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Sharpe

Advice Please? Things I Think I Saw AND Telescope Issues

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Hi Guys, tonight I took my new telescope out for the first time since I got it, having had some issues since October that have restricted my viewing to Jupiter and the Moon and then the weather....

Anyway, tonight seemed promising, clear skies all day going into night albeit a little hazy here in South Oxfordshire as we are rather too close to the Thames. So, thinking I had fixed my issues I went out for a look. Can anyone help me with confirming my observations (particularly the DSO) and in particular can anyone PLEASE help me with my continued issues with my telescope?

Here are my field notes:

Weather: Clear, little/no breeze, bright Half Moon near zenith, LP was fairly high due to a couple of local houses and the moon, but I was in a 'shaded' area. Possibly 'fairly' hazy.

Targets: Moon, Jupiter, Andromeda Galaxy (M31/NGC 224).

Observations:

Moon:

Half moon, high in the sky VERY bright (note). Good views of the whole moon using a 25mm lens, but could not get my Samsung Galaxy S2 to take a decent picture as the image kept turning the moon into a fuzzy white blob.

25mm lens soon misted up so I switched lenses. I got Excellent views of craters and seas along the 'light/dark' divide using a X2 Barlow and a 10mm lens (see pic below taken with my Samsung Galaxy S2 with the moon approximately centred - I think).

HalfMoon10mmx2Barlow19022013_zps6e05af17.jpg

Notes: Why does my S2 not work with the 25mm EP but with the 10mm x2 Barlow setup? The moon is BRIGHT, use the moon filter next time!

Jupiter:

25mm Lens showed Jupiter as a bright brown object about the size of the inside ring of a Polo mint with 4 moons in a loose diagonal (top left to bottom right) formation starting from approximately the centreline of Jupiter (offset to the left of course) down to below the planet offset by nearly equal distance to the bottom right.

Switching to the 10mm with x2 Barlow Jupiter grew to about the size of a garden pea. I could make out two distinct brown bands in the centre and possibly a brown cap on the top (north) pole. No sign of the BRD, perhaps it was not good enough visibility or perhaps it was on the other side? Looking at the moons more closely from top left moving down to the right, the first moon (top left) seemed furthest away, next right seemed to be the closest and on the right side (and below) seemed to be the next closest followed by the final moon in the 'penultimate' furthest away position.

Notes: Could getting a 6m or 4mm improve the image detail? Reference to 12DString website shows the moons as (top left to bottom right): Ganymede, Io, Europa, Callisto.

Andromeda Galaxy (M31/NGC 224):

Optics used throughout was a 25mm EP. Well, this really was an eye opener. IF what I think I saw was M31 then I am staggered at how little there was too look at. As I cannot be certain I was looking in the right place (see my plea for help below) I shall describe what I saw.

M31 (till proven otherwise) appeared to be about twice to three time the size of a garden pea, appearing in a elliptical shape with the apex of each ellipse appearing top left and bottom right. Object had no colour and was almost impossible to notice. In addition, putting the telescope 'bang on' it made it 'disappear'. In order to view it, best results seemed to be gained with an off centre targeting and by looking in the opposite direction.

-Does this sound about right for M31 to anyone?

(More) issues with scope:

A plea to anyone in the know! I have been having trouble getting the telescope to 'find' targets accurately despite a good 'sky align' 3 star alignment. Every time the scope seems to be out by about one to three 'fingers' in the lateral (up down) axis and perhaps a teeny/tiny bit to the right. I find this aberration to be very disconcerting as it makes gaining confidence in the telescope very difficult unless the target is self evident and bright (eg the moon or Jupiter). It also means that as someone who started the astronomy hobby about two months ago, I can't rely on its positioning to help find 'harder' targets like DSO's. As I have no point of reference as to what to look for (or where) it makes confidence and fun hard to come by. All reviews I have read of this scope say its great, especially for beginners and even a naff alignment will get good results.

I spent an hour getting a great calibration of the red dot sight with the optics (on a 10mm lens) and I believe I am setting it up right - can anyone offer any observations or suggestions. I think I have set up the correct TZ (standard timing, (i.e. NOT daylight savings), universal time code) and I used an app on my phone for my Long/Lat and time derived from the GPS satellites (I have tested the app and its extremely accurate so this can't be at fault).

-Please can anyone offer any advice?

Regards,

Sharpe

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Not sure about your mount problem (Finding things) but as for M31, that sounds about right, its not much to look at at all & is much better in a pair of bins. The GRS of jupiter should be visible in good seeing conditions but if not so good then it can seem to blend in with the rest of the belt. This http://www.projectpluto.com/jeve_grs.htm is a rough guide to the transit times of the GRS & if you use stellerium (free download & invaluable IMO) you'll be able to see exactly whats up 'there' every time your out, just remember to set it to your home co-ordinates.

Steve

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It may be your scope levelling that's the problem. the scope doesn't need to be level but it does need to be orthagonal. During the day level the tripod and mount then level the scope using a level on the scope and mark the positon on the mount and the bit that rotates up and down on the fork tipex is good for this then at night when the 2 marks line up you are level at least as far as the scope is concerned.

http://www.nexstarsite.com/AlignmentFAQ.htm

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Thanks for the info guys - I will look into marking the level point on the scope.

-Sharpe

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If it's any consolation I went out yesterday evening to a site that gives me good views in the right conditions.

However I had low level hazy mist over the fields and the moon high in the sky.

Jupiter I could make out 3 bands but no GRS.

M31 unimpressive and could just make out a hint of M110 next to it with averted vision.

Put it down to experience & packed up after an hour.

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I can understand why folks get a bit frustrated at some of the initial views of these objects but if you keep at it and persevere the detail you can see will gradually improve as your eye gets tuned to the image it's seeing. Jupiter in particular does start to show more of it's subtle features as you continue to view it.

It's not really a hobby of "quick wins" I feel. The details that you read others describing or see sketched may have taken hours to observe and will represent best that the conditions allowed. These moments of best seeing often only last a second or two so you need to spend time at the eyepiece to experience them. When they happen it's like a veil has been lifted for a brief moment and you see what your scope is really capable of. Visual observers live for these moments but patience is required to secure them :smiley:

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BRD...is that like; Big Red Dot?

Lol yes I was wondering how long it would take for someone to pounce on that :)

I did of course mean GRS.

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I can understand why folks get a bit frustrated at some of the initial views of these objects but if you keep at it and persevere the detail you can see will gradually improve as your eye gets tuned to the image it's seeing. Jupiter in particular does start to show more of it's subtle features as you continue to view it.

It's not really a hobby of "quick wins" I feel. The details that you read others describing or see sketched may have taken hours to observe and will represent best that the conditions allowed. These moments of best seeing often only last a second or two so you need to spend time at the eyepiece to experience them. When they happen it's like a veil has been lifted for a brief moment and you see what your scope is really capable of. Visual observers live for these moments but patience is required to secure them :smiley:

A reasonable and sensible point. Although please don't misinterpret confusion as frustration. I am still trying to find my feet in the world of astronomy and because of the issues I have with my telescope atm it's hard to be sure of what I am looking at and for.

It's great that I have finally had a confirmed DSO sighting as I now know what to look for and expect :)

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BRD...is that like; Big Red Dot?

I think the FOB is more accurate a description these days; Feint Orange Blob.

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M31 appears as an oval fuzzy patch and can be seen naked eye once you know where to look. It stands out nicely in binocs too especially on a clear night with good transparency. When the moon is up much of the object get's washed away making any galaxy hard to view - full moon makes many impossible to see. Don't expect to see colour on anything but planets and some double stars. You'll be using the rod receptors in your eye which are monochrome only.

A very dark site and well adapted night vision is best - if there's any light pollution you can put a black blanket over your head at the eyepiece (daft as it sounds it works). Averted vision (looking to the side of the object) is a useful technique on fainter galaxies but shouldn't be necessary with M31. Hth :)

Edited by brantuk

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