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sockgoblin

First Light : Skywatcher Skyliner 200p Dobsonian

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Friday night I used my Skywatcher Skyliner 200p dobsonian for the first time. The seeing wasn’t great , some high clouds. To give an idea of conditions I could just make out the “head” of Delphinius with naked eye.

I had set up the Skyliner ( see photo) on some small paving stones although I didn’t try to level it.

Carrying the scope out to the garden in two pieces was simple , I have added a couple of luggage straps to help. Moving the scope as an assembly can be done using the two handles to lift the assembly and I managed, during the session ,to move to another area of the lawn to view another section of sky. I have since experimented with a sack trolley which makes moving the full assembly a cinch and I will use this when I go to our local dark sky location

I have added a Right Angle Viewfinder and a Telrad to the Scope and using a 30mm EP I firstly made sure that they were all aligned, by choosing a bright star in the centre of the EP and tweaking the two finders to get their agreement.

I could see the “box” of Hercules and I have previously seen M13 and M92 with the 130p so I thought that this would be a nice comparison for the 200p.

The movement of the scope was smooth in Altitude and in Azimuth. I have added a single piece of milk bottle washer to the centre bolt and this has freed up the rotation.          

From my experience with the 130p I know where M13 and M92 are . It seems obvious now but it does help that I know what I am looking for and it’s the same viewfinder as on the 130p so I am looking for something with a degree of faintness that is easy to miss.

I aimed the scope with the Telrad judging against the top right hand start of Hercules, then located the fuzz of M13 in the viewfinder and then centralised in the 30mm EP. The movement of the 200p was smooth and I was able to locate and centralise M13 very quickly Then I swapped the 30mm for a 12mm Plossl and this is where the dobsonian became a little more difficult, the 200p has a longer focal length than the 130p and more magnification and narrower field of view therefore any twitch can send the object out of the view and sometimes its hard to find it again.  I found that I can control it better in Altitude if I” embrace the dobs’”. I am sitting next to the tube eye at the Eye piece if I need small adjustment in Alt I lay my arm along the length of the tube and allow my arm to get heavier. Not a push more a relax. Azimuth nudges at high magnification are more difficult to get with precision. I expect practice will improve matters.

M13 was lovely, more detail , bigger ,more stars resolved less fuzzy than the 130p

Finding M92 was a bit more difficult, I used the Telrad to guess approximate location and then zig zagged with the viewfinder .The viewfinder has about 5 degrees of field of view so I reckoned a submarine depth charge pattern sweeping  a line of 5 degrees to the left then dropping down to the edge of the viewfinder and then a sweep to the right.. it worked and there was M92. Again bigger , brighter and more stars resolved

I spent the next hour enjoying the views easily sweeping the scope around the sky, so many stars in such poor seeing conditions ,I am looking forward to darker skies.

So in summary I am very happy with the Skywatcher Skyliner 200p Dobsonian. I was up and running in 5 minutes, the EP height is perfect for viewing when seated ,there are more stars on show and greater magnification available. I am going to sort out some fine control for viewing under high magnification but here I am nit picking, it’s a great scope.

As a little postscript;  As mentioned I have been using the Skywatcher Heritage 130p, also a Dobsonian, for a while, and the experience in using the smaller scope has been very useful as a grounding for this bigger tube. SOme basics that are easy to take for granted ,for example I have some knowledge of the types of eyepieces to use when tracking down a target, some idea of the major constellations, use of sky maps, stellarium  and planisphere , some understanding of what to expect when looking for fuzzies etc.  I would really recommend that someone new to the hobby ,experiment with the lower cost options it certainly pays dividends when using bigger kit.  I wont however be getting rid of the 130p, its portability, great optics and wide field of view gives it a place in my shed.

IMG_20160826_190059[113891].jpg

Edited by sockgoblin
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Great first light report. I changed from a small GOTO Mak to an 8" dob last year, and can relate to your comments on how best to 'nudge'.

May I ask you about your carrying handles? Carrying the OTA outside can be tricky, and even worse carrying it back in when slippery with dew. Looking for a low cost solution that doesn't involve drilling into my lovely scope! 

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Nice first light report. You will get used to nudging the bigger scope with time.

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Just a quick note ,a First Light followup,  as Ive had another clear sky ( with a new telescope I know what are the chances of that?)

This time I used stellarium at the scope to help to visualise targets and constellations. Seeing was poor , high clouds but  with gaps around zenith.

For the very first time , I saw M57 The Ring Nebula used the 12mm Plossl and an UHC filter which added a little contrast and with averted vision could make out the ring . I just let that baby drift across the viewfinder again and again.

Then another first, M15 Global Cluster , Telrad --> Finder --> 30mm--> 12mm. Beautiful with a definite bright core and a salt and pepper sprinkling of stars around ( maybe nicer than M13)

I was running out of clear sky but with Stellariums help found NGC 6910 The Rocking Horse Cluster in Cygnus. A distinctive bright pattern in a fuzz of nebulus gas, awesome I called my teenage son out of his bed to view that one.

A quick goodbye to M13 then bed.

This scope is great.

 

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