View Full Version here: : Need some help starting off
21-11-2011, 06:17 PM
Hey guys, great community you have here just to start with that.
Two days ago I bought my Skywatcher 150 x 1200 Dobsonian Reflector, being my first telescope, and an upgrade from my 8-11x50 binoculars, I was really excited to hear from the store owner that that night was going to be very good, which inded lived up to that. At about 6:20pm I saw Jupiter to my NE and got a beautiful image of it an the Gallilain moons, which I observed for about 20-30min and took some drawings in my book on the moons orbit, next I was rived to find something else, I waited about 2 hours so that the sky was dark enough for things to be seen clearly, I had about 200-250 stars above me, I found the Orion Nebula to my very NE, I was very excited as I locted it through my finder scope to actually see it(I understood id only see a small cloud like thing, nothing like the photo's from Hubble) but when I found it with my 25mm lens I was a bit dissapointed as I saw just 3 bright stars in the sky, so I swapped to my 10mm hoping to see something a little better but still nothing much more than 3 stars as could be seen through basic binoculars, so I tried navigating to find something else I went to other messier objects to find I still cant see much more than a bright light(Like a star) and my telescope is all ready for obs. as my local astronomy shop did all the corilation for me and I did ajust the focus but still nothing was really working.
All I saw that night was Jupiter, which wasnt a total disappointment as it was trully amazing to see its gas bands. But this has followed up to the past night as well as I tried looking at Venus before it set into the horrizen and all I saw was this bright orange looking star. What am I doing wrong guys?
Thanks Appricate your time!
21-11-2011, 06:55 PM
Hi Jason and well done on getting your first scope. Is it a Dobsonian or an equatorial mount?
I will assume a dob as that is what you are most likely to get given your specs. Were you able to use the finder to locate Jupiter? If not it may mean your finder needs alignment.
To do this take your scope outside in daylight BEING CAREFUL TO NEVER POINT IT ANYWHERE NEAR THE SUN!!!! (sorry for shouting but that is really important) Pick a distant object that is recognisable, tv aerial, chimney, or a branch on a tree. Further away the better. Put in your lowest power EP (probably the 25mm) and then see if you can find the object while looking through the finder. Once it is centred have a look in the EP and if it is visible, you are aligned. If not moved the scope around until it comes into view, then switch back to the finder and use the adjusting screws to align the finder.
The orion neb should be quite prominent in your scope unless it is really low. View will be best in the 25mm as it is quite a large object and bright.
Good luck with finding it!
Hi Jason and welcome.
I'm wondering if perhaps your finderscope and telescope aren't aligned so when you look in the finer you see one thing and then through the scope another...?
During the day (NOT POINTING ANYWHERE NEAR THE SUN) try pointing the setup at a distant object - do you have the same view in the finder as in the scope? If not, there will be some adjustment screws on the finder. Line the object up in the scope and then adjust the finder till you see the same thing through it.
Hope that's all it is - easy fixed!
Malcolm - SNAP!
we must have been typing the same response at the same time
21-11-2011, 07:01 PM
Thanks Malcolm, yes your right its a Dubsonian mount.
The store keeper ran me through alligning my scope, which I used to navigate Jupiter, I am on the hunt tonight to try and find M47 and Orion Nebula, if I have time I'll take a look what else is out.
Quick question to add though.
As I'm on school holidays I have a lot of free time durning the day to research what I'm looking for that night, what are some techniques you guys/girls use to prepare for a night of astronomy?
21-11-2011, 07:15 PM
OK Jason, good to know its a Dob!
I assume you mean M42 not M47. M42 is the Orion Nebula, M47 is an Open Cluster in Puppis. M47 will be visible tonight but will probably be best after midnight. It is nearly able to be found naked eye if your skies are dark enough.
To research a nights observing there are lots of ways. There are a nimber of free programs such as Stellarium that can tell you what constellations will be visible and some of the bright objects available. If you prefer books, Collins Stars and Planets is a great guide to a large number of easly seen objects. It can be found here http://www.bintel.com.au/Accessories/Books--Charts-and-Software/24/catmenu.aspx
Best advice is see if there are any clubs or groups in your area so you can see what other observers do.
21-11-2011, 09:56 PM
Thanks Niko and Malcolm for you replys, appricate your time:thanx:. Another question following tonights obs.
I went outside, focused in on Jupiter, watched its moons orbit for a bit and scetched it's path, than moved on to trying to find some clusters, as I had my Dub out the back tonight I was unable to view M42 but did find a rather interesting very dim cluster as I was moving across the night sky, but to get to the question, I'm struggling navigating my night sky, what important things should I have to help me? I use my Iphone for a compass and my star chart and Stellarium to assist me but its still pretty difficult finding faint objects. If the rain doesnt come tomorrow I hope to view Orion:D.
21-11-2011, 10:58 PM
Hi Jason and welcome to IIS.
First thing to navigating the sky is to become familiar with the constellations and the brightest stars. This can be easier said than done in a light polluted city, some constellations have no really bright stars. First thing I do while I wait for my eyes to adjust is to look around and get my bearings where the constellations are. In time you shouldn't need a compass at all.
Start from a bright star and follow your chart to hop to the object you are trying to find. Takes a bit of practice just be patient. Keep in mind that your charts will be marked with an equatorial grid while your dob move up/down left/right in an alt/azimuth grid. Turn both on in Stellarium to see the difference.
22-11-2011, 01:00 AM
Thanks Micheal for that, I find it hard to let my eyes adjust to the dark as the street light next to my front yard blinds my every time I look at the northern sky, when I'm out the back it's not to bad but I still have the house and garden lights + I'm unable to see north east out the back so it's not worth it out there unless I'm really trying to look due south, what do you guys do to avoid these troubles? I'm guessing street lights can be a common problem.
22-11-2011, 10:00 PM
Not much you can do about street lights except positio yourself where they are blocked. Light pollution is usually a bigger problem than nearby lights, again it is unavoidable in the city.
Try not to use iPhones or laptops at the scope as they are usually too bright even if fully dimmed and will destroy dark adaption. Use a dim red head lamp or torch and star charts instead.
Stellarium is OK for pre session research, but not always a good idea at the scope.
Have a go at just going outside without the scope and just a star chart and try tracing some of the constellations, once you know a dozen or so brighter ones it will make navigating a lot easier.
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