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First light report 27/1/13


Guest Turtleboy
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Guest Turtleboy

After owning my scope (Celestron Nexstar 4" Goto Mak) for a whole week :lol: , and seeing nothing but cloud I started to get a little bit excited to see the clouds finally starting to clear yesterday afternoon.


 


So out I went into the back garden at about 3pm and started to set up in anticipation. It was only the second time I had assembled the scope but its extremely straight forward. 5 minutes and the tripod was up with the scope firmly bolted in place. I decided I'd take the opportunity to lighn up the laser finder scope while I could see what I was doing and used a distant telegraph pole as a target. I got the alignment to to what I thought had to be somewhere near but it was hard to see in the failing daylight. Then it was inside for a quick bite and a brew and wait for nightfall.


 


I went back out about 6pm and even though I couldn't directly see the moon as it was hiding behind next door's house, I was amazed at how bright the sky was, and I was a bit disappointed at the fact that I may not see much because of the moonlight.


 


So, here goes nothing. I looked up and found what I was pretty sure was Jupiter (I wouldn't have had a clue a week ago) then got out my phone and fired up Google skymaps to confirm I was right. I turned on the laser scope, grabbed the goto keypad and manually slewed the scope until the laser was ligned up with Jupiter. To be honest at this point I wasn't expecting to see much given my earlier crude alignment, so I was surprised when I looked into the 25mm eyepiece and saw something bright and shiney. A quick play with the focus and the image became a bit clearer, and there was Jupiter. I could just about make out the bands and to my surprise all 4 moons appeared as pin pricks of light. I then tried different combinations of eyepieces. The 9mm Plossl was pretty much useless, although the image was bigger I couldn't get it focussed and had to have my eyeball almost on the lense to see anything. I also tried the 25mm with a 2x barlow which wasn't bad but still slightly fuzzy. Overall the 25mm was by far the clearest image. I would expect this is normal given that I'm using fairly low quality ep's I got with the scope.


 


So driven by my success and the knowledge that I'd pretty much got as good a view as I was going to get of Jupiter given the current conditions and my equipment I thought I'd have a play with the Goto mount and see if I could figure it out. My first instructions were to level the scope and point it north. It was at this point the motors ground to a painstaking rate and the batteries in the scope pretty much gave up. So a quick trip indoors to find an extention cable and plug (luckily I had earlier found and tried a multi adaptor type plug which did the job) and I was back in business.


 


I couldn't see polaris bacause I was now only a few feet from the house due to being tethered by a power cable, so I had to roughly align the scope north using the compass app on my phone, and levelled it by eye (in the dark. :facepalm: ). On the bright side the motors now sounded much healthier as it slewed to it's first alignment star. I fine tuned it to the star it was closest to then off it went again to the second star. Again I fine tuned and thought I'd cracked it, hit enter and got he message "Alignment Failed!" :rolleyes:


Given my primitive methods and the fact that the nearest gps location programmed into the mount is Leeds I can't say I was surprised.


 


Slight change of tack I thought I'd give the manual 2 star align a go. I did this using Betelgeus and Rigel, which was far from ideal given their close proximity in the sky but they were the only two stars I could see that I knew the names of. I was once again surprised when I hit enter and was told the alignment was sucessfull. So as a test I entered Jupiter into the handset and watched with what I can only desribe as amazement as the scope slewed itself into what looked like the right place. I looked into the eyepiece and there was Jupiter. It wasn't in the centre, but it was there. Oh what joy! I found that given enough time it would still drift out of the field of view after a while but again given my methods it's not surprising.


 


I spent the next hour or so whizzing around the sky to various M numbers, some of which I could see and some I couldn't and I have to say I am very impressed with the goto system. With a bit of practice and fine tuning I can see it being a great tool.


 


Then it was time to go on to the main event, the Moon, which had gradually built up the confidence to emmerge from it's hiding place behing next doors house. Despite putting filters on my eyepiece it was still dazzling but an absolutely amazing sight. I once again experimented with the eye pieces with the same result. More magnification, less clarity.


 


So what did I learn from my "first light"? Firstly that I want to see more and learn more, and secondly, I really, really want some better eyepieces. (And so it begins :screwloose: )


 


Martin


Edited by Turtleboy
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Great First light report. Really enjoyable read. And the slippery slope of spending begins, first it's eyepieces, then collimation tools, then adaptors, then a better mount, then a better scope to go with the mount..............lol :D

Glad you enjoyed your first night out with your new scope-it's gonna get better and better-wait until Saturn is higher-you'll be obsessed with looking at it!

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Great first light report Martin. A really enjoyable read.

Sounds like you had an eventfull night, and learned a few things on the way.

Just wait until you come to a meet and see some of the monster scopes some people have. Major aperture fever :D

Buy buy money lol

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A great report, and despite the problems you came out on top. There ain't no way out now, your'e hooked.  :)


 


Felix is right, once you have seen Saturn, that is the one that will make your night!


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Guest Ely Ellis

Excellent report Martin,


 


Good way to get to grips with the system.


 


I'm still trying to figure out my goto system, although I have had it a good few months now, the excellent UK weather means I have only used it about 5 times!


 


Looking forward to your second report.


 


Martin


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Guest Turtleboy
Excellent report Martin,

 

Good way to get to grips with the system.

 

I'm still trying to figure out my goto system, although I have had it a good few months now, the excellent UK weather means I have only used it about 5 times!

 

Looking forward to your second report.

 

Martin

Second report :blink:

I didn't realise this hobby came with homework. :lol:

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