Michael J. Hill
A top tip to observing fainter objects is to allow your eyes at least 20 minutes to adjust the dark. So if you want to use a mobile to check where an object is make sure you cover the screen with a red acetate (red light is ok).
Another top tip (newbie too) is to take your time. Don’t try and rush your way around everything available. The longer at the eyepiece the more you resolve. Averted vision works well (observed object off centre).
I also found the collimation (alignment of optical components) of my 8″ Newtonian shocking at delivery. If your confident at DIY have a browse and have a go. Old 35mm camera film cannister, a pin and a few minutes twiddling, Bingo. My experience is that a little knowledge can save Â£’s and reap BIG benefits.
Make a focus mask out of cardboard, it worked for me! Piece of cardboard, three similar sized circular holes, serated edge folded over the outside of you scope, Pop it on when looking at a target, vary focus until all three images form one. Pop it off the scope Hey presto! Big advantage.
One last thought, your first scope is your first step in astronomy. Don’t expect ‘magazine’ views, but the wonder of real science in real time right in front of your eyes.
PS Live near Runcorn/Widnes Jubilee uplighter (bridge) and some fool is opening a 24 hour Tesco round the corner next week. My pollution is shocking too, but there are ways and means.
PPS Try weekly meet at Leighton Observatory in Cronton. Not the darkest skies, but darker, elevated position, tea, coffee, buscuits (I’ve seen cumbs), cake (so rumour has it), great scopes and lots of advice. Clear skies too on occasion!! Well worth a visit as I can testify.