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torchlight

Newbie questions

35 posts in this topic

Hey fellow forum followers,

Complete and utter newb, decided that staring at the sky seemed like a good idea, having just moved and claiming a den for myself I have the room for a scope of some type. I have some questions though 🤔

I see mentioned in a lot of reviews "cool down on these is very good"? Why do they heat up?

We have skylights in the upstairs, is it realistic to watch through glass windows? Do you have to be outside away from light sources?

I have contacted my local astro group, they have an open night this Friday so I can see what it's all about.

What can I expect to reasonably see with say a £200 telescope and good conditions? Will I be amazed? Left jaw hanging?

Is a tripod essential? Table top telescopes are stable enough? Just seems to my mind a tripod that comes made for the telescope seems more logical?

Anyway thanks in advance.

 

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They are warm indoors, so have to cool to outdoor temperature before they function correctly.  If cool-down is good, this doesn't take too long.  Basically, big 'scopes (and certain designs) take longer.

You can't watch through windows - there will be refraction distortion.

Even a smallish 'scope will give great results, especially on brighter objects.

Table-tops are usually smaller 'scopes.  You couldn't do much with a 'scope without a mount/tripod.

Doug.

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Greetings & Welcome to SGL - it's a pleasure to have you aboard!

Here's a link to a (quite long) thread that should help answer some questions you're bound to have:

And folks will be around to help you find the rest. It's what we do here - to a large degree.

Starry Skies!

Dave

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Hey Doug and thanks for a quick reply.

Now the cool down thing makes sense, similar to letting a car engine warm up, but the other way around.

Does light pollution make a difference? Is back garden the same as out on the moors?

 

 

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Posted (edited)

31 minutes ago, torchlight said:

Do you have to be outside away from light Sources?

1. Not for Moon and planetary views.

2. But definitely for fainter deep sky Objects.

Edited by Pondus

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Joining or visiting Your local astro Group is a very good idea indeed :happy11:.

This brilliant post will answer alot of the questions you have, regarding light pollution/ dark site :

PS  And welcome to SGL  :smiley:.

 

Rune

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Just to add that even if you open the skylight the warm air leaving the house will cause turbulence - which ain't good.

However, if you've never looked at the moon through a telescope or binoculars before the views - even through the open skylight - might well cause your jaw to drop. 😳 But be aware that nothing you will see through any scope will match the magazine-type Hubble images.

Enjoy the learning curve. It should be fun.

p.s. If it's Hubble you're looking for I think our sponsors, FLO (see top of page), have/had something about that on their web page.

😄😄

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Thanks, thank you and thanks.

Seriously the pointers in the right direction are brilliant. I read through the concise and so well put together what to expect thread. The planets, pretty impressive and more than I expected, especially the colours. The deep space stuff not so much, but the problem is the Hubble shots are 'so' good.

Again thanks.

 

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Hi torchlight, welcome to SGL.

First off, for your budget of £200 you could look at either a new 6" Skywatcher or a used 8" of the same model.  These are reflector telescopes that use a mirror at the back of the tube to reflect light to a secondary mirror (and then the eyepiece), as opposed to refractors, that refract light down the tube from a coated glass lens at the front.  The Skywatcher reflectors I mentioned are set on a simple, wooden but extremely stable and effective alt-azimuth mount, called a Dobsonian mount, very different from the tripods that you will be used to seeing as a mount for a scope.  Because of the simple construction of the mount, most of the money is used on the optics which are of course, the most important part of the whole setup.  

For your budget, a Dobsonian mounted scope will give you the most bang for your buck so you should aim your research towards these imo :-)

As to the wow factor, it really depends on your own expectations.  With an 8" Skywatcher however, you will certainly be wowed by some objects like Jupiter, the moon, clusters and nebulae.  Some deep sky objects  (DSO's for short) will only show as faint smudges however, so have a look around at the many online resources that will give you an idea of what you can expect to see. 

Any questions, don't hesitate to ask :-) 

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, torchlight said:

Hey fellow forum followers,

Complete and utter newb, decided that staring at the sky seemed like a good idea, having just moved and claiming a den for myself I have the room for a scope of some type. I have some questions though 🤔

I see mentioned in a lot of reviews "cool down on these is very good"? Why do they heat up?

We have skylights in the upstairs, is it realistic to watch through glass windows? Do you have to be outside away from light sources?

I have contacted my local astro group, they have an open night this Friday so I can see what it's all about.

What can I expect to reasonably see with say a £200 telescope and good conditions? Will I be amazed? Left jaw hanging?

Is a tripod essential? Table top telescopes are stable enough? Just seems to my mind a tripod that comes made for the telescope seems more logical?

Anyway thanks in advance.

 

It totally depends on your expectations.  If you are expecting Hubble like images, you will definitely be disappointed (you have to remember the Hubble has a 2 metre mirror, outside the atmosphere of Earth and the photos are heavily processed).  If you are not, however, you should be amazed by the Orion Nebula (from dark skies), seeing the rings of Saturn,  seeing the Galilean moon and cloud bands of Jupiter, the Pleiades and other open clusters such as the Beehive, the lovely colour contrast of Albireo, the distinctive ring of the Ring Nebula amongst many others.  Seeing these things is definitely doable with a £200 scope.  Some DSO targets such as galaxies and globular clusters will look less impressive as these really require a large aperture scope, but if you imagine the vast distances the photons have travelled to reach your eye, I think it is amazing we can see these things at all.  Having said that, for little more than £200, you could have a Skywatcher 200p dobsonian which will make DSO observation all the more satisfying (some globular clusters will be resolvable into distinct stars rather than appearing as smudges, provided your skies are dark) .  It really is a fascinating hobby and I find it enriching to learn about what I see as I go along.  I wish you luck.

Edited by Starpaw

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Posted (edited)

Welcome to the SGL

If you go to the Astro club, and they have viewing session, make a note of the telescopes you look through, this will help us to help you with further questions.
If you get a chance, look through an 8" reflector if there's one available.  Its a basic scope the one I own, no real fuss to setup and does not require batteries?
Infact its  been quoted as  one of the the most popular scopes in the UK, for what you pay, and the reward it brings.

Your correct with most of your assumptions, view from the Moors on a Moonless night, without a torch and as long as the telescope has cooled a little and is correctly collimated, you could have some jaw dropping views. You can also peek through the  open skylight, not through the glass itself, and you can view from a street light polluted garden as I do, but get away from all this, and wow!

Edited by Charic

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Thank you beerme, starpaw and chaotic.

Ideally I would like to occasionally head out to the dark areas of the county, we have some seriously away from streetlight areas close to me, so some portability would be nice.

Am I right that the impression I get from pictures are that dobsonian mounts are table top without a tripod. And the Newtonian have taller tripods.

I am looking forward to Friday, a good chance to see in all respects, if it grabs me.

The planet shots on the other thread are pretty amazing. More than  I was expecting I think.

 

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Posted (edited)

Their both Newtonian's, just the base differs.
The Dobsonian base is a solid base, allowing the scope to move in two directions, left/right and Up/Down, a combination of both when you manually track a target. The taller tripods are GEM or EQ systems, that allow for celestial tracking.The smaller table top versions are flat surface/table mounted, but the Skyliner like mine is lifted and placed on the ground, I find observing from a seated position is favourable, whereby I make use of a drum stool.

Edited by Charic

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Ahhh, more choices! Looking at the pictures and what you have said Chirac, does it just come down to preference? (And price) The tripod stands just seem more convenient. Can you 'manually' move the tripod mounted ' scopes in the same way as the tabletopped ones?

 

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Only the small Dobsonian mounts are table top mounts. The telescopes that are being suggested above, the Skyliner 150p and Skyliner 200p have tubes that are approximately four feet long and the base is placed directly on the ground as a result. A height adjustable stool/chair is a great addition as it will make observing more comfortable. For the smaller table top scopes then yes, a tripod is probably more useful in the field, however, you could always pick up a cheap tripod from Astroboot and bolt a table top Dobsonian mount to it. With regards to being able to move a tripod mounted scope manually it depends on the mount. If you tell us which mounts you are looking at we can advise on their operation. I would also advise against buying a Newtonian reflector on an equatorial mount for visual astronomy as the way the mount works causes the eyepiece to end up in some odd positions.

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7 hours ago, torchlight said:

Hey Doug and thanks for a quick reply.

Now the cool down thing makes sense, similar to letting a car engine warm up, but the other way around.

Does light pollution make a difference? Is back garden the same as out on the moors?

 

 

LP makes a big difference with faint objects (nebulae, galaxies), and you will see less detail in clusters, but it is less of an issue with planets and the Moon.  Basically, a dark sky beats all, but few of us have access to a really dark site, and can still see a lot of treasures from our own yards!

Another thing - a bright Moon washes out all but the brightest objects.

Doug.

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I see mentioned in a lot of reviews "cool down on these is very good"? Why do they heat up?

People generally keep their scope inside the house, it is usually warmer,  when they go outside they change temperature, it is best if the scope is not altering temperature so simply people refer to this period as "cool down". Mine cool down for a short length of time, I just let them cool as I am assembling ansd setting up. No rucsh and whatever comes through the scope is better then my eyes alone.

We have skylights in the upstairs, is it realistic to watch through glass windows? Do you have to be outside away from light sources?

Not a good idea as the temperature difference and the glass usually give a poor view. However again a small refractor looking through a skylight will again show more then eyeballs will. Just what you see will not be very good.

I have contacted my local astro group, they have an open night this Friday so I can see what it's all about.

With a budget of £200 do not return expecting to buy a scope to match the biggest you see. Tales of get the biggest possible are not always the best idea, get something you will find easy and will use often. Looking through an 80mm once a week (weather permitting) will show more then a 16" that never gets taken out and used. Ask about the negative aspects of a scope, not just the postive ones, you may find that something about a scope you just cannot live with.

What can I expect to reasonably see with say a £200 telescope and good conditions? Will I be amazed? Left jaw hanging?

The only thing that will amaze you is the moon. Strange but that is about the only object where people do say "Wow" owing to the view. To see anything you will have to have an idea of what to look for and where it is. So you will have to start learning a bit and then go hunting objects down. M31 is too big for a scope, use binoculars. Does £200 include an extra eyepiece or two? If not then add to the budget.

Is a tripod essential? Table top telescopes are stable enough? Just seems to my mind a tripod that comes made for the telescope seems more logical?

Usually yes you need a tripod, but there are different ones. Manufacturers tend to supply one that just jolds the scope, so is normally a bit flimsey. If you get a table top the mount is usually really flimsey and you still need a table or surface to put it on. More the transport.

 

Friday weather looks good for visiting an Astro club in your area, so hopefully you will get a good experience. Concerning looking through scopes be a bit careful as someone with a 10" Orion Optics UK reflector and a £300 Nagler in it will have supurb views. OO make high quality mirrors and TV Naglers are also good. but that is not exactly a 1:1 correlation to a mass produced Skywatcheer and the supplied eyepieces - which are usually not even cheap ploss's these days.

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7 hours ago, torchlight said:

Chirac, does it just come down to preference? [sic]

Always a personal preference in this hobby. 

I had a Celestron 127EQ and for some of the reasons already mentioned, it's not the type of scope I would recommend for a beginner. They do work, but lots to fathom and understand, and many tasks just not required, too time consuming just for basic observations. The image quality of that scope was not brilliant either. 

My scope range starts with their 150mm then 200mm, 250mm then any larger and we're talking collapsible units, not ready to go without some setup adjustments. 

The simplicity of my scope is there's not much to fail or break during a cold winters night, and no automation, and almost pointless for photography. 

Does all that make for a poor / bad scope?

Its a very popular scope due to this simplicity, and the views are fine, given the right conditions. 

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11 hours ago, Ricochet said:

have tubes that are approximately four feet long and the base is placed directly on the ground as a result

Wow, they must look a lot bigger close up?!?!? With no reference they look about a foot long and thats it. Ok, so now i can picture it, not so much as needing a table to stand it on just a flat piece of ground. I imagined that it was tabletop size, comparable to a tall vase I suppose.

in terms of actual physical size if the ones that you linked too are about 4 foot long, how long are the bodies on say the 150P in comparision.

5 hours ago, ronin said:

With a budget of £200 do not return expecting to buy a scope to match the biggest you see. Tales of get the biggest possible are not always the best idea, get something you will find easy and will use often. Looking through an 80mm once a week (weather permitting) will show more then a 16" that never gets taken out and used.

Its the golf club paradox, I can't hit the ball straight there is something wrong with these clubs, better buy a new set. I asked because I really have no idea as to what I can happily expect with a beginners set up, at home, 'messing' around.

 

5 hours ago, ronin said:

The only thing that will amaze you is the moon.

To be honest I was blown away by the pictures in the 'What to expect thread' especially the blues of Uranus, I don't think I expected as much as that. The moon looks pretty amazing when its full, so anything 'more' than that will make for a happy camper.

 

5 hours ago, ronin said:

Does £200 include an extra eyepiece or two? If not then add to the budget.

I saw this advice in other beginners threads, its an upgrade. Like when you buy a different chipset for a brand new pc and the wife says but its a brand new pc. And so it might be, says I, but this one will make it go quicker. :grin: I would think that I will wander down the lane named Used, or Secondhand, the prices on the forum here seem reasonable, folks here will tend to look after the stuff better, and I'm not bothered. And before anyone says it, I get ebay is a crock, I have been burnt there before.

 

5 hours ago, Charic said:

The simplicity of my scope is there's not much to fail or break during a cold winters night, and no automation, and almost pointless for photography. 

I am not bothered about photography, not something that I have ever gotton into. I don't mind fiddling and messing around with stuff, and as long as it isn't as difficult as making Windows 10 run, I will be ok with it.

15 hours ago, Dave In Vermont said:

And folks will be around to help you find the rest. It's what we do here - to a large degree.

Yeah, I get it Dave, its overwhelmingly brilliant that so many people throw around stuff and information and knowledge and experience, it has already been a massive help. It is appreciated in spades.

 

8 hours ago, cloudsweeper said:

LP makes a big difference with faint objects (nebulae, galaxies), and you will see less detail in clusters, but it is less of an issue with planets and the Moon.  Basically, a dark sky beats all, but few of us have access to a really dark site, and can still see a lot of treasures from our own yards!

We have an open piece of ground at the end of the road, and I am about 10 minutes drive from the Peaks.

Again thanks for all the help so far.

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6 minutes ago, torchlight said:

Windows 10.....

Still have W7 here and will have until its no longer supported, in-fact two identical PC's,  but no, my scope is  easier to use, nothing to run, switch or mess with, permanently setup and ready to go.  Remove from cupboard, remove  covers, place out side, point, view.

I just hope your visit this Friday is still on, and you get to look through a few scopes, sometimes the only way, try before you buy.

When I sit back and think about it, my scope is probably the only one I need for visual use. Bigger would be better, but bigger has considerations, more weight, more money, more storage,  bigger vehicle for transportation, so I have decided to keep onto the Skyliner.

 

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I've got a collapsible 200P (8" - big brother of the smaller one in the video - there is also a 10" before the 12" they also showed) and have told several people about mine previously so I hope links to already written things are OK:

There is a picture of it unfolded here on page 5:

Hope this helps

collapsed.jpg

 

Next to the dining chair (note to self - must bung the cushions in the wash) for scale - sorry don't know how to get it vertical - it is saved vertical on my PC

Edited by JOC
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Wow those moonshots you took are pretty amazing Peter.

JOC that is one handsome looking chair telescope!! Now I am starting to get an idea of size for sure. Cracking piece of kit.

The video from the Smithsonian is awesome, its an easy digestible run through of the whys and wherefores, now I start to see. The extendable pull out scope that he has at the end, are they any good?

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In it's collapsed form mine stands around 105cm high from base to top.  FWIW this is mine when it is pulled out (I've taken off my home-made shroud - which isn't necessary - so you can see the struts) and ready for use.

And if anyone can shift the image to vertical then please feel free to do so :-D

 

open.jpg

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4 hours ago, torchlight said:

Wow, they must look a lot bigger close up?!?!? With no reference they look about a foot long and thats it. Ok, so now i can picture it, not so much as needing a table to stand it on just a flat piece of ground. I imagined that it was tabletop size, comparable to a tall vase I suppose.

in terms of actual physical size if the ones that you linked too are about 4 foot long, how long are the bodies on say the 150P in comparision.

A Newtonian tube will typically be approximately as long as the telescope focal length and have a diameter 2"/50mm wider than the diameter of the primary mirror. That means that the 150mm f5 scope you linked to will have a tube approximately 750mm long and 200mm in diameter. Sometimes you might see a reflector that has a focal length that is approximately twice the length of the tube. This is a Jones-Bird design telescope with a corrector lens built into the focuser and best avoided.

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