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Mr Q

Important Things a Beginner Should NOT do ?

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   Since  my other thread worked out so well, how about sharing some things beginners, as well as experienced observers, should NOT do?

   In the warmer months, when pesky flying insects are brutal, I use a spray insect repellent in a safe manner so as not to damage lens or paint surfaces. I spray a little on the back of my hand, then wipe forehead, cheeks, neck with the back of my hand so as not to spread the chemical onto surfaces that may be damaged. Since some residue will be on the spray button, I always wipe my fingers with a packaged hand towel after spraying and placing the container inside a "zip-lock" plastic bag, which is the first thing I do after arriving at the observing site. Yes, I learned this trick through experience when I found some painted surfaces as well as lens coatings ruined from the smallest amount of insect repellent :sad:

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I think the first thing beginners must not do is raise their expectations above what their equipment is capable of showing/doing, the beginners forum has many examples of initial disappointment.  :smiley:

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Point any kind of optic towards the sun, unless suitably equipped with the specialist kit needed.

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Buy a scope from argos or a department store and be sucked in by misleading marketing campaigns. For example, that maximum magnification is such a big deal and they'll exaggerate the figures, amongst other things they'll try and tell you on the packaging. 

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Don't dive in at the deep end, have a paddle in the shallow end. This is one of the few pastimes where spending a small reasonable amount will give you great results,

Nick.

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Never give up, never surrender!

...and never believe the pictures on the box :wink2:

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Agree with all the above.<br />

<br />

One thing I would add, which comes from a slightly different angle, is don't get so paralysed by indecision that you take years to get started. Stick with the major brands and the regular advice and get going. Plus, buying used from here or AB&S can save a fortune.<br />

<br />

Failing that, get some binos and start learning the sky!<br />

<br />

Stu

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Blind your sensitive, presumed dark adapted eyes by switching on the internal car light (if away) or opening the fridge door (if at home).

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      Don't just set the scope up and dive out at night to see things. Some preparation is needed  to make the first and every night after a rewarding and enjoyable experience.                    After aligning the finder scope during the daytime, try several day targets with changes in eyepieces to get the feel of aiming and seeing what different fields of view look like. Then at night, the mechanics of aiming and choosing eyepieces won't be intimidating.

     Youngsters - Don't go out at night alone until you are comfortable with the darkness. Have an older person with you the first few times out at night even in your back garden (yard). It's amazing how many youngsters AND adults are afraid of the dark :shocked:  You first have to embrace the night in order to enjoy the night sky :cool:

      Never go off to star gaze alone without telling someone (you trust) where and when you expect to return - Safety first!

      Never put one or more batteries in your pocket(s) when other things are in it that could short the cells out, causing burns or worse :shocked:

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Controversial but ....

Number one : dont buy a first telescope with an equatorial mount, they cost more money, are a hasstle to set up for a newbie, and cause all sorts of confusion as they dont move in a logical direction ie up dwn left right.

ive seen loads of folk who are new into the hobby who end up being fed up from trying to set up an equatorial mount.

number two: dont mess on with collimation until you know how to tell its misaligned and you understand what is needed to put it right. Ive seen loads of new astronomers who are fiddling with collimation within a week of getting a scope. Its really not that importamt when you first start off and most scopes are aligned well enough to use straight from the box...... well at least aligned better than it will be after you've fiddled on with it for an hour !

cheers

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Never let your wife see you in your 'warm' astro clothes plus headtorch.

ever.

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Don't forget astronomy is all about whats up there and not what you are looking through!

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Never let your wife see you in your 'warm' astro clothes plus headtorch.

ever.

My daughter bought me my head torch, I'm now sure it was just for her personal amusement!

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Blind your sensitive, presumed dark adapted eyes by switching on the internal car light (if away) or opening the fridge door (if at home).

This. The fridge light got me so many times. I usually remember to shut my eyes or turn the fridge off now, but not always.

Other things:

Don't expect flashy visuals.

Don't look near the Sun through your telescope. Leave things like daytime Venus to the experts, it only takes one error to damage your eyes.

Don't think what you see the first time you look for or at something is all you'll ever see in that scope. Conditions change and your experience grows, it may take several tries on several nights to spot a fine planetary detail or a distant galaxy.

Don't feel too down if you don't see something. Learning what you can't see with your scope under your skies is as useful as learning what you can see.

Don't assume you'll find stuff from memory. Take your charts with you.

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Don't waste clear nights, make sure you're ready for them. Don't believe weather forecasts - they're only a rough guide.

ChrisH

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Having got my first scope just after Christmas, this post is exactly what I needed to read. Was starting to get frustrated that all I can find is the moon, Jupiter and Orion's nebula. I really should study star charts and read more on beginners astronomy.

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Having got my first scope just after Christmas, this post is exactly what I needed to read. Was starting to get frustrated that all I can find is the moon, Jupiter and Orion's nebula. I really should study star charts and read more on beginners astronomy.

That's what we mean by "taking it slow" at the start - the stars and all its neighbors can wait till you are ready for them :grin:

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That's what we mean by "taking it slow" at the start - the stars and all its neighbors can wait till you are ready for them :grin:

Some good stuff above that I can relate to.  

But would add - don't forget to share but don't expect  wife/kids/mate/dog/grandpa to hang around getting cold while you try to find the illusive M4823.  Get something good to see and get used to the movement of the planet/galaxy/cluster across the field of view.  Set up so the object will come into view in a minute or 30 seconds (assuming you're not tracking), then invite your audience to have a look.   If they see something exciting they will be more open to you blowing the holiday money on that 32mm wide FoV EP or might even buy you one for christmas.   :cool:

ps:  Don't understand the fridge thing???  I just shout "wife tea" or "wife beer"  :grin:

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