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fmandani

Help! Motivate me, I am a discouraged amateur

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This is my second week with my new 10" Dobsonian. Ive seen saturn and mars. Saturn was great, but mars was just a red dot.

Ive been looking for some messier objects, and I havent been able to find any. I have stellarium and was star hopping on the big dipper to find the whirlpool galaxy. I KNOW I was in the right spot, I had stellarium open and had found exactly where the whirlpool was supposed to be, but did not see anything. This was through a wideview 30mm. Considering I am in Orlando, in my driveway with streetlamps somewhat close, I assumed maybe it was just cause it was too bright and it also was raining a couple hours before so maybe the atmosphere was misty.

I then went on to look for the ring nebula, i think its m57. I looked for 2 hours determined to find it and still couldnt. At this point im frustrated, but I understand I should be more patient. Am I using the wrong magnification, is there too much light pollution, am I expecting to see something more obvious?

Basically, can someone tell me what I am doing wrong, what to expect, and what are some tips? What sort of detail should I be seeing with my telescope?

Thanks in advance

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Remember when your looking for deep space objects,.your not going to get hubble pictures. They are going to be little fuzzy patches of grey, is the orion nebula visable from your location? Its visable with the naked eye if light pollution isn't bad.

Have you considered driving out to a dark spott nearby? Your scope is a bit tricky to move but could be well worth it.

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m51 +street lights = very faint

dont be discouraged finding things with stellarium isnt the ideal way to find stuff

a good star atlas http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/300675118303?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649#ht_1978wt_1225 with a tel rad is the standard for dob users and you will learn the sky rapido with the atlas dont feel like you need to find everything in one night too take your time.dont give in!

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I find globular clusters more recognizable, even in light pollution.

So try M3 or M13.

The 30mm might be too low magnification, giving too low contrast (bright background). So once in the right area try increasing magnification, and use averted vision.

Hope this helps!

On mobile (excuse the strange predictive words...)

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I'm sure with persistence you'll find lots of things to look at. I'm a complete noob as well, but managed to find whirlpool (once - in around four attempts of star hopping from Alkaid) using a 4 inch reflector in a dark-ish sky location.

It was very very faint - at first I thought it was a smudge on the lens or something, until I realised it moved when I moved the scope. By the time I found it I had been outside for quite some time and my vision had adjusted to the dark. I then spent half an hour or so looking at it - it helped to look slightly to one side of it so that the image was being picked up by the more luminance-sensitive part of my eye. After a while of looking I could make out the brighter two center parts and with averted vision could start getting a sense of the spiral-ness (if thats a word).

Even though it was really faint, it was still an awesome sight. Realising you are looking at something 25 million light years or so away through a small telescope in a back yard is incredible.

Don't be disheartened - you will find it (and i'm sure plenty of other awesome sights) and when you do you'll be glad you stuck with it.

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Don't be hard on yourself, we've all been there! Try bigger M's first, like M31 Andromeda, Try M82 and M81 Bode's Galaxy, M45 Plieades. M13 is my favourite and M3 worth a look, these are both star clusters and easy to see. Saturn is worth a study as is the Moon. You need a stronger eyepiece also, a 9mm or 12mm perhaps. It's all part of a steep learning curve, so hang on in and relax and enjoy!!

Ron

Edited by g0ibi

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Thanks everyone for responding!

I actually have a 2x barlow, 3x barlow, 6mm, 8mm, 9mm, 17mm, 30mm, and 32mm. I had heard that the whirlpool was great through a 30mm because higher magnification would cause a fainter image, and the image is already faint as it is.

As for the andromeda, I dont think its in the sky when it gets dark here in florida, but I could be wrong.

Also, when I see these objects, do I see any color, or will it be grey?

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Whenever anyone asks what they are likely to see through an amateur size scope I point them to the sketches section.

>>HERE<<

This is basically what other people see through their scopes, but also remember that the more you look the more you'll see.

Don't give up - M57 is SMALL - when you see it you'll know. Try M13 in Hercules, much bigger, brighter and should be nice in a 10" scope.

Cheers

Ant

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When I used a 250mm Newt I found the minimum magnification to see anything was with a 13mm eyepiece. 30mm is just too low powered to bring out faint objects. M57 to me needed a 7mm eyepiece to see it at its best - the same goes for globulars like M13.

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Hi do not feel down ,it can be hard finding things to start with street light may fuzz out these little gems we look for ,start with some constellation you no and have a good look round it,I wanted to see every thing in one night, it's hard to do ,M57 ,I must have passed it buy loads a times before a seen it ,do not give up yet may be a dark site would help,failing that get a light pollution filter see if that helps,I have a 12" dob ,and it took me to years to find M 101/51.

Have a look around Leo it's. Great place to start

Keep te faith

Pat

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Whenever anyone asks what they are likely to see through an amateur size scope I point them to the sketches section.

>>HERE<<

This is basically what other people see through their scopes, but also remember that the more you look the more you'll see.

Don't give up - M57 is SMALL - when you see it you'll know. Try M13 in Hercules, much bigger, brighter and should be nice in a 10" scope.

Cheers

Ant

That link is possibly going to save my marriage :clouds2::D:D

I've tried numerous times to tell my wife that you're not going to get big panoramic views like you see in pictures but she never believes me and thinks it's just our telescope (or my terrible astronomy skills! ha ha).

So I can show her that others see exactly what i have seen (once or twice thanks to the cloud over here in the UK constantly at the moment!)

Edited by euphony

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You will see no colour, our eyes are not sensitive enough, you'll just see a grey fuzz, hence why we often call them 'fuzzies'. Use averted vision once you have found the spot, make sure you are dark adapted, spend time at the telescope.

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Most of these should be the relatively 'easier' messiers to hunt out. Don't get discouraged, I think we're all in the same boat. I sometimes try to do much the same with a 4" in an LP city. Fall down seven times, pick yourself up eight...

2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 41, 42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 50, 52, 55, 67, 92, 93, 103.

Edited by Qualia

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I recommend you get the book Turn Left at Orion (latest ed - spiral bound), it shows realistic depictions in a Dobsonian such as yours.

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This has been hinted at but I think bears repeating. Using stellarium outside whilst looking for faint dso's is not the best way to do it. Your eyes will never become dark adapted and you need that to spot things like M51.

Best way is to buy a star atlas or print maps off and use a faint red torch to check them.

M51 is a tough target I think so try some brighter ones first. Globulars as suggested, but even M81/82 are easier. M57 needs plenty of magnification as it is small. Get yourself in the right place with low power then switch to high power and pan around a little and you will get it. I can see it with 66mm refractor from light polluted skies so should be no problem for you

Good luck

Stu

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I recommend you get the book Turn Left at Orion (latest ed - spiral bound), it shows realistic depictions in a Dobsonian such as yours.

Hi and welcome to SGL

+1 for TLAO. I would also recommend Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas for in-the-field reference. I keep my copy in the EP case.

If you have a pair of binoculars you can use them to plan your observing. Hunt down the locations with the bins as these give a 'right way up' image of the sky and makes tricky objects easier to locate (but not necessarily see). You can then turn the scope onto the same area and find the object under higher mag.

HTH!

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Also there's the moon. Even a little moonlight kills DSOs stone dead.

Olly

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+1 for TLAO. I would also recommend Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas for in-the-field reference. I keep my copy in the EP case.

HTH!

Both good books, and the Star atlas is probably one of the best when out with the scope.

You need to get somewhere dark. Set up in the evening light, so it's all ready to use when it's dark, use a red light only when it's dark, take something to drink, (non alcoholic, as it does affect night vision), sit down in a chair and wait for darkness.

It will take a round twenty to thirty minutes to become dark adapted, any white light and your'e back to square one.

Start with spotting the brightest stars, get to know the constellations, and as mentioned, have a scan round with binoculars.

Then when it's dark have a go with the scope.

I can only make out the core of M31 from my back garden, and that's it.

Go to somewhere dark and it makes a huge difference.

And mind the Gators! :clouds2:

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I agree with the above comments in trying the brighter ones first. try and get out of the direct glare of lighting if you can as this will help your eyes become most sensitive.

Seeing fainter targets is a learning process and you have to actually learn how galaxies look in the eyepiece. Once you have seen a few, finding more is much easier as your eyes know what to see.

a red dot finder will definitely help you get to the right area and then your optical finder will allow you to star hope/fine tune.

good luck!

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Fmandani, I am a beginner just like yourself and the most important thing I did before starting this hobby was to try & understand what I could expect to see through a telescope.

As fantastic as AP is in the images that are created this takes huge amounts of patience & dare I say it BIG amounts of money. As posted previously in a lot of cases the best you may see will be fuzzy patches, but then you reflect how distant these objects are it is jaw dropping.

I started last year & the UK weather has been dire with limited opportunities starting to get out with my scope and observe but stick with it, get an understanding of what your expectations should be and you will reep the rewards.....

Andy

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You will see no colour, our eyes are not sensitive enough, you'll just see a grey fuzz, hence why we often call them 'fuzzies'. Use averted vision once you have found the spot, make sure you are dark adapted, spend time at the telescope.

I have a 10" dob only had it a few months and very new to all this but i can make out a bit of colour in m42 (orion nebula) a bit of a redish hint.the only other messiers i`ve found so far are m81 and m82, can get them both in field of view with a 30mm 2" eyepiece, but they are just grey smudges, but quite bad light pollution where i am.

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The sketches are definitely very useful Ant!

I haven't had my scope for very long, and after checking out the planets I too thought I start my DSO collection with the whirlpool galaxy. Clouds, LP and a bright moon all have conspired to keep this elusive from me, however, I did manage to pick out M13, the Great Globular on my last expedition. It didn't quite appear 'dusted with diamonds' as described in 'Turn Left..', more like 'dusted with dust', but it was immensely rewarding to know I was looking at something 25,000 light years away.

In a week's time there'll be all but no moon, so hopefully I'll get another opportunity to seek out M51 then. I'll also intending to add a UHC filter at some stage which should help... ...maybe FLO will have some in the great clear-out!

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A 10" dob is a very nice and capable instrument in the right conditions. First you need it to be pitch black dakrness to allow your eyes to adjust to night time vision. Takes about 20 mins - use a dim red torch so you don't trigger the cones in your eye.

If you have to be on your drive in the street lights then use a black hood or blanket over your head when you look through the eyepiece. Make sure you're comfortably seated on an adjustable stool or ironing chair. You'll need to be under the hood for 20 mins before things start jumping out at you.

A few cheap mods will also make a difference - a good sized dew shield will reduce light bouncing round in the tube and increase contrast - also consider flockng the tube in matt black. The addition of an azimuth setting circle and a magnetic angle guage will facilitate the use of co-ordinates from Stellarium or Cartes du Ciel - surprisingly accurate.

All of that can be done for around fifty bucks I reckon :clouds2:

Edited by brantuk

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Very inspiring posts all round, but they have given rise to a a number of related questions, probably more based on my ignorance than anything else. So if anyone could help, it would be much appreciated.

Okay, here goes....

It appears, according to the general gist of this thread, that the 10" 'sees' Mars as a clear, sharp red blob, and so does a 4". The 10" sees some of those Messiers as gray fuzzies, and so does a 4". The 10" has problems picking out stuff in light polluted areas, and so does a 4". The 10" can probably pick out some nice detail on Jupiter, Saturn and, of course, the Moon, and so does a 4". The 10", to be performing in ideal conditions, requires a good level of darkness and away from light pollution, and so does a 4", and so on.

So the questions are :clouds2: :

1) 10" or 4", living in a light polluted city or town etc is basically limiting you to the brighter messiers and large solar system objects?

2) if that is the case, if you do observe in an LP area, within a few millimeters at most (I imagine), you are both pretty much 'seeing' the same kind of thing in your eyepiece?

3) if you get out into areas of pitch darkness, then, of course, the 10" is going to clearly out perform the 4", but to what extent? What can a 10" do that a 4" in pitch black areas couldn't do?

4) as a final question, aperture is rightly recommended; the bigger it gets, the more light it gathers etc etc, but ultimately, wouldn't it be location that is going to sway your observing potential, not only your aperture?

5) Without that perfect location and sky, 10" or 4" are pretty much on equal ground? If location isn't seriously taken into account, one may end up seriously disappointed?

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one to look at is the globular cluster in hercules, turn left at orion shows what to watch out for this time of the year. It shows up as a grey spiderweb in my 8" dob, so it should look better in a 10" dob.

Have your eyes peeled while looking through the finder scope, its a very small grey smudge, easily missed!

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