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Introduction to Astronomy, Want a telescope? Please read before posting.

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  • Moderators, Arts Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 10,606 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hellrazer


    So Ive always wanted a telescope just for casual viewing and I mentioned it last week for my birthday and Mrs Hellrazer just got me one of these to start off with!!!

    https://www.astroshop.eu/telescopes/skywatcher-telescope-n-114-500-skyhawk-eq-1/p,5011#tab_bar_1_select


    I haven't a clue where to start. Any tips on how to get started ie setup,calibration , alignment etc?

    Thanks


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,325 ✭✭✭iLikeWaffles


    Hellrazer wrote: »
    So Ive always wanted a telescope just for casual viewing and I mentioned it last week for my birthday and Mrs Hellrazer just got me one of these to start off with!!!

    https://www.astroshop.eu/telescopes/skywatcher-telescope-n-114-500-skyhawk-eq-1/p,5011#tab_bar_1_select


    I haven't a clue where to start. Any tips on how to get started ie setup,calibration , alignment etc?

    Thanks

    First off aligning this to Polaris will be extremely difficult / near impossible because it doesn't have a hole in the centre of the mount to align it.

    But luckily aligning is only really necessary if a tracking motor is required you have 2 options: get an approximate alignment then use the drift align method (basically adjust till tracking stays still) or find a skip and throw it in (tripod is okay). Before you do that though purchase a decent mount like an EQ3-2 or one with a polar scope or hole in the centre of the mount where a polar scope can be attached (a polar scope is a sight with markings like a crosshair, you place Polaris on the mark).

    Can you still use this mount for observation? Sure just plonk it down and point it at stuff, however there will be a lot of shake because the mount is not very good. Attaching a camera to it to image will be very frustrating and may put you off using the thing altogether. Scope is decent enough though, but I'm not sure how well the Skywatcher eyepieces that come with it are. Best thing to do there is purchase a Seben, Celestron or Skywatcher 8-24mm zoom eyepiece (all same manufacturer just branded differently). For such a small focal length a Zoom eyepiece will pair very nicely and gives you a wide range of magnification, also the field of view is huge with that zoom eyepiece.

    Calibration: I assume you mean collimation. Don't touch it until you know what you are doing and spend a good deal of time learning about it lots of info on youtube, it has to be precise.

    A digital spirit level will be a big help for aligning the mount head to Polaris. Your latitude and pointing north is a good approximation to Polaris. 54° for me or to be more precise 54.4°; this will be the angle of the level mount (levelled tripod base) and pointing to Polaris which is not quiet north. Another option is your phone if you can squarely fit it on the back of the mount.


  • Moderators, Arts Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 10,606 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hellrazer


    First off aligning this to Polaris will be extremely difficult / near impossible because it doesn't have a hole in the centre of the mount to align it.

    But luckily aligning is only really necessary if a tracking motor is required you have 2 options: get an approximate alignment then use the drift align method (basically adjust till tracking stays still) or find a skip and throw it in (tripod is okay).

    Thanks for that.
    Have a look at that site for me and find something that's a "bit" better for me.
    My wife asked for a beginner one knowing I never really stick to hobbies I take up :) and didn't want to spend too much. She didn't really know what to buy.

    It hasn't shipped yet so I can change the order but don't want to spend too much more if I can help it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,325 ✭✭✭iLikeWaffles


    Hellrazer wrote: »
    Thanks for that.
    Have a look at that site for me and find something that's a "bit" better for me.
    My wife asked for a beginner one knowing I never really stick to hobbies I take up :) and didn't want to spend too much. She didn't really know what to buy.

    It hasn't shipped yet so I can change the order but don't want to spend too much more if I can help it.

    If you're just dipping your toe in every now and then an Alt-Az mount would be perfect, no aligning literally plonk it down and look. Slow motion controls have to be used to get a long look at something.

    Where the Alt-Az and Equatorial Mount differ is it is easier to adjust for the earths rotation on the EQ, when it is aligned to Polaris (just off centre to celestial north pole) you just need to adjust 1 axis Right Ascension (RA)

    post-8131-1407381223903_thumb.gif

    Decent enough views from this:
    https://www.astroshop.eu/telescopes/skywatcher-telescope-ac-90-900-evostar-az-3/p,21947


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,069 ✭✭✭✭fryup


    i'm tempted by this one its the latest from celestron, you use it with your smartphone to tracks various targets in the night sky

    but this one only has slow-mo control on the altitude
    Manual altazimuth mount with altitude slow motion adjustment with a sliding rod makes it easy to follow the on-screen arrows to your desired target.

    https://www.camera.ie/products/celestron-starsense-explorer-dx-80-az


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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,325 ✭✭✭iLikeWaffles


    fryup wrote: »
    i'm tempted by this one its the latest from celestron, you use it with your smartphone to tracks various targets in the night sky

    but this one only has slow-mo control on the altitude



    https://www.camera.ie/products/celestron-starsense-explorer-dx-80-az

    Spend more time looking at the phone than the actual object in the sky, your phone is going to ruin your night vision also. Pure gimmick.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,069 ✭✭✭✭fryup


    just set the phone to night vision?

    anything that can help you find a target is good thing surely? esp for a novice


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,325 ✭✭✭iLikeWaffles


    fryup wrote: »
    just set the phone to night vision?

    anything that can help you find a target is good thing surely? esp for a novice

    A phone is the worst thing you can use to find a target. Screen too small and not all phones have a night mode, if an app has it when the phone will lock or you get some stupid notification there goes seeing the dimmest objects. Use your brain power. They've been doing it for thousands of years without using a phone! You only need to know 1 thing in the night sky to find anything, 2 and you'll find it faster.


  • Registered Users Posts: 644 ✭✭✭Moreilly


    Quick question, is this any good ! - https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p11758_SkyWatcher-Telescope-Starquest-130P---Newtonian-Telescope-130-650.html

    It's for a first telescope for a 11 year old who has been interested in stars and planets for years now, the budget is maxed out at this so is there anything cheaper and available that would also be a option?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,393 ✭✭✭Jaden


    That's alot of Telescope for starting out with an 11 year old. No chance they can move that on their own, so you'll be lugging it around/outside.

    I'd go second hand, like this similar one:
    https://www.adverts.ie/telescopes-binoculars/sky-watcher/23386062

    They do "Desktop" 76/114mm dobsonians that are probably alot more portable, maybe that might be a decent call.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/National-Geographic-Compact-Telescope-114/dp/B00A7SSZKM

    Refractors are gonna be alot lighter and more portable:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B001TI9Y2M/ref=twister_B087DMWYTS?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

    That's what would get my vote.

    If you were near Galway, I'd give you a loan of my Astromaster 130, I'm guessing you're east coast though.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,325 ✭✭✭iLikeWaffles


    Yeah I'd agree with what Jaden said here. An equatorial mount can be complicated for a beginner, but once gotten the hang of is rather easy, that said I'd always recommend an alt-az mount for young astronomers the pivot points could be confusing and cumbersome on a EQ mount which can be off putting in terms of interest in the hobby. Alt-az is smoother and the pivot points would be closer together. A table top Dob would be a good starter but it is limiting in terms of magnification.


  • Registered Users Posts: 644 ✭✭✭Moreilly


    Thanks for the replies and the offer of the 130 loan, im east coast though and hoping to order tonight for delivery before friday- luckily though we live in the countryside and could probably use it in the garden as there is no major light pollution, our house is in the middle of nowhere ! would a table top dob such as linked above be able to see the planets, or the rings of saturn?


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,325 ✭✭✭iLikeWaffles


    Moreilly wrote: »
    Thanks for the replies and the offer of the 130 loan, im east coast though and hoping to order tonight for delivery before friday- luckily though we live in the countryside and could probably use it in the garden as there is no major light pollution, our house is in the middle of nowhere ! would a table top dob such as linked above be able to see the planets, or the rings of saturn?

    A table top is not sufficient for planets at all. The moon and wide angle is about all it would be good for. You will want something much bigger to see planets but none are in view at the moment sadly, too close to the sun and not in opposition either, next year will have better views.


  • Registered Users Posts: 644 ✭✭✭Moreilly


    Would the skywatcher 130 be able to see planets (when available to see)?, just done a bit of Google'n and it seems it can be used as a Alt-Azimuth as well,


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,325 ✭✭✭iLikeWaffles


    Moreilly wrote: »
    Would the skywatcher 130 be able to see planets (when available to see)?, just done a bit of Google'n and it seems it can be used as a Alt-Azimuth as well,

    A Equatorial Mount still an Equatorial Mount regardless of how it used. Take descriptions of telescopes with a tablespoon of salt. They're there to sell you the product, google is also there to sell you the product. The main things to look for is Aperture and Focal Length, as a rule of thumb if it is not advertised as focal length in mm/aperture in inches look into a little bit more and see how others who have it say how good it performs.

    A 130 is not the most sufficient to see Planets in great detail. But you will probably just about make out the Cassini Division/Rings of Saturn on a good night (little to no atmospheric turbulence). That said this would be with a 130 at 1000mm focal length which the one you are looking is not, it is 650mm.

    Focal length (650mm) and aperture (130mm) would be just about okay for the Moon. On the other hand a Refractor of 6" compared to a Newtonian (Reflector) at 8" will perform just as good as the bigger aperture, without going into too much detail a Refractors lens will scatter light less than the Newtonians single mirror so this is why it competes, but there's trade offs. Even still 6-8" would be adequate to see planets well (on a good night) at least 1000mm focal length.

    Cassegrain's and Maksutov's is what you would want for Planets as they have the longest focal length compared to the size of other types of scope. They're very good on the moon too, I'd recommend a 127 Mak at minimum if you can stretch your budget. However Maks and Cassegrains are rather heavy as they have both lens and mirror so would need to be taken care of really well, they also focus differently than the traditional scope; you move the mirror to focus, so therefor they would need more maintaining.

    Something like this if you're bold enough:
    https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p10016_Skywatcher-Skymax-102-Maksutov-on-alt-azimuth-Mount-AZ-Pronto.html

    I have seen really good results on lunar images with a celestron 70 az a 90 az will be slightly better. Planets will be small enough still, the 90 would be same or comparable with the 1000/130 aperture in the Newt. One thing is with Refractors: they tend to have aberrations might see a purple hue around bright objects which can be especially apparent on the moon (Red/Green/Blue does not focus quiet the same can be corrected with RAW imaging though or filters) it is not a deal breaker but they can be sharper than Newtonians/Dobs and require little to no maintenance. Newtonians/Dobs maintenance is collimating the mirrors (lining them up). A refractor is very hard to knock out of collimation but also can be harder to align if it does get knocked out.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,069 ✭✭✭✭fryup


    what min aperture on a refractor would you need to see saturn's rings or jupiter's red spot??


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,393 ✭✭✭Jaden


    Nearly any telescope will show you Saturns rings - you might even manage that with a good pair or binoculars.

    Jupiter is a different proposition. My 130mm reflector can, so by _rough_ rule of thumb, a 70mm decent telescope should be able too too. a 90mm would be better. See it and seeing it clearly are 2 different things.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,069 ✭✭✭✭fryup


    well how about this with slow-mo controls, a good option for a casual user?


  • Moderators, Arts Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 10,606 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hellrazer


    First off aligning this to Polaris will be extremely difficult / near impossible because it doesn't have a hole in the centre of the mount to align it.

    But luckily aligning is only really necessary if a tracking motor is required you have 2 options: get an approximate alignment then use the drift align method (basically adjust till tracking stays still) or find a skip and throw it in (tripod is okay). Before you do that though purchase a decent mount like an EQ3-2 or one with a polar scope or hole in the centre of the mount where a polar scope can be attached (a polar scope is a sight with markings like a crosshair, you place Polaris on the mark).

    Can you still use this mount for observation? Sure just plonk it down and point it at stuff, however there will be a lot of shake because the mount is not very good. Attaching a camera to it to image will be very frustrating and may put you off using the thing altogether. Scope is decent enough though, but I'm not sure how well the Skywatcher eyepieces that come with it are. Best thing to do there is purchase a Seben, Celestron or Skywatcher 8-24mm zoom eyepiece (all same manufacturer just branded differently). For such a small focal length a Zoom eyepiece will pair very nicely and gives you a wide range of magnification, also the field of view is huge with that zoom eyepiece.

    Calibration: I assume you mean collimation. Don't touch it until you know what you are doing and spend a good deal of time learning about it lots of info on youtube, it has to be precise.

    A digital spirit level will be a big help for aligning the mount head to Polaris. Your latitude and pointing north is a good approximation to Polaris. 54° for me or to be more precise 54.4°; this will be the angle of the level mount (levelled tripod base) and pointing to Polaris which is not quiet north. Another option is your phone if you can squarely fit it on the back of the mount.



    So anyway - bit of an update.
    I managed to change the order and to this one
    https://www.astroshop.eu/telescopes/skywatcher-telescope-n-130-900-explorer-eq-2/p,5013

    Arrived on Saturday -set it up and managed by using a compass and spirit level to get it polar aligned (roughly but it seemed polaris stayed in almost one spot) last night - after watching hundreds of videos and following your guide above.


    Got some really nice views of the moon - Messed about with different eyepieces and Im starting to understand a bit better - its not all about power - its about clarity -ie I preferred using the 72x than 90x (25mm barlowed v 10mm no barlow)

    The EQ2 was a bit daunting at first but its actually very intuitive once its set up correctly - trying to see something behind you is a bit like doing gymnastics though!!!

    Im happy enough with it as a starter scope and can see an upgrade within a year or so.
    Thanks for the help.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,338 ✭✭✭fergiesfolly


    Looking to get my first telescope. Looking for something in the sub range €300. Something not to difficult to set up that would be a good all-rounder. I'd be mostly interested in lunar and planets but could get a half decent look at further afield( I know, asking too much) Thanks in advance.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,325 ✭✭✭iLikeWaffles




  • Registered Users Posts: 3,338 ✭✭✭fergiesfolly


    I did. The last post was over 18 months ago. I thought there might be some newer telescopes or insights/reviews on existing ones



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,325 ✭✭✭iLikeWaffles


    18 months will make a difference, especially for €300. It has fundamentally been the same technology for 400 years.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,338 ✭✭✭fergiesfolly


    Thanks. You've been very helpful



  • Registered Users Posts: 18,134 ✭✭✭✭namloc1980


    Got one of these for the kids (and myself!) for Christmas. Bresser tabletop dobsonian design. Super easy to use first scope for beginners with the tabletop design but it can be upgraded and with the dovetail can be mounted on a proper mount in the future. There's a 150mm and 130mm version.




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