My Search For My First Telescope
What prompted me to start this blog was the flood of information I got when researching my first telescope. At the moment I don’t have one and to be honest I am still learning all about the different components and capabilities on offer.
A few things considerations I have are,
1. This is most definitely a starter scope, I am not interested in spending thousands of pounds on a telescope (yet!)
2. I would like to be able to capture some photographs of the night sky without too much extra investment.
3. Needs to be relatively portable, in that I will be bringing itÂ in and out of the house.
4. Not concerned with using the telescopeÂ for land viewing.
Sticking to these I am able to narrow my search down slightly, in terms of cost the price range I think I will be looking at will be between 150 and 300 pound.
This should allow me to get a very capable scope with enough aperture and magnification to allow me to see good detail of the planets and moon and also explore some of the nebula and galaxies. One thing I have discovered online is that looking at deep space objects (DSO) through a telescope looks nothing like the pictures you see in books and on television, apparently all colour is drained from these images through the telescope. It is only when you get into astrophotography that the images come to live.
Which brings me to my second consideration, photographing the sky, I am in no way a competent photographer, I generally know you point your camera at something you want to take a picture off, press the button, make sure your camera doesn’t fall in your pint and hey presto you have a photo.Â There are essentially 2 things you can photograph in the night sky, The Moon and Planets and Deep Space Objects (DSO), so near and far really. For now I will concentrate on near.
Pictures ofÂ objects such as the Moon and the Planets of the solar system are best taken using a webcam, yes a webcam. There are loads of guides online that go through process of stripping your webcam down andÂ placing it in an eyepiece that you can then screw into your telescope. You connect this as normal to you laptop / computer and hey presto you see what your telescope can see on your laptop screen.
The idea is then to film what you want to photograph, the webcam is taking 25 images per second of this object far more than a traditional camera could, you then import this video into a stacking program (which I will review in a later post), these are freely available online and one I hear mentioned over and over it Registax. This will take each individual frame of the video and stack them on top of each other to give you the best possible photo. Some of the results are very impressive, This image was taking with a Skywatcher 130mm telescope and a Philips SPC 800 webcam, total cost about Â£180, The image has bring enhanced using Registax.
For me the telescope needs to be light enough to be able to be brought in and out of the house easily, There is obviously going to be a trade off between size and power. Also I would like to be able to bring the telescope with me in the car from time to time.
Some telescopes act like binoculars and can be used to view objects on earth, astronomical telescopes make the image appear reversed, so you can imagine this would not be very useful for, say bird watching as the bird will appear to fly upside down, however this doesn’t matter when viewing a planet or stars, seeing as I have never seen them up close before I wouldn’t know if the were the right way round anyway.
The current leader in my list of telescopes that fit my criteria isÂ ….. drumroll…..
As I learn more about telescopes and what to look for, I am sure that the race for Ronan’s first scope is not over and the leader will change many times.