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RookieReport#1: First light for both scope and observer

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My wife and I have always been intrigued by the universe, devouring all kinds of documentaries for many years. Despite that, I have never owned a telescope. I have been looking up with my handy 8x32 bino, but it is really too small for such a purpose.

After watching “The Planets” on BBC I thought it was time to finally buy something bigger. I quickly found this forum, and startet to ask around HERE. I ended up purchasing a used SW Mercury 705 set on an az-3 mount for a mere £35. On Friday the 13th it finally arrived, and here is my first evening with it:

My first thought was how incredibly lightweight it all was! I could easily pick it all up with one arm and carry it around. The whole setup is quite small, so I think I might even be able to fit it in my closet, and it turned out it was a breeze to operate it out on my tiny balcony. The manual was missing, but putting everything together was fairly straight forward, so I was ready to go in a couple of minutes.

The whole day it had been a clear blue sky, but of course the clouds came creeping after dark. I quickly set up, and went straight for Jupiter. The red dot worked well, and I viewed Jupiter for 0,5 seconds before a cloud came. It never left. Darn! Oh well, next target was Saturn. I had the stock 25 mm eye piece, and it worked well, but at magnification 20x Saturn was just a tiny dot. I switched to the 10 mm, and realized it was terribly dirty. Fingerprints, dirt and dust. I didn’t have proper cleaning equipment, so I didn’t dare to do anything about it, but tried it anyways. I saw rings! What a moment! Still only 50x through a dirty eye piece with quite a bit of light pollution and a somewhat cloudy night, but I saw rings! Couldn’t be happier.

I spent some time there, getting to know the scope. I realized that the eye piece moved a bit when I focused (is that what is called backlash?). I tried adjusting the screws on the focuser, seemed like it became a little better. Before I realized it, a full hour had passed. It got even more cloudy, so called it a day.

All in all, a great first light!

Now I just have to clean that eye piece..

Edited by grjsk
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Congrats on first light! Sounds like you have a great convenient setup there to give you many nights of enjoyment.

You never forget your first Saturn viewing! :)


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