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Absolute beginner - what can i expect

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I have just joined the forum. As an absolute beginner I was wondering if any of you more experienced stargazers could offer some advice

I had a skywatcher 130pm telescope for Christmas ( this is my first scope) and it came with a 10mm and 25mm lens and a 2x barlow lens.

I was wondering what I can expect to see with this at best. Is it a good enough scope to see Saturn for example. Or do you think I need more accessories in order to view some of the more distant objects

Thanks in advance


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Welcome to SGL.

That scope is a good first scope. It will enable you to view most of the planets (certainly Venus, mars, Jupiter and Saturn).

You should be able to see the phases of Venus, the polar ice cap on Mars, the bands and some moons on Jupiter and the rings of Saturn.

It will also be OK on some of the brighter cluster and galaxies.

A good idea is to look in the sketching section of SGL - this is much closer to what you'll see through the scope then the lovely colorful images that people take!



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Hi Abbie and welcome to the forum. I wouldn't have thought you would have any problems seeing Saturn with this scope. My starter scope was a 4.5" Tal and the views of Saturn that scope gave me blew me away and got me hooked for life! Obviously the moon would be a good target, as would Jupiter, although Jupiter is past its best at the moment.

As far as deep space objects go, I couldn't really tell you, but I'm sure someone will be along soon who can :). I Imagine you would get good views of the larger and brighter DSO's such as the Orion Nebula (M42) and so on.

Hope this helps

Edited by Black Knight
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I have the skywatcher heritage 130p you do get some good views, you can see the orion nebula (was very faint in my garden due to light pollution) havent had a chance to look at saturn yet but should hopefully have views tonight if the weather holds.

Welcome, good luck and enjoy

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I have a heritage 130 and using the standard 10mm lens only I can see the shape of the rings of Saturn though the image is very small, and using the 25mm I get good views of the orion nebula.

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Hi Abbie and welcome.

Don't expect too much from the skywatcher eyepieces and especially the Barlow. Having said that the 25mm will give you some nice views of the moon planets and some larger nebulae. I have not found the 10mm very satisfactory as yet and have been disappointed with the Barlow.

However, I have much to learn and, despite the temptation, have not plunged in and spent a fortune on premium eyepieces. Don't be disappointed if your first session or two is a little underwhelming, mine certainly where.

Have fun and keep warm!

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  • 2 weeks later...

hi abbie

being very new to this too (3 weeks with this scope) i have relised its a bit of a slog to be honest luckly the moon is providing great views at the moment but i think good nebula and planet views come with time and experance . I have posted a few proper numpty questions on here and have recieved lots of good advice from the very helpfull members on here so keep viewing your and all the other posts on here for tips .I have had limited sucess with m42 which proved reasonabley easy to find under the midle star of orions belt from here in the sw of england good luck keep searching and welcome

Edited by nick w
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At the early stages you will need to set up various bits and simply get used to the equipment.

Get the finder aligned with the mainscope, otherwise pointing at an objct is random chance.

I assume that the scope is on an EQ mount, so get the basics of setting that up. It does not have to be overly accurate but just reasonable for visual observating.

At some time the scope will require collimating, the various bits have a tendancy to move and you need to get them back in line. Again have a read first, have a look at the bits and think it through once or twice before you touch anything.

The eyepieces supplied are not the greatest so brilliantly sharp views if supplied will be unexpcted by most peoples experience. Everything will be small, generally about the size of the average pea is what most say, occasionally just lentil.

Look up a club in your area if that appeals to you. The Federation of Astronomical Societies and go to member societies.

Otherwise take it steady and enjoy.

Edited by ronin
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Hi from will, this is a good scope but you will get quite small images of the planets, focus at higher magnifications will become more difficult. The moon will be good but with the same focus limit at higher magnifications. DSO (galaxies) will just be a grey smudge at best, you won't see spirals. Also you wont see much colour through your eyepieces, there is not enough light from through small telescopes to pick out colours. Some people can be a little disappointed with what is possible but then the challenge (and reward) is getting to know the night sky. People will be amazed that you can point out the main features in the sky.

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Hi Abbie and welcome to SGL :o

The 130P is a very nice starter scope. I have one and can see the bands on Jupiter, and Saturns ring system in the colours you see in images. They will be very small though so clarity is important.

To achieve that you need the object to be as high as possible in the sky as you can get so you are loking through less atmosphere. You need the scope to be properly cooled down to ambient temperature to reduce air currents. You need to be viewing from a pitch dark site, and your scope must be well collimated.

You can also see some double stars like Alberio which has one gold coloured star and one blue. You'll see the Orion Nebula (amongst others) which will appear as a grey dust cloud. Andromeda will appear as a smudge, and Plieades will look like a bunch of jewels hanging in space. There are many other beautiful objects within range of the 130P.

Your 25mm ep is minimally acceptable, the 10mm and barlow are rubbish (imho). Don't be put off the hobby till you have at least borrowed a good quality ep to try in the scope - it makes a massive difference believe me.

Download Stellarium (free) for a map of stars at your location every night, get "The Sky at Night" magazine monthly for a guide to best viewing, and join a local astro soc and go observing with them. Also visit the Star Parties section and try to visit a current event.

Hope that gets you on a successful path to astronomy and enjoy the forum :(

Edited by brantuk
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Hi Abbie, I'm not that familiar with your scope, but you'll definitely be able to see Saturn's rings, Jupiters moons and lots of lunar detail through your scope. I saw cracking views of all of those through my tatty old 4" Tasco scope that my parents bought from Argos 25 years ago.

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Hi Abbie

i only joined the forum yesterday, but can already see how much friendly, sound advice is on offer

I picked up my first scope tonight and its also a skywatcher 130pm.

Cloud cover is bad tonight though so im busting to use it as soon as possible

have fun and enjoy the skys....im going to !

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