Congrats on one of the most informative and fascinating forums that grace the net.
It’s funny how preconceived ideas stick for so long. My father had, what was obviously, a cheap refractor that at best was complete rubbish. And this impression of cheap telescopes has stayed with me for most of my adult life. I've always had a interest in all things astronomical (from NASA, Star Trek to Doctor Who) and it took a trip to Koolang Observatory followed by a doco that was stumbled upon late one night on John Dobson and finding this forum not long after, that has sparked an interest that goes beyond my basic knowledge of our solar system and beyond.
So, tomorrow I'm off to invest in my first real telescope. Probably an 8" dob with a 10:1 2" fine focuser and colimator. On a bit of a budget so it will be interesting to see what I end up with. The good news is that "she who must be obeyed" has had her Christmas end of work drinks tonight and won't be making the trek to the big smoke with me in the morning so, maybe things can be stretched to a 10".
Thanks for all the info and look forward to meeting you lot in the new year.
It seems anyone who has either the Bintel, Guan Sheng or Sky Watcher Dobs have been happy with them. The only issue seems to be the primary mirror construction material of the 8" Sky Watcher? Does it make any difference in overall performance?
I notice you're on the central coast too - where abouts are you? I live at Wyoming.
Are you coming up to IISAC2007 in January? I'd strongly suggest you come along, if you can.
There's some great dark skies, lots of telescopes to look through and a great chance to meet and make some friends, and win some great prizes!
On the new moon in February, we'll be heading up to Kulnura where we do some observing each month. It's on the way to Koolang - about 30 minutes closer to Somersby. Not as dark as Koolang, but not bad - and great company too.
Thanks for the replies
If I go for the Sky Watcher, which is well priced, I'll get a Crayford focuser as well. The Meade Lightbridge range do look trick and being mobile is a distinct advantage. Bit pricey though, and I may want to get an eq mount next Christmas!
Hey Iceman, I'm just down the road at sunny Springfield where the sky is badly polluted by Erina Fair so, I'll be pretty keen to attend the odd outing.
Even though we are on holidays at the moment, I still do a bit of photography on the weekends (www.deenopix.com). I'll be doing my best to make it too IISAC2007 but, it will be at the last minute.
Well, we ended up with the GS-880 10" limited Dob from Andrews and it certainly swallowed up a lot of space in the Corolla. The whole thing went together without drama and is now sitting in the backyard under a heavily clouded sky! Did manage a nice sharp view of M42 through the 6mm eye piece before everything totally disappeared and WOW. Truly remarkable. Even the lovely Amanda was impressed. If only the weather would co-operate. At least the neighbor has finally switched off his floodlights.
Things cleared considerably around one am and I watched in amazement as the multitude of stars that make up M41 drifted across the sky. A quick glance to the north east and Saturn was up. In went the 6mm and I was struck absolutely dumfounded, so surreal, it felt if someone had put a sticker on the mirror and was playing tricks on me. Amanda’s annoyance at being awoken from a deep slumber quickly evaporated to astonishment of what she was actually seeing. Defiantly need a better focuser.
Finished things off by hunting down the Tarantula Nebula. Can only just see the LMC from here so I eventually stumbled across it by dumb luck.
What a way to spend an evening at home.
So much to see.
So much to learn.
Have just about talked Amanda into going to Lockstock, even though we will have to leave first thing Saturday morning.
Just spent the last two weeks on the Hawksberry River enjoying some darker skies and after new years, experiencing the frustration of unfavorable weather and then the inconvenience of a full moon. Apart from setting the 10” dob under a wattle tree forcing a primary mirror rinse, words escape at the wonders what can be found under the skies that I’ve taken for granted for so long. What I found really frustrating and time consuming is getting the dob pointing in the right direction. I know what I’m looking for and can more or less find the position with my trusty old binoculars but, I’m having difficulty finding the same position through the spotter’s scope. Any advise on making things easier would be greatly appreciated.