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Hi everyone. Bought a second hand telescope yesterday. It's a Sky Watcher refractor 70mm, focal length 900mm. It only came with a 25mm eyepiece and red dot finder, that only works intermittently so today's job is trying to fix that. I believe it has an EQ1 mount according to the seller.

I tried to align the mount and we setup last night. Got some amazing views of the moon, but the mount needed adjustment on both axis to keep the view centred so will check the alignment again today.

I have ordered a 10mm eyepiece, is there anything else I need to add? Viewing will be from my garden, in the south east of the UK. it doesn't suffer too much light pollution, which is good.

I've been reading through a lot of the guides on here, very helpful and encouraging, I must say.

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I am also a beginner but I got mine just before xmas so I've had the chance to get a few bits. I'd definitely recommend both a barlow lens and a moon filter. The barlow lense doubles the power of eyepieces so its good for viewing planets and the moon filter can make the moon so much easier to observe without it hurting your eyes. Both items are relatively inexpensive.

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I would start by downloading some planetarium software. On a phone or tablet I suggest Sky Safari (I believe the most basic version is now free) and on a computer you should download Stellarium. These should help you to start learning where things are in the sky. As you need to locate things manually, you should spend a good 10 minutes at the start and end of each session just trying to spot and learn the constellations without using your telescope. Orion is a constellation most people can spot so start with that and then from there you can look for Taurus etc. The book "Turn Left at Orion" will also be useful for finding targets to look at with your telescope. 

With regards to the equipment you have, I think it is best to get some experience with your telescope and 25/10mm eyepieces and then work out what you feel needs improvement. A 32mm Plossl will maximise the field of view with your telescope, which will help with finding objects (1.84° vs 1.44° with your 25mm) and also give you a good exit pupil if you want to buy a UHC filter to get a better view of the Orion nebula.

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2 minutes ago, Pincs said:

However at the moment i don't think you'll be seeing much, I'm in the south east and the clouds just won't go away.😒

There wasn't a cloud in the sky when I went to pick it up yesterday, great I thought. As soon as it was dark I went outside and clouds everywhere! It did clear just enough later on to get a good view of the moon though.

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2 minutes ago, Ricochet said:

I would start by downloading some planetarium software. On a phone or tablet I suggest Sky Safari (I believe the most basic version is now free) and on a computer you should download Stellarium. These should help you to start learning where things are in the sky. As you need to locate things manually, you should spend a good 10 minutes at the start and end of each session just trying to spot and learn the constellations without using your telescope. Orion is a constellation most people can spot so start with that and then from there you can look for Taurus etc. The book "Turn Left at Orion" will also be useful for finding targets to look at with your telescope. 

With regards to the equipment you have, I think it is best to get some experience with your telescope and 25/10mm eyepieces and then work out what you feel needs improvement. A 32mm Plossl will maximise the field of view with your telescope, which will help with finding objects (1.84° vs 1.44° with your 25mm) and also give you a good exit pupil if you want to buy a UHC filter to get a better view of the Orion nebula.

Thanks. I've got Sky Map on my phone, we starting using that for finding constellations last year. Will check out your other suggestions.

Is there a better alternative to a red dot finder?

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2 minutes ago, Nunfa1 said:

Thanks. I've got Sky Map on my phone, we starting using that for finding constellations last year. Will check out your other suggestions.

Is there a better alternative to a red dot finder?

I would probably stick with the red dot finder, or upgrade to a better one. The Rigel quickfinder might be a good option as it gives a couple of circles to help aim rather than a single dot. The other type of finder that I find useful is a 9x50 RACI finder, but this might be a little bit heavy on your scope and upset the balance. You can get lighter 6x30 versions but in my very limited experience of small finders, I've not found them much use over a simple red dot finder and so even on a 70mm scope I might be inclined to try a 9x50. With a RACI finder you will still need a red dot type finder for the initial alignment as any angled instrument is hard to aim.

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9 minutes ago, Nunfa1 said:

Thanks. I've got Sky Map on my phone, we starting using that for finding constellations last year. Will check out your other suggestions.

Is there a better alternative to a red dot finder?

To start - and if set up properly - the red dot will be fine. But if you want to learn the sky a bit more, and a telrad finder is good for star hopping.

As you've said, the main thing you need is clear skies!

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9 minutes ago, Nunfa1 said:

Thanks. I've got Sky Map on my phone, we starting using that for finding constellations last year. Will check out your other suggestions.

Is there a better alternative to a red dot finder?

Hello and welcome !

You've obviously started properly ,there's not a telescope owner in the UK who doesn't have a wry smile at the 'May contain clouds' sticker a certain company adds to the boxes of telescopes it ships ...

Is there a better alternative to a red dot finder ? 'Course there is  🙂 However, these things are never cheap .Search for 'RDF' on here and some recent discussions on the subject have plenty of information about the options. here's a recent one to get you started:

RDF I'm sure you guessed is shorthand for red dot finder, RACI is right angled corrected image ( essentially a little telescope which flips the image to the correct way up and has a right angled viewing tube to cut out on the need to perform astro-yoga to see through the thing) and  Telrads (or Rigel quick finders ,two similar devices in different shapes) are rather better battery operated sights that give you a circle around your target rather than obscuring it .

Heather

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Hi and welcome to the best astronomy forum.
An RDF should beasy enough to fix if it is intermittent. They are little more than a red LED, variable resistor, switch and battery holder.
Intermittent faults are often revealed by a bit of poking and prodding.
The EQ mount needs a bit better setup if you have to 'chase' objects using both adjustments.
Try indoors, or at least in daylight first. Tke a look on SGL or youtube for EQ mount setting advice.
There is nothing complicated. For visual use, you don't need to be all that accurate. Near enough is good enough.

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Hi. In case no one has already mentioned it, it's worth checking clearoutside.com (or getting the app) so that you can plan your viewing sessions. So far it seems very accurate information, at least since I've been checking it.

Best of luck!

Pete

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On 23/01/2021 at 12:50, Nunfa1 said:

Thanks everyone. Only reason I asked about an RDF alternative was if I don't bring this one back to life. 

usually just something simple like a dying battery, or one of the connectors is a bit bent so not getting a good connection, otherwise, as @Carbon Brush says, there's not a lot to them. If you've not used one before, you don't need  to have your eye right up to it - first time I used one I thought it was broken, until I moved back a bit and glimpsed the light!

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On 23/01/2021 at 12:50, Nunfa1 said:

Thanks everyone. Only reason I asked about an RDF alternative was if I don't bring this one back to life. 

If it turns out to be beyond (cheap and easy) help, I'd ask nicely on here if anyone has a spare: RDFs tend to be included with most 'scopes, and a lot of folk will have upgraded a 'scope (or several) to more expensive finders, so may have a small stock tucked away somewhere . Just check that your 'scope has the standard shoe something like this

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/finders/finder-mounting-shoe.html

the old Celestron 114 I inherited does not have that, but (without looking, as I recall ...) some bolts that go through holes in  the RDF base, which is not the same as the modern standard shoe.

Heather

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I think developing skills with inferior equipment is a much under-valued strategy. I try to avoid spending money until I have got the most from what I have. Well that's the theory!

There are limits of course. The folk who spend hours grinding their own mirror have my utmost admiration but I am not in their league. 

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RDF is working, a soldering iron and contact cleaner work wonders. All aligned ok. 

Nipped out last night during a clear spell and remembered to level the tripod this time. Was able to track using 1 axis. Very slowly learning my way round the sky.

Thanks for all your help.

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Hi all. I'm also new to astronomy and am still using what is effectively a toy until the arrival of my proper scope. I have downloaded the FLO Clear Skies app and also have downloaded Nightshift. Nightshift is a bit of a basic weather forecaster but will show you optimal viewing times based on your location and if you input your telescope specs it gives recommendations of what is available to view and what magnification will offer best performance.

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14 minutes ago, BaldyMan said:

Hi all. I'm also new to astronomy and am still using what is effectively a toy until the arrival of my proper scope. I have downloaded the FLO Clear Skies app and also have downloaded Nightshift. Nightshift is a bit of a basic weather forecaster but will show you optimal viewing times based on your location and if you input your telescope specs it gives recommendations of what is available to view and what magnification will offer best performance.

Nightshift looks very useful. Thanks.

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