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Elsterap

I want to get into astronomy...

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Mainly cause i think it looks cool :D so i dont think i'll be the worlds best astronomer, but if i got to see a nebulae or two and some craters on the moon through my telescope, i'd be well chuffed so i dont need to take pictures or anything.

After reading reviews of books, "Turn Left at Orion" looks good for what i want to do as i doubt i'll ever want to progress further than spotting a few nubulae. The book asks for a 50-70mm or 2-3" aperture on your telescope. Heres the book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0521781906/ref=sib_rdr_dp/202-0633411-4818225

Firstly, how does a book get you to look at what you want? Does it tell you some degrees and you set your telescope to that? I assume a telescope would come with the suitable stuff to do that with?

And i really don't know how to buy a telescope. If a 50-70mm aperture is all i need then can i just buy it off ebay? I could spend up to £70 on a telescope, but for someone whose not ever looking to press on further than the basics, i don't want to spend more than i need.

Very appreciative for any help! x

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Welcome to the forum :D

Be prepared to start a journey down a slippery scope with questions like that !!

There are so many factors that you will need to consider i suggest that you do a search on the forum to answer some of your questions.

Personally i would suggest that you buy the largest apeture scope that you can afford as it will allow you to see more things out there.

I would steer away from Ebay at the moment and take a look at some of the dedicated astro websites (Steve @ First Light Optics will steer you in the right direction).

Turn Left at Orion is a excellent book and in combination with a nice scope will give you many hours of enjoyment of the night sky

If you can get along to a Astro Society public viewing night before deciding to purchase a scope (or even come along to the SGL star party in May) so you can ask loads of questions and look through many scopes so you can compare different scope designs.

Hope this helps

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Welcome to the forum. £70 is a tough budget, and pretty much everything will be more than that unfortuantly.

for a few ideas take a look at :

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/proddetail.php?prod=mercury705

or perhaps

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/proddetail.php?prod=s1145pm

And for a lot more than your budget I would recommend this:

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/proddetail.php?prod=dobsky150

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Turn Left At Orion is a good book but it's not as easy as you think! Trust me on that one... Another alternative is Philip's 'Guide to the Northern Constellations' here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Guide-Northern-Constellations-Philips-Astronomy/dp/0540084530/ref=sr_1_1/203-3438823-6872744?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1176105474&sr=8-1 .

Real easy stuff to read, just go out into your garden and look up.

Also if money's a bit tight, perhaps a good pair of Binoculars may be a thought? My wife picked up a pair of Celestron Skymasters and a tripod for about £100 (from Argos I think) and the best view of the Pleades I've ever had is through those! But yeah, stay away from Ebay atm, those 'Bargains' may well turn out to be nightmare for you.

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Those binoculars look very good.

Does me getting binoculars mean i will not see nebulae? And can anyone recommend any binoculars books or will 'Turn left At Pluto' and 'Guide to the Northern Constellation' suffice?

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Those binoculars look very good.

Does me getting binoculars mean i will not see nebulae? And can anyone recommend any binoculars books or will 'Turn left At Pluto' and 'Guide to the Northern Constellation' suffice?

Nebulae are funny things, even with a big scope, you're not going to see all the pretty pictures that you find in books and on the 'net, more of a dark coloured 'blob'. You'd be able to the Orion Nebula and the 'nebulosity' around the Pleades on a good night.

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You could also have a look and see if you have a local astronomy society? They may be able to invite you along to try out some gear and give you an idea of what you can reasonably expect to see?

I agree with the others - steer clear of ebay.

Bill£

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As a newbie I would like to recommend The Stars - A new way to see them, by H.A.Rey.

If memory serves it was originally written as a book for children, but his scheme of diagramming the constellations was so popular that "Reyism" representation is now an option in Starry Night planetarium software.

I've recently been given an old book "Naked eye astronomy" (ISBN 0-7188-0596-8) by someone called Patrick Moore. Only just started reading it but it also looks good.

Regards,

Mark

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A good one to start with is Sir Patrick Moore's Exploring The Night Sky with Binoculars.

And a pair of 10X50 binoculars...I used this method for years in fact I always grab the bino's before the scope goes out as it gives me an indication as to the quality of seeing..

Welcome to the forum by the way.

Greg

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Firstly, how does a book get you to look at what you want? Does it tell you some degrees and you set your telescope to that? I assume a telescope would come with the suitable stuff to do that with?

First it gives you the constellation, then the nearest bright visible-with-the-naked-eye stars, then directions based on what you would see in the telescope or the finderscope.

I got my 4.5 inch reflector and equatorial mount for £65 (at half-price) when the local "science" shop closed down. I don't think you can beat that for value.

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At £100 this is slightly over budget but it might interest you - includes eyepieces and barlow. I am sure it says it includes the mount. I think Helios is identical to Skywatcher???

Can any other more experienced members comment on this scope??

http://www.popastro.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5332&sid=53e4d44b20404443371cf8304a691039

Bill£ :D

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that looks bloomin' brilliant for the cash IMPO.

Definitely good for a starter on a budget.

Andrew

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There's a lot of long lasting satisfaction (and fun) to be had from learning the constellations and knowing where the planets are. TBH you won't find nebula/galaxies without knowing the constellations .

All you need is basic guide to the stars and a clear night. The nights are getting warmer now so its not so hard on the fingers and toes but Orion is starting to sink into the west so go out asap to catch the last of the winter sky.

Planetarium software is also a must. Here's a free program which came with a scope i bought a while back -

its basic but it does the job. For something more advanced check out Starry Night Pro which is FAB and not too pricey these days - Steve sells it on First Light Optics.

http://www.stargazing.net/astropc/download.html

As far as scopes are concerned treat yourself to a 6" Dobsonian (approx £160) - forget about small cheap refractors - they're ok on the moon but will show little else in light polluted skies. Remember if you look after your scope you can always sell it on if you get bored with it - a dobbo will probably be easier to shift so it might be cheaper in the long run.

Hope that helps

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I've recently got into astronomy and went down the ebay route. I spent £30 for the following refracting telescope:

Aperture: 50mm

Focal Length: 600mm

Eyepieces (6mm,20mm)

Erecting lens

Magnifications 30x, 90x, 100x, 300x

Finderscope 5x24

Bearing in mind that I have only had a week or so, I have been able to see the following objects:

Saturn

Venus

Mizar / Alcor

M45

NOTE: I am really looking forward to the moon appearing in a couple of weeks :D

Saturn was the first goal I had when getting into astronomy, so that was abslutely fantastic (even though the image was VERY small). I've looked at every clear night during the last week, sometimes for minutes on end (no mean feat with manual tracking).

Here is the sort of Saturn image that I get (but completely white and in clear focus):

http://www.jimwcoleman.com/photoblog/1977Saturn.jpg

I did not want to waste any money buying an expensive scope then not use it, but in hindsight my experience is very limited with my telescope. If I am still spending 80% of clear evenings in the garden by christmas then I will definitely upgrade next year.

Problems with my telescope:

1. It wobbles A LOT. This requires patience and precise handling (these are good qualities to gain, in my opinion). This could be a source of great frustration.

2. There is absolutely NO fine movement. I find it easier to perform fine adjustments (ie when using the 6mm lens) by moving a tripod leg! Again, this develops patience and precise handling.

I also have a pair of 10x50 binoculars, and these have the following advantages over my scope:

1. You can scan the sky easily

2. It picks up the easier Messier objects A LOT EASIER.

To summarise, it is true that the more money you spend, the better solultion you will have, and the better experience too.

However, if all you want to do is see Saturn and observe a few craters on the moon, every once in a while, then a basic scope might be the answer. I'd go for a 70mm refractor if you can afford it.

I am enjoying astronomy at the moment even with my basic equipment, but I would love to have one of these:

http://www.camcentre.co.uk/shop/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=29

I hope this helps....

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Wow that picture of Saturn is amazing! You definetly have me wanting to see that now! And i cant believe you can do it wth a £30 telescope! Is there any chance you could tell me what dealer you used so i can use the same one? And did you use any certain book or any website or magazine when you started out?

Thankyou for your help!

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And did you use any certain book or any website or magazine when you started out?

Phillips Guide to the Star and Planets by Patrick Moore.

Picked it up for a fiver in one of those shops that sells discounted brand new books:

Good star maps and descriptions of main objects of interest plus maps of the moon.

Thought I'd post this link in case no-one has mentioned it to you, its for

2nd hand gear:

http://www.astrobuysell.com/uk/browse.php

If you are thinking of buying binoculars check these out for £25:

http://www.telescopehouse.co.uk/page.aspx?theLang=001lngdef&pointerid=3BB55F00A5914EFD97DBBF1EE362B875&action=lnk

I think these are the same as the bins they sell in Lidl for a tenner at xmas time, if they are, they are still

very good for the money at £25. Can't see a difference between these and ones I paid £50 for.

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For my pennyworth, I would take the advice that for starters a decent pair of binoculars are a must, at worst just popping outside with your eyes and a good star guide will point you in the right direction. I have found that paitience really is a virtue, forget all the galaxies and nebules and far off distant realms, teach yourself a few constellations, sadly orion is on the move, but for a starter if you can and the weather permits, go outside and find the Plough (ursa major) some say it looks like a big saucepan, my son says it looks like a question mark. Keep looking and look for a W shape (cassiopeia) the idea behind all this is to see how quickly you may get bored. Once you find these two, give yourself a challenge and find the star polaris, use the net for some pointers.

May sound silly, but the ability to spend hours outside mainly in the cold in this country is what makes the difference between you enjoying doing it and would just a quick glance now and again be sufficient. I said it before but people tend to see these lovely pictures of things in space but forget that these pretty pictures are mainly the work of people who have spent a very long time learning their craft.

If I could recommend one pretty good little book it would be Collins Gem Stars, the easy guide to identifying constellations, it sells for the grand sum of £4.99 in good bookshops, the ISBN is 0-00-717858-1 it contains all you will need to know in respect of picking up some challenges to identify bits and pieces. The book will also give you a rough insite into how stars are graded using mainly the greek alphabet. If after a while the bug starts to bite then by all means go for the goodies, but as has been mentioned, unless you know what you are doing and are prepared to take a chance then look at e-bay, but IMHO I would seriously take the advice given and go to a reputable dealer like FLO. Hope this helps.

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That's a good point. I spent months with a set of 10x50 binoculars (and the naked eye) learning the constellations.

You'll need this knowledge anyway...

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That's a good point. I spent months with a set of 10x50 binoculars (and the naked eye) learning the constellations.

You'll need this knowledge anyway...

there are ofcourse targets which are best viewed in bins eg:

pleaides in taurus

beehive cluster in cancer

coathanger cluster vulpecula

and you'll be amazed how many more stars you will see than witht the naked eye.

Don't underate using binocluars as a visual experience in their own right.

The old addage holds true: good bins are better than cheap scopes anyday.

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Congratulations on your image of Saturn. For a 50mm scope that is wonderfull.

Well done. Shows you dont need expensive gear to enjoy astronomy.

Cant wait for a clear night to turn my Skylux on Saturn!!

Pete

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Choosing a good telescope around £100-150 can be a challenge as the majority sold have wobbly mounts, insufficient aperture and/or low quality optics. Most models sold as ‘starter’ scopes are more likely to ‘finish’ a hobby. (It also doesn't help that some manufacturers and dealers normally associated with quality kit include them in their range!).

After considerable thought (and discussion here on SGL) FLO offers the following:

Skywatcher Mercury 705 This short-tube refractor is the only sub £100 scope FLO stocks because it is the only one that offers metal construction and a sturdy Alt-Az mount. Optically, it is surprisingly good and its aperture delivers 36% more light gathering than a 60mm. Chances are that when you come to upgrade the 705 you will keep it as a handy grab-and-go scope or perhaps a guide-scope for an imaging set-up.

Skywatcher Startravel 80 The ST80 is the next step up from the Mercury 705 and is one of those scopes that seems to exceed the total of its parts (cripes, I sound just like a salesman!). Available as an OTA or on the EQ1 GEQ mount.

Skywatcher Skyhawk 1145PM It is remarkable that Synta can produce such a good quality f4.4 machine-polished paraboloidal mirror for the price. It is also now includes a driven mount.

Celestron FirstScope 114 EQ There are two versions of this scope: Short-tube and long-tube. The short-tube is most popular for its compact size but it uses a ‘built-in correction lens’ to achieve this (essentially, a barlow built into the focuser). For this reason FLO recommends the longer tube model for its greater contrast, clarity and magnification.

Hope that helps.

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