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Ccolvin968

New to Dobs... Any advice?

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I've been observing visually since I was a very young kid. I have owned a very entry level Celestron Powerseeker 127 EQ for about 3 years now.

I recently upgraded to a Zhumell Z10 (10 Inch) Dobsonian telescope. Is everything the same except the way the scope stands and is pointed around? Or are there a few nuances of using a big (big to me) Dob? I know I'll be able to see more and do more, but are there tips and tricks to doing it? Thanks for the help!

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Not really. Just much quicker setup times. You get used to hugging your scope as you nudge it around trying to find or track your chosen target.

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You could modify the base and add setting circles combined with a wixey to help with finding stuff..

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Dobs are very simple to use, but it does take a little practice to nudge them accurately. The only problem I had was the straight through finder scope supplied with mine. I replaced it with. RACI and I also use a Rigel finder. After that life was a lot easier. Good luck and I hope you have some clear skies to enjoy your new sole.

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First thing... Keep it collimated.  Z10's are fast (f/4.7) and as such will perform their best when properly collimated... every time.

Secondly... Use the fan to let the scope become acclimated before expecting great results.  Thirty minutes minimum.

Lastly... "Feed" it good eyepieces.  At f/4.7, it's very sensitive to multi-stage, multi-lens eyepieces.  I mostly use ES 82o , or better.

Clear, Dark Skies

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Thanks everyone! Lowjiber, I only have the Celestron Eyepiece and filter kit EP's right now... Slightly embarassing, I know. I've heard good things about the Astro Tech Paradigms. I've been told they are the same as the same as BST Explorers and Orion Epic ED II's. Not sure your opinion on those. Where do you order from here in the US that you like?

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Best advice I can think of for using a 10" Dob is get a drum throne so you can sit in comfort. 
I never use my 10" Dob without one. It keeps me sitting in comfort from horizon to zenith with my scope. Happy days :)

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Not really aimed at a 10" in particular but I have found the following to be the best way to snare those subtle DSOs.

i) Get yourself a decent star map. I find Star Atlas by Sky and Telescope indispensable. It's not that expensive, it's a piece of art in itself and it is extremely useful.

ii) It might not be necessary, but if you haven't got one, upgrade to a bigger view finder. I have found that Skywatcher's 9x50mm is the business and it ought to be the right angled correct image one. It will deliver stars down to about magnitude 8, even if you're in a LP area, meaning you’ll be able to see every star plotted on the Sky Atlas and when you move amongst those stars, your left is left and your up is up.

iii) A Telrad or Rigel finder will be a big help. In non-LP areas, position the bullseye, or the other two rings in the proper place against the stars and you’re more or less done. If you're out a little you can work out where you are by the three ringed cirlces giving you varying degrees of the sky you're looking at. You can make a plastic Telrad overlay for the Star Atlas or just print one of the free Telrad maps on the net. The only negative point about the Telrad is that it can’t deliver more stars than your eyes alone can see, so if you're in an LP area, they really do speed up your finding, really do help to judge where you are, but it must be used in conjunction with the findercope.

iv) A low magnification EP is often handy for finding DSOs. The low mag EP should offer you sufficient sky to manage along with your star map and it will hopefully pick out or hint at what you're hunting. I typically use something like a 72º 14mm with the 10" for this job but you may prefer something with a tad more focal length, something around the 20mm range.

v) Sketches are often overlooked, but they ought to be viewed from time to time. NASA photos or those produced here are not going to help you. You need to check out the sketches. These are generally produced by patient observers who are trying their best to get the EP image about right, so the little drawings should give you a very good idea of what the DSO will more or less look like in your eyepiece.

vi) A decent visual astro book like Turn Left at Orion or my own favourite, The Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders might be worth your time. Both explain what are some of the more important objects worth going for in a particular season. They'll explain how you get there (more or less assuming you're in a dark area, so if not, keep your wits about you). Both will explain how you move your finderscope (non-correct image for Turn Left, correct image for the Illustrated) to star-hop to the given DSO and both will offer a little 'positive' sketch of what the thing looks like in a normal scope 4" to 8".

vii) If you can master patience you'll be a master of yourself and the night sky will be a good teacher. She'll teach patience and careful watchfulness; she'll teach industry and care and above all the night sky teaches entire trust. To gain patience and to be coincentrated, just as Steve suggests, a drummer's stool or simply ironing chair is an absolute must.

viii) There are some little tricks you can learn to find yourself about. For example, find the plough in Ursa Major and look for Merek and Dubhe, the distance and angle between these two is one step. Now count that distance, in that direction another 5 steps and bingo, you'll be with Polaris. Now go back to the Plough and find its end star, Alkaid. Take a jump and dive from her and the next brightest star will be Arcturus and from there shot to Spica, and so on. Learning the big stars and diving quickly between them makes hunting stuff easier.

ix) I have found my most used eyepieces for a 10" f5 are a widefield 20mm, 14mm, 10mm and 7mm. There's no need to be blowing loads; scan the secondhand market for two decent eyepieces and a Barlow or Powermate, and you're pretty much sorted.

x) Zen/Philosophical like attitude. Those stars and DSOs are not going anywhere quick, they won't desert you and they're not playing about. So, if you don't succeed one night, no worries. Don't be down hearted, you've probably already discovered something new about yourself, your equipment, the sky, and those stars and DSOs will be back to give you another chance tomorrow.

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I was disappointed to find that after I'd bought it   I could not see a true image through a 200p Skyliner reflector. There seems to be a simple solution to this as I read somewhere, and that is to turn your back to whatever you are viewing and look through the eypiece that way. I think you can also get an adaptor I saw on ebay.

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I was disappointed to find that after I'd bought it   I could not see a true image through a 200p Skyliner reflector. There seems to be a simple solution to this as I read somewhere, and that is to turn your back to whatever you are viewing and look through the eypiece that way. I think you can also get an adaptor I saw on ebay.

Do you mean that the image was upside down and left and right reversed ?.

If so, all newtonian scopes produce that sort of image, its completely normal.

I think the best plan is to get used to it. Any optical device to correct the image will also introduce optical issues of one sort or another plus scatter and absorb some of the precious light.

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Yes that's it and I expect I'll get used to it, but I quite like the idea of turning your back on what you are looking at through the eyepiece, in other words seeing the upside down image upside down   which makes it right way up...................if you see what I mean.

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Yes that's it and I expect I'll get used to it, but I quite like the idea of turning your back on what you are looking at through the eyepiece, in other words seeing the upside down image upside down which makes it right way up...................if you see what I mean.

I confess I've got no idea what's being talked about here. I keep imagining trying to see out of the back of my head!! :)
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Most dobs have their eyepiece position at a 45 degree angle to horizontal (or something like that) so that turns the image a bit around as well.

When I'm looking through the eyepiece of a scope I'm sort of lost in a space that does really have up, down left and right as such, in the conventional terrestrial sense anyway.

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Don't worry about the Flipped view. You get used to it really quickly.

It is worth getting a RACI Finder (right angled corrected image??). Or, just go with the Telrad if you have good sky.

+1 for finding a decent chair.

Paul

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Thanks everyone, I think I'll get used to it in time. BigSumorian, what I mean is when looking through the eyepiece which gives you the upside down image, go over and look through it from the otherside. It may come in useful now and then, for example like someone earlier said,   looking at ships on the horizon. It gets rather uncomfortable after a while of course. 

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