View Full Version here: : Urgent Telescope/sky viewing help for a total beginner
06-04-2012, 12:24 PM
Forgive me for my lack of posting, Uni has been nuts and I seem to find no time to come on the forum.
I could really do with your help though please. A few things I would like to ask you guys, the first being this: I have just purchased a SAXON F1149 EQ2 Reflector Newtonian telescope as I am a beginner, it was recommended by several astronomers and is really all I could afford at the moment. Well, I have just set it up (which took me a few days lol) and now I really have no idea what else to do with it. When I say set up, I mean basically assembly of it onto the tripod. Regarding the other settings on it, I really have no idea what I am doing. What is polar alignment and and R.A. Scale????
OMG i told you I was a total novice. this is rather embarrassing to say the least, but, we all have to start somewhere and I am really excited about it - but haven't a clue where to start.
Secondly, I have also been asked to get a group going at University, the engineering and physics department have given us access to the roof and their astronomy equipment. They no longer run any astronomy clubs or even teach it any more at Uni (this is something we are trying to change) so the hopes are that this group will help to get ppl interested enough to actually start the unit up again. Could you guys please tell me the first thing that I would need to "teach" any newbies (myself included) about sky viewing. We are having our first sky viewing on Wednesday night and I have been put in charge of organisation etc - as Im only the one that knows a little about earth/universe studies, BUT not sky viewing. Where do we start? :shrug:
Can anyone help me with my problems - I would be soooooo appreciative if you would be so kind, I though this was the best place to get some good advice as you guys seem so nice :)
Many thanks :thanx:
As a beginner, it probably wasn't the best idea getting an equatorial mount.
You really only need an equatorial mount if it is or can be motorised and you intend doing some imaging. A dob is easier to handle.
With the RA screw locked and Dec screw unlocked check your scope is balanced. Be careful. It may be way out of balance and go for a nasty swing. If not, slide the scope (OTA) up or down inside the OTA ring clamps. Also check it is balanced with the Dec screw locked and RA screw unlocked. If not, adjust the position of the counter-weight.
Initially, I would just get used to releasing/fixing the RA and Dec locking screws so you can move the scope around freely to centre it on an object.
You will need to align your finder scope's axis with the telescope's axis. Put your scope on a bright star and adjust the finderscope so that its crosshairs are on the star. You may need to start with the lower power eyepiece (say 25mm) then do it more accurately with the higher power eyepiece (say 10mm).
If you want to roughly polar align the scope, see attachment. As you probably won't know how to find the South Celestial Pole starwise, just adjust your RA (polar) axis to about 30 degrees elevation (your latitude is about 30 degrees).
I would suggest you buy a planisphere (star disk) to get an idea of where the major constellations are around the sky for the time of night and date. You can download Stellarium for free. It will show you the positions of the constellations and other objects such as the planets.
I would start with brighter targets such as the Moon, the binary alpha Centauri, Mars, Saturn, omega Centauri, 47 Tuc, the Orion, eta Carinae and Tarantula Nebulae (NGC 2070) in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Open clusters such as the Jewel Box (NGC 4755), Gem Cluster (NGC 3293) or Wishing Well Cluster (NGC 3532) are always good value.
Better still. If there are any amateur astronomers in your area, get some first hand help. It will save you a lot of time.
06-04-2012, 03:09 PM
Just by chance do you go to Curtin because i know the same thing happend there.
if you want to though, just message me and i can help you along the way
06-04-2012, 03:21 PM
Wow thanks very much for that advice it is very much appreciated.
I was going to get a Dob but was recommended the one I have by several people :/ Oh well I have it now so I better get use to using it lol.
Thank you so much for the attachment too - this will really help :)
I have a star disc and I have just downloaded Stellarium too so thats another very useful tool I am sure. I have also just purchased star map for iPhone as this has also been recommended so fingers crossed that should help too :)
Again, thank you for the recommendations on what to view also - they sound like good starters :) :thumbsup:
Really appreciate your feedback Rob
06-04-2012, 03:23 PM
No I am at Murdoch Uni :)
Its a real shame that the Uni did that but hopefully, we can get it back by creating this awesome group.
So you are at Curtin and the same thing happened? - such a shame!
Thanks for your kind offer, I sure will take you up on that 'cos I hate not knowing what the hell I am doing - although after reading these comments I feel a little better about it :)
06-04-2012, 03:51 PM
Yep there is no problems with lending a bit of a hand in getting to know what is happening! Ive taught alot of people thus far, and also did alot with curtin astro group in the early days taking the first year astronomy 101 out and doing exactly what you are wanting to do
I think at the moment murdoch is struggling because from what i hear that this is the last batch of engineers that they are pushing though after that they are almost giving up on that course? might be wrong but yeah.
As for me and uni ive only got two real semesters left and one where im just doing my thesis so yeah :) happy days.
06-04-2012, 04:04 PM
Im not sure what Murdochs deal is really - I am doing a bach of science in Environmental science/ Sustainability science and a minor in Energy studies.
The engineering school seems to be doing a lot of events and the such and Im a member of MESS which is murdoch engineering student society, but as for whats going on with the engineering degrees I haven't a clue really. Im part of it due to the fact that I am doing energy studies and like to talk lol. They knew I was into astronomy etc and asked me to help - so we shall see :)
I have about 3 years left cos i have just changed degrees, and really can only concentrate on no more than 3 units a semester. The chemistry is killing me lol and I still have a physics unit to go. Im about to do an early internship with Freo council during winter so that should be good - PhD i will think about down the track :D
Good luck with it all its so exciting :)
Of course I meant the binary alpha Centauri.
Have no idea why Century popped into my head?
07-04-2012, 02:41 PM
Welcome aboard. Don't worry too much about the setting circles. :)
If you need a hand setting it up let me know. I've sent you a pm.
07-04-2012, 04:14 PM
Hi Janine - welcome to the fold. Sad thing is, we used to have quite a nice club at Murdoch Uni, complete with observatory with a few decent sized telescopes in it. Although you look like you're already being pretty well looked after, I live very close to Murdoch, and have an equatorial permanently set up so you can always pop in and have a look to see what all that's about. I disagree with the comment that an equatorial is a bad way to start, personally I think it's the best way to start.
Did you go to the astrofest last weekend at Curtin?
07-04-2012, 04:35 PM
Well, you guys are great! I am loving the help I am getting :)
Yes, apparently Murdoch did have a good thing going, I know Chris Creagh who is the physics lecturer at Murdoch and she was telling me about it. This is why me and a few other students are trying to get it going again... but like I have said, I need to be able to use my scope first lol.
So you are near Uni, which is even better for me... I just need to go and see someone else's in action and the very basics told to me - then I will be alright :) So I would really appreciate that.. I appreciate all of you guys advice you really have been awesome! DM me and we can organise something, I am up at Uni a lot.
Nope, I was only saying to Brendan that I wish I had gone to astro fest - didn't know anyone who wanted to go with me, but I still should have gone! I am finding it difficult to find ppl who are into the things I am - geology, Earth science, storm chasing and astronomy lol..... I need some friends who I can talk the talk to, or at least learn the talk!!
I have wanted a telescope since i was 10, seriously, I don't know why it has taken me so long, but now I have one - I love it no matter what it is, and I am so bloody eager to use it!! So as soon as you have time - I am well up for a little lesson :)
Thanks heaps :thumbsup:
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