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What do you recommend observing for a beginner


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I have had my Celestron 70AZ telescope less then a month now got it for my birthday,I really love it it's my first telescope sense I was a little kid,I'm not sure what I should look at first it all feels overwhelming to be onest was wondering what do you recommend looking at for a beginner like myself,Thank you in advance.?

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Why not go for the moon? It's in waning gibbous phase right now. Or some of the brighter planets. Try to catch Saturn and Mars before they sink too low on the horizon. Jupiter, Mercury and Venus are low in the west at sunset right now.

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Open Star Clusters are easy and very pleasing targets.  If you get Stellarium on your computer, you'll be able to see what's visible from your location in the directions you can aim at, then you can scan for targets or hop from guidepoints.  For reference at the telescope, you can also use a sky atlas or a printed-off star chart.

Which are open clusters? - http://astropixels.com/openclusters/openclusters.html



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Have previously said this but having a 70mm myself it seems reasonable:

Download and install Stellarium - free, set it up for your location - cannot recall how.

Start it up and press f5 to set the time to a reasonable evening time, say 21:00ish.

Press f4, the Setting window appears, in the lower right are 2 settings for Stars and DSO's, ignore star, leave it unchecked,s but set the DSO option to Mag 6, think it may default to 6, and tick the box. All the "dim" DSO's are removed. What is left you should be able to see, if your sky is reasonable. I think you might be able to see M92 which is dimmer then Mag 6 so you may find that Mag 7 is your limit, but 6 makes for "easier" ones.

There are a lot of double stars that have contrasting colours, these are interesting, a simple list is from the Deleware Asto site: http://dvaa.org/AData/ADDoubles.html

Another more difficult option are Carbon Stars. For these try the Astroleague site: https://www.astroleague.org/al/obsclubs/AlphabeticObservingClubs.html

The link is to their general observing program list.

If you really want about 200 years worth of options then: http://www.skymap.com/smp_target_lists.htm

If you have a reasonable southern horizon then get out about 21:00 to 21:30 and low in the SSW there are 3 bright objects, these are Saturn, Mars and Antares. The 2 planets will not be big (small disks) but you may as well point a scope at them now. Easy to find as 2 of the 3 are red and the other night Saturn appeared somewhat red - likely the blue had been scattered out.

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What excited me was seeing our nearest galaxy, Andromeda, through binoculars. Yes, just grey and fuzzy, but there it was. The Orion nebula looks like a 50's spaceship edge on (through bins, anyway.)

You could go through the major asterisms one by one and familiarise yourself with them. The popular ones are the Plough and Cassiopeia, Orions Belt, Castor and Pollux. You'll learn the sky that way.

Also look out for the space station, ISS, going over, and other interesting satellite phenomena e.g. Iridium flares.

And install Stellarium (free). Fantastic resource. You can look at the heavens as they were 10000 years in the past and the future.

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It would be a good idea to spend some time finding some of the main constellations with your naked eye so that you can find your way around the sky using a star map or Stellarium. Three deep sky objects that are relatively easy to find at this time of year are The Great Cluster in Hercules, The Ring Nebula in Lyra and The Double Cluster in Perseus. Just google those names and you will find lots of information about where they are and how to find them.

In a few weeks time the Orion Nebula, probably the easiest to find and most spectacular object in our skies, will be visible in the night sky throughout the winter (clouds permitting!).

Good luck :smile:


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