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mrnumpty

When to upgrade a telescope or get equipent

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I am new to the hobby (about 6 months in now) and have seen some really amazing things, but was really disappointed when i found M13 but it was just a smudge of light, and could not pick anything out. I have a skywatcher 130, how do i know what i can and cannot really see, i live in Worcester so there is light pollution so i will travel to malvern, which i a small town on a hill.

Should i be looking for a different scope or some equipment to enhance things.....

Cheers Chris

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You should visit a local astronomical society and see whether they have any observation session in your local area. That way you will be able to try different scopes in an area with sky condition similar to your home.

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You should visit a local astronomical society and see whether they have any observation session in your local area. That way you will be able to try different scopes in an area with sky condition similar to your home.

They dont have any meetings in the summer... well no telescope sessions. =(

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Hi

Depends when you saw M13 but if it was recently then the lighter skies will reduce the contrast needed to observe deep sky objects. Local light pollution and your scope's eyepieces and magnification will also play a part. Try again in September, visit a dark sky site in the area, possibly upgrade EPs for higher quality equivalents. It might be worth investing in a larger aperture scope (the Skywatcher Skyliner 200P is a very popular scope as an upgrade). Definitely check out your local astro clubs when they meet up again and try several scopes before taking the plunge.

HTH!

Edited by onesmallstep

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I found that increased aperture had a more noticeable effect than better eyepieces.

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Wait till the astrosoc is running again. They shut down because at northern latitudes it isn't worth the effort. They are probably right. After all, they live there! Then see what makes a good difference for you and what it's worth. It's hard to say what is worth what for another person, really. In a 20 inch Newtonian at an elevated site in perfect astronomical darkness you'd need a thick skin not to be blown away by M13...

Olly

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Concerning the question: When to upgrade a telescope or get equipent.

Research has show that the best time is any day of the week that has a vowel in the spelling of it. :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

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I can only answer this from my own experience. Scopes work best in a totally dark site on a very clear night with good transparency and adequate cool down time. So all your judgements must be made in those conditions. I had my 150P on EQ3-2 for one and a halt to two years before I felt I'd learned enough about the sky to know what I could and couldn't expect to see with my equipment.

I do read a lot and began to realise that some stuff was out of range of my setup, so that's when I decided to upgrade. I'd attained a reasonable knowledge of the sky and become proficient in using the scope and finding stuff. Some folks skip these stages but in the long run I think you'll get more out of astronomy thinking along these lines. Immediate new equipment isn't allways the best solution - tempting as it is. Hope that helps :)

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Malvern is hardly a small town on a hill, more a giant old people's home on a hill;)

I'd either head for birtsmorton or maybe the Herefordshire side of British camp to observe from

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I guess it depends what you want from astronomy?

There is no right time to upgrade and no set size to upgrade too. It's all a bit kinda, whenever you can afford/make room for it, and how big do wanna go.

For deep sky observing I would not travel to any town regardless of whether it's on a hill or not. Altitude will make very little difference compared to LP. You are far better off observing in a dark valley miles from lights than any light polluted town on a hill.

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a camera would enhance things no end, but requires a few changes to the setup. Assuming you still want to look at things, a (much) larger scope and darks skies would help the most, possibly a light pollution filter if you have LP. Lenses will just make things a little more detailed at best, you really need more photons!

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Larger aperture will help you see more and a better eyepiece will help you see better.

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visual astronomy depends on dark skies, then aperture then optical quality.

that said, with a decent aperture (I use a 16" dob) you can see stunning detail in many objects even from places near (9 miles from) Manchester. M13 and most globs are resolved to the core. galaxies and nebulae are less impressive but e.g. M42 is simply amazing.

I agree with the society visit when you can and don't rush. make a decision based on experience or take a chance and get e.g. an 8-10" dob as you cannot go wrong.

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visual astronomy depends on dark skies, then aperture then optical quality.

I think that pretty much nails it - could be an additional point 4 of course "budget" or even point 5 "wife tolerating more and bigger astro gear"

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I'm a bit late to this thread but I understand where you are and sympathise.

I live at the edge of Stevenage in North Herts and I have lots of light pollution.

I have a ED120 refractor and M13 looks like a fuzzy ball.

I used to own a 200P Newt and it did resolve some of the stars in M13. I would suggest an 8-inch Newt is the minimum you need to enjoy M13. However, the 200P would not show me many other DSO objects from my site. I had real difficulty picking up the brighter Messier galaxies, for example (51, 81, 82 etc)

I now have a Quattro 10CF and M13 is quite breath-taking, really lovely. A bigger surprise was its close neighbour, M92, beautiful. Also, the 10-inch has shown me so many other DSO objects including the very challenging M101.

So, you need aperture. I think an 8 or 10-inch dob could be a way forward, but I wouldn't rush into it. I'd look for a local star part in the autumn and go along and have a look.

Good luck,

David

Edited by davies07

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First of all i love this site.. any question is answered in a way i can understand so thank you all!! I love this

Concerning the question: When to upgrade a telescope or get equipent.

Research has show that the best time is any day of the week that has a vowel in the spelling of it. :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Not too sure that the girlfriend agrees, but this is perfectly justified in my eyes.

Loads of great advice and after pondering it for a while and a particular post

I can only answer this from my own experience. Scopes work best in a totally dark site on a very clear night with good transparency and adequate cool down time. So all your judgements must be made in those conditions. I had my 150P on EQ3-2 for one and a halt to two years before I felt I'd learned enough about the sky to know what I could and couldn't expect to see with my equipment.

I do read a lot and began to realise that some stuff was out of range of my setup, so that's when I decided to upgrade. I'd attained a reasonable knowledge of the sky and become proficient in using the scope and finding stuff. Some folks skip these stages but in the long run I think you'll get more out of astronomy thinking along these lines. Immediate new equipment isn't allways the best solution - tempting as it is. Hope that helps :)

I want to earn my new scope, so the next question how do i know 1) what i should be able to see with my scope in dark sky areas, and 2) from my back yard 2 i guess being the more important in my eyes. I see all these beautiful pictures of DSO and want to see for myself, i understand there will be no exact answers but a guiding hand would be wonderful. I will get to my local astronomy club in September, and also plan to attend a star party in autumn (not sure witch, but want to go to a big one, any advice would be great).

If anyone can help with any of the above thank you if not, still thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings.

mrnumpty

"this is possiably the most exciting thing i have ever done!"

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A word of warning: Star parties can bring on aperture fever in a serious way :D

looking through large scopes can be really bad for your wallet.

I had a 4.5" newt for many years as it was all I could afford at the time (scopes were expensive in Victorian times :)). My first upgrade was to a 10" newt :eek: wow! Is about all I can say about the difference. It was quite simply stunning the difference between the two.

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I want to earn my new scope, so the next question how do i know 1) what i should be able to see with my scope in dark sky areas, and 2) from my back yard 2 i guess being the more important in my eyes. I see all these beautiful pictures of DSO and want to see for myself, i understand there will be no exact answers but a guiding hand would be wonderful. I will get to my local astronomy club in September, and also plan to attend a star party in autumn (not sure witch, but want to go to a big one, any advice would be great).

Another word of warning, if you saw beautiful pictures of DSO and expect that's what your will see in an eyepiece, you will be very disappointed. The DSO images posted here and other places on the web are usually taken with long exposure lasting several hours. Often false colour is added in post processing especially with those taken with narrow band filter. Most DSO appears as a faint smudge and always black and white. Seeing the spiral structure in a galaxy is something special especially if you observe from an suburban site.

A word of warning: Star parties can bring on aperture fever in a serious way :D

looking through large scopes can be really bad for your wallet.

+1. I was quite happy with my C6 until I looked through a 24" dob at Kelling Heath last year, then came the shock :eek:. Eventually that lead to me adding a C925 to my inventory and I'm currently saving up for a 16" dob.

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I try NOT to look through bigger scopes. It only rubs it in. I know there is no way I can go bigger than 10" at the moment as I don't have anywhere to store a larger scope. I have looked through a few 16" and a 20" so I know what to get when the kids leave home and I have a bit more space. Actually, I am quite happy with my 250PX. For the money, it's a great scope. The only thing close to it in value for money is the 200P Skyliner.

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"plan to attend a star party in autumn (not sure witch, but want to go to a big one, any advice would be great)"

The following are all terrific star parties: Kielder Forest, Salisbury SP, Peak Star Party, SGL8 (in Herefordshire) and "the biggest" Kelling Heath Star Party.

As mentioned above - don't expect to view anything like the photos you see on the internet or in glossy mags. The eye simply can't percieve colour on distant objects so practically all dso's are black, white, and shades of grey. You will however see colour on planets, some double stars.

Light pollution is a major disturbance for stargazing. Town lights and street lights bounce off the atmosphere that you are trying to look through to see stuff and reflect back down to Earth. The result is that a lot of the deeper sky objects are just washed out. The moon is also a major pain. So star parties tend to be arranged at "new moon" times.

This site provides a light pollution map of the UK and a scale to measure what you can see:

http://www.cpre.org....ide/dark-skies/

From a small town backyard you should see the major constellations and some of the brighter dso's (Orion and M42 are good examples). M31 here will need a bit of searching but can be seen in binocs as a very faint smudge - so too the Beehive Cluster. From London these are pretty much invisible unless you really know how to line up a scope and star hop - the only naked eye objects are the brighter planets and moon - can't even see constellations unless your well shielded from the surroundng light.

At a star party all these and thousands more objects are plainly visible to the naked eye. With a scope they can be hard to pick out cos they're surrounded by so much other stuff. Star hopping and constellation knowledge play a big part - the Mily Way is plainly visible. In Scotland near Fort William I was amazed to see that I didn't recognise even constellations - the sky is literally plastered with bright objects from horizon to horizon. The only thing I recognised was the Miky Way - but in so much more detail. Hope that gives you an idea :)

Edited by brantuk

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i did not know that DSO would be in "black and white", on one hand i am a little disappointed, but that will not curb my enthusiasm to find them, but also now wants to take photos so i can see the colour... oh dear.

One step at a time me thinks.. the star parties i will attend for sure. Thinking of getting a light pollution filter too, and the sky at night magazine has a lunar filter for free when you subscribe. My mission is to see everything i can see with this scope. then when that is done move up to an 8" or 10" and look at some photography type stuff.

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Despite the black/white/grey thing - I think you will nonetheless find it an absolute addiction like most of us. I too had a similar delusion when I first started - but when you start learning about objects and how to find and look at them (all separate skills) it soon gets the grey matter working overtime. Food for thought soon turns into a lot more than deciding wether to get an indian takeaway or a KFC for supper lol :)

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