Jump to content

548140465_Animationchallenge.jpg.32379dfa6f3bf4bba537689690df680e.jpg

New Scope Experience


Recommended Posts

I received my new scope yesterday a Skywatcher Skymax 127 AZ GoTo, as I have read so much on here I just jumped right in and gave it a go last night. I used rechargeable batteries to run it last night, as I hadn't had chance to charge my power pack, it seemed to handle it ok.

When I first set it up and tried to align the GoTo, I sort of messed up and it ended up being quite far off target. I did try to align a few times, many ended with one of the stars I chose being blocked by something in my garden.

Without it being properly aligned, I somehow managed to stumble across Saturn, and Wow, what a sight. I could see the rings clearly with the supplied 25mm, but wanted a closer look so swapped it to my 10mm, and then used the 10mm + 2x barlow. I couldn't see individual rings with any of the eyepieces, and the barlow made it hard to focus properly, but the rings still looked amazing.

This was all I needed to get the scope aligned, I used Saturn, Vega, and another which I can't remember to align, and found my targets appearing into view with the 25mm from then on. Although with the 10mm, some adjustments were necessary. I don't think I had the auto tracking on though as it wasn't following objects. Does this need to be turned on or should it automatically happen with a new scope?

I then commanded my scope to take me to M57 (Ring Nebula). Through the 25mm I could see a faint ring, but through the 10mm, I couldn't focus on it properly, just looked blurry. It was quite close to a street light so the viewing wasn't the best anyway. Should this be visible in the 10mm, or is the view with the 25mm the best it gets?

Next I tried NGC 6543, nothing was visible at all in the 25mm, so I moved on without trying the 10mm. Should this have been visible in the 25mm? I know it's difficult to say as you don't know the viewing conditions. Just wondered if it should be barely visible.

I then tried M51, again though I couldn't see anything through the 25mm so moved on.

Next I decided to look at something I was sure the scope would see, so went for the double star Albireo. This was an awesome sight, with the larger yellow and smaller blue star clearly seperated in both the 25mm, and 10mm.

I then went for another double star Mizar, for some reason the scope didn't quite slew to it at first, I had to adjust it myself before I saw it. I could see the individual stars well, bigger star on the left and smaller on the right.

My last target was Mars, which through the 25mm and 10mm looked like a large yellow star, with the barlow the colour seemed to have a reddish tint, but I couldn't see any features. I know Mars is difficult to see well, so wasn't expecting much from this.

Overall I loved the experience, but would like some advice on the objects I couldn't see and if anyone has any suggestions on what to look for the next time I go out, then that would be great.

Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great review and obs report, thanks for that Chris.

I then commanded my scope to take me to M57 (Ring Nebula). Through the 25mm I could see a faint ring, but through the 10mm, I couldn't focus on it properly, just looked blurry. It was quite close to a street light so the viewing wasn't the best anyway. Should this be visible in the 10mm, or is the view with the 25mm the best it gets?

In answer to this one, it does look fuzzy normally, you know it is in focus if all of you stars around it are pin sharp. Thats how i know im in focus, look at the surrounding stars.

Next I tried NGC 6543, nothing was visible at all in the 25mm, so I moved on without trying the 10mm. Should this have been visible in the 25mm? I know it's difficult to say as you don't know the viewing conditions. Just wondered if it should be barely visible.

I then tried M51, again though I couldn't see anything through the 25mm so moved on.

As for these two, they are faint, and are even more difficult to see in light polluted areas, try using averted vision, you may see more.

Hope that Helps

Keiran

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks. At least now I know I'm not doing anything majorly wrong. I've got to say that I was trying so hard to see M57, I didn't really notice if the stars were in focus :). I will keep on trying.

Just hoping for another clear night tonight.

Chris.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Haven't you got a Bhatinov mask?

Nope, I haven't purchased anything for the telescope yet. I just have everything that came with it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They're brilliant for focusing. It's just a thick plastic square that sits on the front of your scope with slits cut out of it.

When you look at a star it produces diffraction patterns which show up as lines coming off of the star.

Line them up to produce a uniform star pattern and you are focused. Of cause if you change the eyepiece or add a barlow, you will need to focus again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Pel, I will consider getting one if I decide to order more accessories for my scope in the near future.

Ok, so just came in from my second night of viewing, which started really well, but didn't last for long ;)

This time I was using my powertank to run the scope, and everything worked perfectly. The alignment went extremely smoothly, got it aligned on the first go and in only a few minutes. Everything was perfectly in view with the 25mm this time too.

I started off with Saturn once again as I like to use this to start my alignment off. Again the 25mm and 10mm showed the rings, but not individually. I couldn't bring it into focus with the 10mm and barlow this time though. I even managed to get a short video of it, by holding my compact camera up to the eyepiece.

I then moved on to Spica and using the 25mm and 10mm the star was very well rounded, and I could see it was blue. I tried the 10mm + barlow on it, it wasn't bad but wasn't quite as sharp.

Next I went on to M44, using the 25mm I could see about 14 stars in view. I found it hard to focus again using the 10mm, I don't know why though.

Then it went downhill, I tried to see M3 next, but could not see anything at all with either the 25mm or 10mm. I then noticed that the dreaded cloud had started to move in, so this might be why I saw nothing.

I then started moving towards Vega as it was clear in that area of the sky, but whilst turning with the scope I tripped over the power lead and it came out, bang goes my alignment :). By this point there was too much cloud to re-align it, so I gave up and came inside.

There is one thing I have to ask though. I tried using the Auto tracking tonight and it worked brilliantly, but to turn it on, you need to escape all the way out of the menu, and go into set up, find auto tracking and turn it on. This needs to be done each time you move to a new object. Is there an easier way?

Thanks

Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You’re probably best off sticking to the 25mm for DSOs… you’d be surprised how big some of them actually are! They’re just hellish faint. I remember my first glimpse at M51 in a 6” newt; disappointing doesn’t do it justice. I could make out there was something ‘there’, but resolving it in to anything like a spiral was impossible. The remedy? Find some darker skies! I was amazed with how much of a difference finding a dark spot made to my viewing, I mean a serious difference. Having said that, there are plenty of goodies to be had from the back garden, with the planets and brighter globular clusters (M13, M5, M3, etc) being easily viewed. I’ve always wished there was a ‘back garden/moderate light pollution’ observer guide… or perhaps I haven’t looked hard enough!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Andy, luckily I am off to mid wales in about 3 weeks, and they say the skies are brilliant in the area, so I am hoping for clear skies :)

Just want to get in as much practice as I can before I go, but unfortunately I have a street light overlooking my back garden. This is making life quite difficult for me so far.

I am going to keep trying to see some of the Messier objects, just need the clear skies to return again now.

Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’ve always wished there was a ‘back garden/moderate light pollution’ observer guide… or perhaps I haven’t looked hard enough!

Andy, a book that I've browsed through and have found helpful is Mollise's The Urban Astronomer's Guide. I think it is an excellent read for anyone who lives with light polluted skies.

C87, thank you for your reports. It's always nice to read what other folk are up to. M3 & M13 are certainly well worth going for and well within your scope's capacity.

I usually hunt around (manually) with a 25mm. Then, if, and that's a biggish if, I find what I'm looking for, I will sit with it for 20 minutes or so, and then see if I can up the magnification. Sometimes this practice works and you can tweak out subtle details, other times it's not worth trying.

Of Saturn, I imagine it will be quite tricky to see the Cassini Belt, especially in LP areas. But you'll easily be able to follow her moons.

Good luck with your next adventure into the cosmos.

Edited by Qualia
Link to comment
Share on other sites

M3 should show in this scope. I see it in mine (same setup) from central London! I was also recently able to see the Casini division very clearly at 200x magnification. It was a very clear night with good seeing though.

Agree with Orion, open clusters (M44 for example) look gorgeous through the Mak. Well worth a look next time you're out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My GOTO always tracks when the alignment has been completed and I don't have to turn it on manually. I thought this was the norm and that the tracking rate was selected by the object that was selected - although I may be wrong on that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Chris

Globular clusters make fine studies in scopes with small fields of view like a Mak. They're high contrast objects that take magnification very well.

There are plenty to chose from throughout the coming summer months Ophiuchus and Sagittarius are full with them.

M22 is a real monster. Pity it doesn't rise higher in the sky as it would be even bigger and brighter than M13.:)

Enjoy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.