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joeyvicks

Totally new to everything and need some help.....

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hello,

After watching last nights solar system programme on bbc2 i am very interested in getting some equipment so i can start doing a bit of star-gazing. I haven't got the first clue were to begin or what equipment i need so if anyone can give me a nudge in the right direction it'd be much appreciated.

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OOOhhh welcome to the minefield of Astronomy :(

OK, first thing to consider is what your local sky conditions are like and your observable area...

If you live in a major city - light pollution can pretty much destroy your viewing except really bright objects such as planets, but for objects such as nebula, galaxies..etc you do need dark skies to enjoy what your scope can achieve.

This leads to the following,

A choice of grab and go scopes that you can quickly set up in a darker area, or something a bit more permanent to remain at home with the possibility of taking it to star parties or darker sites on the odd occasion - other option is a permanent fixed observatory which is not likely for a beginner.

One thing is to remember that - hubble pics are not going to be seen through the eyepiece - but you will with the correct telescope get some very pleasing views of bright nebula and some of the brighter galaxies, as well as the planets.

If you click on the banner above you will get access to Flo - who offer a very good range of telescope for the beginner,

Things to consider are the bigger the lens or mirror the more light gathering ability it will have which gets you better views.

Refractors of long Focal length are used primarily for lunar,planets and for double stars, Shorter Focal length refractors are very good for widefield imaging...

Reflectors are very good for the beginner as they will provide a good alround scope for most objects, I would recommend starting out with a 6" reflector - or as big as you can afford.

Then there is the telescope mount, for most this is the most important thing as you will need to track the object as it continually moves so a motarised mount becomes appealing...which can lead on to Astrophotography.

There are lots of things to consider, and I have only just brushed on a part of it...

Best thing is to discuss your needs and situation with someone from FLO who will give you impartial advise - and offer you solutions and scenario's to get you into astronomy where you can get the most out of it and progress..

The above is probably no help :D

Chris

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Hi Joey,

Welcome! The solar system programme is rather good isn't it! I haven't seen last nights yet though.

My first suggestion would be to see if there is a local astronomy club near you. You'll get lots of advice/help on here, which I'm sure you will find invaluable -- but when you're starting out it is really helpful to have someone to (physically) point the way around the sky.

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also what budget do you have? you could also try picking up a couple of astronomy books from the library or buying 1, i recently bought turn left at orion, its great for beginner astronomers

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id recommend for a cheapish scope which is a capaable allrounder and the scope i chose a Reflectors - Skywatcher Explorer 130P but if you have more than that to spend then go up to a 150p but the 130 wont let you down. Just make sure your expectations are realistic by having a look through this forum a bit more to get more knowledge on what you can expect to see. Also firstlightoptics are the best to purchase from and the cheapest.

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Download stellarium for your computer. Its free and easy to use.

stellarium.org

Astronomy can be expensive. I know I've spent thousands of pounds on kit and i still want more! However a cheap option is binoculars. Bresser do a pair of 10x50's for under £30 which are ideal. Do not go for a bigger pair unless you have a tripod.

The beauty of binos is that they are very portable and dont require any setting up and from a dark sky site you will be amazed at what you can see.

Dont buy a scope from e-bay. There are a lot of cheap and nasty scopes which promise the earth and deliver only disappointment.

Have a look at first light optics web site. They are held in high regard on these forums and not just because they sponsor us. They keep their promises and will help you.

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thanks for all the help so far.....what i'm wondering is if i spend £150 on a telescope how good will i be able to see things, e.g saturn and rings

will it be clear of just a bright light?

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Yup, it seems the more you buy, the more you want! My shopping list just gets worse (or is that better) by the day........

As you claim to have no clue, then it is wise to avoid fleabay for scopes, unless you familiarise yourself with products first and then gamble on a used one, but try to examine first.

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Hi Joey,

A very warm welcome to SGL, you have just started a very steep learning curve, I suggest you sit on your wallet for a little while and take in everything you can read and the advice from the forum members, a good start is to learn the night sky with your own eyes or with the aid of binos and a star map.

John.

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You said you have a budget of £150 if you could stretch that too £179 you could get the Skywatcher Skyliner 150p Dobsonian telescope which is a very competant telescope and would certainly show you Saturns rings, Jupiter with cloud bands and its four moons and also deep space objects such as the Orion Nebula, star clusters and globular clusters.

I spent about a year visiting forums and reading up on equipment before I purchased a telescope. The whole time I kept reading that the best scope to start with was a 6 or 8 inch dobsonian but I thought I would buy a refractor then a Maksutov-Cassegrain then a Scmidt-Cassegrain and finaly I came to my senses and bought a dobsonian and have no regrets.

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thanks for all the help so far.....what i'm wondering is if i spend £150 on a telescope how good will i be able to see things, e.g saturn and rings

will it be clear of just a bright light?

i bought a skywatcher 130p they are £162 on first light optics and i can see saturn and the rings nicely on good nights, its like anything you get what you pay for but a 130p like mine will give you good views and years of fun before you want to upgrade to bigger.

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Hi and welcome from me too - a small scope will show you the rings of Saturn, Jupiters moons, polar caps on Mars (maybe if the sky is kind), M31 Galaxy and M42 nebula, colored double stars like Albireo, majestic globular clusters like M13 and lots more.

You wont see them in color like Hubble / NASA pics but the fact you are seeing them at all will bowl you over.

If you wanted a review of a small scope and another beginners experience you could take a look at my review of the SKy-Watcher 130 here Review of the Sky-Watcher 130PM which has some pics of the views you could expect.

Welcome though to the board and to a great hobby.

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Welcome Joey: you have come to the best forum for your Question bar None,,,

Whatever you decide you will have a great time observing with us...let us know what you decide!

RCFMitch

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hi guys posted some time ago but unfotuantely didnt end up getting a telescope at the time but have (with the help of an app on my iphone) been spotting planets etc for the last few months.

What i was wondering was would it be as easy as finding a planet by using my iphone app then pointing a telescope in the direction?

sorry to appear dumb but ive never used a telescope before

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Hi Joey,

Welcome to the fascinating hobby of Astronomy and this forum.

The question of what scope to get depends on your budget, and what you want to do with it (observing or imaging).

if i spend £150 on a telescope how good will i be able to see things, e.g saturn and rings

Yes if you get a 4 - 6" reflector you will get decent views, but unfortunately you won't get a GOTO for that price (a GOTO is a motorised and computerised Mount that once programmed and set up properly will do exactly that GO TO the object).

Also bear in mind that with a non motorised set up the object will quickly drift out of view quite quickly due to the Earth's rotation (after all that trouble trying to locate it!)

In the first instance, get to learn a little about the sky and where to find the planets and some of the brighter objects using Stellarium as previously advised (which is a free download). Also you can buy a planisphere (£7 - £10 of the Northern hemisphere). Plus as suggested above join a local group and have a look through some of the members scopes and chat to them.

Most Astronomers change their scopes several times and often own more than one as their needs evolve.

Carole

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I have been "into" astronomy for 56 years.

The main scope I use, because it's easy to handle, shows me some fantastic views, very light and a good scope forever, is my 102mm startravel skywatcher. If I had just one scope, this would be it. Others come with handling problems, lugging the things about, putting them away after observing, and awkward positions when in use. The "shorty" altazimuth startravel is easy peasy, and costs about £215 new.

Note: I am not advising. you'll find out the hard way like we all do, but my solution is plain to see.

Welcome to a fabulous hobby, you have a lifetimes enjoyment before you. Wrap up very well, though!

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hello,

After watching last nights solar system programme on bbc2 i am very interested in getting some equipment so i can start doing a bit of star-gazing. I haven't got the first clue were to begin or what equipment i need so if anyone can give me a nudge in the right direction it'd be much appreciated.

Welcome to the forum from another new to scopes.

Ebay can have some wonderful bargains if you know what you are looking for. Just ask , there are plenty experienced heads here both with astronomy and ebay !

Paul

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Binoculars can be a good starting point, I've a pair of 10x50 which I used last night to while away the time waiting for Persieds to start up. Inexpensive, highly portable, but don't go too big magnification wise otherwise you may not be able to hold them without a some "shake".

Neil

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.....Ebay can have some wonderful bargains if you know what you are looking for...

Thats true, but unfortunately they are buried amongst loads of poor purchases "all that glitters ...." and all that :p

Avoid anything bearing the name Seben / Big Boss / Arena / Discovery Channel etc , etc.

Always worth posting the question here BEFORE you click ..... too many times I've read posts along the lines of "I've just bought a Lunastella Powerstar 633x scope - it it any good ?" :)

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I am learning my way around the sky with the help of my iPhone :p

I've got stellarium too andbooks and star maps which are great but pocket universe on my phone is what really got me interested and what has taught me the most so far. It's got quizzes and stuff to help you learn the constellations and star names etc. I'm sure it's not how the real astronomers learn but for a real beginner it's perfect.

If you've not got it already I'd really recommend it. It's £.1.70 or something crazy.

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think im going to take the plunge and purchase the Skywatcher Skyliner 150p Dobsonian telescope.

one query i have though is regarding viewing from indoors. Would this be possible with this telescope. If not i dont mind going outdoors with it but will i need a big open space for viewing?

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A clear southern horizon certainly helps as that's where all the action is along the ecliptic. However there's lots going on in all areas of the sky constantly so I guess the rule is the less restricted you are the better.

Viewing from indoors is going to be difficult with any scope and especially a dob. Apart from the angles (and lack of polar alignment with eq's) there's lots of air currents passing from the house through the window. This will make for very unsatisfactory viewing. Nuch better outdoors and better still - a nice dark site. :)

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