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Topics - coachroninil

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I'm brand new to amateur astronomy, having just acquired my first scope - an 8", f6 dob (XT8 Plus, specifically). I've taken it out every clear night and I'm already sure that this will be a hobby I will be investing some time (and money) in. I've spent some time reading through these forums, and have read through two highly recommended books ("Nightwatch" & "Turn Left at Orion"), but there are some things I could use some further advice on:

1. Light pollution: I live in an urban environment (Alameda, CA - basically downtown Oakland) and the light pollution is awful. I have 3 young kids, include a 1 month old, so my ability to get away from home to seek out dark skies will be limited for the foreseeable future. I understand that many deep sky objects will remain out of reach from my location, but I still want to seek out all the open clusters and multi star systems and any other bright objects that I can from my own backyard. Considering my gear, and that I have no GoTo technology, I'm reliant on star hopping to find my targets, which is quite difficult with my severe light pollution.I had considered getting an extreme wide angle eyepiece at low power with which to break through the pollution to navigate the skies for star hopping purposes.Is this a feasible solution? Perhaps coupled with a broadband filter?Any other advice on star hopping in severe light pollution without GoTo technology? Also, can you please recommend a resource for light pollution maps?

2. Filters:I'm considering purchasing two different filters, a broadband filter to dampen light pollution (noted above - although I question how helpful it will be), and a narrowband filter for nebula viewing from home and on rare occasions when I can get away from the city. Regarding the narrowband, I've read great reviews on the DGM NPB, so that's currently at the top of my list. With that in mind, I'd rather not pay the full $150, so I'm mulling the idea of getting the "cosmetic 2nd" discounted piece from Amazon (, but I'm concerned about the fact that the flaws include "cosmetic flaws, such as pinholes, sleeks, or light scratches". Are these flaws significant when it comes to filters?Or should I trust DGM when they say "flaws which have zero impact on optical performance. Spectral characteristics are the same high quality as our first quality filters and side by side performance is indistinguishable."

3. Eyepieces:There's so much information out there on eyepieces, it's difficult to settle on which eyepieces to target next. The XT8 Plus comes with an Orion 10mm plossl and 28mm "Deep View". The plossl seems well enough for now, but I don't feel that the Deep View provides enough FOV for a lower power eyepiece, so I think a low power, wide angle eyepiece will be my next purchase.With that in mind, any recommendations on the ideal "True FOV" to shoot for low power viewing? I know 2"+ will be necessary to take in all of thePleiades and Andromeda (for example), but is 2" considered overkill, or is this a good TFOV to shoot for? Any other eyepiece advice you can provide regarding building a strong initial eyepiece set would be helpful as well (considering mid to high-tier options).

Thanks a lot!

Mounts Questions & Expirience / Losmandy GM-8 with gemini 2 electronics
« on: January 03, 2018, 11:20:19 PM »
I'm looking to buy a mount I was looking at the losmandy GM-8 with the gemini 2 electronics I have a telvue NP 101 scope with the QSI 683 wsg -8 camera and a loadstar 2x guider . The mount specs are 30 lbs. capacity but it comes with a 7 pound weight . would this set up be to flimsy for the scope and camera setup that I have . I will be keeping it in a observatory and not planning on taking it out places . I was going to use the tripod until I build a pier for it . Is this a good mount or is there a better one . I was looking at the celestron CGX but the more I read they have a lot of problems that need to be solved . I'm just looking for something that is good and accurate for imaging

Thanks for any help

Mounts Questions & Expirience / Hand controller vs. computer
« on: December 29, 2017, 06:09:15 PM »
Hey all,

I just received my box today, and that box inlcuding some items such as a cable to connect the mount directly to the computer.

I didn't test the cable yet, but sounds i will do now or very soon once i figure out the other items first, and once i get some details about the cable and connection to computer.

So my question is, what will be the benefits or advantages of using the computer to control the mount than using the hand control?

Which is the best program for communicating with the mount via PC?

Does the mount need update without hand controller or all updates are actually done by the hand controller?

I am thrilled, more items and more things to learn too.

Just a bonus or optional question, my hand controller is formatted by mistake and no longer in use, is there a way to restore it without a cable? i don't get the cable yet, i am waiting another order to be processed but the online store is closed and will re-open in several hours, then i need to wait nearly 4-6 days at most to get it, so now i can't use the controller or connect it to the computer.

Beginners Forum / first star photo
« on: December 29, 2017, 05:28:02 AM »
I connected my old d40 to the telescope last night and did an exposure of the double cluster. I attach the snap. I had to jpg and resize it to be able to upload. I'm quite pleased (especially with the nef which has more stars), but I wonder about the colours. I expected false colour but what I can't understand is it's direction; toward the edge it gets 'pushed' inwards.

Any explanations, advice and tips would be great. TIA.

General Astronomy & Observing / Solar Eclipse 2017
« on: December 29, 2017, 12:25:43 AM »
Hi Everybody -

Will any institutions or observatories be offering accessible live feeds showing the progress and totality of the upcoming solar eclipse? My library wants to incorporate such a thing into a program if it is available during the eclipse. Thanks!


Greetings everyone
I had a good dark night and was able to observe many nebula last night but for the life of me I could not see the one called North American nebula. Is this only visible with photography? I was using a UHC-S-filter and tried various eyepieces ES80 18&30mm. I was think a larger FOV would make it more visible.

Beginners Forum / what magnitude star is in my eyepiece?
« on: December 28, 2017, 01:48:20 AM »
I would like to know the magnitude of the stars I see in my eyepiece. This is what I am using, 8" edge with reducer giving me a 1422 focal length with a 30mm eyepiece with AFOV of 82 degrees. Giving me a TFOV of 1.73 degrees and a magnification of 47.4, with this setup, I see many stars.  I want to duplicate this with Stellarium and pick out the star I want to align with. If I knew what the dimmest star I could see with this setting, I could set Stellarium to display that magnitude and duplicate what I am seeing. I'm sure using the magnitude of 47.4 could be used to figure out what the dimmest star that is in the eyepiece.

I'm always scouting out new places that are really close by for grab-n-go sessions. I was wondering if there were any particular types of places that you go to where you don't feel sketchy being. Do you go to a park? An unused lot?

I usually go to a city park, but I got there last night and they turned on the baseball field lights as soon as I got done setting up (bummer). My other spot has tennis court lights that I can block with trees if I'm in the right spot so it's not too bad and less than 5 minutes away. Other than city parks, what kinds of places do all you apartment dwellers go? I know the answer is "just drive to a dark site" and I do that when I have time, but what about when you want to do an hour of observing and not have to drive for two?

Also, have you ever run into trouble being somewhere? One time I was at an empty lot in my neighborhood and some cops happened to roll by, but they were like "oh, that's really cool" and left me alone.

Reflectors Telescopes Forum / No more 25 Obsessions
« on: December 24, 2017, 02:27:03 PM »
Word has it from a reliable source Dave will no longer be building any more 25 inch scopes.This isn't a big surprise given his price for them was 20K.  So the 22 UCS are now their biggest offering.Kind of the ending of an era.  Also this happens right as a 25 Obsession appears on craigslist in the Chicagoland area for 12K.  https://chicago.crai...6208001662.html

Light Pollution Topics / Please welcome new Moderators!
« on: December 23, 2017, 11:16:40 PM »
Please welcomecbwerner (Chris), and JayinUt (Jay) as Moderators here!  Their help is greatly appreciated!

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