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Ok here goes, i'am a complete novice so any help is much appreciated.

Where should i start looking with my gear to get used to my EQ mount ie moon, planets? which planet?

If i wanted to capture some images is there an affordable webcam you can recommend to get me going? As I would love to be able to look at the images ive seen when working away from home for prolonged period's.

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Moon is the obvious one, best when not full and try for detail along the terminator - dar/light separation line.

Mars is rising in the East at around 21:00 these days. It's the bright red/orange "star". Will get better in the weeks coming up. Need a mag of around 120-150 and reasonable aperture say ~200mm.

Jupiter, it is around but getting low and is setting earlier. It is in the West in the early evening and you may get a look. Worth it just in case everything is good. Max about 80x and up will be fine.

Saturn is being mentioned but I have no idea where at the moment so probably about to appear.

Other easy things: Orion nebula (more then one actually).

Andromeda galaxy just have to find it.

Double cluster.

After that is the complete Messier list, all 110 of them. Various lists around. I have one ordered by type of object and magnitude. So if you want to locate just the galaxies, or just the nebula etc in the Messier list PM me an email address and I will send it over.

Then:

Recommended Beginner Astronomy Targets - McWiki

PDF from 2 organisation that offer observing certificates, these are the forms that you fill in may be something in them that you can select and use.

Royal Astrononomical Society of Canada - Observing | Certificates

Index of /~astro2/IFASData

List of coulored double stars:

Astronomical Data - Colored Double Stars

Forgot to add in The Pleiades: Find Orions belt and draw a straight line through from L-R eventually you dump into a star cluster - Pleiades. Easy to see by eye and quite high.

The Hyades cluster is between the two with the star Aldebaran in it.

Edited by Capricorn

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Great reply by Capricorn but I would like to add that all of these objects apart from the moon needs some experience to find. So don't run before you can walk, just take your time and learn the sky, there's no rush, the sky will be there for sometime yet.

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Well, yes you can learn the sky but unless you go looking for something then you won't learn it so still seems to need to have something to look for.

If you didn't go looking for the constellations then you wouldn't know them, when you start on your first you start from zero. Seems the same with DSO's, well anything, you go and look for them, then assuming that you find them you know where they are if you bother to memorise it all. You have just learnt by finding them.:mad:

Pick your objects, read up on where they (should be) are and go look. You will find that what appears on a screen or page of a book is a little different to looking up at the sky.:)

Orion is pretty obvious, well at this time of the year, same for the Pleiades. Has anyone actually bothered to "learn" these as they sort of hit you?. Much the same for the Plough and I guess Casseiopia. I, at least, still go out and have to look around for them first, I do not know where they will be at any time on any night from memory.:mad:

I know there are 110 Messiers but have not a clue where most actually are (maybe 2 or 3). If I want the next one I simply find out where it is, go locate it, look, then I tend to forget where it is as I know I can simply get the information and refind it if I need to. No way am I going to memorise them. :):icon_scratch::)

I simply know a few basic constellations then if I find anything of interest in a book or whatever I determine how to get to it from the constellations and stars I know. I cannot stand outside and "know" where M31 is. I simply refind it each time from Casseiopia. Same for the Pleiades I couldn't tell you where they are or are supposed to be, I go out and look round. Eventually I bump into them. ;):eek::p

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Great replies here. Just like to add Saturn is getting up around 3am so, 1 hour before sunrise it's in an excellent position to be observed.

And you can also check the Observing - Reports section. By reading other people observations you can pick ideas and decide what you would like to observe. Also it's a nice place to share your experiences if, like me, you have no fellow amateur astronomers living near you.

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Step 1 is with an all sky map (for the current month). It can be downloaded free from skymaps.com or found in this (or the previous) months astronomy magazines. A bit more expensive is the book Nightwatch by Dickinson... but it is better as step 2.

Then go out and jump from constellation making the tiny figures on the page "grow" to the sizes you see in the sky. Most folks start with Orion, the plough, Cassiopeia, or some easily seen constellation.

Step 3 is to look for some of the objects on the skymaps.com observing list or in Nightwatch.

At some point you will need to learn how to align your EQ mount with the North pole....

Good luck!

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What I meant was learn the skies before attempting astrophotography. Say you wanted to image the Eskimo nebula and your mount was non goto, you need to know where it is in relation to the skies to be able to find it before attempting to image it.

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Step 1 is with an all sky map (for the current month). It can be downloaded free from skymaps.com or found in this (or the previous) months astronomy magazines. A bit more expensive is the book Nightwatch by Dickinson... but it is better as step 2.

Then go out and jump from constellation making the tiny figures on the page "grow" to the sizes you see in the sky. Most folks start with Orion, the plough, Cassiopeia, or some easily seen constellation. Binoculars might be helpful on the smaller figures (and are a great assistance anyway).

Step 3 is to look for some of the objects on the skymaps.com observing list or in Nightwatch.

At some point you will need to learn how to align your EQ mount with the North pole....

Good luck!

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