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Chair for gazing


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Good evening fellow gazers.

I've just taken delivery of my new scope. It's a Sky-Watcher 200p Dob. It's gorgeous and I can't wait to get started with it. I anticipate having some serious back issues unless I source a decent chair/stool for gazing and would like to ask some opinions and possibly some suggested sites in the UK where I might find one.

It's been a while since I posted as i've had a busy few months but I hope to be around more often, especially now the skies are darker earlier and i'll have more time available to do some gazing.

Thank you in advance.

Iain

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Hi, Iain, from a fellow back pain sufferer.

There are drum stools (thrones, the cooler among us call 'em!), ironing chairs and several custom observing chairs - including Skywatcher and Mey (FLO supply them). But I think you will find the most difficulty, regarding back and neck problems, stems from the finder. The straight through finder supplied with my Dob was a real pain - literally. I now use a RACI (Right Angle Correct Image) finder and have fewer problems. There are other finders - Telrad comes to mind - which will help.

You are right to address the problem, though. Observing can be cut short by clouds, dew, security light attacks, frozen fingers and a host of other things. But when your back is crocked you struggle even get the scope back in ...!!

Edited by Floater
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Ironing chairs (from Amazon) are cheap and cheerful but the seat adjustment bolt can be a little tricky to mess around with in the dark.

Mey observing chairs (from FLO) are really nice but don't fold down if you need to put it in your car to go to a dark site, very comfortable and the height adjustment works great but quite heavy and bulky to use.

I've now got a Skywatcher chair and although I haven't even used it yet it seems to be the best of the three that I've mentioned, you can buy them from a few places Google is your friend. :)

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Thanks guys.

I hadn't heard of a RACI finder and will have a good look around for one. I had a quick look through the finder last night and found it terribly uncomfortable and that was only after a few minutes. I think a RACI will become an essential addition to my ever expanding kit. 

I didn't realise how expensive those observing chairs were. I think an ironing chair will suffice for now.

Another quick question. My scope is currently stored in my conservatory which is only heated when used in the winter. It's fairly cool in the evenings. How long should I leave it outside to cool before using it?

Iain

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Last question for the evening.

I have the standard 10mm, 25mm and a Barlow lens with my Dob. Another thread on here suggest getting 5mm and 16mm eyepieces to complete my eyepiece kit. I don't want to end up buying cheap and nasty pieces, nor do I want to spend too much initially. Are there brands which you could recommend I should be looking at to ensure I can get a decent enough quality without going overboard with my budget? If the standard eyepieces which are included with my dob could be improved by spending a little now rather than later then i'm open to suggestions there too.

Thank you.

Iain

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Hi Iain,

With the Barlow you effectively have  5mm, 10mm, 12.5mm and 25mm. If you are new to astronomy take some time to get used to your scope and use the standard eyepieces supplied. Then fix your budget, and don't let any of us sway you!.  If you can join a local astro club so tat you can see what others have and what may suit you best.

Best Bang for buck are the BST starguiders along with Celestron excels, jump a notch to Baader hyperions (not every one gets on with these) and ES then Televue..

There are two good guides to eyepieces :- http://www.swindonstargazers.com/beginners/eyepieces.htmand http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/43171-eyepieces-the-very-least-you-need/?hl=%20warthogs%20%20guide%20%20to%20%20eyepieces

You can also use online resources to have a look at what objects may look like at the eyepiece. just plug your scope and eyepiece data in and away you go

http://www.12dstring.me.uk/fov.htm     (remember to click on switch to visual)

http://www.stargazing.net/naa/scopemath.htm

Edited by damnut
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I have an extremely comfortable leather dining chair with a full high back and head support. If I sit facing the seat, the back offers firm support for binocular use, however, it drives the Mrs mad that Im using the furniture in the garden? so in the end I bought a drum stool, this heavy duty one, http://www.gear4music.com/Drums-and-Percussion/Drum-Throne-Stool-by-Gear4music/8BTand of course, great value too.

The leather chair still gets used(carefull replacement hides the fact it was used?) But whatever you use, if its used often, it will become your best option.

Edited by Charic
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I have a 8 inch Dob and use an ironing chair I got from Amazon. It really does make a difference viewing in comfort. To that end I also use a RACI Finder in combination with a Rigel finder. Your comfort is more important to you starting out than new eyepieces. The supplied ones are good enough to use while you learn how to use your new scope and what your observing preferences are.

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I get lower back pain if I lean forward for too long, and sitting on a stool peering into an eyepiece isn't an option for me, so instead I use a 6' length of 2"x2" timber as a support. Holding on to it as I observe not only eases my back, it also helps my viewing as I can use it to steady my head, thus ensuring that the distance from the eyepiece to my eye remains constant. If you haven't tried this, you should......it's probably the simplest, cheapest, most useful viewing aid you'll ever buy.

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That's some fantastic advice, thanks to all of you.

I know myself well enough to admit I can be a tad impulsive and have been so in the past with my other ventures. However, astronomy has been a lifelong interest which has developed over the years and I really do want to tread softly which is why I am asking first and buying later.

I have been in touch with and have visited Peter from the Astronomy Centre in Todmorden which isn't too far. I intend to visit much more over the coming months. Peter has offered to help me set up my scope and offer advice. On top of that,I get to see his awesome observatory again which is never a bad thing.

It's my birthday next week and my wife says i'm a pain to buy for. This year, I think I may have a few options for her to consider for my present!

KenG I like your idea of using the wood for support. I sell walking sticks at my shop and have a couple of old wooden ones which i'm sure could be fashioned into something comfortable to hold onto. Top tip that my friend, thank you.

Iain

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Ironing chairs (from Amazon) are cheap and cheerful but the seat adjustment bolt can be a little tricky to mess around with in the dark.

Mey observing chairs (from FLO) are really nice but don't fold down if you need to put it in your car to go to a dark site, very comfortable and the height adjustment works great but quite heavy and bulky to use.

I've now got a Skywatcher chair and although I haven't even used it yet it seems to be the best of the three that I've mentioned, you can buy them from a few places Google is your friend. :)

I use a modified ironing chair.  The design I use originally had a single bolt holding the seat to a central shaft. I replaced this bolt with a long coach bolt with the end screw section sawn off.  Adjusting the chair height now takes but a few seconds.

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I bought a padded swivel round seated stool called a gas lift stool around £20 online... tried it out the other night and have learned I must take a towel with me as the synthetic leather seat got very dewed up... the lever on the gas strut is brilliant in that its easy to raise or lower the height, the swivel round feature is also really good... one draw back is I removed the casters / wheels and now the base is slightly higher in the centre making it wobble on hard surfaces. It doesn't fold away either, but there's plenty of room in my car when I go out :-) so it'll be coming with me again on the next outing. 

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