Amature astronomy night

Yesterday my new telescope showed up, after just over an hour of assembly it was ready to go. Unfortunately, darkness was still about 5 hours off.

Once we finally got the darkness, we had a clear night, and a few friends over to play. I learned a few important things:

  • The 9x scope takes some getting used to finding things. I am used to binoculars, which you can flip back and forth to the night sky very quickly. I’m still not all the comfortable pointing it yet.
  • The sighting scope needs alignment, which I found out how to do by accident. I can now cross hair something and it will be in the scope field of view.
  • Jupiter is always a hit, and easy to find because it throws so much light. With the 120x optics (I have 48x and 120x optics included) you can see the cloud bands on the planet, which is very cool.
  • Transit time at 120x is quicker than I imagined. Jupiter does it in about 45 seconds.
  • I got used to the reverse / upsidedown controls pretty quick, quicker than I’d expect.
  • I’m really glad I got the object finder. While I didn’t try using it last night (as calibrating that the first time is going to take some effort), the evening definitely showed me that there is a huge adjustment to finding things with the scope. Having the assistance to find things is going to be appreciated.

I managed to snag 2 satellites in the scope at 48x, which I found with the sighting scope by accident. I think we were at about 6 satellites last night. I also found that I ended up in the same structures a few times by accident, and was starting to be able to find familiar bits of the sky.

All in all a fun evening. It looks like our next clear night will be tuesday, so will need to spend that night figuring out the object finder.

2 thoughts on “Amature astronomy night”

  1. The telescope is definitely optimized for optical viewing instead of photography. If you want to do photographs of anything other than the moon, you need a scope that will track around the polar axis, which means 3 degrees of freedom (2 to align to that axis, and one to spin on it). The mount I have just does 2 degrees of freedom.

    I consider this the learning scope to get much more comfortable with finding things up there. If I’m still enjoying this in a couple of years, I’ll look at something I might be able to take pictures with.

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