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Help Viewing Jupiter


Kedvenc
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I'm not sure if I'm expecting too much but I've seen some incredibly detailed sketches of Jupiter done with 8 inch reflectors. With my equipment I can easily see the two main equatorial belts as orange/brown strips across the face and when the seeing is good I've been able to view other zones/belts north and south. However, no matter how much I've tried over the last two years this is as much as I can see and have no idea how others can observe more detail than this. There is a double transit coming up on 9th of march so I'm considering upgrading my higher power eyepiece and the barlow.

My question is this: Given that I'm not going to upgrade scope just yet (200p f5 skywatcher, with the bog standard eyepieces) will a better eyepiece/barlow combination give me better contrast and allow more detailed observations (with good seeing)? I'm considering the Baader 8mm Hyperion and a better barlow lens.

Any advice/help on this would be greatly appreciated.

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The 25 mm eyepiece you get with the scope is ok, but the 10mm is not good,

this is why you are not getting much detail, upgrading your eyepieces its the

way to go, try this link http://www.swindonstargazers.com/beginners/eyepieces.htm

it will give you an idea which ones to go for, I use the BST StarGuiders, but there 

are many choices and prices.

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Jupiter is a low contrast planet so you need just enough magnification to dim the brightness down but not too much or you will loose detail.

In an 8" scope I find between x170 and x200 to be ideal, so a good 6 or 5mm eyepiece will do the trick. Orthoscopics and Plossls are simple eyepiece designs with very few elements and are hard to beat on the planets.

Cooldown is VERY important as is collimation - if these are both managed you will get the very best out of your scope.

Seeing conditions and the Jetstream degrade the image so some nights will be better than others.

Try to view Jupiter just as the Sun sets for the best possible contrast.

Edited by dweller25
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I would say

  -  Upgrade of eyepiece as advised above

  -  Ensure scope is properly cooled

  -  Ensure scope is properly collimated

After that it is a case of patience. You need to look and keep looking, waiting for that moment when the atmosphere suddenly becomes steady and the detail comes through. Having a mount which tracks, as indeed you do,  helps with this as it  frees you from manual tracking and lets you concentrate on observing.

Richard

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Hi Kedvenc, the scope you have on that mount is fine, sound like your a little frustrated so far - I think every astronomer goes through this phase as there are a lot of factors which make fine detail frustrating at best, seeing, sky transparency, height of the planet your observing, local atmospherics, distant atmospherics, too much magnification, too little magnification - the list goes on mate.

All these factors seem to work against us as you know, so picking out fine detail and markings is , at best, a lot to do with luck, there's a little we can do to help here, as mentioned above, collimation and choice of EP, some nights you can increase the mag a little, but too much "washes" out any detail there.

The detail I look for is when you start to compare brightness of belts/zones - especially right on the edges of the belts/zones - irregularities start to appear every now and then - you might look at Jupiter for a few minutes - nothing else - just looking for a few minutes - in this time you may get few seconds of "steadying", this is when the detail begins to appear, you can make a mental picture in these few seconds - just keep looking, after a while the bits of steadying increase and your picture of detail increases, remember this detail is very small and very low contrast, you can pick out "lumps" on the edges of the equatorial belts and every now and then if there are white ovals around, these tend to be slightly brighter than the zone where they are - again very small and not much contrast between the actual ovals and the overall colour of the zones.

The Great Red Spot is another feature where you can spend a little time on, through my 11"SCT, the increased "brightness" of the zone directly in front of the GRS gives it away, the spot is very pale though.

Transits are very distinct and very high contrast with the dark shadow on the surface unmistakable.

Most of this detail is very small and given all the factors working against us, its a wonder that anything can be seen!! Make the most of Jupiter this time as its the highest in the sky I have seen Jupiter for a while, Mars and Saturn are very low down this time and you will be trying to tease detail out of objects that are well South of the ecliptic - so be looking through a large amount of atmosphere to make matters worse.

Keep at it and spend a lot of time with your scope tracking Jupiter at the EP and things will improve - don't expect the amazing detail from the stacked/heavily processed images on here as the chips/sensors they use are far more sensitive than our eyes.    Paul.

Edited by Northern Soul man
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The most useful accessory for observing Jupiter (and most of the planets) is a stool! As others have said above, you need time to wait for those moments of excellent seeing. I have a pretty cheap adjustable ironing stool and it's great to just relax and really study the planet.

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Yes, as Kerrylewis above says, a viewing stool/chair is a real plus. I have just acquired one and it really allowed me to relax and become more absorbed in what was going on in the eyepiece: I'm convinced it rewarded me with greater detail in what I was seeing.

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Many thanks for all the replies it helps a lot. I've been considering an observing stool for sometime, my main concern is finding one that is high enough but I think the ironing stools I've seen recommended should do it. I've had good views of mars on the last opposition (could seen the polar caps changing over the weeks and surface detail etc), I used a step ladder to lean against and this made a huge difference, as did an eye-patch to block the non-observing eye.

I'm fairly happy I'm collimating the scope well, so I will look into a new eyepiece. I think I've managed to get a lot out of the standard eyepieces and pushed them but time to upgrade now. I've not really considered coloured filters. I'm a bit unsure as to whether I'll get any enjoyment with a 'false' colour in the image. What do people find when using filters and what are a useful set of colours?

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The 25 mm eyepiece you get with the scope is ok, but the 10mm is not good,

this is why you are not getting much detail, upgrading your eyepieces its the

way to go, try this link http://www.swindonstargazers.com/beginners/eyepieces.htm

it will give you an idea which ones to go for, I use the BST StarGuiders, but there 

are many choices and prices.

Thanks for this link, very good and helpful read.

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good advice above. I would add tht the good sketchers on SGL and other sites do not see all the detail all the time. seeing comes and goes and they/we will only see occasional glimpses of the best/finest detail. the more you observe the more you see and it's sometimes a case of right I have got that tiny bit of detail nailed, I'll concentrate on something else now.

the more you 'train' your eyes, the better, a light pollution filter will work well on Jupiter. I use baader's neodymium which is also great on the moon and Mars.

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Yeah, regarding filters, I've used a set of variable polarising filters on Jupiter - you get 2 filters that screw together and just by rotating the one filter against the other, you get a varying degree of "darkness" - I have both sets the 1 1/4 and the 2" - if you screw 1 into the front of your star diagonal, then screw the other into the base of your EP, just by rotating the EP in the diagonal you can vary the amount of light entering your eye - it just takes a lot of the glare of the overall brightness of the disk, you only have to rotate the EP very slightly for the given effect - Some people like using colour filters and other don't - just depends on how you observe - like you say - they give false colour - not natural, the more subtle filters may be an idea, but as said - still false colour.

I mainly use the binoviewers on Jupiter, they work really well, I always found squinting with 1 eye a little off putting, using both eyes you can relax - the eye patch is a good idea though.  If you can borrow some filters from anyone at the astro society - if your a member, or another astronomer who you know - this would be the best so that you could try before you buy sort of thing - I found the variable polarising filters really helped on Mars because of the true brightness of a small disk is very overpowering, but the planet is well South this time so the atmosphere will do its best to wash out the views.   Paul.

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I have a sw 8mm planetary lens which I don't seem to get a good view with does this mean its no good for my size scopes I have a 150p dob and a goto 130p cant seem to get it focused in any of the scopes ?

No it could be for a number of reasons scope not cooled down environment i.e seeing conditions where your viewing from over the top of houses or on top of flags that have absorbed heat from the day.

Edited by wookie1965
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Thanks again for taking the time to reply. Seems that the BST's are highly regarded on SGL and a lot cheaper than the Baader Hyperion's so I think I may go this route. I've not considered the neodymium filter for planetary viewing (as I'm lucky to have good skies at the moment) although I do remember reading in the past that they are useful at bringing out detail. With viewing mars and showing others I try to explain that you have to wait for those moments of still air etc but with Jupiter I have spent a lot of time trying to discern more detail to no avail.

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maybe I should try letting the scope cool then before I use it I just pop in and out with it sometimes don't even take it outside and view from inside with the patio doors open guessing im not setting things up as I should do lol

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maybe I should try letting the scope cool then before I use it I just pop in and out with it sometimes don't even take it outside and view from inside with the patio doors open guessing im not setting things up as I should do lol

You need to let it cool at least 10 minutes per inch, like mine 150p takes an hour before i start to see really good views, i have seen the rings of Saturn quite easily when i first took it outside but i have only seen the cassini division once its cooled.

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I've not seen the Cassini division yet either. I generally just get started with observing but I'm usually out for a few hours so work on the idea that the scope will cool down eventually while I'm out. Always winds me up when I set the scope up, it's clear and then when cooled it's all clouded over. Would rather have poor views than none at all!

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I've not seen the Cassini division yet either. I generally just get started with observing but I'm usually out for a few hours so work on the idea that the scope will cool down eventually while I'm out. Always winds me up when I set the scope up, it's clear and then when cooled it's all clouded over. Would rather have poor views than none at all!

I got that way now i just set up when i know im going have at least 3 hours does my nut in when i have planned a nights observing go out and hour later its cloudy, im going to buy a sun filter for the front of my scope at least i will be able get some use out of it.

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