my daughter's first scope - and my first real one
Posted 05 December 2012 - 06:43 PM
Here's what Orion includes with the kit I purchased:
Orion ED80 Refractor optical tube assembly
Sirius EQ-G mount with GoTo Controller
Orion Sirius 25 mm Plossl telescope eyepiece (1.25")
Prism Star Diagonal (1.25")
2" - 1.25" telescope eyepiece adapter
Computerized hand controller
8x40 finder scope
Tube ring mounting plate
11 lb counterweight
Tripod accessory tray
12V DC Power cable
GoTo hand controller cable for Sirius EQ-G
GoTo hand controller bracket
Computer interface cable (RS-232)
Starry Night special edition software
I added an erecting prism diagonal for daytime use as well as the wifi module to connect to our iPad/iPhone to teach us about the things we're looking at.
Does anyone have any suggestions for anything else I might want to order for use with this beautiful instrument? I thought maybe an eyepiece or two, but I have no idea what might be a good choice for beginners like us.
Thanks in advance for any advice: I want to be sure Santa doesn't need to bring anything else to make this a magical Christmas morning for my little girl.
Posted 05 December 2012 - 06:50 PM
Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:00 PM
You could consider an additional eyepiece for higher magnification viewing of the Moon and planets. A 2x barlow lens will turn your 25mm eyepiece into a 12.5mm eyepiece, so avoid that focal length. Consider something in the range of perhaps 6mm or so. Subsequent purchase of a barlow lens will effectively double the number of focal lengths available to you but in all truth, you don't need all that many to be happy. Most people have more eyepieces than they need because they're replaced eyepieces they've grown unhappy with. Two eyepieces with a 2x or 2.4x barlow will give you four choices, and that's plenty for a good while.
Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:00 PM
....I'm also available for adoption
you might want to also get some nice mid and high power plossels for Nebula, clusters, planetary, and splitting doubles viewing
Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:12 PM
Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:21 PM
Don't worry there's always another Christmas whenever you want
Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:32 PM
Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:50 PM
@wky46 - good call on the planisphere!
@mjs - I will try to find that thread: it sounds perfect
@csrlice12 - I was thinking about one of those observing chairs, actually, so excellent suggestion; re: adoption - LOL!
@lamplight - I'm pretty sure no one will ever wonder what to get me for Christmas (or my birthday or ...) ever again
Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:38 PM
Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:15 PM
You might also take a look at the Astronomical League's various observing programs starting with the simpler ones like SkyPuppy and Universe Sampler and then move to the Messier list. Go to http://www.astroleague.org/ and look under the Observe tab. You don't have to be a member to work on the program. You would have to join if you were interested in the pin and certificate.
Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:54 PM
@S.Boerner - I've tried a couple of programs (AstroPlanner is my favorite) to help me with my binocular stargazing with exactly that issue. Thank you for the pointer to the Astronomical League -- headed there now!
Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:17 PM
In order to 'hit the ground running', I would recommend a good book or two. Ones such as Nightwatch or Turn Left at Orion are good introductory books.
You'll need a battery/power supply to power your mount.
Download the instruction manual for the mount now and scan through it so you have a good idea of what you need to do to assemble it, as well as setting it up for use i.e. polar alignment, etc.
If you do go to a star party, see if you can get your feet wet and get a taste of how an EQ mount works if someone there has one setup.
And most importantly, have fun!
Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:44 PM
Posted 05 December 2012 - 11:25 PM
Oh.. And a subscription to an astronomy magazine I find great, with seasonal highlights, d etc (and you get that here)
Posted 06 December 2012 - 06:45 AM
@frito - thanks for the links, have heard about SkySafari but haven't really looked into it in detail yet - I did order the wifi module with the kit, so it looks like I ought to!
@lamplight - I used to subscribe to a magazine called "Night Sky" which was aimed at beginners; it was wonderful, but it was discontinued. Is there anything similar nowadays?
Thanks again to all -- this is a really wonderful community here!!!!
Posted 06 December 2012 - 08:04 AM
Posted 06 December 2012 - 09:40 AM
Can only suggest what the others have. As far as magazines I get Astronomy and Sky&Scope. S&S have issued SkyWatch and it's in most nnews and mag stores. It's an issue for the year 2013 and has monthly planispheres for the year, and great articles for us beginners.
Posted 06 December 2012 - 11:16 AM
@newtoskies - I know it's not the average "starter scope" but I wanted something that my daughter could enjoy right away (GoTo functions, iPad link) and for years to come I've been a subscriber to both S&T and Astronomy in the past -- I read most of my magazines on my iPad nowadays, but the reviews for the iPad versions of those mags scared me off. Guess it will have to be dead trees for now.
Posted 06 December 2012 - 12:33 PM
The Celestron 12V AC Adapter has also worked for two years with no issues whatsoever; if it's the same as Orion's, I wouldn't worry about it too much, and it'll probably be cheaper and more satisfactory to buy than build. I use the AC adapter indoors a lot (I'm writing software) and the battery pack almost exclusively when outdoors.
Posted 06 December 2012 - 04:24 PM
Its weak link is supposedly the built-in charger, so I think I'll use a real Battery Tender to charge it instead.
Posted 06 December 2012 - 04:59 PM
I'd think that one would last all night unless you also use it for dew heaters and such, and even then, maybe so. Best of luck!
 And the built-in charger in even the el cheapo one I got seems to do a good enough job keeping the battery in good shape (except for the quibble already mentioned about the plug). As far as I can tell, it hasn't dropped a lot of capacity in nearly two years, although I've never really pushed it, either. I just top it off after an evening of use and unplug it after it says it's charged. This isn't exactly difficult duty for these, but I'm the one who usually has terrible luck with rechargeable batteries!
Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:09 PM
Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:32 PM
Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:56 PM
I had another thought (prompted by a photo someone posted in the equipment forum -- can't find it at the moment): why not use a lithium polymer battery pack to power the scope & accessories?