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crbazzer

despair,do i sell up or spend a small fortune on something bigger

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I am lucky, i dont have much luck finding dso`s so dont bother with them but stick to my favourite subject, lunar work, with a bit of planet work at times

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an 8/10/12 inch dob will give you fantastic views for years to come. I got bored fast with my 5" scope till I got the 8" and wow what a difference.

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Have you used your scope during a really transparent sky ? Light pollution is minimized when the air is free of moisture as there is less reflection of terrestrial light.

What's the faintest magnitude star you can see with the naked eye ? If it's only mag 3 you are going to struggle to see galaxies and nebulae, If 4.5 to 5 then you should be able to see some satisfactorily with a 5 inch. If it's only ever magnitude 3 then a big scope might be a bit of a waste of money although planets and double stars will still be good.

Do you have a car as you could visit dark sky sites ?

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an 8/10/12 inch dob will give you fantastic views for years to come. I got bored fast with my 5" scope till I got the 8" and wow what a difference.

I didn't get bored with the views from my 5"...........but yes the views from my 8" are wow and quite different.

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I love astronomy, love it. I teach for a living and like many teachers I find it a rewarding if stressful occupation. I observe every single night its clear, even if its for 30 minutes in a break in the clouds because its just a joy. I can feel the stress just slip off my shoulders as I lose myself in an open cluster or gaze over the surface of Jupiter or Mars.

My scope you may notice is smaller than yours and although the fl is different the views are more than likely similar. M31 looks like a fuzzy blob in my scope, it will still look like a fuzzy blob in a 12 inch Dobsonian, just a little bit bigger, and lets have some honesty here, it really is only a little bit bigger and a little bit brighter. The same is true of the planets, we really are talking a 2 or 3 mm difference in resolution in the view of say Jupiter in a 12 inch Dobsonian compared to that of a 4 inch refractor.

But I am not here to to compare telescopes, they are just tubes that collect light. Its the wonder of it all. The faint light you can see, perhaps just make out with practice even, has come a long, long way. That light has taken hundreds, perhaps thousands of years to get here, don't you think that's amazing. Betlegeuise in Orion (the bright red star in the top left hand corner) is so big that it would fill almost our entire solar system, incredible.

Its not much to look at is it really, Betlegeuise, just a red star, another red giant in a universe full of red giants but once you know what your looking at, begin to at least try to get your head around the distances we are talking about, and rejoice that you can see all these thing in your own back yard, only then will you begin to truly appreciate and enjoy the night sky, otherwise you night as well go and look at some pretty pictures in a book. There more to this craic than knock out views my friend :)

Edited by Caldwell 14

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if you can get to a meetng of a local astro club then this might help you decide but the sky is not going anywhere so don't rush anything.

That quote is a keeper, and oh so true. ;-)

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If just learning the constellations are not enough for you perhaps you have chosen the wrong hobby. I don't mean to sound harsh, I really don't but there is so much to learn without even a scope. Some people spend years with only a pair of bins and know the sky like the back of their hands

Edited by Caldwell 14

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Going to a club to see the difference is a very good idea. Some periods of bad weather, when you just spent more money on expensive kit make you wonder whether it is all worth it. Then you get a clear night with sights you never forget, and you feel it is worth it after all. After a pretty torrid time I got some amazing views of Mars (sharp at 338x, even reasonable at 406x :), in an 8" SCT, so you do not need a 12"). My SCT fits in a car very easily, so I can drive to a dark spot when I want to go after the faintest fuzzies. If your back garden is not perfect, consider getting a scope that travels easily. SCTs or flextube dobs could fit that bill handily (the latter are WAY cheaper for the aperture).

I found the difference between my old 6" Newtonian and 8" SCT quite stunning. With planets I have had some amazing views, and on globulars the difference is stunning. They go from being faint fuzzy blurs to spectacular conglomerations of stars, like fireworks frozen just after they went off. On good nights at dark locations much more detail is visible in nebulae. With planets you do need patience to eek out all the detail, but even with my 8" I have seen spokes in the rings of Saturn one stunning night. Do not despair too soon!

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the site provided by Rik is a great one and shows really well what yu can expect to see with good skies and more aperture.

I like Michael's comments above too and have often thought to myself, something's wrong with my scope, I should be able to see more etc but it's usually the misty moisture high up that's the cuplrit

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Do something different? At the risk of boring people... video astronomy? <G> Might even "train" you to look for what you might glimpse, visually? Join a club too. I must admit, I am a little surprised as to how many members om my local "astro soc" RARELY seem to do any astronomy? But it might be observed that the canonical astronomer is (notwithstanding Brian Cox) a somewhat marginalised, minority group - Maybe we NEED (deserve!) the company of kindred spirits. :)

Edited by Macavity

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My scope you may notice is smaller than yours and although the fl is different the views are more than likely similar. M31 looks like a fuzzy blob in my scope, it will still look like a fuzzy blob in a 12 inch Dobsonian, just a little bit bigger, and lets have some honesty here, it really is only a little bit bigger and a little bit brighter. The same is true of the planets, we really are talking a 2 or 3 mm difference in resolution in the view of say Jupiter in a 12 inch Dobsonian compared to that of a 4 inch refractor.

I wonder why observers always chooses M31 as a benchmark for what can be seen. Let's be honest even images don't show much more than an oval glow brightening in the centre.

The dust lanes can be seen from dark skies with any modest scope.

Try looking at a bright globular cluster with a big scope.:) nothing faint or fuzzy there.

Regards Steve

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How long have you had your scope and many times have you used it ?

Words of wisdom there John.

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I'm off to my local club on the 14th April before I go and buy a scope.

Very sould advice, I already know the night sky as I study a lot of books and also have a GSCE in Astronomy.

I have narrowed my choice down to 4 set-ups :)

Skywatcher 150PDS

Skywatcher 200P

Skywatcher Skyliner 200P Flextube

ED80 Refractor + HEQ5 mount.

I know the club I'm going along to has an assortment of scopes and they are more than happy for me and my girlfriend to look through them.

I want to do AP but I'm not in any rush but wouldn't mind something with GoTo on it.

The Dob's tho are great value for money.

Confusing or what? :)

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Great thread.

I went through a similar period of doubt, and was genuinely feeling like I had made a mistake spending all the money I had. I was spending my observing time jumping between the same 10 objects that I had already observed a dozen times, and was feeling very bored with the experience.

After searching around for others with similar experiences, I found the Astronomical League and their urban programs for double stars and DSOs. Since finding this, and branching out into various other programs, I have got all my excitement back! Check out some of my recent observing reports where I list the cool and surprising objects that I have found.

I can't make decisions for you, but I'm not sure if you really need new equipment. Perhaps you just need a dose of excitement from finding some object you never thought you'd see? Google for different double stars (waaaaay more exciting than they sound! -- try to point your scope at gamma Andromeda to see what I mean), bright DSOs (some of the globular clusters in the Messier list might be good targets), try out the Lunar100 (not my cup of tea, but I can understand why others love it so much).

You have a great scope, and the opportunity and ability to see some objects that most people will never even know exist, never mind have the chance to look at. You will be able to see light from thousands or millions of years ago, directly observe weather on another planet, or look at the light-years wide expanding shell of gas from a star that exploded. This stuff is *cool*! :) Enjoy it!

Edited by smolloy
typo

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I wonder why observers always chooses M31 as a benchmark for what can be seen. Let's be honest even images don't show much more than an oval glow brightening in the centre.

The dust lanes can be seen from dark skies with any modest scope.

Try looking at a bright globular cluster with a big scope.:) nothing faint or fuzzy there.

Regards Steve

Astronomers sometimes remind me of the couturiers in the childrens story “The Emperors New Clothes” :) Just a general observation and pointed in no paticular direction

Edited by Caldwell 14

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Another point which Caldwell failed to mention about Betelgeuse - wait till that ****** goes BANG!!!!!! - nice observation for the DAYTIME me thinks!!!!! PAul.

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To be blunt viusual astronomy is always disapointing, endless searching fo yet another faint fuzzy smudge that looks a bit like the last one --- ie dull.

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After the flash bang wallop of the initial excitement it's time to get serious ! I suggest building your inner map of the universe so those little points and fuzzy blobs become the seriously huge objects they really are. As you look at each object find out how far away it is and how big it is, what kind of star/nebula/galaxy it is. In the end it's all about us ie. how we relate and fit in to the rest of the universe.

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I wonder why observers always chooses M31 as a benchmark for what can be seen. Let's be honest even images don't show much more than an oval glow brightening in the centre.

M31.jpg

Rubbish isn't it :) Not a great visual target but personally I think some of the images are awesome.

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Looks like an oval glow brightening in the centre. Or how would you describe it

Nice image by the way. But I am aware how it appears through a camera.

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Looks like an oval glow brightening in the centre. Or how would you describe it

Nice image by the way. But I am aware how it appears through a camera.

I would describe it as a stunningly beautiful, complex and detailed image of our nearest galaxy.

I might describe a nearby sodium streetlight in dense fog as "an oval glow brightening in the centre".

Perhaps I misinterpreted your earlier reference to "images" as being something other than "how it appears through a camera"?

Eye of the beholder and all that :)

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