First Light

At last, a clear night on Friday night with which to try out the new ‘scope. A disadvantage of the summer months (for stargazers anyway) is that you have to wait until very late / early hours of the morning before it is sufficiently dark to start observations.

Went out at 11:45pm and set the scope up at the front of the house, simply from the point of view for ease of setting things up. The aim was to keep things simple: just get the scope setup and practice using the adjustment controls and lenses.

Where I live, light pollution is a big problem and even though I managed to get my eyes dark adapted, it still looked light outside. This is with virtually no moon! Once I got everything set up, I tried the 25mm lens. The biggest surprise was that even though with the light pollution, was the number of stars viewable that aren’t normally, with the naked eye.

For about an hour and a half, I panned and moved the scope around the sky, pointing at anything that looked ‘interesting’. Though I didn’t get lucky with getting a view of any planets, I did spot the flash of a meteor in the viewfinder and another just as I was packing up. A left-over from the Persieds?

What did I learn from my first session?
1. Don’t set expectations high that you will see colourful stars and planets, you won’t (easily), just try to understand how the scope works and how to use it.

2. Extra useful tools to have: a spirit level and a compass (must shop for latter) for ensuring the scope is level after extending the tripod legs and knowing which way is north etc.

3. If you change a lens, say a 25mm for a ‘tighter view’ 10mm, try to ensure that you centre your ‘target’ before changing, otherwise when the lens is replaced, you may get a completely blank view and think there is something wrong with your ‘scope!

I think a light pollution filter is going to be a high priority item for shopping, so I’m going to get out my Sky At Night mags and have a look at some reviews.

Posted by Wordmobi

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