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Eyepiece, Software, Etc...

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Righto, I got a little drunk last night, and bought a Skywatcher Explorer 130PM. I've always had an interest in astronomy, and have had a string of Rubbish Argos type telescopes, so I'm crazy excited about finally getting my hands on a decent scope!

I'm mostly interested in looking at the moon and planets, but will certainly have a go at everything else!

A few questions though...

Firstly, what additional kit should I invest in? I've just ordered Turn Left at Orion, I've already got a laser pointer, and a red flashlight. How about eyepieces? I've read that a 32mm Plossl is a great one. Does the make really matter? I've seen them anywhere from about 20 quid up to 50. What's a good one? I don't really want to spend too much...

Now, my girlfriend has an Olympus e400 DSLR. Will I be able to do any astro-photography? The scope has a motor drive, so will I need a mounting bracket of some sort?

And do I want any filters? What does a Moon Filter do?

And as far as transporting it goes, will it fit in a big duffle bag? How do you lot take your kit around with you?

Finally, can anyone recommend some good software for when the sky is cloudy? I've got Stellarium, but is there any better? Something that tracks the ISS might be cool...

Oh, one more, I live in Bournemouth. Anyone recommend best place to go set up? I'm thinking New Forest or Purbeck to get away from the light...

I'm also in the middle of buying a 2CV so I can transport my scope! My missus says I'm not allowed to turn it into a mobile observatory. Damn.

Hope to hear lots of different opinions, and eventually to chip in with my own!


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Hi Eli.

As a novice myself I cant help much on your technical questions, but I have a SW 130P and i think you might want to replace the supplied 10mm ep as I found it very difficult to use. Eventually I opted for the SW 9mm LER ep for about £30.00 inc P&P which was a big improvement. Hope this helps.


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Welcome to SGL.

So many questions I'll try to answer a few of them...

Moon filter just reduces the glare of the moon. It's pretty bright and quite sensitive to many peoples eyes.

Your Olympus will be able to take astro photo's but to connect it for prime focus photography you will need a T Adapter and tube for your camera to fit the focuser on your scope.

As for software I use Cartes du Ceil it's freeware and very good. A bit more advanced then Stellarium.

Hope this helps.

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Ok, thanks for the information. I will probably hold off getting a new eyepiece until either I find one coming up cheap, or I just decide to spoil myself some more.

I thought I heard mention of an alternative to primary focus photograpy. Could you tell me what that is?

And does anyone have any suggestion for a carrying case/bag for the telescope? And I've read you need to re-adjust (collimate?) the scope if it gets shaken up. Will I have to adjust it when I first open the box? As a postie myself, I know how much things get rattled in the post! (especially stuff marked Fragile!)


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Having owned a Skywatcher 130 myself, I can tell you that it it won't fit in a duffel bag - the tube on it's own is about 70cm long and then there's the tripod and mount to consider - if I remember correctly, the total weight of the whole thing is about 18kg. Mind you, I don'tthink you'll regret your purchase - they're great telescopes.

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a 2cv should be perfect for carrying one as it was designed (acording to legend) to allow french farmers to carry a basket of eggs across a field without breaking them !

seriously though i have a 150 and it holds ts colmination quite well and a deliberatly " bouncy ride " is far better for it than one caused by tired suspension or a firm jarring ride that transfers the jolts to the occupents.

less seriously why not take out the back seats and fold back the roof and turn it into a mobile observatory ?

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Hi Eli,

Firstly "turn left at orion" was a wise choice, its a great book for beginners and will help you a lot.

Like Doc says, a moon filter will help lessen the brightness of the moon. A Full moon at high magnification is very bright !, The filter will help you to make out the detail which would otherwise be lost in the glare.

I would get a red light torch (or make one by taping red cellophane over the light, or paint red nail varnish on the glass) this will stop you from losing your night vision if you have to refer to one of your books, or charts while observing.

try out the eyepieces which come with your scope and see how they fit in with what you want to observe before thinking about buying any others.

A "red-dot" type finder will also be usefull to help you locate the objects you want to observe.

I could go on and on , buying a telescope and getting into astronomy is just like digging a large hole in your garden and throwing lots of money into it on a regular basis, but in a fun way :lol::blob8:

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