What to do with my telescope...?

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scopenoob

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Hi, a while back I bought a 6-inch Dobsonian reflector, and It's been gathering dust every since. Now I don't know much about space, so the only thing I've pointed it at are planets. I need targets...<br /><br />Also I only have a 47mm eyepiece, and a 2 barlow lens (X2, X3). I suposse I'm going to need a new eyepiece or two. <br /><br />Btw, I have Starry Night, so I can look up locations.
 
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MeteorWayne

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Point it at the Milky way and just take a cruise.<br /><br />Look around Sagittarius, the center of the galaxy.<br /><br />Look at the Pleiades.<br /><br />Look at the Orion Nebula (early in the AM now, but in a few months it will be up in the evening.<br /><br />What time can you observe? are you limited to the evening? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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scopenoob

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I live in California, and if I use it, it's somewhere between 7pm-10pm.<br /><br /><br /><br />Oh yeah, I have no idea what you were talking about... except the part about the Milky Way.
 
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MeteorWayne

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Whew, Ok I guess we should start with the basics.<br /><br />First, I would recommend you subcribe to Astronomy or Sky and Telescope.<br /><br />Trust me, it's worth the money, it will inspire you. It gives you telescopic targets and how to find them.<br /><br />Second, you've got to learn your way around the sky.<br /><br />Do you know any constellations at all?<br /><br />Is there anything you recognize in the sky?<br /><br />Do you know where the north star is?<br /><br />What's the brightest star/planet you can see; roughly which direction is it?<br /><br />With those answers, we can start helping you find your way around.<br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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adrenalynn

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I'm a noob here, but might I suggest you also download a copy of "Stellarium"? It's a free/open-source planetarium program. http://www.stellarium.org/<br /><br />Later we'll getcha into the commercial stuff.<br /><br />MeteorWayne is definitely on the right track with you, IMHO. Having a good planetarium package will help you "Star Hop" and learn the sky around you.<br /><br />What part of California are you in? And is your scope not a "GoTo" scope? <br /><br />On top of what MW was asking, it would also help perhaps to know what the dimmest star you can see with your naked eye is - to help establish how dark your sky is.<br /><br />The Messier (aka "M") objects can be pretty exciting for a new scope owner. Or present some wonderful opportunities for the photographer.<br /><br />Once you learn to Star Hop and start playing with the planetarium software, finding the M objects at low magnification is pretty easy. And they should nearly all be visible with your new 'scope even in a reasonably bright sky. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>.</p><p><font size="3">bipartisan</font>  (<span style="color:blue" class="pointer"><span class="pron"><font face="Lucida Sans Unicode" size="2">bī-pär'tĭ-zən, -sən</font></span></span>) [Adj.]  Maintaining the ability to blame republications when your stimulus plan proves to be a devastating failure.</p><p><strong><font color="#ff0000"><font color="#ff0000">IMPE</font><font color="#c0c0c0">ACH</font> <font color="#0000ff"><font color="#c0c0c0">O</font>BAMA</font>!</font></strong></p> </div>
 
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heyscottie

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If you have Starry Night, you should be able to look up some of the locations MeteorWayne mentioned. Here are a few more:<br /><br />1) Andromeda Galaxy (M31)<br />2) Hercules Globular (M13)<br />3) Ring Nebula (M51)<br />4) Perseus Double Cluster<br />5) Albereo (Double Star)<br /><br />If you are looking through Starry Night, have it show you the Messier (M) objects. You should be able to see every one of those objects with your 6-incher. Then you can do some star-hopping to find them.<br /><br />By the way, I recommed you get a Telrad finder -- it is the easiest way of pointing a scope in the right location if you don't have Goto. They are about $40.
 
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adrenalynn

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Stellarium is like Starry Night - only free. It's a very good substitute for Starry Night Backyard edition. (Is that now "Enthusiast"?) In fact, Stellarium has features that the basic versions of the commercial packages don't. It even has full ASCOM telescope control!<br /><br />Starry Night Pro Plus still has it all over Stellarium, though (at a cost approaching a 6" non-GoTo Dob. <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" />) <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>.</p><p><font size="3">bipartisan</font>  (<span style="color:blue" class="pointer"><span class="pron"><font face="Lucida Sans Unicode" size="2">bī-pär'tĭ-zən, -sən</font></span></span>) [Adj.]  Maintaining the ability to blame republications when your stimulus plan proves to be a devastating failure.</p><p><strong><font color="#ff0000"><font color="#ff0000">IMPE</font><font color="#c0c0c0">ACH</font> <font color="#0000ff"><font color="#c0c0c0">O</font>BAMA</font>!</font></strong></p> </div>
 
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docm

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Agreed on Stellarium. I was shocked at what it delivers at zero cost. It's also cross platform; Win, Mac & Linux (source). <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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tfwthom

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Objects Viewable From Metro Phoenix (should work for anywhere else)<br /><br />This observing list is a selection of 110 of the brightest deep sky objects in the night sky that can easily be viewed with a telescope from light polluted sites. A light polluted site is one with enough light that the Milky Way is not visible with the unaided eye.<br /><br />You will not get the award unless you are a SAC member but its still something to do.<br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="1" color="#3366ff">www.siriuslookers.org</font> </div>
 
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adrenalynn

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I just noticed that you wrote that you had Starry Night. I don't think that was there when I first posted...<br /><br />You didn't mention what version. What I suggest you do is turn on display of Messier Objects, and the display of star names. What you want to do is find the brightest star in a given direction that is as close as you can get to one of the Messier Objects. Using bright stars that you can see, you'll "star hop" by splitting the distances between the stars (or planets).<br /><br />You can do an "Info" on the star. That will give you the magnitude. Try to find stars that are 2 apparent magnitude or greater (greater is a smaller number. -12.5 is about the full moon). Anything of that 2 brightness or better should be pretty visible unless you're in a *really* nasty city. Around Sacramento, 2.5 is nearly always naked-eye visible on a cloudless night.<br /><br />There are 110 M objects. Many beginning astronomers can entertain themselves for a year or more with just those 110.<br /><br />Also, the list TFWThom posted is outstanding, but someare a bit harder to star-hop to.<br /><br />Please do let us know how your next observing session goes! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>.</p><p><font size="3">bipartisan</font>  (<span style="color:blue" class="pointer"><span class="pron"><font face="Lucida Sans Unicode" size="2">bī-pär'tĭ-zən, -sən</font></span></span>) [Adj.]  Maintaining the ability to blame republications when your stimulus plan proves to be a devastating failure.</p><p><strong><font color="#ff0000"><font color="#ff0000">IMPE</font><font color="#c0c0c0">ACH</font> <font color="#0000ff"><font color="#c0c0c0">O</font>BAMA</font>!</font></strong></p> </div>
 
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scopenoob

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I don't know the constellations.. just the big dipper, and the little dipper, and I have trouble identifying that. I have Starry Night 5 Pro, and I live in Los Angeles. It's pretty darn bright, escippally because it's summer. My cusions and I tired to find the whirlpool galaxy, but unless that tiny dot was it, I don't think so. Once we came across the seven sisters constellation, but we dismissed it looking for Mars. Now we can't find it anymore. The only 2 planets we've found are Saturn and Jupiter, which were just big enough to make out the planet. No, my telescope isn't go-to, or it would've made this a lot easier. <br /><br />Edit: My cusions and I can star hop a little I guess. We use the laptop and kinda measure it in our heads while comparing it to the sky.
 
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scopenoob

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I don't need a Telrad finder - I have this technique, you point it in the general direction, keep both eyes open and put 1 eye on the finderscope. You'll have double vision, but when it merges, it's pointed at that object <img src="/images/icons/laugh.gif" />.<br /><br />Anyways, thanks, I'll read up. I thought I was just really bad at using a telescope, but it does make sense about the light polluation.. no stars to hop around on.
 
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MeteorWayne

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And you really need to learn your way around at least the brighter constellations, since you can use them to find dimmer ones. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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