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Hi everyone,

Been a little while since I posted on here as I have been a little busy and haven't been stargazing as much as I would like. Over the past week or so, been taking the telescope out more and more. So far, I have seen the big things (moon, Jupiter, Venus and last night Saturn for the first time). Truly awestruck and amazed by it. Which made me hungry to see more......

So I started looking into the Deep space stuff..... Wow, could I find anything?! Nope...... My lovely celestron 130eq couldn't deliver the goods and I am feeling so so deflated and overwhelmed by the whole thing.

I think my red dot finder is the problem, nothing seems to line up and I don't know what to do. I can spend hours hunting the dark skies and unless it's huge and right in front of me (ie the moon!!), I just can't find a darn thing!!!

Do I need a new finder to help me?! Am I just too eager, do I need to slow down? I love the sky, and I love reading about it and looking through my books..... Just a shame I can't see it all in real life yet.

Hope someone can help, even if it's just a few kind words and maybe a little bit of wisdom and experience!

Thanks.

Gemma

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Recently we bought that same scope as a birthday gift for a beginner.  He has had exactly the same problem.  The truth is the red dot finder (as you say) is the problem.  Its okay on aiming for the moon but it is very difficult to be precise.  Firstly I found that your line of sight through the finder can vary as the 2 planes within the finder as so close together.   

As you have said (and you are correct) a new finder is in order. If I were using this scope regularly I would be rid of the standard red dot finder and I would try and attach a right angled finder scope & also a Telrad.  

During the daytime find a precise fixed point (say 2 telegraph wires intersecting).  Aim to align the right angled finder & eyepiece view as precisely as you can.  I even work up from a lower power eyepiece to a higher power eyepiece to really get them matched and seeing the same place.  Finder scopes have cross hairs to mark the centre of the field of view.  

Just make sure you don't permanently attach the finder scopes mounting to your telescopes tube until you are sure they can be matched or you may find yourself removing the finder and repositioning it, this may damage / mark your scopes outer tube paintwork.  

Then do the same for the Telrad.  

Once the Telrad, right angled finder and centre of the eyepiece view are all looking at the same point you are away. 

You won't know yourself !  Then go and find M13 :)  

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Have you spent the time during the day to align the finder and the main scope?

There is no mention of doing this at any time.

If not then you need to do it, and it may not be overly easy.

For some reason the Skywatcher finders do often not sit right on the scopes and getting sufficent adjustment is then not easy and maybe not possible.

You may also need to relaign the two even if you have done it previously.

After that you should locate objects easier.

I guess that Lyra, Cygnus and Hercules may be a to far North at present.

Sounds odd but is Orion visible to you?

Better still which of the well known constellations can you see?

What eyepieces have you?

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Hi Gemma

Does the finder scope want realigning with the main telescope

Neil

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Also I think that my friend who we bought the scope for has greased the tripod mechanisms with some decent gloop.  This has really freed up the tripods potential for more accurate manual control/slewing. 

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Hercules, Lyrs and Cygnus are OK for you, they are all in the East.

So M13 in Hercules, M57 in Lyra, double double in Lyra, Albireo in Cygnus.

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What kind of place/area do you observe from?

Deep space objects, like galaxies benefit hugely from a dark site, away from large sources of light pollution. Anything other than planets and the moon are very faint and offer little in the way of contrast.

If your area of sky is being illuminated either by the moon or artificial street lighting then your views are going to get washed out.

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Hi Gemma, the red dot finder on the 130EQ does have something of a bad reputation and I certainly did not get on with it at all when I used the scope. Aligning it during the day time and trying to fine tune it at night did not really make it a good finder to use. In the end it just got so frustrating that following recommendations, I bought a Rigel Quickfinder like this:

http://agenaastro.com/rigel-systems-quikfinder.html

You will find plenty of positive reviews if you do an appropriate search. It revolutionised my "finding abilities" and I spent much more time observing rather than searching. The Telrad does a similar job, and some would say it is a tad better, but it has a much larger footprint on the scope. An RACI is a very useful finder but in my opinion it needs a proper attachment "shoe" which the 130EQ does not have. You can fit one but this means a bit of DIY including drilling small holes for the attachment bolts. Not an especially hard job and I have done it, but given the other knock on tasks involved it takes longer than you would think!  Some would attach a shoe using double sided tape but I'm not convinced that's secure enough for what is quite a substantial finder. Just my opinion.

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Problem with a lot of Red dot finders is the mountings, plastic, they twist, bend, and lose their alignment.

I have one which is great, but the plastic leg it is on, ruins them. Is there any metal leg posts and mounts available to fit Red dot finders ?

I generally remove my RDF to protect it from getting broke or hit when storing my scope. I align it every time I fit it. Doesn't take long, find a bright light and align it. But those plastic legs, eugh.

Great thing about astronomy standard fittings, is there are so many standards to choose from *sarcasm* (and this contributes to driving the prices up on accessorising).

Edited by cathouse42

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As has been said the finder on that scope is utterly woeful.

I happen to think its about the most unfit for purpose finder I've ever seen. Celestron have seriously dropped the ball with this finder and  quite how this complete howler from Celestron has escaped the notice of critics is beyond me.

My advice is to remove this junk and buy a replacement finder as soon as possible.

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Do not give up... I spent weeks fighting with the same issue.  I just couldnt get anything to line up.  The process of polar aligning properly and making sure the view finder aligned with the main scope is not easy at all for beginners.  There are some experienced chaps who can do it their sleep and can be viewing / imaging in minutes but for more mere mortals (like myself) it takes practice and a lot of patience.

What I have done to help is to make sure I align the main scope and the finder during the day.  I also set my focus during the day to get it close.  Point the scope at the furthest object you can during the day and align the finder with the view in the main scope as close to dead centre as you possibly can.  Its a good idea to get a reticle eye piece for the main scope so you have cross hairs to get the main view centralised. I have found that fractions off make a big difference at night - which makes sense when you consider the area of the sky the main scope sees vs the finder.

Also spend time getting used to polar aligning - slewing can be so frustrating if it is off.  You think you are aligned, slew to an object and its nowhere to be seen in the field of view.  Again its going to take practice and patience to get it right consistently.

Good luck! 

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Hi everyone,

Thank you all so much for your advice and comments!

I have invested in a 32mm eyepiece and a new Telrad Finder. We have however aligned the red dot finder this evening at sunset and I can now find the moon quicker than I have been! But I still think a new finder will make a world of difference.

Thank you all again for your patience and advice!!

Gemma

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Hi,

The only other thing I would add is don't expect to see DSOs quite like you do in photos, when you see them for the first time, at best they tend to be grey fuzzy patches. Part of the skills you learn in astronomy is how to see things through a scope. Doesn't that sound really silly? But you may (emphasise may) have already pointed your scope at some DSOs and not realised it. The first time I found M97 (the Owl Nebula) I didn't see it until I started moving the scope when I noticed that some of the dark gloom moved with the sky and I realised that I had actually found it. As I looked at it and (importantly) it became a bit clearer, still not easy to see. I would suggest looking for M81 and M82 as a starting point, they're both fairly obvious galaxies. Ideal conditions are clear skies, moonless night and zero light pollution. Personally, this time of year although M81&82 are relatively bright galaxies, it's highly unlikely they are viewable before about 11pm. The darker (and cloudless) sky, the better chances you have. Hope you start finding stuff, you'll love it when you do

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Hi Gemma / 'MrsAppleton' and welcome to SGL.

In all the years I have been enjoying this hobby I have not seen through my 'scopes past & present many of the well known DSO's M31, M57, M81. I could go on. M42 is super and some people say the have seen the 'Trapezium' with my TeleVue Ranger. I personally observe lunar, solar & planets.

Owning 2x pairs of binoculars too does bring results when I cannot be bothered to setup the 'scopes. Last year I saw the 'Coathanger' with the Revaltion 20x80's and I was a happy bunny for days/weeks after.

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 I can spend hours hunting the dark skies and unless it's huge and right in front of me (ie the moon!!), I just can't find a darn thing!!!

I find for DSOs that the Moon often gets in the way. If the Moon is huge and in front of you, DSOs are tricky.

(Some of the brighter ones can still be okay-ish, but I tend to hunt double stars, planets and open clusters, rather than galaxies and nebulae during the moon time of month.)

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Even with my f10 I struggle picking up the subtleties of faint nebula and galaxies, although I think that's mostly down to my own eyes and lack of experience! When it clicks it makes everything so satisfying and utterly worth while. Keep it up :)

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