Jump to content

sgl_imaging_challenge_2021_annual.thumb.jpg.3fc34f695a81b16210333189a3162ac7.jpg

first light with first scope


MartinT
 Share

Recommended Posts

I finally got out with my new skywatcher 130pds and eq3-2. I've been very patiently waiting for a break in the clouds and have fiddled with everything I could think of in the meantime: I installed bobs knobs on the secondary and collimated the scope using a collimation cap. Before i attempted it, collimation was as daunting to me as others have found - hence the bobs knobs - but now it's done once I'm confident to do it again as necessary. I was a bit surprised how much adjustment it needed (It needed the height of the secondary adjusting and presumably it won't need that again) and it really is a matter of patience and time to get your fiddles to faddle it in the right way. I also adjusted the RA axis of the mount as it was a bit sticky. All of this was following tips either actually on or linked from this forum - so thanks everyone. Thanks to the clouds I also even had time to make a little riser for my telrad viewer using a cheap finderscope mount from daddy bezos and some sugru. 

The clouds finally gave me a break and I was able to sneak a very quick garden session after kiddos bedtime but before grown-ups dinner (isn't parenthood just wonderful for time management skills). I have three eyepieces - the 28mm sky-watcher that came with the scope, a celestron omni 6mm, and a celestron 8-24 zoom - and a 2x barlow. I used the zoom all the way out to start, zooming in once centred and then swapping for the 6mm. I aligned the mount using a compass - I don't have a polar scope, would people recommend that as an 'essential' accessory? Presumably not for viewing - I've been assuming that as i also don't have an RA motor (yet, that's on my list) I don't really need to worry about how accurate alignment is and can just account for my poor alignment while i'm viewing with the controls. Once I've got the motor I'll start playing with taking pictures - unexpectedly the zoom lens has a t2 thread at the top, so along with the prime focus of the scope I'm going to try some afocal on the planets and moon.

It was early enough that jupiter was still high enough for me to see - to the south of me there's a steep hill so the houses uphill give me a very high horizon in that direction from the garden and my own house blocks the view west. There's also a really annoying streetlight on the pavement by my garden which means its not really that dark and I don't know how I'll handle that (hadn't considered it before, so now I'm idly wondering about a gazebo). Despite all that, I could clearly see, what i assume were, the four Galilean moons and the bands were wonderfully clear. That sent me running inside the house to convince my wife to brave the cold and share my joy at what was a birthday present from her. Can anyone tell me how one discerns which moons are which or even if these would have been those?! I spent quite some time looking at Jupiter and experiencing the telescope - learning to control the mount and the focus control, changing eyepieces and barlow, etc. At the most I used the 6mm with the 2x barlow, so I think that's 217x magnification. Jupiter was far brighter than i expected, and at times it was had to see detail because of this - do people use filters to help with that? Is it worth pushing the magnification further? I think it might be, so would it be better to get a different eyepiece (4mm or even lower?) or a replace the barlow with a 3x?

My star finding skills are essentially at zero, so for want of a better idea, next I turned the scope to the moon and was rewarded with phenomenal views. So sharp and detailed - i really enjoyed the dual speed focuser here, i've no frame of reference but it was so easy to get the image utterly sharp. On the terminator I could see such strong depth on the craters' edges and i had lots of fun zooming in and out or tracking the terminator up and down.

Then I used skysafari on my phone to help point me towards the pleiades, as I'd been told these would be an easy first messier and, popping in the 28mm 2" was blown away by the richness of the view. So many stars. I found skysafari really helpful here, the audio guide was really great to listen to while I gazed up. Then it was time to come in and fizz with excitement drone on at my wife about the fabulousness of that hour-and-a-half or so. 

I'm a very happy lad and super excited to get out again - I'm really pleased with my purchases, it's all far in excess of my expectations. I think next time I'll head for the end of the playing field just over the road from me to escape the hill and streetlight, get me some more darkness. 

 

 

  • Like 17
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's a great first session! I would recommend not to go beyond magnification higher than 200-250 on the 130PDS and the Eq3: the atmospheric seeing rearely allows it and you will start to notice every little shake of the mount, even when someone is walking nearby. If the image is too bright use filters on Jupiter and the Moon.

If you make a record of the time of your observation you can later identify the Galilean moons on Sky Safary or Stellarium by setting it to that time and just zooming into Jupiter. 

Lots of great targets are awaiting, just wait until you see the Orion nebula!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That was a fun read, congratulations on your first session with your first scope! it could not have been better by the sounds of it. Running into the house excitedly is something we've all done 

one time or another, great feeling.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

grreat report and i really feel your enthusiasm pouring out. Reminds me of myself when I first started out.

On a note regarding the viewing of Jupiter at higher power, leave it x 217 although even there you may be pushing it with a 130 aperture. I owned the sister scope to it as a first scope and found my best views at about 160-170 for clarity, after that I found they became a bit mushy. 

However you may find the addition of a ND filter to lower the light hitting the retina will calm it down a little as you alluded too. This one from FLO reduces it to 50% and would also prove useful on the moon and helps bring out even more detail.

Astro Essentials 1.25" ND96-0.3 Filter | First Light Optics

At just £9 a worthwhile purchase IMHO

Steve 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, MartinT said:

Thanks everyone. There really is just so much to learn. Thanks for the tips re: magnification level. I was just looking at moon filters, so @bomberbaz that's a great shout. 

No worries, just another point. I note you use skysafari, is it the free version?

Reason I ask is I use skysafari 6 plus which has a one off upgrade payment then I also pay an annual fee for the livesky add on.

Livesky is available for free as is I think skysafari 6 plus (not pro) but to get all the extra benefits like anything it costs you. I think its about 20 quid for the pair.

The difference here is that with livesky premium you can plan your night time viewing on a pc or laptop (probably tablet too) from the comfort of your house, input into the system what you want to look at by creating a viewing list then take this outside with you on the phone version as it automatically creates the viewing list on the phone app. Its a simple thing to do and I use it all the time now. 

SkySafari 6 Plus - Apps on Google Play

LiveSky

Something I pinched off cloudy nights below as an overview although it kinda repeats what i just said.

1) SkySafari Web: A browser-based version of SkySafari. This is really useful if you're not a macOS user and want a more "full screen" experience. Works on Windows. Works on Linux. (Works on macOS too.)

 

2) The Sky This Month. A nice, curated, daily calendar of astronomical events. Not only are the events described, but we provide .skyset settings files that can be viewed in SkySafari mobile, or directly in the Web version.

 

3) Full-screen editing. Many mobile users like to create Observations (Logs) but find it frustrating to edit/update them on their small device screen. LiveSky lets you edit your data (observations, site information, lists) on a nice big screen.

 

4) In addition to editing, you can create new data in the web version. Create a new Observing List, or observation. Fill it in or update it in the field and vice-versa.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

thanks @bomberbaz, yes I'm using skysafari plus, rather than the free. I looked at the free and was impressed enough to pay for it. It did walk me through signing up to livesky when i installed, and as I've used the app to make notes, i see now that I can view them online. But i think without paying the subscription i can't edit or make new lists etc. from another device. I can definitely see how actually putting some thought in before stepping outside would improve things - and this does look like a way of spending money to do that (which I'm learning is key to astronomy, right?! 🤣 ) plus it'd mean i can do that from not-my-phone, which is just better all round. I'll have a play, see if there's a free trial (that will be entirely filled with cloud I'm sure!). Cheers. 

Also, just because I spy from your signature you have the GTi mount, can i ask if you consider that to be suitable for the 130? Obviously, not yet, but at some point i imagine I'll shell out for a goto solution and i think that mount would be about the same as adding the synscan to the eq3-2, with the advantage of wifi (and so skysafari control) all built in.

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Nik271 said:

...If the image is too bright use filters on Jupiter and the Moon.

This where a variable polarising filter comes to the rescue...

1_25filter.jpg.7ec846496e5cb1023cb990df9a7099a4.jpg5addf27ccac70_variablemoonfilter.jpg.e490ce031fc7badb2a139b6d8384c995.jpg<--- 1.25"

59981841-27DF-483D-A217-AB1143AFE32F.jpeg.f1b039e0fb956116c9d774279986ace8.jpeg.2cc4203ca7f4cf252c15a88d6973ebdc.jpeg<--- 2"

Image above showing the ones I use.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, MartinT said:

 

Also, just because I spy from your signature you have the GTi mount, can i ask if you consider that to be suitable for the 130? Obviously, not yet, but at some point i imagine I'll shell out for a goto solution and i think that mount would be about the same as adding the synscan to the eq3-2, with the advantage of wifi (and so skysafari control) all built in.

 

I have had my 130 pd-s on it yes, its approaching its limit and definitely needs the tripod pier extension to it but it works ok enough.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Philip R said:

This where a variable polarising filter comes to the rescue...

1_25filter.jpg.7ec846496e5cb1023cb990df9a7099a4.jpg5addf27ccac70_variablemoonfilter.jpg.e490ce031fc7badb2a139b6d8384c995.jpg<--- 1.25"

59981841-27DF-483D-A217-AB1143AFE32F.jpeg.f1b039e0fb956116c9d774279986ace8.jpeg.2cc4203ca7f4cf252c15a88d6973ebdc.jpeg<--- 2"

Image above showing the ones I use.

I didn't know these came as sets - makes total sense now I think about it - thank you 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That was a great read @MartinT, really enjoyed it and it sounds like you had a good first session.

I think others have covered most of the points you have raised. Setting up the EQ for visual is just a matter of levelling and pointing North, making sure the polar axis is set to your latitude correctly. No need for more accuracy than that.

Future mount choice depends on what you want to focus on. If you intend to stick with observing and just dabble with the odd lunar image say then an alt Az mount can be easier. If AP is in your plans then a good EQ mount makes more sense as it avoids field rotation.

Sticking below x250 and often x200 normally results in best results due to the limits of seeing conditions in this country. Sometimes conditions do allow more but mainly not.

I’m a big SkySafari fan and find it excellent for planning and also helping me star hop to targets, plus a lot more. As has been mentioned it will tell you which of the Galilean moons are visible, and also when there are shadow, moon and GRS transits which are great to watch. Helps with Saturn’s moons too.

Have fun out there 👍

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wonderful enthusiastic report! Look forward to reading more as you observe more targets. 

Regarding the street light, I would recommend you reporting it to your local council’s lighting dept, particularly if there is light trespass into a window of your property (hint hint) and ask them to reduce its output or fit a light shield. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great first report! Welcome to amateur astronomy, the greatest hobby of all! Astronomy has an endless capacity to inspire, teach and to provide unlimited entertainment. I look forward to reading more of your reports as you progress in this wonderful hobby of ours. Clear skies mate!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone for the encouragement! There's been not a sliver of clear sky since, so I've not been able to get out again. 

The advice about keeping the magnification down is great to hear. I'll take my finger off the buy it now button! Speaking of which I think if @FLO had a function where items reduced in price (just slightly, mind) as consecutive cloudy nights amassed then my credit card would be bang in trouble. 😂 Course, might be tough for them to stay afloat... But the urge to browse on a cloudy night is quite something! 

@IB20I think I'll see how viewing goes in the field literally opposite my house before I wade into council bureaucracy, but good to know.

Cheers all,

M

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.