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Morning all!

 

I've always loved staring up at the skies, especially when I've been in some truly dark places out in the mountains or in the middle of the ocean (I work offshore). More recently after dabbling with and getting very frustrated by a very cheap kids telescope we bought for our youngsters and an old refractor on an incredibly wobbly lightweight camera tripod donated by my wife's uncle I've decided to take the plunge and invest in something a tiny bit better.

 

I'm fortunate to live on the south coast in Exmouth with relatively dark skies, if the bug really bites then Dartmoor is not so far away. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to view, the moon and planets for sure, beyond that there is a whole mystery of nebulae and M objects and DSOs to figure out, which I would love to see and be able to show the kids, though how much is practical without spending thousands on something too bulky to store I don't know yet! I suspect a refractor is preferred as the added hassle of regular collimation is something I can do without (those pesky kids eating up free time!) and probably not an EQ mount as there is the tiny problem our house blocks any view of Polaris...

 

Anyway I look forward to taking part in the forums and drawing on the wealth of knowledge and ideas there are within. Thank you!

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Hi and welcome to the forum! With dark sky there's a lot that you can see. Usually people will recommend you to get a 6 or 8 inch dobsonian for deep sky viewing since you can see more with a bigger aperture (but collimation is required for a dobsonian!) For lunar, planetary and maybe some bright DSOs a refractor will do fine. 

Anyway, enjoy yourself here! 

Zhi Qi

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Welcome. Hope you (and the kids?) have lots of fun. 🙂

Don’t rule out the second hand market - on this forum, for example, not eBay!

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1 hour ago, Floater said:

Don’t rule out the second hand market - on this forum, for example, not eBay!

Thanks all! Yes, I've been browsing the major shop websites over the last couple of months and given the lack of stock I'd figured 2nd hand was the most likely route. Which was more or less how I then found SGL... And given as a newbie I'd expect to try different kit before settling on what works best for me, pre-loved does make more sense. 

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On 12/04/2021 at 08:55, chrispj said:

Morning all!

 

I've always loved staring up at the skies, especially when I've been in some truly dark places out in the mountains or in the middle of the ocean (I work offshore). More recently after dabbling with and getting very frustrated by a very cheap kids telescope we bought for our youngsters and an old refractor on an incredibly wobbly lightweight camera tripod donated by my wife's uncle I've decided to take the plunge and invest in something a tiny bit better.

 

I'm fortunate to live on the south coast in Exmouth with relatively dark skies, if the bug really bites then Dartmoor is not so far away. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to view, the moon and planets for sure, beyond that there is a whole mystery of nebulae and M objects and DSOs to figure out, which I would love to see and be able to show the kids, though how much is practical without spending thousands on something too bulky to store I don't know yet! I suspect a refractor is preferred as the added hassle of regular collimation is something I can do without (those pesky kids eating up free time!) and probably not an EQ mount as there is the tiny problem our house blocks any view of Polaris...

 

Anyway I look forward to taking part in the forums and drawing on the wealth of knowledge and ideas there are within. Thank you!

Welcome, and hi.

These days it is not necessary to see Polaris for polar alignment.

You could look at something called drift alignment.

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1 hour ago, iapa said:

Welcome, and hi.

These days it is not necessary to see Polaris for polar alignment.

You could look at something called drift alignment.

That's an interesting idea I hadn't considered,  thanks! Something else to ponder...

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1 hour ago, iapa said:

Welcome, and hi.

These days it is not necessary to see Polaris for polar alignment.

You could look at something called drift alignment.

It’s not a “new” process, precedes all these electrical mounts by some tim

https://sites.google.com/site/openphdguiding/phd2-drift-alignment

PHD2 is free and is the go to choice for guiding.

and you don’t need a go to mount, manual equatorials will also work - although, obviously, it won’t track :)

Edited by iapa
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Welcome to the forum.

On 12/04/2021 at 07:55, chrispj said:

probably not an EQ mount

Irrespective of pole star visibilty, unless you really want to start off with imaging, an alt-azimuth mount is usually simpler for new starters to get the hang of. You can choose from completely manual versions or ones with computerized goto/tracking. The extra tech obviously costs, but tracking can be very useful if you're sharing sessions with family.

 

On 12/04/2021 at 07:55, chrispj said:

a refractor is preferred as the added hassle of regular collimation is something I can do

You'll find many threads from beginners where a refractor has been recommended, and much can be seen with them under reasonable skies. A shorter one (faster focal ratio) would be a good compromise if you're not sure what kind of objects you might want to pursue.  But also be aware that there are quite a few smaller reflectors that have fixed primary mirrors and require little or no collimation.

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Hi @chrispj and welcome to SGL. :hello2:

Depending on what you want to view depends on what 'scope you go for. Unfortunately no 'scope does all in this hobby.
I have a 70mm refractor and two catadioptric reflectors... i.e. a 105mm Maksutov and a 6" SCT.

One of the most popular 'scopes is this... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-200p-dobsonian.html

As you are new, I would have a look/read this... https://www.firstlightoptics.com/beginner-telescopes.html

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Thanks again to everyone for the welcome and advice.  I have jumped in with both feet and gone for a 4" refractor from the SGL classifieds (thanks @Size9Hex!) that looks like a good starting point, hopefully a reasonable aperture without being unwieldy.

 

Finding a mount and tripod was much more challenging with not a lot of choice out there but hopefully it will all be with me within the next week and I can start getting to grips with everything. Exciting!

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Thanks Chris. Repeating a little from the message I just sent, but I'm going to miss the ST102 and I hope it brings you the same enjoyment it brought me. Carrying it to the Post Office under one arm made me realise again what a nice light portable scope it is - great for trips to dark skies or for just grabbing for a quick look at the stars with minimal fuss. Clear dark skies to you.

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