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AndyWB

(Sort of) First Light on Heritage 130p

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So, yesterday I finally got to open the suspiciously large birthday present that's been sat in the corner of my living room for nearly a week and just before bed I noticed that I could see a couple of stars outside - so I grabbed my new Heritage 130 and ran outside. Uncooled, without the red-dot finder fitted, and with no idea if the collimation was okay, I pointed it at the stars - to see them for about a half a minute before the clouds rolled back. I've no idea what I was pointing at, but at least I'd seen that the optics worked ok.

"No problem", thought I, "I'll have a gander at the moon. I mean, it's nearly full, it's shining through the clouds - it should be easy!"

This was when I learnt that even finding the moon without a finder, while learning to move everything 'backwards', is a surprising challenge. But I got there in then end and wow - firstly, it was so crystal clear, and secondly, so bright!

This was when I learnt that if viewing the nearly full moon then a moon filter might be useful. Still, the clouds did help somewhat with that.

So I watched the moon for a while until the clouds got thicker, and tried to spot craters that I recognised. I was particularly caught by Aristarchus - so white, yet I've never really seen it before - and Grimaldi was pretty clear and visible. When the viewing got too poor I pondered the fact that even if there weren't so many other things in the heavens to observe, the moon would clearly keep me entertained for a long time.

Regarding the scope - well, it worked pretty much straight out of the box. I've since checked collimation (bang on) and I'm very impressed that I dragged it outside, set it up, and was looking through it - as a noob - in 2 minutes flat. I know the heritage 130p is supposed to be a 'tabletop' scope but, as Luke Skywatcher had mentioned in another thread, if set on the floor it's a nice height for sitting next to. I took a folding camp chair, and sat next to it. I could have done with a table or something, though, for the eyepieces.

I had read some reviewers say about the focuser being a little loose - mine seems tight, though perhaps a gritty. Seems to work well enough.

Oh, and the best bit - I discovered a little bit of park not 50 yards from my flat with no direct streetlighting and a southerly aspect! Okay, so it's still in Reading, and there'll always be a lot of light pollution - but it's a surprising convenient and dark wee cranny for quickly running out to.

Now I just have to wait for a chance to do some actual stargazing - but I'm looking forward to it! In the meantime - moon filters, and I do think a higher-power eyepiece wouldn't go amiss

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So, yesterday I finally got to open the suspiciously large birthday present that's been sat in the corner of my living room for nearly a week and just before bed I noticed that I could see a couple of stars outside - so I grabbed my new Heritage 130 and ran outside. Uncooled, without the red-dot finder fitted, and with no idea if the collimation was okay, I pointed it at the stars - to see them for about a half a minute before the clouds rolled back. I've no idea what I was pointing at, but at least I'd seen that the optics worked ok.

"No problem", thought I, "I'll have a gander at the moon. I mean, it's nearly full, it's shining through the clouds - it should be easy!"

This was when I learnt that even finding the moon without a finder, while learning to move everything 'backwards', is a surprising challenge. But I got there in then end and wow - firstly, it was so crystal clear, and secondly, so bright!

This was when I learnt that if viewing the nearly full moon then a moon filter might be useful. Still, the clouds did help somewhat with that.

So I watched the moon for a while until the clouds got thicker, and tried to spot craters that I recognised. I was particularly caught by Aristarchus - so white, yet I've never really seen it before - and Grimaldi was pretty clear and visible. When the viewing got too poor I pondered the fact that even if there weren't so many other things in the heavens to observe, the moon would clearly keep me entertained for a long time.

Regarding the scope - well, it worked pretty much straight out of the box. I've since checked collimation (bang on) and I'm very impressed that I dragged it outside, set it up, and was looking through it - as a noob - in 2 minutes flat. I know the heritage 130p is supposed to be a 'tabletop' scope but, as Luke Skywatcher had mentioned in another thread, if set on the floor it's a nice height for sitting next to. I took a folding camp chair, and sat next to it. I could have done with a table or something, though, for the eyepieces.

I had read some reviewers say about the focuser being a little loose - mine seems tight, though perhaps a gritty. Seems to work well enough.

Oh, and the best bit - I discovered a little bit of park not 50 yards from my flat with no direct streetlighting and a southerly aspect! Okay, so it's still in Reading, and there'll always be a lot of light pollution - but it's a surprising convenient and dark wee cranny for quickly running out to.

Now I just have to wait for a chance to do some actual stargazing - but I'm looking forward to it! In the meantime - moon filters, and I do think a higher-power eyepiece wouldn't go amiss

Definitely a good idea to have the finder scope on. Don't worry - I've done that too. Once, my RDF was broken, and there was a clear night. I randomly pointed my scope at the sky only to see a fuzzy patch, I still have no idea what I saw, but I know it will have been a Messier object.

If the focuser is tight, you could always oil it, I did it with normal sunflower oil and it worked a treat!

Hope you get another clear night soon :).

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Hi Naemeth, yup, I put a little bit of bike hub grease on it, and that's helped a bit with the focuser. It isn't really bad, just it isn't exactly silky either. Works well enough!

To be honest, I did decide to, um, gently hint to my girlfriend that this might be a good birthday present on the basis of your advice! Fortunately, happy so far!

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I've also tried guiding my Heritage without the finder (it broke shortly after I received the telescope) and that's no fun at all! I had to sort of attach my binos to the scope and lock on targets with it, was a mess. Fortunately the supplier sent me a new finder that's still perfectly operation able. Personally I don't think I need a moon filter, although the moon is very bright to view through the telescope it doesn't bother me. I like to watch the rim of the moon, especially when you can see shadows falling into craters, that's really cool.

I like to sit on the ground with my dobsonian (just dress warm), as long as whatever I'm looking at isn't too high in the sky and otherwise put it on a table for viewing in a upright position. It really is so light that adjusting position is super easy & comfortable.

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A very nice scope that is. And yes, the red dot finder (or any other finder for that mattare) is a must. :laugh:

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Its a good little scope and I'm sure you find lots to see with it. Moon filters are a personal thing some people use them others don't .

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If the focuser is tight, you could always oil it, I did it with normal sunflower oil and it worked a treat!

I used almond oil on mine, now it's not only got a fantastic smooth action, it smells nice too.

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another victim of the astronomy bug, well and truly bitten ! enjoy your new scope mate , hope u get some clear skies soon.kev

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Also seriously looking at this scope - would be great to hear more how you go on (hopefully soon have some stars to look at!).

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Glad you are enjoying the scope. Star-hopping with the scope without a finder of some sort is truely an art form. The focuser is a pain in the begining but soon becomes second nature.

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Proper first light:

Saw stars for the first time in weeks, so I rushed and grabbed the scope, and realised that I still hadn't aligned the red dot finder. I used Sirius to align - but I see what people mean about the dot obscuring stars (and Sirius is bright!) It was fiddly - a job best done in daylight. Still, once done, I pointed the scope a Jupiter, and there it was in the middle of the view - small, but not a star, and with 4 moons (I think - if so, Ganymede seemed a long way out!)

Now, I must confess, I may have committed the faux-pas of going out and buying more eyepieces right away - so I stuck in the 5mm BST I'd got - and wow. I could see 4 brown bands; 2 either side of the equator were obvious, 1 slightly down (so north, I think) of that was sometimes visible, and I think I glimpsed one much further up at times. No Great Red Spot, but it could've been on the far side of the planet, I think. I was surprised by how fast the planet moved across field of view - nudging is clearly a skill to learn.

Next I took a look at the Pleiades, 'cos I've always liked them, and this was my best ever view, despite them only being a smudge visually. Pretty! I was impressed by just how accurate the drawing in Turn Left At Orion was compared to what I was seeing. I had thought I'd maybe only see things that looked like the 'small scope' drawings, but, for this at least, the 'larger scope' one was bang on.

After that I thought I'd take a look at the Orion Nebula. By this point, with haze and light pollution, I could only make out the bright star at the 'tip' of Orion's sword with averted vision, and I've got to say, I was underwhelmed by the nebula. I found it easily enough, a bright-ish patch around the Trapezium, but while I hadn't expected any colour, I guess I'd imagined seeing a bit more structure. I figured that maybe this was down to light pollution - the sky in the scope was distinctly gray, rather than black - so I went in search of and found Struve 747, and Struve 745. I also took a long look at Iota Orionis and could see A, B and, with averted vision, C. I gather from TLAO that C is magnitude 10, and this was at the limit of what I could see.

Finally, I had a gander at the moon - but it was low in the sky, through haze, and nowhere near as crisp as the other night. Still, I stuck the 5mm on it out of curiosity, and I having more magnification; I look forward to different times of month when I can maybe see a bit more relief.

And at this point hunger, cold, and worsening skies drove me inside. As I went I was pondering that the Orion Nebula hadn't that impressive - or appear to cover anything like the vast space shown in TLAO - but I was relieved to find that a thread had already started on Stargazers Lounge about the poor seeing conditions.

Things learn tonight:

- Set up RDF before observing!

- If setting scope on the ground, something to kneel on while looking through RDF could be useful.

- Somewhere to store eyepiece caps might be useful. So would somewhere to store eyepieces when not in use.

- Don't leave the flight case open; dew will start to form on the inside!

- Wear walking books even if I'm only 50 yards from home; it's muddy, and they're warmer.

- BST Starguiders are a huge improvement in glass over the standard EPs.

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Good to see you had a good night of observing. If it were me, I'd go out now and align the RDF, then leave it on the scope. You don't need to align it again if you keep it there ;).

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nice update, I got my 130p today , so will spend some time tonight setting it up , I'm not sure what the chances are of me actually seeing anything with this cloud , so I may spend that time studying the book I picked up at the same time.

also got a Barlow lense , an investment for the future I kept telling myself ;)

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If it were me, I'd go out now and align the RDF, then leave it on the scope.

Yup, it's still on the scope. I was happy with the alignment in the end - it was just fiddly to do in the dark.

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Looks like you are getting on with it just fine. Better skies will improve the views dramatically. Ive made a light shroud for mine which I feel helps a lot.

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Great first 'proper' light :) can't wait to get mine - probably picking up my 130p this weekend. Can you give me some more details on the 5mm BST you got - certainly am interested in getting one myself.

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Sure. BSTs really popular here. You can get them from Alan at Sky's the Limit, who was very helpful. Given that each EP is, like, a third of the cost of the telescope, this appears to be an expensive upgrade - but I read somewhere that your eyepiece is half your optical system (which chimed in me), and there are plenty of eyepieces that are a lot more. Plus, if you ever upgrade, well, you can keep the eyepieces.

My own feeling is that it seemed far better than the eyepieces that come with the scope. It's much heavier, more substantial feeling. Optically - it just seemed to have greater depth and contrast, and it has a wider field of view too. I only noticed any aberration at the very limits of the view (and that was mostly due to my unpractised nudging putting things at the edges!) I liked the screw-up eyepieces too. Put it this way - I think I'm going to try to build up a set.

Another alternative if you want to get down to 5mm would be to get a x2 Barlow and use with the Skywatcher 10mm that comes with it. I've yet to hear anyone say something nice about it, though. Personally, I didn't think it was that bad - but it wasn't in the same league as the BST. Also, I did find that I actually used the 25mm quite a lot - for finding things. The 5mm seemed most useful on Jupiter.

Oh, and for the numbers - 5mm will give you x130 magnification, and the 10mm will give x65. The scope is 'theoretically' limited to x260, but the common opinion seems to be 150-200 is far more likely to be the practical limit. I felt that x130 was pleasing the other night - I gather with more magnification you lose detail, and the little Jupiter I saw was pleasingly detailed!

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Sure. BSTs really popular here. You can get them from Alan at Sky's the Limit, who was very helpful. Given that each EP is, like, a third of the cost of the telescope, this appears to be an expensive upgrade - but I read somewhere that your eyepiece is half your optical system (which chimed in me), and there are plenty of eyepieces that are a lot more. Plus, if you ever upgrade, well, you can keep the eyepieces.

My own feeling is that it seemed far better than the eyepieces that come with the scope. It's much heavier, more substantial feeling. Optically - it just seemed to have greater depth and contrast, and it has a wider field of view too. I only noticed any aberration at the very limits of the view (and that was mostly due to my unpractised nudging putting things at the edges!) I liked the screw-up eyepieces too. Put it this way - I think I'm going to try to build up a set.

Another alternative if you want to get down to 5mm would be to get a x2 Barlow and use with the Skywatcher 10mm that comes with it. I've yet to hear anyone say something nice about it, though. Personally, I didn't think it was that bad - but it wasn't in the same league as the BST. Also, I did find that I actually used the 25mm quite a lot - for finding things. The 5mm seemed most useful on Jupiter.

Oh, and for the numbers - 5mm will give you x130 magnification, and the 10mm will give x65. The scope is 'theoretically' limited to x260, but the common opinion seems to be 150-200 is far more likely to be the practical limit. I felt that x130 was pleasing the other night - I gather with more magnification you lose detail, and the little Jupiter I saw was pleasingly detailed!

Thanks Andy - much appreciate the pointers. Lots to learn!

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Me too! Just follow the forum for a couple of months and you'll be fine - the same questions come up quite a lot. I'd a lot of mine answered by other people asking the same thing...

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