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Nick Steele

Hello everyone

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Hi everyone :grin:

I could think for hours about what to write in this post, but never reach a proper decision, so I'll just jump right in.

Astronomy has always fascinated me. When I was about 12, my dad took me to a local observatory and we looked at saturn. I was very impressed.

I went to see the eclipse in Cornwall in 1999, I think. I had a small refractor when I was much younger, and utterly failed to resolve jupiter as anything other than a bright blob :grin:

A few nights ago, when we had a break in the cloud, I mounted my 60mm spotting scope up on a rickety old tripod and had a look at the moon. More specifically, at the terminator - What I could see of it anyway, the moon was almost full.

This £20 ALDI special offer scope showed brilliant detail - I counted 4 big crators with prominent ejecta, the seas were clearly visible, I could see what looked like an impact basin and best of all, on the terminator, I could see the lunar daylight gradually illuminating the wall of a crater.

After about 20 minutes and a few adjustments, I noticed a pinprick of light in the middle of this crater, which I thought would be a mountain in the centre.

So, I've been bitten, once more, by the astronomy bug :grin:

I hope you won't mind me asking loooads of questions.

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Hiya and welcome Nick

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Hi Nick , welcome to the group, sounds like you had a really good view of h moon. Ask your questions, there are many on here who will give you the advice you need.

John

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Hi Nick , welcome to the group, sounds like you had a really good view of h moon. Ask your questions, there are many on here who will give you the advice you need.

John

First up then:

This telescope has good reviews. Is it any good for a new user?

For reference, I'd like to resolve planets out as far as Saturn, messier objects, galaxies, nebulae and the like, features on the moon and star clusters, like the one in Taurus.

I understand there's a special kind of lens you can get that increases the magnification?

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Hi Nick, welcome to SGL :)

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First up then:

This telescope has good reviews. Is it any good for a new user?

For reference, I'd like to resolve planets out as far as Saturn, messier objects, galaxies, nebulae and the like, features on the moon and star clusters, like the one in Taurus.

I understand there's a special kind of lens you can get that increases the magnification?

Hi Nick, and welcome to the SGL. The scope you highlighted is a decent starter scope. I bought my first scope over 20 years ago and it was something similar. It served me very well until my budget enabled me to purchase a bigger and better telescope.

However, please allow me to offer up alternative suggestions. The scope you have linked to is mounted on a German Equatorial Mount, which when correctly polar aligned will allow you to track an object across the sky, using only one axis of motion. Which is useful. However, you money is going towards not only the optics in the scope, but also a reasonably well engineered mount. A good suggestion, if your budget will allow, is this http://www.firstligh...lorer-130p.html .The scope is 1" larger in diameter which will allow you resolve finer details on the planets and moon, and make deep sky objects brighter (as it collects more light). The mounting is very simple and is known as a Dobsonian. While it would require you to move the scope in 2 axis of motion to track an object (not at all hard), it is a very simple mount which means more of your money is going towards the optics, which is never a bad thing. The Dobsonian mount is purely visual use only, rather than photography (though if you are considering going down the astro-photography route I suggest you purchase a book called "Making Every Photon Count" first).

Your second question about the special kind of lens that increases magnification is something called a "Barlow" lens. It uses some extra lenses to effectively increase the focal length of your telescope which will increase the magnification you achieve with any particular eyepiece. For example, the telescope you linked to has a focal length of 900mm (f/6.92). It comes with 4 eyepieces. The longest focal length eyepiece it has is 25mm. To calculate the magnification, divide the focal length of the scope (900) by the focal length of the eyepiece (25) and you have your magnification. In this case 36x. Now if you used a 2x Barlow lens, it effectively doubles the scope focal length of 1,800mm, and now the magnification the same eyepiece would give is 72x.

I hope this helps, and I would suggest you post a question in the "Getting Started Equipment Help and Advice" section asking for more scope recommendations, as questions tend to be missed to be missed in the Welcome page. Don't forget to include a budget so the recommendations will be appropriate.

Clear skies,

Edited by DirkSteele

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Hi Nick and welcome to the forum. Had a quick google and find the 130M here cheaper as they have it on special offer so I would definitely shop around as you might find it cheaper else where. I don't disagree with Martin's points about a dobsonian alternative and would suggest this myself if it wasn't for the fact that your proposed choice has a motorised mount. To be honest at this price point there are a number of good scopes out there that could service your interests well but the mounts that come with them are not up to the job as they are flimsy and 'twitchy' in use. Having a motor provides two great advantages. The first is that it gives you one less reason not to touch the mount and hence one less reason for you to have to wait for the scope to settle back down. The second (...and most important) is that it allows you the time to fine focus, especially at high power where a planet for example will be moving quickly across the field of view and will provide you time to step back from the scope to check your maps/books etc when you are trying to locate an object. Remember that the view shown through the eyepieces will be inverted and back to front to that which you can normally see with your eye. If you are sharing your view with others it can also help maintain the view for all to enjoy, nothing quite like somebody losing the object that took you ages to find! :grin: :grin: At the end of the day, the motor will come out of a budget that ultimately should be dedicated wholly to the scope and the dobsonian design does offer the best value for money. Having said that, a tracking motor is a nice luxury that is affordable and certainly provides extra 'comfort' when you're first starting out. Food for thought.

Clear skies and enjoy the forum

James

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