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KBS

Fully hooked...

32 posts in this topic

Got the best view so far of the Orion Nebula tonight and spent some time in and around Seven Sisters.

Only been doing this around week and I'm completely hooked.  Any further suggestions on good things to observe at this time of year would be gratefully received.  

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Hi there, welcome to the SGL, what kit you using?

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I got a Sky Watcher BK 1309 for Christmas from the wife.  It's all very new to me but I'm already compiling a list of extra kit I want/need. I only have the 10mm, 25mm and Barlow X2 lenses it came with so far, but have my eye on some Plossl lenses and a OIII Filter. 

Any further suggestions in this area would also be great! 

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Posted (edited)

Ok,  there are many places on the web to find star charts and other wonders to see in the night skies.
One of the members here  at the SGL has his own web site and provides a Newsletter that is free to download, primarily for binocular users/targets,  (  his specific interest ) but if you can see the targets with binoculars, you may get even closer or beyond with the right telescope. check here http://www.binocularsky.com/ Check News letter tab, then current issue. 

Another freebie is Stellarium, a cross platform Planetarium for the PC. Install, set your location, and enjoy the wonders it has to offer, replicating what you should see in the skies above.

As for new eyepieces, give yourself a little more time with the ones you already have,  learning to get the most from your present scope. I used to have the Celestron 127EQ but quickly wanted something different, to make  observations more comfortable for my needs. I doubt you can sell on a Christmas present so early, without upsetting the Mrs?

But for comfortable easy to use eyepieces, a good place as any is to check out the BST Starguiders available new on ebay, and if your wanting some great value plössl's check out Revelation Astro. I use them, and prefer them over more  seriously priced eyepieces, but their eye-relief is short below 8mm, meaning your eye or eyelashes may come into contact with the eye lens? 

There are many branded eyepieces available, its finding one that suits you and your needs best, and this is only achieved  by actually using them. How you achieve this is up to you. Visit a local club, borrow from a friend or buy and return them if you deem them not suitable,  but just check with the vendor first, you have more rights as a distance buyer when it comes to returning goods!

Edited by Charic
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Thanks for the info.  I was actually looking at the Stellarium app for my tablet today.  I'll get it downloaded for tomorrow night. 

Next step is to get out and about I think.  Need to try out with some really dark skies.  I can't wait :icon_biggrin:

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Posted (edited)

I think Stellarium is payware for gadgets, and free for PC!

As for darker sites, just avoiding the street light glare by shielding your eyes can make a big difference, but a site that you view from where you cant see any man-made sources of light, even city glow in the distance will make a whole World of difference to any scope. Up here, the further away from home I travel, the brighter the Starlight from above! causing ground shadows?  it's truly stunning, especially for some of my family who are city dwellers who cant even see some of the brightest constellations from their dwelling. Makes me lucky in a way, but  its not always perfect, the weather for 2016 has been mental reducing my observations with a scope to probably less than ten  times during year Year. Then there's the continual  twilight during the Summer , so I have only  two or three of the  following Months to get in any serious observing! Expecting Snow later?

Edited by Charic
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Posted (edited)

Hi KBS - a couple of objects for you are M31 (Andromeda Galaxy), M45 (Pleiades open cluster), M44 (Beehive open cluster - binocs are good for this one), Albireo (double star), Coathanger asterism, Venus, Jupiter, Mars, M66 (Leo Triplet). There's enough there to get you going on a variety of easy to find objects and varied viewing techniques. You'll find the book Turn Left at Orion a very useful guide to finding objects all year round.

Glad you're hooked - I get the feeling you're going to outgrow that scope pretty quick. Join a local astro club and choose one that focuses on viewing sessions - you'll accelerate your learning ten fold and get to look through more scope types and eyepieces so you'll know what to look for. :)

Edited by brantuk
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Agree with Brantuk's list.

Went to bed frustrated by yet another cloud ridden sky. But woke early to a surprise clearance and our street lights being off (I think new timings apply). So just been out from 04:30 am to catch some varierty. Not ideal skies (but OK) and now the street lights have just come back on (so I have given up); but some worthwhile early morning views;

1. Jupiter - easy to find in the south (brightest object from 4.00am until dawn). If you want to see a planet; this is the best of the moment - Mars is too distant and Venus always devoid of detail - but Uranus and Neptune are interesting finds (but all of those are early evening - whilst Saturn is probably below your horizon).

2. M13 Hercules Cluster (was a bit faint, but suffering from a bit of mirk iin the vicinity)

3. M44 Beehive Cluster (always delights)

4. M5 Globukar Cluster in Serpens (one of my favourites, yet rarely gets the credit it deserves but almost comparable with M13).

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Many thanks for all the suggestions.  I've downloaded Stellarium for both my tablet and PC.  I'm going to start ticking a few of these off my list.

As for upgrading my scope, due to it being a gift, I'll need a fair few months with it before I look to upgrade. I'll just make sure I learn all I can in that time. I keep hearing about an 8" Dobsonian being a next logical step.  Is that right? 

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3 minutes ago, KBS said:

I keep hearing about an 8" Dobsonian being a next logical step.  Is that right? 

There's no rush - but when the time comes an 8" aperture would be a very good upgrade - you'll see a lot deeper into the night sky and begin to eek out a lot more faint fuzzies. But run through the brighter objects with your current scope first.

When I first started I used to get Sky at Night magazine which gives a list of objects to look for across one or three constellations per month. You soon get to learn the sky that way (I also used Astronomy Now) it took about a year to get a good feel for where everything is.

Joining a club and also attending one or two star parties a year really helps the learning process, including all the kit that's used - the astro bunch is a really friendly and helpful community almost everywhere you go. :)

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3 hours ago, KBS said:

Many thanks for all the suggestions.  I've downloaded Stellarium for both my tablet and PC.  I'm going to start ticking a few of these off my list.

As for upgrading my scope, due to it being a gift, I'll need a fair few months with it before I look to upgrade. I'll just make sure I learn all I can in that time. I keep hearing about an 8" Dobsonian being a next logical step.  Is that right? 

Come down to Heaton Park (if you are near) on a clear thursday night, I'll let you have a look through my 8"dob and you can compare :)

http://www.hpag.co.uk/

 

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That's not too far actually rockystar. About a 20 minute drive. I may just take you up on that in the coming weeks!

It is true that astronomy fans are a friendly bunch :icon_biggrin:

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Posted (edited)

You may want to try this "organizer". Just fill in some data and dinner is served !

p.s. tick "any" to the constellations question....

Edited by PHIL53
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why not try this...just need a tent!

 

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3 hours ago, PHIL53 said:

You may want to try this "organizer". Just fill in some data and dinner is served !

p.s. tick "any" at the constellations questions....

That's a great help! Thanks for that. 

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Kbs,

if you do not own any nebula filters, then consider buying a UHC rather than O3 filter.

UHC let more light pass through than O3 and therefore are more useful on smaller scopes.

UHC works on a greater number of nebula than O3.

therefore it should get more use, you can always add an O3 in the future.

Alan

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12 minutes ago, alanjgreen said:

Kbs,

if you do not own any nebula filters, then consider buying a UHC rather than O3 filter.

UHC let more light pass through than O3 and therefore are more useful on smaller scopes.

UHC works on a greater number of nebula than O3.

therefore it should get more use, you can always add an O3 in the future.

Alan

Noted.  Thanks for the guidance Alan.

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Sirius is the brightest star in the sky.  You can't miss it.  Try splitting and discerning the smaller B star from the much larger and main A star.

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If you're planning to go to a 'star-party' or such a viewing, there's one item you may want: A red-torch (flashlight in USA). Red-light doesn't ruin night-vision anywhere near as much as regular white-light. Nonetheless, don't shine it directly in anyone's eyes. Including your own. It takes at least 15 minutes to get dark-adapted.

Have fun!

Dave

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Added red torch to the shopping list.

It's ever growing :icon_biggrin:

 

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On 1/2/2017 at 00:41, KBS said:

 

Next step is to get out and about I think.  Need to try out with some really dark skies.  I can't wait :icon_biggrin:

This is the best accessory you can ever have. NOTHING beats dark skies buddy. :thumbright:

Go for it. :) 

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3 hours ago, KBS said:

Added red torch to the shopping list.

It's ever growing :icon_biggrin:

 

It never stops :icon_biggrin:

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Got my first view of Jupiter this morning.  Was by accident, I had to be up early and noticed Jupiter in the sky while I was in the kitchen.  I got my scope set up, and had a look.

My eyes weren't dark adjusted and the scope wasn't cooled down but saw a disc shape with 3 dots off to the top right.  Presumably some of the moons?

I'm going to plan to get up at 6am on Saturday to get a proper look in the right conditions.  Hopefully I'll get to make out some of the detail.

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Dark adaption isn't so important for observing the brighter planets (and moon) I find. In fact they're so bright it can often ruin your dark adaption looking at them. It's more important for viewing really faint objects like galaxies and nebulae many millions of light years away (and the fainter planets of course). Try viewing the moon and then look at M31 straight after to see what I mean. :)

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If you get a chance to view Jupiter on Saturday take your time observing. With time subtle features become visible. You should be able to see the two dark equatorial belts and hopefully more. Perhaps all 4 moons will be visible. Check on Stellarium.

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