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    Question Jupiter Viewing Problem



    I used my first new NexStar 4SE for the first time last night to attempt to view Jupiter. However with the 25mm eyepiece that came with the telescope all I saw was a white dot once it was in focus. I also tried using a 2x Barlow with the 25mm and that did not help either. Besides it being the brightest thing in the sky, I used my Star Walks app to confirm I was actually looking at Jupiter.

    I am new to this but have tried a few times without success and I am starting to think about giving up? Any help and advice is greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks

    Steve

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    Default Re: Jupiter Viewing Problem

    Something goofy is going on. I am not familiar with that telescope, but with any visual aid Jupiter should be very nice. How far above the horizon was Jupiter when you had it in your scope? If it was really low light pollution could have been an issue. You should be able to see the planet and four moons, unless one of them is hiding. Perhaps someone with more knowledge of that scope will assist.
    Don't give up...it's probably something easy, or at least, not your fault.
    Good luck.
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    Default Re: Jupiter Viewing Problem

    Your scope, 4SE is very capable scope. I don't think factory collimation is out or any defect exists.

    Jupiter's disc and galilean moons should be visible. (They are visible in 8x50 finder, therefore 4se+25mm will show them too.) The disc may look like a white disc, but not like a starry dot.

    For planetary, seeing (local or general) is important. As maksutov scopes' cool down take time, it should cool down first, otherwise the disc will look like boiling and major bands may be washed out. Most of time, general atmosferic seeing won't be that much bad, that major dark bands are visible. At 48x with 25mm plossl, I can easily see 2 dark bands at first glance. By the way, those 2 bands are visible in 60mm toy scope @ 56x too, so easy target.

    If you are sure that object is jupiter, then let the scope cool down (maybe an hour) and object rise a bit (at worst ~30 degrees) and take your time. At first glance, jupiter is a featureless disc. As you work on, you start to see details easily.

    Never give up. Astronomy with a 4SE would be pleasing. Let your eyes catch the details.
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    Default Re: Jupiter Viewing Problem

    With your 25 mm eyepiece and 1325mm focal length, giving a power of 53x, you should really only be able to see a small disk and the 4 moons. Not much if any belt detail on Jupiter will show. With the Barlow lens and 25mm eyepiece and 106x, belts should be visible, and on a good night, even some nice detail. I would wait until Jupiter gets higher in the sky where seeing is much better. You'll be surprised at how much seeing conditions can change over just one night or two. Seeing will improve as Jupiter gets higher in the sky. Trust me - I work for the government.

    Hang in there.
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    Default Re: Jupiter Viewing Problem

    Forgive me if I'm teaching my grandmother to suck eggs. Have you got your finder scope or red dot finder in sync with your OTA ( optical tube assembly ). If not you could have Jupiter showing in the finder scope, but something else showing in the telescope.
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    Default Re: Jupiter Viewing Problem

    I used the field-of-view option of Starry Night (I use Starry Night Pro Plus) to show the field of view for your scope.

    This is a simulated field of view for a Nextstar 4SE using a 25mm plossl type eyepiece (55º apparent field of view), and a 2x barlow:

    Jupiter 4SE 25mm 2x barlow.jpeg

    Without the barlow, Jupiter is much smaller (a tiny dot).

    The thing to keep in mind is this is an f/13 scope. A 25mm eyepiece with a 2x barlow provides an effective focal length of 12.5mm (for the eyepiece -- you can think of a barlow as either halving the eyepiece or doubling the scope focal length).

    This puts the eyepiece right at the common limit of what the scope can probably handle in terms of magnification. The image is likely a bit soft and magnifying any more would only make it even softer.

    In theory a scope can handle a magnification that works out to double the scope's diameter of clear aperture measured in millimeters. You have a 102mm scope. So that theoretical limit would be 204x power. BUT... to get away with this, you need to hit the "seeing conditions lottery"! I'm lucky if seeing conditions are that good just once per year. Most of the time you should not attempt to go more than 1x the diameter (in other words... you have a 102mm aperture scope, so you should not use an eyepiece that works out to more than 102x magnification.)

    Magnification is simply the focal length of the scope divided by the focal length of the eyepiece. If using a barlow, multiply the focal length of the scope by the barlow factor (or divide the focal length of the eyepiece by the barlow factor.)

    It turns out, that using an eyepiece with a focal length equal to the focal ratio of your scope will be exactly 1x the diameter of the scope (in terms of magnification power.) So for your Nexstar 4SE, your numbers are:

    focal length = 1325mm
    clear aperture = 102mm
    focal ratio (focal length / clear aperture) = 12.99 (basically f/13)

    This means if you used a 13mm eyepiece, you'd get 102x magnification -- the common limit for observing on most nights (and keep in mind with lousy seeing you won't even want that much power.)

    If you hit the "seeing conditions lottery" you can, in theory, use a 6.5mm eyepiece (that would be 204x magnification.)
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    Default Re: Jupiter Viewing Problem

    Don't give up, the experts around here are more than willing to help us novices.

    You don't say what time you were observing or what direction you were looking at.

    At the moment Jupiter is certainly bright, appearing in the early darkness almost directly from due east and travelling up and west.

    Even with poor conditions as I have right now it is clearly visible as a bright naked eye target. (bucketing down at the moment, but just nipped out to check).

    If you have followed all the advice above, I might suspect that you have been loking at Pollux, Castor, or Alhena, which are all pretty bright and are also in the general direction of Jupiter even Betelgeuse could be in the mix.

    Right down at 23X with a wide field EP I'm getting good band details and 4 moons.

    I'd follow Tillibobs advice and double check your finderscope alignment + give it a long 2hr cool down time if you can.

    Also download Stelarium it is great for getting to know the sky.

    Stick with it.
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    Default Re: Jupiter Viewing Problem

    Hi,
    I have a celestron 130EQ and I came on to ask the same question but I see someone has beat me to it.

    I'm having the same problem. When I look through the 20mm I can see Jupiter but it is a white disk. When I use the 6mm Barlow it looks like a bigger white disk, but I can't get it into focus either with the 6mm Barlow. It just looks very blurry, and it dose t matter which way I turn the focus nob, it always looks blurry. When Saturn was in the sky, I got some amazing views, but what's going on with Jupiter?

    Thanks,
    Kevin

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    Default Re: Jupiter Viewing Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by zs-kev View Post
    Hi,
    I have a celestron 130EQ and I came on to ask the same question but I see someone has beat me to it.

    I'm having the same problem. When I look through the 20mm I can see Jupiter but it is a white disk. When I use the 6mm Barlow it looks like a bigger white disk, but I can't get it into focus either with the 6mm Barlow. It just looks very blurry, and it dose t matter which way I turn the focus nob, it always looks blurry. When Saturn was in the sky, I got some amazing views, but what's going on with Jupiter?

    Thanks,
    Kevin
    Hi Kevin,

    Barlows come in magnification factors and you stack it inline with your eyepieces... e.g. barlow goes where the eyepiece used to go... and then the eyepiece you want to use goes into the barlow.

    The most common magnification factor for a barlow is 2x but there are other magnification factors as well.

    When you say "6mm barlow" I'm wondering if you're really using a 6mm eyepiece and not a barlow at all.

    If what you really have is a 2x barlow and then you're sticking a 6mm eyepiece on it, then that would explain the inability to focus... that would be too much magnification for a 130EQ on most nights.

    The Celestron 130EQ is an f/5 Newtonian reflector on an equatorial mount. At f/5 you probably would not want to use any eyepiece with a focal length of less than 5mm. If you have a 2x barlow and use it with a 6mm eyepiece that will take your effective focal length down to 3mm ... which is too short given the aperture of your scope and nights of typical "seeing" conditions ("seeing" refers to atmospheric stability... the atmosphere itself will distort the quality of your view even if using a scope and eyepieces with staggeringly high quality. Somedays there's just nothing you can do... except wait for a better day.)

    If you are here in the frigid north... that'll be another factor. While crisp cold air tends to drain the atmosphere of any moisture (giving better "transparency"), a scope coming out of a "warm" house into the "cold" outdoors will have terrible heat currents until it normalizes to the temperatures around it. This can take a while depending on how large the scope is. In about 30 minutes it will have calmed down... in an hour it will be pretty good. But it may be 2 or 3 hours to calm to the point where the distortions are no longer noticeable at all. If you know you want to observe, set the scope outside (in a safe area -- even if it's not set up for use) just to let it acclimate to the cold temperatures.
    Tim Campbell


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    Default Re: Jupiter Viewing Problem

    It was suggested above that you should wait till Jupiter is 30 degrees above the horizon. I suggest even higher. 40 degrees is minimum for me. With your 25mm with 2x barlow you should see at least Jupiters 2 main bands.
    Hang in there.

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