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Viewing the Cosmos

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Well if this isn't just too cool, I just very recently discovered that one of the moon craters, very near the much larger Diphantus crater, at the western edge of the Imbrium basin (upper left quadrant of the moon), is named Walter, my dad's name. While the crater certainly wasn't named after my father, it's still mighty cool to know that it has the same name. Though the Diphantus crater is a substantially larger impact site, the Walter crater is no small fry either, measuring a little over a half mile across. The photo below, was taken from the command module of Apollo 15.

 

B3m224.jpg

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Well, unfortunately for me, no joy. While almost the entirety of the Imbrium basin was illuminated tonight, and I did (rather easily) find Diophantus, the Walter crater is just too darned small to resolve with my 4". I was initially viewing at 90X, then switched to 183X, and still could not see it.

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OK, a few nights ago, I got my first real glimpse of the Orion nebula. Pretty cool, but not nearly as impressive as when viewed with either an OIII or UHC filter, which I don't yet have. Given how extraordinarily easy it was to find, first using just the naked eye, then binoculars, then the telescope, I have no idea why I was unable to find it last autumn/winter.

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I feel quite inadequate by only using a pair of binoculars to view the nights sky here lol. I've been lucky enough to see the northern lights here in Scotland and southern lights from the Falkland Islands when i was on detachment down there. I love just sitting at my door and looking at the full moon.

 

I've thought about buying a telescope but if i'm honest i am totally confuddled by the info on which one to go for. My son loves the stars too and i would love to get him the telescope.

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1 hour ago, AlanG said:

I feel quite inadequate by only using a pair of binoculars to view the nights sky here lol. I've been lucky enough to see the northern lights here in Scotland and southern lights from the Falkland Islands when i was on detachment down there. I love just sitting at my door and looking at the full moon.

 

I've thought about buying a telescope but if i'm honest i am totally confuddled by the info on which one to go for. My son loves the stars too and i would love to get him the telescope.

 

I can give you some 'scope recommendations, or I can provide a link to a great astronomy forum that deals with beginner (like me) questions all of the time. Most telescopes are chosen for the most likely objects to be chased down. Telescopes that are great for lunar and planetary viewing, for instance, are not necessarily also the best for DS (Deep Space) observing, and some, within optical specifics, are fairly handy for both.

 

I have a Meade 4" refractor (my preferred type for ease of use), and while I can fairly easily see the Andromeda galaxy from here, it's just a soft blur and that has more to do with the somewhat limited light gathering capability of a 4" vs let's say an 8" or 10" diameter 'scope. Also, at the extreme end of useful magnification for my particular scope (given the fairly short 600mm focal length), the lack of light gathering ability also hampers the clarity of what I can see.

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If you just like to look at the moon, or maybe open clusters like Hercules or Pleiades, then big binoculars like 20 x 80 are amazing. Planets and deep space are much more difficult to see without bigger apertures and more money... but never as great as the photos you see. Get a good mount for the big binoculars because you can't hold much steady past 7 x 35.

 

Tnarg

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9 hours ago, AlanG said:

I feel quite inadequate by only using a pair of binoculars to view the nights sky here lol. I've been lucky enough to see the northern lights here in Scotland and southern lights from the Falkland Islands when i was on detachment down there. I love just sitting at my door and looking at the full moon.

 

I've thought about buying a telescope but if i'm honest i am totally confuddled by the info on which one to go for. My son loves the stars too and i would love to get him the telescope.


AlanG ... I'm from Morayshire in Scotland too. Elgin actually and always been interested in Astronomy, have experimented with a couple of telescopes in the past decade and keep thinking of getting back into the hobby.

We are lucky that Moray has a well established astronomy club with their own bothy well away from local light pollution and they have their own wee bothy in the wilderness ... yet not to far from anyone in the Moray area for star gazing nights, they do their own club nights at Birnie hall ... check it out here ... http://www.sigma-astro.co.uk

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We have a public viewing area here, somewhat locally, and in a fairly dark zone too, though I've never been there,... yet. A buddy will be headed to England and France for a couple of weeks in February, visiting, amongst other things, the Eiffel Tower. It got me thinking that if Charles Messier were to try and discover now all of the magnificent stuff he cataloged way back when, he'd never be able to see anything at all, given that the light pollution of the Paris area is so miserably bad today.

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On 12/8/2018 at 5:05 AM, Southern Bandit said:


AlanG ... I'm from Morayshire in Scotland too. Elgin actually and always been interested in Astronomy, have experimented with a couple of telescopes in the past decade and keep thinking of getting back into the hobby.

We are lucky that Moray has a well established astronomy club with their own bothy well away from local light pollution and they have their own wee bothy in the wilderness ... yet not to far from anyone in the Moray area for star gazing nights, they do their own club nights at Birnie hall ... check it out here ... http://www.sigma-astro.co.uk

 

I'm out by Aberlour and it's quite dark where i live. I have ventured up onto Benrinnes a couple of times on frosty clear winter nights to get good views of the moon and also the northern lights.

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Few times tempted to buy a Celestron astromaster eq130 but didn’t do it because to much light in my enviroment. 

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4 hours ago, gunnyax said:

Are there some Interesting websites about sky viewing.

 

Oh yes, plenty. This is my go-to site for astronomy stuff. Everything from beginner info to very advanced and big expensive equipment, including personal observatories, mounts, and massive 'scopes. There are a few well respected astro sciences authors that hang out there too.

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OK, so last night was my very first opportunity to use the new moon filter, and it works just great, as advertised. I must say that I was just a bit surprised at the slight bluish nature of the view, but I guess that just goes with the territory, and it certainly didn't blind me the way a non-filtered view does.

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