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Zooey
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Hello. I'm not really sure why I registered, but I have been lurking for a few days and you seem friendly. :)

I do believe you should never say never, but at the moment I have no intention of buying a telescope or even a pair of binoculars, perhaps with good reason, but more of that later. As a child I was always fascinated by the stars and would perch side-saddle on the window sill by the open window of our first floor maisonette - it's a wonder my parents weren't done for child cruelty, but it was a long time ago. Since then I have set my alarm for silly o'clock in the hope of seeing whatever event has been shown on the television and of course, I have usually been disappointed.

I got into Stellarium about a year ago and spent last winter learning a few constellations and stars. My username was chosen quite deliberately as I have always surrounded myself with animals. For the past 15 years (since having our own land), we have never had less than 40 in the "zoo". It is while doing the outside animals at night that I get a few minutes to do my "homework". Sadly the days grew longer and I forgot all that I had learned last winter, so I recently downloaded a few more stars and I'm trying again. It is perhaps at this point that I should say conditions are ideal here as we can't see another property from our land (some 2.5 acres) and there is a full 2,000 acres south of us before you reach the next lane.

The other night I spotted what I described to myself as a mini belt just below the real belt in Orion. Thinking all the stars would be Ori-something (I know all the named stars in Orion), I was stunned to find the middle "star" was what I had seen in the software as the Great Nebula. I was hooked again!

So... why don't I want anything to view the stars more clearly? First of all, I simply can't afford it with all my animals and I wouldn't have the time anyway. They take anything up to five or six hours a day and I also work four days a week. Binoculars then... but I'm falling apart at the seams and have something called stereoblindness (one eye is short sighted and the other long sighted and the brain simply ignores one). I have never got on with binoculars and I have another little problem or two. I have a condition called Meniere's disease that causes me to feel dizzy and looking up is sometimes not a pleasant experience. Following a car accident many years ago I also have two crushed vertebra in my neck, so movement is limited (and painful).

So here I am, a physical wreck, but I still want to learn. The past couple of days during my lunch break I have been reading about nebulae and the solar system. To be honest, this is probably the only time I will have as most days are completely taken up with work and the zoo. If I get any free time at home then I really should be concentrating on my other passion which is photography. Unlike astronomy, I do have a talent for this and I have little enough time for it anyway.

So, what would you recommend? Is there one book or a handful of good web sites for beginners? Is there a right way to tackle this - so should I learn about our own solar system before moving further afield? Is there anywhere I can find a list of good things to spot with just the naked eye (and a blurry one at that)? :(

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Welcome to SGL!

You can use binoculars with just one eye and I wonder if someone can recommend some. I use a pair of Revelation binoculars (£50 new from FLO) on a photographic tripod (you probably already have one) and it gives excellent views, is incredibly lightweight and gives good views even looking through a single lens.

You may even be able to pick up a second hand 'damaged' pair which have only one working side for less? FLO (First Light Optics - link at the top of the page) might have one? I know at least one of the ones they've sold recently was returned as a bit wonky.

If I could recommend one book it would have to be "Turn Left at Orion". It's not so much a book as a page-an-object overview of how to find things in the night sky, complete with eyepiece sketches and a description of the objects.

Hope this helps!

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Hi Zooey, a very warm welcome to the forum, sorry to see you have health issues and your limited by what you can do to observe, the forum has a photography sub forum, there are some brilliant shots posted on there. :(

try this free software, you can set it to your location, its brilliant

stellarium.org :)

for a decent book look no further than

Turn Left at Orion

many people rate it highly ;)

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Welcome to the forum, I work, have 1 year old twins and quite a few animals so I understand about the lack of time but know that we will always be here at SGL if ever you have a spare minute or 2 and yes everyone here is very friendly - I am a newbie and have been made to feel very welcome x

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Hi Zooey - all levels of experience and equipment are welcome here. All you need is a healthy interest in astronomy, and it's good to see you making the best of it regardless of circumstances.

Welcome to SGL and hope you enjoy the forum :)

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Many thanks to you all. So two votes for "Turn Left at Orion" then. I'll see if I can find it on Amazon and mark it as a favourite. The tip about binoculars is a good one too - I'll keep my eye open (no pun intended) for a damanged second hand pair. I'm just off to the vet again with one of our cats and an ex-battery hen - they have been plotting to keep me poor... :)

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Hello Zooey,

A warm welcome to the SGL forum, sorry to hear about your problems, but it does sound like you have a good observing site, if looking up may pose a problem there was a piece of equipment reviewed by the S@N mag some time ago, it is called the "Binoflex", it is basically a mirror device to which binos are fixed and you look downwards into an optically flat mirror which reflects the night sky, you can then sit comfortably at a table, if you are interested details can be found on Scope'n'Skies web site, as for information I do not think you need go further than Stargazers, and as for the astronomy money pot, mine is always empty :)

John.

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Welcome Zooey!

Don't be discouraged by your physical difficulties - the wonders of the skies are for everyone's delight, no matter how we enjoy them.

I would consider seeing if there is a local astronomy club in your area. Clubs have lectures and discussions, and also local astronomy nights where folks like you, who have no equipment, can get together and share with those of us who do.

I would bet that if we sat you down with a fast Newtonian telescope (wide field of view) and a 2" eyepiece (like looking through a porthole!), you could observe with no problems. (you only need one good eye with a scope!!!)

Good folks here could probably direct you to a local astro club, I'm sure you would enjoy it, and it usually costs little or nothing to join.

Good luck!

Dan

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