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Hi all!

Not posted for a while (I've been too busy stroking my scope and bumbling around in the garden, gasping at each new star I find), but I think I need to take my observing a up a level.

I have a SkyWatcher Explorer 200p EQ5, and so far I have had great fun doing exactly as I stated above, bumbling. I see something with the naked eye, I point at it etc, you know how it goes. But now I want to start finding the Messier objects and making logs and records etc (yup, full blown geek fest going on over here) but I have difficulty with a few of the basics, can you offer me any advice?

  1. I have a hard time aligning my finderscope with the scope itself. I have ordered a red dot finder, will this help (maybe I should have asked this 10 mins ago, before I ordered from FLO!)? Any tips to using it?
  2. I don't know the technical term off the top of my head, but how do you get an accurate alignment with Polaris? (collomination?)
  3. Following on from 2, how do I transfer the ref from Stellarium (for say m31) to my scope? This may seem self explanetry, but for some reason those dials and wheels give me a mental mind melt;)

I took all your advice from when I was an absolute beginner, using the naked eye, getting used to the constellations, getting stellarium, PATIENCE and they gave me a really solid base to work from, so thank you and any advice you have re the above I am sure will help me tremendously, thank you in advance!


P.S. I have also just ordered a 32mm Plossl eyepiece for DSO's, will this be ok?

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Hi. You may well benefit from a red dot finder, really a matter of personal prefference. My best advice is to line up your finder scope on a distant object in the day time so you are not fumbling about in the dark.

With regard to tracking objects down, you could try using a star atlas that you can take outside with you (but make sure you have a red torch to preserve your night vision). Do a little forward planning, select the objects you want to observe and concentrate on trying to find those, and dont worry, we all bumble our way around the sky on occasion.:eek:

I see you have a similar scope to mine so a lot of dso`s will easily be within reach of your scope.

Basically just persevere and it will all come in time.

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Hi, I have the same scopes as you and have managed to do basically the same thing - bumble! Mainly due to bad weather though... If you read the instruction it should tell you how to set up polar north using Polaris etc. basically your stand has a polar scope built into it which you line up with Polaris to give you your polar alignment. Collimation is basically making sure all the mirrors etc are lined up in the scope, the first time I did mine it was way out!

Now, also in the instruction book it tells you how to set the RA and DEC using the star Vega. If you look at stellarium and click on vega it will give you the numbers for it's RA and DEC, basically it's coordinates in the sky. Get vega in the centre of your scope then manually set the numbers on your mount to what vega should be and hey presto you can find anything else in the sky by just turning the RA/DEC knobs to their numbers on stellurium!

To be honest though I'm yet to do it due to rubbish weather.

Edited by Nightwolf

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