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I've been on these forums a couple of times for the last 2 weeks and ive found amazing advice, on telescopes, mounts and eyepiece. Besides reading countless of information on the internet about various equipments; pros and cons; and i got some queries about how to upgrade my setup.
My original purchase was a 15x70 Celestron Binoculars last year, and boy ive seen amazing things with it, specially globular clusters, Jupiter and Saturn and the Orion's Nebula; for me these were amazing; i still use them given how easy it is to look at the sky with them and how bright and full everything looks. A couple of months ago i got a 70x400mm Gskyer Telescope with an AZ mount (The cheap 99$ one that Amazon is displaying on all its adds for the last two months) it came with a 25mm and a 10mm eyepieces as well as a x3 barlows (which i didnt even count as part of my scope as it is too bad quality and i havent managed a single decent view with it).
Currently My Celestron Binoculars (x15) seem better for visualizing the sky than the 25mm eyepiece (x16) (things seem a very bit dimmer). And since the Barlow is a "no go", the 10mm (x40) eyepiece is what i really use, it has decent zoom and detailed views , it is my go to eyepiece most of the nights.
However from reading all around, ive read that most of the stuff that come with the Telescope (aside from the scope itself) are actually really bad quality, specially no name brands without even webpage, so if i were to maximise my telescope i should update some of those items.
-Recently i ordered a new Start diagonal to replace to default one (ive heard on Refractors its usually the weakest link next to eyepieces) as well as an economic x2 Barlow lens
Keep in mind i recognize my 70mm cheap telescope will not suddendly become the Hubble Telescope, and that it doesnt matter how hard i push it, in the end such a low scope will be bound to hit its limit pretty fast, thats why i avoid 70$+ eyepieces and barlows for now.
I expect to keep using this telescope for a good couple of months; at least until around August, when Jupiter and Saturn are more in the night sky, rather than morning.
Now, im very satisfied with my current telescope; while the phone mount is garbage and the phone weight and the sound of my heartbeats pretty much shake the telescope out of position, as well as how cheap the mount is; it still gets the job done for seeing interesting stuff in the sky and i have managed to do some AP for some of the globular clusters, bunch of 1-2s images (with the wrong lens), not the best, not even good pictures; but decent overall for my equipment. I am currently interested in stargazing in general and some minor AP (as i dont have a camera, currently an Iphone 7s with the mount) Buuut im interested in borrowing a camera for the low sky photos without a telescope.
I do most 97% of my Skywatching on my backyard, i live in a small country, there is some light pollution, but i can see the pleiades and the orion's nebula core on the naked eye most nights (so i guess its not that contaminated lol)
Now; currently i like finding stuff by myself and show it to the other people around me who cant be bothered to find the moon in the sky, so setting up, finding and seeing stuff is part of what i like.
With all the above in mind..... Id like to plan ahead for my next purchases.
First, im thinking a x3 barlow lens (to replace the original crappy one) and a 15mm lens (to have a bit better view than the 10mm, but less spread than the 25mm) in two or three months (with this id be able to check if my new eyepiece outperforms my default ones, but given the quality of the scope, i dont expect this to be noticeable).
And Afterwards id love to get a new Scope, but im not quite sure what i want... and i would like some advice and help in choosing my next Scope upgrade.
-I entered with and im liking the refractors; however i dont wanna spend 300-400$ on another refractor that is 20-30% better for triple the price
-Ive heard really long focal lenght might bring some distortions; and also make the scope much bulkier, annnd most importantly i know that magnification is not everything; so a 1000mm long tube would prob bring too much magnifications for me to use properly on my backyard skies. So i think id settle for a maximum of 600-700mm.
-Originally i was againts Newtonians in general, those inverted views scared me, i have a hard time of my own with my finderscope. Then i found out that Reflectors are the name of efficiency as they have more value per aperture than refractors; and as someone once mentioned "There is not really up and down in space, you will get used to it" annnd its true... save for references on the ground, like buildings, trees and mountains to help you locate where you are in the sky; once you are on it, you dont need right ups and downs.
-I did see some 90mm Orion's Refractors as well as 90-102 Celestron Astromaster Refractors (these are 350-400$)
-Im thinking a 130mm reflector is what im looking for; i think the 130mm aperture is a nice upgrade for my 70mm, and will keep me occupied for quite a long time; ive read about Orion SpaceProbe 130EQ and Celestron Astromaster 130EQ (ive also read, Power Seekers and Astromaster's are made out of pretty much garbage lol) Ive read that the main issue is the constant collimation required for them; but ive also read its something that can be learned and once you get used to it; its a pretty easy thing to do to keep getting amazing views.
-Ive also seen people recommending 6-8'' Dobsonians; i know the deal with them; if anything i could aim for a 6'' one i found a litter under 300$ ive read they are amazing values for their aperture
So, TL;DR: I have a 70x400mm Telescope, im new to stargazing, im really amazed and excited by what im seeing with my current scope, but would like an stable upgrade before the end of the year that will last me a year or two. I am interesteted both in regular and deep sky stargazing and astrophotography; im not currently interested in an motorized mount; could deal with a regular Equatorial mount. But overall i am looking for more aperture (100-150mm) to have clearer views; than focal lenght for zoom.
Im also open to the fact that at one point i might have to get a scope for stargazing and another for AP; but would like an upgrade that could help me all around for both while i get initiated.
Sorrry for the Huuuuuuuuge post, i was very excited while writing it; please let me know what you think and if there's anything else you'd want me to add to help understand my situation, thanks in advance!
After a day of mixed weather skies looked very clear Thursday 11/3 so headed out around 9pm to take advantage of a moonless night.
Walking in straight from bright lights seeing & transparency were looking good - double cluster & beehive were naked eye visible with direct vision and some Messier dustiness in Auriga with an averted view. I had a vague plan to have a proper go at the Leo Triplet & had spent a bit of time on stellarium to plan how to star-hop in via Chertan & L73. First though I North aligned SynScan on Sirius and Mars (the top 2 suggestions thrown up by the app) & slewed to the the Pleiades to check alignment, which was good. Couldn't resist having a look at the double cluster from there which was so crisp and deep, then via M34 also looking good, to M42 (of course).
The Orion nebula was the best I've seen it yet, looking directly at the Trapezium I could see 5 stars & real cloudy swirls above and below, panning upward there was a hint of dust in the running man area, couldn't discern the running man shape, but haven't seen this much before. Moving on up, Sigma Orionis was such a perfect little system & I toyed with the idea of binning galaxy hunting altogether and going after some close Doubles - Sirius even looked quite steady. I resisted as dark adaption was by now starting to work, before leaving the area though I had a quick go at finding M79, a low-down globular in Lepus most of which constellation was just about visible merging into the LP above the centre of town to the South. I keyed it into the GoTo & was surprised by a short slew to the E. Looking in the eyepiece I saw...something, very faint, grey glow around two dim fuzzy stars with a hint of dark lane between, not the expected Globular - checking again it turned out that I had entered M78 by mistake but there it was, a bonus nebula - not visually spectacular but nice to find & fascinating to look-up later. I made a quick sketch to confirm and tried for M79, but no, far too low by now.
I figured night vision was by now good enough to have a crack at the Leo Triplet and took a GoTo to Regulus & centred. I had manually added Chertan and 73 Leonis to the app and duly centred them to get the best possible local alignment. Putting L73 in the top L of the field I should be able to pick up M66 bottom right. I couldn't be sure so moved in a pattern around & picked up a fuzz patch. Small adjustments gave me a field with two luminous patches to L & R with a star at the top, I couldn't work this out and they were faint enough to be on the borders of imagination. Everything passed behind a bank of thin cloud for a few moments and I used the time to sketch (incredibly roughly) what I had seen so far. As the cloud cleared away it weirdly helped confirm that the two luminous patches were absolutely real & I gave them a bit more concentrated attention with averted vision. As I did so a third area top R of field made itself vaguely apparent. My expectation management on galaxies is now starting to get a bit more realistic so I let this one sit for a while and added its general position to my sketch. Still baffled by the field related to what I was sure was L73 I made as good a sketch as I could of both the EP & finder fields for later confirmation ( struggling with glasses on/off, red headtorch & not wanting to fire up the bright phone app as magnitude was so marginal).
I took a last long look and resolved to figure it out with the atlas & app back home. I later realised that what I had done is, after panning around, manage to confuse the star L73 with a fainter close by star (HD98388-apparently) and had absolutely been looking at all three galaxies in the Leo Triplet - the sketch, although crude, gave me no doubt that I had landed in the right spot this time, just the satisfaction was deferred until I was back inside - something I am fast learning goes with the territory of galaxy hunting with a small scope!
36 Million light years though, a new personal space-travel record
I moved on to other Leo Messier galaxies & took a quick look at M95 & M96 which I found relatively easily, a dim pair of headlights but no detail, then wandered across to Makarian's chain and marvelled at the sheer number of little fuzzy signatures that wouldn't resolve to points. Concentration was waning a bit by this stage so I decided to save trying to identify precisely what I was seeing to another night when I could be out later and see them higher out of the murk.
I finished with the Mak back on M81 & 2 which looked bright by comparison and gave hints of some spiral & shading detail on this night of exceptional transparency - amazing crisp view with them both in the widest field the Mak can deliver (just over 1 degree with a 24mm Baader Hyperion fixed, 63x).
As I packed up the scope the naked eye panorama was just fab and seemed after so much dim fuzzy concentration, incredibly bright. I finished with a 15 minute tour of open clusters with a pair of 10x50s that was really stunning. So many stars in the double cluster, the Alpha Perseii , Pleiades, Hyades & Orion's belt just gorgeous whilst the Beehive lived up to its name like a swarm of fireflies.
Starting to enjoy galaxy hunting for its own sake but for sheer beauty the binoculars had it tonight. A great couple of hours that left my mind in time & space for a long while after I got back.
This is another finished target for this season.
I (quite) recently bought a TS Photoline 102 ED with FPL53 which performs surprisingly well for a doublet. So I put it to tests and imaging, in parallel with an older FPL51 AstroProfessional 102 ED doublet.
The blue color correction is much better in the newer TS. I shoot luminance often with both and then take the highlights from the better scope.
For this image I also used some older data that I had available, shot with a 130PDS, but that maybe only made my life more difficult. Not that otherwise I shot data through the refractors in a single panel with reducers/correctors, but also in 2 panels with no reducing correctors. Same about the RGB. Some shorter exposures from the backyard, some from a dark site, most of the G data from a dark site, B and R from home (clouds came in at the dark site) and a lot of other adventures.
But in the end I managed to put them all together and made an image out of them.
You can watch it in full resolution and see other details on astrobin: Great Orion Nebula
Hello, here is my latest image from my remote observatory in Finland. You can see larger version in my blog:
Taken with SkyWatcher Esprit 100mm f/5.5, ZWO ASI1600MM-C, EQ6 guided with ASI224MC as finder-guider, TS Optics LRGB filters.
L: 128x120s, R: 50x120s, G: 45x120s, B: 45x120s. Total integration time is approx. 9 hours.
C&C welcome as always.
The Witch Head Nebula, aka IC2118 & NGC1909 in the constellation Orion, near the star Rigel.
This object is very large in the sky, being 3°×1°, so I had to use my smallest telescope to deliver the wide angle and low power needed to image all of the "Witches" profile.
This is a very difficult object to image using a DSLR, and a dark sky is needed to capture it in it's full glory. I thought that I'd give it a go with my DSLR, and see what I end up with... I'm happy that the end result in my image shows the shape of the "Witch Head" but I think that the overall image will not be winning any awards.
This image has been exposed through a 80mm refractor @ 500mm FL, using my cooled and full spectrum modded DSLR for a total exposure time of 12 hours and 34 minutes, in a semi-rural, Bortle 5 (maybe 4) sky.