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#1 gus1989

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 05:16 PM

Had to share.  I have been watching the adds for several months and finally found one within a couple hours drive. Got a great deal on Craigslist for a Orion XT6.  It's 3 years old.  They put it together and never used it because of family circumstances.  Perfect shape except for dust.  Got it home and couldn't wait till it got dark.  Of course the only thing I could see was that big bright moon, but that's ok.  I had never seen it before in a telescope.  I only have the 25mm eyepiece and a 2x Shorty Barlow.  Once I dialed in on the moon, it nearly filled the eyepiece.  Very bright, but I could make out detail.  Put on the Barlow and the craters were incredible.  Can't wait to see more of it and learn the different features.  Gonna get a moon filter and some other lenses after more research.

 

 


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#2 zipzipskins

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 05:24 PM

The Moon is absolutely incredible, no doubt! I have tried the trick of simply putting on a pair of sunglasses to view the Moon and it works very well, for much less money than a filter (since I already had several pairs). SkyQuests are great scopes. 

 

From one beginner to another, welcome!

 

Nate



#3 gus1989

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 05:33 PM

I had seen that some mention sunglasses.  I don't have any LOL.  I may go buy a cheap pair and see how much it changes things.  Thanks for the reminder.



#4 zipzipskins

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 05:36 PM

Just make sure your pair is polarizing (most are but some really cheap sunglasses are not).

 

Nate



#5 Taosmath

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 05:37 PM

Hello & welcome!

 

Yes a 6" dob is a nice scope.

 

You can certainly use sunglasses - if your eyepiece lets you get close enough to wear glasses while looking through it.  Another (very cheap!) trick that works very well for bright objects is to get a piece of card board wider than the end of the scope and cut a 2" diameter hole in it.  Doesn't need to be exactly 2" and it doesn't need to to be a precise circle (though try not to have tears or flaps along the cut).  Put that in front of your scope with the hole between any two of the spider vanes and you will cut the amount of light reaching your eye by a factor of 9.  You'll see even more detail if your eye is not saturated by the light.

 

Also if you can, check out Jupiter which is the brightest thing in the Eastern sky at about 10pm.  Observing it even later at night will improve the view since as Jupiter gets higher in the sky it is less affected by atmospheric shimmering.  Saturn is the next brightest thing about 2 fists to the left of and slightly below Jupiter.  You should be able to see Jupiters' 4 moons and the clouds bands, plus, if you're lucky, the great red spot.  On Saturn you'll see the rings, at least one moon (probably 2 or 3 depending upon how dark your sky is) and maybe even some bands on the planet.

 

Have fun !


Edited by Taosmath, 04 July 2020 - 05:54 PM.

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#6 gus1989

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 06:20 PM

Don't know really what to expect tonight with the eclipse, but that should make it less bright.  I'm gonna try and look at Jupiter and Saturn too.  Hopefully it stays clear.



#7 The Ardent

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 06:29 PM

Pick up one of these

https://www.shopatsk...map-of-the-moon


Don't know really what to expect tonight with the eclipse, but that should make it less bright. I'm gonna try and look at Jupiter and Saturn too. Hopefully it stays clear.



#8 JohnBear

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 07:31 PM

+1  for the moon map. Another +1 for getting a good deal on a nice 6" Dob as you first telescope.

 

My recommendation for getting started is not to go for more accessories right away, just spend some time using and learning about your telescope (and the sky) before going on a spending spree. You'll want a book or two like "Turn Left at Orion" (it is excellent for learning what to find in the skies and you can find them used for a few bucks, or just check them out from the library) and a free PC or smartphone planetarium app - these will boost your enjoyment (and knowledge) by a factor of 10! 

 

Also join a local astronomy club and get to some star parties after the covid-19 plague clears up. This is the no-brainer that newbies seldom think of!  

 

I also recommend getting the $10-15 Svbony Aspheric 62 degree eyepieces (23mm and 10mm) fro Ebay or Amazon. Use them for comparing your current and future eyepieces (EPs) , and to learn about the differences in EP specifications, and which specs matter most to you - personal diferences and preferences do make a difference sometimes in EP selection.


Edited by JohnBear, 04 July 2020 - 07:32 PM.


#9 river-z

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 07:37 PM

I got started on an Orion XT6 and had so much fun. It’s a terrific telescope to see the sky up close as you learn. It’s big enough to give you access to so much: the moon and planets, clusters and planetary nebula, galaxies if your light pollution situation isn’t too bad. I used mine mostly for double stars and had a ball. See if you can find Albireo or the Double-Double. They’re wonderful.

Clear skies!
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#10 MikeTahtib

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 11:10 PM

Those of us who have been at this a while often consider the moon to be "in the way" of seeing dim objects, but really, the moon is one of the most spectacular things you can look at with a telescope.  There is so much to see - mountain ranges, lava flows, craters, piled up debris around the ring of the crater, huge canyons.  And the view constantly changes as the phase changes, since the best view is along the terminator, the edge of the light area.  The sunlight si steepest there, so creates deeper shadows to see the features.



#11 gus1989

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 07:37 AM

Thanks for all the tips.  I thought I had my ez finder II zeroed in during the day, but as it turned out, it was still off.  Made a few tweaks after dark which helped a lot for quickly zeroing in on Polaris, Vega, and Arcturus.  Jupiter and it's 4 moons were amazing.  If I looked carefully, I could see some of the cloud bands.  Saturn with it's rings and 1 moon was spectacular even though it was coming in and out of focus (I guess because of the atmosphere?). Explored around the moon (will definitely need to pick up a moon map). The hour and a half that I was out looking went by so fast.  Great night, even with all the people still up making noise and shooting off fireworks at 1am.  Looking forward to making a short trip to a much quieter and darker spot.


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#12 Orion92

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 08:29 AM

Congratulations on your wonderful new scope! You are doing great having already seen the Moon, Jupiter, and Saturn. I still remember my first time I saw Saturn, truly breathtaking. 

 

The 25mm EP and barlow are great to start with. You are correct about Saturn "coming in and out of focus", that is what you call atmospheric seeing. The lower your target is in the sky, the more atmosphere (air) your scope most go through to reach your target. That coupled with any turbulence will cause views of objects to shimmer. Your best seeing is straight up overhead, at the zenith we astronomers call it, as there is least amount of air to look through and views are best here. I am guessing you were viewing sometime early last night and Saturn would have been fairly low yet. 

 

There are already some good recommendations here for you but I will leave some as well for you to consider.

 

1. Moon Map - Sky and Telescope's map of the Moon. You can get this for $13 plus shipping off Sky and Telescope's website, shopatsky.com. The full Moon is, in my opinion, the least interesting Moon phase to observe. My favorite is 1st Quarter waxing. I absolutely love cruising the Terminator (interface between shadow and light on the Moon) because it is at the Terminator where you will truly see spectacular detail and depth in craters, lunar mountains, etc. Check out astroleague.org. This is the Astronomical League. They have observing programs for ALL skill levels, beginner to expert. I have been working their Lunar 1 program and it is a blast. Check it out.

 

2. Bright objects visible with your naked eye you will be able to find with your EZ Finder. Once you start hunting deep sky objects (galaxies, star clusters, globular clusters, nebulae, etc) you will need to locate these objects by starting at a bright star visible with your eyes first and align the telescope with the star. Once aligned to the star, objects are found by "hopping" from star to start, and eventually the object. Light pollution makes this more challenging by washing out fainter stars and making them invisible to your eyes. Your 25 mm eyepiece is actually a pretty good "finder" eyepiece. It should give you a field of view of about 1.0 degree of sky in diameter, twice the size of the full Moon roughly. You can use this eyepiece to START finding objects, but here are a couple of recommendations -

 

- You need a sky atlas. I wholeheartedly recommend Sky and Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas. I have had mine for about seven years now and it is holding up very well and even as I hunt fainter and fainter deep sky objects, I still love to use this atlas because it is so handy! For $20, this atlas is a steal and will last you a lifetime. The atlas has a scale that shows you how big 1 degree is. I went to Hobby Lobby and bought some cheap metal hobby wire and string and made a couple of finders that I have tied off to the binding of my atlas. These metal rings show roughly what I can see in the sky with my telescope's 8 x 40 right angle finder as well as my low power "finder" eyepiece. I still use these rings as I hop from object to object. I will post a photo for you to see.

 

- Invest in a correct image right angle finder. Orion makes a good 9 x 50 finder, I personally use a 8 x 40 by GSO. It doesn't go quite as deep as a 9 x 50 finder (lower magnification and smaller lens) but works fine for me. You will also need to get a second dovetail base. You can drill a small hole in the tube adjacent to your EZ finder to mount the new dovetail and finder (be sure to keep the scope flat or pointed down so the metal shavings don't fall on your mirrors!). I have a Telrad, which is similar to an EZ finder, and use this for "coarse adjustment" to initially locate a bright star. Once I am centered on a bright star, the 8 x 40 finder takes over and I hop from there to whatever object I am looking for. 

 

3. Get a cheap red flashlight. Walmart often has in large bins 99 cent pocket flashlights that are LED. I buy these and use some of my girlfriend's red nail polish to paint the lens red with a few coats. The light should be dim. Even if it's red (red light least impact to your night vision) it can still be too bright and hurt your night vision. There are nicer lights out there for more money. I like these because they are simple and cheap and take AA batteries. I keep a spare battery or two and light with me at all times. The light is on a long necklace and I keep it around my neck all night so I always have it for looking at my atlases.

 

4. You have a Newtonian Reflector. Newtonian's require their mirrors to be periodically aligned (collimation). Your scope has a focal ratio of f/8 which means the focal point (where your image appears and can be focused on) is eight mirror diameters down the tube from your primary mirror. For a 6" primary mirror (203 mm) that is 1,219 mm. f/8 is considered fairly slow in terms of optics and your mirrors do not require as precise collimation as a scope that say f/4 does. This is not a bad thing for a beginner. Even still, your scope will perform best if you learn to collimate your mirrors. There are many good articles on the reflector forum of this site that can help you. This can be easy to over-complicate, I wouldn't touch the secondary mirror for now. It is probably fine from the factory unless the previous owner tinkered with it. A simple sight tube/cheshire combo tool is inexpensive and will give you very good results. Plenty of manufacturers make them and you can get one for about $20. With your telescope being a solid tube, your collimation will only need to be adjusted rarely but should be checked often especially when you start traveling with your scope and it bumps around in your car. 

 

5. For a spectacular intro to deep sky objects, begin with the Messier list. There is an observing program on the Astronomical League for this and is by far the most popular observing program. The objects in the list are SPECTACULAR. You will love it!

 

That's all for now...Now I wish my clouds and rain would go away. 

 

Take care and enjoy,

 

Kyle


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#13 Orion92

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 08:37 AM

Here is a photo of my pocket sky atlas and wire rings I made for you to see what I am talking about.

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