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Many years ago my job demanded that I have a qualification in astronomy and cosmology, but although I gained both I had little interest in gazing at far off stars.  I was a theoretical engineer not an astronomer.  That was the case until the early part of the nineteen-nineties when I was given a pair of binoculars as a Christmas present.  A few days, or should I say nights, later, I had occasion to go outside, it was a crystal clear, frosty night and the sky was full of stars, with no Moon to bleach the stars out.  On a whim I went back indoors to get my new binoculars, I put them to my eyes and turned them skyward.  What I saw stunned me, through those lenses the sky exploded with light, stars appeared where none had been seen before.  By accident my binoculars fell upon the Orion Nebula and the sheer beauty took my breath away.  At that moment I was hooked on astronomy and I went outside on almost every clear night.  After a while I built a reflector telescope from a shaving mirror and a 1.2 meter length of 10” plastic tube, it worked but lacked the detail I wanted, but I obtained some great views of the Moon.  Not long after I bought the first of a line of astronomical telescopes and although I have seen so many mind boggling sights I can still remember that first night and the view of the Orion Nebula, I also have a vivid memory of the first time I observed Saturn, a golden broach on a blue velvet cloth.

The purpose of this group is to inspire all Christians to look up and see the glory of our Creator’s handiwork.  To encourage people’s interest in our home universe.  If we are the only inhabitants of this universe, should we not know what our home looks like and be able to extol its virtues.

Group Leader - Dr. Derek P. Blake

Co-Admin - Amanda Shannon

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  • Welcome to the astronomy group James, I hope you enjoy the group. I try to provide a head's-up on anything interesting in the night sky, so watch out for 'Tonight in the Night Sky' updates, just coming into the meteor season so there will be lots coming up. In the mean time there is plenty on the group to keep you reading for a while. Maybe you could let me know if you have any previous knowledge, so that I can pitch information at the right level. Clear skies to you.
  • I'm considering purchasing a telescope, a Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope (Amazon, about $70; 50mm about $50). I know these are very entry level, but thats where my budget is. Does anyone have an opinion on these? At this magnification, I could do Terrestrial pictures of birds also (at least, it says so). Please let me know all your opinions here. Thanks!
    • My friend, I have a fact sheet about buying telescopes on my astronomy web-site:
      I will come back later after I have a look at your intended scope.
    • After looking at your fact sheet, it appears a Reflector telescope is a much preferable way to go. Amazon has the Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker Telescope for just under $150, accessory kit $35.99. What thinketh thou?
    • The Celestron optics are always first class, I have a Celestron myself, and the reflector is good quality, the 5” aperture is a good size and will be able to resolve those Double Double stars I posted about. A friend who has one of these says he uses it as his portable as it is so easy to assemble right out of the boot (trunk), he loves it and also has a 13” reflector (Dobsonian).
      As this is Newtonian Reflector, you will need to learn how to align your telescope (collimation) for the mount to work correctly it needs to be aligned with the Earth's axis. There two decent eyepieces that come with the telescope. You may may want add to them in time, different eyepieces give different magnifications, the smaller the size (4mm) the higher the magnification. You probibly wont use the 3x Barlow especially the 4mm (250x) eyepiece. Celestron recommend the highest useful magnification of the 127 EQ is 300x. He reckons it about the best entry-level scope on the market
      An independent review I read from the British Astronomical Society says:
      “Image definition and illumination is superb thanks to the excellent optics and good sized aperture. With the reliable tripod and mount,  you will spend many pleasurable hours tracking your chosen objects through the night sky. Rest assured that the Celestron reputation for quality is well earned, and backed by a 2 year warranty.”
    • Sounds quite good, old chap! I'll put it on my "wish list" along with the extra lenses package. Now to go about praying for the funds!
    • Why do you need the extra lenses? This scope does not have any lenses other than the eyepieces, it just has an open end and a very accurate mirror. If I were you I would wait until you get the scope and get used to using it and finding your way around the sky. Celestron have a great planetarium you can down load to your computer, called 'Sky Portal' it is free to download. This will be a great help to start learning about the night-sky and the objects that are out there, and can zoom in to even resolve double stars. Another one, though not as good is Google Sky Map (also free) there is two one is from India so be sure you have the right one. A reflector is not the same as a refactor, so don't get the pack unless you are sure it will be useful.
    • For me this telescope has a much too small an objective lens to be able to resolve much in the way of stars, so don't expect to be able to see very much, other than the Moon. The 'objective lens' the lens at the top end, is the most important part of a refactor telescope, it's all about collecting light, so the larger diameter the better. It is about the area of the lens, this 70mm lens has an area of 3840 sq mm, a 100mm lens gives you 7855 sq mm, over twice the area and therefore twice the amount of light collecting properties, for just another 3 cm. A pair of 50mm Binoculars gives you 3928 sq mm of area (because you have two lenses. Get the idea?
      Most reviews are fairly good, but mist say the accessory kit is the best feature, the two eyepieces are the right sizes as you will never need more then 40x magnification, even at 40x there will be little resolution.
    • Can you recommend another with more magnification, say under $200? (On Amazon, or a Stateside web based supplier?).
      Would, with this one, I be able to see the things you write about, like the comets and the twin galaxies? I printed out the fact sheet for help.
  • Welcome to the Astronomy Group (Looking Up-observing God's glory) Charlie. It's good to have you as a member, please feel free to post anything associated with the heavens, observations, questions or some of your impressive photos.
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