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View Full Version : Is it worth buying a telecope considering my location?



GothicFighter
2010-Nov-20, 09:00 PM
Edit:Well, there aren't any astronomer clubs in my city but I do have several books and I plan on hardly studying, first with the naked eye. Thanks for the reply.

Hello.
Beginner astronomer here. In a couple of months I plan on buying a telescope/binocular but I have several questions/concerns. I'll write them in bold.
First, I live in an apartment building, on the 3rd floor. There is a street light right in front of the block which stays on all night long. In front of me there are also several blocks. Here's a pic I took ~2 months ago, at day time(There was a storm coming, that's why the sky looks orange-ish)
http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2010/134/1/2/Rainbow_over_orange_sky_by_GothicFighter.jpg

Right now it's 11:00PM and the sky is not black. It's more like a dark blue and it's foggy(I can only see the Moon, but only the shape). A few hours ago I could see several start but the sky was clear.

Anyway, I have several astronomy books that I plan on studying (Teach Yourself VISUALLY Astronomy,The Complete Idiot's Guide to Astronomy and the like).

So, considering those things, should I buy a telescope in the future or I should just wait until I'll get a house of my own?

Thanks.

astromark
2010-Nov-21, 09:26 AM
From what you tell us I have two suggestions... Binoculars might be the better idea for you now... considering location and not so clear sky..
Do not underestimate how good, good binoculars can be...
secondly, could you join a astronomy club or society near your location ? Much experience and good help and at little or no outlay ( cost ).

GothicFighter
2010-Nov-21, 10:07 AM
From what you tell us I have two suggestions... Binoculars might be the better idea for you now... considering location and not so clear sky..
Do not underestimate how good, good binoculars can be...
secondly, could you join a astronomy club or society near your location ? Much experience and good help and at little or no outlay ( cost ).

I also thought binoculars would be better. This one got my attention:
Celestron 71008 SkyMaster 25x70 Binoculars

I can't buy anything more expensive than that.
As for the second question, there aren't any astronomy clubs or something like that in my city, but as I've said, I have books and I want to study hard.

Thanks for the answer.

chrlzs
2010-Nov-21, 12:24 PM
What he said! Join an astronomy club, start with binoculars and a good astronomy book, learn your sky and how to find stuff (here's the usual Stellarium (http://www.stellarium.org) recommendation..).

That way you will save money by not buying a scope that you later realise was a bad choice.. :)

Hopefully that astronomy club will have field trips away from the light pollution. If not, I'd strongly suggest you take the time to spend some time well away from any city/town, indeed away from any lights at all, and take a look at the real sky...

kamaz
2010-Nov-21, 01:12 PM
Salut :)

I think that the best way is to start with naked eye. What you have do to first, is get yourself a sky map (or planetarium software), wait for a night with clear skies, go out, and try to identify the main stars/constellations. This will give you an idea how bad light pollution really is at your site: can you see only stars to 1mag? 2mag? 3mag? (no light pollution=6mag). Also, try finding a dark spot in your neighborhood -- in urban settings, you can get a shocking improvement by walking a few hundred meters (be careful not to get robbed in such places, though). When you have that figured out, get yourself binoculars and start hunting for easy targets -- such as Pleiades, M35, M44, NGC 869 & 884 or Orion Nebula. It will take you a few months to learn your way around the sky, so you can find what class of objects you prefer: planets, clusters or nebulae (and which ones you can see). And don't forget the Moon!

Also, astronomy actually can be done under light polluted skies. Light pollution is the biggest problem for observing galaxies, a major problem for observing nebulae (here ALP, UHC and O-III filters can help), a bit lesser problem with star clusters and virtually no problem with the Moon and planets. The important part here is that different types of objects call for different equipment. So it's better to find out first with binoculars what you can see and what you are interested in, and only then move to actually buying the equipment. Particularly, since you will likely not be able to afford a new scope for a few years after you buy the first one.

In principle, there are two ways of fighting light pollution:

1. You get yourself a big scope (8-10 inch Dobsonians and up) with filters, and set that up on your balcony

2. You get yourself a small scope (such as 80-100mm ED refractor), put it into backpack, and go to a site with better skies to do the observing.

RickJ
2010-Nov-22, 04:39 AM
For starters 10x50 binoculars would be far more preferable. There are good books on binocular astronomy. Don't know what's available in your country however.

Can you drive to a dark site? If so, a telescope after a year of binocular astronomy would be fine.

Even with your conditions a telescope can do solar observing by day, with the sun's activity picking up now is the time to think about this. A Meade/Coronado PST would be fine for your location and can show you amazing detail that literally changes by the minute when the sun is active. A telescope would also be fine for looking at the planets and moon. Sun too in white light with a Baader film filter. Not as neat as H alpha with the PST but fun anyway.

Rick

GothicFighter
2010-Nov-25, 06:17 PM
Finally, after 4 foggy days, I got to see stars on the sky. I can count lots of them and in from my balcony,most of them being in the middle of the sky and if I look South or so, I can see the really bright star I bet everyone sees(I think it's the North Star).Here's a photo I took with a camera:

http://img189.imageshack.us/f/sdc19832.jpg/

It might load a bit slower because it's kind of large.

GothicFighter
2010-Nov-25, 07:40 PM
OMG, I've managed to see some stars and locate them in Stellarium. If I look out of my balcony on the sky, a bit to my left,I can see 3 stars in a row, like following a line, and 2 around it. I've looked in Stellarium and located them:
http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/3663/1029201085303am11820106.jpg

The 3 stars are Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka and the 2 on the sides Betelgeuse and Rigel.
Kind of excited right now. I'm going to try and locate more stars :D

Hornblower
2010-Nov-26, 01:35 PM
Finally, after 4 foggy days, I got to see stars on the sky. I can count lots of them and in from my balcony,most of them being in the middle of the sky and if I look South or so, I can see the really bright star I bet everyone sees(I think it's the North Star).Here's a photo I took with a camera:

http://img189.imageshack.us/f/sdc19832.jpg/

It might load a bit slower because it's kind of large.

It would be hard to see the North Star while looking south. I am guessing that you saw Jupiter, which far outshines anything else in the southern sky at this time.

kamaz
2010-Nov-26, 06:08 PM
OMG, I've managed to see some stars and locate them in Stellarium. If I look out of my balcony on the sky, a bit to my left,I can see 3 stars in a row, like following a line, and 2 around it. I've looked in Stellarium and located them:
http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/3663/1029201085303am11820106.jpg

The 3 stars are Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka and the 2 on the sides Betelgeuse and Rigel.
Kind of excited right now. I'm going to try and locate more stars :D

Congratulations, you've found Orion! In Stellarium, switch on constellation lines (press C), constellation names (V) and nebulae (N). You'll see what is where and what people are talking about.

Also -- you can try some planetarium software for your cell phone. I've actually learned main constellations that way. Just remember to turn screen brightness down when you go observing, otherwise your eyes will hurt when you switch from looking at the sky to looking at the phone.

Homework: locate Cassiopeia and Pleiades. They are well visible with naked eye even under light polluted skies. If you have binoculars, try the Orion Nebula.

GothicFighter
2010-Nov-26, 06:11 PM
Yea, I think that was Jupiter.
Anyway, last night I've managed to locate and learn about 10 stars :D and 2 constellations(Betelgeuse,Rigel,Bellatrix,Alnitak, Alnilam,Mintaka,Aldebaran from Orion and Sirius from Canis Major)
Right now the sky is foggy again.

Frankium
2010-Dec-13, 01:04 PM
Get some binoculars and locate the Andromeda galaxy. Even with small binoculars it should be visible from your location (though only as a small gray blob). It is truly inspiring to look at another galaxy for the first time. Find it in stellarium, and learn how to locate it using the Andromeda constellation, and see if you can find it, it is really cool.

Romanus
2010-Dec-19, 08:32 PM
1.) Will second suggestion of binoculars; I prefer 7x50s for steadiness, but for your location (which looks fairly light-polluted) 10x50s will give you a darker visual field. I'd stay away from the model you listed; such high-power binoculars tend to be of poor quality, and on top of that are very difficult to hold still enough for astronomy.

2.) Though no one has mentioned it yet, get a star chart, preferably one specific to your latitude (unless you already own one, of course). Planetarium programs are wonderful, but there's no substitute for matching what's in your hand with what's in the sky.

3.) If you're going to get a telescope, I'd get something very light and portable; there are a number of excellent models on the market.