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Underneath a blanket of stars.....

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Hello everyone,

I have spent the last few months saving for my first 'proper' telescope. I have had a few (cough) department store refractors in the past - all sub £100 - and they have been terrible to say the least. I finally decided to do some research and buy something worth while. This forum has been my bible, and although not directed at me your advise to each other has been invaluble - so thank you.

I have purchased a Skywatcher Skyliner 150p as I belived it would be a good starter scope for me and I am over the moon with it - what a great little scope, the build quality is excellent and the Dob is a breeze to set up and use.

Thankfully I have been blessed with two out of two nights of clear skies since bringing her home. Yesterday was a bit of a learning curve, I thought I found Saturn twice ( A Star and then a Plane) but ended up being happy enough trying to learn some consellations and get used to the scope. Tonight I have viewed the Moon - WHAT A VIEW! Found the real Saturn in Virgo - OMG!!!!! and marvelled at a few brightly lit star fields. I am hooked.

I purchased a 7mm Celestron X-cel LX from the shop I got the Skyliner from as my 'quality' eyepiece for £71.00. Do you guys rate these? I can't see much difference in viewing quality than my stock EPs although MAG is higher obviously.

Could you give me some advise on which eyepieces I need to have to cover all the bases?

Im thinking a 32mm and a 9mm TMB Planetary?

Is it worth getting a 2inch eyepiece or stick with the 1.25mm?

Anything else I should get - I have a moon filter and the stock 10mm and 25mm (which I am really pleased with - but have nothing to gauge them against appart from the 7mm Celestron) I did buy a red dot finder to replace the finder scope that came with the OTA, but after testing both I think I will stick with the standard one, the magnification really helps me find things a little easier - says the man who found a flying Saturn with wings.....

finally, is a Barlow worth getting?

Thanks guys and look forward to your replies.


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Welcome and congratulations!

Low power 2" eyepieces are certainly nice. They can be pricey, though. You don't need lots and lots of eyepieces, to be honest. You can select eyepieces according to the exit pupil they will produce with your scope. Here's a guide:

A Guide to Eyepieces

You could, for instance, buy them to produce exit pupil sizes of 6mm to 2mm at 1mm intervals. Exit pupil is EP focal length divided by telescope focal ratio. At f8, you'll struggle to get 6 mm (although Televue do make a 55 mm Plossl). See if you can get a >40 mm Plossl. It will make the view brighter. Note that with the poor seeing we have under the jet stream, it unlikely you'll be using powers much above 200x.

I'd say that a suitable chair is a real boon. I just use a plastic garden chair since I can sit on the seat, arm, or back, depending on the elevation of the scope. You really will see more if you're seated and your head is steady.

A Cheshire/sight-tube combo tool would be great for collimating your scope. They're not terribly expensive.

Get yourself a nice star chart and a book to work with. Turn Left at Orion is a nice book. Sky and Telescope make a nice "pocket" star chart. Perhaps you'll want to work through the Messier objects--there are plenty of books around for that purpose.

Good stuff!

Edited by umadog
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Thanks guys, I appreciate your advice.

I have just bought a 32mm Televue off Ebay for £56.00 to add the collection as I have been told they are great EPs.

A Barlow and collimating tool are next on the list (and a book).

Is a zoom EP worth getting?

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Don't forget a red light torch. I also replaced my finder with a 9x50 one. And fitted a red dot finder. The RDF lets me easly get in the right area then I use the finder scope to locate the object.

All the best


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The one thing you haven't mentioned is both indespensible and usually very cheap if not free... Join up with your local astro club! There is almost certainly something within driving distance, and the folks there will be happy to welcome you.

You can also meet up with people who have already got a scope like yours, and maybe see some of those accessories you've been discussing in person! :p I've yet to meet an astro-club member who wasn't willing to talk your ear off about their kit at the drop of a hat - and will probably be thrilled to let you have a go at the eyepiece with their scope and kit as well.

Hey, there are lots of new astronomy friends you haven't met yet - what are you waiting for!? :D


Edited by Ad Astra
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