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Comets

New to Astronomy, Could use some help

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Hey, about a week ago I got my first telescope which is a Saxon 8 inch dobsonian 200/1200. And I've only been able take it out 2 nights so far due to cloudy weather, But it is beginning to clear up and Im wondering if anyone could tell me exactly what Ill be able to see with this telescope, Dwarf planets, Planets, And messiers. Also any other advice would be appreciated

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Im in NSW australia, I do not use stellarium But I do have star chart on my mobile, Should I consider stellarium instead?

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Stellarium is a good planning tool. The widefield view is much easier to work with on a PC or Laptop. There is also a Stellarium app for Android, that costs a couple of bucks but is well worth it. If you do have an Android phone consider Mobile Observatory (about $8) or for iOS one of the Sky Safari apps, which range from free to about $50. I use Mobile Observatory, and those that use Sky Safari seem to love that too.

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Thanks, Ill check it out, Also do you have any tips for my telescope? Like what its best for viewing, I am very new to astronomy

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An 8" dob is a pretty good allround scope. Certainly some smaller scopes give better views of planets, but at most other celestial objects, they rule. For easy to find DSO's the Orion Nebula is easy to find and very bright.  47 Tucanae/NGC104 around this time of year is a great object. The Carina Nebula is a beauty but is massive so it's difficult to fit in the eyepiece. Jupiter is starting to come up around 2300hrs now, so it's worth hanging around for that. Centaurus A, a galaxy is also coming up around midnight, and might make a nice challenge for you.

Do you have access to a pair of binoculars? They can make finding targets a bit easier. If you don't, it's no biggie. I did without them for a while.

Edited by BeanerSA

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I dont have a set of good binoculars, I have a reasonable good finderscope though I also have a 10mm scope and a 25mm, Also one of my first targets was actually the orion nebula and I couldnt seem to see it through my scope

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I dont have a set of good binoculars, I have a reasonable good finderscope though I also have a 10mm scope and a 25mm, Also one of my first targets was actually the orion nebula and I couldnt seem to see it through my scope

Have you aligned your finderscope to the main scope? If not, this is best done during the day. Pick a tall tree or mobile phone tower, about half a kay away. Put in your 25mm eyepiece, and try and find the very tip of the tree or tower. Then change to the 10mm and centre the tip in your eyepiece. Then move to the finderscope, and adjust it so the crosshairs are on the tip of the tree or tower. Your finderscope is aligned!

Orion Nebula is pretty easy to find now, but make sure you try looking at it with the 25mm eyepiece first.

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Several Australian sites produce monthly sky maps and notes for what's up in the Southern Hemisphere which you can print off from your computer. These include the Melbourne Planetarium and the Sydney Observatory:

http://museumvictoria.com.au/planetarium/discoverycentre/sky-maps/

http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/category/astronomy/monthly-sky-guides/

Skymaps also produces a good two-page free monthly map and summary, download the southern edition:

http://www.skymaps.com/downloads.html

Messier compiled his list from France. Many of his objects are visible in the southern sky but not all. Patrick Moore in his Caldwell list tried to be more balanced in his coverage. There are a few lists specifically for the Southern Hemisphere, one of the most interesting is Jack Bennett’s Catalogue of Southern Comet-like Deep-sky Objects. Bennett was a South African amateur comet-hunter active in the 1960s and 70s. The list can be downloaded from the Astronomical Society of South Africa:

http://assa.saao.ac.za/sections/deep-sky/nebulae-clusters/jack-bennett-catalogue/

The society even gives a certificate for every 20 objects on the list that you observe! They also provide an analysis of interesting objects indexed by constellation.

An enjoyable introduction book is "A Walk through the Southern Sky" by Milton Heifetz and Willian Tirion (Cambridge University Press, third edition 2012)

Another book, perhaps the most important, is E. J. Hartung's Astronomical Objects for Southern Telescopes which first appeared in 1968. It was revised in 1995 by David Malin and David Frew. Unfortunately both editions are out of print - but if you see a secondhand copy GET IT, you won't be sorry!

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An enjoyable introduction book is "A Walk through the Southern Sky" by Milton Heifetz and Willian Tirion (Cambridge University Press, third edition 2012)

It is a rather good book. I have a PDF copy, and I found (and purchased) an '"as new" copy in a local second hand bookshop just last week!

Edited by BeanerSA

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Several Australian sites produce monthly sky maps and notes for what's up in the Southern Hemisphere which you can print off from your computer. These include the Melbourne Planetarium and the Sydney Observatory:

http://museumvictoria.com.au/planetarium/discoverycentre/sky-maps/

http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/category/astronomy/monthly-sky-guides/

Skymaps also produces a good two-page free monthly map and summary, download the southern edition:

http://www.skymaps.com/downloads.html

Messier compiled his list from France. Many of his objects are visible in the southern sky but not all. Patrick Moore in his Caldwell list tried to be more balanced in his coverage. There are a few lists specifically for the Southern Hemisphere, one of the most interesting is Jack Bennett’s Catalogue of Southern Comet-like Deep-sky Objects. Bennett was a South African amateur comet-hunter active in the 1960s and 70s. The list can be downloaded from the Astronomical Society of South Africa:

http://assa.saao.ac.za/sections/deep-sky/nebulae-clusters/jack-bennett-catalogue/

The society even gives a certificate for every 20 objects on the list that you observe! They also provide an analysis of interesting objects indexed by constellation.

An enjoyable introduction book is "A Walk through the Southern Sky" by Milton Heifetz and Willian Tirion (Cambridge University Press, third edition 2012)

Another book, perhaps the most important, is E. J. Hartung's Astronomical Objects for Southern Telescopes which first appeared in 1968. It was revised in 1995 by David Malin and David Frew. Unfortunately both editions are out of print - but if you see a secondhand copy GET IT, you won't be sorry!

Wow, thanks for all the information there I'll be sure to check it out

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Welcome on board Comets and congrats on your new scope :)

The 8" is a great aperture to start with which will definitely show you planets and all the Messiers available in your hemisphere. But finding them is always a bit of a learning curve lol. Go for the easy ones first - the gas giants are popular for starters and M42 is easy peasy. Google "finding M42" - learn the constellation shape - and when you get outside see if you can spot it.

Once your finder is aligned with the scope - as the guys above have said - you'll have no probs getting it in the eyepiece. It's in the "sword" asterism of Orion. For planets - get Stellarium and familiarise yourself with the current orientation of the ecliptic. Guage where that is in your sky and you'll never miss another planet. Dwarf planets are a spot harder to find, but that will come with time. Good luck :)

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Thank you very much for that info, Also I was wondering if my telescope in particular can see uranus? So far Ive only used my telescope on the moon and trying to find m42 but its become cloudy again

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Hey, Im also wonderig if someone can tell me what barlow to use for my saxon 8 inch dobsonian

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You should definitely be able to glimpse Uranus but it's tiny in the eyepiece I understand and hard to find - it's a long way away. That's one I haven't bagged yet but should be no prob with an 8" aperture (once you know where it is lol). :)

(There may be some tips in this thread - http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/261199-uranus-another-milestone/ )

Edited by brantuk

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With your telescope you will have no problem with Uranus, although as Brantuk says, it is small so you need to know where to look. It is currently low in the sky, and getting lower - so observation with a telescope is currently difficult. It should be better positioned in October and November, I think! Try with a magnification of about x150, which for your telescope would be an 8mm eyepiece.

Respecting the Barlow, some people like them and others don't. There are different qualities depending on how much you want to spend, and different options for magnification, perhaps x2 is the most usual. What eyepieces do you have, or are thinking of getting? Try to plan this around the Barlow, for example if you have a 20mm EP and a x2 Barlow, you won't need a 10mm EP etc.

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You only use the Balow if you want to "zoom in" on an object that you have found. First you use your 25mm eyepiece without then Barlow to locate an object. Then you can zoom in using your Barlow, imitating a 12,5mm eyepiece, or instead use your 10mm eyepiece.

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Okay so this morning was the first clear sky in just over a week and all 5 planets were in the sky, I could get a very crisp view of Jupiter and its moons and the same with Saturn and titan, However when I tried on venus and mars, it was just like a bright star, I made sure I was on the right object, but There so no detail at all. Do I need a barlow lens to see detail on these 2 planets?

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Venus is really only phases like you see with the moon, although you might find a moon filter cuts down on the glare and certain colour filters might bring out a bit of contrast.

Mars is quite small so the detail is hard to see. Your best bet for observing it is in May when it is at it's closest.  You will want more than the 120X your 10mm gives you but whether you want to do that by adding a barlow or buying low focal length eyepieces is up to you.

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Hello, and welcome,

A 200mm f/6 Newtonian on a Dobson-mount, and with a focal-length of 1200mm, can make use of a 2x barlow, and for those times when one might  want to ramp up the magnification.  Telescopes, eyepieces and barlows must work harder at the higher magnifications, and for best image quality; in the case of the telescope itself, the optical system must also be properly collimated.  One might be awfully tempted, however, to purchase either the cheapest or the next-to-cheapest barlow that they can find, thinking perhaps, "Since it's not an eyepiece, then most any one should do".  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Now, that doesn't mean one needs a Tele Vue, but there is a middling ground without having to resort to those of iffy-quality and thus compromised image-quality.  The concept of a barlow has acquired a tarnished reputation over the decades, and due to the ones of poorer quality; ones made of plastic, with plastic lenses even, within that Christmas gift-kit of yesteryear, for example.  These are examples of quality barlows, but they're not especially premium.  The two with chrome-plated barrels were less than half the price of a Tele Vue, whilst the all-black one was a little over half...

barlows2.jpg.8983ad5f04134fb71b828898960

 

Celestron and Meade are big name-brands in the astronomical market, and they offer decent barlows; and bad ones, too.  These are examples of their decent-quality offerings...

http://agenaastro.com/celestron-1-25-2x-omni-barlow-lens.html

http://agenaastro.com/meade-series-4000-126-1-25-2x-short-focus-barlow-lens.html

...and one of better quality... http://www.ontariotelescope.com/125-2X-Barlow-full-Multicoated_p_130.html

Andrews carries the GSO 2x barlow.  You'll need to scroll down to see it... http://www.andrewscom.com.au/optical-telescopes

It would be similar in performance to the Celestron and the Meade listed above, and the minimum to consider.  Australian astronomy vendors don't seem to have much of a selection.  I had to really dig to find that GSO.

Bintel has a selection, but still lacking...  http://www.bintel.com.au/Eyepieces-and-Barlows/Barlow-lenses/28/catmenu.aspx

Cheers!

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Just purchased my first 2x barlow lens, should have it in a few days, But In the mean time I am wondering if my Saxon 8 inch dobsonian can see the andromeda, Neptune, and Uranus. Havnt had any luck so far

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1 hour ago, Comets said:

Just purchased my first 2x barlow lens, should have it in a few days, But In the mean time I am wondering if my Saxon 8 inch dobsonian can see the andromeda, Neptune, and Uranus. Havnt had any luck so far

The Andromeda galaxy is huge. You can see it with the naked eye in a dark sky and it is big in binoculars.

Neptune and Uranus are challenging planets. I haven't seen them yet, or looked for them, but I have read that they are tiny objects and very star-like. Not small discs like the other planets. Why don't you try to look up some easier targets for a start? Like the Messier objects or other bright objects in your hemisphere.

Edited by Linda

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1 hour ago, Comets said:

Just purchased my first 2x barlow lens, should have it in a few days, But In the mean time I am wondering if my Saxon 8 inch dobsonian can see the andromeda, Neptune, and Uranus. Havnt had any luck so far

 

10 minutes ago, Linda said:

The Andromeda galaxy is huge. You can see it with the naked eye in a dark sky and it is big in binoculars.

Neptune and Uranus are challenging planets. I haven't seen them yet, or looked for them, but I have read that they are tiny objects and very star-like. Not small discs like the other planets. Why don't you try to look up some easier targets for a start? Like the Messier objects or other bright objects in your hemisphere.

The Andromeda Galaxy is pretty low on the horizon for us southern viewers. At the moment it is already below the horizon by the time sun sets, but don't worry, it will be back later in the year!

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At the moment I dont think I can actually see the andromeda, The area where its at there is a mountain. As for other messiers, I have seen the pleiades and the m42. Both very very sharp and clear, however not much color. My biggest dissapointment though is not seeing anything but bright light with mars and venus, They just look to be stars. Hoping a barlow will really increase some views

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I was observing Jupiter this early morning, and with my 6" f/5 Newtonian and a 6mm eyepiece, at 125x.  Still, Jupiter was still a bit too bright, and exhibited flaring due to the Newtonian's spider-vanes.  I went back into the house and got the variable polariser...

56b2a355b62ab_variablepolariser7.jpg.e49

The flaring disappeared, and the sight was much more pleasing and detailed.  At two points during that time, at least, Jupiter was tack-sharp, etched even, but only for a brief moment.  The camera couldn't capture the sharpness, but did capture the level of brightness...

020316h.jpg.76c8fcabc5dd7e0b700c5847edfb

It was like a little gumball in the sky.

One has the option of a dimming filter of a fixed percentage, like these...

http://www.bintel.com.au/Accessories/Filters/Bintel-ND96-0-3-Filter-1-25-/1539/productview.aspx

http://www.bintel.com.au/Accessories/Filters/Bintel-ND96-0-6-Filter-1-25-/1538/productview.aspx

http://www.bintel.com.au/Accessories/Filters/Bintel-ND96-0-9-Moon-1-25-/436/productview.aspx

Or, two of these combined to create a variable polariser, like the one illustrated above...

http://www.bintel.com.au/Accessories/Filters/Bintel-Polarising-Filter--1-25--/1596/productview.aspx

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