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Some basic information on Observing please


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Hello all, some assistance please :)

All time ago in a galaxy far far away my wife and i spent some time in Australia, backpacking about the place, we spent many nights in the middle of nowhere gazing at the stars and systems - it was awesome! At that time my wife said that she would love to one day have a telescope and gaze at the stars.. (can you see where this is going?).

We now live in the UK on the south coast of Devon, i have done a little research and am fairly happy wit the idea of a 6" or 8" Dobsonian (most likely - Sky-Watcher Skyliner-200P Classic Parabolic Dobsonian Telescope ) but i do see this a s fairly a significant investment at just under £300 and so my first and most important question is this (and i do appreciate that it is fairly subjective) but will the expectation of my wife and her looking at the stars (unaided) in Australia be met with the use of a telescope in the UK.

Let me quantify that a little more, effectively i would like to know what we could observe with the above kit, i have read other posters and the M42, M45 are mentioned, we are not keen on motorways, but that is impressive as they are both a very long way from here... but seriously, i would expect to see the moon and various areas of it depending on the phases, Saturn, Jupiter i think we should be able to see.. would we get good detail on those? STARS.. could we see stars in any detail, galaxies? What i am really trying to quantify is - "is there always something of interest to see?" Space stations, Asteroids etc. I know this is subjective, but it there enough to see.. which leads me to my second point...

How easy the above kit to align on small objects? Is there some form of dial/grid on the tripod to align the correct directions? Do i have to buy some for of add-on to do this?

Lastly, i am keen on photography, the next step will be to maybe take some pictures using the above kit - would this be easy and in-expensive to achieve?

Thanks in advance for your feedback, for me the first point is the most important - are there lots of interesting things to see with that kit.. please keep any feedback to this in simple, i.e. M42, i am guesing this is a planet of some sort, but i do not know these things

Cheers

Al

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Most people on here are a lot more experienced than I, however M42 is one of 110 deep sky objects. M42 is the nebula (star forming region) found just below orions belt. I have a 10" dobsonian and can clearly see the green hue of the nebula as well as the newly born stars within. With regards to seeing stars, they will always look like points of light however some are multiple stars that orbit each other that can be separated with a telescope like the ones you have mentioned.

No doubt others will be able to provide more information for you :smiley:

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Forgot to mention, you can also see many distant galaxies. Don't expect to see them like you do in magazines though. To the human eye they are mostly fuzzy patches of light with some detail that can be made out when you look at them for long enough. The fact that you can actually see them in the first place though still makes them even more amazing than photos you see in magazines. Well, in my opinion anyway :)

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Hi Al

Welcome to the forum.

You are in a great place for observing, I've done a little from Dartmoor and the skies are amazing.

Put simply, there are thousands of interesting things to observe, some amazingly clear and spectacular, some faint fuzzies which are just as amazing if you know how far away they are, and what they are.

There are plenty of catalogues of deep sky objects (basically objects outside our solar system), the Messier list being the most famous, and fortunately nothing to do with motorways ;-)

This will get you started

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Messier_objects

The planets move around and change frequently, always something different to see. Jupiter changes every time you see it whether it is the positions of the moons around it or the surface detail you can, or even shadow transits over the surface.

The scope you are looking at is ideal to get started and will show you all of the above, and more, particularly from a dark site.

You will never see stars as anything other than points of light as they are too far away, but can see galaxies, open clusters, globular clusters which are big balls of hundreds of thousands of stars, plus gas and dust clouds and old exploded stars.

Get yourself a star atlas such as the Sky and Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas plus a red torch and maybe a pair if binos and get started learning the sky.

Enjoy

Stu

Edited by BigMakStutov
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Depends on what you mean by UK and South Coast of Devon.

Exeter is pretty much on the south coast, Torquay and Plymouth all qualify.

All have fairly extensive light pollution.

Being honest I doubt that the skies, more exactly the view, will match those in the middle of Australia, I have worked in South Devon and visited Australia a few times.

A scope will pick out things, but that means looking at one thing. Looking at the Pleiades through a scope is nice as is looking at M42, Orion nebula, but the panorama of the milky way is somewhat beyond any one object.

Sitting down and looking up, or lying down, and you get a view of at least 160 degrees, through a scope at 100x you get about half a degree. Quite a reduction.

Edited by ronin
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The 8" Dob is small enough that you can pack it in the car and drive away from any light pollution if it's that bad but most folk get by quite well even in cities. Neither of you will be disappointed with the performance of the scope but you almost certainly will want to add to your eyepiece collection quite early on and buy a collimating device so factor that in to your budget as well.

If you roof mount the tube I've heard they work well at spotting speed traps on the M42 but clearly that's a job for the passenger...

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To try to answer the photography question. The 200p dob is basically very good for visual observing but can also be good for taking planetary images with a web cam. Using it as a visual scope you need to know your way around the sky, and with a well aligned finderscope you will be able to find different targets. Takes done practise but you will get there.

For long exposure photography, you need a tracking mount of some sort, preferably a guided equatorial mount which is much more complicated and expensive. You are also better off with a small refractor such as the Skywatcher ED80 as these are easier to guide and more suited.

I guess if I were you I would start off with the dob, and if you have a DSLR and tripod, try taking some wide angle sky views and star trailing pictures just to get the hang of it before moving on to anything more complex.

Stu

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Hi Al welcome to the lounge, my first encounter with the stars was also in Australia, way out in the outback, the Milky Way was unbelievable, never seen it like that ever again, I would recommend doing the same as me, buy a set of bin's (binoculars) at least 10x50

this gives you a wider field of view and it's easier to learn your way around the sky. try this site http://astronomycentral.co.uk/the-night-sky-with-binoculars-tonight/. an 8" dob is a great scope but learn the sky first, bin's camera tripod and mount are a lot cheaper.

Good Luck

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Wow, what a great site and a very helpful community - thank you all so much for your feedback, it's given me a bit more confidence that my impending purchase will be a good one, and with a short drive onto the moors it sounds like there are some amazing things to see, i guess what it will really come down to is time and a good start to get us the bug of astrology. :)

Thank you all

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i guess what it will really come down to is time and a good start to get us the bug of astrology. :)

I don't think you need a telescope for astrology, maybe just some tarot cards and a crystal ball. Actually, if you do get those, can you let us know when the clouds will clear :grin:

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I have the Skyliner 200P Dob, it is a superb scope! You should be able to see loads. M42 is just mind blowing and I recently saw an Io shadow transit with the scope which was simply amazing!

If you have the room, money and time for collimation then I would recommend it!

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Al,

I would recommend a copy of "The Cambridge Star Atlas", it has star maps to help you move on to the "next" item, enables you to focus on one part of the sky and maximize what is available in that area, rather than shooting off all over the place !!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0521173639/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Alan

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I have been trailing around this site for the best couple of months trying to gain as much knowledge as possible before I commit to a scope and have bee offered a great range of info regarding Messier objects, Moon sites to view etc. Please find them attached, some of them have star charts attached to make it easier to locate etc. Might be useful?

Messier Telrad Charts.pdf

SFAStarChartsAll.pdf

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