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Slippery, this slope, isn't it?


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Hello all

I just ordered my first telescope, a Nexstar 8 SE (very aggressive pricing on Amazon right now), and I can already tell I walked into the stargazers meth lab!  No sooner had I placed my order than I was on ebay looking for a second hand Baader zoom.  After an hour on this forum I will probably decide I need a EQ wedge, start thinking about whether to by a powerpack or make one from a car battery.  I'll be spending £200 on petrol driving to Scotland and back to find darker skies, and....well you know the drill.  To be fair, all this is with the endorsement of my missus (that makes her a "keeper") but I now know why expensive purchases are commonly referred to as 'astronomical'.

Technically its not my first scope as my son had a tiny toy refractor which, with a lot of fiddling, gave OK views of the moon but was useless for anything dim.  Then during lockdown #1 I bought a pair of binoculars, mounted them on my camera tripod and pointed them at Jupiter and behold! - a yellow disc and four little moons in a row.  Then scoot left a bit to Saturn which revealed a little rugby ball - couldn't see the rings as such, but knew it was egg shaped for a reason....anyway, that was it - hooked.

.....and as £or astro£otography, let's not mention that to the missus.  Yet.

Stan    . .  o .     . 

 

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Welcome aboard SGL Stan. Good to have you with us.

Having started with a small refractor myself and then graduated to a 8" reflector, the views will be a massive difference. Well, the difference between seeing a planet with ears, and Saturn in it's glory with visible shadows and division in the rings. You'll also get sucked deeper into the astronomy vortex when you see a black dot or two on Jupiter and realise it's the shadow of it's moons. How damn cool is that, seeing an eclipse on another planet?  Welcome aboard, it's a fantasic ride.

My conversations with my wife usually start with "Do you love me?", "Yeah... how much this time?"  Still, while I'm out under the stars, she gets to hog the settee and telly. 🤣

 

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4 hours ago, Steely Stan said:

Hello all

I just ordered my first telescope, a Nexstar 8 SE (very aggressive pricing on Amazon right now), and I can already tell I walked into the stargazers meth lab!  No sooner had I placed my order than I was on ebay looking for a second hand Baader zoom.  After an hour on this forum I will probably decide I need a EQ wedge, start thinking about whether to by a powerpack or make one from a car battery.  I'll be spending £200 on petrol driving to Scotland and back to find darker skies, and....well you know the drill.  To be fair, all this is with the endorsement of my missus (that makes her a "keeper") but I now know why expensive purchases are commonly referred to as 'astronomical'.

Technically its not my first scope as my son had a tiny toy refractor which, with a lot of fiddling, gave OK views of the moon but was useless for anything dim.  Then during lockdown #1 I bought a pair of binoculars, mounted them on my camera tripod and pointed them at Jupiter and behold! - a yellow disc and four little moons in a row.  Then scoot left a bit to Saturn which revealed a little rugby ball - couldn't see the rings as such, but knew it was egg shaped for a reason....anyway, that was it - hooked.

.....and as £or astro£otography, let's not mention that to the missus.  Yet.

Stan    . .  o .     . 

 

A mentor of mine used the term ‘cheque book astronomy’, if you have the budget without recourse then go AP. Astrophotography is a hugely rewarding persuite.

If funds are restricted then don’t rush. The night sky waits for all of us and what you have now under cloudless conditions is a great eye into the sky.

Smaller beginner outfits are often the stepping stone to much bigger more expensive equipment, only logical. But do not forget where you came from, the small wide field views are what your first Astro experience are based on.

I would say buy bigger if you can. Don’t get rid of your first scope, mine is the level that all the others are judged by. Bigger is not always better.

Marv

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It's only a slippery slope if you haven't done considerable research before deciding on the "necessary" items to acquire, otherwise like many others who get caught up in the quagmire of available gadgets and gimmicks in the marketplace, you may end up dissatisfied trying to unload undesirable items at a substantial loss.

Consider starting out slowly, and concentrate on spending your hard earned money on the best optics you can. The bottom line is, the quality of your views will be equal to the weakest link in your optical train.

Edit: Welcome to the hobby, its a great one which can last a lifetime.  :smile:

Edited by L8-Nite
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Hi Stan, welcome to SGL and a fascinating hobby. As your experience and knowledge increases so will your equipment collection. With most things in life there needs to be balance, so your bank account and savings will diminish proportionally.

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17 hours ago, Tiny Clanger said:

Welcome !

Yes the slope is slippery. Also steep and long ...

Heather

Yep, so it seems!

Heather, as you are fairly local to me (I'm Kettering) do you have any tips for slightly darker skies near to home? The light maps look terrible in the Midlands but just in case there is a tiny dot of dark you know about? ...or is that like asking a mushroom forager for their best spots? 🙂

Phil

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3 hours ago, Steely Stan said:

Yep, so it seems!

Heather, as you are fairly local to me (I'm Kettering) do you have any tips for slightly darker skies near to home? The light maps look terrible in the Midlands but just in case there is a tiny dot of dark you know about? ...or is that like asking a mushroom forager for their best spots? 🙂

Phil

Hello neighbour down the A6 :hello:

I'm on the edge of the (plague) borough of Oadby & Wigston, on the south side of (plague city) Leicester. At the moment I've not really ventured far from my own back garden apart from a trip to a rural layby with a path beyond it which I knew had a wide flat grassy margin and is arable (having curious cattle come to suss you out is bad enough in daylight ...)  That was so I could get a good  look at comet Neowise, which was lost in the glow of the city to the north from my home.

I've visited plenty of rural places in S. Leic.s / N.Northants in the course of other interests, and need to think about their possibilities for safe night time parking and openness of aspect for 'scope views. I think the Pitsford reservoir car parks are shut at night , but need to check out the Brampton Valley way : as I recall most of the car parks along there are surrounded by trees ...

I came across this group https://www.eastmidlandsstargazers.org.uk/discover/ who have a couple of locations you can pay £20 p.a. to access , but they are both north of Leicester. I've not joined them, I spend too much time on the computer as it is ...

If I find any good spots, I'll let you know, honest  !

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59 minutes ago, Tiny Clanger said:

Hello neighbour down the A6 :hello:

I'm on the edge of the (plague) borough of Oadby & Wigston, on the south side of (plague city) Leicester. At the moment I've not really ventured far from my own back garden apart from a trip to a rural layby with a path beyond it which I knew had a wide flat grassy margin and is arable (having curious cattle come to suss you out is bad enough in daylight ...)  That was so I could get a good  look at comet Neowise, which was lost in the glow of the city to the north from my home.

I've visited plenty of rural places in S. Leic.s / N.Northants in the course of other interests, and need to think about their possibilities for safe night time parking and openness of aspect for 'scope views. I think the Pitsford reservoir car parks are shut at night , but need to check out the Brampton Valley way : as I recall most of the car parks along there are surrounded by trees ...

I came across this group https://www.eastmidlandsstargazers.org.uk/discover/ who have a couple of locations you can pay £20 p.a. to access , but they are both north of Leicester. I've not joined them, I spend too much time on the computer as it is ...

If I find any good spots, I'll let you know, honest  !

Hi Heather - Plague borough made me laugh!

Pitsford West Car park (near the cycle hire shop) is locked for entry from dark, but you can get out anytime as it has those folding down flappy things - or it did last year.  I'll take the dogs round sometime this week and check.  Its quite dark there on a good cold night.

Brampton Valley way 0 there's a thought. As you say, some car parks are surrounded by trees but there is an open one just south from Great Oxenden nr Station Cottages.  Houghton Crossing down the hill from Hanging Houghton is good on 3 sides but poor looking North west.  Spratton Crossing is a bit 50/50 (but if you go across the road from the car park its very open) and can't remember what Merry Tom crossing is like.  Draughton neqr Maidwell is rubbish on all sides.  I'll have to go and have a look.  Spratton and Merry Tom are a bit near  Northampton, so might be a bit bright.  It would be quite interesting to look upwards through one of the ventilation shafts on Draughton or Oxenden tunnels - very limited view Obvs, but as black as coal all around.

I'll search around and report any good spots I hear of.

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On 02/11/2020 at 16:13, endlessky said:

When you'll get to the astrophotography part of the hobby, that's when the cash flow (out of your bank account, not in, mind you) will really start to get astronomical... 🤣

That's why I could never get into that.

Get camera and computer wouldn't accept it

Get telescope for astrophotography and blow your budget. 

Get computer and camera to accept each other and first software update breaks everything.

Spend a fortune on a working package and three days later it's "obsolete"

 

Need I go on? ...

Edited by reezeh
blow - NOT blue you darn stoopid phone! 😒
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  • 1 month later...
On 02/11/2020 at 15:48, Steely Stan said:

Hello all

I just ordered my first telescope, a Nexstar 8 SE (very aggressive pricing on Amazon right now), and I can already tell I walked into the stargazers meth lab!  No sooner had I placed my order than I was on ebay looking for a second hand Baader zoom.  After an hour on this forum I will probably decide I need a EQ wedge, start thinking about whether to by a powerpack or make one from a car battery.  I'll be spending £200 on petrol driving to Scotland and back to find darker skies, and....well you know the drill.  To be fair, all this is with the endorsement of my missus (that makes her a "keeper") but I now know why expensive purchases are commonly referred to as 'astronomical'.

Technically its not my first scope as my son had a tiny toy refractor which, with a lot of fiddling, gave OK views of the moon but was useless for anything dim.  Then during lockdown #1 I bought a pair of binoculars, mounted them on my camera tripod and pointed them at Jupiter and behold! - a yellow disc and four little moons in a row.  Then scoot left a bit to Saturn which revealed a little rugby ball - couldn't see the rings as such, but knew it was egg shaped for a reason....anyway, that was it - hooked.

.....and as £or astro£otography, let's not mention that to the missus.  Yet.

Stan    . .  o .     . 

 

Hi Stan,

I'm just up the road from you. I know the feeling about the cost even when the skies seem eternally cloudy! Astrophotography is the first drug I've ever taken and an expensive one at that :)

Mark

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