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Getting the best out of Skywatcher 100P (newb Q)


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Santa is bringing our eldest (9yo) a Skywatcher Heritage 100P for Christmas - as a starter scope I am sure we will have fun but we have never used anything like this before

I am wondering what other bits and pieces will be worth having to make it really enjoyable to use for the whole family

The local library has supplied "Turn left at Orion" and some other great/pretty books. I have got a good red torch already. We also have Cartes du Ciel on the computer (alas Stellarium and Celstia wont run, even though it is a nearly new laptop). I have a really solid Medium Format tripod too, just in case

A moon filter seems a "must have" but do I get a cheapy off ebay or pay £30 for a twin polarizer from FLO?

And what else?

(And maybe what next? A better quality eye piece or Barlow maybe?)

thanks folks

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...

 A moon filter seems a "must have" but do I get a cheapy off ebay or pay £30 for a twin polarizer from FLO?

And what else?

(And maybe what next? A better quality eye piece or Barlow maybe?)

thanks folks

Is there a particular reason you were thinking a moon filter?

I think my advice would be to get used to the scope, and learn your way around the skies (TLAO seems to be highly recommended there!)... then you'll have a better idea of what it is you want to look at more, and what it is you'll need next.

I think the only 'must have' is some collimating device, for when that needs doing.

And most of all enjoy the exploration of the skies together :)

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The scope is fast, it is f/4 and that can mean choices are limited.

At some time it will need collimatiing, that really is going to be a job for you not your son. So budget for a collimator, not immediate but eventually - read up on it before as well. Helps to have some idea of whatto do and what it is you are doing.

Eyepieces, at f/4 eyepieces struggle. However buying eyepieces that can handle f/4 means in general ones that match or exceed the cost of the scope.

For cost plossls are the obvious, check out GSO/Revelation and perhaps Vixen. All have a good reputation however as said f/4 is pushing their general capabilities.

There are BST Starguiders that are reported OK at f/5 and faster, but I have not really read of details faster then f/5 simply as most scopes sort of stop there, seem to recall they are good at f/4.7 and maybe f/4.5. If you went for one then the 8mm is a good general choice. Nice looking eyepieces as well. £47 at http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Skys-the-Limit-Astro-and-Optical

Not sure about a moon filter, I don't have any filters and so far have not fried my brain, others may disagree. Actually I know quite a lot who would disagree.

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thanks for the quick reply Aronnax

I figured a moon filter would be useful as we will be away to the coast after Christmas and it will be a half moon or bigger - too bright to observe without a filter?

The 100P has a fixed mirror (I think) so I dont know if collimation is something I need to learn about or not. Plan is to try the 100P and if we have any uncertainty drop in to FLO while we are away (as that's where we have ordered it from)

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IMO a moon filter should not be at the top of the list of "must have" accessories. I say this having been told that I would need one and went along with the advice, used it once and its sat in my eyepiece case ever since.

I would suggest you hold off buying anything until you have spent some time with your scope.

Good luck and let us know how you all get on.

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thanks for the quick reply Aronnax ...

No problem ;)

I figured a moon filter would be useful as we will be away to the coast after Christmas and it will be a half moon or bigger - too bright to observe without a filter ...

It may well be bright, but not too bright to observe. They do have their place I'm sure, but they certainly wouldn't be top of my list of priorities. I have an 8" scope, and don't feel the need for a moon filter at the moment, even with all that extra light being gathered! Maybe at full moon, but that's not a good time to be looking at features on the moon anyway...

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Hi, Little Skink. I'm going to level with you - and I will probably open myself to some brickbats but I'm high 'cos I've seen the sun today and the sky looks clear for now with a waxing gibbous moon and I don't care.

This forum has some seriously experienced people who know an awful lot ... But sometimes they're so into it they've forgotten what it was like to know nothing.

The simple fact is, you're going to love it. All of it. You have the scope and all you need to add is a clear sky. If the moon is visible you will blow away any nine-year-old! For about five minutes, tops. Now a FORTY-nine-year-old might keep going for longer than that.

My grandsons, eight and six years, look through my scope(s) and say 'cool'. And go away. I call them back and say 'look at Tycho' (Google it if you don't know), and they look, they say 'cool' and go away to tussle/argue/play on the iPad, whatever.

I feel let down; that I haven't managed to get across to them what they're seeing.

But then I hear them saying to their pals 'my Grandad showed us Tycho last night and we cruised the terminator'.

It's then I know that it was all worthwhile.

If you can, take my word, all you need is the scope you have, a clear sky and the chance to share all that. The moon will not be too bright but, if you're lucky, the sky may be too big.

Enjoy. Have fun. Oh, and don't you dare not tell us how it went ...!

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you shouldnt need a collimating device as the primary mirror is glued in place and is not adjustable. The secondary is adjustable with three grub screws but my own 100p was fine when i recieved it and it hasnt needed altering since.

My advice is leave well alone

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