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My first light expeariance

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#1 celtictexan

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 04:54 AM

I recently ordered a LX200 acf 10 but found it would be a two month wait. The wife seems very interested also in my new but long desired hobby, so after reading good reviews and seeing that it was in stock I also ordered an Apertura AD12. (I figure I wont have to share the Meade so much, with two scopes, but I might be wrong)

I got the scope two days after I ordered it, so super fast shipping. The scope was very easy to assemble with very clear directions. I had only two problems. One of the plastic screws on the finder scope was broken, and the laser collimator didn't seem to work. When I would turn it on there would be a bright light then it would go very dim. When I tried to use it, I couldn't see where it was hitting on the primary. At first I figured it was just me as it was my first time. But eventually I looked at the batteries and found that one had leaked. A quick e-mail to customer service and within 3 days I had a new laser and finder scope screw. With a properly operating laser collimation was easy.

I've had it for a little over a week now, and it has been cloudy and/or stormy every night since. Tonight it finally let up a bit. I'm lucky to live in the country under decently dark sky and I work a night shift, so I decided to take advantage of a slow night and get home and set up the big dob. The wife is asleep, but with no help I found it easy to get it from the living room where I've been getting familiar with it through the laundry room, and out the side door of the garage to the back yard. It's a near full moon tonight with wispy occasional clouds so the moon was my main target.

The Apertura comes with two EP's a 30mm and a 9mm. Its 46 degrees out with some gusty wind. I started with the 30mm and WOW was it bright. I remembered from an old box store Christmas cheapy there could be a small hole in the main lens cover. I checked and sure enough there was a cover that reduced the opening to about 3 inches. So much better on the eye. And now the view is just awesome. I can see how jagged the edge of the moon is, and see some shadow along craters. I'm new to this and haven't looked through many quality scopes but so far I'm really impressed with this scope. After about 15 minutes I decide to switch to the 9mm with the included moon filter.

Right away the balance is affected by the switch. Between the wind gusts and the lighter EP the scope pretty quickly settles to the rear and has to be held on target. As noted in the CN review the Altitude bearings will not tighten enough on the Apertura so I already know I'm going to have to try to the mod described here.The Zhumell 12" is (I think) about the same scope.

So with the 9mm and the tube dust cover off, I see another spectacular view. I know there is much more detail, but under this magnification, and with how easily the scope moves I'm having a hard time holding it still and getting a fine focus. Its much like looking through binoculars. As I had just taken it out of a warm house into the cold I'm thinking it might also need the cooling down I read so much about concerning Dobs. So I decided to take a break and come in and write about this then go out and look again.

Four things I've learned so far.

1. Its really weird to move around when you have night vision in one eye and have been looking at something as bright as a full moon with the other.

2. It's really hard to find something, even something as big as a full moon, in a scope. The upside down and backwards left and right stuff is going to take some getting use to.

3. The cold really soaks in when your using a mesh fabric outdoor chair. Ive got to get something more windproof.

4. I'm really going to like this hobby.

#2 molniyabeer

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 07:45 AM

Sounds like a typical "first light" for many - not quite perfect but you're hooked anyway!

As you've discovered, you don't want to try anything that takes good dark adaptation after viewing the moon. The moon filter is good to have.

You might try taking your kit out in the daytime and playing with it just to get more familiar with the motions and controls. You may also eventually look into a right-angle, correct image (RACI) finder scope. They show an image that is "normal" and right side up so it's a lot easier to find your target.

With any finder scope, it's best to align it in the daytime on a distant fixed object. Aim the scope at something in the distance and then adjust the finder to match.

One last bit of advice. If you don't have an observing log, you might want to start one. It's a great way to keep track of your progress and "finds". I use simple spiral bound sketch books (larger book stores often have them). Take notes on whatever you feel like and try sketching at the eyepiece. You'll find you see more the longer you work on the sketch. I use ordinary #2 mechanical pencils and my finger tip to blend and shade stuff as needed.

Oh, and don't forget to have fun!

Clear skies.

#3 REC

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 08:08 AM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights!

That's some scope for your first one, 12" Dob....wow! Wait until the moon goes away and you can start hunting down galaxies next week, perfect scope for that and there are 100's of them out right now.

So yeah, need to get some time in with that scope to get familiar with it and the finder scope, but it will come and it's a good finder. The 9mm may be a bit much of small eye relieve and high power for some nights and objects and may want to add a wide field 12-15mm range as your next EP buy.

I'm jealous that not only do you have a 12" Dobe but have a 10" SCT coming as well....LOL

BTW, there is an excellent review on your scope buy John Kramer if you want to read.

Have fun:)

Bob

#4 celtictexan

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 10:07 AM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights!

I'm jealous that not only do you have a 12" Dobe but have a 10" SCT coming as well....LOL

Bob


Ive been planning, scrimping, working OT etc for awhile now, and not just for a scope but for accessories too. Reading a lot and trying to plan out something Ive wanted to do for a very long time, every since laying on top of my house with a Gilbert I got for Christmas when I was about 8. (I'm a mechanic too, so the Gilbert didn't last long..lol)

Anyway honestly the Dob was sort of an after thought. Most seem to suggest a dob as best scope for the money and believe it best use a non computerized scope and first learn the sky. I'm a bit impatient for things I want to see so I finally decided on the Meade. The Meade gives room to grow a bit too. I did see the Apertura review by John Kramer, so when the wife surprised me with a real interest and I went ahead and got it. Plus the two month wait for the Meade is killing me.

Good idea on the note pad molniyabeer. It might not work real well in this wind in Amarillo but I would like to keep a record. I've read and known about sketching, how do you do that in the dark? I'm pretty sure I would be the only one to know what it is in the light.

#5 Jarrod

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 12:43 PM

2. It's really hard to find something, even something as big as a full moon, in a scope. The upside down and backwards left and right stuff is going to take some getting use to.


Yes, that's a bit strange. I solved this by changing my thinking entirely. Instead of thinking that I've grabbed the telescope, I think that I've grabbed onto the object that I'm viewing. When looking through the eye piece, the thing you are looking at will move in the direction you move the scope. So if you want the object to move down and to the right in the view, drag down and to the right. Then it's intuitive and you no longer have to think about how the scope itself is moving relative to the view.

#6 rdandrea

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 02:21 PM

Welcome aboard! First-light reports are my favorite things to read on CN.

#7 csrlice12

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 02:28 PM

I'v found, if you pace your purchases right, you'll never have to use them...... :lol:

But, some day, the clouds will roll back, Then, no doubt, the wife will have other plans.....but, on those very rare dark site nights....it all comes together and makes the whole waiting game worth it....

#8 woolbrig

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 07:22 AM

Congratulations on the new scope and first light!

#9 APTrebor

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 02:28 AM

Yeah, that thing where one eye is dark-adapted and the other is "mooned" is weird -- when you are about to walk around just stare at the moon (thru the scope) with other one for about 30 seconds.

#10 tecmage

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 02:55 PM

A variable moon filter works very well.

#11 newtoskies

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 01:07 PM

Great first light report with the big dob. The 10 or 12" is next on the list, but I have time since my 6" gives great views already.

#12 Gary Riley

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 03:25 PM

Congratulations on your new dob! I have the same thing in the Zhumell. I would think that your Apertura came with a RACI finder scope. Mine did. Also, if you don't already have one, I would suggest getting a Telrad on the 4 inch riser to go with your scope and finder scope. It really makes it easier in locating your target.

Gary

#13 GeneT

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 03:47 PM

You are on your way. There is always a learning curve when getting started. However, what you learn with one telescope transfers to another. After a year or two, you will be one of the 'pros.' :grin:

#14 celtictexan

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 11:02 AM

Well finally after all this time a really good night came up. I joined with 5 other members and went to the clubs favorite local dark sky site, a road side park a top Palo Duro canyon. I still dont have my Meade, but I didnt much need it as the guys in the club kept me busy with an awesome guided tour. I spent alot of time on a 18 in Obsession (yes Im jealous) and some time on a 30 " Obsession. What a beast that was. I now know size does matter.

There was some excitement as some kind of critter kept running around the small parking area. There is something a bit unique about the clatter of nails on pavement in the dark from a wild animal apparantly unafaid of people.

Overall it was a great night with awesome observing and great conversation about the sky. Im ready for more.

#15 csrlice12

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 02:39 PM

"There is something a bit unique about the clatter of nails on pavement in the dark from a wild animal apparantly unafaid of people."

Yes, he defines "dinner" differently then we do.....

#16 Kraus

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 03:16 PM


My wife and I stayed at the C.C.C. cabin at the rim back in June of 1998. The wind blew so darned hard, nothing stayed still-completely unenjoyable. So we found other things to do.

So to ask a Texan, is Texas bigger than Rhode Island? And is Wisconsin still its parent company?

#17 celtictexan

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 03:53 PM

My wife and I stayed at the C.C.C. cabin at the rim back in June of 1998. The wind blew so darned hard, nothing stayed still-completely unenjoyable. So we found other things to do. So to ask a Texan, is Texas bigger than Rhode Island? And is Wisconsin still its parent company?


Yeah I should have mentioned the wind, as on this night it was calm as could be. Pretty rare thing here. Sure can make seeing faint fuzzies a chore. Did you go to the musical Texas in the canyon? Also one of the best Western museums in the nation is in the town of Canyon.

Texas is definetly bigger than RI but these days at least I think Mexico is the parent company.






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