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Thread: Tips for better celestial body observation

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    Default Tips for better celestial body observation



    Hello everyone, i was out with the telescope last night (celestron astromaster 130EQ) as it was clear, and observed Mars for a while. I was using a 9mm eyepiece with a X2 Barlow, and was only able to see a small brownish dot, not as clear or close as I would like.

    This may sounds like an absolute noon question, and apologies if its been asked lots before but is there anyway I can observe it closer or improve my technique? I'm hoping that when Saturn rolls round I'll be able to see its rings and Jupiter's detail, I've read stuff and seen images of people who are seeing good planetary details with nothing but my 'scope and an eyepiece plus Barlow. One of the reasons I bought this telescope was because people said it was good at observing planet detail and was high quality, I'd like to utilise it properly!

    Thanks for any help, I'm hoping I can create a thread of tips for begginers who want to observe planets in detail.
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    Default Re: Tips for better celestial body observation

    The 9mm eyepiece with the 2x barlow would be close to (actually a tad beyond) the maximum magnification for yor scope. Yes, you can increase magnification with shorter eyepieces, but you will quickly see that the results are generally not worth it.

    To get more magnification, you need a scope with more aperture. The really impressive views are through 11" or 14" scopes. Even then, rein in your expectations! Mars is small. It will always take up a tiny fraction of the field of view.

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    Default Re: Tips for better celestial body observation

    Planets are tough targets even in my 11 inch SCT Mars is particularly rough as it is so small. But when seeing is great there are moments that all the Planets can look great.
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    Default Re: Tips for better celestial body observation

    Maybe I need to reign in my expectations, Mars is small however hopefully the larger gas giants will reveal a little bit more
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    Default Re: Tips for better celestial body observation

    This was my first scope, and you can definetely see the rings of Saturn and the cloud bands of Jupiter with it.

    Mars is somewhat unimpressive even with bigger scopes, so that is just the way it is

    I recommend you start looking for some open clusters, global clusters and double stars for now, so you can get the hang of star hop and get y
    our feet wet on the DSOs

    As for magnification, try observing in 100x at max with this scope, and usually stay around 50x, pushing beyond 100x will generally make the object dimmer and very hard to focus, so your best views will be at low mag.
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    Default Re: Tips for better celestial body observation

    For me, Mars is not very impressive. Best views so far have been through either the Z10 or the AR152 at around 200x. I tried with the big scope but the results were not satisfying because of the very fast (f/4.2) optical system. Hints of surface features here and there, but that's about it. Jupiter and Saturn will be much more impressive, and you also should be able to catch Uranus (as a small disk) and Neptune (a bluish dot). Good luck.
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    Default Re: Tips for better celestial body observation

    Hello Henno, there is a few things that will affect your planetary observations.

    Is the telescope collimated well?
    Is the telescope still coming to ambient temperature?
    How is the seeing/ transparency of the skies?
    Quality of the eyepiece can make a large difference also.

    Normally the skies will limit you to around 200x magnification though occasionally the skies will cooperate and let you go higher.
    The lunar surface can normally take a lot of magnification though so you can push the telescope if viewing it.
    Refractors: Antares 105 f/15, Bresser 102XL f/13.2, Celestron 102 f/6.5, 2-150 f/8, Stellarvue NHNG 80 f/6.9, TAL 100RS f/10, TS 102 f/11, Vixen SD115s f/7.7
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    Default Re: Tips for better celestial body observation

    Yup, Mars is the problem, not your scope. Mars is only observable for a couple months every 2 year when the Earth catches up to it. Otherwise, it is a minor dot far across the solar system. These observational facts are not well communicated to new telescope users and lead to disappointment.

    But, next spring, Jupiter and Saturn should be OK, not great, since they are both below the equator and low in the northern hemisphere sky and subject to poor seeing thru all that atmosphere. Thing will improve in five or six years. I don't plan on pointing any of my scopes at them until then.

    Sorry, but these are just the facts of how the solar system works.
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    Default Re: Tips for better celestial body observation

    Thanks for all the top tips! Glad it's not just me that finds Mars a little disappointing
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    Default Re: Tips for better celestial body observation

    Hi Henno, glad to hear you got some scope time in; I'm envious

    Everyone has made very good points and I agree heartily with them all. And not to be sarcastic, but this is perhaps the best "meme" or whatever that I've seen that sums up the whole thing:

    Iboughtascope.jpg

    So true. And so sad But don't despair; there have been nights where I have been amazed at what I could see on Mars, even through a little 80mm. Honestly, out of all the planets, I think Jupiter and Saturn are the best to view through any sized scope.

    Good luck and all the best,

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    Mark
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