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  1. #1
    Dell Boi's Avatar
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    Default Advice for a total novice



    Hey everyone,

    I've decided I really want to get into Astronomy as a hobby, and really I don't have the first clue where to start, I was asking around for what would be a good first telescope and I got pointed in the direction of this SkyWatcher

    *Seems I can't post a link, but it's called SkyWatcher-Explorer-130-900-EQ2.

    Is that a good starting point or is there something of better value?

    Also like I say I'm new to this but very eager to get started, but I don't understand about light pollution, and will living in a built up area effect my experience with the scope, is there anything I can do about it? I'm moving to a house shortly with a balcony attached so in an ideal world I'd want to be able to use it there.

    Thanks for any replies .

  2. #2
    andyp180's Avatar
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    hi and welcome to the forums.
    i used to own one of those scopes you mention.
    they are a decent scope that will get you into the hobby
    at a reasonable price.
    the mount can be a little shaky on them,but there are ways
    around most of it.
    being an eq mount,it will take a little practice to get used to
    using it,but once you do,you will be fine.
    if it's supplied with a red dot finder,they're pretty useless and
    you will find yourself replacing it.
    you will get two ep's,a 25mm and a 10mm,aswell as a 2X barlow.
    they're not top notch stuff,but they are plenty useable and will
    do you for quite a time until you decide on upgrades later on.
    as an overall package,they are a decent entry level scope.
    i enjoyed mine while i had it.
    hope this helps.
    clear skies,
    andy

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    andy

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  4. #3
    Dell Boi's Avatar
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    Default

    Okay thanks a lot for the input! Think I will get one of those then

    Any idea on this light pollution thing, will it matter I live in an estate/built up area?

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    OleCuss's Avatar
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    Default

    If Andy says that's a decent scope I'd not even question the matter further.

    But if you're in a light polluted area a bigger light bucket might prove invaluable and if your budget will tolerate getting something bigger (and you can transport and use the larger telescope) you might want to consider that.

    Oh, and GoTo can be even more valuable in a light polluted area.

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  7. #5
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    depends on the amount of lp where you are.
    do you have the means to transport it to
    somewhere less polluted?
    or do you have somewhere that shields biggest
    part of the street lights etc?
    i have l/p,but have a spot out back that shields most of it.
    keep an eye on the site linked,there's always decent stuff coming up there.
    as olecuss says,maybe more aperature in the form of a dobsonian?
    easier to set up,easier to use.a 2nd hand 8-10" dob will blow you away.
    depends on your budget limits.
    clear skies,
    andy

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    andy

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  8. #6
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    light pollution - forms domes above built up areas - any moisture in the air reflects this light back into your scope and diminishes the contrast.
    Take this pic from my home towards the next town see the two domes?
    Then the one of the high rises?
    There's a lot less humidity in that shot so even though the town is actually a major city, there's almost no LP except close to the ground where the stadium lights are (on the right)
    When you have a town like Newcastle UK, you have not only humidity, but also industrial pollution from steel and coal and various other industries.They all help to form a dome over the city that reflects back huge amounts of light from the extra amount of street lights and shopping malls etc into your scope - the bigger the mirror, the less that effect becomes.
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  9. #7
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    Default

    Thanks a lot for all the posts and I appreciate you guys going easy on me.

    Thanks Jennifer for providing the photos to help my understanding. So if I may ask for clarification, you say "the bigger the mirror, the less that effect becomes" so I need a big mirror I presume, and is that telescope I suggested in the original post not good enough to help me in an industrial city? I mean I'm on the fringes of the city so it's not as bad as you might imagine, but I still wouldn't want to take a risk and buy the wrong one.

    Forgive my terminology, like I say I'm a complete novice with no understand of the concept all I know is I want to get into it


  10. #8
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    easy test for you.
    look at the sky on a clear night.
    how many stars do you see?
    be sure to stay out for a while to allow your eyes to adjust
    to the dark before you check.
    bad l/p will only allow you to see a small number.
    if you see a good number,then that scope will be fine.
    plus,you can always point away from the city.
    for example,my view south with the naked eye reveals very
    few stars,except the brightest.but point the scope,it reveals
    alot more.
    however,south west to north east and zenith reveal tons of stars etc.
    so i tend to observe more in those areas,and only view south for the
    more brighter objects.
    as i said,if you can get somewhere that is darker,great.
    don't be put off,as long as you can cut down on stray light entering
    the ota,you should be fine.there are ways to do this.
    clear skies,
    andy

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  11. #9
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    Hi there, Dell, and welcome to the site!

    Just for consideration, a Dob might be a very nice "1st Scope" for you??? They're VERY EASY to use, you can get a larger size for a really nice price, and EXTREMELY easy set up & easy to cart around. Just something to consider. Either way, the one you mention is a nice scope as well.

    Many of us will probably agree that Dobsonian Telescopes truly offer the "best bang for your money". Especially if you're just getting into the hobby. I will say, however, that the one you're looking at, will probably have a higher learning curve, and longer set-up times.


    Light pollution:

    Well, light pollution is exactly what the name implies. If you live in, or near, a large town or city, chances are, all that light from the nearby city will "pollute" your skies, and visibility is going to be a challenge. So, let's say you wanted to view something (a particular galaxy, for example) that's normally a challenge to view in a nice dark area (without light pollution), it's gonna be that much harder to see it in a light-polluted area, or almost impossible.

    Rule of thumb is that the larger the mirror, or scope, the more light it can gather, making things a little easier to view. But, then again, it all depends on your particular area, what you're trying to view, and where you live. However, you can always drive to an area that's darker, if you have such an area near you? Like maybe a park, or big field that's maybe 15-20 minutes away from your town, someplace very dark...???

    But, just for the heck of it, look at some Dob's, too. Great value, size, and price, and you might not have to upgrade anytime soon. If memory serves, you can get the 6" Orion XT6 Dob for around $279 US. Might be worth looking at???

    But, whatever you choose, I'm sure you'll enjoy it, and have a blast with it!

    And remember, we're here if you have any questions, or need help with anything!

    And always check the Beginner Forum "stickies". There's a wealth of great info there!

    Chris
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    Some great advice above but didn't cover quite everything my tiny little brain wanted to get across. . .

    As suggested above, this is one of those cases where bigger is generally better. So you get the biggest decent quality telescope you can afford and which you can transport sufficiently easy that it won't discourage you from using it.

    Now that said, that 130mm telescope will still show you a lot of things which you'll never see with a lesser scope. I've got a similar size telescope (6 inch or 152mm) which even in my light-polluted skies will show me Jupiter, Saturn, some of the brighter Deep Sky Objects (DSO's), etc. I like that telescope because it can be easily grabbed and hauled out into the backyard to see stuff. My 305mm telescope will show me far more - but getting it into the backyard takes a lot more effort and time so it still doesn't get used as much.

    But understand that an 8 inch (203mm) telescope is not that much harder to move than the 6 incher. So the 6 inch telescope is being given to some of my nieces for them to show their kids the glories of the universe and I bought an 8 incher for my own use (well, for me and my wife) since it really does show us a lot more.

    Now, another thing you need to understand about light pollution is that frequently the light pollution which causes you the most trouble is the lights shining into your eyes and ruining your dark adaptation. So you can frequently greatly improve your viewing if you shoot out your neighbors' lights or (probably a much better idea) put a screen between their lights and your observing site.

    The last idea I want to labor you with is what I consider to be the incredible superiority of GoTo functionality in a heavily light-polluted environment. Let's assume for the moment that you have incredible knowledge of the constellations and how to use them to find the object(s) you desire to see. But in a light-polluted environment you can have a hard time even making out a constellation - let alone using it to starhop to that nebula you wanted to see. . . But a GoTo system will let you align your telescope/mount with the few bright stars you can see and then (upon your command) point the telescope more or less right at that object you wanted to see - and then keep it pointed at that object while you relax and enjoy the view.

    To summarize my opinion in the matter? The bigger the mirror or lens you can get, the better. And in a heavily light polluted environment a GoTo telescope can be about the only way you are going to find what you want to see.

    FWIW, and it's your money so get what you want even if we hate it.

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