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Hi all, Im a newbie on here and to astronomy. I might be trying to run before I can walk but here goes anyway.

I like a few other have been given a telescope for christmas. Since then its been foggy so not been out with it yet. I have however been doing a lot of reading about it and have found that the telescope I got is not a very good one :( I have a national geographic newtonian 76mm telescope. It was a christmas presant so I am unable to return it and get a different one.

I have been reading reviews and it says that I will struggle to see stuff like saturn and that. Is their anything I can do to upgrade it such as get better eye peices. I dont have lots of money so what im after is the best upgrade I can do on a budget.

Thanks for your help

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Hmm...

I've never used one of those but, let's put it this way, I'd never encourage anyone to buy one. Don't waste money on it if you're serious about astronomy. Sell the thing or attempt to return it without a receipt. Try multiple stores--you can be successful this way.

Then go buy a 6" or 8" Dob. Make sure you have cash left over for a red dot sight (e.g. Telrad) and some eyepieces. Others may recommend a different scope. Do your research and decide for yourself what you want.

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Hi Nffc and welcome to SGL :(

I've never used the Nat Geo scope but unfortunately they don't get very good reviews. I agree with umadog's advice to either sell or try for a refund.

A much better first instrument would be the Skywatcher 130P which can be had for between £120-£160 depending on which mount and wether you get a motorised one. It's a proper scope rather than something "toylike". See here for the various models:

Reflectors

Hope that helps :)

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You could try your telescope, and see if astronomy appeals to you. If you do,

then it's best to use the lower magnification eyepiece ( the one with the highest

number, like 20 or 25mm ) You will get some good views of the moon. Then try

the other eyepieces, & see what you get.

Don't forget to line up the finder with the main telescope. Easiest to do that during

the day looking at a distant object if you can. If the finder is not aligned, then

pointing it at night will be a struggle.

If you think that astronomy is for you, then one of the suggestions above is a good

route to follow.

Best regards, Ed.

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Have to say not exactly the warmest welcome I have seen to a new comer to SGL!

Sorry guys but they have been given a scope and are asking for advice and information.

The scope is not the best but at the end of the day is a scope.

It is also getting to be a fairly common scope that people are either getting or being given as a first introduction to astronomy. Perhaps a thread asking people that have one what they found improves the scope is an idea.

I am guess that it is a spherical mirror - not great.

Think that it is 700mm focal length so makes it f/9.2. So that is a bit easier if spherical.

Several things need to be taken into account:

The scope will need collimating at times, maybe asap. This will need a tool that fits in the eyepiece called (logically) a collimator. It is basically to align all the mirrors as best as possible. Read up on the options and how to use, and buy a cheap one.

Eyepieces: Suspect whatever it came with are poor. Standard inexpensive plossl's will be OK on the scope. They are/can be around £20 a piece - try Rother Valley Optics their Antares range. Assuming that the longer length one you have is OK then I suggest the following 12mm, 10mm. You probably have a 10mm but that is the one I guess is really poor. Get the 12mm first to see how it works. If better then add the 10mm later.

DO NOT TRY FOR LOTS OF MAGNIFICATION!!!

Select targets that make sense. The furthest faintest Messiers are not going to be sensible.

Sorry but Saturn may well be out of it. If the 12mm is OK and if you decide later to try it a 7mm would give 100x and when Saturn is higher it might show something. Disk and possibly rings. Do not expect hubble type pictures, and do not expect colour.

At present Orion is well placed to practise on. Nice big nebulea in it, lots of bright stars. Either 3 or 4 DSO's (Messier's) in one view that you could tick off.

Pleaides is another easy bunch, M45 (Another Messier off the list). Orion and the Pleaides are simple enough to get the lot in <30 minutes.

The Plough is up all year, middle star of the handle is a double, try for it. Also a couple of small Messiers in it also. Other doubles are around, many are coloured.

Clusters, quite a few should be visible and being of some size you want field of view not magnification.

As said put the finder on and align it with the main scope. Makes actually getting something in the view of the scope a lot easier. Do it during daylight on some distant tree or anything.

Where in the UK are you?

Look for a club in the area and visit it first, get a feel for it. Some will suit some will not. If friendly and you go along ask about collimating a scope. Have read of people using a simple film cartridge to collimate a newtonian. May be crazy but ask. Bet someone says "This is how I did it". Less cost.

If you make in roads into general inexpensive improvements then post the points back here. Lots of people will be starting with the same scope under one name or another. Feedback and information will be useful to them.

For a book try The Monthly Sky Guide, about £10. Gives a prominent constellation each month and you can work your way through whatever is in it.

So far: a collimator and 1 (maybe 2 eyepieces), a book.

Edited by Capricorn
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I have to agree with Capricorn. Not the warmest of welcomes and a bit disheartening (i imagine) for nffc. Instead of pointing out the negative of a scope he already has as a gift......................lets club together and give out some positive feedback.

A scope is a scope and while it may not be the best scope (it was a gift from someone who is not in the know) in the world it is still a scope and will allow nffc to see quite a bit.

The Moon which is most peoples first target should look really nice. The Orion Nebula and M45 should also be pleasing. But to name a few. Choose your targets well. The BIGGER/CLOSER the better. Try for the "double" cluster in Perseus.

As Carpicorn said.............an upgrade of the supplied EP's to even the cheapest Plossl EP's will make a difference (and can be used with scopes you may buy in future). Another book worth investing in "Turn Left At Orion". Its basically a signposted road map of the heavens. Easy to use.

Dont be disheartened if the views you get are not quite what you expected. This time 6 months you may well be swinging a 250mm DOB around the night skies......................or even a 130mm Newt...................or a 90mm reflector.

Who knows.

Best of luck. Enjoy and please do come back and ask questions.

P.S.~~~Welcome to SGL.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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hi nffc both views are sort of correct you should get great views of the moon and it is amazing how that is enough to keep you satisfied for a while. but it probably isn't worth putting any money into upgrading it, save your pennies towards another scope. On the subject of gift scopes I was given one some years ago which reignited my interest in astronomy it wasn't a good scope but it did give great views of the moon I hope you will enjoy yours as much

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Can i just add:

Never feel bad about selling gifts if the money you get for them advances you in your hobby. Tell the person who bought the gift that you intend to sell it. Its a respect thing.

I got a Celestron Skyscout for Christmas a couple of yrs ago. I wasnt exactly a "newbie" back then so i found it a bit useless. I sold it earlier in 2010 for about a sixth of the original cost. It went to a good home and i was happy with that.

I'm not saying that you should sell your 76mm scope. Just dont feel obliged to keep it.

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Thank you for the warmer welcome Capricorn and lukeskywatcher. I will take all your advise and use it when I eventually get out and use the scope. I am from the Nottinghamshire area and I have already found the nearest observatory and they are having an open day on Tuesday night so will be going for a look.

I will use this scope to get me started and my interest peaked. I will take a look at a few of the lower cost eye peices and the collimator. Thanks for all the advise and wish everyone a happy new year.

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Hi and welcome to sgl. from me also.

i would try to use your scope to at least give you time to see if this hobby is for you and to get used to the sky before spending what can be lots of £££'s.

As mentioned get a book on astronomy, Philips do a vast range of astronomy dedicated ones, try Amazon for best price.

Cheers.

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Hi Nffc - apologies if my welcome seemed in any way "unwarm" - you are of course very welcome here.

I can see my initial advice could have been explained better and do hope I haven't caused you to feel awkward or unwelcome in any way. :(

In all honesty though, you can try the upgrades and objects suggested by Luke and Capricorn, but I don't think it will be long before you either want a better instrument, or turn away from the hobby alltogether (my worst fear).

We all love astronomy here and it agrieves me that the Nat Geo is sold as a telescope rather than as a toy.

I'd much rather see you with a good basic model of proper scope which I know will give pleasing views and stimulate enough interest to keep you going for many years to come.

Please feel free to join the "East Mids Stargazers" social group. We are based here at SGL and have established dark sites in Sawley and Belper where we meet for regular observing and social events as a local group.

It's a friendly bunch and you'll benefit from seeing and using other telescopes which will help put many things "astronomy" in perspective for you.

(Just click the link in my signature for further details).

Once again - a very warm welcome to SGL :)

Edited by brantuk
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We all love astronomy here and it agrieves me that the Nat Geo is sold as a telescope rather than as a toy.

I'd much rather see you with a good basic model of proper scope which I know will give pleasing views and stimulate enough interest to keep you going for many years to come.

I DO agree, but what's done is done. "When life deals you lemons..........make lemonade". I have no doubt in my mind that in a very short period of time that you (nffc) will start to suffer from what astronomers call "aperture fever". It is the want to upgrade to a larger scope. It happens to us ALL.

Enjoy the views that the 76mm offers you and learn lots.

If we were all disheartened by the views our scopes give us, then the only astronomers left would be those who use 16" scopes or BIGGER...........or we would ALL be using the same size scopes.

BORING.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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ditto, sorry I didn't say welcome, I just got straight into answering your question. :(

I suppose the others do have a point. You ought to try to see some planets with it at least. You will see Jupiter's moons and Saturn's rings. If you're still eager for more then upgrade.

Edited by umadog
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Hi nffc, I have a friend who has the same scope, although not the ideal first telescope it is certainly better than nothing. I have had 2 observing sessions with him, on the first we had a look at the Moon and Jupiter,which took a bit of finding. On the second I helped him to set the starfinder and took a few ep's of my own, 32mm/25mm plossl, which he has bought from me, and for comparrison a 18mm Radian and 9mm Nagler. I also gave him a Moon filter. The views on both the Moon and Jupiter were somewhat improved to say the least. We also had a look at M31 (Andromeda), Double Cluster NGC 884 (Persius), it was only for an hour but we agreed that the barlow and ep's that came with the scope do let it down. Buy yourself a few new ones, you don't need to spend that much but they will really help, as you build them up they will be ok in any new scope you may buy in the future.

Thats exactly what my friend intends to do.

This might help you as well. A free sortware programme on the nightsky.

http://www.stellarium.org

Hope that helps, welcome to the forum and a Happy New Year!

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Hi Nffc and a big hello from me too. We really are friendly bunch so don´t give up on us just yet.

I´m not familiar with your scope but the moon is just awesome under pretty much any magnification. It´s what got me hooked. and still loving it

Then I just had to negotiate with my shallow pockets.

Stick with it and enjoy.

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Hi nffc, welcome to SGL, sometimes our passion for wonderful equipment can make us forget what it was like to take those first steps...

My first scope is (I still have it and intend to keep it) an 84mm newtonian of 1970s vintage. Even with the teeny wee eyepieces that I have to hold my eye right against to see through them, it still provided me with my first, and most memorable view of Saturn. I'm sure that, despite any limitations, you will still find enjoyment in your scope. As has been said, the stock EPs will no doubt be the scopes biggest drawback. See if you can borrow a few good ones when you go to the observatory open evening, or from a fellow local SGL member perhaps, to get an idea of where you wish to go from there.

I'll bet it's still far better than Sir Issacs first 1" scope with a polished metal mirror, or indeed, Gallileos first scope, whith which he first viewed his moons around Jupiter.

Edited by yeti monster
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Hi everyone thank you for the warm welcome and as I said before I will take all your advise with me when I go out and look. Just can't wait for clearer sky's to eventually come. I will keep logging in and checking for advise.

Thank you nexus 6 for the review on the scope. I think I will upgrade the eye peices as well. I'm hoping that this scope wets my appetite and that I can upgrade when the time is right.

I hope oneday to learn enough so that I can do what you guys are doing now and help the newbies. After all everyone has to start somewhere

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Hi nffc...I also had the same scope for xmas too. fortunately, my girlfriend bought it at argos (other stores are available:) ) so was able to return it easily. if you take it back without a receipt they may give you a credit slip for their store??? just a thought...

good luck

mike

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You will! Make sure you see Saturn, that will whet your appetite for sure. I think the upgrade you would find most useful is a red-dot type finder. Look into them if you're having difficulty aiming your scope.

Hope the clouds clear!

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Hi Nffc, If it helps, I have some eyepieces that came with my scope, you can have these free, it may get you some better views with your scope. I don't use them now, they are 1.25" ones, a 25, 10, and 4mm. Although I don't use them, they are reasonable eyepieces. I'll pm you as well.

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hi o/p never run before you can walk. if as you say you have read about your scope being not good, please try observing say the moon before you make jugement. dont forget scope reviews are other peoples views, not yours. yes its a small scope but we all have to start somewhere. if say an expensive scope was bought and you lost interest, then a lot of money would have then been wasted. my first scope was a tasco 60mm 700mmfl on a wooden tripod with hand controls the image was all over the place, but the moon was a great sight, and my interest grew.

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Hi Nffc, a very warm welcome to the SGL forum, don`t worry about your scope I`ll bet Galileo would have liked it instead of his bit of crude glass, I owned a similar, 76mm reflector some time ago and had an immense amount of enjoyment with it, but poor quality eyepieces let it down, after advice I invested in a 9mm circle T Orthoscopic, and what a difference, the sky was my oyster and I still have they eyepiece to-day, you may also find that your views improve if you can take the scope to a dark site.

John.

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Hello Nffc, I am not really able to give any astronomy or equipment advice as I am new to the subject too and have much to learn. One point I would like to make is, that in an earlier life, I used to sell guitars in a music shop and do a bit of guitar tuition on the side. Very often, some kid would be bought a cheap guitar and would come along, wide eyed and full of enthusiam to learn to play. The cheap guitar would be difficult to play because of its high strings, wide neck and rough frets. It would also sound pretty awful, even when I played it. This can be very disheartenting for a beginner. On top of having to learn the finger positions, they would be left with very sore fingers at the end of the lesson. I sometimes swapped guitars so that they were playing my good guitar and I was playing the 'rough' one but that didn't help when they went home and had to practice. A lot of them lost interest very quickly but a few went on to become gifted guitarists. Their interest overcame their initial hurdles. They found ways to improve or replace their instruments. I guess that is what the guys here are saying. If you really have 'the bug', you will find a way. Remember, that many of the joys of astronomy don't require a telescope at all, just a clear(ish) sky, a pair of eyes and a star map. Any pair of binoculars or telescope would be icing on the cake.

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