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mihneaadr

New telescope advice and plans for the future

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Hello,

Recently, one of my friends has moved out of the country and he has handed me (and other friends) certain items he couldn't take with him or didn't want to sell. Considering that I was the biggest star lover of the bunch , having learnt a few constellations -mostly to figure out where north is while hiking, I've been handed down his old telescope. I have researched a bit about it these past 3 days I've had it, and I would like to ask a few questions if you would be so kind to answer.

So, first things first, what I've figured out (or have been told) so far: 1) It is on an equatorial mount (I'm 90% sure). 2) It is QUITE old (more than 15 years old). 3) I have 2 Barlow lenses (or mounts?): one 1.5X and one 3X, and 2 eyepieces: one 25mm and one 4mm, the latter I believe to be a Huygenian (Huygensian? Huyngensoid?) type since it has a very tiny top lens. 4) Any packaging and/or documentation is long fossilized in an unknown attic somewhere in south-eastern Europe.

Rather than waste your time with other suppositions I've made that may or may not be true, I will tell you what it says on the actual telescope: 1) The mark is BSA Optics. 2) It's made in China. 3) On a label on the side, it says "AT375X112", and beneath "375X112mm".

The questions I have are as follows: 1) What could I expect to see with the current equipment? Planets? Comets? Nebulae? Is it possible to see Andromeda? I tried using it for yesterday's peak of the Perseids, but it wasn't of much use (or I didn't know how to use it); 2) What documentation would you suggest? I don't have a lot of expandable income, but if there's two things I never scrimp on, it's books and drinks with friends. Also, as far as star charts/maps go, what should I get? I would like, if possible, something that can be used at different latitudes. 3) Are there any pieces of equipment that wouldn't set me back too far, something that would be worth it for improving my experience?

Thank you for your help.

 

P.S. Sorry for any English errors, it's not my first language.

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I think we might be talking about this scope possibly ?

 

bsa112.jpg

bsa11202.jpg

Edited by John
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If it is the above scope, I believe it is very similar to the Skywatcher Skyhawk 114mm 500mm focal length newtonian:

http://www.opticalvision.co.uk/beginners-telescopes/skyhawk-1145p.html

There is an instruction manual on this web page that covers that scope type. It's the one that is titled  "All Models With EQ1 and EQ2 Mount". The mount on your scope is the same as the EQ1 I think:

http://www.opticalvision.co.uk/product_manuals.html

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19 minutes ago, mihneaadr said:

1) What could I expect to see with the current equipment? Planets? Comets? Nebulae? Is it possible to see Andromeda? I tried using it for yesterday's peak of the Perseids, but it wasn't of much use (or I didn't know how to use it); 2) What documentation would you suggest? I don't have a lot of expandable income, but if there's two things I never scrimp on, it's books and drinks with friends. Also, as far as star charts/maps go, what should I get? I would like, if possible, something that can be used at different latitudes. 3) Are there any pieces of equipment that wouldn't set me back too far, something that would be worth it for improving my experience?

1 Planets yes, comets, when they are about, nebulae yes, also star clusters, double stars and , of course, the moon.

2 There are lots of good books but start by reading this:

3 A Telrad or Rigel red-circle finderscope might make it easier for you to find things quickly.

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36 minutes ago, John said:

I think we might be talking about this scope possibly ?

 

bsa112.jpg

bsa11202.jpg

EXACTLY what I was talking about, although mine is missing a few pieces - the cap on where you put the eye-piece, for example, which I have replaced with an actual covered eye-piece, the screw for the counterweight and the fine-tuning screw for latitude adjustments (I did my research). I expect to find replacements in my shed for the screws, when I get around to sifting through a few tonnes of rusted metal bits and bolts *sob*...

29 minutes ago, Stub Mandrel said:

2 There are lots of good books but start by reading this:

 

I DID read that, but again, to me it sounded like Malagasy. I understood that one of the most important characteristics of a scope was the aperture size, but I didn't even know which of the numbers on the scope told me which it was. Funnily enough, googling the name on the label didn't return much and almost nothing useful. After a bit of research about books I've heard of 2 that almost everyone recommends: Turn left at Orion and NightWatch. Which of these is aimed towards whom and do you have any other recommendations?

 

Thank you for the information so far!

Edited by mihneaadr

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You can measure aperture using tape measure/rulerto give you a ballpark figure. I would gues it's 112 mm. 

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Your scope has an aperture (main mirror diameter) of 112mm according to it's label. The focal length of the scope is 500mm. If you use a 20mm eyepiece in the scope this gives you 25x (500 divided by 20). A 10mm eyepiece gives you 50x and so on. Probably best to start observing at low magnifications (eg: 25x) and then change eyepieces to get more magnification if the view is nice and sharp. With your scope I think 80x - 100x would be the most magnification that would be useful and you would use this to observe the Moon, Saturn and Jupiter. For big objects like the Andromeda Galaxy use the lowest magnification you can.

Before you try and observe, make sure that the finder scope is pointing exactly where the main scope is pointing. You can do this in the daytime by finding a distant object (eg: tree, radio mast etc) that is a few km away. Adjust the finder scope so that the target is right in the centre of it's view when the target is also in the centre of the main scope view with a low magnification eyepiece. If you don't do this carefully you will find it very difficult to find anything when using the scope at night.

Edited by John
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I think your question has been answered, except 'turn Left at Orion' gets a lot of good press. I have seen a copy and it looked good. The free program Stellarium is a good way to learn your way around the sky.

All of teh guides published by Phillips seem to be good as well, I have a couple.

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I have both Turn Left@Orion and Nightwatch. IMO Turn left is far superior, I often refer to it after several years in the hobby but Nightwatch was looked at once and has not been opened since'

As mentioned by @Stub Mandrel mentions Stelarium is a great program. Download for free here:- http://www.stellarium.org/

 

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Nice little scope.

You can expect to see all of the above... of course nebulae and other deep sky objects will depend of the amount of light pollution you have.. the darker the better. As far as seeing the Andromeda galaxy, yes, the wider and lower magnification the better.

Planets and the moon will be the easiest to see.

 

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23 hours ago, Astro Imp said:

I have both Turn Left@Orion and Nightwatch. IMO Turn left is far superior, I often refer to it after several years in the hobby but Nightwatch was looked at once and has not been opened since'

 

My only problem with Turn left would be that, from what I've read about the book, it's for Dobsonian mounts, whereas I have an equatorial mount. Is it still usable even so? Wouldn't another book that refers directly to EQ mounts be better? Or at least recommended to also buy?

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An altazimuth mount is easier to use because it works in a very intuitive manner when searching for objects but an equatorial mount makes it easier to keep an object in the eyepiece view once acquired as there is only one fin adjustment to make.

Turn Left at Orion is certainly suitable for both types of mount (and an excellent book anyway) but it will pay to get a feel for how your mount moves as it is not always intuitive in use!

Downloading a manual for an instrument similar to yours like that suggested by John will give you some useful tips on how to use it correctly.

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2 hours ago, steppenwolf said:

Turn Left at Orion is certainly suitable for both types of mount (and an excellent book anyway) but it will pay to get a feel for how your mount moves as it is not always intuitive in use!

Especially if you have your equatorial mount pointing south (don't as me how I know this...)

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4 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Especially if you have your equatorial mount pointing south (don't as me how I know this...)

Oooops ......

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