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New Moon observer, help please.

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#1 psuaero

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 08:57 AM

Ok , 52 yrs old I'm not exactly just minted. I've been heavily into astrophotography for the past 5 years but never much of a visual observer. A couple times a year I shift my attention to the Moon with my 250 and 550mm refractors... I take a set of images and then move back to my DSOs. Last week, I received my 8" EdgeHD and I'd like to spend a little time "looking" at the Moon.  Our club had a public star party over the week and I brought the new scope. The Moon was stunning and I could have stayed on that all night. Using the stock 40mm Plossl (51x and 2032mm), gave me a view that filled most of the eyepiece. I switched it up for closer views with other eyepieces (15mm and 8-24mm zoom) a few times but kept coming back to that stock Plossl.

 

The main problem is that when I view, I'd like know what I'm looking at... names of craters, mountains, maria, etc. Are there web sites (laptop) or apps (for my tablet) that you'd recommend to help me? I could have my laptop or tablet on the table next to me tonight. Something where I can maybe pan or zoom around a moon map and click on craters and reveal the names? Bonus points if the app or site can show the light vs. dark of the current phase! I'm looking at Lunar/LROC site and there is so much information in the available layers. I haven't found one with labels though. I should add I'm proficient with Stellarium. It does show a great view but I haven't labels yet.

 

The moon phase will be 51% tonight and the forecast is for clear-ish skies and great temperatures. Seeing will be below average (as usual), but I've got a new giant scope... who cares!

 

Recommendations for equipment configuration. Here's what I've got to mix and match at the current time.

  • 8" EdgeHD
  • 0.7x reducer
  • 2" Baader Click-Lock back
  • 2" Sky-Watcher diagonal
  • 2" Televue 2x
  • 40mm 1.25" Celestron Plossl
  • 8-24mm Baader Hyperion zoom
  • 15mm Explore Scientific 52° FOV
  • ZWO AM5 mount and ASIAir

 

I might as well ask the experts here... don't laugh! Is it better to use a 40mm Plossl and a 2x Televue or just zoom the Baader to 20mm? Same would apply for the Baader at 12mm or 24mm combined with the Televue?

 

Thanks for any help,

John


Edited by psuaero, 15 April 2024 - 09:06 AM.

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#2 NinePlanets

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 09:05 AM

Use the eyepiece that shows you what you want to look at best. No ONE will do it all. Sometimes the wide view is good, especially when the seeing isn't the best, but sometimes you want to see what that little spot is buried in the shadow of a crater wall. Your zoom is handy.

 

Ditch the .7 reducer. You want magnification.

 

An app for your Android that works great at the telescope is Lunar Map HD.

 

For your PC, Virtual Moon Atlas.


Edited by NinePlanets, 15 April 2024 - 09:07 AM.

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#3 scottinash

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 09:17 AM

Welcome to the moon!  

 

I have been observing for many years and in the last couple of years have looped back to really dig into lunar features and having a blast!   So much to observe!  

 

I use "MoonGlobe" app on my iPhone.

 

You can turn on labels in Quickmap, see attached image

Layers>Overlays>Nomenclature

 

Also, I might recommend that you look at https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/5048/ for current phase related information.   You can download/open the image file with labels btw.

 

A great hardcopy moon atlas for SCTs is Duplex Moon Atlas by Stoyan.   This atlas provides the appropriate orientation for several scope configurations including SCTs with a diagonal (North up, East Left).

Attached Thumbnails

  • Screenshot 2024-04-15 at 9.09.25 AM.png

Edited by scottinash, 15 April 2024 - 09:21 AM.

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#4 psuaero

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 09:18 AM

Thanks NinePlanets. I didn't think I'd need the 0.7x reducer tonight. I didn't even take it to the star party. I mainly bought that for astrophotography. I've got a few other things to collect (OAG, new guide camera, etc.) before I'm ready to use the EdgeHD for DSOs.

 

I'll definitely check out Lunar Map HD today. I'm looking at Lunescope Pro right now. The tablet solution would be ideal since I'll have it out controlling the ASIAir anyway. For the PC, definitely going to download Virtual Moon Atlas as well. 

 

Thanks again,

John


Edited by psuaero, 15 April 2024 - 09:20 AM.

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#5 psuaero

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 09:22 AM

Thanks Scott. Exactly what I was looking for in the Quickmap. I don't know how I missed that option.. probably overwhelmed with all the choices. I have a connection to that site... I work at GSFC (on a different mission) and have many friends that have supported LRO development and operations over the years.

 

John


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#6 scottinash

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 09:26 AM

I agree with NinePlanets concerning the .7 reducer - no need for it visually.

 

As for the eyepieces, Use all of them and decide what you like.   I have a range of EPs that I cycle through as well but have honed in on specific favorites for my specific scopes and/or what features I'm observing.    Zoom EPs are very nice and wish I had not sold mine years ago, but, I did for some crazy reason.


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#7 psuaero

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 09:40 AM

I agree with NinePlanets concerning the .7 reducer - no need for it visually.

 

As for the eyepieces, Use all of them and decide what you like.   I have a range of EPs that I cycle through as well but have honed in on specific favorites for my specific scopes and/or what features I'm observing.    Zoom EPs are very nice and wish I had not sold mine years ago, but, I did for some crazy reason.

I definitely will tonight. I bought the Baader zoom almost 5 years ago with my first scope, NexStar 6SE. It has continued to serve me well on the nights that I actually takes the camera off my refractor. I have to say... I was impressed with the stock 40mm Plossl that came with the scope. The other accessories (1.25 diagonal and visual back) were awful and quickly replaced!

 

Is there a consensus on using the 2x Televue? I bought it for imaging a lunar (star) occultation grazing with my 550mm refractor. I needed a bit more oomph and figured I might as well get some quality glass. My gut instinct tells me that if all things were equal... a 2x Televue w/ a 20mm eyepiece probably won't be as sharp as a 10mm eyepiece of the same quality. I don't have anything to base that theory on... just why add more glass to the train if you don't have too.

 

John



#8 scottinash

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 09:47 AM

I use my Celestron Ultima 2x all the time when I desire higher magnifications and the seeing cooperates!  Yes, you are adding more glass but with  multicoated optics, reflections should not be a big issue and you really never need worry about dimming down the views to much with the moon, unlike with faint fuzzy DSOs, etc.


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#9 Physicsman

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 09:53 AM

Hi John.

 

I would strongly recommend you download a (free) copy of the Virtual Moon Atlas by Legrand/Chevalley.

 

It's a fantastic resource, very user friendly. Currently in version 8.

 

Agree with all the resources mentioned by Scott.


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#10 Freezout

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 10:06 AM

If you want to look at the Moon with a natural view (not reversed), you can take an amici prism astro-grade.

 

T2 format Baader

https://www.baader-p...2-part-02).html

 

2" format Baader

https://www.baader-p...-r-coating.html

(I never said they are all cheap)

 

2" format APM

https://www.apm-tele...oadband-coating

 

I own the first one because I do not use 2" eyepieces anymore. It's married to my telescope. I never saw any line of diffraction.


Edited by Freezout, 15 April 2024 - 10:07 AM.

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#11 psuaero

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 10:47 AM

If you want to look at the Moon with a natural view (not reversed), you can take an amici prism astro-grade.

 

T2 format Baader

https://www.baader-p...2-part-02).html

 

2" format Baader

https://www.baader-p...-r-coating.html

(I never said they are all cheap)

 

2" format APM

https://www.apm-tele...oadband-coating

 

I own the first one because I do not use 2" eyepieces anymore. It's married to my telescope. I never saw any line of diffraction.

Thanks. If I fall deep enough into the visual side of the Moon I'll definitely have to save for one of these. Right now... I'll have to rely on the reversed image and hope that one of these great software packages can help keep me sane! I remember first doing some visual with a NexStar 6SE and trying to relate to what I saw on Stellarium (or just looking up into the sky) and in the eyepiece was a nightmare. I don't think I knew at the time that I could just reverse the Stellarium view. 


Edited by psuaero, 15 April 2024 - 11:21 AM.

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#12 NinePlanets

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 11:24 AM

Lunar Map HD will show you the view in any orientation you like; left-right, up-down, etc.


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#13 Sebastian_Sajaroff

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 11:55 AM

That Baader 8-24 zoom rocks on the Moon (and Sun, planets and doubles). Give it a try !


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#14 Josephus Miller

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 04:32 PM

For the lunatic on a budget (like me), I can recommend the SVBonny 7-21 zoom. I use it pretty much exclusively for my moongazing. It’s usually under $50 on Amazon and at those prices you can’t beat the value for money.
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#15 Sebastian_Sajaroff

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Posted 16 April 2024 - 05:13 AM

For the lunatic on a budget (like me), I can recommend the SVBonny 7-21 zoom. I use it pretty much exclusively for my moongazing. It’s usually under $50 on Amazon and at those prices you can’t beat the value for money.


Yes, had one of those on an old 6" F/8 Dobson, it was great !
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#16 Matt78

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Posted 16 April 2024 - 02:46 PM

I'll tell you something I learned last night on the moon. A friend of mine, Clearwater Dave on here, lent me a 5.5 mm Meade 82 degree eyepiece. I'd tried it a few times on some open clusters. Nice piece, but I didn't really see the big need. I tried it on the moon last night in my 5" SCT, and HOLY MOLY. That got me 227x. I also viewed at 250x with a different eyepiece that same session, but the wide apparent field of view on that Meade, man oh man. The apparent size of the disc it made was so much bigger, and it looked like I was peeking out of the window of a lunar orbiter. Now I see the need.

 

EDIT: I should note that before I used the C5, I started out with using it on my AT70ED, which is a fast scope. That only gave me about 80x, so the moon wasn't just filling up the whole view like on the C5. Filling up the whole eyepiece with moon was the secret sauce that made me go wow.


Edited by Matt78, 16 April 2024 - 03:29 PM.

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