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Hi All

Firstly many thanks for all the advice given over the last couple of weeks, finally took the plunge and brought a Explorer 150p.

Arrived yesterday set up not too bad, pretty quick, whilst building noticed that Jupiter and Saturn both in a clear sky although not completely dark, amazed that i had actually set up the finder scope well, a little focus and wow Jupiter along with its moons, dont know what i was exactly expecting but the sight was great, quickly went over to Saturn the detail took my breath away, and not even pitch black yet.

I suppose being a complete novice wanted to look at everything at once, checked the time, gone midnight could have stayed out there all night, but for work.

Does anyone have suggestions on what to look for? 

Once again thanks to everyone for their help

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I'm sorry, but I don't know what 'scope you have.

Have you go Stellarium up and running?

That gives you a good idea of what is up at the mo.

You can turn on the deep sky objects.

If you have a little search online, there are monthly astronomy guides that can be useful.

The popular astronomy mags have a central section on things to see.

Hercules, Lyra and Cygnus are three prominent constellations to the South at the moment.

M13 in Hercules is rather splendid.

The Double Double and the ring nebula in Lyra are definitely worth a look.

Albireo is a lovely "double" in Cygnus and close by is the Dumbbell Nebula.

That's a few to get you started!

Edited by bingevader
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Glad to hear your report., Plumb.

Not wanting to overload you but for Jupiter you might find this site useful: https://shallowsky.com/jupiter/ and for Saturn: https://www.skyandtelescope.com/wp-content/plugins/observing-tools/saturn_moons/saturn.html

Other than that, if you haven't already get yourself a nice map (pocket sky atlas is extremely useful) and may I suggest just drifting slowly from Sagittarius up on over and through Cygnus before bedtime. There are enough wonders to behold to fill a thousand sweet dreams 🙂

Edited by Rob Sellent
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I can second Rob on that, great report. I know the planets are lower than previous years but that means nothing to you, they are incredible and your comments are spot on.

As for what to see, as a person new to this amazing pastime, I would say work with situation in front of you.

For instance, if you are in a new moon period (ie no moon) try for some deep space objects like globular clusters. Planets of course, try to really pick out the weather on Jupiter and look out for the Great Red Spot. The four main moons are visible but try if your seeing is good, to pick out a transit or shadow transit on the surface of Jupiter which is a moon travelling across the planets disc or a shadow cast onto the planet from a moon.

As for Saturn I feel your main aim is to try and see the Cassini division in the rings if conditions allow. Use colour filters if you have them and find with trial and error which one gives your eye the best detail.

As previously mentioned download planetarium software if you have a pc, some great ones free on the web.

If you have clear skies but the moon is bright, do not despair..... look at it and wonder, it is magnificent.

My last bit of advice is to try to never miss a clear night. If you have ten in a row get out there ‘ten in a row’. It’s only after two months of unbroken cloud and rain you regret that clear night you couldn’t be bothered with two months earlier.

Good luck, a little effort and the reward will be with you for ever.


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Just to add the the great suggestions here, try looking at Mizar and Alcor in Ursa Major, then upping the power and splitting Mizar. you could also aim for Eta Cassiopeia for another nice double.

The double cluster in Perseus is one of my favorite things to look at in the sky, go in on low power and see how many stars you can count.



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