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PLEASE HELP ME - Im completely confused and New to Astronomy


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Hi ZOG, can't see Orion above and to the right, that was visible to me about 4 hours ago to the right, whatever that is it is really giving off some bright colours,

lots of reds and blues, can you see it? its very low in the sky to my east, im in Cambridgeshire

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Hi MrGlen - nice to see another Mac user :) The star you are seeing is Arcturus - the flashing of different colour is due to it's low altitude and the fact that it's light has a lot more atmosphere to get through.

James

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Hi MrGlen,

Welcome to SGL, your enthusiasm is tremendous. I look forward to you getting a scope so you can see even more.

However, I don't want to put you off or dampen that enthusiasm but .....

the images are great from that Hubble thing.

.... no matter how big a scope you buy, you will not see anything remotely like the Hubble images. The moon and the planets look fantastic (especially Saturn) but stars will still be points of light and almost all deep space objects will be very faint smudges with little detail visible.

Personally, I still find that looking at absolutely anything excites my imagination and sense of wonder - particularly objects where the light has taken millions of years to reach us. Hopefully, you will feel the same - I just wanted to prepare you for what might have been a disappointment otherwise.

Mike

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As memtioned above I would go for the aperture.

In my expperience smaller go-to's find the object but then in a light polluted backgarden you are starring at just a sky. Very few dso's are within the last grasp off a 130p.

The ones that you will see are M42, 31, 13, 27 and maybe a few more.

On the other hand a 8 or 10 inch dob once you find the object which IMO is part of the fun will look much brighter and more definded. Alot more objects are within your grasp.

I would go for Dob, atlas, red torch, chair.

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I'd second the dob, star atlas and red light and add warm clothes.

After using a GOTO mount for over a year, I've learned my way round the sky vastly better in a couple of months with my newish dob. The GOTO is now reserved for imaging.

Mike

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Nice one beamer3.6m,

Ive just come accross a new one, its a Skywatcher Skyliner 200P Dobsonian at £225,

what are they like? Any idea

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I've got one of those and they are really excellent - 200mm is a really good aperture for light grasp and detail resoloution and it still remains portable and does not take up much space (about 2 feet across the base x 4.5" tall when in the upright position). It weighs just over 40 llbs all up.

IMHO the dobsonian is the best starter scope in astronomy (although I've been at it 30+ years and owned more than 20 different scopes :) ) because it offers really decent performance and complete simplicity of operation for the lowest cost AND you need to learn a bit about the night sky which I really feel is a positive rather than a negative. It's learning a bit about the stuff that you look at that makes the hobby what it is for me.

John

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I was in the same boat as you not very long ago. Agonised for weeks, then took the plunge with a Celestron Nexstar 4slt. good little scope with goto etc. However I soon realised it's limitations, dont get me wrong great for most of our planets but thats about it due to its small 4 inch aperture. 4 weeks later after selling other stuff to raise funds i purchased my new Skywatcher 200P on a eq5. Now what a difference the extra 4 inches makes (sometimes size does matter then, despite what the ladies tell us). there is just sooo much more I can do with this scope, I dont think I will out grow this one. Well ok I've just purchased a second hand Heq5 synscan goto mount and now i'm well chuffed.My advice would be to spend your money on the optical tube and mount, forget goto for now, as most German eq mounts can have goto synscan added later as an upgrade, cost about £220. I would avoid cheap alt/az mounts altogether which are normally supplied with cheaper scopes. The mount is probably the most important piece of the whole jigsaw. If you buy a smaller scope i think you like me will soon want a bigger one and curse the day you spent your money on a smaller one.Has anyone told you about the health warning associated with astronomy yet???ADDICTION!!!!!!!PS my comments are only based on my experiences and purchases...

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I think there are some real issues you need to think about here - sorry this is a classis Astro Baby monster post :):p:laugh::lol: :lol:

1/ Portability / Storage - your quite right in seeing that phyiscial bulk will be a potential pitfall. Most people have little idea about how big a 'big' telescope can be. An 8" scope for instance starts to eat a lot of space especially if its on an equatorial mount. Its also very heavy.

The storage question creates two alternatives really;

a) You have a smallish scope thats very portable but the size means you are very restricted in what you can see.

:lol: You have a lerger scope which creates storage problems AND set-up problems - ie if you only have an hour to spare you will spend 45 minutes of the hour setting the scope up. My best is under that situation you'll never bother using it. The effort wont justify the reward. Theres an old dictum in astronomy which is 'the best telescope is one you will use' - a telescope, no matter how fantastic on paper or in the cupboard is no more use than a rolled up newspaper if you never use it.

The GoTo situation also has a clear split of alternatives which may be linked to the storage and portability issues and these are;

a) Most small GoTos will have a huge star collection in their databases. My own 4" GoTo has 40,000 objects BUT the reality is most of those objects will be all but invisible to a small 4" telescope. It has whats considered to be among the best GoTo systems around and it still takes a good 15 minutes to set up and align ( less to break it back down cos your not having to align ). So in a nutshell its quick and easy but you cant see much. Planets and the Moon and some of the brighter star clusters and galaxies but even a huge object like the Andromeda Galaxy is rendered as a faint smudge in this scope under normal skies.

B) A non-GoTo scope will have a larger aperture ( light gathering ) power as in a GoTo all the money is tied up in the electronics and less in the lenses. The downside to this is that you will spend a lot of time with a telescope that can easily resolve most of the objects up there ( dont forget even a 12" telescope will present a lot of deep sky objects as misty/smokey patches ) the downside is a beginner wil struggle to find things. So you'll have the power to resolve the Ring Nebula for instance BUT you'll have to find it. As its not a naked eye object it can be hard work. With that said when you DO find stuff its a real reward. Think of it like fishing - if everytime you threw a line in the water you got a fish it would be pretty dull. Its the challenge that makes it interesting.

The bottom line here is that to see anything other than the moon and planets takes a big chunk of either time ( you get a non GoTo and find stuff the hard way ) or money ( you get a huge telescope with GoTo ).

If your comment that your going to do it while Eastenders is on is actually correct then I really fear you will be disappointed because its just not enough time. By the time you have got the scope out, done the alignment had a quick view - it will be time to go in again.

My bet though is once you start seeing stuff you'll forget any time limits and end up out there looking skyward till 5am - assuming its not cloudy. I dont want to put people off but the quickest route for dicouragement in this game is cheap and nasty telescopes and peple being given too high an expectation of things.

On telescopes perhaps given the requirements you have the 130 on the Alt Az GoTo would be the best balance. Its relatively small, the GoTo should be fine and the 130 tube is a good all rounder able to see most things very well. Certainly the 130 tube is highly rated by lots of people and many amateurs have started with it its various forms ( mine was a 130PM). On top of that Sky-Watcher have a good rep for quality and even Sir Patrick Moore says they are ok - which is a pretty good recomendation I think you'll agree.

Personally I wouldnt let that money burn a hole in your pocket and take your time, have a word with Steve at FLO, ask around a bit more. Dont rush in because whatever you buy will be with you for some time and a beginner really needs to have the best they can afford and the one best suited to their needs.

Hoping thats helped a bit

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I wrote this review about the Explorer 130 GOTO

http://stargazerslounge.com/index.php/topic,35242.0.html

Is is a good scope with reasonable accuracy. It is easy to set up and get the GOTO running 15-20 mins. The small aperture would limit what can be seen in a light polluted sky. It does not take up much space even when fully set up.

Personally, for the money I would buy an 8inch dobsonian and enjoy better images of the objects.

Mike

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Thank you everyone for all of your advice, most kind.

Especially you Astro_Baby after that essay you compiled.

My back garden has very little light pollution and when the sky is clear from cloud cover you can see so many things. Would this mean that the 130P GOTO would be ok for me?

Thank you all again for your input, much appreciated

Cheers

Glen

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Dobs are so simple and easy to set up and use. I was lucky to get my object locator (its goto but not motorized. you just zero in the coords. its very, very easy) for free on my dob cuz orion had a deal at the time. so if u like to be hands on and not looking to be taking images get a dob. my friend and I are both beginners so we always use my dob over his scope which is on an equatorial mount

also - Truemartian on youtube has some ok 'amateur astronomy for beginners' videos

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I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped me in my decision for my first telescope.

Having spoken to Steve at FLO who was extremely helpful, i have ordered a skywatcher skyliner 200P 8" Dobsonian.

Finally after weeks and weeks of looking, learning and late nights. Yippeee

Thanks

MrGlen

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I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped me in my decision for my first telescope.

Having spoken to Steve at FLO who was extremely helpful, i have ordered a skywatcher skyliner 200P 8" Dobsonian.

Finally after weeks and weeks of looking, learning and late nights. Yippeee

Thanks

MrGlen

A great choice too.

You will love the views this baby will give you.

Enjoy.

Ron. :)

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