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What do I look for first?


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Ok, it's cloudy here...it's been cloudy since I bought my scope...In fact I feel as though the cloud has landed in my area and is never going to go away.......ever.....I hate cloud....and rain...rain means cloud...you get the picture.

But it can't last forever and there are going to be some clear skies ahead, sooooooo as a total nooblet what do I want to be looking at first? I have an EQ mount so it's all going to be manual, my finder scope is next to useless and I'd like some easy to find objects that are going to get me hooked as opposed to throwing the telescope over the fence and grabbing a beer.

All help really appreciated!

Love El Squido

Edited by SlipperySquid
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why is your finderscope next to useless? you might struggle to find anything without a properly aligned finder. You can line it up in daytime on a distant object. Good things to see - m31, double cluster, m44, m45, m36,37,38, iota cancri and, in the small hours, saturn. Download Stellarium to see where things are. But seriously, line up the finder first and try to work out how the mount works in daylight too.

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Trying to line the finder up...it's the mount it's on...cheap plasticy effort...I have it some where like alligned....on the 25mm EP it's bang on 6mm EP it's slightly out but that could have changed next time I move the scope...it's not that I knock it or anything, it just seems to have a mind of it's own! Maybe it's trying to test me?

I'm in the market at the moment for a good red dot (are the cheap ones worth having?) maybe a telrad or baader sky surfer three...but I dont like the look of the EZ finder as it looks very flimsy!

Thanks for the heads up on objects to start on...I'll write them down now and bang them on stellarium!

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First: Moon, usually easy to figure out where it is.

By common constellation:

Orion: M42, M43, Betelgeuse, Rigel, belt stars, horsehead nebula(difficult) and if you go from Meissa through Betelgeuse you come (close) to the Rosette nebula.

Cassiopeia: M101, Eta Cass is a good double.

Plough: M108, M109, Double star Mizar.

2 of Cassiopeia stars point to the double cluster in Perseus - look on a chart of planisphere. The steep V of Cassiopeia points to Andromeda M31.

The pointers of the Plough point to the pole star but if you go the other way they point to Leo. Leo is low at the moment.

In Leo: M65, M66, M95, M96, M105. These all lie along the bottom line of the body of Leo. 65 and 66 are very close together.

Have fun.

Edited by Capricorn
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Thanks again!

Astro_baby I have a 6" 750mm reflector (I've worked out it's an f/5..I did that all on my own without the help of a grown up :icon_eek: ) it doesnt have a name on it so I guess it's the cheapest of the cheap but I have managed to get a glimpse of the moon and it looks really good! They guy I bought it off had a 6mm 6.5mm and 25mm plossl's and a really cheap barlow (I've just got hold of a meade barlow that should be a lot better)

I know I'm going to have to be patient and I'm really looking forward to educating myself on the heavens and learning to star hop... (I'm 37 years old by the way so it may take me longer then a young whipper snapper)

This place is a godsend!!!

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But it can't last forever and there are going to be some clear skies ahead, sooooooo as a total nooblet what do I want to be looking at first? I have an EQ mount so it's all going to be manual, my finder scope is next to useless and I'd like some easy to find objects that are going to get me hooked as opposed to throwing the telescope over the fence and grabbing a beer.

All help really appreciated!

Love El Squido

Here is a list of easy beginner targets, sorted by season and with comments on the size of scope that can see them, and with how-to-find instructions. Hope this helps get you started.

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As others said:

1st the moon.

Right after sunset jupiter. (It's low now so expect bad seeing conditions on most nights. If it seams out of focus don't blame it on your scope, it's the atmosphere near the horizon.)

Before sunrise, Mars and saturrn.

And some easy to find DSOs (better viewed in a week or so when the moon rises later on and you get moonlight free skies):

M42/43 Orion nebula (after 10pm)

M57 Ring Nebula (right after sunset)

M71 A nice globular cluster (after sunset)

M31 Andromeda

Use stellarium, and before you try to find a target, find the constellation closest to it and use the closest bright stars as sign posts.

I found the best way to learn the constellations is a Star Wheel and a pair of binos or the old fateful naked eye. That knoledge is vital to read starcharts and find your way around the sky.

Edited by pvaz
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All of my red dot finders have leaned towards being, shall we say, "not too well made" :icon_eek: but all they need to do is get me into the ballpark and they do that job quite well.

A lot of Amateurs really like the Telrad, but see if you can get a look at one before deciding to buy. I never realized how big they were till i saw one a few months ago.

If you do settle on the Telrad though, here's a site with charts made especially for it.

Telrad charts for the Messiers

Edited by Talitha
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Personally I like red dot finders for simple location of objects. They cant help with very faint ones where you need some magnifaction but by and large I prefer the red dot type.

The basic Baader Sky-Surfer 3 or any of its clones should be ok. They are all a bit plasticky but seem to work ok. I have had two cheapies which are all much of a muchness.

A six inch scope should show quite a bit of stuff - I;d seriously sugget getting an astro mag like Sky at Night which always has a star chart for the month and a fairly decent observing guide to tell you what to look out for.

The big one right now would be M42 which is easy to find and which a 6" scope should give a good view of.

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Ok, it's cloudy here...it's been cloudy since I bought my scope...In fact I feel as though the cloud has landed in my area and is never going to go away.......ever.....I hate cloud....and rain...rain means cloud...you get the picture.

:hello2:indeedy:hello2:

as mentioned get Stellarium (there's a link to it here on beginners section) i downloaded it yesterday, inputted my location/system time and... bang... was looking at Jupiter and 3 moons for over an hour! so simple to use. Obviously you need to know what direction you're looking in (NSEW) but, it will give you an accurate (i thought) view of what is in the sky in your area at a given time on a given date etc... you get the picture I'm sure.

...if it's not cloudy:eek:

Mark

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