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CJK
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/05/12

Loc: Northeast TN
my daughter's first scope - and my first real one
      #5556176 - 12/05/12 06:43 PM

My little daughter, who's been interested in the stars and the sky for several years (she got her first pair of binoculars at age 3 and promptly located the moon and Venus), will be receiving her first telescope from Santa in a couple of weeks. Although I haven't had a scope myself since a little Tasco I got for Christmas myself almost 40 years ago, I've always wanted a "real telescope" and have looked longingly at the ads in the various astronomy magazines for years. My little telescope was a refractor, and in researching my first scope purchase, I decided to stick with that particular variety of scope. I've been reading these forums like crazy, and I ended up choosing what seemed to me to be a good fit: the Orion ED80 on their Sirius EQ-G mount.

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
    Tripod
    Computerized hand controller
    8x40 finder scope
    Tube Rings
    Tube ring mounting plate
    11 lb counterweight
    Tripod accessory tray
    Dust cap
    12V DC Power cable
    GoTo hand controller cable for Sirius EQ-G
    GoTo hand controller bracket
    Computer interface cable (RS-232)
    Wire clip
    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.

-- Chris


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wky46
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/12/05

Loc: west Ky.
Re: my daughter's first scope - and my first real one new [Re: CJK]
      #5556184 - 12/05/12 06:50 PM

Welcome, Chris! Looks like ya'll are pretty much set. Only thing I see that you may want to consider purchasing later is a x2 Barlow lens. And I'll add that SE TN. is most certainly scenic Oh yes, a planishere!

Edited by wky46 (12/05/12 06:53 PM)


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mjs
sage


Reged: 02/26/04

Loc: Northern Indiana
Re: my daughter's first scope - and my first real one new [Re: CJK]
      #5556203 - 12/05/12 07:00 PM

Nice kit! It's surprising how much one can see with a good 80mm refractor. You might want to consider subscriptions to Astronomy and/or Sky and Telescope magazines: they'll introduce you to new things to visit, give background on dozens of topics over the course of a year, and otherwise help you scratch the astronomy bug during the day or in inclement weather.

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.

Mike


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: my daughter's first scope - and my first real one new [Re: wky46]
      #5556204 - 12/05/12 07:00 PM

and a ladder to view anything not at the zeinith......this is for your daughter, right?

....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


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wky46
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/12/05

Loc: west Ky.
Re: my daughter's first scope - and my first real one new [Re: mjs]
      #5556229 - 12/05/12 07:12 PM

Ok, scratch the x2 Barlow. As you can see, anything technical I'm not the best around here I still stand by my Planisphere recommendation though (and the part about SE TN.)

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lamplight
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/18/12

Loc: western MA, U.S.
Re: my daughter's first scope - and my first real one new [Re: wky46]
      #5556245 - 12/05/12 07:21 PM

Welcome Chris. I

Don't worry there's always another Christmas whenever you want


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mjs
sage


Reged: 02/26/04

Loc: Northern Indiana
Re: my daughter's first scope - and my first real one new [Re: lamplight]
      #5556270 - 12/05/12 07:32 PM

There's a lively thread in the eyepieces forum on the best eyepiece for lunar and planetary observing with an 80mm apo refractor (much similar to yours.) You would likely find it helpful.

Mike


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CJK
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/05/12

Loc: Northeast TN
Re: my daughter's first scope - and my first real one new [Re: mjs]
      #5556298 - 12/05/12 07:50 PM

Wow! So many replies so quickly!

@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

-- Chris


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Achernar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 02/25/06

Loc: Mobile, Alabama, USA
Re: my daughter's first scope - and my first real one new [Re: CJK]
      #5556389 - 12/05/12 08:38 PM

You'll need an eyepiece that gives low, medium and high magnification, so eyepieces that have focal lengths of around 25, 15 and 9mm will serve you well, plus a good 2 or 2.5X Barlow lens will be great starter eyepieces. As for the type, aside from cost, you'll have to consider the need to wear eyeglasses or not, what sort of observing you want to do, what apparent field of view you want and how much you want to spend on eyepieces. Plossls will work fine with this telescope, but there are many others to choose from. The best thing you can do to see which eyepieces are best for you and your child is to try some at starparties held by a local club. The next best thing is to spend time perusing the eypiece forum here, and reading the reviews here too before you buy additional eyepieces.

Taras


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S.Boerner
sage


Reged: 04/29/10

Loc: Eastern Missouri
Re: my daughter's first scope - and my first real one new [Re: Achernar]
      #5556440 - 12/05/12 09:15 PM

One of the problems many new viewers I talk to have is they don't know what is available to view. That's true even if they have a GOTO. There might be fifty thousand items in the database, but which ones are worthwhile? What will they be able to see with their scope? I'd suggest a monthly visit to SkyMaps to get their monthly suggestions and map. Visit skymaps.com for the monthly pdf. Use your hand controller to find all the binocular & telescope objects and the stars listed to find your alignment stars.

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.

Good Luck


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CJK
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/05/12

Loc: Northeast TN
Re: my daughter's first scope - and my first real one new [Re: S.Boerner]
      #5556503 - 12/05/12 09:54 PM

@Achernar - the more I read about eyepieces, the more confused I get! Your advice about star parties is excellent -- there's one next week in town here, and I'm going for sure!

@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!

-- Chris


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tezster
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/14/09

Loc: Missisauga, Canada
Re: my daughter's first scope - and my first real one new [Re: CJK]
      #5556551 - 12/05/12 10:17 PM

Welcome, Chris

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!


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frito
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/05/12

Loc: Fremont, CA
Re: my daughter's first scope - and my first real one new [Re: tezster]
      #5556598 - 12/05/12 10:44 PM

buy sky safari plus for that ipad of yours rather than a planisphere or maps, later you can get their wifi module and control that mount with the program. it will give you a "best of" list of objects to get your feet wet with and you can totally adjust what objects it shows on the map by magnitude etc. so it can quickly filter out ones that are likely too dim for your seeing conditions etc. its an incredibly powerful app and at 15 dollars any tech-centric person will love it. its easily one of the best and most useful purchases i've made besides the telescope it self.

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frito
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/05/12

Loc: Fremont, CA
Re: my daughter's first scope - and my first real one new [Re: frito]
      #5556604 - 12/05/12 10:46 PM

here are links for more info

http://www.southernstars.com/products/skysafari/index.html

http://www.southernstars.com/products/skyfi/index.html


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lamplight
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/18/12

Loc: western MA, U.S.
Re: my daughter's first scope - and my first real one new [Re: frito]
      #5556660 - 12/05/12 11:25 PM

Just got sky safari plus myself, I will be immensely useful for planning! (personally when I'm out I like to use the printed pocket sky Atlas with a red light and raci finder scope.


Oh.. And a subscription to an astronomy magazine I find great, with seasonal highlights, d etc (and you get that here)


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CJK
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/05/12

Loc: Northeast TN
Re: my daughter's first scope - and my first real one new [Re: lamplight]
      #5556955 - 12/06/12 06:45 AM

@tezster - those are great book recommendations! Re: power supply - I am considering building one, as I wasn't too impressed with the reviews on the commercially-available ones (Celestron and Orion seem to use the same supplier)

@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!!!!

-- Chris


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Maverick199
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 02/27/11

Loc: India
Re: my daughter's first scope - and my first real one new [Re: CJK]
      #5557014 - 12/06/12 08:04 AM

Welcome to CN! That's a good package and hope both of you enjoy many clear nights.

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newtoskies
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/12

Loc: SE Ma.
Re: my daughter's first scope - and my first real one new [Re: Maverick199]
      #5557153 - 12/06/12 09:40 AM

Welcome to CN. That is one heck of a first scope.

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.


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CJK
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/05/12

Loc: Northeast TN
Re: my daughter's first scope - and my first real one new [Re: newtoskies]
      #5557300 - 12/06/12 11:16 AM

@Maverick199 - thanks very much!
@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.

-- Chris


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SkipW
sage


Reged: 02/03/11

Loc: Oklahoma, USA
Re: my daughter's first scope - and my first real one new [Re: CJK]
      #5557455 - 12/06/12 12:33 PM

I second the nomination for a battery pack. A cheap 7-Ah jump-start pack from WalMart has worked great for hours at a time over almost two years powering a CG-5GT. It's compact and fairly light - the only problem it's developed is that the built-in recharge plug is touchy, so you have to make sure you get a light indicating it's charging after plugging it in. It's never run out of power in 4-5 hr sessions with a lot of slewing the CG-5 (and it's occasionally come in handy for starting a car).

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.


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