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Heimdall

Newbie, where to start looking?

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Hello, I'm new to stargazing and this is my first time posting on a forum so I suppose I'll start by saying a little something about myself. Since I was a kid I've always loved gazing up at the stars and been fascinated with astronomy and have wanted a telescope for years. Whilst on holiday last year in Egypt me and my girfriend went on a stargazing excursion in the Sinai desert where we got to look at the moon, sirius and Jupiter through a big scope, ever since I've wanted my own. After the solar eclipse and watching the sky at night earlier this year I started to read up on telescopes as I knew nothing about them, that's when I found SGL and lots of useful information. I'd pretty much decided on a skywatcher explorer 130p with eq2 mount as I wanted to take it camping and possibly do some photography in the future. Then started to look at the skywatcher heritage 76 as it was cheap and I could set it up on my bedroom windowsill and use it whenever, I live on the side of a mountain so I get pretty good views of the moon and sky when its not raining. Anyway I was getting ready for another holiday a few weeks ago and decided to get the heritage on the way to the airport and take it with me as I knew I would have clear skies and plenty of time. I'm very happy with it and used it several nights. I had a nice view of a full moon the first night and with the help of the 'star chart' app on my phone I found Vega, Antares, Saturn, Acrab and Dschubba. Saturn looked like a tiny dot but Antares was incredible. I spent the days sunbathing and reading up on more scopes and eyepiece's and ended buying an explorer 130p with eq2 on eBay for £50, bargain! I've set it up but haven't had time to use it properly yet which brings me to the reason for this post, where should I start to look? I'll be looking for Saturn and Jupiter but are there any cool Nebula's or clusters I should be on the lookout for? Thanks in advance, sorry if I blaberred on a bit.

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you could start a messier hunt, good way to have a plan of attack once you get aligned and scanning. you can find many referances to the Messier catalog online and can make your own speadsheet/checklist to mark off once you find them!  so far i only have andromida and a smudge of the sombrero galaxy knocks off my list only 108 to go!

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Hi and welcome to SGL - Glad that you found us and hope that you enjoy your time here. Can't offer anything by way of advice for visual..... I just try to take a pretty picture :D

Look forward to seeing you around :)

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Hi Heimdall, welcome to Midgard :)

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First a question: What did Antares look like ?

You said "Saturn looked like a tiny dot but Antares was incredible."

Antares is a nice red star but still a star, so would be a point even in a scope.

You may as well split Mizar/Alcor - the middle star in the handle of the plough.

Can you locate Vega in Lyra ?

In Lyra is M57, Ring Nebula. A quick search in google for Lyra will supply a diagram.

Better ask - which constellations do you know ?

Can you find Cassiopeia then use Cassiopeia to find the double cluster ?

If you can find Hercules then along one edge of the square is M13, use binoculars to work out which edge.

Leo is around and there is the Leo Triplet, but maybe a little on the faint side.

At the Denebola end of Leo is a cluster of galaxies.

Back to the plough, at the lower left star of the plough/pan (Phad or Pheoda) is M109, again faint but very close to the star so easier to aim scope at.

At the handle end of the plough are M101 and M51, not so easy to find and again faint.

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Hi welcome to SGL.The book 'Turn left at orion'is a good place to start :)

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The messiah hunt sounds good, I'll Defo give that a go. Cheers for the welcome. Antares looked like a bright red and gold jewel sparkling, at least I think it was Antares.

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The messiah hunt sounds good, I'll Defo give that a go. Cheers for the welcome. Antares looked like a bright red and gold jewel sparkling, at least I think it was Antares.

i may want to check that one out! hope my scope is up to it, or rather the skys

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Hi and welcome to SGL. I'm sure your SW130P will bring you many nights of pleasure. It's a cracking scope. I'm pretty sure you'll be able to see the Hercules Cluster, RIng Nebula and Orion Nebula (when it comes back around) and lots of other stuff too. I'd strongly recommend spending a little money on some good quality eyepieces. From personal experience I can highly recommend the Celestron X-Cel LX range but there are plenty of other options depending on your budget. No doubt the helpful guys and gals here will be forthcoming with their excellent advice and help with any questions you have.

Clear skies!

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Hello heimdall first thing I ever saw with a scope was Saturn through a 130p a couple of years back but it was in a better position but it was an awesome sight ☺

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Hi Heimdall and welcome to SGL, enjoy your new scope :)

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hi heimdall and welcome from south wales,you cannot go wrong with a skywatcher, do you have a barlow ? saturn should look bigger and better with one.all the best charl.

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Hi and thanks again guys :) ronin I think all those are on the messiah list so I'll do some more research and hopefully start finding some. Xtreemchaos I had a 2x Barlow with the 130 but I haven't had a chance to use it properly yet, Ive only looked at the moon briefly to check the scope was ok. Can't wait to have a proper go now!

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Hi heimdall, welcome to SGL!

Ronin had some very good points of interest for you to get started, and Slim80's post about the book - "Turn Left At Orion " shouldn't be overlooked.

Get yourself to the breacons where possible, some very good dark sites for observing are to be had there I believe, observing away from light pollution is the best tip for getting the most out of your scope, any scope really. Especially useful for those very faint Deep Space Objects.

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Hi Aldebaran, I have reread ronin's post and I think I will start on those he mentioned. I've heard of that book and I will defo be ordering it this weekend. I was driving home from a gig in builth wells last Saturday and we stopped by the beacons, there was no moon that night and at 2am it was unreal. I live within half hour of there so I will be making regular trips up there for sure :) cheers.

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Hi Heimdall and welcome - I think I'm maybe a week or two ahead of you in this journey! I've got a 130 as well and I was quickly recommended on here to get a 6mm EP to add to the 10 and 25 that came with the scope (I found an affordable 6.3mm plossl). I've only been out a few times since I got the scope in April (because of the poor weather) and just stuck with the planets and moon so far, where those 3 EPs have been more than enough for really rewarding viewing, so I wouldn't blow the budget on buying a large collection of EPs early on, at least until you get a better feel for what you want to do.

In terms of other things to look, as suggested above I'm firstly going to try for the Ring Nebula as it seems pretty straight forward, being so close to Vega and especially having read the guide to finding it in Turn Left at Orion, which includes drawings of what you should see through your EP.

Enjoy,

Stuart

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