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Beginner needs help! (8 inch Dobsonian Sky-Watcher)

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#1 astro-mette

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 09:12 AM

Hi everyone!

I'm completely new to this site, and also new to observational astronomy from home. I have a 8 inch dobsonian from Sky-watcher, and have all the stuff that went with the initial package, as well as some type of moon filter. I really want to be able to use my telescope more, and get some more pieces for it, so that I can see more fantastic things. Problem is I have no clue what to look for and what exactly to get. I'm afraid of just trying to get something since some of these pieces can get quite pricey. Does anyone know a lot about dobsonians and what pieces to get for the 8 inch?

I would like to see just about anything you could imagine, I've already had a glimpse of Saturn and the Moon.

Please help a beginner out! 

 



#2 S.Boerner

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 09:25 AM

I'd recommend not getting any additional equipment until you actually observe for a while.  This way you'll get used to your equipment and the limitations.  This will let you discover the shortcomings and give you an idea of what additional equipment you may need. 

 

As for finding object to view check out the monthly sky map and list of targets for naked eyes, binoculars and telescopes that can be found at It is a two page pdf that has a sky map on the front and suggested targets on the back.  Each of the targets on the back is shown on the front.

 

Another suggestion is that if you have a smart phone consider buying the Plus version of SkySafari.  Use it to help you plan your star hops to find the SkyMaps monthly targets.


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#3 vdog

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 09:35 AM

This post looks like a better fit for the Beginner's Forum.

 

I'll be one of I'm sure more than a few people that will tell you to just use what you have for now as you learn how to use your telescope and learn the night sky.  Don't go crazy on accessories yet.  As you use your scope you will get a better idea of what you want and this can guide your future purchases.


If there's anything you do need right now, it's some kind of collimation tool.  The cheapest and easiest would be a collimation cap, which you can make yourself or buy cheap from agenaastro.com.  You might also want to pick up a planisphere while you're at it, which is a handy tool for learning the big picture, and a star atlas (I like the Sky and Telescope Jumbo Pocket Atlas) which gives you more detailed maps.

 

But if you just really have to scratch that accessory itch, get a good UHC filter (Lumicon, Televue, Astronomik) and use it on the Orion Nebula. smile.gif


Edited by vdog, 14 January 2020 - 09:36 AM.

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#4 ilan_shapira

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 09:36 AM

First of all, congrats for your new scope.

 

I cannot say I know a lot about dobs, but I will give you my point of view.

 

First, If I am not mistaken, you have two eye pieces - 10mm and 25mm, providing magnifications of x120 & x48

While not the top notch of eye pieces, they will allow to to view almost anything the scope can show you.

At some point - you will want to upgrade, don't rush it.

 

Eye pieces vary in focal length and field of view.

Focal length will define magnification while field of view will define how big the field you will be able to see. The larger the field, the more you will see in a glance, the less you will need to move the scope.

The larger the field of view the more expensive the eye piece will be, the better optics, the more expensive the eye piece will be.

 

Keep in mind that you don't have to jump to eye pieces that cost hundreds of dollars... lots of cheaper will provide excellent views compare to what comes with the scope.

 

As for what to look for, you can start by hunting all the Messier catalog. Will keep you busy for a while as the objects are visible during different times of the year and the views, especially from a dark location will be very rewarding with your 8" telescope.

 

Enjoy!


Edited by ilan_shapira, 14 January 2020 - 09:38 AM.


#5 Daveatvt01

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 10:39 AM

Welcome! 
Perhaps a book would help you find and see more? Turn Left at Orion is a good one for beginners. It has maps and instructions for locating many objects and sketches of what the objects will look like through your scope.


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#6 Richie2shoes

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 11:26 AM

As others have said, don't spend a bunch of money right away.  Some things that I would (and have) invest in are a membership to my local astronomy club (if available), the book already mentioned "Turn Left at Orion", an adjustable chair or stool, and if you live in a metro area with heavy light pollution a digital angle finder and setting circle discussed in this post - https://www.cloudyni...degree-circles/



#7 vtornado

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 11:33 AM

Hello and welcome to the forum,

 

what you look at will be determined by how bright your sky is.

You can look up our area here.

http://darksitefinde...#4/39.00/-98.00

 

If you are under high light pollution (white,grey,red,orange) then

high contrast items will work the best.  These are moon, planets, star clusters and double stars.

nebula and galaxy will be difficult targets (but many are not impossible).

 

since you are a beginner, choose the easiest target to find first, that way you can develop

you skills in finding things and handling your scope.  Plieades, orion nebula, double cluster

are all fairly bright.  Venus is low in the southwest sky.

 

You may want to download sky safari to a phone or tablet,

which will show you what your sky looks likes at the current time.  And will help you find things.

 

Good luck, and check in after awhile and tell us how you are doing.

 

VT


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#8 Zorbathegeek

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 04:40 PM

I've had the 6" Skywatcher for 16 months and am still finding wonderful new targets. I started by finding the Messier objects, reading a bit about each object as I went along - it's all online. The only thing I've bought is a Barlow lens in order to get better views of the planets when seeing allows. I mainly use the supplied 25mm eyepiece. I keep an observing diary which helps and adds to the fun. Your imagination and some research will serve you better than any 'extras' you can buy, at this stage in your journey. I do 99% of my viewing under city skies but occasionally take the scope out to a rural site to observe galaxies and comets etc.


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#9 dusty99

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 07:54 PM

You've gotten some good advice here (buy "Turn Left at Orion."  I also like Terence Dickinson's "Nightwatch").  An astronomy app is really helpful (as was noted).  Stellarium is free (and good!).  I use SkySafari 6, which is inexpensive).  I hope you got at least a collimation cap with your scope?  The 8" Orion comes with one and I bet the Skywatcher does, too.  Learning to collimate will help you to get the most out of your Dob.

 

I'll depart from some of the others though, and suggest you get a new short focal length eyepiece.  I find the 10mm Plossls that come in most "bundles" to be sorely lacking in eye relief.  Even if I didn't wear glasses I wouldn't enjoy that cornea-scratcher!  ;-).

Both of these will be a big improvement (and wider field of view) and neither will break the bank:

https://www.astronom...5000-hd-60.html

https://www.astronom...eries-1-25.html

 

Other than that, just get out with it as much as you can, even if it's just for an hour.  You'll learn what it's capable of and start to figure out what you want to observe.  Have fun!


Edited by dusty99, 14 January 2020 - 07:55 PM.

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#10 phillip

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Posted 31 January 2020 - 12:29 AM

Knowing the sky will be the main issue at the start. As mentioned SkySafari is a great program, I'm into planets and actually shows what feature is facing at any given time, favored is a shadow transit cast from one of Jupiter's 4 main moons.

 

Familiar with the circumpolar polar stars in the north, always visible and never set. 

 

Lots of fun ahead, keep us posted on the experience.

 

Due to sky conditions find 7mm eyepiece range 170X the usual max magnification. Have had luck with Baader and ES Explorer Scientific eyepieces great starter choice, but a basic plossl performs fine.

 

Clear Sky

 

XT8i 8 inch dob 



#11 SkyMoe

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Posted 02 February 2020 - 08:45 AM

Before I even got my 8" dob (2 days ago), I used Stellarium for about a month (since it's free and also available for Linux). Then I got the SkySafari Plus app for my iPhone. Wow! If you buy one thing, get that (or the Pro version). Add your telescope, eyepieces, and finder as Observing Equipment, then add FoV rings for your finder and your telescope with each eyepiece. It helps me.

 

I also got a digital conduit level (in the electrical section) and some extra-dark red cling to go over it. I put a layer of black cloth under it to keep it from scratching the tube. This shows me the OTA elevation (as specified in SkySafari).

 

Hope this helps. Have fun!

 

Edit: after my first clear night, I'm putting a Star Bound chair on order. I discovered the stool I was using was the wrong height for 80+% of objects in the night sky and my lower back is paying the price!


Edited by SkyMoe, 03 February 2020 - 01:10 AM.



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