Hello From Barnsley

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Hello From Barnsley

Postby ThePeltonian » Thu Jan 21, 2016 12:33 pm

Hello everyone!

We have just taken the plunge and ordered our first telescope, its a Skywatcher Skymax 127 supatrak, alt azimuth stand...

I'm excited to see if I can see a good image of Saturn, I have heard that we are able to see it quite well this week along with Jupiter - well most planets for the next 10 days.

Anyone got any tips for a complete noob to get the most out of the next few days (weather permitting)?

Stu
ThePeltonian
 
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Re: Hello From Barnsley

Postby Aratus » Thu Jan 21, 2016 1:12 pm

Hello Stu

Jupiter rises at about 10 past 9 in the evening and is nice and high before midnight.
Saturn and Mars don't rise until a few hours before dawn; Venus only an hour before the sun.
Saturn and Mars will be fine evening objects by June, so you may need to wait for those unless you are an early bird!

The Sky at Night magazine will tell you each month what is visible, and has appropriate star charts. Pick a constellation from the chart, and go out and find it. Learn your way around the sky. There are plenty of bright objects in the sky at the moment. The Orion Nebula and the Pleiades are always worth a look. The Andromeda galaxy is still around. As the year goes by they will be setting, but new objects are always appearing in the east. The moon is always a good target. Keep a record of all the things you see in a log and you will be able to relive the moments. Post a copy of your observations on this forum. Keep asking questions!

Clear Skies!
Last edited by Aratus on Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I use an 11" Celestron SCT (CPC 1100) on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 500D for imaging.
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Re: Hello From Barnsley

Postby Gfamily2 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:17 pm

With your telescope - get it set up during the day (so you're familiar with how it fits together) and get the finderscope aligned with the main OTA (optical tube assembly) - during the day, move the telescope until it's centered on a distant street light or TV aerial, and then adjust the finder so it is pointing at the same thing.

If you're using auto-align, you will be asked to centre the telescope on two or three named stars, so unless you're familiar with the names of the stars, you'll want to prepare for this. Either buy yourself a planisphere that includes star names, or print yourself a 'star wheel' that includes them (link below).

Make sure you have a good set of batteries - it'll be cold, and most batteries drop in performance at low temperatures.

Preferably take the scope outside as it starts to get dark, so that it can cool down well before you start observing. Moving a warm telescope outside into cold air sets up air currents that can spoil the first hour or so of your observing.
Start up the telescope and by preference follow the alignment instructions (you could just locate Jupiter in the sky and point the telescope in the right direction using the finder scope, but the planet will keep drifting out of view). Don't worry too much if you can't get it aligned first time out, you can just as well use the finderscope to find something as bright as Jupiter. You can always practice the alignment later.

Always always start with the lowest power eyepiece (the longest focal length one 26mm or 32mm or whatever it came with). When you've found Jupiter, centre it and you can then swap to a higher power. Don't be surprised if the quality of the image seems to get worse. This is often the case, but don't worry - spend some time looking using the lower power and you'll find yourself being able to pick out details you didn't notice earlier on. If you have a stool you can use to sit comfortably at the eyepiece for longer, this can help too.

Dress warmly, wear a hat, and have gloves ready. If you have one of those camping sleep mats made of dense foam, you can cut a wide strip and make a dew shield - a tube about 30-45cm long that'll slip snugly over the end of the telescope to keep the main glass sheltered from falling dew.

Keep unused eyepieces in your pockets so they doesn't also get cold and covered in dew.

If you're Barnsley based, your local astronomical society seems to be the Mexborough and Swinton AS. Get in touch and see when they have viewing evenings, then take your telescope along and you should get some great advice and help with any problems you have. MSAS website http://msas.org.uk/

Star wheel suitable for N England
http://www.astronomyinyourhands.com/cgi ... ront.E.pdf
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak, Raffle winner of SW ST80
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
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Gfamily2
 
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Re: Hello From Barnsley

Postby Gfamily2 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:44 pm

Gfamily2 wrote:If you're using auto-align, you will be asked to centre the telescope on two or three named stars, so unless you're familiar with the names of the stars, you'll want to prepare for this. Either buy yourself a planisphere that includes star names, or print yourself a 'star wheel' that includes them (link below).


It's best to get a red light torch to use this with - a white light torch will spoil your night vision.

You may think about using a laptop or an app on your phone to help you identify the alignment stars - and something like Google Sky Map will show you roughly the right area of the sky to look in.

It will, but the screen glow will be unhelpful for your night vision.

You can get red lights sold cheaply as rear bike lights in Poundshops and TK MAxx, you you can often get head torches with red LED lights cheaply too.
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak, Raffle winner of SW ST80
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
(Not a moderator)
Gfamily2
 
Posts: 473
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2015 10:38 pm

Re: Hello From Barnsley

Postby ThePeltonian » Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:59 pm

Wow thankyou both for all the information, all I need is my scope now.. It has the supatrak alt azimuth stand and I've heard that the batteries are not much good so will need to source a power pack, although i'm quite good with the old electronics so might just build a basic power pack from some spare motorcycle batteries I have. Hopefully will get it before Saturday, We as a family go camping (myself - my wife and Max my soon to be 12 year old) quite a lot so have rollmats a plenty i'm sure we can give one up for the cause. I have a red torch (bike light) and a star pointer outer green laser, which will come in handy, also purchased a phillips planisphere and have google skymaps on my tablet - but as you say the brightness will affect my own night vision so will experiment I think.
I have met Les who is chair at MSAS a couple of years ago when they were out and about in Wentworth Castle on an evening.
The hoober Observatory is just a few miles away from me, and have visited there before but sadly didn't get to see through the scope they have as it was belting it down..

When I get it I will report back with findings.. Once again thanks for your information and help

Stu
ThePeltonian
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 12:08 pm

Re: Hello From Barnsley

Postby Gfamily2 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 4:08 pm

ThePeltonian wrote:Wow thankyou both for all the information, all I need is my scope now.. It has the supatrak alt azimuth stand and I've heard that the batteries are not much good so will need to source a power pack, although i'm quite good with the old electronics so might just build a basic power pack from some spare motorcycle batteries I have. Hopefully will get it before Saturday, We as a family go camping (myself - my wife and Max my soon to be 12 year old) quite a lot so have rollmats a plenty i'm sure we can give one up for the cause. I have a red torch (bike light) and a star pointer outer green laser, which will come in handy, also purchased a phillips planisphere and have google skymaps on my tablet - but as you say the brightness will affect my own night vision so will experiment I think.
I have met Les who is chair at MSAS a couple of years ago when they were out and about in Wentworth Castle on an evening.
The hoober Observatory is just a few miles away from me, and have visited there before but sadly didn't get to see through the scope they have as it was belting it down..

When I get it I will report back with findings.. Once again thanks for your information and help

Stu


Sounds like you're pretty much ready to go.
An external power pack is a good idea - just make sure you get the polarity of the power supply right - for some reason scope manufacturers rarely put any polarity-protection in place, and you don't want to fry your telescope before you start.

It's a nice size scope to take with on your camping holidays - the only problem being that in UK, the long summer evenings mean you don't get much observing in until quite late in the day. If you head into rural France or Spain though, you can get really good night viewing.

Fingers crossed that it arrives soon.
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak, Raffle winner of SW ST80
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
(Not a moderator)
Gfamily2
 
Posts: 473
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2015 10:38 pm


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