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dickwoodgate

Jupiter Jupiter Moon Jupiter Moon

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Hi I'm a beginner. I've bought a lovely Skywatcher 150P Newt. which I have on an EQ5. I've got great clear skies in rural Kent but I don't always have that much time for my new hobby. So far I've observed the moon which was wonderful to see for the first time and had 3 sightings of Jupiter-also fantastic to see the bands and the moons. My problem is that there never seems to be anything else obvious for me to train the scope on. I know I'm not even beginning to explore the possibilities with it so would like some advice on how to unlock the other objects out there. Would an app (for android), a website or a book help me perhaps know when is a good time to schedule my observing? I have Planets app but that's only good on the night. Suggestions warmly received. Thanks!

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Hi I'm a beginner. I've bought a lovely Skywatcher 150P Newt. which I have on an EQ5. I've got great clear skies in rural Kent but I don't always have that much time for my new hobby. So far I've observed the moon which was wonderful to see for the first time and had 3 sightings of Jupiter-also fantastic to see the bands and the moons. My problem is that there never seems to be anything else obvious for me to train the scope on. I know I'm not even beginning to explore the possibilities with it so would like some advice on how to unlock the other objects out there. Would an app (for android), a website or a book help me perhaps know when is a good time to schedule my observing? I have Planets app but that's only good on the night. Suggestions warmly received. Thanks!

As a beginner myself - I recommend pointing your telescope at the Orion Contellation. It's very easy to find, and relatively easy to navigate - with lots of rewarding sights like the M42 Nebula. Also, apps for Android can be helpful too - they might help you locate the contellation, and since Orion is really distinctive, once you know what to look for - you'll find it in seconds anytime you look up.

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Get a copy of "Turn Left at Orion". That will give loads of tips. Some obvious targets are: The Orion Nebula (M42/M43 easy to find below the belt), The Pleiades (M45) (naked eye). Also get a copy of Stellarium (free), that can show you what is visible up there.

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Hi, and a warm welcome to SGL! First let me say that that is a very competent scope you have there (I have the same, and now use it for astrophotography). As has already been said "Turn Left at Orion" is a great introduction on how to find a wide variety of objects by star hopping. Another widely used tool is "Stellarium" which not only shows what is available to see in the night sky, but can also be customised to your location and your scope - giving an idea of how objects will look through your eyepiece. . This is also a great tool for planning an evenings viewing as there are various time lapse sequences that can be used. One further advantage f this si that it is free! (Downloadable here: http://stellarium.org/en_GB). One last point is that if you have the time, and there is one local, a visit to a astronomy club or society will quickly pay off in gaining confidence in using your scope.

Hope that helps.

Martin

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I can second Turn Left at Orion - I have this and it has helped me so much and is easy to read and understand.

Like others have said, Orion M42 is easy to find & see at the moment.

If you have Android - I like using the following apps:-

Google Sky Map & Night Sky Tools.

Night Sky Tools is my favourite as that tells you what is up, or what is going to be up that night, but Google Sky Map is great for locating objects in the sky too.

A number of people tell me to download Stellarium which I've not had chance to get around to doing.... but the more you play, the more you learn is what I'm finding.... and I'm relatively new (6 months?)

All the best! :-)

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I'd just like to add that Stellarium is also available as an Android App for a small fee. I quite often use it to plan an evening's session when I'm at work (don't tell my boss!).

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Hi Dickwoodgate and welcome to SGL, there are two very popular well read books, one as already mentioned TL@O and there is an alternative, which is less expensive ... "Illustrated Guide To Astronomical Wonders" just over 500pp, very extensive and covers what is observable in each Constellation with the small scope user in mind, enjoy your Astronomy :)

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In addition to all the good advice above I have found this site to be an excellent resource for planning a viewing session:

http://www.univers-astronomie.fr/generateur-soiree/

It is in English, although you will have to enter your location as Royaume Uni and be very careful when entering your latitude and longtitude, not so much to be pinpoint accurate but to ensure you key in the degree symbol ° (option-shift-8 on Mac), minute ' (single quote) and second " (double quote). The rest is self explanatory. The observing session is generated specifically for your scope and eyepiece(s) and even tells you when to take a break, have a warm drink, etc.!

Have fun.

Edited by Floater
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Thank you all for your responses. I've ordered TL@O, will look at Floater's recommended site & download the apps. Stellarium doesn't work on my laptop (Dell Inspiron 1525: 32bit, Windows Vista) so I will have to look into why...? Will take a look at Orion and M42 when the weather improves here in Kent. Any tips on trying to view Mars & Venus together on Saturday night?

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Have same problem myself as a newcomer, so much to see and not sure where to start. Turn Left at Orion is brilliant. If you are setting up your scope on Polaris try splitting it as a double. Also Mizar Middle star in the Plough handle is double and an easy hop from Polaris

Also second Orion as a great starting point with doubles at both ends of the belt. All easy and I found them a great help in starting to know my way around

Good luck. If you find anything worthwhile let me know as I can do with all the help I can get. Here in France no clubs nearby so using sgl a lot to get advice on where to look

Clear skies

Stopper

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Hi I'm a beginner. I've bought a lovely Skywatcher 150P Newt. which I have on an EQ5. I've got great clear skies in rural Kent but I don't always have that much time for my new hobby. So far I've observed the moon which was wonderful to see for the first time and had 3 sightings of Jupiter-also fantastic to see the bands and the moons. My problem is that there never seems to be anything else obvious for me to train the scope on. I know I'm not even beginning to explore the possibilities with it so would like some advice on how to unlock the other objects out there. Would an app (for android), a website or a book help me perhaps know when is a good time to schedule my observing? I have Planets app but that's only good on the night. Suggestions warmly received. Thanks!

I know you don't want to hear this but I would put the telescope in the closet for a few months and buy a good pair of 10x50 binoculars and really LEARN the sky. It will make your telescope experience much more enjoyable, and infinitely easier to use your telescope. I've found ~50 DSO's with my binoculars in the last month and when I started I knew about 0. 

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Also the book NIGHT WATCH is fantastic, comes with beginner constellation charts and slightly more advanced 5.5 star charts, teaches you what to look for, and how, etc. 

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These are decent 10x50's that my wife uses that are cheap and get things done:

Celestron UpClose G2 10x50's. About $30 on Amazon.

Of course you can find much better ones for $50-100 more, but these are great to 'accentuate' your telescope. You won't throw them away either when you start using your telescope, they are the perfect compliment. 

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 Stellarium doesn't work on my laptop (Dell Inspiron 1525: 32bit, Windows Vista) so I will have to look into why...? 

You may have to install the version which uses a different graphics option (its the MESA version).

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As mentioned, some decent ~10x50's binoculars will show you some interesting places to point the scope at. 

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That is a great App Gordon, will use it next time.

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