Novice Astronomical Projects

Don't be shy! If you're just starting out, here's the place to ask that first question

Moderators: joe, Brian, Guy Fennimore

Post Reply
cgdtaylor
Posts: 73
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:35 am
Contact:

Novice Astronomical Projects

Post by cgdtaylor »

Hi

I am getting into Astronomy more seriously after years of dabbling.

As I am just getting past the looking around phase with my 3" reflector, I am looking for a project to give my observing a purpose. It is my intention very soon to purchase a bigger scope probably a 6" Newtonian.

As yet I have not established any specific interests

Any suggested projects gratefully received.

Graham
Allan Peter
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:07 pm
Location: Chorley , Lancashire
Contact:

Re: Novice Astronomical Projects

Post by Allan Peter »

Hi Graham, wellcome to the forum. I was like you for a long time, just looking at all the wonder of the night sky. Trying to find my way around with light polution nothing looked as it did on the sky charts was frustrating. But I found myself drawn more to photography than casual viewing. Still on a massive learning curve which seems to go upwards as my bank balance goes downwards.
No doubt other members will have different views on the subject and will pass on their interests as well. Everyone has their favorite things that's what makes astronomy such a great hobby.

Clear skys
cgdtaylor
Posts: 73
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:35 am
Contact:

Re: Novice Astronomical Projects

Post by cgdtaylor »

Allan Peter wrote:Hi Graham, wellcome to the forum. I was like you for a long time, just looking at all the wonder of the night sky. Trying to find my way around with light polution nothing looked as it did on the sky charts was frustrating. But I found myself drawn more to photography than casual viewing. Still on a massive learning curve which seems to go upwards as my bank balance goes downwards.
No doubt other members will have different views on the subject and will pass on their interests as well. Everyone has their favorite things that's what makes astronomy such a great hobby.

Clear skys
Hi Allan

Thanks you for your reply.

I had thought about astro-photography. Indeed, I have been using the Bradford University Remote Telescope to do some albeit I suppose it is cheating! Certainly, when I buy the next scope I will make sure that I can piggy-back my DSLR. I have my eye on a Skywatcher 150PL that does have a camera fitting so that the equatorial mount can be used.

I will experiment in the meantime with short exposures on my Olympus and see what I can manage.

Again thanks for he idea - Graham
brian livesey
Posts: 5490
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:05 am
Location: Lancashire
Contact:

Re: Novice Astronomical Projects

Post by brian livesey »

Hi Graham. Have you considered a 8-inch ( 20CM ) reflector? This is still a managable size and collects nearly twice as much light as a 6-inch.
brian
cgdtaylor
Posts: 73
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:35 am
Contact:

Re: Novice Astronomical Projects

Post by cgdtaylor »

brian livesey wrote:Hi Graham. Have you considered a 8-inch ( 20CM ) reflector? This is still a managable size and collects nearly twice as much light as a 6-inch.
hi Brian

Strangely I was beginning to think that way. My main concern was that a 200 mm instrument might be a bit heavy to lifted into the house every night - I see the Sky-watcher Explorer weighs in at 49 Kg. However, as I don't intend to upgrade in a short time - a 8" scope may be the solution on the basis that it would sufficient for all likely future needs.

Many thanks for the suggestion and reply - Graham
M54
Posts: 205
Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2008 2:59 pm
Location: Cambs
Contact:

Re: Novice Astronomical Projects

Post by M54 »

For something to look at/for many do the Messier Objects, simply go find and view each one as they present themselves.

In the US they hold Messier Marathons usually mid to end March. You can get a lot of them in one evening at that time. Cannot recall your location, if supplied, but they hold one down at NLO Sidmouth about the same time.

For other possibilities look at Astroleague.
http://www.astroleague.org/
A US site but they have several observing programs.
http://www.astroleague.org/al/obsclubs/ ... Clubs.html

Quite a few different observing programs to choose from, start with easy short one to get the idea if they are the sort of things you want, we do not have anything matching these over here.
cgdtaylor
Posts: 73
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:35 am
Contact:

Re: Novice Astronomical Projects

Post by cgdtaylor »

M54 wrote:For something to look at/for many do the Messier Objects, simply go find and view each one as they present themselves.

In the US they hold Messier Marathons usually mid to end March. You can get a lot of them in one evening at that time. Cannot recall your location, if supplied, but they hold one down at NLO Sidmouth about the same time.

For other possibilities look at Astroleague.
http://www.astroleague.org/
A US site but they have several observing programs.
http://www.astroleague.org/al/obsclubs/ ... Clubs.html

Quite a few different observing programs to choose from, start with easy short one to get the idea if they are the sort of things you want, we do not have anything matching these over here.
Hi M54

Many thanks for the suggestion - I will certainly check out the websites you suggest. My telescope is a bit limited with respect to M objects. I can manage M27 but the Ring Nebula defeats me! I am still trying to 'calibrate' my scope to find its weakest magnitude which appears to be about 7.

However, when the new one is purchased (hopefully in the not too distant future) then a lot more should be viewable in a semi-rural area outside Dundee.

Once again many thanks for the website references - Graham
Cliff
Posts: 6624
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 8:18 pm
Location: Manchester
Contact:

Re: Novice Astronomical Projects

Post by Cliff »

Dear Graham
Wide angle imaging using a D-SLR even on a fixed photo tripod with pan&tilt head could provide plenty of interesting astronomy.
If you are a SPA member (?) you could join one (or more SPA Observing Sections but probably best no more than three!!!). That might get you into some interesting visual\imaging projects. A good 8 inch Newtonian is certainly nice to have providing endless opportunities. But it's often said the best telescope is the one that get used the most !!!
Arguably if unsure don't rush into buying anything. (Even though I did!).
Best of luck from Cliff
Post Reply