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Oh well here goes.

back in the distant days of 2012/3 we bought our first telescope, a Celestron Nexstar 6SE, we got it from FLO who were really helpful and gave great advice . it was on at a sale price , I seem to remember.. Not long after this I got promoted which meant really extensive travel, and shortly after that I had a Heart attack in the Netherlands. The telescope sat in the cupboard and didn't get used. Once recovered I was back into the travelling to what seemed like a different country and airport every few days. I decided that it was time to take an early retirement in 2019 and then worked with the business in order to facilitate the retirement which took nearly one year. Finally the time came at the end of the fiscal year in March 2020 to take the early retirement..

My wife suggested we should now get the telescope out of the loft.

Out it came. After a few hours it was all assembled. I then tried to attach the Starsense. Released the original handset,  and tried to plug in the Starsense one. After some swearing, I gave up had a coffee and set about attaching the starsense camera to the Tube. Odd the screws just go round and round , (there followed more swearing)- That will be because they are too small. After some checking on the web and indeed here, I found that they are indeed too short as suspected and that the early starsense kits, didn't have the longer screws in the pack 😒.  Went back to the handset to try again and it popped on first time with no problems and no swearing.

So that was that then. Back on went the red dot finder which I couldn't line up with the scope. Sunday night arrived and we took the telescope out into the Garden with some charged batteries. There were a few stars out but we had little idea which. Eventually we managed to get one in the view finder then another , then another , then something came across the field of view moving at an amazing speed. switching to the Binoculars we caught our first sighting of the ISS, which we could confirm with an app. My word this was getting exciting. Looking at the star chart : we had no app ,we thought the big bright star was Arcturus. To be really truthful, it was amazing whatever it was. The more we looked the more we saw. It was getting darker and the whole sky was opening up to a mass of tiny lights. I had seen pictures but never anything like this. The best night sky we ever saw was in Kenya, so dark, I had never seen so many stars. Now this experience was just as inspiring and indeed very humbling - we went to bed that night like little kids....................................................

The next problem arrived, Firmware update- I was not looking forward to that at all, but with help from some guys here and once again the support of Dr Lee at David Hinds , I, had to order some cables which duly arrived a day later, thanks Celestron and Wide Screen,  great service.  I charged up some rechargeable batteries and we are all up to date. I then saw on the web a fix for the red dot with a little piece of cardboard - Success and no swearing. (You may have gathered by now that any kind of DIY job etc in our house is measured by the amount of swearing involved in their completion, it's a form of Parkinson's Law),  - All lined up, the little cardboard trick worked.  - Then another brainwave, after getting the screw dimensions for the starsense attachment from Daniel at David Hinds,:- check the Man's : it might be useful one day drawer; full of nuts ,bolts and screws - More success a pair of stainless screws which were the perfect size. The plan was to get out later that night to do the alignment with the starsense. At around 9ish we saw the Moon, lets go  take a look with the telescope. try as I might I could not get the moon in the eyepiece. Off came the starsense and on went the red dot. realigned it on a telegraph pole, put the dot on the Moon and bingo!  There it was - The moon in fantastic glory, I nonchalantly asked my wife if she wanted to have a look at the Moon, knowing full well that she would be amazed. Amazed she was ! We played around with different eye pieces and found the 25mm to be best for us., we just watched and watched, trying to identify craters, we lost track of time moving the telescope around looking at other stars and a few final glimpses of the Moon. The batteries were getting low and so were ours. Our second time observing and again amazing.

The Telescope eats batteries, Power supply ordered, again thanks for the advice. I hope I have put this post in the right forum and will update it with our experiences with the telescope and observing, Now it will have to be a little bit more serious, we will align the starsense and use it to get to know our way around the sky - The more we look the more we see.

Stay safe everyone and thanks for all the help, encouragement and advice.

D

 

 

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Not much done I'm afraid, We are waiting for the power supply to arrive.  Once that does we can align the Star sense and off we go., Looking forward to that.

 

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3 hours ago, Kluson said:

Sorry , nothing to report, cloud and rain ever since the power supply arrived. Think I need to used to this, 🙂

 

It's always the way. I bought a new telescope last August, and I think I had weather good enough five times between then and February. Being retired, you at least won't have the constraint any more of curtailing an evening's viewing so you are capable of working the next day - enjoy your retirement!

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The 6SE is a great little scope ... with one really irritating habit.  I mention this merely to forewarn you before your power supply arrives ... some of them have a glitch with the power socket making it a bit loose, which can cause the power to cut out as the scope changes position (more during slewing than tracking). There are two relatively simple solutions to this. The more permanent one is to get a small screwdriver and "spread" the centre connecting bit inside the socket. As a person whose DIY ability could be written on the front of a postage stamp without defacing it, I avoided this "highly risky" exercise and went for the other option ... a roll of electricians tape. By taping the power cable across the base of the mount, it prevented any "wobble" at the plug end as the scope moved and it performed perfectly. You may not have this problem (not all of them do), but at least you won't start panicing if you plug it in and the first thing that happens when you slew it is that it stops.

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On 05/06/2020 at 04:43, Demonperformer said:

The 6SE is a great little scope ... with one really irritating habit.  I mention this merely to forewarn you before your power supply arrives ... some of them have a glitch with the power socket making it a bit loose, which can cause the power to cut out as the scope changes position (more during slewing than tracking). There are two relatively simple solutions to this. The more permanent one is to get a small screwdriver and "spread" the centre connecting bit inside the socket. As a person whose DIY ability could be written on the front of a postage stamp without defacing it, I avoided this "highly risky" exercise and went for the other option ... a roll of electricians tape. By taping the power cable across the base of the mount, it prevented any "wobble" at the plug end as the scope moved and it performed perfectly. You may not have this problem (not all of them do), but at least you won't start panicing if you plug it in and the first thing that happens when you slew it is that it stops.

Hiya

 Thanks for the tip, As an ex touring sound engineer , I really like everything tidy. I have used some Velcro cable wraps to secure both the power lead to the telescope and also the cable from the star sense to the base :-)  it's the OCD in me surfacing :-). Thanks so much for the tip though!

Clear skies and stay safe and well

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On 04/06/2020 at 17:41, Shimrod said:

It's always the way. I bought a new telescope last August, and I think I had weather good enough five times between then and February. Being retired, you at least won't have the constraint any more of curtailing an evening's viewing so you are capable of working the next day - enjoy your retirement!

Thanks so much for your kind post. It certainly seems to be the way it goes.  Just waiting fora clear night now

Clear skies and stay safe and well

D

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Wow, we got out last night. 🙂 . First attempts at aligning with the StarSense failed. We were too close to the house. !After a move further out into the Garden we had success. The preliminary alignment was completed. Next came the Calibration. Pick a star????? With our level of experience picking a named star was a little tricky. The phone app ( Sky Portal) doesn't look like the sky does it !  😞 plus the fact we couldn't find the constellations in the Sky portal ( Have now switched on constellation names in settings 🙂 )  Great we found Ursa Major and we found Dubhe.. The scope slewed a little and the moment of truth. I ventured a look into the 32mm eyepiece and Bang there it was - A Star  "Dubhe" We then followed the instructions given by Celestron  to calibrate. Which we managed to do without any issue using both the 32mm and  13mm eyepieces. We were sorted. Wow. what to look at next. This is indeed the difficult bit, we stuck around Ursa Major.  Then we realised things were getting a little blurry - DEW. What a disaster, we also realised that it was 12-45 and my wife had to get up for work in the morning. Tired and elated we decided to call it a night.  Big Lessons of the Night -

1. Order a Dew shield  and heater.

2. Learn our way around the sky

Number one is very easy, place an order with favourite supplier and wait a couple of days. Number 2 is a little more tricky and will require a little more patience and understanding, but can be done, might just take a little longer. We decided not to go out again with the telescope, until we have the Dew protection., we will use the time trying to identify the night sky and use our binoculars. We saw some shooting stars and satellites last night too , it would be good to know what they are.

It was really great to get out, shame about the Dew issue, but that can be resolved. Also the telescope alignment may not be spot on; not sure how much of that is down to not being able to see so well because of dew build up, but next time we can go through the process again. This really is amazing, just looking at a star and knowing it's name and the information  about it  is amazing. Just thinking how long that light took to get here is mind blowing. We really are hooked now and can't wait for the next chance to get out 🙂

 

Bye for now, stay safe and well and we wish you clear skies

D

 

 

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1 minute ago, wookie1965 said:

Download Stellarium free astronomy software that will help a lot and get yourself a Planisphere that will show you what is in the sky on any date and time. You can get a pdf of Celestron alignment stars here  https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/427603-list-of-alignment-stars-grouped-by-constellation/

Good luck 

Paul

Many thanks Paul, Planisphere ordered. Thanks very much indeed

Cheers

D

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Learning the sky does take a bit of time and effort, but it is worth it. A few things to try from Ursa Major (as you have found that!)

* Follow the 'pointers' the wrong way and you will come to a bright star - Regulus in Leo. Leo is a great constellation, because it is one of the few constellations that does look vaguely like the object it is supposed to represent. Contains two great 'triplets' of galaxies and (one that can be easily overlooked) NGC 2903 just off from the 'nose' of the lion.

* Follow the curve of the bear's tail and you will come to a bright red star. This is Arcturus in Bootes (a massive, but pretty obscure constellation, truth be told) which does contain some interesting double stars.

* Continue the curve beyond Arcturus and you come to another reasonably bright (white) star - Spica in Virgo, which is the largest constellation in the sky and contains thousands of galaxies, many within the range of a small telescope. It has a sort of 'Y' shape and the 'bowl' of the Y is where you will find them.

There you go ... three constellations to look for. Find them once and they become a lot easier. Orion is another great 'signpost' later in the year. As you find constellations, just start to fill in the gaps. This time next year, you will be navigating the night sky like a pro.

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25 minutes ago, Demonperformer said:

Learning the sky does take a bit of time and effort, but it is worth it. A few things to try from Ursa Major (as you have found that!)

* Follow the 'pointers' the wrong way and you will come to a bright star - Regulus in Leo. Leo is a great constellation, because it is one of the few constellations that does look vaguely like the object it is supposed to represent. Contains two great 'triplets' of galaxies and (one that can be easily overlooked) NGC 2903 just off from the 'nose' of the lion.

* Follow the curve of the bear's tail and you will come to a bright red star. This is Arcturus in Bootes (a massive, but pretty obscure constellation, truth be told) which does contain some interesting double stars.

* Continue the curve beyond Arcturus and you come to another reasonably bright (white) star - Spica in Virgo, which is the largest constellation in the sky and contains thousands of galaxies, many within the range of a small telescope. It has a sort of 'Y' shape and the 'bowl' of the Y is where you will find them.

There you go ... three constellations to look for. Find them once and they become a lot easier. Orion is another great 'signpost' later in the year. As you find constellations, just start to fill in the gaps. This time next year, you will be navigating the night sky like a pro.

Thanks so much, That is brilliant advice.  Exactly the kind of thing we need. We both really appreciate your kind post. So glad I found this place and thanks for your continued advice. it really is great

 

Thanks and all the best

Dave and Lou.

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I learnt the sky before having a telescope mainly with binoculars (that and growing up as a kid in an area with reasonably dark skies). But if you can afford a reasonable pair of 10x50 bins, it'll give you a head-start, especially if you suffer from light pollution. When I say reasonable, £50 is more than enough. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

still waiting on the Dew shield. I can assure you all that the moment it arrives,  we will be in for cloudy weather. This I have learnt already 🙂

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Wow , Last night  we saw Jupiter and the major moons and Saturn for the first time though our little Celestron SE6. Even with this little telescope we could see the rings well . It really was breathtaking. We went through a number of eyepieces. we finally had a 25mm Celestron  and a 2x Barlow, This gave a good compromise. The dew shield worked well.  (A great investment), We were just looking mouths agape, we had never seen this before.  It was truly breathtaking experience.

The telescope needs proper alignment though, I had to find both Saturn and Jupiter manually, which whilst a bit of a faff , actually made the experience all the better, It was amazing when the blurred out white blob came into view. A few twists  of the focus knob and bang - There was Saturn with the rings and Moons.

What a Night - Still Buzzing 🙂

 

 

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