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Hi Everyone,

Like a few others out there, my wife and I are new to Astronomy.  We are currently looking at purchasing our first Telescope and have been looking at some of the posts on your great forums.

We thought we had an idea of what we wanted to get but like everyone, that changes with the information you give and receive from others and what you want to be able to do.

I am going to take the advice from some of your members and do a bit more reading before spending our hard earned cash.

My questions are as follows:

1. We currently do a lot of birdwatching.  Would the Nikon ProStaff 5 Fieldscope 82mm Angled Scope Body and Eyepiece be suitable for some viewing just now until we decide what Telescope and Mount to Purchase?

2. Would we need to purchase any Filters for the Scope if it is of any use?

3. We have a couple of sets of Binocculars that we use for birdwatching, would these be any good for viewing anything (Bresser 8 x 42 & 10 x 50)?

Look forward to any replies and advice you can give.

Kind Regards

Angus

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Hi

1- do you already own that ? I wasn't sure.

2- fitters are not essential so no rush there. Exception being the sun there are mandatory filters for that.

3- both can be used I use 8*42 as I can hand hold without too much wobbling. I've particularly enjoyed them for comet chasing.

Stellarium can be downloaded now to help with learning what's up there. Binocularsky does an excellent monthly news letter on what to see with binoculars.

Edited by happy-kat
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Hello and welcome to SGL, binoculars are the best way to get started and the best way to find

your way around the night sky, as happy-cat said binocular sky is a great resource , you will find

charts that will guide you to the targets, also lots of helpful information too, download the newsletter

every month, it will help you get started on your journey into astronomy. Enjoy.

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I have a telescope, but regularly watch birds in my garden with binoculars.  A few months ago I saw Pleiades was up and couldn't be bothered to go for the telescope which would require cooling to be good.  I grabbed my 8 x 40 and recent acquired 10 x 42 birding binoculars and got a great view of the sky with these.  Your fieldscope might be suitable, but it might only have a 45 degree angle on the viewing bit, which might be awkward for objects high in the sky.  If this 'diagonal' is removable the introduction of a 90 degree version and a separate eye piece into this might make things easier.  Your best bet might be the existing binoculars.

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Welcome to the SGL Angus.  You've started in the right way by reading and asking questions as it is very expensive to get it wrong from the start.

I, along with many others, would suggest you purchase this book written by one of the forum moderators, Steve Richards, who has a wealth of knowledge and experience in this field, and wrote the book as a wonderful guide to help along those first steps.

Binoculars are a great start, and were how my first roads in to astrophotography were started.

Enjoy your time here and hopefully your new hobby.

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Hi everyone,

Many thanks for your responses so far.

Happy-Kat - Yes I currently own the Digiscope and use it regularly for birdwatching.  I will have a look at binocularsky and Stellarium as you suggest.

ronl - I will indeed download the newsletters from binocularsky as I probably need all the help I can get to get started.

JOC - You are correct in that the Scope has a 45-degree angle on the viewing eyepiece.  I will have a look to see if there is a 90-degree one available and price it up.  If it is not too expensive I might just buy it and give the scope a go too.

RayD - Today after reading your post, along with the other posts I have read on other topics, I have ordered the book: Making Every Photon Count by Steve Richards from FLO.  I have also ordered another book that I saw recommended on a few of the forums: Turn Left at Orion and will get reading both over the next few days once they arrive.

I have taken on board that Binoculars will be easier to use and hold to get us started at the moment and look forward to deepening my knowledge before parting with cash.  We want to get the buying of our first telescope right.

Thanks again for the advice and I look forward to any other information and wisdom the members would like to give.

Kind Regards

Angus

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1 hour ago, Angusmac62 said:

1. We currently do a lot of birdwatching.  Would the Nikon ProStaff 5 Fieldscope 82mm Angled Scope Body and Eyepiece be suitable for some viewing just now until we decide what Telescope and Mount to Purchase?

If you own it already, you could start with this and then upgrade later. An 82mm widefield telescope is within the range of what would be considered a useful astronomical refractor. If you don't, then start by reading the online FAQ's about beginner astronomical telescopes.   

After that we can advise you, depending what in particular you want to do (visual? Astrophotography?) your budget, whether you have dark skies, how portable the kit needs to be, and whether you like or hate electronic gadgetry.

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Hi Cosmic Geoff,

Many thanks for your response.

Yes I currently own the Digiscope and use it regularly for birdwatching.  The Scope has a 45-degree angle on the viewing eyepiece.  I will have a look to see if there is a 90-degree one available and price it up.  If it is not too expensive I might just buy it and give the scope a go too.

My wife and I attended a talk recently, given by a Fellow of the BAA and found it very interesting.  We decided to have a chat with the gentleman, Leon De St. Croix, and we spent over an hour just chatting and discussing the ins-and-outs of Astronomy and we were both enthralled by it.

Leon gave us some advice about telescopes - Sizes, f/speed, make etc. and since returning home, we have decided to take a more in depth look at the subject.  Leon pointed us in the direction of the Stargazers Lounge and here we are.

Thanks again for the advice and I look forward to any other information and wisdom the members would like to give.

Kind Regards

Angus

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What ever area you decide to get into a portable telescope might always find use but a heavy cloud fickle light bucket might not if it is a heavy lug from an upstairs room where it is kept. Binoculars are great for short observations where time and weather are short and a great way to learn the sky.

TLaO is an excellent book.

Edited by happy-kat
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39 minutes ago, Angusmac62 said:

Yes I currently own the Digiscope and use it regularly for birdwatching.  The Scope has a 45-degree angle on the viewing eyepiece.  I will have a look to see if there is a 90-degree one available and price it up.  If it is not too expensive I might just buy it and give the scope a go too.

A 90 deg star diagonal is desirable but not essential (especially if not available for the Digiscope). It all depends on you and your neck. Just give it a try tonight.

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The other issue you will come across with using an angled spotting scope is the lack of a decent sight/finder scope. If you have not done so already I would recommend adding a cable tie sight. It is not as easy to use at night but you will probably still be able to make it out well enough to have an idea of what the scope is pointing at.

For future telescope choices you will have to decide whether you want to continue visually and look through the telescope or take photographs as these may require quite different choices.

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Ricochet that is a useful point, it just made me winder how all the folks who might be using hand held binoculars get on with what I assume is a lack of sighting equipment.  When I tried my pair the Pleiades were a big target and chased them up from a tall tree.  Would the OP find similar sighting issues with bins as with the birding scope?

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I don't think it would work. It works with an angled spotting scope because the eyepiece fixes the position of your eye and you can just glance up over the eyepiece rim. With a straight through scope or bins you wouldn't be able to do that. When I had some bigger tripod mounted bins I had an rdf adaptor the worked well but I think that the tripod to hold the binoculars still while you switch from looking through the rdf to the binoculars is probably a required part. Any movement in the binoculars while you switch would defeat the point of the rdf. I only have 8x binoculars now so I don't find it difficult to march up the view through the binoculars with the naked eye view. 

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Hi all,

Thanks once again for all your responses.

I have a bit to be going on with and one of my two books recommended by members on SGL arrived today so will be more clued up once I have read it.

I will try to get along to local astronomy club and take things from there.

i have to say I was surprised at how many and how quickly people responded.  I must say it is a pleasure to be part of the SGL family knowing that everyone is so friendly and helpful.

Thank You

Angus

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If you haven't as yet purchased the telescope I would recommend that you consider something like a ED80mm astronomical refractor, this would double up as an astronomical and birdwatching instrument by the addition of an erecting prism. This is much better than trying to use a telescope designed for birdwatching as an astronomical one. An ED80 would be much more versatile for astronomical use and would probably outperform a spotting scope for birding.

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