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

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bewa
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Hi!

Post by bewa »

Hopefully all of you can steer me in the right direction! :)
I've had a interest in the stars and general sky at night for a very long time ever since i can remember and when i was about 9 (I'm 29 now) i was given a Tasco 21EB for christmas! now admittedly i've not touched in some 10-15 years and i'm hoping to rekindle things!
I did attempt to look at the moon with this telescope last week and i'll be honest i was less than impressed! but I probably shouldn't be surprised!

I'm on a limited budget absolute max is £100 cheaper the better but after lurking on here and some other places as well as eBay i'm conflicted on whether i should be looking at a telescope or binoculars!
I think my main goal is to be able to see Moon and it's craters, I'd love to be able to see Jupiter and/or it's moons and i've noticed Mars recently so i'm not sure if that's a possibility?

oh and what are peoples thoughts on Android apps e.g. Star Chart or Sky Map?

A nice to have would be the ability to take photographs of what i'm seeing but that should be saved for a few upgrades time when i've got some decent kit! :) I'd be interested to know the equipment needed to be able to do that :)

I'm fortunate enough to live in a small village so I think I get a pretty good view of all the stars and Orion is easily spotted (not sure if that helps).

Also if anyone knows of any groups in Somerset in the Glastonbury, Yeovil areas I would appreciate any info if they don't mind newbies dropping in!!

Any advice would be greatly received!
David Frydman
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Post by David Frydman »

Hello and welcome,
If you look up Federation of Astronomical Societies there might be an Astro Society near you.
There may be a link somewhere here.

Regards, David
David Frydman
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Post by David Frydman »

Do you have a camera?
Do you have a binocular?
Do you have a camera tripod?
In the 1980s areas around Yeovil were very dark and some well known astronomers lived there after choosing the area for dark skies.
I also visited there for work and also astro views.
I remember sitting outside an astronomer's home on the doorstep for over an hour after visiting and he was surprised to find me still sitting there in the middle of the night.
I said I was just watching the very dark skies. It probably is less good nowadays.

Others can help with the computer stuff, as I am not good at this.

It may be a spotting scope would be more likely to be within your budget.
With a 20x to 60x zoom eyepiece it would be quite good on the Moon.
Sherwoods photo may sell a Forest 25x to 75x 75mm but I have no idea of the quality.
A good astro scope costs around £140, and a poor quality one would not give good views.
It may be your local astro society can help, and there may be a good secondhand scope there or they may lend scopes but you may have to be a regular member for this.

Regards, David
David Frydman
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Post by David Frydman »

There is the Crewkerne and district astronomical Society amongst others.
There is I think the Norman Lockyer observatory, ? Sidmouth.

David
flaxinator
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Post by flaxinator »

yeah, there is the Norman Lockyer obs at sidmouth, Astronomy group meets on friday evenings at 7.30pm
astroeddie
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Post by astroeddie »

Personally, I'd opt for binoculars. A pair of 15x70's will show you everything you mentioned, and from dark sites, lots of galaxies and clusters.

Learn the skies with binoculars, then get a scope leter. You'll soon pack it in if you cann't find what your looking for.
Buy a Phillips Planissphere aswell. These are great aids for the beginners.

Eddie
20x80 bins
127 SW Mk
Usual odds an sods
bewa
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Post by bewa »

David Frydman wrote:Do you have a camera?
Do you have a binocular?
Do you have a camera tripod?
In the 1980s areas around Yeovil were very dark and some well known astronomers lived there after choosing the area for dark skies.
I also visited there for work and also astro views.
I remember sitting outside an astronomer's home on the doorstep for over an hour after visiting and he was surprised to find me still sitting there in the middle of the night.
I said I was just watching the very dark skies. It probably is less good nowadays.

Others can help with the computer stuff, as I am not good at this.

It may be a spotting scope would be more likely to be within your budget.
With a 20x to 60x zoom eyepiece it would be quite good on the Moon.
Sherwoods photo may sell a Forest 25x to 75x 75mm but I have no idea of the quality.
A good astro scope costs around £140, and a poor quality one would not give good views.
It may be your local astro society can help, and there may be a good secondhand scope there or they may lend scopes but you may have to be a regular member for this.

Regards, David
Hi David,

Thanks for replying!
I have a compact digital camera
No bins
No tripod :(

Can you get tripods for bins?

Is there a good pair of bins you can recommend?

thank you everyone that's replied so far!
mike a feist
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Post by mike a feist »

A tripod for use with binoculars must reach up very tall - taller than your eyes are unless you want to view sitting down which is not that easy - as they will no doubt have straight through eyepieces... and you will need a bracket to attach them. If your main interest is likely to be the Moon, personally a spotting scope with 45 deg eyepiece would be better....a reasonable one can be bought for under £100 but the cost of an adequate tripod might double the price. A cheap flimsy wobbly tripod will NOT do. maf
bewa
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Post by bewa »

thanks Mike,

would a spotting scope be any use for looking at Mars or Jupiter?

I admit i do like the idea of a spotting scope or bins as i can take them on holiday and i'm not just restricted to looking at the sky etc :)
mike a feist
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Post by mike a feist »

To be honest a spotting scope is completely unsuitable for planetary observations of 'surface' features........although would show the phase of Venus and moons of Jupiter etc......as of course any binoculars will fail this test too. However you might try using your compact digital camera to snap the Moon at the eyepiece. maf
David Frydman
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Post by David Frydman »

Sherwoods Photo may have 10 x 50 Nikon Action VII binoculars for £ 69.

Jessops were recently selling Nikon Action VII binoculars for £49.99 but carriage free is £50!

A spotting scope needs a good tripod.

Ace optics Bath are good for binoculars, it is better to buy from a shop after trying.

Regards, David
bewa
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Post by bewa »

ok i'm a bit confused :(
should i be looking at bins or a spotting scope?
David Frydman
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Post by David Frydman »

It is a question of cost.
A good spotting scope needs a good tripod as Mike says.
It is difficult to get both for £100 or less.
For travelling on holiday you would still need the tripod.
With a spotting scope you could just see some markings on Jupiter and the craters and mountains on the Moon would be seen. Also Saturn's rings.

However, to learn the sky and regarding cost, I would recommend the 10x 50 Nikon Action VII from Sherwoods if they are still doing these for £69 maybe plus £4 carriage.
Also buying binoculars by Mail Order often results in misery as many binoculars, particularly Chinese consumer ones are fragile and the prisms are not well secured. Any knock and they are misaligned or out of collimation. The Nikon above are reasonably robust but I still would not knock them or drop them.
The advantage of a spotting scope is that being one tube there are not two barrels to go out of alignment.
If you go to Bath anyway, perhaps Ace Optics will match Sherwoods price of £69.
If you wear glasses when using binoculars, you have the additional problem that the eye relief may be small and you can only see part of the field, so here you may need a binocular with a long eye relief.
At your age it is likely your eye pupil exceeds 5mm in the dark and 10x50s are the ideal compromise regarding weight, field of view, ease of use and the ability to hold them steady maybe using a wall or tree for extra stability

With the 10 x 50s you are likely to see Jupiter's moons and some detail on the Moon but it is mainly a wide field instrument and in a dark sky you will see a lot.

Regards, David
David Frydman
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Post by David Frydman »

Sherwoods still have the 10 x 50 Nikon Action binocular for £69.

They also have a Forest optics angled spotting scope at a special price of £80
Advertised as 20 to 75x which is a very good range. 75mm or 3inch aperture. I have not tested these but they may be good.
They do a half price rather lightweight tripod for £20, which makes £100 in total.
However, I would ask for a better tripod weighing 2,500 gm about instead of perhaps 1,600 gm. But this would cost more.

If you go on holiday with them, that is quite a weight, so you may be better off with the 10 x 50 binocular, which weigh around 1000 gm.
Also by air a binocular used to be ouside the weight allowance as were coats and a book.
I don't know if this still applies.
A spotting scope and tripod would take up your weight allowance and are anyway cumbersome.

In astronomy there are choices, and nowadays the amount of equipment available is staggering and confusing.

Regards, David
bewa
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Post by bewa »

Thank you David your advice has been fantastic!!
I do wear glasses and I was wondering how that changes things!
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