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Very New, Need All the Help and Guidance Possible


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After wanting a telescope for my entire childhood my girlfriend bought me an Orion Starblast 70 for my 30th birthday last week.

With a couple of decent nights weather wise we tried it out the last couple of nights.  

Night 1 was fantastic, super close ups of the moon, all kinds of stuff we had never seen. We saw Jupiter, and it's moons, VERY COOL!

We wanted to try the Barlow lens that came with it tonight, and we did not have any luck seeing anything.

It came with two lenses, a 25mm, and a 10mm.  Is it possible to attach these and/or the Barlow incorrectly?  

The manual that came with it does not even reference the Barlow lens, so I spent the day googling Barlow lens' and trying to figure out how to use it correctly.  It would appear that I failed in doing so.

My most recent google search brought me here, where I come looking for any and all insight/help/guidance/tips.  I'm very new and do not know much (or any) of the lingo, so patience is greatly appreciated!

Thank you all in advance.

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A Barlow should be straightforward to use. Insert one of your eyepieces (try the 25mm first) into the larger end of the Barlow and snug down the set screw on it (you may have to loosen the set screw to insert the eyepiece, and don't overtighten once the eyepiece is in: key word is "snug"). Then insert the other end of the Barlow where you would normally insert the eyepiece. You most likely will need to refocus. With the 25mm eyepiece, the Barlow -- assuming it's a 2x -- will give similar magnification to your 10mm. With the 10mm it will give significantly higher magnification which will require correspondingly more sensitive focus.

Work it out with the 25mm first.

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Joel is spot on, it's straightforward - once you have the eyepiece set in the Barlow, it in effect becomes one big eyepiece and you focus as usual. Hopefully you'll be successful next time out. If you still have problems, it would be helpful to hear exactly what you mean by 'no luck seeing anything' which covers a multitude... :)

For example, you will have a narrower field of view, so may see less star patterns. Can you see any stars with the Barlow attached? Is your finder properly aligned with your scope? If not, at higher magnification, you may have to hunt around quite a bit to see what you aimed at ( it's surprising how much hunting you have to do even for the Moon, despite its size, if your finder is 'off').

But hopefully, with Joel's excellent advice above, you'll be off and sailing on your next scope time :)

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Welcome to SGL! Advice and information is a specialty here. So pull up a chair and make yourself at home!

When you use a Barlow, you will need to re-focus from where the focuser was for the eyepiece - usually. It's also possible to have a bad Barlow - but Orion is usually pretty good. Also reading up on telescopes and observing is a great idea. And don't limit yourself to the Moon and planets - the entire universe is now on your doorstep. A telescope can easily be the gift of a lifetime.

To help you along, here is a (free) star-charting - planetarium program that you can download and explore. It will show you what's up there any given night from your location. Stellarium:

http://www.stellarium.org/

And this is an excellent book you might wish to read:

http://www.amazon.com/Turn-Left-Orion-Hundreds-Telescope/dp/0521153972

Enjoy your stay - and Clear Skies,

Dave

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Hi.. Welcome

Excellent advice given as is the norm here.

As said.. You will! Need to refocus.. I was using a webcam for first time last night then the penny dropped that I have a Barlow too I could use. My first thoughts once inserted was great, Barlow doesn't work with this.. Then I spotted some distorted light, I had to wind the focus right out and voila.. Jupiter. So tweak it around a bit, you'll be surprised.

Happy viewing.

Sean

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Welcome to the forum, the right place to come for advice on all things astronomical.

I would add to the excellent advice you have already received that you need to focus really slowly when using higher magnifications.

Just take your time and enjoy.

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We will give it a shot again tonight.  I spent a lot of time last night turning the focus knobs, but nothing showed up.  I could some good looks at my eyelashes, but could not find the moon, or see any stars, or even Jupiter (which we could at least see it and it's moons on night one).  

Thanks for the advice, and I'll report back whatever issues arise tonight!

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Tonight should you be lucky with clouds, start with the Moon w/ your widest eyepiece (ep), 25mm *without the Barlow*. Get the Moon fully centred in your view and then gently ( don't want to move the scope) take out the ep and slot it into the Barlow ( B ), gently reinsert in your focuser....be gentle but not too slow (so the Earth's rotation doesn't have too much effect)....if there's no problem with the B, la Luna should be smack dab where you left her - only she's put on weight! And remember focusing, and patience - you really don't want to shake that scope around - just a smallish bump can leave you parked way beyond the edge of town!

Good luck. I hope we will hear good things and happy squeaks :)

PS Nothing stopping you doing the test on a daytime object, farawayish tree, pylon, steeple etc. The optics work in daylight!

Edited by ghostdance
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As suggested above, check your finderscope is accurately aligned. I think mine is but, at higher magnifications, the smallest nudge will send you wheeling across the sky! And with the Earth's rotation, by the time you get the eyepiece out, pick up your barlow, fit them together and then set them in the scope, Jupiter will have got fed up waiting a nipped off across the sky! If your finder is nicely aligned you should be able to find your target again pretty quickly!

Welcome to SGL, Jupiter is a beauty isn't she, just nipped out for a quick flirt with her and Venus. Looking forward to Saturn making a return too!

Good luck and stick at it!

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hi from a similar newb enthusiast, hope my "non-technical" comments help

with our first evenings viewing at Christmas we mostly focused on the moon (sorry, no pun intended). There was a big difference in focus for 25mm and 10mm, so swapping between them meant refocusing. The Barlow seemed to exaggerate this. By practicing on the moon it was easier when we went to Jupiter (which is plenty bright but more easily lost) as we knew which way to adjust focus and roughly by how much .

As others have said, if you knock the scope while changing eyepieces (going from 25mm up to 10mm) Jupiter is potentially out of focus and also gone from the field of view

One top tip - you know you have good focus when the stars become dots (or Jupiter moons for that matter)

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