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First light of the 250pds and tripod


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Hello all. I'll try to do a little write up for the first time I got to use my beautiful new scope, mount, and tripod.

At about 6:30 on saturday night I went outside and noticed that the sky was crystal clear (apart from the orange glow). So with a squeak of glee I ran back in to get my new set up.

The OTA was already off the mount so I picked up my tripod with mount attached quickly pulled up the leg spreader to close the legs, and went and plonked it down in my usual spot in the garden. No need to level or polar align, as I'm only visual on an alt Az manual mount. So I went in to pick up my OTA, carefully carrying through the lounge and kitchen out into the garden. I'm, glad I didn't get the 300p OTA as the 250 is just starting to get a bit tricky to set up on my own. So I attached it to my mount with the upgraded ADM saddle plate, and roughly balanced it out.

Excited that my new toy was up and ready I quickly went back inside to pick up my new baader Hyperion 8mm and the 28mm EP it came with. Sticking in my Hyperion I decided that as Jupiter was high up I'd start with that. My finder wasn't far off so I just tweaked that to get it as close as possible and then stuck my eye to the eye piece.

Disaster. I couldn't for the life of me get the image into focus. I faffed about for around 15 mins checking collimation,(which was fine) checking my EP's were clean etc only to feel like a fool as In my excitement touse my new set up I remembered that being quite a big mirror it needs to cool down first. :lol:

Silly me :D

So I put all the caps back on and went back inside to watch an old re-run of top gear on Dave.

After an hour I couldn't wait any longer, so put my coat on and went back to my scope, took of the caps, found Jupiter in the finder and looked, fingers crossed into the EP. Bliss. There was the king of planets shining brightly for me. A quick twist on the focuser and everything looked perfect and crisp. I noticed that one of its moons had either gone behind or in front of it. I could could count 9 different coloured areas on the disc of Jupiter, but sadly at that time the GRS was on the far side of planet. I spent about half an hour chasing it across the sky just looking at the bands of colour and watching the moons.

I thought I should move on, so as it was close I went to the Pleiades (M45 I think) popped in my 28mm EP and had a gander. The stars were perfect bright blue/white points of light and I could see so many more than I was used to with my old astro master 130. Unfortunately I couldn't get the whole cluster into the FOV at one time so I'm really hoping my 36mm Hyperion turns up soon.

After a couple of minutes I had a short hop down to the Orion nebula which was just to the left of my house. With the 28mm EP still in the tube I could make out a nice glow and some structure to the gas nebula, but it was quite small in the view, so I switched back to my 8mm Hyperion. Wow that EP is really something. I could see so much more structure in the cloud of gas and quite a few stars nestled in the middle glowing brightly for me. I spent a good 15 min just watching it untill it fell behind my roof out of site.

Next on my list. The mighty M31 Andromeda Galaxy. I loosened off the clutches on my mount and gently rotated the tube up to where it needs to be. Luckily I had my hand on the bottom of the OTA as when it got near vertical it slipped in the dovetail bar. So with my heart pounding I levelled it off and put some more effort into the holding bolts. Happy that it was now sufficiently tight I carefully rotated the scope back to where my target should be, gave the scope a little shake to make sure it was steady, happy that it was set about finding M31 in my finder.

To my surprise I got it bang central first time just by guessing. Gave myself a smug pat on the back and set about eyeballing it. I'd put my 28mm EP back in to look at this as I knew my 8mm Hyperion would be to much mag for that target. It looked lovely. The centre glowing brightly and gently fading out into the nice elliptical shape. I'm not sure if my eyes were playing tricks on me but I'd swear using averted vision I could see some structure to the gas lanes in the great great galaxy. But I decided I was just having a flight of fancy as I could just barely make out M110. After about 15 min looking at M31 I went inside for a quick drink, cursing my stupidity for turning on the lights and killing what little dark adaption my eyes had. Anyway after 10 min or so I went back out to find my next target, the double cluster only to find my secondary mirror all dewed out.


I wasn't going to be beaten though, so I took the OTA off the mount carefully, took it inside so it could warm up a bit. So after about 30 min I checked what it was like and to my joy the mirrors were lovely and dew free. By this point SWMBO had got back from work and was unusually enthusiastic about having a look. So I set it up again and left it to cool for about 30 min and me and the Mrs went outside to do a bit of viewing.

I ran her through all that I went through earlier, she was particulary impressed with how much detail she could see on Jupiter and in the Orion nebula, I even got a wow from her when she saw the Pleiades. After all of my earlier targets were done she requested the double cluster (it's our fav) I couldn't get a look in after finding it for about 15 min. She just stood there hogging my new toy only letting me near it to re-centre the view. (the cheek of some :lol: ) but luckily for me she doesn't like the cold so she went in to watch east corination farm or some such rubbish, leaving me to finally get a good look at the double cluster. I can see why SWMBO was there for so long. I could see so many stars, even from my light polluted little spot.

After a few minutes SWMBO beckoned me in as she wanted to play some COD. So I was happy to pack away as I'd got a good couple of hours of viewing with my new toy. I'd wanted to have a go at splitting the double double but had left it to late and it was now lost in the orange glow of derby city.

A few things I know I need to do. I need to get some dew prevention sorted out. I'll probably just start with a dew shield as it won't cost much. I also need to sort out some rubber or something to put around the eyepiece on my finder scope as standard it is just metal and I kept on smacking my eye socket onto it which wasn't very comfortable. Also I need some long slow motion control cables for my skytee 2, as it was a bit awkward to move while looking through the EP sometimes. I'd also like to get a 5mm Hyperion EP to get a bit closer to the planets. Especially for when Saturn is ready for viewing. (I've still not seen that yet)

Final note. My tripod performed fantastically. Not a single wobble or shake the entire evening. Also bringing the set up in, holding the metal parts, they were freezing but the carbon legs were almost warm.

Sorry about the wall of text but I wanted to get across how much I enjoyed my first light with my beautiful new set up. Can't wait to get up to belper or wymey to use it.

Thanks for reading



Edit: First line I said I'd do a little write up :lol: maybe not.

Edited by T A WOW
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Guest Ely Ellis

Excellent night then Toby.


I even go my wife out to look at Jupiter, but unlike yours, she looked, shrugged her sholders and went back inside. She just doesn't understand what she is looking at!


Got my little 7 year old out there too, he was more interested, but went in after 10mins because it was bitterly cold.


Had no trouble with dew that evening, lucky as as did not put the dew heater on.


Anyway, great report.



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