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Lewis90

First 'proper' night of gazing. Observing advice?

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Wow.. So what can I say.

I went out last night, and it took me about over an hour to set up my scope to Polaris? I think it was called Polar aligning. Facing north anyway. (following the manual)

I've set up my latitude. Aligned my red-dot sight. Good and bad news! lol. I experimented with all 3 of my lenses that came with my explorer 130. 25mm to start, then the 10 and then the barlow lens with both the 10 and 25.

Was amazing seeing my first star, which turned out there were about half a dozen more that I couldn't see surrounding it. I couldn't actually notice too much difference in the lens switchup, I thought the barlow gave you x 2 view of that lens? Am I expecting too much out of it?

Anyway it was all very short lived as by the time I had a very awkward setup and found the star Achird I believe, it went cloudy again.

For future viewing how do most people set up their scopes to look? Do you decide beforehand and work out all of the bearings etc. If so how?

Oh and I did download Stellarium by the way! Any tips on using that?

Apologies if I'm rambling, just had a lot of questions!

Any general tips for observing now that I'm semi aquianted with my telescope. Or any daily resources I can check to see what the best star/planet is to observe on a particular day?

Thanks for all your help!

Lewis

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I find the monthly magazeines like Sky at Night are helpful, they give you

all the information what to look for and a planisphere in the centre pages

so you can plan ahead, don't be dissapointed with you scope lenses or

barlow, the stars are a long long way so you won't see much difference

when viewing them, use the 10mm with the barlow when observing the moon

then you will see the difference, it will give you a measure of what a barlow

can achieve.

Keep practicing putting you kit up and down, and give your scope a good half

an hour to adapt to the outside temperature, that goes for your lenses too, but

don't forget to leave all caps on, just in case, all we need then is a clear night.

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I just leave my scope left up in my kitchen at the moment. Do I need to dismantle it each time?

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Just keep going, keep practising. It's a steep learning curve at first but it does get easier :smiley:

Try using your scope on the Moon - that will show you loads of detail. At the moment (early eveing, about 9ish)Saturn is close to the Moon, stellarium will show you exactly where. Big advantage of these two targets is that you can find them in semi-daylight at the moment, so you can see what you're doing!

I do try to plan observing targets before going out - gives me an idea of what I'm looking for - there's a good sketches section on here in the imaging section which will give you an idea of what you are looking for. As ronl said, the monthly magazines are useful for a star chart and targets at their best at that time.

Enjoy it and keep warm :smiley:

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My advice would be to learn the basic navigation points first. It's good to be famiiliar with the constellations and the brighter stars.

You didn't mention whether or not you owned a copy of 'Turn Left at Orion'. This book is an absolute must have. It guides you through the first season with your new scope and shows you month by month what's good, how to identify the constellation, what you'll see in a finderscope (altough you have a RDF which is not the same as it doesn't provide any magnification) and then what to expect at the eyepiece.

It teaches you the principles star hopping, which is basicially starting from something bright and obvious from naked eye and then moving using the finderscope or eyepice view to jump from star to star until you end up in the right part of the sky.

It is mostly practice but this book takes alot of the initial pain out of it. Also has alot of good informaiton about telescopes of all types and also goes into detail on the moon, jupiter and I think Saturn too. Absolute must have and will open up the entire sky to you.

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Further to that email, I wouldn't advise buying additional eyepieces or anything until you are actually unhappy with the views the provided eyepieces are providing. A 25mm, 10mm and Barlow 2x will give you a good range of magnifications at the start and it's easy to start throwing money at this hobby in the early phases and make uninformed, poor choices and potentially waste money. Get to know the telescope you have first before diving into new purchases.

And don't worry about asking as many questions as you want here, no question is a stupid question.

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sounds like you are doing fine to me. Keep practicing polar alignment, it will get easier.

If you want a quick observing session and know exactly what and where to point at (ie moon jupiter saturn) set your mount up as a dobsonian. It is easy and fuss free but tracking for long periods is a small pain (although i find it fun)

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Enjoy it and keep warm :smiley:

Do not underestimate the significance of this advice. In the coming months, your clothes are your best bit of kit. Other than that, just keep practicing and keep out under the stars you will become familiar with them with time.

Barry

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Some really lovely advice here, Lewis to which I can add very little. But complimenting the posts above one often finds folk posting up and expressing their frustration or disappointment. For sure, stargazing can be a tiresome road and one can suffer for it and be grieved, but I feel the worst we can do is add to this frustration and curse those things beyond our control. Cloudy, rainy, uneventful evenings will occur and they will be just that, nothing more and when we are older and perhaps a little wiser they will appear to us as a singular, non-descript event, yet shining from them like a host of gleaming stars will be those evenings where everything just seemed perfect and the universe at last could murmur to us its secrets. If you don't succeed one night, no worries. Don't be down hearted, you've probably already discovered something new about yourself, or perhaps your equipment, or the sky itself. And those stars will be back another night.

Good luck, and clear skies to you :smiley:

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With regard to lenses and magnification, stars will always appear as points of light, so magnification doesn't make them any bigger. What it does do is increase the separation between stars, so if you're looking at a close double star you can separate the different components. Magnification only makes a difference on objects that aren't effectively a point source - planets, clusters, nebulae.

In terms of viewing, I find I plan a few items, but don't tie myself to those - if I'm out, and something grabs me, or I'm just browsing around, I take a look. I think that just using the red-dot finder and pointing in the right area will be easier than trying to use bearings at all.

+1 for the advice on warm clothes!

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