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#1 Greengrassmanfl

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 07:13 PM

 I bought a Firstscope a couple of weeks ago to decide if it would have the same appeal that it did 20 years ago. I already knew the answer, but in order for my wife to allow me to spend the money, it was a compromise that I knew I’d be grateful for; but the pictures I’ve seen posted on here are amazing. More than that, many of them are just straight up inspiring! The Firstscope is pretty much what I was expecting and even a little more, but the photos posted are beautiful. 

 

Real simple questions though

 

 How does deep space astronomy work different than planetary? 

 

 As I buy lenses, eyepieces, etc. will they adapt to other telescopes I buy later?

 

  Should I go ahead and buy a Barlow lens now, or with another telescope in the future.


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#2 lee14

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 07:25 PM

Deep space usually requires darker skies, at least for extended objects such as galaxies and nebulae. Double stars, open clusters, and other point sources are less affected. Planets can be viewed without detriment in light pollution.

 

Eyepieces come in standard sizes, 1.25 and 2 inch (plus .965, but they shouldn't concern you) The 1.25" will fit in your scope or any other. If your accepts 2" eyepieces, a simple adapter will also allow the use of 1.25 eyepieces.

 

Though barlows certainly have devotees, they're not something you need immediately. Many find a good selection of eyepieces preferable. With a good range of three or four eyepieces, a barlow is likely to yield duplicate magnifications, and become superfluous.

 

Lee


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#3 spacemunkee

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 07:35 PM

Nice avatar. Didn't we go on a space mission together?lol.gif 


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#4 Taosmath

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 08:01 PM

Your Firstscope has a 76mm diameter mirror.  This will let you look at the moon, and the planets, the stars and a few of the brightest Deep Space objects.  A larger diameter mirror or lens will gather more light and let you see more detail, especially on the planets and the deep sky objects.

 

This means that when you look at the Andromeda Galaxy, for instance, (you should be able to see that in your scope) it will  change from looking like a wispy cloudy thing to a bright oval, with a distinct core and some brightness around it.  With a large enough scope you can even see the dust lanes in the galaxy.  On the planets, you will start to see details in the equatorial cloud bands of Jupiter (they're called festoons) as well as more cloud bands that you won't be able to see with your Firstscope as well as the Great Red Spot and shadows of the moons as they cross the planet and and and....  On Saturn you can see cloud bands there too as well as details in the ring system and some of the moons of Saturn (With your scope you might be able to see Titan, the biggest moon of Saturn, but I doubt you'll see any of the others)

 

Unfortunately this 'Aperture fever'(chasing after ever bigger scopes) is highly contagious for almost everyone and has no end point.  I have an 8" diameter telescope which is great. I have also now almost completed my 18" scope.  Unfortunately our club got a 30" scope last Fall and I can see WAY more detail with that than I can even with my 18". 

 

If you really get into astronomical observing, particularly if you decide to chase the 'faint fuzzies' (deep sky observing) you will very probably hanker for a larger diameter scope just to be able to see more and more detail.

 

However you might be immune.  Some people love to look at just the planets and the moon and Deep sky objects are just 'meh' to them.  They typically don't need scopes bigger than 4"-6".  Of course good refractor scopes in that range tend to be rather expensive.......

 

If you do decide to go further with this, try to find an astronomy club near you and go to their meetings.  You will meet buddies (which is always nice) , can learn from them about where things are, and you can try out their gear to see what you would like to look at and what type of gear you want to use to look at them.  If you buy used, you can get a really very good scope, that will let you see thousands for objects for $200-$300.

 

Have fun on your journey - I am enjoying mine!


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#5 Jim1804

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 09:43 PM

Do you have the Celestron 76mm Firstscope? I'm assuming you mean the "officially" named Firstscope, and not just some other "first scope" for you :-). 

 

I have one of these - it was also my first move back into the hobby since my K-Mart refractor when I was a kid. I don't use it much any more - if you stick with it, you'll probably end up with more capable scopes that aren't much bigger (like Taosmath says, even if you don't go much bigger, you'll probably eventually want better - I'll explain what I mean). 

 

The Firstscope is, IMHO, pretty well constructed. The mount is very solid and smooth - which makes this scope MUCH better than other similarly priced scopes on really wobbly mounts. In time, I've learned that if I have to choose between a better mount and a better OTA, I'll take the better mount every time. Even the best OTA can't shine if under-mounted! It also has a nice, wide FOV, and looks cool on my bookshelf. The Firstscope's downsides aren't due to shoddy construction, etc - they're simple physics - the short f-ratio and spherical mirror can only do so much. But it can be a really capable scope - I saw Omega Centauri my one and only time with the Firstscope. 

 

In the meantime, you can make a few tweaks that will help you get the most out of the Firstscope, and turn it into a capable tool within the limits of its design. 

 

1 - the included 20mm eyepiece is bad. Really bad. Spending $20-$25 on a 15mm-20mm Plossl on Amazon will vastly improve your views. Plossls do really well in that range of focal lengths, and you'd have to spend a whole lot more money to get a better eyepiece in a fast scope like this. Strangely enough, in mine the 4mm ep did OK on planets, but if you want, you could get a 15mm and a 10mm Plossl. Add a Barlow and you've got the equivalent of 15, 10, 7.5 and 5mm - and you'll be able to use Plossls in any future scope you get. Or, just get either a 15mm or 20mm, and just enjoy scanning around, with that almost binocular-like FOVs.

 

2 - do what you can to collimate it. The primary mirror isn't adjustable (and I don't recommend doing what a few people have done and cut the tube to make collimation slots!) - but you can improve the performance by center dotting the primary mirror and adjusting the secondary. I did this and Jupiter went from a small flared smear to a small bb with stripes. Same with Saturn's rings - looked much better after the collimation. Search for instructions - it's pretty simple, and took probably 20-30 minutes (and I had no idea what I was doing). 

 

Have fun with your scope, and concentrate on what you can see with it, instead of what you can't. There are literally hundreds of objects within reach. If you want to stay small, you may eventually look at a small refractor or Mak/SCT - which have issue of their own - but wait until you've learned to get everything you can out of your current scope. Clear skies!



#6 Jim1804

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 10:35 PM

See collimation instructions here - it's from the Orion version - same Synta (I assume) made OTA.

 

https://www.telescop...Scope_Rev_D.pdf



#7 NeroStar

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 05:22 AM

I try to buy eyepieces that are great for general use, so that I don't end up with a dozen of them that are 'married' to my primary scope.  Moreover, as I have three scopes (Two SCTs and a Dob) I tend to shy away from some eyepieces that are great for one of my scopes but not the other two. Having a set of general use eyepieces can significantly reduce the $$$ impact of future telescope purchases. That's part of the hidden cost of an upgrade.     



#8 sg6

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 06:01 AM

Oops, misread the question.


Edited by sg6, 20 August 2019 - 06:02 AM.


#9 Star Geezer

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 10:35 AM

I picked up the Celestron FirstScope about two years ago out of curiosity after hearing the hype about the only fifty dollar scope that is actually worth the money. I thought how can this be, a 76mm f/4 fixed spherical primary can't possibly be any good. Already having the 4mm eyepiece and wanting the 20mm to replace the crappy erect image 20mm eyepiece that came with my PowerSeeker 127eq, I chose the National Parks Foundation Series. The FirstScope sure surprised the hell out of me.

 

The 4mm eyepiece will give a 75x magnification which is pretty much the limit for the scope. So, I wouldn't worry about getting a Barlow for it. That is perfectly fine with me, there are a quite a few object this scope is ideal for. Not a lot of magnification for the Moon and Planets, but it will show you the equatorial belts and the Moons of Jupiter and Saturn's Rings.

 

Out of my three other low power wide field instruments (Sears Discoverer 10x-25x50 Binoculars, Meade Etx 80 and Orion 113mm f/4 StarBlast) the FirstScope with the 25mm plossl eyepiece gives the brightest image with the best contrast of the Andromeda Galaxy in its full glory. The FirstScope will be my finder scope for the Orion Xt8.


Edited by Star Geezer, 20 August 2019 - 10:45 AM.


#10 vtornado

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 11:04 AM

Hello and welcome to cloudy nights.

 

What eyepieces came with your kit?

 

After you have first few nights out with your scope, I would consider getting a digital angle guage,

and a making a degree wheel / azimuth scale for your scope.

Then download sky safari to as smartphone or tablet. 

 

Sky safari will help you find interesting things to look at. It will give you altitude and azimuth of objects that

you can then use your guage, and azimuth scale to help find.  It is very helpful in light pollution

where many objects are only visible in the main scope.

 

====

You could get a 32mm eyepiece and a 2x barlow

would have the equivalent of  32, 20, 16 10, and 4mm eypieces which is a nice range of powers.

There is a hole between 10 and 4, so maybe a 12mm plossl??

Once again you don't have to buy everything all at once.  buy, try, think ...

 

As a caveat, this is a very short focal ratio telescope.  I'm not sure how a 32mm eyepiece will perform in it.

Also barlows change the point at which the scope focuses,

 

Some ideas, search for firstscope here and other places and see what other owners have done.

 

If you can find a club, I'm sure someone would let you try their eyepieces and balow.

 

You can find a vendor who would allow returns if the  barlow doesn't work in your scope.


Edited by vtornado, 20 August 2019 - 12:46 PM.


#11 Star Geezer

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 11:46 AM

 

As a caveat, this is a very short focal ratio telescope.  I'm not sure how a 32mm eyepiece will perform in it.

Also barlows change the point at which the scope focuses, (if I remember correctly it will shift focus inward)

If your eyepieces are focusing when the focuser is  all the way cranked in maybe it might not focus with the

barlow.

 

When trying to focus with my Starblast and Canon 6D,  I could not get enough inward focus without a Barlow. I would think the Barlow would push focus out.


Edited by Star Geezer, 20 August 2019 - 11:55 AM.

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#12 Greengrassmanfl

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 11:46 AM

Hello and welcome to cloudy nights.

 

What eyepieces came with your kit?

 

After you have first few nights out with your scope, I would consider getting a digital angle guage,

and a making a degree wheel / azimuth scale for your scope.

Then download sky safari to as smartphone or tablet. 

 

Sky safari will help you find interesting things to look at. It will give you altitude and azimuth of objects that

you can then use your guage, and azimuth scale to help find.  It is very helpful in light pollution

where many objects are only visible in the main scope.

 

====

You could get a 32mm eyepiece and a 2x barlow

would have the equivalent of  32, 20, 16 10, and 4mm eypieces which is a nice range of powers.

There is a hole between 10 and 4, so maybe a 12mm plossl??

Once again you don't have to buy everything all at once.  buy, try, think ...

 

As a caveat, this is a very short focal ratio telescope.  I'm not sure how a 32mm eyepiece will perform in it.

Also barlows change the point at which the scope focuses, (if I remember correctly it will shift focus inward)

If your eyepieces are focusing when the focuser is  all the way cranked in maybe it might not focus with the

barlow.

 

Some ideas, search for firstscope here and other places and see what other owners have done.

 

If you can find a club, I'm sure someone would let you try their eyepieces and balow.

 

You can find a vendor who would allow returns if the  barlow doesn't work in your scope.

 

The kit came with a 4mm and a 20 mm, I also bought an accessory kit that came with a 6mm and a 12.5mm I got some decent lunar views and stars etc. a couple of weeks ago, but weather hasn’t permitted for a bit.


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#13 Jim1804

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 01:05 PM

Hello and welcome to cloudy nights.

 

What eyepieces came with your kit?

 

After you have first few nights out with your scope, I would consider getting a digital angle guage,

and a making a degree wheel / azimuth scale for your scope.

Then download sky safari to as smartphone or tablet. 

 

Sky safari will help you find interesting things to look at. It will give you altitude and azimuth of objects that

you can then use your guage, and azimuth scale to help find.  It is very helpful in light pollution

where many objects are only visible in the main scope.

 

====

You could get a 32mm eyepiece and a 2x barlow

would have the equivalent of  32, 20, 16 10, and 4mm eypieces which is a nice range of powers.

There is a hole between 10 and 4, so maybe a 12mm plossl??

Once again you don't have to buy everything all at once.  buy, try, think ...

 

As a caveat, this is a very short focal ratio telescope.  I'm not sure how a 32mm eyepiece will perform in it.

Also barlows change the point at which the scope focuses,

 

Some ideas, search for firstscope here and other places and see what other owners have done.

 

If you can find a club, I'm sure someone would let you try their eyepieces and balow.

 

You can find a vendor who would allow returns if the  barlow doesn't work in your scope.

Good advice here, and as suggested, the 32mm eyepiece doesn't work well (for me) in my Firstscope. It does give a 5.6 deg FOV at 9.3x, but the exit pupil is over 8mm - to my eyes, I can't ever get rid of the shadow from the secondary mirror. It may not bother you, but it drives me crazy - a dark circle in the middle of the FOV. Personally, I wouldn't go much longer than 20mm - you still have 3.5 deg FOV, but the exit pupil drops to 5.1mm - giving a much better view (again, to my eyes - YMMV). 



#14 Star Geezer

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 01:24 PM

The first object I viewed in the FirstScope was the Moon in the early evening. The shadow of the secondary had me concerned. Once darkness fell the shadow was hardly noticable.


Edited by Star Geezer, 20 August 2019 - 01:27 PM.


#15 desertstars

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 09:38 PM

Deep space usually requires darker skies, at least for extended objects such as galaxies and nebulae. Double stars, open clusters, and other point sources are less affected. Planets can be viewed without detriment in light pollution.

Definitely give double stars a try. They have become a major source of enjoyable objects for me under my suburban view conditions.


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