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First day spotting London

Patrick Gilliland

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Hi all, exploring site looks great.

Finally got around to getting my sons (9 year old) star gazer explorer 130p up and working. He is at nan's so doing the lets look like I know what I am talking about when he comes back tonight and the skies are clear.

Got all aligned no prob (5 attempts lol) but was disappointed with what I could see. I know being in london will be a problem with light but I hoped to be able to see NGC 1976 great Orion nebula to greater detail than just the slightest of fuzz.

To be honest was also disappointed with Jupiter, I could find and see moons but even with Barlow x2 and 10 mm could only just about see some slight banding on the planet itself, if somebody would ask it to stay still just for a minute that would also help.

I am not sure I am getting most out of scope so will keep trying, but any tips on set up and I fo if light filters may help would be appreciated. Likewise pointers to good articles on the site would be appreciated, I am going to look but just in case I miss.

Fingers crossed the boy will be impressed with my lack of knowledge and I can bluff my way through my learning curve.......!

Edited by Patrick Gilliland
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Welcome Patrick, the explorer 130 is a very good scope for a beginner but you must leave it outside for an hour for the optics to cooldown as all you will get are unfocused blobs until optics are stable.

Newtonians need collimation to get sharply focused images, with the 130 it will not be perfectly collimated when you bought it so it may need finetuning.

There are many 130 users here who will give better advice so you have come to the right place as you should be getting good images of Jupiter, but a dark site may be needed for fainter objects so don't be disappointed.


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Stuff I remember in theory and now rediscovering in practice

i) putting yourself out in the dark for a long time, as well as the kit, really helps - like any skill, observing gets better with practice

ii) don't expect much in the way of colour on nebulae - the more light-sensitive receptors are non-colour sensitive (or is it just less, can't recall)

iii) Dark skies really help - any chance of taking the scope further out?



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Hi Patrick and welcome to SGL :)

Unfortunately the eye pieces that come with the 130P (a very capable scope) are not up to much at high powers. The 25mm is going to be more useable than the 10mm and the barlow is really naff. I have a 130P and it is really quite good with better quality ep's.

You can get ep's at very good prices second hand - look in the For Sale section once your membership here is fully established, and try astrobuysell website. Astronomers tend to keep their gear in good nick and sell off when upgrading.

To know what you're looking for join a local observing group. People will help and often lend ep's to try out.

To improve your scope I'd suggest a mix of Meade wide angle ep's or Televue plossls. These can be £25-£50 each s/h depending on how well you negotiate. I'd go for any of: 10mm, 15mm, 20mm, wide 25mm, and wide 30mm. I'd not worry about a barlow for now.

Hope that helps :evil6:

Edited by brantuk
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My son is back and has just seen Jupiter, think he is hooked, now to ration his time out in the cold, he has chronic lung disease (recovering) but is worried the stars might not hang around. Tried explaining 13.6 billion years of history space has but that don't wash with an impatient 9 year old lol. Again thanks for the greets friends adds etc welcome. Any people in London with pointers or close location tips with less light pollution would be welcomed.

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Where about in London are you, damn it is a big place.

In the centre there is a group called the Baker Street Irregulars that meet up in Regents Park (the Hub ??). Search engine should dig them up. There is a West of London group and a couple on the south side. Have a look at fedastro.org.uk

A couple of reasonable plossl's (£20ish) should improve the general view, but check the collimation. At least that can be done indoors. You will need a collimator tool. Check astro-baby.com for a guide. If you live around Redhill you may meet her one day.

By the way, as they have been around 13.6 billion years it simply means they could go out very soon.

Edited by Capricorn
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Hi Patrick and welcome to the forum.

I agree with brantuck remarks regarding the quality of eyepieces. If its any consolation the 'seeing' has not been at its best for quite some time. Astronomy is as much about patience as it is about the kit - what ever you own. When you start observing galaxies and nebula it does make a difference to get out to a dark site. Light Pollution filters can help a bit too, especially on the fainter stuff.

Clear skies for your next attempt.


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