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New stargazers - tips on finding planets to see


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We have an orion starblast 4.5 with a 6mm and 17mm lense. We have a pretty good view of the sky, very dark in our area of southern ohio. The only direction blocked to us is west.

Any good websites for helping find planets and bright stars for the layperson? We are not technical. :smiley:

Also, how do we find the international space station and any other points of interest in the sky.

Which lens is best for viewing the planets? We found the 17mm is best for seeing the whole moon and the 6mm for viewing moon details. That's pretty much all we've looked at.

Thanks for any tips!

Oh, how do you align the "EZ Finder"?

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everything planets, stars, comets, satillites, deep sky objects etc can be found by using Stellarium. Its a great piece of freeware

Stellarium

Another great free piece of software is cartes du ciel which is not as pretty and "graphicy" as Stellarium but is still a very good tool once you learn how to use it

http://www.ap-i.net/skychart/start

The iss can be found using stellarium but another site I love is heavens above which will give you viewing times for you location 10 days in advance

Heavens-Above Home Page

Does your scope have a focal length of 450mm? if im correct then the 17mm eyepiece will give you 26x magnification and the 6mm eyepiece will give you 75x magnification. Im not certain but most planets will appear quite small you may want to invest in a 2x barlow lense which will effectively give you another 2 eyepieces. The 17mm attached to a 2x barlow will become an 8.5mm and the 6mm will become a 3mm. which will give you 150x magnification which will allow you to make out the larger planets with ease. I couldnt find out what the max practicle magnification of your scope is so you should check that it can manage 150x magnification.

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We have an orion starblast 4.5 with a 6mm and 17mm lense. We have a pretty good view of the sky, very dark in our area of southern ohio. The only direction blocked to us is west.

Any good websites for helping find planets and bright stars for the layperson? We are not technical. :smiley:

I don't go to any sites. I use stelarium and other sources, but try here SkyandTelescope.com It has an interactive skychart

Also, how do we find the international space station and any other points of interest in the sky.

Go here: Heavens-Above Home Page. choose the option 'select from map or from database or edit manually' and then choose ISS. You can even click on a map of the sky.

Which lens is best for viewing the planets? We found the 17mm is best for seeing the whole moon and the 6mm for viewing moon details. That's pretty much all we've looked at.

The 'lens' are called eyepieces. That value is the Focal Length of the eyepiece, if i'm not mistaken. The smaller the value the more the magnification. Depending on your focal length the magnification also changes. I don't know the FL of your scope but the magnification is calculated like this: mag=FL scope/ FL eyepiece. So if your scope has FL= 600, mag(6mm)=600/6=100x.

You will be able to see jupiter and at least one of it's bands (that's a dark line that crosses the planet) and 4 moons.

With Saturn you will see the rings and one moon.

But i'm not sure you can see more than that on the planets, but believe me, it's a great view.

Thanks for any tips!

Oh, how do you align the "EZ Finder"?

I'm not familiar with this finder, but it must have some adjustment screws. Read the instructions. After you find out which bolts adjust what, point to a bright star or better yet, the moon, and adjust the bolts so that it also points to the moon. Adjust again since the moved will have moved

Ricardo Carvalho

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have just found that the orion starblast 4.5 has a max practicle mag of 150x so the 6mm in a barlow is about as high as you ever want to go. And the scope does have a focal length of 450mm

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