Purchased 2nd Telescope Yesterday

It is 3am in the morning and I desperately want to go out and observe Mars, Saturn and a number of other interesting objects in the night sky. But then I begin to feel tired and have to start pushing myself to get up and go out.      And before I can do this observing I need to carry a bulky telescope out into the garden and then set it up. And then of course I have to do a star align to tell the telescope my location ,time and so on.

New Telescope (Click to Enlarge)

And when i get all set up I look up and see a bank of clouds moving across the once clear sky. So I pack up the telescope and go back to sleep.

Such is one of the problems I face with observing from home. The time it takes to setup if I have a very small window of opportunity when there is a 20 minute gap in the clouds. I also have an issue where my favourite spot to observe from is close to a neighbour and I was paranoid about the noisy motor  from my telescope waking up the neighbour every time I had to slew the telescope.

So yesterday I bit the bullet and purchased an additional telescope. Now this is nothing to write home about but is simply one which is small enough for me to carry out the door and pretty much use straight away without too much setup.

It is a Newtonian reflector telescope with a 127mm mirror and a focal length of 1000mm. It has a steady tripod, red spot finder and pretty much what I need for what I would call stealth observing. In  other words, it doesn’t have a motor and is on a German Equatorial mount. With this scope I can do some observing when I like in complete silence.

As we had clear sky early this morning, I did an observing session with this telescope to see what it was like. Mars was just visible through the trees so I focused the scope on that. I have to say that the view of Mars was comparable if not better than the view as

Sirius Shooting Star (Click to Enlarge)

seen from my 130 SLT telescope. Have to do some more testing to see if that is the case.

I then focused the scope on Sirius which was about 44 degrees above the horizon in the west. I had only been looking at Sirius through a 25mm lens for a few seconds when all of a sudden a shooting star streaked through my field of view. That I have to say was an awesome sight. I have tried to recreate what I saw in the picture on the left.

It was a fairly good observing session last night, but sky conditions were not that great. however I did get to have a fairly good look at Mars. However the new scope needs collimating and this was all too evident when I tried to observe Saturn at 4:30am.

Overall the observing session was not bad. The plus side to the session early this morning was that there were no clouds at all. The negative side was that when you looked at the sky, it was a dull grey color…… not black.

The telescope I have just purchased will be used when I need to do some silent observing. It cost less than $300 s0 it is not meant to be an upgrade to my existing telescope. The Celestron 130 SLT is still a valued telescope and I still have plenty of observing hours ahead of me with this telescope. But when I need a quick observing session in a small gap in the clouds, or when I need to do some Silent Running in the early hours of the morning, then the new telescope will step in as an alternate scope.

~ by sydneystargazers on January 17, 2010.

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