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  #1  
Old 03-08-2017, 06:36 PM
justbecause
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Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Gold Coast
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Smile New here, getting deeper

Hello all

I've always enjoyed spending some lazy evenings consuming online content around the wonders of our universe, so it is almost strange that it took so long to get into astronomy.

It all started when I recently purchased a decent set of binoculars whilst in Switzerland a couple weeks ago (where my family lives, although I moved to the Gold Coast 6 years ago) to look across the lake and to take hiking when back in Australia. It's a Steiner SkyHawk 3.0 in 10x42 - not ideal for astronomy but that was not its intended purpose.

I then had the brilliant idea of driving to an empty field at 1 am on a moonless night to look into the sky, guided by the 'SkyView' augmented reality app. I found a number of satellites, looked at a Mizar and Alcor in the dipper, took a look at Saturn, just missed the passing ISS, and had a very good view of fuzzy old M31. I think it was the fact that I could actually see Andromeda but could not make out the rings of Saturn (despite resting the Steiner on a car) that had me look into telescopes. I needed to see those rings. All of a sudden I was very annoyed that I allowed myself to get to my late 20s before pursuing a direct view at the night sky, with nothing but optics relaying these far away images into my eyes.

What followed was a research spree every single night, a process that I usually enjoy. I settled on a Nexstar 6SE - but before you congratulate me on this scope, I must make you aware that I was quite taken back at the fact that this scope costs more than twice as much in Australia than, it appears, anywhere else in the world, certainly Europe or the land of the cheap and insane presidents. Feeling indignant, I reconsidered and decided to make a start with a scope that I would be able to set up within seconds (i.e., no go to mount) on my GC balcony or roof top, and also take out to dark sky sites in my not so spacious roadster. I sort of impulse bought a Skywatcher Heritage 130 Dob due to its good rep and compact storage, with a number of additional eye pieces, filters, laser collimator and a barlow to get close to its maximum useful magnification with multiple steps in-between to fine tune. I thought it would be a good start until I figured out where to spend the big money without feeling completely ripped off, and also thought it would be a keeper for easy transport to dark sites in the future. Sure, if I lived somewhere in the suburbs and not right in a Broadbeach apartment I'd get a 10 inch Dob for the garden shed, but that's not where I'll be for a long time. I am sure the telescope pricing rage is high among Australian enthusiasts...

I must say I am quite impressed by the little Dob. I was able to make out cloud belts on Jupiter, and sketch the location of the Galileans, as well as see Saturn and its rings, along with the obligatory waxing moon inspection on the first two nights I had it. The red dot finder is a breeze to use and the Dob mount makes tracking very easy.

Now I can't wait to get back from my work trip to freezing Melbourne to keep at it, and continue my records of Jupiter's moon locations.

I purchased Turn Left at Orion to read on the plane and will embark on the southern sky recommendations as soon as the conditions allow.

I am glad to have found a 'local' amateur astronomy forum and am looking forward to learning more from the veterans and other rookies here!

Cheers
justbecause

Last edited by justbecause; 03-08-2017 at 06:53 PM.
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  #2  
Old 03-08-2017, 06:57 PM
Malcolm
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Location: Lismore NSW Australia
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Welcome, and I must say, beautifully written. :-)
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  #3  
Old 03-08-2017, 08:18 PM
xelasnave's Avatar
xelasnave
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Welcome from me.
Alex
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  #4  
Old 04-08-2017, 12:06 AM
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xelasnave
Gravity does not Suck

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And if nothing else next dark even if short run your binos around the milky way...don't concentrate on finding preselected objects just take a discovery tour.

All the best
Alex
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  #5  
Old 05-08-2017, 09:50 AM
justbecause
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Location: Gold Coast
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Thanks guys
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  #6  
Old 07-08-2017, 06:34 AM
sil
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Location: Canberra
Posts: 841
glad you're enjoying the skies and you're not alone I was older than you when I seriously bought a telescope. the only downside is the upgrades can never stop and dont forget when the all nighters are no longer feasible, grab a solar scope and study the sun! binoculars are great to keep with you too, good to lend to others to share the outing and also as a tool to "get your eye in" when finding things. Even years later Saturn is a buzz to see through an eyepiece, it never tires, welcome to the nuthouse!

And yes we tend to get ripped off pricewise in Australia and its often cheaper to buy overseas even including import duties etc.
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  #7  
Old 25-08-2017, 08:34 AM
JA
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Welcome to the forum JB & Crawford. Nice to have you on-board. Join in the discussions and have fun.

Best
JA
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  #8  
Old 16-09-2017, 09:58 PM
AEAJR (Ed)
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Location: Long Island, New York, USA
Posts: 341
Welcome to the cosmos, from the land of the land of the cheap and insane presidents. (I like that.)

I started my astronomy journey with 10X50 binoculars so I am right there with you. 8X40s are also popular for astronomy. There is an entire branch of astronomy based on binoculars.

A 130 mm telescope should be able to show you a lot, especially if your sky is fairly dark.

Your next big purchase will be eyepieces.

After 2 years and 20 eyepieces I have focused in on zooms. Love them. I now do 90% of my observing with a zoom eyepiece or a zoom with a barlow. Saves money and eliminates eyepiece swapping, filter swapping and the like.

You can see what I have in my signature.

Consider the zoom eyepieces.
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