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I got a telescope from Santa! (sorry Dawn, not a hippo)

Discussion in 'Astronomy & Astrophotography' started by Deb, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. Deb
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    Deb Serious Forum Regular

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    Well, I'm not quite sure where I'm going with this yet, but I thought I'd post to let you Astronomy buffs know to expect a whole heap of (probably stoopid and basic :rolleyes3: ) questions at some point soon.

    The other half and myself have been talking about getting a telescope for a while - we spend as much time as possible outside in our garden (even on cold dark evenings, but a shared bottle of wine helps with the cold) and love watching the stars and the moon - we have very little light from buildings etc here. We thought this would be a great hobby to start together.

    So for Christmas I got a telescope (for that read "we" got a telescope :unimpressed: ). A total surprise and a very good choice! :D He says he did his research and he got what he felt was one of the best options for beginners. So for those who have a clue about these things it's a Meade ETX Premier Edition with Autostar, LNT and Smartfinder and it comes with a Meade deluxe tripod #884.Unfortunately the instructional DVD it comes with doesn't work so we are having to work our way through the manual.

    What was funny was he didn't realise it needed batteries to work and in time-honoured Christmas Day fashion forgot to buy them :doh: so we couldn't play with our toy on the first couple of nights when it was clear! It's been cloudy ever since :( However, as I think it will take us 6 years to learn how to use it properly this is no bad thing :wink:

    We are keen to use the camera attachment but we will learn one thing at a time and buy the accessories we need as we go along.

    So far we have used it to watch wildlife which is wonderful. We are both into this and it's way better than our binoculars! We have a wood a few metres from our verandah with bird feeders, and we regularly see tons of birds, including woodpeckers, jays, a peregrine, kestrel, nuthatches... We also have loads of grey squirrels, and we have deer come to visit our garden.

    So as of now it is an expensive pair of field glasses! But it looks good too :D and I'm sure we'll enjoy it.

    Oh, I also got 4 Philips astronomy books to to keep me busy :yes:
  2. Skywatcher
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    Skywatcher Chief Astronomer

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    ooo I like the ETX series - the autostar is very easy to use and should point you in the right direction - what 'size' is the scope

    Dont worry too much about the pics for now just enjoy the views - you will need a few eyepieces as these determine the magnification of the views - is it the sort that comes with the flip up barlow lens :unsure:

    should be clear at the wekend and you with have a 1/4 moon to look at which will be nice

    any questions fire away i am poised and ready
  3. Deb
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    Deb Serious Forum Regular

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    Thanks so much Chris, it's very much appreciated :hug2:

    Hope it's ok to post this link - this is the one it is, but I still don't totally understand what's what :unsure:

    http://www.widescreen-centre.co.uk/Products/MEADE_ETX-90_PE_Telescope.html

    It has a 26mm eyepiece, but what is funny is that it comes with another totally unmarked eyepiece - the manual just says in the parts listing "one or more eyepieces stored in plastic storage containers" :unsure: When we look at the wildlife with the unnamed one it shows it closer but darker than the 26mm, and so less watchable - we were guessing this is one for further away things?

    You know, it's really odd to start something from the beginning with no knowledge, just a passion! I'm sure the journey will be a lot of fun and exciting. So looking forward to looking at the moon, which I have always always loved.

    Was going to check the weekend forecast so that's good news, should be able to do something with it!!

    I think I'll be using this smilie an awful lot :unsure:
  4. Skywatcher
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    That is a nice first scope!!! 90 mm aperture or 4 inch refractor very nice - will give you good views of the planets and moons and will let you see some of the brighter deep sky stuff like the orion nebula.

    If its clear the first thing I would point it at would be Venus - bright object in the evening sky.

    The eyepiece/magnification thing took me a while to work out - you divide the focal length of your scope ( should be written on the bottom of the scope) by the focal length of the eyepiebce ie 26mm and that gives you the magnification

    A barlow lens, which sits inwetween the telescope and the eyepiece will double this magnification.

    One of your first extra purchases will be more eyepieces because it helps to have a range of magnifications

    realistically with a 4 nch scope the highest magnification you will be able to push it to is 200 - 250x anything above this will be too feint

    You will see fantastic detail on the moon , you will see the moons of jupiter - cloud belts on jupiter and the rings of saturn easily - I say easily but unfortunately this year saturns rings are closed and edge on to us so you may not be able to see them this year but next year it will BLOW YOUR MIND when you see that little yellow ball sat hanging in space with is lovely rings and moons going around it. To give you some idea of your view of saturn through your scope look at my avatar from a distance of about 3-4 m that it the view I get at about 200x magnification.

    The 'deep sky stuff' is also amazing but you need to learn to look at it properly - sounds daft but it can take quite a while at the eyepiece to start to make out detail in a nebula or the arms of a galaxy - tbh most deep sky objects are just feint fuzzy blobs but its cool if you know a bit about them

    You will definitely be able to take super webcam pictures of the planets and the moon - and I will take you through every step of that with pleasure

    That is a great first scope, I sure it will give you the first step on a long and expensive journey ;)
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2008

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