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First telescope & mount for beginner


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Well I read through it but perhaps skipped one or two paragraphs (I read through the basics of ccd for instance but then there were a couple of paragraphs which went into quite a bit of depth on it which I didn't feel I needed to learn right now - 95 or so percent of it I did read through though.

I'm wondering why I bought an intervalometer now (it's yet to arrive) as I installed Backyard EOS last night and I think it's fantastic. The GUI is so easy, I connected my DSLR and took a few shots and looked at what some of the settings do.

Just waiting for a clear night now so I can align polaris.  There's one fundamental (potential) problem I hadn't thought of... my back garden is south facing and whilst the back lawn is average sized ( I could easily see Polaris from the middle of the lawn or the back of it) my patio isn't too big. I'm wondering if I'll be able to see Polaris from the patio! I don't really fancy setting up on the damp and wet lawn with soft ground and potential vibrations. 



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The mount has some exposure settings and the camera does to. Some of those "onboard" items can be limited or not do exactly what you want. So it's common to connect up a laptop with software like BYE. I use Astro Photography Tool (APT) which is very similar. An intervalometer can be useful/flexible, e.g. if you need to run out to a dark site but don't wish to take a laptop with you, yet still retain a more flexible exposure regime. I must admit though - I don't use mine very much for AP nowadays - my missus uses it more for snapping birds lol.

A south facing garden is great - just what you want especially when you consider the orientation of the ecliptic in UK skies. And you're quids in if you can also polar align easily. Once you know where your tripod is going to be every session - a lot of folks mark the position of the feet to make setup easier/quicker every session. On wet grass you can lay 3 small slabs in marked positions to achieve the same. :)

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  • 2 months later...

Hi brantuk

I was wondering as we both live in Leicestershire, do you know any places which are good for dark skies away from light pollution as much as possible? I live about 2 minutes drive from Bradgate Park but at night I think the car parks are closed. 

I've not actually even aligned Polaris yet but did see it the other day from my garden which was a small stepping stone, using Stellarium on my phone to guide me to it... so at least I know that I can see Polaris and then hopefully align well enough and then shoot DSOs from my back garden, but I was thinking it'd probably be better to drive somewhere where there's going to be less light pollution as we're getting towards the end of Winter. I've got a better understanding now as to what I need to get going, I've worked out how to use the intervalometer too, I basically now just need a clear sky so I can align (hopefully well) and point my camera lens at M42 and get some pictures.

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Yes it's a shame the car parks are locked overnight at Bradgate - same at Beacon Hill too. I usually run out to Wymeswold to meet up with the guys at EMS. I occasionally go with Leics Astro Soc to their dark site near LFE - though I'm not sure where their current site is exactly. If you need any details let me know and I'll happily dig them out and PM them to you. :)

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