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Hello from the West Midlands, UK

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Haylz    7

Hello everyone

My name is Hayley. I'm a secondary school science teacher from the West Midlands in England. Although my degree was biology based, I have recently took the plunge and bought a Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ.

I'm hoping to be able to see planets, nebulae, galaxies and so on. So far I've managed to see the moon in detail and Jupiter as a glowing disc. I have recently bought the AstroMaster accessory kit that came with a 2x Barlow lens, a 6 mm lens and a 15 mm lens, so I'm hoping to be able to see the bands on Jupiter and the Saturn's rings.

I've been learning to read star charts and about magnification from this forum so I thought it was about time I introduced myself and said thank you! 

Does anyone have any tips/recommendations for an astronomy beginner for websites, apps, equipment, etc?

Thank you in advance!


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Mr Spock    5,203

Hi Hayley, welcome to SGL :smile: There's plenty of information here - just have a look around the site. We have sections for beginners, both observing and equipment, where you can ask any question you like. There's always someone on hand to help :smile: So ask away!

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Uranium235    6,148

Hi, and welcome aboard :)

For apps/programs, probably the best one to get is Stellarium. That will tell you exactly what/where/when anything is in the night sky - just give it your location and it will give you a pretty accurate representation of your night sky, much easier that trying to understand star charts! (best part is... its free!):


Depending on where you live in the west midlands, it might be worth getting out and about to get away from light pollution. I used to live in the Sandwell area, which was pretty appauling in terms of LP. Your best bet is to get out to Clent or perhaps a bit further afield if you want to see more.

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assouptro    105

Hi Hayley 

welcome to the forum!

You will get lovely views of the moon and some "banding" on Jupiter with its moons you should also be able to see Saturn as a ringed planet.

you will be able see the andromeda galaxy  and the great Orion Nebula and a few other jewels in the sky, most galaxies and star clusters can be a bit underwhelming when you've seen the images in Books/mags/Tv/ internet etc but that will also depend on the light pollution at your viewing site.

I use GoSkyWatch as an app on my iPhone to help me locate objects in the sky, 

you may want to end up adding a camera to your set up to reveal more detail but that will end up opening a whole can of worms in challenges and can lead to parting with a small fortune.

the main thing is to enjoy the night sky and familiarise your self with the constellations and what's hidden it them.

i hope this is the beginning of a lifelong hobby!



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Pondus    602

Hello Hayley and welcome to SGL :).



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Floater    2,246

Welcome. Enjoy, have fun ... and beware those who may tempt you too quickly into the Dark Art of astrophotography or toward the Bright Lights of solar observation. Then, when it's time, tiptoe in ...

p.s Sky Safari is also a great app.


Edited by Floater
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StormAurora    44

Hello and welcome.

I love Stellarium and also use Star Walk on the play store, it's got great info and is very beautiful to look at 😀

Hope you enjoy your new hobby and that the clouds will part for you!

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Haylz    7

Hi all 

Thank you for the warm welcome and advice! I had never heard of Stellarium until Uranium235 mentioned it. A few YouTube tutorials later and I've managed to add my telescope and eye pieces into it and ta-da... I've been exploring the sky from the comfort of the sofa. It's really helpful looking at the planets and galaxies, etc, exactly as I would through my own equipment. I feel much more confident now.

Now to wait for a clear night! I've been using the iPhone app "Scope Nights" to help predict the best nights for stargazing, it changes through the day but seems pretty accurate so far.


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BXRO    132

Hi Hayley and welcome from Lincolnshire.


As you have already discovered their are plenty of people on here who are willing to help, for my contribution go to skymaps.com they produce a free monthly "interesting" objects list and skymap which you can print off and use as an observing list, also freestarcharts.com produce some good stuff.


If you want a more technical overview of astronomy the OU FutureLearn and openlearn sites are pretty good and again free


Happy hunting

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SteveWolves    25

Hi welcome from Wolverhampton, you could look at your local astro society they are usually very helpful .

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barkis    4,216

Hope you enjoy your stay with us Hayley. Don't hold back if you need a question answered. This place is a huge library of knowledge within the membership.            Have fun with your new scope, and don't get too frustrated  if the night Skies don't always  play ball 😁. 




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Starpaw    24

Welcome to the forum, Hayley.  I use the Stellarium app on my Android phone and have found it to be an invaluable tool.  A useful book is Turn Left At Orion.  It shows objects as they might actually appear in various size scopes, which is useful in adjusting your expectations as to what you will actually see.

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JamesM    1,652

Hi Hayley and welcome to the forum. You might want to consider posting your question over on the 'Beginners' forums as more people visit those areas than and you might be able to obtain more suggestions.

In the meantime wishing clear skies and hope you enjoy your stay here.

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Dave In Vermont    4,922

Well hello there, Hayley, it's nice of you to join us all here!

Check out the many forums herein and find some that are of interest to you. As was said, feel free to ask questions anytime you wish - we love finding answers with people.

And do get a (FREE) copy of Stellarium to help you on your way around the sky. It's a truly fantastic program!

Starry Skies -



PS: I just noticed this thread is over a month old! :p Ah well - as I missed this a month ago - no harm done! :icon_colors:

Edited by Dave In Vermont

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swag72    5,553

Hi Hayley and welcome to SGL - Good to have another 'lady' in the fold :D 

Look forward to seeing you around :)

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