend......

Anyhow, it's great to see what others are doing/achieving with their kit and this forum is ideal for that.

Best of luck everyone.

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An interesting thread to read Alan. I'm about to take the plunge myself (well, I'm not one for diving in so could be any time in the next few months) and found it really worthwhile read.

Looking forward to getting started myself.

This forum is great- a real community feel.

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I bought my equipment at the end of last August and for various reasons was struggling to kick-start the hobby so I attended SGL6 last month and would recommend attending a star-party to any newbie. Welcoming, friendly and helpful more experienced stargazers will greatly shorten your learning curve and reinforce your affection for the hobby. If you haven't yet bought a scope you will still be welcomed and the advice / experience will help you make a more informed buying decision.

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Hi Everybody,

I started back in January after watching the stargazing live show on the BBC, which I'm pleased to say gave me the final push to buy a scope.

It couldn't have been a better decision to make.

I'm rapidly learning all about the night sky, which I had stared up at in bewilderment, but also in awe. I never realised that Saturn passed my bedroom window most nights, always an awesome sight to observe.

When the weather turns, I write up my success/failures on the blog section of this site.

I haven't got the hang of using the coordinates of objects yet, but I am now recognising constellations and even getting to grips with names of stars.

My favourite part so far was making and using a Sun filter.

All in all, I'm really pleased I started this hobby and it's not something that can fizzle out really with all the equipment available, as well as the fact I've been fascinated by science and technology most of my life.

Edited by tibbs1972
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I got my first telescope last November and the biggest problem so far is paying for all the stuff I need (or want).

Got a SW 150pds on an EQ3. As Astro Imp also discovered, the 6x30 finder is hopeless so that was the first to be replaced. Then I needed some quality eyepieces, eq3 had to give way to a heq5, guidescope, synguider, DSLR... It all adds up and I have a feeling I'm not done shopping just yet.

Whenever weather permits I bring the telescope into my back garden and I'm enjoying every second out there. During the winter I was looking forward to summer and thinking about how brilliant it would be looking at the stars when temperatures got warmer. Now I'm looking forward to winter time and being able to see something before 11pm.

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Hi all,

I'd been thinking about getting a scope for a number of months, and like a few others on here, after watching the Stargazing live programs I decided I would take the plunge.

Decided on a SkyWatcher 200P Newtonion, and a Celestron CG-5GT mount combination. first couple of nights out I found it difficult to locate stars using the finder scope, also my lack of knowledge of the stars probably did not help, but was very impressed with the views the scope gave me of M42. My first upgrade/downgrade was to get a red dot finder, this and Stellarium have really helped me with my viewing sessions.

Biggest wow up until now has been the views of M42, and Saturn and a couple of it's moons. (Had a few neighbours around on good Friday for drinks and they were also really impressed with Saturn and keep asking when I'm next having the scope out.)

Now really starting to enjoy the hobby, and all the tinkering that comes along with it. Today did what I would class as my first major project and that was to modify the CG-5 mount by reducing the height of it, so I and my partner can comfortably view through the Newtonian when the scope is at its highest point. this involved chopping about 7 inch of the legs (sounds bad but found a really good tutorial, and the mount looks exactly the same just shorter). Decided to do this after I realised it's not the safest option for us to be using step ladders in the dark :), and still is comfortable to use when using the SW127 Mak (got this second hand to be portable scope).

I've been lurking on this forum for a couple of months, and would also like to take this opportunity to thank anyone on this forum that has taken time to answer questions, post reviews, and tutorials. This forum is filled with helpful information and the reason I have not posted before is because I have always seemed to find the answers to my questions within previous posts, so thank you all.


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Hi all,

Only been into astronomy for last month or so, still havnt got my first scope yet. Going for the Skywatcher 200p dob at end of May. Untill then Im using my celestron 15x70 bins. Just learning my way around the sky for now but the other night I did manage to find the beehive cluster, cant tell you how excited I was to find something just with the bins.

Think im hooked on this hobby for life now.


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Hi all,

I've been lurking on this forum for a couple of months, and would also like to take this opportunity to thank anyone on this forum that has taken time to answer questions, post reviews, and tutorials. This forum is filled with helpful information and the reason I have not posted before is because I have always seemed to find the answers to my questions within previous posts, so thank you all.


Quite agree the best forum on any subject that I have come across.

Glad to hear that you are enjoying yourself, keep having fun.

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