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First couple of times out with scope - couple of questions

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Hi all

So finally I managed to get a working telescope delivered on 22nd January and since then through a combination of bad weather, clouds (I live between Wigan and Bolton which is perpetually cloudy) and illness I've only been able to get out with it this week. I've been in to my back garden a couple of times and one night got some great views of the moon then last night, without the moon's brightness I was able to do a bit more in depth viewing than I did the night when I just pointed at the moon. I managed to get Jupiter and four (I think) moons in view using the 10mm lens provided with the scope (I have a Skywatcher Heritage Dobsonian 130p). I had it in view for about 20 minutes and managed to make out some stripes which was really great for me.

My garden is overlooked by other houses which affects me in a couple of ways, obviously there is the light pollution issue, but also it restricts the amount of sky that I can actually see. So my first question is, is there anyone in the Wigan/Bolton area that can recommend any dark sites nearby, or any places where viewing would be better/darker than my humble back garden?

Also, I have this little glass table that I use to sit my laptop on in my lounge, which is what I placed the scope on in the back garden, however at higher magnification, it's really shaky. Do people with similar scopes just sit them on the ground? Or have bases they use or something like that? Not actually tried it on the floor yet, but it seems too small to actually use off the floor surely?

Anyway here's a couple of pictures I took of the moon on the first night. I tried to get something of Jupiter last night but couldn't. The pictures were taken with an iPhone just lining it up to the lens and they don't really do the clarity of detail that I was getting justice. I could make out real detail of the craters on the surface!



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Warrington here, not many dark sites around that I know of without going into Wales. There is a Bolton astronomy club that posts on the meets section, so maybe they are worth a shout? 

Clouds have been horrible lately, but hopefully they will break soon!

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Thanks for the replies everyone some really good information. I did think about Rivington, is it ok? 

The Bolton Astro Society is quite close to me but I had a look on their website and it didn't really have much information about nights / places to go, not averse to joining the society though. 

Regarding Todmorden, I think that's a trip for me at a weekend it's about 33 miles away. Possibly this coming Saturday, what is it like on a Saturday night? Busy?

Great tip with the upturned bucket happy-kat thank you. 

I notice you have the heritage 130p Johnny, do you set up on the floor?

Thanks again everyone, much appreciated.

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Hi ltd. I used to have it. I'm using a heritage 100p now as I can easily mount it to my horizon tripod. The heritage 130p is a great scope though. The only drawback for me was not being able to Mount it to my satisfaction. I'm sure you will have many hours of fun with it though.

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