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mrgt4mark

Should I be able to see DSO's

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Having gotten the bug and quickly moved from a small autoscan Meade newtonian to a Skywatcher Quattro 8s on a EQ5 heavy duty mount with a SWA-70 (2") 32mm eyepiece I was expecting big things. Visually the view of the stars was fantastic but no DSO's could be seen. Am I expecting too much or have I got the wrong eyepiece.

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Two things spring to mind. What are your sky conditions like, and what were you trying to see?

That eyepiece will show you plenty in terms of open clusters, m31 etc. did you try the Double Cluster?

Stu

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Hi

I have the Quattro 8" too. For many DSOs of course a lot depends on sky conditions and local light pollution. I find having a dew/light shield about 40cm long made from an old camping mat and flocked in the interior is the best upgrade I've done to cut down on stray light. There's loads of other factors too like getting collimation right for this scope as well as giving it a good 30 minutes to cool down. But the Quattro is a great scope.

Which DSOs have you been looking at in particular? There is generally no such thing as the wrong eyepiece, just the wrong DSOs :smiley: . I would recommend checking out how they ought to appear in your eyepiece using one of the several websites that compute field of view (I use http://www.12dstring.me.uk/fov.htm). With your 32mm eyepiece a good place to start would be fairly large objects such as M13 or M27 or M42. Some of the 'headline' targets like M33 and M101 have a low surface brightness and can be washed away by even moderate amounts of light pollution. I'm sure you'll get other suggestions.

Actually, I spend most of my observing sessions with a Lodestar camera in place of an eyepiece and that brings a huge number of DSOs within reach. Definitely the best investment I made in this hobby and exceeding all prior expectations!

Martin

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If you can, get to a dark site with little light pollution and have a good handful of targets to look for, you should be able to see DSO but best from dark site

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I expect most people here will say that the key to seeing DSO's are dark skies and aperture - which is true. Like yourself I have scanned the sky with a 32mm eyepiece but not as good as your 2" version, and struggled to see DSO's. However since investing in goto technology I have found that being taken to a DSO object ensures that I'm looking at what I am wanting to look at. At first when I view an object I may not see much of interest, but sometimes spending time at the eyepiece brings out definition. I have also found that increasing the magnification using my 25mm eyepiece has sometimes improved the view. I suppose what I'm saying that scanning the sky will give great views but may not meet expectations. 

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Thanks for all the comments, funds didn't permit goto mounts so am star hopping and using The sKyeye app. I will try the larger objects as suggested. I live in a new housing development and as time as gone by my view as got limited and light pollution has got worse. My view is probably North,West and East upbove 45 degrees. I don't want to keep spending money trying to "frig" the right conditions when my house position is the main problem.

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Lsst night, from my light polluted garden, with my Heritage 130P, it was hazy. I could see M34 clearly at its high altutude, M38 lower in Auriga no problem, but although I could see the cluster NGC1981 to the north of the Orion Nebula, I couldn't see M42 itself! So conditions definetely count!

Mark

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I couldnt add much to the above comments but i suggest you to get away from light pollution maybe its your garden light or streetlights thats causing it ... if not try getting the orion nebula its very easy to find and continue with he above given targets.. i think andromeda is a good choice ... weather conditions are an important thing .. hey u can use a plossl if you want

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Andromeda galaxy is certainly on with your setup. I can see it with a pair of binoculars and through my 8" with a 31mm eyepiece it is an easy spot for me now I know where to look :grin: . Although I'm not completely in dark skies they are certainly darker than being in or near to a city so I would assume it would be a lot harder for me to find.  It was still visible, as a fuzzy blob, which I thought was a focus issue, but was dew on my lens  :rolleyes: .

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Hi 'mrgt4mark' and welcome to SGL.

Have you tried 'averted' vision. Also, as it is that time of year, (ie Halloween, Bonfire Night), they are not going to help much either in terms of clear skies I'm afraid either with seeing conditions. Last week nice and clear but fireworks were been let off every night. (I think that was Diwali, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwali).

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Scope and eyepiece should be OK, at least to locate DSO's.

You will only be getting 25x so objects will be small but you will have just under a 3 degree view.

My guess is that you simply are not managing to point the scope at them. It is not easy to get things in view and takes time and practise. Also a well set up finder.

You should be able to just about get M31 in view, but ones like M57 (ring nebula), Pleiades M45 and the Dumbbell Nebula M27 should be easy to see if they are in the field of the scope. If Hercules is still around try M13.

If the sky is reasonably dark use binoculars to locate them first, all will be faint M27 not sure if it is visible in binoculars in average skies but the others are (just).

Not sure what you have besides the 24mm but once found you will want to expand then image more.which with a 2" eyepiece means removing eyepiece and replacing with either a shorter 2" one or a 1.25" adaptor and a 1.25" eyepiece, then refocusing. Which if not done smoothly and quick means the object has gone from view.

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Light pollution plays a big factor in your part.

Check a light pollution map and see how bad it is, Use stellarium or TheSky software to find a DSO and check it out! Hopefully you'll see it, I'd suggest trying Orion or Andromeda as there one of the basic ones.

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I was expecting big things. Visually the view of the stars was fantastic but no DSO's could be seen. Am I expecting too much or have I got the wrong eyepiece.

As well as what the others have said about sky conditions, it's always a good idea to check out sketches and also to read over the observers reports here at SGL. These two sources will give you a general idea of what is possible visually.

I feel an 8" is a very rewarding scope and should last you many, many seasons. Of course, the ideal is to get out to dark sites whenever possible, but even if that's not always possible, this shouldn't hinder your enjoyment.

By way of example, for a good while I used a 4" frac from a roof top in the centre of a half million populated city and I was able to find - more or less - most of the Messiers, many NGCs, copious amounts of open clusters and double stars and also had great views of the Moon, Venus, Saturn and about five of her moons, Jupiter with his cloud belts, great red spot and Galilean moons, and so on. Sure the views weren't always as spectacular as they are at a dark site, but, that's to be expected :grin:

You might also find it handy to have a quick read over this and this post and also you might like to try your hand at this urban observing guide which has been designed for folk viewing from city skies :smiley:

Final thought, you might hear from time to time people talking about 'training the eye'. Now, I don't think it is the eye itself that is being trained :p but rather the observer's ability to perceive subtler and fainter detail in the night sky.

When I started out, I could never really find galaxies and when I did they all looked like fuzzy blobs. Now when I look at a galaxy they still look like faint fuzzy blobs :laugh: but I can find them a lot quicker and can also make a fair guess whether they're a spiral or elliptical, can see their shape, the way the light decreases from centre to edge and from time to time, might even be able to tweak a dust lane or arm. It's not because my eye has improved, but because my experience and patience have got better. I have found the best way to increase experience is to observe and to increase patience, you've got to be seated and comfortable.

Give yourself time and you'll be surprised how much you improve and how much you will see on each new session :grin:

Edited by Qualia
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Wise words there, when I started I had great hopes with 32mm. I had hoped to see the targets spread out on a black carpet !

I still have that ep and from town it is less than useless.

From a dark site it gives superb views. A 25 mm - 21mm is a better "searcher". You'll be needing x50-x60 to pick targets out in a scope from town. Higher magnification will have the effect of darkening the background, but will make faint fuzzies fade.

Refractors will cut through these urban skies, a 102 will give great views and contrast. There is little point chasing faint fuzzies if you can't pick out M31 or the double cluster by eye.

Better trying the many open clusters, globular clusters, planetary nebulae, planets , double stars and the Moon,

Nick.

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I thought the Quattro was made for imaging? I could very well be wrong.

If it is though wouldn't it be not so good for visual, eg more secondary obstruction.

Also it's a fast scope so the collimation will need to be good and would need good EPs.

I'm still very much a noob so if I'm wrong please feel free to correct me.

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Better trying the many open clusters, globular clusters, planetary nebulae, planets , double stars and the Moon,

Nick.

Follow this advice and you will start to get the hang of finding your way around the night sky. There is plenty to keep you busy and your store of knowledge will increase and you will be able to use this store when/if you observe under better conditions.

Good luck and clear skies.

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Thanks chaps and chapess's for the advice. Got some brand new dual axis motors today for a bargain of eBay, so tomorrow I will bolt them on and look for something big as suggested

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Luckily for me I live in a dark area, Andromeda etc being visible naked eye.

However, the weather plays a huge role in seeing. At the moment with this very warm day time, Moon viewing is great from about 4pm in full daylight.

Then deteriorates as evening comences and the stars start to appear. As the evening progresses I see more stars, but also more murk/ humidity/fog.

Between 8pm and midnight there is almost no point, everything would be dripping. Then from 2am through 5am, clear skies, no murk and beautiful skies.

Sadly apart from going outdoors to confirm this nightly, I'm generally not in a great position to work up a full blown observing session.

With the onset of full cold Winter this will change to earlier and clearer viewing.

Don't give up.

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You've got some really good advice here, and I really hope it helps! No one else has mentioned it, so I'm going to... If you haven't already, you really should invest in a copy of Turn Left at Orion. Not only is it a great guide for star hopping and finding DSOs, but it also includes 'sketches' of what these objects should look like in different sized scopes, and at different magnifications.  I found this essential when I embarked upon DSO hunting!  Sometimes, I was convinced there was nothing in the EP, but actually there was! I just didn't know what I was looking at.

I do also understand that you don't want to spend an awful amount of money on things that might not help anyway, but there are things that you can do quite cheaply.  First off, a dew/light shield... I made one for the princely sum of £12, using - as previously suggested by someone - a camping mat (£5 from eBay), and flocking material £7 from FLO (they don't seem to have any in stock at the moment, but you could try other retailers).  This did indeed help enormously when trying to cut out erroneous light from nearby street lamps. 

Again, as previously mentioned, training yourself to spot DSOs is key.  They aren't always easy to spot, but a few tips/techniques can go a long way to helping you out.  Firstly, I covered my head/EP with a dark coat... sounds silly, but it did help to block any stray light between my eye and the EP. The EP I used did have a 'cup' on it that is meant to deal with this, but using something over my head ensured that I was in the best possible position to try and spot DSOs. I have since upgraded to 2 black pillowcases stitched together to create a shroud (cost £4). God knows what my neighbours think of me, but who cares!.  Also, patience is key here.  A quick look in the EP isn't always sufficient.  Sitting at the EP for periods of 5-10 mins will start to reveal objects/structures that weren't there to start with.  (A simple ironing stool is my tool for this - £15 from a flea market.)  Also, the use of averted vision will also help you to see things that 'aren't there' when looking straight on.  Try and scan your field of view with the corner of your eye, rather than looking straight at it. 

I also agree with one of the other posts that mention using a slighter higher magnification EP.  A 32mm EP is great, but gives such a wide field of view, that you can't always pick out the DSO in it.  Again, I understand that you don't want to spend an enormous amount of money, but at the same time, investing in EPs will give you a long term gain.  I have now built up quite a collection by asking for them for birthdays/christmas etc. I think the suggested size of 25mm may make it easier for you to spot DSOs. I literally only use the 31/36mm ones for aligning scopes (using GoTo) and larger objects like Andromeda galaxy, M42, star clusters etc).

Absolutely nothing will make up for a nice dark sky site, but - and I speak from experience here - its not always possible to get to one, and when clear nights are so rare, I take my opportunities when I can to get out observing!  I'm a big believer of working with what you've got, but at the same time, there are things you can do to help enhance/improve the views wherever you are! 

I hope I've given you some food for thought here. Let us know how you get on. And don't give up! This hobby does require major time investment (as well as ££ investment!), but is so worth it! 

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Thanks Rockrae78 for that reply. I like the dew/light shield idea. I have a camping mat I could chop up. How much does it extend from the telescope. Eyepiece is an option, I have a 2" aperture as standard but is there a real advantage over 1 1/4", the later is cheaper, but the old proverbial "is bigger better"

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I thought the Quattro was made for imaging? I could very well be wrong.

If it is though wouldn't it be not so good for visual, eg more secondary obstruction.

Also it's a fast scope so the collimation will need to be good and would need good EPs.

I'm still very much a noob so if I'm wrong please feel free to correct me.

You're not wrong. I don't see any point in choosing a Quattro over a slower Newt for visual observing. Indeed a slower one would be better, in principle. That said, it really doesn't make an earth shattering difference and isn't worth getting too excited about until you are into very advanced observing and have a really good site.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice

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I mainly use 2" EPs when observing DSOs. But that's my preference. If you got yourself a 25mm EP in either 2" or 1.25" I think you'd give yourself a better chance at spotting some DSOs. Like I said, EPs are an investment in the hobby. But, you could always try meeting up with a local group, or attending a star party and ask if some members would be willing to let you try one of their EPs before you decide to buy one. 

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