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General Astronomy >> Beginners Forum

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kirscovitch
member


Reged: 11/29/13

Loc: Antigo WI
Hello everyone from WI new
      #6224422 - 11/29/13 11:51 PM

Hello everyone.

I'm pretty new to astronomy. Purchased my first scope about a month ago. A Celestron Nexstar 130SLT. In the month I've had it I have discovered that there is a huge learning curve but am loving every minute of it! I've been able to get out viewing 3 times since I got the scope and sessions are limited due to the cold temps at night. I have been able to get some nice views of the moon and Jupiter as well as M45 and 42.

One thing that has kinda been bugging me the few times I have been out is the stock red dot finder. It's so flimsy it's hard to adjust it when aligning the scope. Any suggestions on an upgrade? I have heard some good things about a Rigel Quickfinder but am also kind of thinking of maybe a raci. Not to keen on the uncomfortable contortions that the red dots require.

Hello again and thanks in advance!


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jerwin
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 05/17/12

Loc: Romeoville IL
Re: Hello everyone from WI new [Re: kirscovitch]
      #6224464 - 11/30/13 12:42 AM

Hi, and welcome to cloudynights. the Rigel is very nice, as is the telrad, but if you want to keep from bending over the scope, you might think about something like this:

http://www.scopestuff.com/ss_sfind.htm

it attaches with double sided tape, that is a bit of a pain to remove if you every want to sell it, but that and a cheep laser pointer will let you shine a line to the sky without needing to bend over the scope.

I'm 33 and my eyes can see a blue\violet laser. That apparently fades with age, so many go with the green laser that they can still see, however in the winter, cold likes to kill your green laser, or at least weaken it until it warms up, while a blue\violet has keep on working for me through 2 winters. Just watch where you are pointing it so not to shine it on a plane, but for me, something like this is the way to go.

My 2 cents. Good luck.

Jim


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herrointment
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 03/12/11

Loc: North of Hwy. 64
Re: Hello everyone from WI new [Re: jerwin]
      #6224508 - 11/30/13 01:43 AM

Adjust it on a distant object in the daytime and from a comfortable location if possible.

The SLT 130 is a great scope to get started with...I really enjoyed the one I had. It does great on galaxies. So get your red dot finder squared away, do a good alignment and have at it.

Hang some weight from the tripod too....or build some wooden legs!

And don't sell it. I still regret doing that!


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Hello everyone from WI new [Re: kirscovitch]
      #6224568 - 11/30/13 03:26 AM

Quote:

One thing that has kinda been bugging me the few times I have been out is the stock red dot finder. It's so flimsy it's hard to adjust it when aligning the scope. Any suggestions on an upgrade? I have heard some good things about a Rigel Quickfinder but am also kind of thinking of maybe a raci. Not to keen on the uncomfortable contortions that the red dots require.




Hello and Welcome to Cloudy Nights...

Probably the best upgrade one can make in terms of reducing the uncomfortable contortions is a dedicated observing chair. My favorite is the Starbound chair, it allows the seat height to be quickly adjusted so whether peering through the red dot finder or the main eyepiece, I am seated comfortably and my head is well supported...

There are better finders available, I prefer the Telrad over the Rigel for a number of reasons, it's bulkier but just a better finder, the additional 4 degree ring, the viewing sweet spot is larger, there is less parallax error..

But I still find the basic red dots like you have very effective finders.

Magnifying finders are a big help in light polluted skies and many people like right angle finders but since you are looking at 90 degree angle to the direction of the telescope, initially pointing the scope, getting to the right area of the sky, is not so easily done.

But your scope is a GOTO scope so you are probably relying on the GOTO for everything but that first alignment so the need for a finder is limited... a good chair would make your current finder usable.

Jon


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kirscovitch
member


Reged: 11/29/13

Loc: Antigo WI
Re: Hello everyone from WI new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #6224572 - 11/30/13 03:44 AM

Thanks Jon. Yea I have been relying on the GOTO so far but having issues with it and I'm pretty sure it is because of the initial alignment.

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newtoskies
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/12

Loc: SE Ma.
Re: Hello everyone from WI new [Re: kirscovitch]
      #6224779 - 11/30/13 09:10 AM

Welcome to CN. The guys answered the finder question pretty good. Best thing as mentioned is to do the alignment during the daytime on a distant object. I have the straight through 6x30 and rigel's on two of my scopes. I rarely use the rigel and just try to get the finder aligned before dark and then have no issues after that. I also use my bino's with my scopes for star hopping in my LP area.

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Tora
super member


Reged: 10/09/09

Loc: Illinois
Re: Hello everyone from WI new [Re: newtoskies]
      #6224804 - 11/30/13 09:19 AM

Welcome to CN! I've found the stock finder works well if you align it first (during daylight). My biggest gripe was that one of the adjustment knobs was on the same as the On/Off/Brightness knob, so I was forever "adjusting" my finder out of alignment when I was trying to adjust the brightness of my dot. Just remember the brightness knob is near the end (towards your eye) of the finder and you'll be fine.

I found my best investment for that scope was an electronic focuser since the vibrations from the manual focuser took a second or two to die down making fine focusing a challenge.

I still have my 130 SLT and it sees occasional use when I'm too tired to drag out the CPC 1100. Enjoy your scope!


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GeneT
Ely Kid
*****

Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: Hello everyone from WI new [Re: kirscovitch]
      #6225091 - 11/30/13 12:23 PM

I also prefer the Telrad over other finders. The concentric circles are better, in my opinion, of guiding you to the object in the center.

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gene 4181
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/12/13

Loc: n.e. ohio
Re: Hello everyone from WI new [Re: GeneT]
      #6225792 - 11/30/13 07:37 PM

telrads on all my scopes. attach the base with a couple wraps of electricians tape. removing the tape is easy, no damage to paint. and they sell finder cards for telrads if you don't have too much light pollution.

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Carol L

*****

Reged: 07/05/04

Loc: Tomahawk, WI 45N//89W
Re: Hello everyone from WI new [Re: kirscovitch]
      #6226174 - 11/30/13 11:39 PM

Hello from Tomahawk!

Every red dot finder I've used has been a bit flimsy except the all-metal one that came with my 16" Lightbridge. It's really solid and looks like this one from Orion (which is also all-metal) - I think it's just what you're looking for. Telrads always get a lot of votes when people ask about red dot finders, but they're pretty big (and a bit heavy) though - they might be overkill for your goto needs.

When you align the finder to the eyepiece, try starting out with a low power eyepiece and gradually increase the magnification as you fine-tune the red dot finder. As others have said, use a far-away object during the daytime, or on Polaris at night.

Good luck, and let us know how things work out, ok?


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kirscovitch
member


Reged: 11/29/13

Loc: Antigo WI
Re: Hello everyone from WI [Re: Carol L]
      #6226313 - 12/01/13 02:04 AM

Quote:

Hello from Tomahawk!

Every red dot finder I've used has been a bit flimsy except the all-metal one that came with my 16" Lightbridge. It's really solid and looks like this one from Orion (which is also all-metal) - I think it's just what you're looking for. Telrads always get a lot of votes when people ask about red dot finders, but they're pretty big (and a bit heavy) though - they might be overkill for your goto needs.

When you align the finder to the eyepiece, try starting out with a low power eyepiece and gradually increase the magnification as you fine-tune the red dot finder. As others have said, use a far-away object during the daytime, or on Polaris at night.

Good luck, and let us know how things work out, ok?




Hello Tomahawk!!! Nice to see another Wisconsinite! Bet you have some nice dark skies up there.


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Illinois
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/18/06

Loc: near Dixon, Illinois USA
Re: Hello everyone from WI new [Re: kirscovitch]
      #6226516 - 12/01/13 08:26 AM

kirscovitch.... Welcome to CN! I passed Antigo many times on Rt 45 ahead to upper Michigan!

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Carol L

*****

Reged: 07/05/04

Loc: Tomahawk, WI 45N//89W
Re: Hello everyone from WI new [Re: kirscovitch]
      #6226996 - 12/01/13 12:50 PM

You mentioned having issues with your goto - might it be a power problem? If you run the scope on internal batteries, they tend to get sluggish in cold weather. If the scope provides an external power supply port, you might want to consider getting a portable battery or using house power.

Speaking of cold weather and goto scopes...
The scopes are pretty hearty and can handle the cold temps very well, but you might want to take some precautions against moisture if you take the scope back into the house after a session. While still outside, cap the OTA, wipe off any visible dew or frost, and then remove the scope from the tripod. Seal it (and the hand controller) in a big plastic bag.
The bag prevents the house's warm, moist air from coming into contact with things, and forming condensation on them. I'm actually not sure if condensation can form on the internal electronics, but some extra precautions can't hurt. Open the bag the next morning, and put everything away. Actually, it helps to put everything in plastic bags when coming back inside - eyepiece case, star charts, red lights - whatever you'd had outside with you.


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kirscovitch
member


Reged: 11/29/13

Loc: Antigo WI
Re: Hello everyone from WI new [Re: Carol L]
      #6227398 - 12/01/13 04:12 PM

Thanks for the tips. I tend to bring it in in stages. Leaving it on the porch for a while where it is a little warmer than outside but not totally heated.

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mrowlands
member


Reged: 04/28/07

Loc: WI
Re: Hello everyone from WI new [Re: kirscovitch]
      #6227541 - 12/01/13 05:24 PM

Note that the finder is the first thing to dew up on our dewey WI nights. Although you don't necessarily need the finder after you align a go-to, you might need to re-align, or use it to check where you are in the sky. Covering it is the easiest remedy up to a point. If you get the nice metal red-dot (which has the selectable reticles), you can use one of these: https://www.astronomics.com/kendrick-heater-red-dot-finder_p19203.aspx

Also, you can rig shields or covers or resister heaters for just about any finder.

Mike R.


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