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Just beginning

Posted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:13 pm
by Tony Jones
Hi everyone

Because my wife and I have long been interested in the night sky, we encouraged family members to buy us a "proper" telescope as a Ruby Wedding present, even though we've never used one before!
So we're now the proud owners of a Celestron 114 LCM, and we're working out how to use it, with only the instruction book to go on. Since we're also motorhomers, we've booked in to a "Spring Star Party" on a campsite in Norfolk in March, but we'd like to be a BIT more than absolute beginners by then.
Any advice is welcome, and especially if there's anyone in Essex (we're in Burnham-on-Crouch) who can help us make sense of the instructions for our telescope!

Re: Just beginning

Posted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:33 am
by brian livesey
Hi Tony, Utilise your 'scope to its full capabilities, then you'll appreciate better what a bigger aperture can show :wink: .

Re: Just beginning

Posted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:03 am
by meteorB
Hi Tony,

It's difficult to offer any real advice online without being able to get "hands on".
However what I do recommend is to set up and experiment. Outside with plenty of space during the day might be better but put it together and see how it goes. Experimenting during daylight will give you a feel for what cotrols give what movement. Even if you can't actually see the stars just knowing what the scope does with the particular controls is re-assuring. Once you have this basic experience setting it up at night won't be so daunting.

Enjoy your scope.

Re: Just beginning

Posted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:28 pm
by David1952

My advice would be to go for some easy objects first. One, they are easy to find and two, you can actually see something. The moon, Jupiter, Venus are all visible at the moment. As are M45, M42. After that there are plenty more Messier's to look at.

It is very easy to get disheartened by trying for the difficult targets too soon.


Re: Just beginning

Posted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:29 pm
by Cepheus42
Hi and welcome,

When I started out I remember spending a lot of time looking at the Moon which got me used to the basics. Luckily Jupiter and Saturn were about at the same time. That gave me some wow moments early on. I was also a frequent visitor to M42. Many people move on from the Moon to other targets but I have stayed true to my love affair with the moon, although I do look at other stuff.

The best advice I can give you is to buy a few good books. Our own Robin Scagell has penned a few are excellent. The secret to enjoying the night sky is to know your way around it. I was advised early on to get a pair of descent binoculars and star hop about getting to know the sign posts.

It's always good to do a little research before you go out into the night sky to be familiar with some of the potential targets and I always reccomended recording in a note book what you did and how for future reference.

The biggest problem I always had was getting the alignment and leveling the scope right but with practise and patience, it gets easier (or you get a Meade LS which does it itself).

The most important thing.......never......ever lose the sense of wonder and awe of looking at the beautiful objects hanging in the sky. The sheer scale of time and distance have me in awe always and I can often be found at the eye piece mouthing WOW like an excited school boy. Good luck and have fun.

Re: Just beginning

Posted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:51 pm
by Brian
Hi Tony,

a belated Welcome to the Forum :)


Re: Just beginning

Posted: Sat Dec 21, 2013 8:16 pm
by Tony Jones
Thanks, everyone, for the welcome, and all the suggestions so far.
Not had a lot of spare time this month (day job gets in the way!) but we'll certainly pick up on some of them after Christmas.
Meanwhile, have a great one, all of you!

Re: Just beginning

Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 1:55 pm
by Tony Jones
Well, we're getting the hang of things, slowly! I now know how to align the telescope using the little red dot device, and can operate the handheld control to move it.
We've got four different eyepieces, and we start with a low magnification, to find what we're looking for in the sky, then when we're centred on the object change to a stronger one to look at it properly.
We've inspected some of the Moon's craters and looked at Jupiter, as well as seeing lots of stars and other objects which the naked eye misses, even on a dark night.
What I haven't really got into yet is all the magic stuff around helping the telescope work out for itself where things are, and go straight to them.
If anyone with a bit more experience is going to the Kelling Heath Star Party in Norfolk next week, we'd love to meet up and pick your brains. Please PM me, and we'll arrange to find each other there.
We'll be there for the whole event in our campervan - hopefully that gives us SOME chance of at least one clear night!