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  #1  
Old 28-07-2012, 03:41 PM
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Benjimuss (Ben Jeanneret)
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Totally New need guidance

Hey Ladies and Gentlemen , my name is Ben and im (as of 2 days ago) 31 years old and im just starting out in the astronomy scene. The stars, planets and galaxies have always amazed me, the size of the universe just blows me away! ever since i was a Kid ive looked up at the sky in wonder.

I work for BHP Billiton and recently moved to Kalgoorlie WA, there isnt too much to do here in my down time and im certainly not going to fall into the common trap of drinking on my days off, so as well as using my computer to learn/read/watch i noticed at how clear the skies are out here, there is no pollution or city lights (i mean kalgoorlie is 600KM east of Perth in the middle of no where) so i am going to get into astronomy and would like to do some astrophotography eventually as well.

Now..Where to start lol? I am starting my research on what scope to buy first as of today, and what better place to start than with the advice of seasoned Veterans in the field. I know some telescopes are better than others in certain areas so i have to ask myself what do i want to look at the most, well all of it lol! The moon is so close so the moon, as well as the other planets, i have a hubble poster of Saturn and her rings and its just amazing and ive seen pictures in these forums of her and to be able to see her like that myself would be breathtaking, then there is everything else, nebula, other galaxies its all just amazing.

So the next part i have to work out is how much to spend, well im willing to spend between $4000-8000, people in beginner forums say to spend 800-1800ish but im quite happy to start in the 4-8k range. So in my down time i can go bush and take advantage of the dark clear skies here and start to explore the universe.

also the Weight factor does not bother me, ive humped around heavy packs for 6 years while i was in the Army so it not really a hinderence in scope choice.

a grey area is astrophotography, im not quite sure if i should buy a scope and just look, learn and appreciate first and get into photography later? Does choosing a scope that is good for astrophotography deminish the quality of star viewing? let me give an example, say out of 10 a scope can view the stars/planets/galaxies at a 8/10....but if you want a scope for astrophotograph the viewing rating drops to 6/10, lol i hope what im trying to ask makes sense

but astronomy is something i really want to get into on a more serious level not just a few times a year thing.

ok i hope that can paint a picture as to what i want to aim for, any advice would be much appreciated

Thanks -Benji-
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  #2  
Old 28-07-2012, 03:53 PM
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silv (Annette)
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congratulations on the wonderful choice of how to spend your free time!

just today I ranted for an hour or so about how much there is to learn and do in this hobby. it's soo much variety - it will keep me hooked for years, I feel.

as to your equipment I will not dare to make any recommendations, being so new to all, myself.
but congratulations here, too, that you can invest such a lovely sum!
if you get a scope that's first class for astrophotography, you will have enough money to spare to get eyepieces and stuff that will cover the other end of the pure visual observation.
or buy two scopes?

anyway - welcome aboard and enjoy the ride!
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  #3  
Old 28-07-2012, 04:09 PM
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sheeny (Al)
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G'Day Ben.

Welcome aboard.

Sounds like you have a plan for where you're heading in the hobby, but its worth taking things 1 step at a time.

My recommended initial purchases are:
1. a planisphere. Mike has some in the IIS Shop. These are real handy to work out what you can see at any particular time.
2. A red light torch or headlamp so you can read star charts and the planispehere and see what you're doing without destroying your night vision.
3. A set of star charts. I started out with pages copied out of a coffee table book to start with. There are some excellent but expensive charts around, but if you search for Taki's Atlas its a free PDF set of charts.
4. A set of quality 7x50 binoculars. You can do a lot of astronomy with binoculars, and you will use them for the rest of your life. Even when you have scopes, you will still use binoculars. You can go to slightly higher magnification, but the higher the magnification the more difficult they are to hold steady.

I would suggest that with these basics, they will help to keep you amused while you get to grips with what scope to buy for your first scope. There's plenty to learn.

Usually I would recommend a dobsonian as a first scope. They are simple to setup and use and give you excellent viewing for your dollar. It might still be the right thing for your to start with while you work out what sort of astrophotography you would like to do.

Al.
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  #4  
Old 28-07-2012, 05:42 PM
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Benjimuss (Ben Jeanneret)
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thanks Silv

Ok Al ill try your plan off attack first what do you think of the Nikon Monarch DCF 12x56?

link is http://www.bintel.com.au/Binoculars/...oductview.aspx

and i could add a stand with it aswell?

http://www.bintel.com.au/Binoculars/...oductview.aspx

also who would sell these high quality star maps? just so i can go check them out and compare

i have an ipad2 with distant suns and sky safari on it can that be used aswell
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  #5  
Old 28-07-2012, 05:44 PM
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silv (Annette)
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you could go and quickly download Sky Safari for your Android or iPhone.
the basic version is free atm and really handy, too. (as a replacement or enhancement for paper sky maps)
there are other apps for smartphone out there too. check out the forum here.
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  #6  
Old 28-07-2012, 05:52 PM
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Benjimuss (Ben Jeanneret)
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yeah i just edited my post, i have sky safari and distant suns on my ipad2
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  #7  
Old 28-07-2012, 05:57 PM
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silv (Annette)
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ah, that's good!
Sky Safari gives you the "best observing objects" for tonight (or any date/time you set the app to.)
the details of the objects list the magnitude of the object, too.

with this list here http://www.icq.eps.harvard.edu/MagScale.html you could find an object for tonight that might well be visible with the naked eye from your dark skies, there.
or later on, visible with the binos you might buy.

although, I would also wait for a good scope/mount recommendation instead of the binos / or on top of the binos.
the computerized GoTo mounts are so great in really kindling your fascination with the night sky.
and still you can do all the learning, too, that comes with manually navigating the skies.
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  #8  
Old 28-07-2012, 06:11 PM
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sheeny (Al)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjimuss View Post
what do you think of the Nikon Monarch DCF 12x56?

link is http://www.bintel.com.au/Binoculars/...oductview.aspx
I would probably recommend the 8.5 x 56 instead: http://www.bintel.com.au/Binoculars/...oductview.aspx

These will have a 6.5 mm exit pupil (just less than a fully dilated (dark adjusted) eye. Much easier to hold steady, wider FOV and easier to see DSOs. These will give a gorgeous view of the Pleaides where I think the 12x will cut the view down somewhat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjimuss View Post
and i could add a stand with it aswell?

http://www.bintel.com.au/Binoculars/...oductview.aspx
I wouldn't rush out and buy the mount for these. Definitely if you go to 20x80s or 25x100s, but 50 or 56 objective lens binos should be easy to handle hand held (and convenient!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjimuss View Post
also who would sell these high quality star maps? just so i can go check them out and compare

i have an ipad2 with distant suns and sky safari on it can that be used aswell
Have a look here for a start:http://www.bintel.com.au/Accessories...4/catmenu.aspx

Here's Taki's Home page too. You'll find his Atlas's here:http://www.geocities.jp/toshimi_taki/

Al.
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  #9  
Old 28-07-2012, 06:18 PM
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Benjimuss (Ben Jeanneret)
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alright ill give it a couple of days and see what recommendations i get then decide, just keen to get started, its exciting lol. i do really love the universe, i have posters of galaxies, planets, clusters on the walls in my room and now im going to begin my own hunt for them in the skies.

That chart is interesting thanks for that . when i drove to WA from Brisbane i remember stopping in the middle of no where, it was pitch black, no cars, no city lights no nothing, just the stars, and it totally blew my mind, it was the clearest i have ever seen the sky and more stars than i have EVER seen in the night sky by far...was amazing, so i think here in kalgoorlie i should get some decent views
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  #10  
Old 28-07-2012, 06:27 PM
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jjjnettie (Jeanette)
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Welcome aboard.
You're very spoilt, going into the hobby and being able to invest in good gear straight off.
I'm going to suggest for starters, a Skywatcher 10" Goto Dobsonian.
You'll be amazing with what you will be able to see through it. And if you hook it up to a DSLR that is capable of capturing movies, you be able to start out with Planetary and Lunar imaging.
That should keep you busy for a while.
If you want to splash out, you can also purchase some premium eye pieces and a good barlow too.
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  #11  
Old 29-07-2012, 10:51 AM
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ZeroID (Brent)
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And get Stellarium for the PC. Free and awesome for learning, planning, navigating.
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  #12  
Old 29-07-2012, 12:10 PM
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multiweb (Marc)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeroID View Post
And get Stellarium for the PC. Free and awesome for learning, planning, navigating.
+1 for Stellarium. This software has gone a very long way since its first version. It pretty much does it all now. DSOs, Satellites, planets, etc... Super easy to use as well.
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  #13  
Old 29-07-2012, 07:10 PM
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2stroke (Jay)
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Lol 8k gets some dam nice gear man, I would start with reading all the
AP sections of this forum if the photo route is your choice. If its visual you could grab a 16" goto dob or go mad on a sdm http://www.sdmtelescopes.com.au/ . Find a local club and go our there and gets some hands on with others gear, its the only way to find out what takes your interest the most.
If it was me i would get a G11, ed80, 10" newt, dslr and guiding package for a nice AP rig could even go just a eq6 instead of the G11 and save a few k 8k gets some dam nice kit

edit: Just read your got to hike with it, I would go a nice refractor, heq5 and guide package. You could pack this on your back besides the tripod and is probably close to all your webbing and crap weight wise. A dob is to hard to hike with because of the base and size.

Its a great hobby and will keep you of the drink and blowing money on keno haha

Last edited by 2stroke; 29-07-2012 at 07:25 PM.
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  #14  
Old 30-07-2012, 09:14 PM
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Allan_L (Allan)
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Hi Ben,
Welcome aboard,

One of the best scopes I have looked through is an Orion 14 inch truss tube Dobsonian.
Read Rick Petrie's review in the equipment review section.

His is not goto, but they have since released a goto version.
Around $4grand from memory (don't quote me).

My favourite astro binos are Orion mini giants 9x63.
From Bintel.
They blow the rest out of the water in my opinion.

And yes a good tripod will definitely be an aid for even the lightest binos.

With so much of your bank left over, you could then buy specialist astrophotography gear when that takes your interest.
In the mean time, dont compromise your visual observing by buying something less.

But the recommendation to find an observing group near you to see the gear and what you will see is the best advice to give you.

Unfortunately you will not be able to see the quality visually that you see in the astro photos.
These require an open lens for hours to collect all that light.
No available telescope will be able to deliver that amount of photons for your eye to process to achieve that result visually.

But none the less, there is a special sense of "conectiveness" that visual observing gives that is missing looking at pre recorded photos, no matter how wonderful they are. (IMHO)

Good observing

Allan
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  #15  
Old 31-07-2012, 05:07 AM
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silv (Annette)
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Quote:
there is a special sense of "conectiveness" that visual observing gives that is missing looking at pre recorded photos, no matter how wonderful they are.
I feel that, too.
I started out at the photography end. No harm done in doing so. Whatever gets you into this ..
But the sense of connectedness was immediate when I had the first glimpse of Omega Centauri through an eyepiece.
How much more so must it be if your are holding the observation tool in your hands: binos.
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  #16  
Old 31-07-2012, 08:26 PM
Setae
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Having recently started down the astrophotography trail, I would recommend you learn your way around the sky first like Sheeny recommended Learn to read a star chart, what is where in the sky and how to point your scope to what you want to observe, i found that a bit challenging (no sense of direction), and sadly had to use a compass initially and still do when I'm in an unfamiliar area.

The dobsonian is definitely a great observing scope, and you'll be amazed at how much you can see even form the backyard. I used mine with suburban light pollution and it blew me away when I saw some of the wonders in the night sky.

If Saturn is what you want to see, she does not disappoint at all. That was what I wanted to see first and wow! and that was just through an 8' dobsonian.

My scope is light, because of it's size it makes it a bit awkward to transport, but I still take it out to different locations although only if I'm observing close to where I park the car.
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