Stargazing Planning to buy a first telescope? - Comments

Had a small telescope as a child but am still pretty new to stargazing, thanks for the advice :)
 

davenn

Science Advisor
Gold Member
8,716
5,702
Why can't I see anything from my telescope ? The moon looks great but besides that I can't find anything ? It's really cheap think it was Around .
hi Keiran
welcome to PF :smile:

£200 (~ AU$350 - 400) isn't really a very cheap scope, it should be quite reasonable results

learning to find other objects much fainter than the moon takes a little more effort and learning to find your way around the sky
Programs like Stellarium ( free download) is an awesome starting point

but for a start, lets take a step backwards .... you didn't even tell us the make and model of the scope you purchased
maybe also give us a link to where you got it from


Dave
 
Hi thanks for the message, I over-shot the price lol. Must have been more near £100 unless the price has dropped over the years. Here's the exact one I have :)

www.harrisoncameras.co.uk/pd/Danubia-Merkur-60A-Refractor-Astro-Telescope_567065.htm

I feel like I am getting close to seeing something because I can see the shades of black getting lighter when am moving it through the sky looking for things, it's a improvement from total darkness anyway lol.
 

jim hardy

Science Advisor
Gold Member
2018 Award
Dearly Missed
9,813
4,866
From Sky and Telescope, probably for US observers
cloudy here this morning
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/observing-news/astronomy-podcast-april-2016-04012016/
Get up before dawn, and you'll be rewarded with a bright triangle of beacons in the south that's roughly the size of your clenched fist held at arm’s length. The red-supergiant star Antares, marking the heart of Scorpius, is at the bottom of the triangle. To its upper right is Mars, and to its upper left is Saturn.
 
1
1
One word of caution - telescopes are like any other gear, from computers to cars to metal detectors. A lot of people develop very strong 'religious' opinions about what is good and what 'sucks'. These people will often lead you to a very specific set of fairly high end gear, often in very specific combinations. You might end up with something really nice, but you will almost certainly pay much more for these kinds of objects of worship. Talk to a lot of people, and if they start frothing at the mouth or baying at the moon you might want to try somebody else...
 

russ_watters

Mentor
18,589
4,822
Why can't I see anything from my telescope ? The moon looks great but besides that I can't find anything ? It's really cheap think it was Around £200.
What else have you tried to find? Jupiter? It's pretty easy to spot right now and looks great even in a cheap telescope.

[edit] And FYI, there are two moons transiting in front of Jupiter tonight. You should be able to see the shadows with even a cheap telescope.
 
Last edited:
Yeah Jupiter and tried finding Venus, I heard it was close to the moon all last week. Very cloudy up my end past week or so unfortunately :(.
 
1,497
607
Why can't I see anything from my telescope ? The moon looks great but besides that I can't find anything ? It's really cheap think it was Around £200.
How dark is your sky? I can see very little from where I live near NYC with my fairly powerful telescope, but if I bring it to my mother's up in the mountains, I can see much much more.
 
Erm.... Pretty dark, won't have the light pollution of somewhere like New York. I live in a town just off Liverpool (pretty rural area).
 

sophiecentaur

Science Advisor
Gold Member
23,155
3,719
I bought a s/hand 200p Dobs recently and immediately got myself a couple of good eyepieces. Using such a crude mount makes you learn fast about finding things up there. 8" is very good for dim objects but it does require some effort to get it out into the garden. I haven't travelled with it yet but I plan to use it on the back of my truck, which would be more pleasant than scrabbling around on the ground in some random open field.
As people have already said, the best one to buy depends on individual circs. I think I made a good choice 'for me' and the views can be stunning.
Start cheap and you can always sell it on for a better chosen upgrade. (Sell before buying another. Be strong!!)
Go-to is all very well but, like sat nav in cars, it doesn't give you a clue where you are or how you got there. It's something to aspire to when you have learned a bit about the business.
 

Drakkith

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
2018 Award
20,525
4,230
haven't travelled with it yet but I plan to use it on the back of my truck, which would be more pleasant than scrabbling around on the ground in some random open field.
Enjoy the shaking of the entire truck as you shift around. :wink:
 

sophiecentaur

Science Advisor
Gold Member
23,155
3,719
Enjoy the shaking of the entire truck as you shift around. :wink:
Yes, I did try it and it was noticeable. But the Hilux has very stiff suspension and it wasn't too bad when I wasn't dancing about. A couple of scissor jacks could solve that problem. All this stuff is about problem solving and feeling smart when it works! :smile:
At the moment, we have wall to wall cloud and rain stopped play in the UK. It should be so much better now that the Moon has gone on holiday on the sunny side of Earth but . . .
 

DaveC426913

Gold Member
18,070
1,649
Yes, I did try it and it was noticeable. But the Hilux has very stiff suspension and it wasn't too bad when I wasn't dancing about. A couple of scissor jacks could solve that problem. All this stuff is about problem solving and feeling smart when it works! :smile:
At the moment, we have wall to wall cloud and rain stopped play in the UK. It should be so much better now that the Moon has gone on holiday on the sunny side of Earth but . . .
The other problem with being on a truck is that you won't be able to easily position yourself to block sources of light pollution.
 
Last edited:

sophiecentaur

Science Advisor
Gold Member
23,155
3,719
The other problem with being on a truck is that you won't be able to easily position yourself to block sources of light pollution.
I wondered about that. There are several local spots (including my garden) that are not bad for light pollution when I turn our own house lights off. But the extra height will take me above hedges and things. At the moment, Mars and Saturn are too low in the sky for me to see them from my garden (especially as the Dobs is so near the ground). I shall just have to experiment. It's the little practicalities that make hobbies fun. I just ended a long and involved relationship with a Sailing Cruiser and she was crammed full of practical problems to solve (never pay someone to do something that you can do yourself, of course). :smile:
Talking of light pollution, I have a feeling that I could benefit from a blackout sheet over my head like old photographers. I'm surprised that I haven't seen something like that on suppliers' sites.
 

DaveC426913

Gold Member
18,070
1,649
There are several local spots (including my garden) that are not bad for light pollution when I turn our own house lights off.
I've done scoping from my backyard here in the big city. Planets are bright enough that it's not an issue. But if you're looking at anything else, you'll want your full night vision, which takes a half hour to kick in. And any light source is enough to destroy it, even a streetlight a mile away, or light from a neighbor's windows.

But the extra height will take me above hedges and things.
Frankly, I prefer an area where the horizon is high for two reasons.
1] It hides a lot of light pollution. If you're high up, any light within ten miles will destroy your experience.
2] The viewing near the horizon is dreadful anyway. Air disturbances, sky glow and the shear thickness of the atmo make it very poor viewing.

Talking of light pollution, I have a feeling that I could benefit from a blackout sheet over my head like old photographers. I'm surprised that I haven't seen something like that on suppliers' sites.
Your night vision takes more than a half hour to reach optimum, and less than one second to be destroyed. You'd need to wear a sheet over your head for the entire night.
 

davenn

Science Advisor
Gold Member
8,716
5,702
The other problem with being on a truck is that you won't be able to easily position yourself to block sources of light pollution.
but if mounted on the truck, then there his the huge advantage of being able to drive to a darked site :)

For some playing around at home and to keep the local light out of your eyes, it would take very little effort to make a frame to fit the
truck deck and secure a black material to the frame. If out of aluminium tubing, you could make it fold up and the material permanently
attached to the frame.


Dave
 

davenn

Science Advisor
Gold Member
8,716
5,702
wonder what happened to @Keiran OConnor ?

would be nice to know if he is now making use of his scope ?



Dave
 

DaveC426913

Gold Member
18,070
1,649
but if mounted on the truck, then there his the huge advantage of being able to drive to a darked site :)
But but but...
you can do that whether or not the scope is mounted or simply stowed... :sorry:


For some playing around at home and to keep the local light out of your eyes, it would take very little effort to make a frame to fit the
truck deck and secure a black material to the frame. If out of aluminium tubing, you could make it fold up and the material permanently attached to the frame.
Yep, and now you got yourself an actual observatory.

AND - since the best viewing tends to be in very cold air, such as winter - you won't freeze your Plossls off.
:wink:
 

PAllen

Science Advisor
7,646
1,017
AND - since the best viewing tends to be in very cold air, such as winter - you won't freeze your Plossls off.
:wink:
But what about your naglers?
 

davenn

Science Advisor
Gold Member
8,716
5,702

sophiecentaur

Science Advisor
Gold Member
23,155
3,719
but if mounted on the truck, then there his the huge advantage of being able to drive to a darked site :)

For some playing around at home and to keep the local light out of your eyes, it would take very little effort to make a frame to fit the
truck deck and secure a black material to the frame. If out of aluminium tubing, you could make it fold up and the material permanently
attached to the frame.


Dave
Mobile observatory sounds cool! I was wondering about a suitable design for a helmet, too!! I wouldn't mind betting that some Victorian geezer has got a patent on something like that. :biggrin:
 

jim hardy

Science Advisor
Gold Member
2018 Award
Dearly Missed
9,813
4,866
There are plenty of compact film cameras about in the junkshops. I've been known to disassemble one and mount its lens in a plastic pipe fitting for an eyepiece, in a pinch.
Want to try one of those with zoom ....

Saturn is spectacular now.
 

sophiecentaur

Science Advisor
Gold Member
23,155
3,719
In the UK. Saturn is a bit too low on the horizon and is too much on the fuzzy side*. I may have too high expectation, I suppose. The rings are very visible (as a single one on X150) and I was v. chuffed to see it, first time. Jupiter, being much higher, is much more stunning from here.
My commercially minded 'man at the shop' tells me I need to launch into astrophotography if I want better pictures. But that is a potential money pit.
*Much better in the southern hemisphere, I guess.
 
Wow! Thanks for the great post. I only recently started thinking about astronomy. Binoculars are great, but I have trouble keeping my arms steady enough to get a good look at anything. Any good ways to keep binoculars steady?[/QUOTE
Me too. I need to find a good telescope.
 

Want to reply to this thread?

"Planning to buy a first telescope? - Comments" You must log in or register to reply here.

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving
Top