Absolute beginner, enthusiastic learner!

Don't be shy! If you're just starting out, here's the place to ask that first question

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Karen_Wilson99
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:12 pm
Location: Magor, Monmouthshire
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Absolute beginner, enthusiastic learner!

Post by Karen_Wilson99 »

Hi All

My name is Karen and I have been interested in Astronomy for many years but I have never taken it any further than that. One of my new year's resolutions was to change that so here I am armed with my first ever pair of binoculars, a tripod, a year's membership to www.popastro.com and a subscription to Sky At Night magazine.

My binoculars are the Celestron Skymaster 15x70. So far, every night has been cloudy since I had them so I haven't seen much but my question really is where is the best place to start with it all? It's can be quite confusing to a novice like me. But I cannot wait to learn.

Will I be able to see a lot through these bins? I did a lot of research and these had loads of great reviews and also seem to be the best pair of bins before actually buying a telescope?

Thanks for reading. :0)
David Frydman
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Post by David Frydman »

Hi Karen, Welcome

I assume the binoculars are in good condition and the two images from each barrel are merged into one restful view.

You should protect them with some extra bubble wrap as the supplied case is not very thick or keep the binoculars wrapped in bubble wrap if you travel away from home perhaps to a darker site.

How much you see will depend on the light pollution levels.

Perhaps start with Jupiter in the early evening.
Also Orion. The belt stars and the sword below containg M 42.
There are also star clusters near.

The Hyades and Pleiades are lovely clusters.

You might find M32 if your skies are dark.

Late say 2 am look at Saturn. You may see it elongated with a hint of the rings. If you have a dark sky you should be able to see Titan when furthest from the rings.

Try Mizar and Alcor in Ursa Major.
If the binocular is braced or on a tripod you may see Mizar as double, but it is difficult.

Also the Moon but it is not best really when full.

Clear Skies will eventually turn up.

Regards, David


I think it is fairly dark where you are or at least a few miles away.
So you should see quite a lot.
Last edited by David Frydman on Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Karen_Wilson99
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:12 pm
Location: Magor, Monmouthshire
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Post by Karen_Wilson99 »

Thank you David. This is really helpful. Very much appreciated.

Best wishes,
Karen
The Bat
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Post by The Bat »

Hi Karen and welcome!

You might want to get a planisphere or something similar to help you start learning the sky. The magazines have useful observing guides in each month and will give you some pointers as to what you can observe. Sky at Night has rankings which show you whether something is a binocular or unaided eye target.

You might want to find out if there is a society near you. Try the FAS (http://www.fedastro.org.uk) to find out where your nearest group is. Observing with others is a great way to learn and you may also have the chance to look through other people's telescopes which will help you decide whether or not you eventually want to buy one yourself and, if so, what to buy.

Good luck.

Rachel
Celestron C8-S XLT
CG5 mount, dual axis motor driven
Imaging Source DFK21AF04.AS camera
North Essex Astronomical Society
dazcaz
Posts: 236
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:05 pm
Location: Cardiff
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Post by dazcaz »

Karen,
Pay a visit to the Usk Astronomical Society
http://www.uskastronomicalsociety.org.uk/
I'm good friends with some of the members.
They are a very active society and have a brand new observatory.
Not too far from Magor.

You could also visit the Cardiff Astronomical society
http://www.cardiff-astronomical-society.co.uk/

I am a member of this group having recently re-joined after a few years absence. CAS are a very active group and have regular observing sessions.
On the 25th of Feb, they have a public observing session at Cwmcarn forest drive.

The great thing about observing sessions is that you get to look through different telescopes. You learn that bigger is not necessarily better and that you do not need to spend a fortune to get great views.
I really enjoy the observing sessions and have learned a lot and made a few friends along the way.
I once came last in an astronomy competition.
I was awarded a constellation prize


Skywatcher Explorer 200 HEQ5
Skywatcher Skymax 127 SupaTrak
Celestron C4-R CG-4 mount
dazcaz
Posts: 236
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:05 pm
Location: Cardiff
Contact:

Post by dazcaz »

I forgot to mention that CAS also have a brand new observatory. A lovely wooden building with a slide back roof. It's in Duffryn Gardens.
I once came last in an astronomy competition.
I was awarded a constellation prize


Skywatcher Explorer 200 HEQ5
Skywatcher Skymax 127 SupaTrak
Celestron C4-R CG-4 mount
Brian
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Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Wellingborough
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Post by Brian »

Hi Karen, and Welcome :) Good choice of binoculars!

ATB,
Brian
52.3N 0.6W
Wellingborough UK.

254mm LX90 on Superwedge, WO ZS66SD, Helios 102mm f5 on EQ1, Hunter 11x80, Pentax 10x50
ASI120MC Toucam Pros 740k/840k/900nc mono, Pentax K110D
Ro-Ro roof shed
Karen_Wilson99
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:12 pm
Location: Magor, Monmouthshire
Contact:

Post by Karen_Wilson99 »

Many thanks for all the replies. They are really helpful and informative.

As it happens, I have met with some of the members of Usk Astronomical Society previously. They did a walk back in October in conjunction with the Monmouthshire Walking Festival which I went on. It was up the Blorenge mountain where there is virtually no light pollution. But, alas, it was cloudy so we ended up back in Llanfoist Village Hall gazing at the stars in the inflatable planetarium. I hear they are looking at doing a couple more walks in June and October of this year so I will definitely be attending those. I was very interested to read about the public observing session at Cwmcarn Forest Drive. How can I find out more details about this? Presumably on the website which I will look at now.

It is cloudy here again tonight but it's amazing how much I have learned already just by reading websites, magazines, books and, of course, the information here.

Thanks all. It's so good to have people like you helping me.

Best wishes,
Karen
Brian
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Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Wellingborough
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Post by Brian »

Hi Karen.

In case you haven't already done so, download yourself a copy of "Stellarium" planetarium software for your computer, then you can practice navigating the sky even when it's cloudy :D

http://www.stellarium.org/

Regards,
Brian
52.3N 0.6W
Wellingborough UK.

254mm LX90 on Superwedge, WO ZS66SD, Helios 102mm f5 on EQ1, Hunter 11x80, Pentax 10x50
ASI120MC Toucam Pros 740k/840k/900nc mono, Pentax K110D
Ro-Ro roof shed
Karen_Wilson99
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:12 pm
Location: Magor, Monmouthshire
Contact:

Post by Karen_Wilson99 »

Thanks Brian. I downloaded that last night. Fab piece of software.

Just adding some useful Astronomy websites to my favourites. :0)
dazcaz
Posts: 236
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:05 pm
Location: Cardiff
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Post by dazcaz »

Karen, there is a little info about the Cwmcarn event on the CAS website.
It might be an idea to contact them and ask.
If I hear any more about it, I will post it here.
I hope to be there.
I once came last in an astronomy competition.
I was awarded a constellation prize


Skywatcher Explorer 200 HEQ5
Skywatcher Skymax 127 SupaTrak
Celestron C4-R CG-4 mount
Karen_Wilson99
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:12 pm
Location: Magor, Monmouthshire
Contact:

Post by Karen_Wilson99 »

Thanks dazcaz, just checked the website and couldn't see much info so I've tweeted them.

I will be there. Cheers.
dazcaz
Posts: 236
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:05 pm
Location: Cardiff
Contact:

Post by dazcaz »

CAS have an observing session at the old Castle Heights golf club on Caerphilly mountain on either Friday or Saturday coming.
It's normally the Friday, but moves to saturday if the weather is bad.

CAS welcome non members to these events. All they ask is that if you come along to a few, you join. it's a bit like "try before you buy" :)

Again, I hope to be there. They are very friendly. I take my wife and son along and we all really enjoy being with like minded lunatics who like to stand in the freezing cold looking at the skies.

I'll be taking one of my 'scopes and my new pair of Nikon 10-22X 50 bins.
There will be four or more other scopes if attendance is as good as it normally is.

I really can't say how enjoyable these group observing sessions are.
Either Cardiff, Usk or Abergavenny (they have an AS too). Get along to one. I learn something new at every one I attend, but then I still have a lot to learn :)
I once came last in an astronomy competition.
I was awarded a constellation prize


Skywatcher Explorer 200 HEQ5
Skywatcher Skymax 127 SupaTrak
Celestron C4-R CG-4 mount
Karen_Wilson99
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:12 pm
Location: Magor, Monmouthshire
Contact:

Post by Karen_Wilson99 »

Brill thanks. I took my husband and son along to the Blorenge walk. My son is 4 and was really excited about seeing the stars but it obviously wasn't meant to be on that occasion.

Perhaps I'll bring my son along to the Cwmcarn event.

Thanks again for all your help. :0)
dazcaz
Posts: 236
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:05 pm
Location: Cardiff
Contact:

Post by dazcaz »

Just got this in the CAS newsletter. Hope it helps.

We will be hosting a Stargazing event at Cwmcarn Forest Drive and Visitor Centre. Join us at the centre at 7:00 pm where we will begin the session with an indoors introduction to the night sky and the equipment you will need to begin this fascinating hobby! We will then take a drive up to Car Park 2 on the Forest Drive to observe the stars that night. Light refreshments will be provided during the evenings procedings. Your own transport is essential to participate and timings may vary depending on the weather conditions on the evening. Please e-mail the Visitor Centre or call them on 01495 272001 for details.

Booking Essential, Price - £5.00 payable to Cwmcarn Forest Drive and Visitor Centre.
I once came last in an astronomy competition.
I was awarded a constellation prize


Skywatcher Explorer 200 HEQ5
Skywatcher Skymax 127 SupaTrak
Celestron C4-R CG-4 mount
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