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  1. #1
    yammer5's Avatar
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    Default Need a bit of help with stars



    Hi Guys

    I hopeing that someone can give me a little help please.

    Ive been interested in the universe since i was a kid so i decided to buy a telescope, i have bought a very cheap one for now incase i decide i dont like it.
    I purchased a Seben 700-76 Reflector Telescope D = 76mm F = 700mm.
    It came with 4 lens's - H20, H12.5, H6 and SR4, it also came with x2 Barlow and a x1.5 erecting piece.

    Tonight was so clear i got out my scope and started off with the moon, using the H20 and H12.5 i can see the moon crystal clear, with some great detail, using the H6 and SR4 isnt so great because the moon was so bright and they magnified it a little too much, i also tried the Barlow + H20 and that wasnt too bad.

    I then decided to look for another planet or star, and this is where my problem lies.
    I chose the biggest brightest looking star/planet/thing in the sky and started off with the H20, this made the star look pretty much like i saw it with my naked eye, so i put in the H12.5, once again pretty much the same, so i then tried thr H6, which then gave me a slightly bigger and slightly blurred version and the same with the SR4. I then tried them all with the Barlow and i got pretty much the same effect but maybe a touch larger and blurry.
    The weaker lens's gave me the same as i get by just looking without the scope and the stronger lens's gave me a bigger but blurry image, kinda like zooming in on a picture of something on a pc or moble phnoe, the object is magnified its just zoomed, if that makes any sense at all.
    I tried about 3 or 4 of the brightest stars/planets and i got the same result, could anyone let me know if im doing something wrong please.
    I wasnt expecting to see nebula on my first go, but i was hoping to see something more than the moon, kinda like mars or saturns rings etc

    Sorry for the essay

  2. #2
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    Default

    Hi Yammer, welcome to the forum. I am assuming you got the finder scope aligned, as you seem to be finding what you are pointing at. Stars themselves remain points of light in all telescopes, even the Hubble, with the possible exception of Betelgeuse, (in the Hubble) which is VERY big, and relatively close.

    I have bought a couple of things from Seben, and was quite satisfied.

    You need to download Stellarium, a free planetarium software that shows you your sky in real time.

    You should be able to see the Orion Nebula in that scope. Look at the middle "star" in Orion's sword. It's not just one star, but a star nursery lit by the Trapezium, a cluster of stars within the nebula. You should be able to see a small triangle of stars. On a night of really good seeing, you may see a dimmer fourth star.

    Another thing you should know is that as you go down in eyepiece number, (focal length), and up in magnification, the focus "sweet spot" gets smaller. That may be the cause of blurry images at higher magnifications, but the real cause was more probably "heat waves" in the atmosphere. If you can hit the focus right on, you can actually see the heat waves quite crisply.

    Saturn rises later in the evening these days. You will definitely see the rings, and perhaps Triton.

    Mars is high in the sky as well, these days, (well, nights). You will be able to resolve a definite disk, but you won't see any detail.

    Did you align your finder scope during the day?
    Last edited by WWPierre; 03-02-2010 at 04:08 AM.
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  4. #3
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    Default

    Oh, yeah. You could use a variable polarizing filter for the moon. Probably about 25 pounds.
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  5. #4
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    Default

    Hi Yammer, Welcome to astronomy and to the astronomy forum. Unfortunately astronomy does have a learning curve. Just starting out is sort of like eating an elephant. Just start and keep the faith and soon you will be OK.

    First rule... get the most our of your equipment; there is always a bigger and better telescope. better eyepieces, better finders, etc., etc., etc. As you said, you purchased an inexpensive telescope to try out the waters. DON'T purchase any accessories for this telescope. Just save your money. If you find you take a liking to astronomy, then your money will be far better spent buying your next telescope. Remember the old saying, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Not that your scope is a pig, its just that your money is better invested in a larger one later on. The telescope, eyepieces, and accessories you have are more than sufficient to learn the night skies.

    Stars. Even in the Hubble Space Telescope, stars are dots of light. Stars are so far away that you can not magnify them.

    Second rule. make sure that your finder scope and telescope are aligned. take your scope out during the day and find a distant object in it ... the top of a telephone pole will do. Center the object in your telescope. Now adjust your finder until the object is centered in it.

    Third rule. Conquer over expectations. Nothing you see in your telescope will be anything like the photographs you see in magazines, etc. This is not because your scope is bad as this is true also for most of the telescopes used by amateur astronomers. With your telescope, you can view the moon, see the phases of Mercury and Venus, the rings of Saturn, and the four moons of Jupiter. All these planets will be a tiny white dot. Mars will be a tiny orange colored dot. There are several nebula and galaxies that you will be able to see but they will be small gray smears of light. On the other hand, a long list of star clusters exist that will be beautiful in your scope and many double stars exist that you can split. Enough to keep you busy for a long time.

    Forth rule. Forget about the lies printed in your telescope manual about magnification. All of our telescopes are theoretically capable of producing huge magnifications but the air we have to see through prevents this from ever happening. About the best you will be able to do an a good night is around 120x magnification.... after that, the view will become blurred and dimmer and unusable.

    How do you calculate magnification. The focal length of your telescope is 700 mm. You have four lens (we call them eyepieces) a H20, H12.5, H6 and SR4 . The numbers describe the size of the eyepiece, the H20 is a 20 mm eyepiece. To calculate the magnification it produces simply divide the focal length of your telescope by the size of the eyepiece… eg for the H20, divide 20 into 700. The answer is 35; thus, your H20 eyepiece will produce a magnification of 35 in your telescope. The H, S, etc. tells the type of eyepiece.

    The important thing with telescopes is not magnification but its ability to gather light (its diameter or as we say aperture). Your telescope has a small aperture., exactly half the aperture of my telescope (my scope is a medium sized scope). However the area of my scope is 4 times yours, thus, I can gather four times the amount of light and see far more details than you can.

    Fifth rule: you need a viewing plan. There are thousands of stars in the sky. Unless you know where to look, you chance of finding a planet, nebula, star cluster, etc. is almost zero (better odds winning the lotto). Computer programs can help but perhaps the best two things you can get are the book "Turn Left at Orion" and a cheap pair of binoculars .... one of those 7x50s plastic wonders that the illegals are selling on the street corners or the ones you have stuffed away will work just fine. Many of us find binoculars very helpful in showing us the way to point our scopes. This will be especially true for you as you will need something to suppliment the marginal view finder that comes on all small telescopes today. Without a pair of binoculars to help, you will have a very difficult time finding objects in the sky.

    Sixth rule: don't give up. You'll get there.
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  7. #5
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    Default

    Thank you for the great info guys!

    With me being new to the astronomy game i wasnt sure what to expect, i kinda thought that planets that are kinda close to the earth like Mars, Jupiter and Venus, would be seen with the naked eye as what id call a star ( a small bright thing in the sky ) so i thought if i point my scope at the brightest one it must be one of those planets and "voila" i see a planet!

    Will i ever be able to see any of the planets in our solar system with any sort of detail or will they always be small blurs?

  8. #6
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    Will i ever be able to see any of the planets in our solar system with any sort of detail or will they always be small blurs?
    Under very good seeing conditions you will see some lovely sights in the night sky. But it will as much depend on conditions as the scope itself. Jupiter I am quite sure will not disappoint you when you see it for the first time with your own eye pieces as opposed to an image in a magazine.

    Saturn at the moment is quite prominent in the night sky and should get better as the year moves on. Sxinas gives great advice in his post. Astronomy is quite like fishing...you need lots of patients with the hobby.

    To best see the power of your scope, get to a dark site as soon as you can and try out all the EPs. I think you will be surprised with what you can see.
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    And to kind of add to the magnification issue...there is the magnification your scope can "produce" depending on the eyepieces put in the focuser and then there's the magnification that will be limited by the aperture of your scope.
    You have a 76 mm scope, which is it's aperture. The general rule is either take aperture in mm's times 2 or aperture in inches times 50. This will give you the upper limit on what magnification your scope will go before the images get fuzzy or they look like cotton balls. So, 76 x 2 is 152. So, the 20mm eyepiece will give you 35X, the 12.5 will give you 56X, the 6 provides 116X(almost 117X) and the 4 come in at 175X.
    That means that you should be OK using all of them except the 4mm. Even on a pristine night, the 4 will produce fuzz. And depending on the optics of your scope, the 6mm may be useable only on some of the best nights(useable magnification is HIGHLY dependent on atmospheric conditions). However, you will have a pretty good range of magnification by just using your 20mm, the 12.5mm and then barlow each of those. The barlow will just double the magnification of an eyepiece. But a word of caution, sometimes the barlows in a "cheap" scope are cheap themselves. Point being, if you get less than good results, don't get discouraged.
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    Default 3 weeks ! and still No Hope.

    Well I finally go the moon last night well half a moon , and thought great this should be easy. Yeah Right. Firstly I try to align it with that small thing on top of the scope a get it then try to see it on the scope then nothing. I did get to see it by accident but really i could just see a very large white light, Please someone out there Help cos I love watching the stars and I am trying to learn were to look when i am looking up.

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    Clear skies with your observing. Just keep it up -- all of a sudden about the 5th time you go out at night it will suddenly come together.
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    That was some good reading for myself, what Sxinias posted.

    I'm hoping for a clear sky tonight as I'm off tomorrow and haven't been out in a while. Looking forward to trying to split some doubles. Problem, I'll probably be shattered by about midnight.........

 

 
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