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    Default First Time Astronomer



    Hi Guys! I am new here, and I recently purchased a telescope: Celestron Nexstar 130 SLT. I was hoping to ask you all a few questions.

    I do not know much about astronomy. I know what all these terms mean: aperture, focal length, eyepiece, Barlow, magnitude, the different types of mounts, deep sky object, cluster, and finder scope. That's about it. I was playing around with my friend's little telescope for a while, and was blown away and bought my own.

    I also purchased an eyepiece kit that comes with a 2x Barlow Lens, some color filters, and eyepieces from 6mm to 32mm.

    I am interested in viewing planets and deep sky objects. I am from Orange County, so there is a lot of light pollution. So far, I have seen the moon, Jupiter, and Saturn. I am having trouble with the telescope shaking a lot, but I have tightened all of the bolts and lowered the mount, which has helped a bit. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can further fix the shaking? I was thinking of purchasing the vibration pads.

    Also, I tried to look at some nebulae and galaxies, but I have not been able to see anything when I use the motorized system. Is this because of the light pollution? I have read that I should basically still be able to see something with my scope.

    Lastly, if I can see some nebulae, I am interested in astrophotography. I do not own a camera, so I was wondering if you guys have any suggestions for some cheap equipment to get me started (under $200, if possible?), so I can take some shots of the planets and the moon, and eventually some DSO. I have read that people have trouble with the Celestron 130 SLT. Any suggestions?

    Any other tips and tricks you guys can give me, maybe on viewing, maintenance, cleaning, etc. would be greatly appreciated!

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    Default Re: First Time Astronomer

    Your problem with viewing DSOs is most likely light pollution and also inexperience, as you observe more, your skills will improve and you will see more. But you can guarantee that you will most definitely see WAY MORE at a dark site.

    As to the shaking, the scope is at the limit of what the mount will hold, so it will never be rock solid. You have done some of the things for helping with stability, you can also suspend a weight from the mount and also use some type of adhesive on the bolts. Some people see some improvement with the vibration pads, I did not and do not use them.

    Photography using the scope and mount is very limited and quite challenging, neither is designed for such, but some things can be done (keep the expectations low). You're best bet is to use a small CMOS imager like a ZWO imager. A DSLR is too heavy for the scope and will not come to focus in it unless it is modified by moving the primary mirror closer to the focuser.

    With a ZWO imager, you can take very good images of the moon, and some planetary imaging can be done, but because of the scope's short focal length, the image scale will make the planets appear very, VERY small, too small for most people's taste. Because of the alt/az mount, you are very limited in exposure time and can not take pictures of most DSOs because of this limitation, only the very brightest are possible and that with most of the potential detail unobtainable. But if you stick with the brighter DSOs and are up for a challenge, lots of stuff still can be done.

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    Default Re: First Time Astronomer

    Your scope is capable of showing you many DSOs, but you need to have realistic expectations. Objects are not going to look like the big colorful pictures you've seen online. They are often called "faint fuzzies" by those who enjoy hunting them down. It takes a lot of practice learning not just to locate DSOs but to actually be able to see them once you are pointed at them. As Ozman said, the best thing to do is find some dark skies and gain some experience.


    The ZWO ASI120MC-S camera could be a good choice if you want a dedicated astro camera.

    Another option for simple photos is a cell phone adapter such as the Celestron NeXYZ. I got one to use at club outreach events, and it has worked well. I've helped people to get some nice Moon shots to take home with them. I got great shots of a lunar eclipse using it, as well as some basic shots of the Orion nebula.
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    Default Re: First Time Astronomer

    Ditto to everything that's said so far.

    Regarding the tripod, there are a couple ways I use to reduce the vibrations and they do work for me:
    - I add weights (10 lbs) to the tripod spreader or accessory tray depending on the tripod
    - And I put the tripod on anti-vibration pads. I have the Celestron ones and they do help ( https://www.amazon.com/Celestron-935.../dp/B0000665V7 )

    Note: these aren't going to totally eliminate vibrations but reduce them. A couple seconds of vibrations can at times seem like an eternity

    Good luck!
    Abb
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    Default Re: First Time Astronomer

    You are in a bortle 8-9 light pollution area. There is a forum member that drives to Anza California often. I just cant recall his/her name. Once a month I drive to a bortle 4/green zone. It really is worth the trip. Under bortle 4 skies my 120mm aperture telescope and 20x80 binoculars rock big time.

    https://darksitefinder.com/maps/worl...4/39.00/-98.00

    https://www.lightpollutionmap.info/#...=B0FFFFFTFFFFF
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    Default Re: First Time Astronomer

    These are all super helpful guys! Thank you so much!

    I am pretty sure I saw my first DSO last night, a messier (I don't remember which one). It was pretty faint, it just kind of looked like a smudge on the glass or something. That was kind of cool.

    Thank you for the links to the accessories! I added a somewhere-around 10 lb. makeshift weight last night to the tripod, I could tell a little bit of a difference... but not much. I think I am going to try the vibration pads and a hanging weight.

    I purchased a carrying bag that came with a phone adapter, so I'm going to see if I can get some better shots of the moon and maybe some planets tonight, and possibly try to find some more DSOs.

    I have until August 29 to return the scope. Do you guys think I should look into getting a different scope that would fit better for what I am trying to do (Astrophotography, planets, and DSO's), or would it not make much of a difference? I am so far happy with viewing and looking at tiny planets, it is just the vibration that drives me crazy. I can't even put my eye to the scope without it shaking, and I would like to eventually have the option to try my hand at photos.

    Thanks again, y'all! I am going to try to make it out to one of those 'green zones' soon.
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    Default Re: First Time Astronomer

    Quote Originally Posted by baskevo View Post
    Hi Guys! I am new here, and I recently purchased a telescope: Celestron Nexstar 130 SLT. I was hoping to ask you all a few questions.

    I do not know much about astronomy. I know what all these terms mean: aperture, focal length, eyepiece, Barlow, magnitude, the different types of mounts, deep sky object, cluster, and finder scope. That's about it. I was playing around with my friend's little telescope for a while, and was blown away and bought my own.

    I also purchased an eyepiece kit that comes with a 2x Barlow Lens, some color filters, and eyepieces from 6mm to 32mm.

    I am interested in viewing planets and deep sky objects. I am from Orange County, so there is a lot of light pollution. So far, I have seen the moon, Jupiter, and Saturn. I am having trouble with the telescope shaking a lot, but I have tightened all of the bolts and lowered the mount, which has helped a bit. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can further fix the shaking? I was thinking of purchasing the vibration pads.

    Also, I tried to look at some nebulae and galaxies, but I have not been able to see anything when I use the motorized system. Is this because of the light pollution? I have read that I should basically still be able to see something with my scope.

    Lastly, if I can see some nebulae, I am interested in astrophotography. I do not own a camera, so I was wondering if you guys have any suggestions for some cheap equipment to get me started (under $200, if possible?), so I can take some shots of the planets and the moon, and eventually some DSO. I have read that people have trouble with the Celestron 130 SLT. Any suggestions?

    Any other tips and tricks you guys can give me, maybe on viewing, maintenance, cleaning, etc. would be greatly appreciated!
    A 5" aperture under an illuminated dome is going to be limited to the bright objects that you can see with your eyes, and to what I expect are the relatively few objects that the go-to system will reveal over the course of time. The darker the skies however, the more objects that may be seen with the 5". But there at the comfort of your home, a larger aperture, without go-to, can help quite a bit, depending; for example...

    https://optcorp.com/products/sky-watcher-classic-200p

    There is also a push-to version; a semi go-to, without motors, yet with a hand-controller...

    https://optcorp.com/products/orion-s...xt8i-telescope

    There's also a 10" available; for example... https://optcorp.com/products/sky-watcher-classic-250p

    Otherwise, the kit that you've purchased would need to be taken outside of the hustle, the bustle, the city lights, and to a dark retreat in order to perform at its best, or middling at least.
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    Default Re: First Time Astronomer

    Quote Originally Posted by baskevo View Post
    These are all super helpful guys! Thank you so much!

    I am pretty sure I saw my first DSO last night, a messier (I don't remember which one). It was pretty faint, it just kind of looked like a smudge on the glass or something. That was kind of cool.

    Thank you for the links to the accessories! I added a somewhere-around 10 lb. makeshift weight last night to the tripod, I could tell a little bit of a difference... but not much. I think I am going to try the vibration pads and a hanging weight.

    I purchased a carrying bag that came with a phone adapter, so I'm going to see if I can get some better shots of the moon and maybe some planets tonight, and possibly try to find some more DSOs.

    I have until August 29 to return the scope. Do you guys think I should look into getting a different scope that would fit better for what I am trying to do (Astrophotography, planets, and DSO's), or would it not make much of a difference? I am so far happy with viewing and looking at tiny planets, it is just the vibration that drives me crazy. I can't even put my eye to the scope without it shaking, and I would like to eventually have the option to try my hand at photos.

    Thanks again, y'all! I am going to try to make it out to one of those 'green zones' soon.
    There are differing methods of taking photos through a telescope...

    The simplest is by holding a small point-and-shoot camera, or that of a "smartphone", up to the eye-lens of an eyepiece and snapping a shot. Such is called "afocal photography", and is limited to the brighter objects in the sky. The larger the aperture however, somewhat less-brighter objects may be photographed, but not as dim as that would seem to suggest; at most, those objects just beyond the threshold of what can be seen with the naked eye. With afocal-photography, there are no timed-exposures with the camera's lens. The shutter snap, and however much light was available via the aperture of the telescope, that's as bright as the image will be. But as long as you can get even a faint image, it can be brightened and contrasted with a PC paint -program or other. For example, I snapped a shot of a star's out-of-focus pattern one night...

    https://imgur.com/ML904nF

    ...that sort of thing. However, with much brighter objects, bright and clear images may be had readily. This, a collage of several afocal shots I took through my 6" f/5 Newtonian...

    https://i.imgur.com/8cu6k10.jpg

    Then there's EAA, of which a previous poster made mention. The most difficult and involved aspect of astrophotography is that effected with a DSLR camera...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9d0292TBMHo&t=1621s
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    Alan - Refractors: Takahashi FS-102 f/8, Meade 90mm f/10, Antares 80mm f/6, Celestron 70mm f/13, Sears 50mm f/12; Newtonians:
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    Default Re: First Time Astronomer

    Quote Originally Posted by SkyRover View Post
    A 5" aperture under an illuminated dome is going to be limited to the bright objects that you can see with your eyes, and to what I expect are the relatively few objects that the go-to system will reveal over the course of time. The darker the skies however, the more objects that may be seen with the 5". But there at the comfort of your home, a larger aperture, without go-to, can help quite a bit, depending; for example...



    There is also a push-to version; a semi go-to, without motors, yet with a hand-controller...



    There's also a 10" available; for example...

    Otherwise, the kit that you've purchased would need to be taken outside of the hustle, the bustle, the city lights, and to a dark retreat in order to perform at its best, or middling at least.
    So one of those scopes would be a better option in a light-polluted area? I was looking at the dark sky map posted earlier, and the closest dark sky to me is about a 2 hour drive...

    I like the motorized option (I was surprised by how well it works!). If a larger aperture will get me better results, I am willing to return the 130 SLT for one of those. My budget is around $550. What kind of difference would I get between the 8" and the 10"? And I have heard that in light-polluted areas, it is WAY better to have the go-to system.

    What do you guys think? Does anyone have any other suggestions for a good priced scope that will allow me to see as much detail as possible (for the money) of planets and DSO?

    Lastly, astrophotography sounds like a lot of work, but I am willing to learn. That picture posted earlier of the star's out-of-focus pattern was AMAZING. So if I eventually want to get into doing stuff like that, is there something that I should watch out for? (for example, an extremely shaky mount).

    Thanks again guys, I know I'm asking a lot of questions, you guys are super helpful.

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    Default Re: First Time Astronomer

    Quote Originally Posted by baskevo View Post
    So one of those scopes would be a better option in a light-polluted area? I was looking at the dark sky map posted earlier, and the closest dark sky to me is about a 2 hour drive...

    I like the motorized option (I was surprised by how well it works!). If a larger aperture will get me better results, I am willing to return the 130 SLT for one of those. My budget is around $550. What kind of difference would I get between the 8" and the 10"? And I have heard that in light-polluted areas, it is WAY better to have the go-to system.

    What do you guys think? Does anyone have any other suggestions for a good priced scope that will allow me to see as much detail as possible (for the money) of planets and DSO?

    Lastly, astrophotography sounds like a lot of work, but I am willing to learn. That picture posted earlier of the star's out-of-focus pattern was AMAZING. So if I eventually want to get into doing stuff like that, is there something that I should watch out for? (for example, an extremely shaky mount).

    Thanks again guys, I know I'm asking a lot of questions, you guys are super helpful.
    At the price-point, a go-to mount is going to take up the lion's share of the outlay, and with the telescope taking a back seat. They do make go-to "Dobsonians"; for example...

    https://optcorp.com/products/skywatc...lescope-s11800

    You may be able to use binoculars to assist in star-hopping to this object and that with a manual "Dobsonian". Many owners have a 80mm f/5 refractor instead, as a sidekick, to help guide the larger telescope...

    https://optcorp.com/products/meade-a...IaAmT6EALw_wcB

    ...although you may already have a pair of binoculars on hand. Binoculars for astronomy generally start at an aperture of 50mm, like a pair of 10x50s.

    A 10" "Dobsonian" collects more light than an 8", of course, and with somewhat greater resolution(detail). At f/5 however, the parabola of the 10" primary-mirror would "hunger" for corrective and therefore more expensive eyepieces. An 8" at f/6 would not so much, and with eyepieces well under $100 each providing quality images.

    Yes, I am well aware of the desire for go-to under an illuminated dome. I used to live, and observed, under same, 25 years ago and counting. I had an 80mm f/11 refractor then, and as my only telescope. I now live 25 miles south of the city, as the crow flies. Here's a view from the north door of my home, looking towards the city. The north star, Polaris, can be seen within the image, above and askew of that distant, back-lit tree in the center...

    https://i.imgur.com/0SY1eez.jpg

    To the east, south and west, my skies are relatively dark, but of course not as dark as I would like.

    At said price-point, it will be for you to decide: aperture, or go-to.
    "Look, son! Up there!" His son shouted back, "I see it! What is it?" The father regaled, "The galaxy!
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    ! Our origin, our destiny!" And so the boy was hooked, and for the rest of his natural life.


    Alan - Refractors: Takahashi FS-102 f/8, Meade 90mm f/10, Antares 80mm f/6, Celestron 70mm f/13, Sears 50mm f/12; Newtonians:
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