View Full Version here: : Getting into astronomy
14-09-2011, 01:20 PM
I have recently found the motivation to do something about my long time interest in the stars and I have a couple of questions regarding getting started (sorry if they have been answered in other threads).
I have seen a lot of people recommend a Dob 8" or 10" for a starter scope. I am very close to buying one off ozscopes.com.au, is there much difference in quality between the different brands (Saxon, Skywatcher, etc)?
Are there any accessories that I will need?
And lastly, I live in Richmond, NSW. Are there any clubs or people around the area that I should talk to? Any good spots that you could recommend for observing?
Thanks in advance :thanx:
14-09-2011, 02:42 PM
Welcome to IIS Smigatron, a more friendly bunch of folk you couldn't find anywhere.
I have a 8" Skywatcher on a GEM which is the same tube assembly as a Dob but on a different mount, the Dob being easier to use. It is a wonderful setup (very good light gathering and sturdy) and its ability for very dim objects will keep you going for years. Also it is quite easy to move and would fit almost any car.
Accessories is a dangerous path, lol. Open up a web site like, for instance Bintel, and its like a lolly shop.
Seriously though, get familiar with your scope and the sky then ..., playtime. Most viewing I do through my 13mm and 21mm eyepieces along with the addition of a 2.5X powermate, and a 10X50 binocular (useful for widefield and finding stuff). Contary to popular belief its all about light gathering, not magnification. Higher mag's are mostly used for planetary ob's and all else pretty much widefield, with some exceptions of course.
14-09-2011, 02:55 PM
8" dob is a great scope, easy to use and very good light gathering. Saxon, Skywatcher and several other brands are pretty much the same scopes, all made in the same factory, just with slightly different accessories and paint jobs. Don't get carried away with accessories or eyepieces just yet, get used to your scope and become familiar with it, before spending any further. But when you do, consider a planisphere, a telrad, and stellarium from http://www.stellarium.org/
Planishpere to get you started on finding your way around the sky.
A telrad to help find what you looking for - really quite essential on a dob.
Stellarium, free planetarium software, arguably the best for the price.
And last of all - clear skies
14-09-2011, 06:56 PM
Awesome, thanks for the advice.
I have just ordered an 8" Saxon Dob which I should hopefully get in a week or so.
I have been playing around with Stellarium for the last few days and I love it. I can't imagine it comparing to the real thing though.
I'm pretty excited, looking forward to getting out there. I just need to find a good place to set up the scope and maybe even some people to ease the learning curve for me.
Smigatron- do you have a link to the dob you purchased? I'm in pretty much the exact same boat as you, so would love to see what you have found.
14-09-2011, 07:16 PM
$489 plus about 70 bucks for postage and insurance.
I probably could have got it cheaper but I was too excited about it, haha.
14-09-2011, 07:25 PM
Here are a few things that will come in handy.
First up download Stellarium it is free and with the punching in of a few numbers it will show you the sky real time right above you. makes it a lot easier to find stuff.
You do need to be able to COLLIMATE your new reflector. if you don't it is much like looking through someone elses prescription glasses. perhaps your scope even came with a collimation cap. If not you need to buy a collimation tool of some sort.
I really enjoy a plastic garden stool so that i can sit and observe. I also use a pirates eye patch because i have trouble with keeping one eye closed.
There are as many other accessories as there are stars.
But the basic accessory is a clear night!
14-09-2011, 08:10 PM
I have always wanted an excuse to wear a pirate eye patch, thanks for giving me a reason.
14-09-2011, 08:20 PM
You're welcome but no parrot ... parrot droppings on your shiny new mirror is a no no.
14-09-2011, 08:21 PM
And the plastic sword :rofl:
15-09-2011, 01:32 PM
Now you guys are just being silly!! :D
15-09-2011, 01:38 PM
Aye aye, Eric the Redbeard....aaarrrghhhhh:):P
18-09-2011, 10:34 AM
Ben, this may be worth checking out.
Hawkesbury Astronomical Association
meetings are held 2nd Wednesday each month, at 7:45pm, in the Tebbutt Rooms at the Derubbin Centre, Windsor.
They also observe on Third Quarter and New Moon weekends. The club organises several public field nights per year and presents a basic introduction to astronomy. The HAA aims to cater for the newcomer at a basic level.
Address: PO Box 670, Windsor NSW 2756
Fees: $20 adult, $30 family and $10 junior.
Contact: Adrian Saw (02) 4572 1568
18-09-2011, 11:14 AM
riiiiiight so this is what you boys get up too....:lol:
:rofl:love the eye patch Eric, you should keep that pic as your profile!!
you will love it here Ben, they are all mad. it's a wonderful family and everyone (even the mad ones) are so supportive. i've not been here long and have been overwhelmed by the collective knowledge and talent.
Write back when your new scope arrives :D and as Suzy hasn't spotted this thread yet, head over to the Observation Reports and join in when your toy arrives. (*cough* i'm yet to find my feet with all this, so i'll let you go first :P)
oh and a big welcome to the forum :hi:
(Suzy will be so proud of me :D)
18-09-2011, 05:20 PM
I actually called them a few days ago and they have shut down due to lack of interest. Thanks for the effort anyway :(
I'm still waiting on my scope, should be here this week hopefully.
Hi Ben and a great big welcome to our forum :welcome:
I hope you enjoy your stay and learn lots.
As for asking for good spots we recommend for observing, may I suggest the sky :question:
Oops, sorry, I couldn't resist.:lol: I'm only teasing of course.;) Well, I thought it was funny. :shrug:
Now we've probably scared Ben away. :scared2:
Ben, if you have a good read thru the Observation Forum, including it's sub catergory, "Observing Reports" at the top of the page, there is plenty you will learn from there regarding visual observing. Some great tips and lists of nice targets. Also have a look at the stickies at the top of the beginners talk forum.
Ahemmm *clear throat*, I sniffed my name out.:P
Yes Ben, as Melissa has mentioned, I keep telling everyone to go to the Observation Forum and eeeeek I just realised I did again in this post. :lol: Well done Mel for keeping on top of me! :lol:
I am, Mel... good job! :D
Mel is aiming to contribute more on this forum, and I think it's fabulous that we have another astro girl with us. Though, still too few I'm afraid. :sadeyes:
Mel, I enjoy reading your bubbly & enthusiastic posts- keep up the good work. ;).
19-09-2011, 02:12 PM
Hi Ben, for my two gold coins worth (after all, it is international talk like a pirate day http://www.talklikeapirate.com/), fork out a few dollars and get one or two decent eyepieces ($100-200, plenty of goodies in the trades sections of this site). No point in getting a whizz bang scope only to have the light gathered wasted before it hits the eye.
Welcome to the site.
19-09-2011, 05:40 PM
There is ASNSW that meet up at Bowen Mountain observatory (Crago Observatory) here is their link
20-09-2011, 08:40 PM
Thanks for all the advice everyone.
I just got my scope today and have put it together properly (hopefully). I have been messing around with it trying to look at some stars in the backyard. Not having much luck but I don't expect much since I haven't aligned it yet, and I have no idea what i'm doing :lol:
I will be checking out the observation forums later, but for now i'm just going to try and fluke finding something.
21-09-2011, 11:44 AM
Ok setting up the finder is easy. Find a tree or a tower about 500 or more feet away. Find it in the finder. Then look through your telescope with the low power ep. If what you see in your finder is what you see through the ep you are set. If not then loosen your finder and make the needed adjustments till everything looks the same.
21-09-2011, 01:48 PM
About the eyepatch.
If you wear it over your viewing eye for a while before viewing, you'll benefit by having a dark adapted eye (which is why the Pirates wore them in the first place) - then if you can't keep the other shut easily - transfer it across to the other eye while viewing.
You'll have a lot of fun with the 8" I know I do. ;)
21-09-2011, 02:06 PM
Lol thanks Jen.
I see what you did there..:lol:
I just adjusted my finder and I took a little drive up to the Crago Observatory just to check it out. There is an observing night there on the 1st of October, so i'll hopefully pick up a few tips there.
21-09-2011, 02:45 PM
Good idea about the eyepatch:)
(which is why the Pirates wore them in the first place)
I think you will find the reason the Pirates had an eyepatch is
because they where blind in that eye :rolleyes:
No doctors to repair eyesight in those days especially if you lost an eye in battle.
PS what where the pirates observing ? ;)
21-09-2011, 03:12 PM
When a pirate leapt over to the ship to be 'stolen', they wore the patch. Then when they went down below to fight the crew, they could remove the eye patch and not be 'caught in the dark' - they already had some dark vision to be able to fight.
Pirates with one eye didn't last long - they couldn't get down below and have instant night vision.
There's no flouros in sail ships
21-09-2011, 03:21 PM
This is an answer from wiki answers.com
In actuality, it was simply a result of navel combat. Splinters caused by the wood of the ship be hit with cannon fire and gun fire could get in the eye, gun powder itself can be damaging, not to mention, the chance of bullets and knives landing in them.
So to sum it up for you, pirates wore patches because they damaged or lost their eyes. Nothing else.
Pirates wore a patch so that they could go into a the pitch black hull of the ship in brightest day and have instant night vision w/ the previously patched eye.
Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_did_pirates_wear_a_patch_over_o ne_eye#ixzz1YYrXO1bs
Take your pic ,but I prefere the first one over the second;)
But that's just my One Eyed view though ;) :lol:
22-09-2011, 11:16 AM
I wouldn't be surprised to find some pirates wore them for reason #1, some for reason #2. Mythbusters showed that #2 does indeed work, so I would think a clever pirate or two wore a patch to give themselves an advantage in such conditions.
I also wouldn't be surprised if some wore a patch just because it added to their fearsome look. :)
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