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Domcia

Choosing a gift for sky maniak

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Hello everybody.

I have a close friend who just bought his first telescope. Skywatcher 90mm. 

I would like to buy him some extra present, maybe some moon filter, or something to observe the sun, or some other lens. Or maybe just some equipment he may need is his observations.

I know he is planning to buy something bigger telescope in future and he struggles with tracking bits.

 

Any ideas what can I buy for him?

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How much is your budget? Accessories range from a few £ up to over £1,000!

If you do plump for a solar filter make sure it's an approved one that fits the front of the scope and is designed to fit that particular scope.

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That's my problem. What details do I need to give you that you can recommend me some solar filter?

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You could take the cowards way out and just get a gift voucher.

first-light-optics-gift-vouchers

Also available at other retailers:

RVO Gift Vouchers

I know it is nicer to give something yo have thought of yourself but at least that way your friend gets exactly what they need and can also contact the retailer to check they are getting the right item for their scope. 

Steve

Edited by teoria_del_big_bang
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Domica

Welcome from Land Down Under

Since he is planning in the future to upgrade, you cannot go wrong with an assortment of 1.25" filters

I have an assortment for Lunar, and viewing planets

#25A Red brings out polar caps on Mars

#38A for spot on Jupiter

ND96 for lunar viewing

The attached link gives you a description of fiters

https://www.myastroshop.com.au/guides/filters.asp

John

 

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Thank you John. I'll look at this.

What about some nice box for lenses? Or some fancy cleaning bits for telescope? Or maybe something you are all using while observations but not necessary is connected to telescope. 

Have no idea what to buy.

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If they're new to astronomy they might want a book - Turn Left At Orion is a good on to get started. Some eyepiece sets come with boxes but they tend to vary in dimension so most people go for a case with pick and pluck foam something like this https://www.cases-and-enclosures.co.uk/aluminium-flight-case-400x240x125mm should be big enough to fit all the little accessories you end up collecting.

Baader Optical Wonder https://www.firstlightoptics.com/astronomy-optics-cleaning-protection/baader-optical-wonder-set-cleaning-fluid-and-cloth.html is well thought of for cleaning. Is it a lens or mirror telescope? (Never use any fluid or cloth on a mirror)

It it only has the eyepieces that come with it he may want to upgrade at some point but I'd wait and see where his interest lies (High magnification planetary views or wide low mag deep sky)

HTH

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Thank you for all ideas! Will try ask him more what he really wants and needs. 

But too proud to tell me, man!

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Hi @Domcia and welcome to SGL. :hello2:

How about a zoom eyepiece, preferebly 8-24mm. Seben do a cheap but good one. Other brands do exist such as the Baader Planetarium mkIII or mkIV and is also one of the better ones.

If you decide on getting a moon/lunar filter, then I recommend a variable polarising filter. I use this type --->5addf27ccac70_variablemoonfilter.jpg.e490ce031fc7badb2a139b6d8384c995.jpg 

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As the scope would sound like a 90mm Maksutov then simply a wide field plossl eyepiece.

The Vixen NPL range are considered good and not as costly as the TV offerings. The NPL 30mm would be good. On FLO at £35.

Would give them the widest field they could reasonably expect, would deliver about 1.2 degree view for some of the bigger objects.

Something like the BST Starguider at 25mm would give the same. They are at the £50 mark. However would I think be a better eyepiece for a future scope. The Starguiders are an eyepiece you could collect the full set of and use for some years. Could consider that at each birthday, christmas or whatever you buy them another one. 

But for a Maksutov I suggest a low power eyepiece as the most useful. Budget is yours to decide.

Also they come in a box so easy to gift wrap.

Edited by PEMS
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I agree with the book Turn Left at Orion. That really took me forward and opened up a whole range of things to see and how to find them. Before that I didn't really know what I was doing. I would also suggest an eyepatch and some extra warm socks. 

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Sky and Telescope's "Pocket Sky Atlas": www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p193_Pocket-Sky-Atlas.html

 or, for his smartphone, "SkySafari 6 Plus"; will keep him busy in cloudy nights.

A planisphere, have a look: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/books/david-chandler-night-sky-planisphere.html

A red light torch, e.g. this: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/red-light-astronomy-torches/skywatcher-dual-led.html

Agree with the wide field Plössl, as mentioned by PEMS above.  IME, no moon filter needed for a 90 mm Maksutov (when observing details, higher magnifications will be needed, which lets the moon's image appear much dimmer).

Stephan

 

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5 hours ago, Philip R said:

Hi @Domcia and welcome to SGL. :hello2:

How about a zoom eyepiece, preferebly 8-24mm. Seben do a cheap but good one. Other brands do exist such as the Baader Planetarium mkIII or mkIV and is also one of the better ones.

If you decide on getting a moon/lunar filter, then I recommend a variable polarising filter. I use this type --->5addf27ccac70_variablemoonfilter.jpg.e490ce031fc7badb2a139b6d8384c995.jpg 

Where can i buy it?:))) Do you have any link?

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4 hours ago, PEMS said:

As the scope would sound like a 90mm Maksutov then simply a wide field plossl eyepiece.

The Vixen NPL range are considered good and not as costly as the TV offerings. The NPL 30mm would be good. On FLO at £35.

Would give them the widest field they could reasonably expect, would deliver about 1.2 degree view for some of the bigger objects.

Something like the BST Starguider at 25mm would give the same. They are at the £50 mark. However would I think be a better eyepiece for a future scope. The

 

Can you give me any links to this items??

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A lucky friend you have :smiley: Not knowing what accessories the budding astronomer has already, and no idea of budget here are a few suggestions:

  • cheap and effective seating arrangement (ironing chair, drum stool)
  • an evening accompanied under truely dark skies
  • donuts, snacks, sweeties
  • hip flask (purely medicinal use only)
  • proper red torch (not cyclist type) which can be suitably dimmed
  • S&T's pocket sky atlas
  • Baader solar film to make a solar filter
  • equipment case keeping bits and bobs in one place
  • Illustrated guide to astromnomical wonders (Book)
  • Rukl's Moon guide (Book)
  • download Stellarium (t's free)
  • sign up to SGL and ask questions and get involved till your heart's content
  • fingerless gloves, warm hat, warm socks, winter coat and boots big enough to accommodate 2 or 3 pairs of socks
  • note/sketch book, decent pencils, rubber and sharpener to take notes, make plans and sketch what is viewed
  • perhaps as much as two thirds of any given UK year will be tricky to practice visual astronomy. As such an introduction to another astro-related hobby might also be an idea. I have found sketching, pastel, acrylic tutorials, laymen science, art, humanities, history and philosophical books, scale modeling and music have all helped me to understand and appreciate this hobby even more.
  • Other lovely gifts of which a few highlights have included:

Little Planet Factory's solar system set (skip to 1:41 to 3:00).

Mova's Globes

Sky & Telescope's Mars Globe

Metal Earth Space Models (**patience needed** skip through to see space related models)

New Ware and Real Space resin models that build into impressive kits (**patience needed** not bothered about rockets but love the old satelites, Soyuz, Voskhod spacecrafts and capsules etc)

Hasegawa's Voyager (relatively easy build)

Vintage Luna Poster

And so on. Hope that helps :thumbright:

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15 minutes ago, Rob Sellent said:

A lucky friend you have :smiley: Not knowing what accessories the budding astronomer has already, and no idea of budget here are a few suggestions

And so on. Hope that helps :thumbright:

Soooo lucky to have me:))) ;)

Thank you so much for answering, the more I read about it, the more I am in to it! Soon I will probably buy some telescope for myself 😛

Edited by Domcia
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The lists above are quite amazing.  As a new telescope owner just a scant few years ago my take on the above is:  Coloured filters - got them, never used them - tried them and they are a lot of faffing with screwing on and off for very little gain esp. with such a tiny telescope.  Baader wonder fluid - some people swear by it, but unless you are cleaning mirrors which is recommended only as a last resort it probably won't see a lot of us and providing they are looked after you rarely need to clean EP or filter lenses - they tend to be recessed in their housings and EP's tend to be kept with caps on - I've never had a bottle and can't think I'd have used it even if I'd had it.   Turn left at Orion - I have a copy and have never used it - for finding stars and things to look at Stellarium on your mobile - a free download is much more useful.  Ditto for a manual planetarium.  Zoom EP - some folks like them, but I've got separate EPs and I think these are better as a zoom lens is only going to be a compromise in performance between the difference lengths.

What I have found useful:

A Medium size plastic storage container for putting everything in to carry out in the garden - not too big to get through internal doors.

Those oblong metallic 'flight cases' full of pluckable foam (you can also buy the foam separately to fit your case if not supplied) - you don't need a full blown quality flight case the lookalikes are quite useable.  I've got a lot of my stuff in those - not only for EP's

A right angled optical finder, but even better and for sheer ease of use a cheap red dot finder is a far easier thing to use - this might be the most useful thing you could buy for your friend IMHO - or both and a Y style mount to use both - which is what I have, but if only room for one on the scope I think a red dot finder is the best ever purchase.

A red light torch

A folding table to take outside

An adjustable stool like a bar stool

A Chiminea cover for the telescope if it's standing around somewhere - even inside it helps keeps it dust free.

 

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Ok my dear advising friends. I have another question.  Ive chosen couple things which I'm going to buy.

I may buy also some solar filter. Is the one from my photo any good? Or better buy the one baader solar filter? And what size of the filter I should take? Will it work also with different telescope? (My lucky friend has now skywatcher 90/900).

Screenshot_2020-02-03-14-48-46-553_com.android.browser.jpg

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19 minutes ago, Domcia said:

Or better buy the one baader solar filter?

Many people who are just starting out buy a brand new sheet of Baader solar film (I imagine you could use the A4 size) and make their own filter housing from Baader's easy to follow instructions.  That said no two end up looking the same as I found out one day when I suggested we all posted pictures of what we had all made LOL 

IMPORTANT - If your friend is going solar viewing he had best look up some of the solar threads - there is a complete solar section of SGL so they do it safely and they must make sure that they remove their finderscope unless they have also given that a suitable protector - there are special solar finders based on shadows and light dots on projected backgrounds that are used instead.  If they don't do it safely they could end up melting their eyes and also bits of their scope!

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Hi again @Domcia.

With any solar safety film filter, they do need to be checked before each and every use for defects, i.e. pinholes, tears, etc... and if using glass solar filters, scratches as well. If you or your friend do see any, no matter how small... DO NOT USE IT

Alternatively you can make on yourself for about the same price as the one you have shown. Also if the OTA includes a finderscope, you will/would need to make one for that too, or keep the end caps on it, or remove it and just aim for it. There a dedicated solar finders too. The one on my OTA is the TeleVue Sol-Searcher.

IMG_0675.thumb.JPG.61d0def85db3d5e798128ef6d95d020b.JPG

If you want to be safe then I would suggest investing in a Herschel Wedge, [only use with refractors], but you need to make sure it includes a built-in ND3.0 filter. Above is an image of my white-light solar setup - NOTE: the Herschel Wedge is nearest the camera.

Edited by Philip R

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The one accessory I could think of, that really would add another dimension in the use of the scope, would be a solar filter.

I myself is planning to get one. When observing DSO and planets, one pretty much knows what to expect.

The sun is dynamic and a living object that can be different from one time to another. Also it might double the chances to use the scope. It can be a clear day but a cloudy night. So that is my suggestion.

The BST Starguider eyepieces as earlier mentioned, are also highly recommended. Very good quality for a good price.

 

Best regards.

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