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Thread: First telescope - What accessories do I need? What should I really be able to see?

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    Default First telescope - What accessories do I need? What should I really be able to see?



    First I would like to say hi and thanks for answering any current/future dumb questions I have.

    I purchased a Zhumell 10" dobsonian recently. I have only used it about three time since I purchased it. Once the night I bought it, once to see the lunar eclipse, and the last time I found Saturn - Im assuming. It was a white circle with a ring around it in found by accident....

    The finder scope that came with it was broken (I purchased used). The screw used to calibrate it is snapped off so I can fix it on any one object. That makes it really hard to find things.

    My question is what other accessories should I purchase with this scope? I currently have a Celestron 8-24mm, a Zhumell wide field 30mm, Zhumell 100° wide angle, Zhumell plössl 9mm, urban sky filter, and a moon filter.

    Also what should I really be able to see with it? What should I focus my time on first? What should I replace the finder scope with?

    Thanks for all of your help!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: First telescope - What accessories do I need? What should I really be able to see

    Welcome to the forum.

    If the broken screw is one of the two plastic adjusting screw, you can replace it easily. Go to Ace Hardware and take the holder with you... they can hook you up. (Buy two.)

    You need to collimate that baby every time you set it up. It's what we call a "fast" scope. If Saturn is just a disk around a white ball, collimation will make the view amaze you. Here's the "bible" of collimation: Astro Babys Guide to Collimation

    Some use a laser collimator, while others use a Cheshire. There are dozens of videos on YouTube... just Google 'em.

    What can you see? Pardon the pun, but the sky's is the limit. There is almost nothing you won't be able to see with a properly collimated 10" Dob.

    Clear Skies
    John (Urban Astronomer)
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    Default Re: First telescope - What accessories do I need? What should I really be able to see

    Hi Blake,

    Welcome to the forum. Follow John's advice it is spot on. We look forward to reading about your exploits and adventures through the EP.

    Clear skies,
    JT
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    Default Re: First telescope - What accessories do I need? What should I really be able to see

    I also second John's advice, first take care of the finder issue and you should be OK. As far as collimation this takes a little practice but one thing you can do next time you take the scope out is practice the star test. Just insert an eyepiece into the focuser and find a relatively bright star, rack the eyepiece until it is out of focus, and look at the image. You should see a donut in the center of the out-of-focus star representing the secondary obstruction. If the hole in the donut is perfectly centered then your collimation is pretty good. I generally do the star test every night out with the scope to make sure the collimation is OK.

    This will enhance your views of both planets and DSO's.

    As far as what to observe - you can observe almost anything with a Z10, from stars to planets and the variety of deep sky objects - open clusters, globular clusters, planetary nebulae, emission nebulae, reflection nebulae and galaxies.

    I would pick up a good star chart to help you find objects. I use the Sky and Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas and Wil Tirion's Sky Atlas 2000. Computer programs such as Stellarium also are a big help.
    Michael
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    Default Re: First telescope - What accessories do I need? What should I really be able to see

    Welcome to the forum Blake! I second (or third) John and Michael's advice. The sky is indeed the limit. Enjoy your scope!
    Bryan

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    Default Re: First telescope - What accessories do I need? What should I really be able to see

    Hi blakeb,

    your 10'' dob is one nice piece of equipment to use! I've would suggest not to buy anything too soon, except maybe a collimation device ( i would suggest cheshire sight tube).

    Also you must have real expectations about ings should look through telescope. The atmosphere above us is a limiting factor what we can see in EP, and how much ''magnification'' we can use.

    Jupiter : most prominent features are belts, if everything is ok and you are lucky with seeing conditions you can observe some swirls, festoons etc. but those nights are rare at least for me. if youre lucky, you can catch GRS on its way around planet, some moons throwing a shadow on the face of the planet, etc.

    Saturn: is a yellow ball with rings around the planet. i havent seen any details on the planet, the most prominent feature to look for is cassini divison in rings. Saturn will show the best of the rings in 2017-2018!

    Venus: yellowish ball with phases as moon! no details can be seen because of the thick atmosphere!
    Mercury: also has phases as Venus.

    Mars: smallish red circle, some polar regions can be seen, some darker areas on planet; best to look for when the planet is closest to earth, mars oppositions:

    - one was this year , april 2014
    - may 2016
    - july 2018
    - october 2020...

    I would also suggest that you borrow / buy some great books as: Turn left at Orion ; Messier marathon, etc...

    There are many great things to see in you telescope. Use Stellarium, a program that can show what is visible on your location at any night.

    Take your time, and enjoy your hobby.

    cheers.

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    Default Re: First telescope - What accessories do I need? What should I really be able to see

    Welcome to the forum! Good advice from all. Sounds like you have a good range of accessories already. Do you have dark skies where you live?

    As for what to see with it, good choices right now would be M31 the Andromeda Galaxy with dwarf companions, the Double Cluster in Perseus, M57 the Ring Nebula in Lyra. A good test of your high power eyepiece would be Epsilon Lyrae, the "Double-Double". Come back often and tell us what you see. Have fun!
    Raymond Howard
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    Default Re: First telescope - What accessories do I need? What should I really be able to see

    Listen to John (lowjiber)! He knows of what he speaks!

    You seem to be very well fixed in terms of eyepieces. You might be interested in getting one a little higher power than the 9mm (or the 8mm zoom) for lunar/planetary work, maybe something in the 5-7mm range, but that's not pressing.

    As for other accessories, you might want to get some star charts, or you can find free ones all over the internet to printout and bring with you, or you can bring your laptop and use Stellarium or a similar program instead. If you are going to do the star chart route, you'll need a red flashlight.

    You should get an adjustable chair of some sort for observing while seated. I cannot stress how much more you'll see when you're seated and relaxed. I have a scope that naturally lends itself to this, so I can just adjust the tripod and use any old chair, and I'm in business. However, since the business end (the eyepiece) has a lot of different heights on your scope, so an adjustable height chair is necessary.

    Some people like to spread out a tarp beneath their observing position just in case they drop something, makes it easier to find.

    If the finder that came with the scope is a RACI, you might want to get either some sort of Telrad/red dot finder device, or a green laser pointer to help you more easily initially get to where you want to go.

    You can get or make some setting circles to help you be able to find objects easier. You would use this in combination with a program like Stellarium. For azimuth, this involves printing out a giant circle to go onto the bottom of the mount, for altitude you can buy an electronic carpenter's gauge or some other form of level - they make them for astronomy use for this very purpose. It's a little rectangle, about 2 inches by 1 inches, that has a readout of exactly what angle the tube is pointing at.

    I'm sure there are other accessories, but others will be along to fill in what I've missed.

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    Default Re: First telescope - What accessories do I need? What should I really be able to see

    Thanks for all the quick replys! I have decently dark skys where I am. I am at least 20 miles from ANY cit and 45 miles from a decent size city(pop. 20,000). I forgot to mention I do have a Laser collimator that came with the scope. THANK YOU for the guide on that it was really helpful.
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    Default Re: First telescope - What accessories do I need? What should I really be able to see

    I envy your location blakeb - I live bang in the city centre of Wakefield, with lots of light pollution. Fortunately Wakefield is very close to lots of lakes, forests, country parks and greenbelt land, so a 30 minute, maybe less, journey would put me in a dark location. I can't wait to take the dog and the telescope out to the fields, but I can't do it yet - I've bought my Telescope, but am giving myself it for Xmas... so can't go out with it yet.

    I wasn't struggling with the wait at all until I joined this forum, now I'm constantly tempted to just go set it up, and join in the fun... I got as far as taking it out of the packaging, opening the box, and handling one or two bits yesterday, until I caught myself, and put it all away quickly! I need to keep it for Xmas though, as my other present is a sideboard (seriously!). Without the 'scope I'd not have the anticipation for Xmas I do currently "Only 25 sleeps to go", as my niece would say when she was little.

 

 

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