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Recommendations on useful 'gadgets' please


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OK, so as I've posted in the newcomers sectino, I've made a decision on my first 'real' scope (Skywatcher Explorer 200PDS/EQ5) and now have to keep the faith until they're available again. I understand the limitations of the EQ5 but made a concious decision not to go for a 'GOTO' as I'm certain half the fun is learning the skies. So far I've purchased two books, Nightwatch and a DK book 'Starfinder' I've also purchased a set of (hopefully) sensible eyepieces.Given my dislike of the finder scope on my current budget refractor I've also just ordered a red-dot finder which by all accounts should be great for initial lining ups.

Now, question is, are there any other 'must-have' reasonably priced bits (books, software, extras) that will improve the whole experience without needing an additional mortgage. :)

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I'd suggest the following:

Download 'Stellarium' for your pc, if you haven't already, it is a great help on planning your viewing sessions and it's free!

A reasonable quality collimation tool for your newt is quite important too, something like this one from FLO Collimation - Cheshire Collimating Eyepiece

Other books, The oft mentioned 'Turn Left At Orion' is a very useful book.

And then, just get out and enjoy!!

Doc

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I'd suggest the following:

Download 'Stellarium' for your pc, if you haven't already, it is a great help on planning your viewing sessions and it's free!

A reasonable quality collimation tool for your newt is quite important too, something like this one from FLO Collimation - Cheshire Collimating Eyepiece

Other books, The oft mentioned 'Turn Left At Orion' is a very useful book.

And then, just get out and enjoy!!

Doc

Good call on Stellarium. Just downloaded and VERY impressed, particularly as it's a freeby. One big difference over real life is the total absence of clouds (unlike outside currently):)

The collimator I've seen mentioned a lot but there seems to be a confusion of types and complexity. I guess collimation is pretty vital to get the best out of a scope.

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Collimation is essential. You will need to do it regularly with your scope. They can range from a simple focusser cap with a central hole for a few pence to a full blown laser collimator for over £100.

My advice - get a good one it's gonna be indispensible - a few extra quid will be a good investment. Other than that, it's really personal choice/preference :)

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I find Sky & Telescpope's 'Pocket Sky Atlas;' invaluable, and I prefer it to Turn Left at Orion as the views are 'as seen' rather than through the scope (TLAO is not oriented to Newts either). David Chandler's 'The Night Sky' planisphere is nice too, better than the Philips version IMHO as it's printed on white. I have the same setup as you, but with a Telrad finder. When I reclaim my finder from being a 'finderguider' (ST80 on the way!) I think I'll buy the 9x50 with a right angled viewfinder as it's a pain trying to look up the finder with the ep being so close to the scope body (and a recipe for bumping the scope).

Anyway, welcome and I hope you enjoy your scopetime as much as I do!

David

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A seat! You'll be amazed by how much more you see when you are comfortable and still at the eyepiece. Lots of people use ironing seats (for where you need height), I use a mechanics stool for refractors/sct/dob viewing.

Helen

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