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Jusr ordered my first scope, now what?

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I've ordered a skywatcher 190mn and eq6 goto mount which i collect in a few days. It comes with a 10mm and 25mm plossl. I have the usual recommended books which i'm wading through and have downloaded the manual for the mount.

I'm wondering where i should start. This weekend i intend looking at the moon and whatever planets i can see on google sky and have a general peer about.

I'm very much a noob at the 'wonderment' stage. I'll learn to use the goto and polar alignment bit when i can.

Any advice welcome.


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Generally, the purchase of a new telescope heralds the collapse of the fine weather and a few months of cloud/rain!

Seriously though... I would think doing a polar alignment and then trying to find any targets you like would be a good step.

Start with bright stars that you should be able to see....i.e. above the horizon and not obscured by trees/houses.

Once you can find a given target, you can then branch out to some more exotic objects.... otherwise it can be frustrating, not being able to find anything you want to look at!

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For the first few weeks or so, I'd be thinking about:

Buying a collimation tool like a Cheshire. Swotting up how to do collimation and when I feel I'm ready start practicing it so it becomes an enjoyable part of my astro-activities.

Downloading Stellarium, setting it up and seeing what is available for the night.

Check out sketches to see what I'm looking for.

Making myself a cheap and faint red light.

Purchasing Sky and Telescope's Pocket Star Atlas.

Getting myself a log book and some pencils to jot down observing info and a few sketches. It would also include insights into what I need in the future if I feel I'd forget.

Finding a decent weather report web-page which includes stuff like astronomical seeing (in Spain I use Meteoblue which is about 95% spot on).

I'd also start making myself a comfortable pirate's eyepatch, so I don't have to be squinting at the eyepiece.

Overtime I'd also be thinking about some of these:

An ironing chair or stool to sit from in comfort to aid my viewing sessions.

A red dot finder like a Rigel or Telrad to speed up my hunting.

I'd also be actively reading everything I can about my gear on SGL. Seeing what other's have said about it, their own valuable advice and insights and taking note.

Out in the field I'd also want to be learning bit by bit the more stricking constellations, brighter stars and so on. Maybe learn a trick or two jumping between them, such as finding the plough in Ursa Major and look for Merek and Dubhe, the distance and angle between these two is one step. Now count that distance, in that direction another 5 steps and bingo, you'll be with Polaris. Now go back to the Plough and find its end star, Alkaid. Take a jump and dive from her and the next brightest star will be Arcturus, and so on. Learning the big stars and diving quickly between them makes hunting stuff easier.

Hope this helps.

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Saturn is past its best, but still worth a look if you can see it. Always worth a look, to be honest.

M13 is nice and high and worth a look, as is M57 (the Ring Nebula) if it's dark enough. That'll give you some things to hunt down!

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Congratulations on your new scope. I'd not rush into buying lots of accessories but wait until you have had some experience with the scope so that your future investments are good ones for you. Bear in mind that you have selected a scope with a maksutov-newtonian design so collimation is a little different from a standard newtonian. Once achieved they tend to hold collimation better than newtonians though.

Having owned a mak-newt the one piece of advice that I'd give is to give it time to cool down properly before using high magnifications - the design is a "closed" one with quite a bit of glass in it so cool down time is vital to good performance.

Having said the above about not rushing to buy accessories, I will say that some form of dew prevention is a "must" with scopes that have a lump of glass at the top end of the tube as the mak-newt does. I used to used a 10" long dew shield with mine but heated dew bands are also effective.

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Well, for a beginner your already have a better setup then me..lol

Some important bits:

Balancing and leveling your scope

With Synscan its also critical that you know your exact GPS /timezone data

Learning polar alignment is critical

Learn some of the clear stars in the sky is handy

Know when you are at good focus (handy when you go into imaging ;)

Goodluck and have fun, I am sure you will :)

Edited by Michael1971
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Have a look at stellarium for your computer it is freeware and allows you to have a look at the sky and what stars ..planets..constellation that you may see from your observing place ..time can be advanced on the program to help time your viewing of objects.....Davy

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Start with the Moon. It will soon be full and the only thing that you can see 'properly' - a Moon filter will probably be very useful. Use Stellarium. Don't worry about collimation and take the simplest possible approach to alignment to start with. Get your location details, remember that Daylight Saving is in operation. You might just be able to see Saturn, but it is low in the sky and a lot will be depend on how clear your western horizon is. And take your time. The weather is so warm that you won't have to worry about getting cold. But midges might be a problem.

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