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help for a complete beginner!


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First up I've recently bought myself a Celestron Astromaster 130. I've got no star gazing experience and know very little about the night sky, although am keen to learn!

I'm not aure what I should/shouldn't be able to see using my scope. I've looked at the moon a couple of times and tonight I've been searching for Jupiter. I managed to take a couple of photos down the eyepiece using my mobile phone which I'll try and put up here.

What I thought was Jupiter appeared to have a few stars around it, which I'm guessing were the moons, but it appeared to be quite small.....maybe I just expected more!

Could someone advise whether Jupiter would be quite small for me on my scope?

Any advise on what I should be doing or looking for would be greatly appreciated,

Cheers!

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Hi Shavy, welcome to the forum. A great post to read would be this one to give you an idea also you could use Stellarium (FREE) and input your telescope and eyepieces in the optics section or input yo

I will go a bit stronger and say a 4mm eyepiece will be of very likely no use to you at all. Always seems a good idea, but the reality is they are not worth it. Been there and done that. Gave my last

49 quid for these are a great deal , the same eyepiece rebranded elsewhere are known to retail at double this. Although it's e bay. , the seller ( skies the limit / skies unlimited) has a reputation

Welcome to SGL.

The 130 is a popular 'scope and you should get some good views through it. But and it is a big BUT do not expect to see the planets as huge orbs with great maases of colouring. That is acheived by multiple exposures and stackiing. Trying to point a mobile down the eye piece by hand is never easy. It needs to be mounted.

With the ep's provided you will (and have seen) the moons of Jupiter, they will shift in position from night to night.

Try the other planets and of course the moon. The Orion nebula should also be a nice bright target along with the globular clusters.

By eye and your scope you should be able to pick out the banding on Jupiter, however your eyes need to learn how to see. For deep sky objects they can appear faint and grey unlike the images taken by Hubble or the images seen on this site where the owner has again used muitliple exposures and stacked them. To see the DSO's by eye through your scope you often need to use averted vision.

Get a copy of Turn Left at Orion, a great book for binocular, small and medium scope owners. It will give you a long potential viewing list as the seasons change and other constellations appear. It has some very good drawinsg and maps and tells you what you should expect to see.

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Hi Shavy, welcome to the forum. A great post to read would be this one to give you an idea also you could use Stellarium (FREE) and input your telescope and eyepieces in the optics section or input your telescope and eyepiece into here and select an imaging item from the lists (make sure you switch to visual viewing before selecting your eyepiece)

Jupiter should look like this in your Astromaster 130 with a 9mm eyepiece

599648_540951165993980_1023822597_n.jpg

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Could someone advise whether Jupiter would be quite small for me on my scope?

Any advise on what I should be doing or looking for would be greatly appreciated,

Cheers!

Hi and welcome.

In my experience I was able to see some good details such as the bands of Jupiter with much smaller telescopes, so you should definitely be able to see some more of Jupiter with your telescope. You will need to use the eyepiece that has the smallest number printed on it (you probably got a 10mm). If you have the Barlow Lens (there should be a 2X bundled with your scope) you can fit the eyepiece into the Barlow, so you will get a bigger image. Also make sure that your eyes are adapted to darkness and that you spend some time observing throughout the same object, so that you can discern more details.

Clear skies

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Hi Shavy and welcome to SGL :)

Did you download Stellarium yet? It's great for helping you find, and confirm, which objects you're looking at - and it's free. Highly recommended. For general orientation in the sky I found it helps to know where the ecliptic is, which way is north, south, east, and west, and which constellations are currently in the sky.

Most folks learn to recognise the constellations and their main stars in order to locate stuff. Almost every object in the sky is only a short hop away from a constellation main star. Of course the planets are moving - but they always pass by constellation main stars all through the night - consult Stellarium for which and when.

The focal length of your scope is 650mm. So a 10mm eyepiece magnifies the object 65x (650/10) - your 20mm eyepiece magnifies it 32.5x (650/20). Both of these will appear quite small in the eyepiece. Using a barlow effectively doubles the focal length of your scope so the 20mm will give you 65x magnification and the 10mm gives you 130x. To get good detail on Jupiter you need between 150x to 180x magnification.

Beware the manufacturer claims you can go up to 307x mag - but in practise you'll find average UK "seeing" restricts you to under 200x and to get that you'll need some slightly better quality eyepieces than the supplied one's which are usually just enough to get you going out of the box. Hth :)

Edited by brantuk
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Woooow thanks all for the replies. They have been very useful!

Thanks for the link Big Daz and Qualia, they were very informative for me. It has been very educational to see what I "should" be seeing as apposed to what I thought I should be seeing!

I didn't get a x2 barlow with the scope so I think I will purchase one of these first, and then maybe a smaller EP....possibly 4/5mm, am I right in saying this would give me the required x160/130 magnification for a clearer jupiter?

Again, thank you all so much it really has cleared alot up for me and clarified alot! It's just the bit of help I need to persevere and keep me at it!

Cheers everyone

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Greetings and welcome to SGL! I have a scope similar to yours. Tonight I viewed Jupiter for the first time. Had a fairly decent view with a 9mm EP. Not the greatest viewing conditions but had a really good view (well for me being first time viewing Jupiter) with the 9mm and a 2x barlow. 

Like mentioned above, Stellarium is an awesome program. It will help greatly with identifying stars and objects in the night sky. And once you know certain stars and constellations, it is way easier to spot others. It's almost exponential.

Again, welcome aboard and clear skies to you!

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an astromaster 130 was my first scope! still got it actually, must get round to putting it up for sale....

I digress, yes you will see jupiter as a small disk and if the conditions allow they you will see up to 5 bands across the surface and maybe the smudge of the red spot. You should also be able to see a black 'pearl' shadow across the surface when one of the moons transits the face of the planet.

it will NOT fill your field of view full with colours and cloud swirls!

with a barlow on your 10mm ep, it will look like a 5pence piece held at arms length and with concentration and 5 minutes uninterupted viewing (once your eyes are dark adapted) much more detail will become apparent. 

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Great, thanks for advice. Iv went for the 2x Barlow for now.

I fear I may still be curious and want to see even more though.....anyone confirm if a 4mm EP is the right choice for my scope? After reading alot on here I realise it does appear to be down to personal opinion.

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Not so much to do with opinion - but more to do with personal experience. Some folks get on better with certain types of eyepiece for their particular scope, than other types of eyepiece/scope combinations. Everyone's eyes are as different as everyone's noses lol.

Whether or not a 4mm eyepiece will work for you with your scope is going to be highly dependent on: atmospheric conditions, light pollution at your observing site, and elevation of your object in the sky. If you can use it "on the night" then it will put you in the right magnification ballpark for viewing Jupiter (around 150x to 180x). But it will have to be very clear, very steady, and very transparent. :)

Edited by brantuk
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I will go a bit stronger and say a 4mm eyepiece will be of very likely no use to you at all. Always seems a good idea, but the reality is they are not worth it. Been there and done that. Gave my last 4mm away to someone that is looking to buy a scope. Gave it as it is of no use and experience says that they would buy one. Idea was here's one, try it and you will find out how useless it is without spending money on it. Gave them 5 plossl's with the idea that if they progress then hand the ones given over to their club.

You might manage an 8mm on a good barlow, however that means buying an 8mm and a decent barlow.

The supplied eyepieces are usually poor and the idea is that you can put them in and see something. There is no guarantee on how well you see anything just that something is there. Instead of 2 eyepieces I almost think that they should put one half reasonable plossl in, say 12mm. But eventually that would go to 1 poor eyepiece and you're worse then now.

Many will say use the ones you get, my view is getting towards get going with them to familiarise yourself with a scope but expect to buy better almost immediatly.

Jupiter should show bands at 60x or more, it is big and bright. Will depend on the atmosphere conditions and that is also influenced by how high up Jupiter is, as to how good and the final detail observable.

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definitely echo what ronin says about the supplied EPs - yes they work, but they arent that good, especially the 10mm.... however the first time you see jupiter through one will still mak eyou go wow.

You can get much better eps for about £25 each, or go the whole hog and spend £45 on some BST/TMB eps. These will show you pretty much the maximum performance your scope can show - very little point in spending hundreds!!!

When I got my astromaster, I think i replaced the 10mm for a TMB planetary 9mm ep after the 2nd night out and it was really a huge improvement and made me say "wow" to jupiter for the second time. I then bought a x2 barlow to use with my 9mm and that gave me my 3rd jupiter wow moment!

so a 4.5mm focal length ep will work with your scope, but its on the limits to what teh scope can reasonable manage at x144 mag. I wouldnt recommend a normal 4 or 5mm plossl, as the distance your eye needs to be from the glass is very very very tiny and the lense really is small. Not very comfortable in my opinion (one thing you can count on is difference styles and preferences in astronomy and observing!). Personally I find a bigger eye lense - such as the BST/TMBs - to be very easy and comfortable to use and they barlow well. Optically they are good and will bring out the limits of contrast and definition that your telescope can produce and that the seeing conditions allow.

i used my astromaster with the standard supplied 20mm and the TMB 9mm and the x2 barlow for almost a year, perfectly happy and content. You dont need a massive range of eps, as on such a short focal length telescope the leap in magnification doesnt warrant it. The only thing I bought after that was a 32mm widefield ep for cruising around cassiapia and cygnus. All my eps and barlow were second hand too, you dont need to spend a fortune to enjoy spectacular views through this telescope!

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Hi,

I have this scope and my experience of observing Jupiter.

(following aligning scope with Polaris, switching to a 5mm EP and defocusing to check collomination)

For my viewing of Jupiter I use my Celestron X-Cel ED (10mm & 5mm) EPs.

As has been suggested the higher magnification is not always better.

While I can get a reasonable view of Jupiter with the 5mm I find that it is slightly washed out by the brightness and shimmers a lot more, resulting in less detail being visable even though the disk is larger.

If I want to observe the bands in detail I find it far easier with the 10mm as that gives a crisp clear disk, albeit smaller.

Hope this helps

dag123

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Completely agree with getting Turn left at Orion to read, and Stellarium for the PC; for free software its pretty amazing at highlighting what you'll see at any point. I have the Astromaster 70EQ, and want to replace the 10mm EP, looking at 8-9mm NPLs/BST. As discussed elsewhere, not worth spending too much money on EP's at this point..

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Thanks once again for all the advice, well received. I`ve definately taken on board the comments regarding the higher powered EP`s.....although I agree it is very tempting to go for the best magnification, but I understand doesn`t always provide the best results!

Based on advice I`m considering a 8mm TMB Planetary, any thoughts on this or recommendations on something more suited?

Thanks again  

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although I agree it is very tempting to go for the best magnification

Best magnification does not mean biggest magnification, learnt that on Jupiter on two consecutive nights. Conditions were as near identical as possible but the 2 scopes were utterly different, one small and about £200, the other big and over £2000. The small one may have produced the smaller image but it was clearer, sharper and much better defined.

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id say 8mm would be a good focal length for that scope , would give about x 81 magnification.  any higher I think youd not get to use too often .

 check out the bst / starguider eyepieces, very well regarded round these parts.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1-25-8mm-BST-Explorer-Dual-ED-eyepiece-Branded-Starguider-/161134743886?pt=UK_Telescope_Eyepieces&hash=item258461114e

Edited by rory
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49 quid for these are a great deal , the same eyepiece rebranded elsewhere are known to retail at double this. Although it's e bay. , the seller ( skies the limit / skies unlimited) has a reputation as good as anyone. You'll have no hassle if there's a problem . You can get second hand ones too for about £30-35 if you keep a look out.

If in doubt check reviews in the eyepiece section for other options .

Good luck with your choice and clear skies.

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