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Hi all!

I'm Pete, I'm from Manchester and I'm very, very new to astronomy. I've always been interested, but never seriously and I recently got more interested in it after messing about with the Stellarium software a few weeks ago. It is helping me learn the names of stars, constellations and so on, but I quickly realised it's nothing like actually getting outside and seeing for myself.

So I went and dug out my dads old 10x40 binoculars and started actually looking. I still use Stellarium so that I know exactly what I'm looking at.

The view from my back yard is somewhat limited (it faces roughly NE, but sometimes I can see other things above the houses) So far I'm enjoying it. Had a great time watch Jupiter last night before it moved to the south where I couldn't see it anymore. Hoping to get a look at the Pleiades Cluster (if that's the right name) tonight if it's clear enough, and my binoculars are good enough.

Anyone have any good tips for a beginner?

Edited by peteuplink
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Hi Pete and welcome to the forum.

You right when you say that there is nothing quite like the "real" sky but from a newbie's point of view it can be a bit tricky using Stellarium as there aren't any lines joining up the stars in order to work out the constellations.:):D:D Of course the other thing that you will of noticed is that as soon as any magnifying eyepiece is held up the the eye - there is a hell of a lot more stars out there!!!

Glad to hear that your making a great start in this subject as it all comes down to learning the sky be it imaging or observing.

Clear skies :o


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Welcome Pete. :o

Pleiades should be a good first target for your bins. Orion is close by, so the Orion Nebula is worth a look too - even in binoculars it's pretty awe-inspiring. Just take your time and explore!

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Hi Pete and welcome to the group :o

Many have started with binocs and it's a great way to learn the sky. The plieades is a beutiful object, M42 also, and go for Andromeda - spectacular even if it is just a fuzzy blob. In a month or two there's the beehive cluster coming too :)

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Hi Pete. If you haven't already and you've got any sort of camera tripod, I'd get a binocular mount. I have a simple one that hooks over the centre bit of the binos and then screws into where the camera would normally go. I still use mine for casual observing and having a steady image makes it much better.

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Thanks for the nice replies, everyone.

Hi Pilkinn, I do have a tripod that I use for my camera work. I'll have a look at getting a mount for it.

Saw Pleiades tonight, but only the stars of it, couldn't make out much of the dust cloud. But there is a lot of light polution here as I'm right in the middle of a city, or maybe I was being a bit optimistic. I think there may be a bit of haze a little later on as well.

I did get a much better view of Jupiter as the sky was really clear earlier on in the night, so I could make out Calisto, Ganymede and Io as well. I could also see Uranus just above and to the right.

Been good so far.

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Hi Pete. You've just convinced me to finally getting round to downloading Stellarium.

Well being so new I wouldn't have known the names of anything I'd seen tonight if I didn't have Stellarium handy. It's really helping me find my way around. Was just using it to try and locate M31, could get it's location quite close to Mirach, but couldn't find it in the night sky. However I was looking almost straight up and giving myself a serious crick in the neck.

If it's clear tomorrow night I'll have another try when it's not so high up in the sky.

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Hi Pete,

A very warm welcome to SGL, if you look in our binos section you will see reference to a free program called TUBA, this will give you star maps you can alter and change to your preference, then print, col or black&white, store in a plastic sleeve and you can take it outside with your bins and red torch, I use a little Maglite with red cellophane sweet paper over the top ( cheapskate ) and use a sun bed or similar to look at the Zenith or anything which is circumpolar, enjoy the forum.


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