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UKAndy
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Hi,

My name is Andy and I live in Liverpool in the UK.

I've been doing (very!) amateur astronomy from my back garden for a couple of years (Despite blocked views with trees and houses and fairly bad light pollution!)

I started with just trying to work out constellations with the naked eye and then moved on to using some 15x50 binoculars to some effect.

Last week I bought a Celestron 675 Reflector (I know its not anything like the best Telescope out there - but I had a heap of 'Nectar points' which meant that I got the 'scope for about £10. I had a go with it the other day and got some nice views of the Moon and a few stars - but I'm having a bit of trouble working out how to use the Equatorial mount to good effect. I'm also thinking of buying a few Plossl eyepieces and a filter to dampen out the light pollution.

Now that I've finally gone and bought a telescope - I thought it was time I registered and hopefully got involved with a forum on the subject!

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Thanks very much for the welcomes! :D

I guess, then, that this might be a place to ask a first question or two..?

Firstly, I was wondering if I should hold off getting any additional plossl eyepieces until I'm familiar with using the 'scope - or would you get some straight away? if so which ones would you get and where from? Which sizes are best and what would suit my scope? (They are 1.25")

Secondly I was wondering what filters are useful and if they are worth getting?

Thirdly, I'm at a bit of a loss about how to move the scope (East to West is a doddle - loosen the screw and it whizzes around 360 degrees and the fine control is easy as well) - but up and down seems a bit of a pain (Except the fine control which is, erm, fine..) - also there is another screw which when loosened - lets the scope 'flop over' - are there any guides as to how to best use this? I'm manually moving it around by loosening stuff, then tightening it up and using fine control - is that what you're actually supposed to do?

Where also, is the best place to get a Red Torch - so I can read my books outside? I've been using a Palm with Astronomer and Sky2 on it - which is great for identifying and planning what to see and when - is that the best aid? And is the torch really needed?

What are these eyepiece to PC links like that let you see the scope through your PC?

How and where can I buy and fit motors to the equatorial mount - and will they fit mine? Would you buy one straight away or would you do it manually for now?

And finally! :) (For now!) I've looked at recommended books and I've got several which are nice - but one seems to pop up all the time "Turn left at Orion" - is this any good - and would it make a good purchase - or would you stick with the books and palm I've got? (I've also got a few astronomy programmes on the PC - including Starry Nights 6)

Oh, and one more - assuming I get a torch - I've got one of those spinny sky map thingies - and never quite sussed it out - is it worth persevering - or should I lob it in the bin?

Many thanks for any/all answers..

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Thanks very much for the welcomes! :D

I guess, then, that this might be a place to ask a first question or two..?

Firstly, I was wondering if I should hold off getting any additional plossl eyepieces until I'm familiar with using the 'scope - or would you get some straight away? if so which ones would you get and where from? Which sizes are best and what would suit my scope? (They are 1.25")

Secondly I was wondering what filters are useful and if they are worth getting?

Thirdly, I'm at a bit of a loss about how to move the scope (East to West is a doddle - loosen the screw and it whizzes around 360 degrees and the fine control is easy as well) - but up and down seems a bit of a pain (Except the fine control which is, erm, fine..) - also there is another screw which when loosened - lets the scope 'flop over' - are there any guides as to how to best use this? I'm manually moving it around by loosening stuff, then tightening it up and using fine control - is that what you're actually supposed to do?

Where also, is the best place to get a Red Torch - so I can read my books outside? I've been using a Palm with Astronomer and Sky2 on it - which is great for identifying and planning what to see and when - is that the best aid? And is the torch really needed?

What are these eyepiece to PC links like that let you see the scope through your PC?

How and where can I buy and fit motors to the equatorial mount - and will they fit mine? Would you buy one straight away or would you do it manually for now?

And finally! :) (For now!) I've looked at recommended books and I've got several which are nice - but one seems to pop up all the time "Turn left at Orion" - is this any good - and would it make a good purchase - or would you stick with the books and palm I've got? (I've also got a few astronomy programmes on the PC - including Starry Nights 6)

Oh, and one more - assuming I get a torch - I've got one of those spinny sky map thingies - and never quite sussed it out - is it worth persevering - or should I lob it in the bin?

Many thanks for any/all answers..

Hi andy and welcome to our forums!

Okay, I'll try and answer this lot!

First, realise that any eyepieces improved over the ones supplied with your scope are bound to cost more than the scope itself. If chosen wisely, an eyepiece collection bought for this scope will see you through many scopes and many years.

To be honest, I would try out the supplied eyepieces for a few sessions and see how you get on. If you want an improvement on the views you get (you most likely will!) then you should consider purchasing more

A set such as this should serve you very well as it covers every length you need.

filters can wait a bit, but the most worthwhile filters seem to be these two: neodymium and UHC-S. A moon filter might also be useful to reduce the light coming from the moon as it can be very dazzling! Remember if you consider the above eyepiece set, moon filters will be included.

Manouvering the scope and getting used to the mount takes lots of practice. Get into a kind of pattern. Loosen one axis move it near your target, and re-tighten. Then do the other. Repeat as necessary, then use the slow-motion knobs to fine tune and get your target in the view. I clearly remember the best thrill I got out of astronomy at the beginning was simply seeing something in the eyepiece that I'd been trying and trying to locate. It makes the whole getting used to the mount so worthwhile

I think the other screw you refer to is your polar axis, which should be set to your latitude and left locked. This aligns your mount with the Pole star, polaris and makes tracking easier. This will take more than a paragraph to explain and isn't essential to sort out for the time being.

here's some ones to consider. This one has also been well regarded. You could also get any cheapy torch and paint it with red nail varnish or cover it with red tape. EDIT: Sorry - yes, a torch is needed! Checking you've got the right eyepiece, checking your charts, looking for bits and bobs you accidentally dropped. All sorts of things you might need light for. A red torch will preserve your night vision, and if you can make it bright white as well, you can check you didn't leave anything behind at the end of the session.

Don't know about these I'm afraid...

Depends what mount you've got. My guess is it's an EQ1 which can be motorised with this. To be honest, upgrading the whole mount (~£150) might be a better idea... In the meantime my personal suggestion would be to press on with the mount manually. Practice keeping an object in view using the slow motion knobs. This will be excellent training for a future mount with motors. For visual observing, motors help you most when you're using high magnification (e.g. for planets). I've always got on fine without them. It's when it comes to astrophotography that motors become essential.

I like Turn Left at Orion for help with observing, but there are loads out there and everyone has their preferences. Patrick Moore's books are held in very high esteem.

I've got one, but don't use it that often actually. Once you've set it to your time of day and year, it should show you what's above your horizon. This can really help in locating objects, but only when you know where they arein relation to nearby stars. Starry Nights is very good for this. As for learning how to use it. Find polaris. Wherever you are, this will be towards north. Knowing where N is should help you identify the constellations. There's usually an altitude scale, so you know how high in the sky your object is, and the cardinal points on the map should show you which way to face. Hold the map in the direction you're looking and compare the shapes.

I hope that helps you out a bit

Andrew

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