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Complete beginner, need some direction please. Skywatcher explorer 130 eq2


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Hi all, just to let you know I am a complete beginner.  My Wife got me a telescope for a late Christmas present. I have the skywatcher explorer 130 eq2. I am (A) struggling how to balance it correctly. It seems balanced but I'm not sure I've done it right and can't find a YouTube video explaining the balancing.  (B) Struggling to find Polaris. Yes you heard it right! So, I go outside with the telescope point it north, but no idea where polaris is. I've got my planisphere out, and according to todays date and time, polaris is behind me...... when I'm facing north🤷‍♂️. I just need a bit of direction and maybe a pointer to some good beginner resources.  Hope you can help.

 

Thanks

 

Rich

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39 minutes ago, fullmoon said:

Struggling to find Polaris.

Polaris always sits within a degree from the north celestial pole. For visual observing, that's good enough. Use the two right stars in The Big Dipper as guides. Polaris lies on a straight line trough these two stars.

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Planispheres are a pain to operate in the dark and you would be much better to get an app for your phone like Stellarium. It will show you the exact position of Polaris which I can assure you never moves to the south. In fact it rotates around the north celestial pole in a minute movement of position too small for you to notice. Find Ursa Major commonly known as the plough or the big dipper and the two end stars with an imaginary line will point at Polaris. I am sure you will find it every time with Stellarium. Good luck.

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Edited by bosun21
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Also just be aware that Polaris is not a really bright star which some people think it is when they start. It's visible to naked eye but won't be like the brightest star in the sky

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Hello fullmoon and welcome to the site.

Starting with beginner resources, this site has to be up there, ask away with any questions, we've all been there.

Get your planisphere, set the date and time, find the tiny mark on the planisphere that indicates the position immediately above your head map facing down ( on my one it's a tiny blue cross), face north and set the planisphere north facing north, make sure the mark is above your head, then bend the planisphere so that it aligns with the horizon. The centre stud which is polaris will then be in front of you at about 50'. Phone apps like stellarium are excellent, but the advantage of the planisphere is that it can be picked up at any time to see where the brightest stars will be. 

On balancing, you are balancing your telescope in two planes, with the weight at the lowest point, release the clutch that holds the telescope only and spin the telescope gently. You are trying to balance the telescope itself so that each end is roughly the same weight. Tighten that clutch and release the other so that both the telescope and the weights spin around an axis. Again shift the weights until both telescope an weights balance.

Hope that makes some sort of sense. All the best.

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Your latitude in Congleton is just above 53deg so set the mount to 53deg and point the North leg of the tripod North (using a compass to find North if you are not aware of where North is). That will be fine for visual use, no need to sight Polaris or use of a polarscope.

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Another welcome to SGL.  Do keep asking the questions. As @M40 has said, we have all been there.
Remember there is no such thing as a daft question.

An equatorial mount is not the easiest thing to start on. But you will soon get the hang of it.
Don't forget you can learn to set up, balance, etc in the warm and daylight. Don't waste viewing time.
Once the mount handling falls into place (it won't take long) then you will do it very quickly in the dark.
It is like riding a bike. You never forget.

Finder scope alignment is another daylight job. Using a distant tree, TV aerial, etc.

Make your viewing enjoyable. Go first for easy targets that give a good 'wow'.
Like the moon, Jupiter and Pleiades. You can spend ages looking around Orion's belt.

Enjoy the journey, David.
 

 

 

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Thanks all for the replies. I feel slightly out of my depth. Like I've just bought a telescope and then I'm stood here scratching my head as how to use it haha. I'm going have a look at some of the beginner stuff here. I think I've sort of aligned my finder. But working this weekend so difficult to do during the day as its dark when I leave and get back. Think the balance is now spot on. Just not 100% sure how to operate it. Do I tighten the main handle on the underside of the top of the tripod? Or do I leave that with a bit of play so it can spin? Got a star in the 25x eye piece with the 2x Barlow but it was very difficult to see and was moving quite quick! The star was pretty much to the West and quite bright, no idea but it struggled to focus on it. Took it out in the back yard to try and look at orion as garden is south facing and I couldn't see anything haha. So I've still a bit to go yet! Will do some research and when I have some time next weekend, I can hopefully set up properly. 

 

Cheers again

 

Rich

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On 21/01/2023 at 21:45, fullmoon said:

Do I tighten the main handle on the underside of the top of the tripod? Or do I leave that with a bit of play so it can spin?

No tighten that up securely! You don’t want that to move once set to North. Here’s a decent YouTube video that explains how to set up an EQ mount for beginners.👇

 

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2 hours ago, bosun21 said:

No tighten that up securely! You don’t want that to move once set to North. Here’s a decent YouTube video that explains how to set up an EQ mount for beginners.👇

 

Thank you. I've watched quite a few YouTube videos when I could over the last few days and that was definitely one of the most helpful.

 

And now I know to keep that 1 locked, once on North 👍.

 

Cheers

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I've had my 'scope a couple of months longer than you and can sympathize !

Learning to use your telescope in the dark, without kicking the tripod, knocking the instrument while changing eyepieces etc. will come with practice and the rewards are well worth the effort.

Wrap up warm and be patient.

ATB

Rob

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11 hours ago, Veloman said:

I've had my 'scope a couple of months longer than you and can sympathize !

Learning to use your telescope in the dark, without kicking the tripod, knocking the instrument while changing eyepieces etc. will come with practice and the rewards are well worth the effort.

Wrap up warm and be patient.

ATB

Rob

Don't forget dropping the telescope cap. How else do you get grass on the mirror/objective/corrector plate? 😉:D

Edited by M40
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2 hours ago, M40 said:

Don't forget dropping the telescope cap. How else do you get grass on the mirror/objective/corrector plate? 😉:D

Please don’t talk about them BLACK caps!! The lens caps are what I drop and just don’t look for them now until morning.

Edited by bosun21
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31 minutes ago, bosun21 said:

Please don’t talk about them BLACK caps!! The lens caps are what I drop and just don’t look for them now until morning.

The black cap reminded me of this old but gold thread.....

Enjoy :D

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14 minutes ago, Veloman said:

Haven't graduated to grass yet- still on the patio.

Ah patios, you have another potential issue there. If your patio is solid such as stone, then ignore the rest of this post, but if it's wood, take note.

Wood patios or decking is actually surprisingly springy. Putting your scope onto one of these will add to steadiness issues with the scope and should be avoided.

Even my stone laid patio does have some bounce in it and although it won't be a problem for visual, it does affect my imaging rig. 

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23 hours ago, Veloman said:

I've had my 'scope a couple of months longer than you and can sympathize !

Learning to use your telescope in the dark, without kicking the tripod, knocking the instrument while changing eyepieces etc. will come with practice and the rewards are well worth the effort.

Wrap up warm and be patient.

ATB

Rob

Yeah, I've kicked the tripod a few times, punched the bottom of the scope looking for the RA fine adjustment, the list goes on, haha. And then I wonder why its wobbly lol.

11 hours ago, M40 said:

Don't forget dropping the telescope cap. How else do you get grass on the mirror/objective/corrector plate? 😉:D

Atleast twice now I've set my scope up with eyepieces, got my red dot finder on target and looked through and all I can see is black. So adjust it slightly thinking my finders off (as I did do it at night onto a lamp post) still nowt, scratch my head for a sec, then my Wife said "have you taken the cover of the scope?"

"Errrrrr, oh yeah, forgot that bit! 🤦‍♂️

Edited by fullmoon
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