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Old 30-01-2020, 04:28 PM
mordrax (Joe)
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Star strucked

I recently purchased a second hand 8 inch dobsonian with a goto mount.

Took it out on a clear night, 2-star aligned to Sirius and Acrux, spent the night exploring Hadar, Procyon, Gacrux, Rigil. It was a challenge trying to figure out the orientation of what I was seeing vs the phone app or whether I was looking at what it said I was looking at.

As I was exploring Becrux, I saw a little triangle cluster through the 26mm ( barely visible on the finder ) and I zoomed in to find a cluster of stars! Made the dozens of mozzie bites worth it. I suspect without the street lamps, I may have been able to see more?

The night sky is truly awesome and the experience of looking at the stars on a quite dark night cannot be compared to looking at NASA photos. Couldn't have done it without the GOTO finder.

Alignment was off so I had to use the finder scope first ( that was the first lesson ) as it was just outside the 26mm eye piece fov. Likely because it took me bloody 5 minutes to find a second star in my severely restricted view of the sky.

Tracking worked perfectly but stars would go out of focus if I left it there for ~10 minutes. Next clear night, I'm gonna bring a couple of cans of mozzie spray, caffine and find a dark, clear spot to explore the night skies!

I've got a Nikon D90, there's prolly some adapter that will fit that to the eyepiece for some long exposure for fainter nebulars or what not. Early days yet, so much to learn just to orientate myself.
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Old 30-01-2020, 06:55 PM
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mental4astro (Alexander)
kids+wife+scopes=happyman

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Hi Joe,

to IIS!

That little triangular cluster of stars you found would be The Jewel Box! (NGC 4755 if you would like to chase it down again )

It is not only a brilliant cluster, but among the diamonds there is a ruby! Have another go at the Jewel Box and see if you can spot it The great thing here is you can see the ruby under Sydney skies!

Congrats on the scope too. It is a fine machine. It will take you a few goes at figuring out how to get the best alignment with its goto, but there is always a learning curve. One tip, try not to set up the scope on lush turf. This makes a significant impact on the ability on the scope to be moved by the motors - and this goes for push-pull scopes too.

Here's some other targets you might like to chase down:

* NGC 3372, the Eta Carina nebula. Here you will find stars at the three stages of their lives: protostars, forming stars that have not started their nuclear fires and lie hidden inside strands of dark material called dark pillars; main sequence stars, their nuclear fires have kicked off and are burning bright; geriatric stars, stars at the end of their life and going through their death throes. The name of the nebula is actually the name of the star Eta Carina, a super massive star that is expected to go supernova shortly (well any time between now and the next 10,000 years...)

* NGC 5139, Omega Centauri. The largest & brightest globular cluster in the sky. It is the remnant core of a galaxy our own Milky Way devoured eons ago. A black hole sits at the heart of this cluster, keeping all these millions of stars in stable orbits around it. Be patient with yourself with GC's. Look to one side of the ball of stars, hold your gaze for a moment and all the little stars will suddenly leap out!

* NGC 5128, Centaurus A, aka the Hamburger Galaxy. One of the few galaxies that be just glimpsed from the Big Smoke. Again, be patient with yourself here. It will challenge your novice eyes Cent. A. Not everything is flashy-showy in the sky, and urban skies present bigger problems. But it will also prepare you well for when you do go to a dark site

This should get you going,

Alex.

Last edited by mental4astro; 30-01-2020 at 07:52 PM.
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Old 30-01-2020, 07:49 PM
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Outcast (Carlton)
Always gonna be a NOOB...

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Hi Joe

Welcome to the wonderful world of astronomy...

Alex has already given you some things to look for but, what he didn't tell you is that over the course of last year he put up some really good posts, not only for beginners but, for those seeking more out of their observing too...

Fortunately, you don't have to go searching for them coz, I captured them & put them into word documents... so here ya go.. some light reading to whet the appetite some more...

Had to split the Moon & Planets one into two documents to meet the file size limits...

Enjoy...
Attached Files
File Type: doc Observing the Moon & Planets Pt I.doc (95.0 KB, 6 views)
File Type: doc Observing the Moon & Planets Pt II.doc (130.5 KB, 4 views)
File Type: doc Observing Galaxies - where are they - A how and why guide.doc (75.5 KB, 6 views)
File Type: doc Understanding Nebulae.doc (88.0 KB, 4 views)
File Type: doc The Autumn Sky.doc (43.0 KB, 2 views)
File Type: doc The Winter Sky.doc (63.5 KB, 3 views)
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Old 30-01-2020, 08:03 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Hi Joe
Welcome to IIS
Great information provided by Alex and Carlton
I started with a 10” f5 dob (non Goto) and star charts etc...
Stellarium is a great planetarium to get you quickly familiar with the night sky and it’s free.A basic laptop is preferable as you can bring it outside with you next to your dob and put together a target plan for the evenings viewing or basic imaging.There are many other planetariums available too but I prefer Stellarium as it has an excellent display, interface and tools to use , “your eyes to the universe”

Enjoy your astronomical journey !!
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Old 02-02-2020, 09:13 AM
mordrax (Joe)
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That's some awesome info right there! Now I know what the letters M and NGC are! Baby steps...

Unfortunately, when I took the telescope out two nights ago for the second time, the GOTO device had stopped working it kept saying "Dec/Alt No Response" or "Both Axes No Response", I've gone back to Bintel ( where the original purchaser got it from ) and spoken with Don who was great. Learned a great deal from him but even the WiFi dongle didn't work so I have to take it back to Graeme at Skywatcher tomorrow.

Really sucks as I was looking forward to my second clearish night, had the mozzie sprays and all...
Oh well, at least I can read about it in the meantime and use the finder scope


I've got Stellarium, sky safari, bought a nokia ring to attach my D90 and a moon filter for viewing with the kids. Have to get a dolly next to take it to a dark park.
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Old 02-02-2020, 11:09 AM
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JeniSkunk (Jenifur)
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Hope you're enjoying the forums, Joe
Another phone app worth having is Clear Outside. It gives you a forecast assessment of the amount of cloud at the various height layers, for the current night, and the next few.
I learned of this app from Pete at Astro Anarchy here in Brisbane. He uses it on his iPhone, and after seeing it, I got a copy for my Samsung Android tablet.
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Old 02-02-2020, 11:11 AM
Startrek (Martin)
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Joe,
Sorry to hear about your issues but they will get fixed especially if your dealing with Don at Bintel
He steered me in the right direction nearly 4 years ago when I started astronomy and has promptly resolved all my issues big or small and offered great advice and help. Don is a wealth of knowledge and has over 40 years experience in astronomy
Great bloke to chat with too
Cheers
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Old Yesterday, 06:35 PM
mordrax (Joe)
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And so I got my AZ mount back from Graeme at Skywatcher, he looked after me and I'm very happy with his service. Also upgraded the board to support WIFI!!

Tonight looks like a clear sydney night, waning moon ( is that what you call it? ), no clouds, no rain in sight! Excitement mounting... the long anticipated second night of mozzie filled viewing!
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