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Rookie first session and follow up questions


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Delighted with our first session last night (and 6AM this morning!) with our first scope.  The 200P Dobsonian was impressive and my 7 year old managed to keep Jupiter in the 10mm eyepiece, switching between finder and focuser nicely.  That convinced me I've done the right thing getting the dob.

Managed to see (amongst others):

Orion Nebula

Lovejoy (no tail - needed to be somewhere darker)

Jupiter with moons and two bands

Then this morning, I got the ring in Lyra well, which I was both surprised and delighted with, and Saturn.  I couldn't see the Cassini division (it was only up about 13' at best) but the ring was clear.  I finished with a tour over the moon, which (as I expected) looked remarkably detailed.

I was a little disappointed with M31.  I guess because it is visible with the naked eye, I expected to instantly see a very galaxy-like image, but it was still just a fuzzy blob.  Again, I assume I need darker skies, if not upgraded EPs.

Looked but failed to see pin wheel and whirlpool, which were near the zenith at 6AM (bit of neckache without a right angle finder on the 200p!).  It was too light that way for much of the evening before.

All in all, delighted, even in our semi-rural location with 'medium' pollution with some cloud at intervals, and now determined to get out to the really dark locations we have on our doorstep.  It's amazing how frustrated you get with a neighbour turning a light on nearby!

Imaging is not the priority at all and I didn't want to be mucking about last night, but I do have use of a Philips PCVC840K/00 webcam which I'd like to try out with Registax.  Can anyone point me to the adapting tube I will need to connect it to the focuser please?

I let the scope stand with caps off afterwards, back inside the house, to allow condensation to disappear.  There's a small wisp of what looks like black plastic burr, maybe from one of the caps, that's got onto the primary mirror.  Is this something I will need to remove (and if so, how)?

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M31 is usually a bit disappointing, you would not actually get all of it in on the 200P and that is usually the problem.

The eye sees the full extent but the eye is selective.

The 200P sees a relatively small portion of it.

Binoculars are often the better option.

Fuzzy blob is exactly what it is and what you will see.

I would try and blow the plastic off if possible, next consider a cotten wool bud or if you have one a fine artists brush.

Eyepieces try the BST Starguiders, 8mm should be the best start, add the 25mm then one other likely 12mm.

You would not go overly wrong with collecting all 6 over some time - ignore the 3.2mm as the use that will get is minimal,(0).

Celestron X-Cels are another good option.

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I let the scope stand with caps off afterwards, back inside the house, to allow condensation to disappear.  

You will do yourself a favour if you point the scope downwards when letting the condensation dry, this will stop drips and dust sticking to the mirror.

BTW Nice report  and great to share your time with your youngster.

Good luck.

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Delighted with our first session last night (and 6AM this morning!) with our first scope.  The 200P Dobsonian was impressive and my 7 year old managed to keep Jupiter in the 10mm eyepiece, switching between finder and focuser nicely.  That convinced me I've done the right thing getting the dob.

Managed to see (amongst others):

Orion Nebula

Lovejoy (no tail - needed to be somewhere darker)

Jupiter with moons and two bands

Then this morning, I got the ring in Lyra well, which I was both surprised and delighted with, and Saturn.  I couldn't see the Cassini division (it was only up about 13' at best) but the ring was clear.  I finished with a tour over the moon, which (as I expected) looked remarkably detailed.

I was a little disappointed with M31.  I guess because it is visible with the naked eye, I expected to instantly see a very galaxy-like image, but it was still just a fuzzy blob.  Again, I assume I need darker skies, if not upgraded EPs.

Looked but failed to see pin wheel and whirlpool, which were near the zenith at 6AM (bit of neckache without a right angle finder on the 200p!).  It was too light that way for much of the evening before.

All in all, delighted, even in our semi-rural location with 'medium' pollution with some cloud at intervals, and now determined to get out to the really dark locations we have on our doorstep.  It's amazing how frustrated you get with a neighbour turning a light on nearby!

Imaging is not the priority at all and I didn't want to be mucking about last night, but I do have use of a Philips PCVC840K/00 webcam which I'd like to try out with Registax.  Can anyone point me to the adapting tube I will need to connect it to the focuser please?

I let the scope stand with caps off afterwards, back inside the house, to allow condensation to disappear.  There's a small wisp of what looks like black plastic burr, maybe from one of the caps, that's got onto the primary mirror.  Is this something I will need to remove (and if so, how)?

Great first night, well done. I had my own in December after about 30 years away.

You will do yourself a favour if you point the scope downwards when letting the condensation dry, this will stop drips and dust sticking to the mirror.

BTW Nice report  and great to share your time with your youngster.

Good luck.

Sorry to go off topic, i do that the pointing the scope downwards and then leave it. Is this the best way to store the scope or should it be horizontal?

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You will do yourself a favour if you point the scope downwards when letting the condensation dry, this will stop drips and dust sticking to the mirror.

BTW Nice report  and great to share your time with your youngster.

Good luck.

Ah, thanks.  I will do that from now on.  I assumed the condensation would be best to 'lift' off (?)

(PS ex-pat Lincolnian here!)

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Hello double star a nice report and a good Set of hits for your first night. You have a very capable scope with your 200p. As ronin suggested some up dated eyepieces will make a huge difference to your set up in due course. The BSTs star guiders from the skies the limit work really well with your system. They are not too expensive and give good eye relief. I found that after I bought and fitted my Telrad Finder , Target finding became really really easy and a joy to use. Hope you have many clear skies.

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Aw I loved using the telescope as a little kid, even if it was more of a "guided tour." It might sound dumb but it kind of gives you a sense of perspective in the solar system, you know? As opposed to the planets and such just being faraway abstract concepts. Good on ya DS!

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There's nothing quite like the joy of a Dobsonian - I've had one nearly a year and am now a convert. I feel your pain with the dark site thing - M31 in suburban London is a blurry let-down, although it is quite cool in and of itself. Transparency can yield surprises though - M32 is an easy one to pick out and a couple of times I've even managed to find M110 from the park. Best things to look at under light pollution are the planets and the moon (As you've found out) and planetary nebulae which tend to have low surface brightness. Oh, and invest in a UHC filter - a real game changer. It brings out the wispy nebulae from London and it made things visible in my ST80 I never thought possible...

DD

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I can't help but think it's funny what the consensus seems to be about M31 here. I've never had any illusions about what kind of views to expect, but Andromeda is the only thing I've ever seen and thought "that's it?"

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I can't help but think it's funny what the consensus seems to be about M31 here. I've never had any illusions about what kind of views to expect, but Andromeda is the only thing I've ever seen and thought "that's it?"

Lol....I think the same is true for a lot of us! Then it sinks in exactly *what* you are seeing and.....well, my jaw is still dropping. In very slow motion!

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Then it sinks in exactly *what* you are seeing

This mentality is partially the reason I've been so content with my $50 Celestron 60AZ, haha. Whenever I find something that I think is breathtaking enough to show my wife, I can never tell if she's humoring me or not. "Yes, honey, that fuzzy blob thing IS the Orion Nebula!"

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Out of Jupiter, Saturn et al, my wife was most impressed by...the ISS. 

She wouldn't leave the sofa for Comet Lovejoy, despite me saying it's last chance for 8000 years....it's a winter thing I reckon, too darn cold to go out!

She did like seeing Venus, from indoors tho ;)

 Whenever I find something that I think is breathtaking enough to show my wife, I can never tell if she's humoring me or not. "Yes, honey, that fuzzy blob thing IS the Orion Nebula!"

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Out of Jupiter, Saturn et al, my wife was most impressed by...the ISS.

She wouldn't leave the sofa for Comet Lovejoy, despite me saying it's last chance for 8000 years....it's a winter thing I reckon, too darn cold to go out!

She did like seeing Venus, from indoors tho ;)

My wife was blown away by Saturn! She may or may not have even said some unprintable terms at the eyepiece, haha. Lovejoy, though, took me a solid twenty minutes to find the first time. I was all proud when I found it so I showed her, saying "THIS is what I've been looking for!" and she misinterpreted it as disappointment and was like "aww, I'm sorry!"
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I can't help but think it's funny what the consensus seems to be about M31 here. I've never had any illusions about what kind of views to expect, but Andromeda is the only thing I've ever seen and thought "that's it?"

My work colleague said something similar to me when he was looking for M31 and found it a few years ago when he purchased his 'scope.

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Nice for you all to chip in, thanks.

We've been out a couple of times since but the cloud has quickly come over. It seems to get increasingly noticeable once your eyes have become adapted to the dark too.  Found quite a good location within 5 minutes to revisit.  For the moment, I'm just putting the 200p back in its box in the car.  I could do with a more permanent solution for transit.

Now considering a decent barlow vs a shorter eyepiece.  I'm sure that must be a well trodden consideration on here, but I should hopefully get to try some out in the flesh at the local astronomy group soon, no doubt the best way to see.  Seeing the Ring nebula was particularly pleasing and I think these dim fuzzies might be my favourite thing to spot, even if they don't have the colours that photos have.  Extra magnification would be nice and I will get a filter.

That black plastic burr seems to have rolled itself of the mirror now anyway, thankfully, and I'm keeping the scope tilted down inside after use.

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Double Star. Hi there. Viewing M31 from my observatory with local street lighting also gives me a small grey smudge. I was open minded as to what it should look like, and what my scope may be capable of, but never thought it would be so .........to be honest, nothing more than just a smudge, but at least that smudge is a different Galaxy, so was impressed by that feat, but the Moon just blew me away, and the Mrs had a few choice words to how spectacular the Moon looked.

But listen here, get your telescope to a dark site, and pop in the supplied 25mm eyepiece, and I guarantee you will be amazed, as the view fills the eyepiece. There it was, M31, just amazing, but I still had a problem?

That 25mm is not wide enough! Ive since invested in the Skywatcher 32mm Panaview. M31 just gets better. Truly amazing.

Low power, wide angle, and serious dark observing site, and your 200P will really impress you.

It takes planning, good weather and a car to get away to a dark site, but the effort will reward. Youll believe your using a different telescope when the conditions are right. Darker nights to you all.

Edited by Charic
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