9 Months of Observing

Well it has been 9 months to the day since I purchased my telescope and overall I have being very happy with it.

I have a Celestron 130 SLT telescope with 650mm focal length. I have to say here that this was the first real telescope I have ever purchased and I was absolutely amazed by the view through the eye pieces when I first looked at Saturn. Even though the rings are only visible as a horizontal line,  that did not matter….. it was still spectacular.

(Click to Enlarge)

In the last 9 months I have attemped to get as much practical experience as possible to work out the limitations of the telescope. However this year has been a little disappointing as I have discovered that when I have time to observe the skies are overcast and when the skies are clear i always seem to have a work engagement preventing me from getting out in the field. And when I rush home I am either too tired to observe or the clouds have just rolled in.

This is one of the reasons I have come up with the Clear Sky Chart…. so I can get an idea of what conditions will be like over the next few days and plan for some observing.

I also have a major problem with light pollution in my local area. This of course is a scourge to many backyard astronomers in Sydney. But I have to say that I have heard the light pollution levels are 10 times higher in some major cities in America and Europe so I will not complain too much. I am looking at my options at the moment and a sky glow filter this month or next month will hopefully resolve that.

View of Saturn (Click to Enlarge)

One of my goals is to push my telescope to the limits and this requires more time than I have spent working out what I need to get the views I am looking for. I did a little googling on the Internet and found a number of reviews of my 130 SLT telescope which gave me some added incentive. I have put together the second image on the left to show what other users of the scope have being able to produce with astrophotography using the same telescope as mine.

To obtain an image of Saturn like this they recommended a Barlow Lens. Well I have 2 of those. Another recommendation I saw was to purchase a  Televue 2.5 powermate instead of a Barlow. I have heard a lot about these and will look more into these with a possible purchase of one in January. I have also been looking at the Watec 120N camera but there is a hefty price tag for this camera. If I  get one of these it will be some months down the track.

So there are a few options to look at to improve my observing of the night skies, but i think the highest priority of all is a skyglow lens so I can tackle the light pollution levels in my area.

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~ by sydneystargazers on December 6, 2009.

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