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StarGazing

New to all this - Suitable family telescopes

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I'm 'borrowing' my daughters Phillips one - but it's the LUMINOUS version :grin:

I';ve oprdered my own though, a version which will have a lot more info on it (planet data on the back) so I can add some line that show what is and isn't visible from my back garden.

Oh, I so want one of those now! 

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Here's M13 when viewing through my 6" f/5 Newtonian(left), and when viewing with my Takahashi FS-102 102mm f/8(right)...

attachicon.gifM13-comparison.jpg

The globular cluster appears brighter in the Newtonian, but only slightly.  M13 glistened, sparkled even, when I viewed it live through the Takahashi, and when the photograph was taken.  But not so when I observed it through the Newtonian; no, not at all.

That's one of the advantages of refractors; the best image per inch of aperture, and beyond even in the case of a fine apochromat.

At the time I decided upon the Takahashi, there was only one other apochromat that I had considered: the Tele Vue TV102.  In the end, the fact that the TV102 exhibited more light-scattering was the deciding factor.

What accounts for the FS-102's exceptional control of light-scattering lies within its exquisite calcium-fluorite doublet, not to mention what I describe as its "delicious" multi-coatings...

attachicon.giffluorite doublet2.jpg

Said control allowed me to split Sirius A and B("The Pup") back in 2003 when the two were practically adjacent to each other.  The intense glare from Sirius A could not hide "The Pup" from the Takahashi. 

Perhaps astoundingly, around the same time, I had read that a 102mm telescope could not split the two.

That's a gorgeous Tak. 

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Hi all,

My name is Jay, thought I would join you as have a few questions to ask.

My young daughter (4 years of age) has started asking me for a telescope, initially she wanted to use it to look at people, but after I explained that this is usually frowned upon, she rather shocked me when she told me she wanted to use it to see the craters and mountains on the moon then.

I am relatively keen on space and physics and so forth, and quite like the idea of a bit of star gazing and the likes, but i'm not sure if come the cold evening, as they are setting in now, I will have the dedication to sit outside and use a telescope in my own time.

That said, as my daughter seems to have already developed a keen interest, I would like to try and encourage it and give her options and so forth.

Apologies now in advance for this, as I am sure it has been asked a million times but any recommendations of what might be a good starter point that is suitable for the family?

I think I would prefer telescope, as would appeal to me more, but also open to maybe decent binoculars, which I think may be easier for a smaller child?  I don't know what to do! :-s

Primary thing is getting a decent, stable view of the moon at the moment, and if the interest develops then I can move on beyond that to higher spec later if needs be.

Any help appreciated. :)

Also, these two freeware programs are really useful for showing you what is in the night sky, as they are both basically virtual planetariums. Stellarium will connect to your computer BIOS clock (Windows) although it can show the night sky at anytime in history or the future. Stellarium will also show the position (and phase) of the Moon and planets in a realistic looking setting. It is quite intuitive to use and is invaluable for planning observing sessions. The Celestron SkyPortal is a similar freeware app for Android platforms. 

http://www.stellarium.org/en_GB/

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.celestron.skyportal

Stellarium screenshot:

4%20nov%206am_zpsgr8fsy1f.jpg

SkyPortal screenshot:

Screenshot_2015-08-14-09-31-27_zpsfjz1jl

Edited by Mak the Night

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Yep, It is getting dark at a good time now to start looking.  Getting the garden done in 2 weeks too so getting a proper patio and stuff laid, so will make myself a really nice little obervation point somehow once that is done! lol.

Should be good fun. :)

The Heritage-100P will be great fun, and will show things that relatively few people have ever seen, and for years to come. 

The included 1.25" eyepieces are larger and much easier to look through than those that came with telescopes when I was young.  I started out, at the age of 8 or 9, with a 60mm telescope, and saw Saturn for the first time, and with the yellow eyepiece seen on the right within the following image.  Those that come with the 100P will be as those on the left; an extraordinary difference...

post-47381-0-82017100-1446221746.jpg

Telescopes that first appeared on the mass-market back in 1950s and '60s were akin to microscopes, and the eyepieces of that time reflect that; but no more.  However there are some who use eyepieces intended for microscopes with their telescopes, and to this day.

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Speaking of accessories, these are some of mine that came with various Sky-Watcher telescopes. I considered the Heritage 100-P at one time as due to a brain bleed and the ensuing partial paralysis I found it very difficult to assemble my 130mm Newtonian with its metre long OTA with only my left arm. Even more problematical was the operation of the slo mo controls on its equatorial mount. I ended up getting a 102mm Sky-Watcher Skymax which gave me more control. The Heritage 100-P has a reflex sight, two eyepieces and a Barlow included I believe.

IMG_20151030_191716_zpsujlvw8d8.jpg

The reflex sight is very easy to set-up and really useful for locating objects in the sky. The one for my Mak didn't work properly and I had to replace it with an Orion EZ which is virtually identical. You can see three adjustment knobs on the sight below. One large wheel near the sight part, one underneath the rear and the on/off LED intensity on the side with a white dot on it. Two of these knobs adjust the X and Y axes so the sight can be aligned with the scope. The X axis (side to side) wouldn't travel far enough on my broken one. It could be worth checking the sight that comes with the Heritage straight away to see if the wheels turn freely. Trying to find objects in the night sky without some form of sight is so difficult it should be an Olympic sport! Believe me, I've tried it lol.

IMG_20151030_190422_zpsaxdut2om.jpg

The 10 and 25mm Sky-Watcher MA (Modified Achromat) eyepieces included with most of their telescopes are often derided by a lot of astronomers but they aren't half as bad as many claim. The optic glass is as good as any other entry level eyepieces such as Celestron or Meade and are probably made in the same Synta factory as the Celestron EP's. Unfortunately the light plastic upper barrels can't be well internally matte painted and the resultant internal reflections can hinder viewing quality by lessening brightness or contrast. I've never really used my Sky-Watcher MA 10 and 25 but as I have three of each I plan to use them in a binoviewer I'm getting in early December until I acquire more eyepiece pairs. The 10mm will give 40x magnification with the Heritage 100 (80x combined with a 2x Barlow) and the 25mm will give a wider angle 16x magnification. To see any real detail on the Moon you will need at least 40x magnification, twice that at least to see objects such as the rings of Saturn well. So a good Barlow lens will be eminently useful.

IMG_20151030_191359_zpssjd1ddxi.jpg

Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the Sky-Watcher Barlow lens supplied with one of my scopes. Mine may just be a bad one, but I found it virtually unusable as it gave a distorted and very unclear image even with quality eyepieces.

IMG_20151030_190546_zps6ke6mkbl.jpg

It may be worth investing in a decent Barlow. Barlow lenses are normally used in conjunction with an eyepiece to double (or more) the magnification as shown below. Atypically the Sky-Watcher Barlow has two screws to hold the eyepiece in. I have several Barlows, including TeleVues, and the Sky-Watcher is the only one to feature two retaining screws.

IMG_20151030_191059_zpsura2vhtq.jpg

The Barlow is usually placed into the focuser first and the eyepiece placed into it. Don't be fooled by the appearance of a metal draw tube on this Sky-Watcher Barlow, it is only a band around an entirely plastic unit. 

This: http://www.firstlightoptics.com/celestron-eyepieces/celestron-2x-universal-125-barlow.html Celestron Barlow from FLO is quite good though and properly made. I have one myself. There is no comparison between this and the plastic Sky-Watcher Barlow. 

Edited by Mak the Night

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Thanks again all.

The 100p has been delivered from FLO this morning, so will try and get out one evening this week and give it a little test drive. :)

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Thanks again all.

The 100p has been delivered from FLO this morning, so will try and get out one evening this week and give it a little test drive. :)

Have fun and I hope you get some clear skies, it hasn't been good here for a few nights and the near future isn't looking great either.

When you have had some time with your scope tell us how you get on.

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I will do, although as you say, doesn't look too good in the coming days for it.  Looks like maybe a 2hr time window tonight from about 6-8 that I might be able to get out and have a quick look.

Will see later on if I have time to get out there, but hopefully at least have a little look. :)

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Didn't clear at all! :(

So thus far we have looked at an extreme close up of her garden swing, a twig in a tree over the back of the garden fence and our letterbox on the front door!  It's something I guess! haha.

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Didn't clear at all! :(

So thus far we have looked at an extreme close up of her garden swing, a twig in a tree over the back of the garden fence and our letterbox on the front door! It's something I guess! haha.

Ah, the Garden Swing Cluster, a tricky target! Well done for getting that one [emoji6]

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Ah, the Garden Swing Cluster, a tricky target! Well done for getting that one [emoji6]

Haha, thank you, It was quite the view I must say, the gentle rippling of the yellow plastic looked beautiful in the early morning haze! :-p

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Good to see you have a sense of humour, you need that for this hobby in our climate. :grin:

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Good to see you have a sense of humour, you need that for this hobby in our climate. :grin:

Yes, I fear that is the quickest think I will likely learn as I embark on said hobby.

Fortunately, I have also always been one not to get too affected by the cold.  Anything warmer than about 24 and I will start to sweat a bit, so not great in heat, but conversely, not too shoddy in the cold! lol.

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Didn't clear at all! :(

So thus far we have looked at an extreme close up of her garden swing, a twig in a tree over the back of the garden fence and our letterbox on the front door!  It's something I guess! haha.

Oh yeah, I should have mentioned a universal law in astronomy. It's virtually a given thing that the weather is inclement when you acquire new gear lol.

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Most telescope manufactures do a "UK variant" with holes around the bottom of a "Newt" tube to let the rain out.  Otherwise, the scope fills with rainwater and it puts the balance right off. "IdiotAccessories.com" do a rain-gauge finder to correct this which fits on a standard dovetail (£4000.00) and also offer a version of "Pouring Here Stupid" (£2500) that "auto-guided for Noah on his ark" to work with it. "Cheapo-Astronomy.com" will sell you a 3mm drill bit (£347.32) to make your own holes "to the INDI standard".

Yep - a joke (of sorts), when its cloudy SGL is all you need.

P

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