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First light - Explorer 200mm


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Just over 2 weeks ago my girlfriend bought me a 200mm Explorer (early birthday present). Of course there's been nothing but cloud ever since. I did manage to grab an hour or so in the early evening a couple of days ago - so it's not much of a report!

The conditions were very poor, with light cloud, mist and firework smoke in the atmosphere, but I was desparate to try out my Skywatcher Explorer 200mm (EQ5 mount). I set up at about 17:20 as the forecast was uncertain for later in the evening.

Started with Jupiter which was low but bright and in a relatively clear area of sky, using a 8mm eyepiece and 2x barlow. The atmosphere was very unsteady but there were enough steady moments to see that there was more contrast and detail visible in the 200mm compared to my 150mm scope. The polar regions were definitely darker (particular in the north) as well as the belts. There was a definite bulge in the SEB that may have been the Great Red Spot. Checking on the Sky and Telescope website later confirmed it was possibly visible at this time. The ‘floaters’ in my eyes make it quite difficult seeing the details in planets but the suspected GRS seemed to move about a quarter of the way around the visible part of the disc in just over an hour (very roughly!).

DSO's were out of the question in the conditions, and much of the sky was clouded within 30 minutes, so I tried a couple of double stars.

Epsilon Lyra needed quite a high power to split. I could see the 4 stars using an 8mm eyepiece and 2x barlow. They were bright but the seeing was very poor and they appeared fuzzy. Alberio was the best I have seen it, despite the seeing. The blue and orange colours were really vivid (6mm eyepiece). After Alberio I was keen for more but the cloud meant I was packing up again by 19:20

I'll post a proper report if/when it clears again!

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Hi had the 150mm for just under 3 years and it's been great. Best £200 I spent. When the girlfriend offered to buy the 200mm (didn't even have to twist her arm!), I jumped at the chance. I expected the clouds to come when it arrived and wasn't wrong!

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Now that's one serious girlfriend - does she have a sister :)

In 7 years I think I caught her at exactly the right moment - will probably never happen again! As for the sister, you would need at least a 300mm to make it worth your while. :rolleyes: (I'm in so much trouble if she reads this).

Can't wait to have a proper session. Hope to take it to my parent's in December where there is very little light pollution (can see the milky way, double cluster, M31 etc with naked eye) - I'll be sure to post a full report.

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