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I've been on these forums a couple of times for the last 2 weeks and ive found amazing advice, on telescopes, mounts and eyepiece. Besides reading countless of information on the internet about various equipments; pros and cons; and i got some queries about how to upgrade my setup.
My original purchase was a 15x70 Celestron Binoculars last year, and boy ive seen amazing things with it, specially globular clusters, Jupiter and Saturn and the Orion's Nebula; for me these were amazing; i still use them given how easy it is to look at the sky with them and how bright and full everything looks. A couple of months ago i got a 70x400mm Gskyer Telescope with an AZ mount (The cheap 99$ one that Amazon is displaying on all its adds for the last two months) it came with a 25mm and a 10mm eyepieces as well as a x3 barlows (which i didnt even count as part of my scope as it is too bad quality and i havent managed a single decent view with it).
Currently My Celestron Binoculars (x15) seem better for visualizing the sky than the 25mm eyepiece (x16) (things seem a very bit dimmer). And since the Barlow is a "no go", the 10mm (x40) eyepiece is what i really use, it has decent zoom and detailed views , it is my go to eyepiece most of the nights.
However from reading all around, ive read that most of the stuff that come with the Telescope (aside from the scope itself) are actually really bad quality, specially no name brands without even webpage, so if i were to maximise my telescope i should update some of those items.
-Recently i ordered a new Start diagonal to replace to default one (ive heard on Refractors its usually the weakest link next to eyepieces) as well as an economic x2 Barlow lens
Keep in mind i recognize my 70mm cheap telescope will not suddendly become the Hubble Telescope, and that it doesnt matter how hard i push it, in the end such a low scope will be bound to hit its limit pretty fast, thats why i avoid 70$+ eyepieces and barlows for now.
I expect to keep using this telescope for a good couple of months; at least until around August, when Jupiter and Saturn are more in the night sky, rather than morning.
Now, im very satisfied with my current telescope; while the phone mount is garbage and the phone weight and the sound of my heartbeats pretty much shake the telescope out of position, as well as how cheap the mount is; it still gets the job done for seeing interesting stuff in the sky and i have managed to do some AP for some of the globular clusters, bunch of 1-2s images (with the wrong lens), not the best, not even good pictures; but decent overall for my equipment. I am currently interested in stargazing in general and some minor AP (as i dont have a camera, currently an Iphone 7s with the mount) Buuut im interested in borrowing a camera for the low sky photos without a telescope.
I do most 97% of my Skywatching on my backyard, i live in a small country, there is some light pollution, but i can see the pleiades and the orion's nebula core on the naked eye most nights (so i guess its not that contaminated lol)
Now; currently i like finding stuff by myself and show it to the other people around me who cant be bothered to find the moon in the sky, so setting up, finding and seeing stuff is part of what i like.
With all the above in mind..... Id like to plan ahead for my next purchases.
First, im thinking a x3 barlow lens (to replace the original crappy one) and a 15mm lens (to have a bit better view than the 10mm, but less spread than the 25mm) in two or three months (with this id be able to check if my new eyepiece outperforms my default ones, but given the quality of the scope, i dont expect this to be noticeable).
And Afterwards id love to get a new Scope, but im not quite sure what i want... and i would like some advice and help in choosing my next Scope upgrade.
-I entered with and im liking the refractors; however i dont wanna spend 300-400$ on another refractor that is 20-30% better for triple the price
-Ive heard really long focal lenght might bring some distortions; and also make the scope much bulkier, annnd most importantly i know that magnification is not everything; so a 1000mm long tube would prob bring too much magnifications for me to use properly on my backyard skies. So i think id settle for a maximum of 600-700mm.
-Originally i was againts Newtonians in general, those inverted views scared me, i have a hard time of my own with my finderscope. Then i found out that Reflectors are the name of efficiency as they have more value per aperture than refractors; and as someone once mentioned "There is not really up and down in space, you will get used to it" annnd its true... save for references on the ground, like buildings, trees and mountains to help you locate where you are in the sky; once you are on it, you dont need right ups and downs.
-I did see some 90mm Orion's Refractors as well as 90-102 Celestron Astromaster Refractors (these are 350-400$)
-Im thinking a 130mm reflector is what im looking for; i think the 130mm aperture is a nice upgrade for my 70mm, and will keep me occupied for quite a long time; ive read about Orion SpaceProbe 130EQ and Celestron Astromaster 130EQ (ive also read, Power Seekers and Astromaster's are made out of pretty much garbage lol) Ive read that the main issue is the constant collimation required for them; but ive also read its something that can be learned and once you get used to it; its a pretty easy thing to do to keep getting amazing views.
-Ive also seen people recommending 6-8'' Dobsonians; i know the deal with them; if anything i could aim for a 6'' one i found a litter under 300$ ive read they are amazing values for their aperture
So, TL;DR: I have a 70x400mm Telescope, im new to stargazing, im really amazed and excited by what im seeing with my current scope, but would like an stable upgrade before the end of the year that will last me a year or two. I am interesteted both in regular and deep sky stargazing and astrophotography; im not currently interested in an motorized mount; could deal with a regular Equatorial mount. But overall i am looking for more aperture (100-150mm) to have clearer views; than focal lenght for zoom.
Im also open to the fact that at one point i might have to get a scope for stargazing and another for AP; but would like an upgrade that could help me all around for both while i get initiated.
Sorrry for the Huuuuuuuuge post, i was very excited while writing it; please let me know what you think and if there's anything else you'd want me to add to help understand my situation, thanks in advance!
Looks like I will get some favourable weather in the coming days, but the moon is out and full. I finally have a car so I can get away from light polluted Weymouth, and tonight I took a drive and found a great spot to shoot (see image).
So to the point, I want to shoot Andromeda during these moonlit nights since the moon will be directly behind me. How much will it still affect my images?
I'm still a beginner, using a Nikon Z50 and the 50-250mm kit lens @250 (F6.3), but I do have a Star Adventurer now, so I'll go out and shoot if nothing for the practice (my polar alignments have been pretty good).
Chatting on here about possible darker sites near me and came across the CPRE light pollution survey which you can contribute to this week.
I’m going to rope the kids in & thought I’d share the link:
The view from my centre of town garden is both physically & light-pollution restricted. Anything below 25 degrees is out of the question, anything West below 60 degrees behind bright buildings and a huge South-Easterly sycamore tree combines with a neighbour’s security & outdoor fairy-light obsession to make a fairly narrow observing window to say the least.
The local park about 5 mins away potentially offers a darker & wider alternative which I confirmed this week on a late night dog comfort-break excursion. All of a sudden, from a spot around the 22 on the rugby pitch, a break in the cloud presented a full vista of Orion, Taurus, both Canis, Auriga, Gemini, Perseus & Cassiopeia- I was star-struck to the point where my furry companion thought I’d lost it. Messier clusters in Auriga I’d struggled to get in the eyepiece from the garden were immediately visible as naked-eye diamond-dust, the Pleiades sparkled and M42 glowed. It was ten minutes of magic.
Inspired by my mid-week bonus I hatched a plan to head to the park the next time a clear-sky coincided with a non-school night. Tonight promised a couple of clear hours around midnight but dodgy weather earlier in the evening combined with the feeling that lugging the Mak and tripod to the park might be tough to justify as a lockdown exercise break, confined me to a late night stroll armed only with my trusty 10x50s. Having overcome the nagging sensation I might be mistaken for some kind of lurking pervert, I set off for the park.
In the end I got about 15 minutes before fog bubbled up from the river. But even this fleeting glimpse allowed me to confirm I can now easily find the Messier clusters in Auriga and put my bins straight onto the double cluster in Perseus, things I’d never seen before lockdown.
As the fog closed in I took a sweep of the alpha Perseii cluster and Pleiades, my current binocular greatest hits, and headed home happy.
I’m completely new to Astrophotography and am just in the process of choosing my new rig.
does anyone living locally in Hertfordshire have any recommendations for the best areas with the least light pollution around Hemel Hempstead way?
I’m thinking Ashridge / Ivanhoe so it gets you high enough so leave the worse of light pollution behind - I tried taking some shots from my back garden and it was just consumed by yellow colour cast 😩
Any ideas I would grateful - found a thread on Hertfordshire skies but it favoured towards the east of Hertfordshire whereas I’m more West way.