#1  
Old 03-06-2021, 12:22 PM
Swartz (Nick)
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Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: Warragul
Posts: 7
My first 12 months

Hi all,

Just thought I'd share my experience's of my first 12 months in this hobby. Hopefully others new to this hobby might get some idea's of another newbie.

IIS has been a real help in helping my decide what I wanted when I dove into this hobby. Cloudy Nights and Stargazers Lounge are also great tools because of their shear number of members. This also has it's pitfalls due to conflicting opinions that can make your head hurt when starting this journey.

I set a rough budget for my entire setup, with ease of use and portability being my two main criteria. Dobsonians got ruled out due to their size. After much back and forth I ended up going with a Mak Case. Now for the mount, was not really bothered if I had a EQ or Alt-Az mount. I also wanted a non-goto mount so I could try and learn the sky and didn't need to worry about powering the mount.

I ended up going with a set package due to it just being easy. I got a Saxon 150 mak on an EQ3 mount. It included two eyepieces a 10mm and 25mm. I got the 150 as my main interest going into this was the planets and I liked the idea of splitting doubles. Nothing has changed in this regard but my interest have widened.

The OTA - my first views of Saturn and Jupiter just made me go WOW, from going from a bright dot in the sky to seeing defined features including Saturn's rings and cloud formations on Jupiter., not to mention the bright dots of light that are Jupiter's moons. Pointing the scope at Alpha Centuri and seeing not just 1 but 2 stars is another wow moment. Can look at Jupiter and Saturn for hours. Also fun splitting doubles. The main negative I have found with the scope is it's narrow field of view, this was first obvious when I came across M42 in Orion, you can only see a very small section of the nebula. Then plugging an 80mm refractor into Stellarium and seeing what you are missing out on.

Mount - Don't be scared to get a EQ mount. There is a sticky in this thread on how to set one up. As long as you get south roughly dialled, you don't need to adjust the Dec knob much. The more accurate to the South Celestial Pole you are the less adjustments are required. It is very easy to track an object through the night sky. My only negative is trying to locate objects high in the nights sky, you can find yourself at some really odd angles as you try and line up the finder with the object you want.

Would I start this journey any differently? Yes.... I would recommend other beginners into this hobby to start of with a zoom lens. There is nothing more frustration then fining an object in your low powered eyepieces then changing it over to a higher powered piece only to find your object has moved and you need to find it again. Best thing I did was to get my zoom. The other piece of kit I would recommend is a variable polarizing filter. There will be nights when the moons brightness makes viewing the sky difficult and observing the moon without a filter is almost blinding. The filter brings down the brightness to a level where I am able to scan and take in the moons beauty.

Also wish I had downloaded Stellarium earlier. Using its feature where you can add your scope and it will tell you what you kind of views you can expect to see. Not sure if I would have got a different scope, but would have been nice to know what I could and couldn't see.

Personally I am right down this rabbit hole, have already jumped into buying an EQ6-R Pro mount, and am researching a second scope. Am leaning towards a good 80mm doublet, for portability and the wider field of view. I am glad I started my first few months with the EQ-3 as it is inexpensive and if I didn't enjoy the hobby I wouldn't be much out of pocket.

Clear Sky's at night

Nick
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  #2  
Old 03-06-2021, 04:03 PM
Graman (GR)
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Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Sydney
Posts: 17
Have you considered a Telrad?

Hi there, and welcome to IIS!

I am in a similar boat as you - started about ~18 months ago. Went with an 8 inch SCT for deep sky and an ED72 for wide-field. IIS has been a rich source of info and the classifieds section has been great to purchase used gear at discounted prices!

I have an EQ mount as well and it gets tricky contorting your body and centering the object on the finder scope and EP. I finally got a Telrad and I find it makes the whole alignment process much easier. It is very intuitive to use and once you have the scope pointing in the ball park direction, it is much easier to align and center objects. Not sure if it will fit your Mak or 80mm refractor, but definitely worth a consideration.

Clear skies!
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Old 03-06-2021, 11:37 PM
Swartz (Nick)
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Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: Warragul
Posts: 7
Hi Graman

No had not considered a Telrad, my red dot finder is not working properly at the moment, could be something to do with me knocking it one time when packing the OTA away.... Will have to look in to it. Thanks
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Old 04-06-2021, 11:41 AM
Saturnine (Jeff)
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Wollongong
Posts: 1,595
Hi Nick
Welcome to the hobby, glad to hear you are enjoying the journey. One question in regard to the finder you have been using, is it a straight through or right angled finder. The right angled finder is much more friendly to the neck and back when pointing at high elevations and with a little practice , is much easier to use, especially combined with a Telrad for getting you into the general area of interest.
As for a more portable wider field scope to compliment the Mak, an 100mm short tube refractor, either achro or apo will give a bit more light grasp than a 70 or 80 mm and isn't much bigger to carry around. Just my thoughts on set ups and , oh, you never forget your first views of Jupiter and Saturn and Alpha Centauri in a good scope, I haven't after nearly 60 years so the memories stay with you.
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Old 10-06-2021, 03:35 PM
Swartz (Nick)
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Location: Warragul
Posts: 7
HI Jeff;

Yeah it's a straight through finder. Not so bad once I have SCP set up, I've sill got enough flexibility for that. Was thinking about a 100mm but there is a fair jump up in price for a decent 100 v 80. I am also looking at an APO.
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  #6  
Old 12-06-2021, 12:32 AM
AdamJL
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 605
Great read
I'm "younger" than you, in that I bought my first kit around October or so? I think, anyway. Sounds like you've gone down the visual route, and I've gone down the photography route, seeing as I came into this hobby with about 20years of travel/landscape/wildlife photography.. and now it's taken over
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