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Bostonteax

Struggling with this new hobby

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Hi All

Bought my first telescope about 6 weeks ago, Sky - Watcher Startravel 102 (eq1) and I feel I'm struggling in just about every area. My biggest concern however is the EQI which is so hard to use and lock in position. Continues to move when the A & D nuts are as tight as they go. Secondly is the 10mm lens which to my eyes is far from sharp. Thirdly is the straight through finder which is literally painful to use ( I'm over 6' ). I've ordered a right angle finder wisely or not I don't know for sure. I've been looking at M31 but I just wish I could see it closer ! I've tried the 10 MM. with a 2xBarlow but shocking ! I realise the scope is entry level and will be limited but it was recommended. How can I get the best out of it on Orion for example. I'll struggle on with the mount and scope, but it's the vision that concerns. Have I been sold a pup? Any advice would be welcome. I'm a spectacle wearer by the way. Thanks

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Too much magnification can be counter productive. Whatever eyepiece you use the stars won't get any bigger. They are simply too far away. Do you have a 25mm eyepiece? This should give you a wider and clearer view until you get your focus sorted out.

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Hi there. It is not as easy as you have learned. I am not familiar with the EQ1 mount, but I know it is rather basic and not that good. Having said that you should be able to lock it in position. I am sure advise will follow soon.

The 10mm eyepiece supplied with the Skywatchers scopes is not great, but is usable. I also found that Using a Barlow, certainly with the one supplied, was a bit of a waste of time. All is not lost though. Your scope is a very capable instrument and as you gain experience using it you will see things improve. M31 is not as spectacular through the eyepiece as it is in images. The seeing has to be good before you find much detail. Even then if the Moon is out you will only see the bright core. It really does need dark clear Moonless skies to see it at its best. Try the Orion Nebula. It is brighter and more compact. Have patience. You are on a steep learning curve, but all will come good in the end.

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Yes the 25 MM is actually quite good. It's all about managing my expectations I suppose. Those Hubble images have a lot to answer for !

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Thank you laudropb, just the sort of encouragement I need! It was actually the Orion Nebula I meant to say. I did find M 31 after about 1/2 hour. Got my M mixed up!

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Where did you get the scope from? Might be worth getting back in touch with them about the mount, there could be something wrong with it.

The straight through finder can be tough on the back, especially on an EQ mount, I've just got a angled finder, hoping to give it its first run tonight, but I think I can hear the rain on the conservatory roof

If they are the same eyepieces that came with my Skywatcher, then the 10mm isn't great but you should have a 25mm that is ok, start with that on the Orion nebula and M31.

You will soon learn about "seeing", so even if it looks clear, there could be thermals in the atmosphere, or coming off houses that affect what you are looking at. And also remember that these things are called "faint fuzzies" for a reason, check out these drawings to give you an idea of you can expect to see: http://www.pbase.com/mike73/messier_sketches

Do you suffer from astigmatism? If you are only short sighted, then you don't need to wear glasses at the eyepiece, you can bring it into focus without them - might be worth try; I take mine off when I have found what I'm looking for and settling into the eyepiece.

Don't give up, you should get plenty of good advice here

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The Startravel 102 is f/5 so about 500mm focal length and the 10mm will give 50x so should be well within capabilities, however as mentioned previously the 10mm is usually a poor item, yours sound suitably poor. :eek: :eek:

Only real soluton is another eyepiece (or two or three).

Next the 102 is also a fair lump, I have a 90mm doublet and that weighs enough (7.5 to 8 lbs) yours should be heavier, so I doubt that an eq1 is really capible of holding it steady and maybe not securely as you seem to describe. The scope must weigh close to 9 or 10 lbs and that seems high for an EQ1. Can you actually lock an EQ into position? Just as ask as the ones I have used you always have the ability to track in RA at least and that means a clutch that never "locks" the system. So may be back to scope just too much for the mount.

Leaning over for the finder must be a problem, the right angle should help, but you still have to bend, just not as much.

For eyepieces not sure, obvious are a couple of plossls, but they can have limited eye relief and some are not happy at f/5.

I have no retailers listed for N Ireland so cannot suggest one and I recall people have found retailers here are not great at shipping to N Ireland.

Would suggest something like a 7mm and another 10mm as well as the 25 you have.

Edited by ronin
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I would say your ST102 will be a good companion, the mount is I think letting it down.

M45 will I think look great with the 25mm and very well placed for observing now.

Some targets show more with averted vision like Orion, something to practice.

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Yes the 25 MM is actually quite good. It's all about managing my expectations I suppose. Those Hubble images have a lot to answer for !

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Hubble is both the best and worst thing to happen to observational astronomy.
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Hubble is both the best and worst thing to happen to observational astronomy.

Agreed. And it cheats because it's half way there  :laugh: (well maybe not quite half way)

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Thank you all for your help and advice. I'd be reluctant to blame the EQ1 at this stage. I rather suspect it's me in these early days. I'll watch a few more YouTube videos and will hopefully get there!

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It's most important  that a telescope mounted on a minimal EQ such as the EQ1 is well balanced, check that you have got this right.  :smiley:

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+1 for balancing the scope and counterweights, Youtube have plenty of vids on how to balance a Newtonian. The 10mm eyepiece is barely adequate and should (IMO) be the first one you replace; the 25mm is a pretty good performer however and deserves to stay.

I've not used the EQ1 but I imagine it should lock properly, leaving you to use the RA knob to track whatever you are looking at. If it cannot be locked, contact the shop you bought it from, it could be a fault in the mount....

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I haven't read all the posts in this thread so apologies if I've repeated what others have already said. I have a ST 102 and then bought an eq1 (I got the eq1 to learn about celestial coordinates and how eq mounts work).

Yes, you should be able to lock the RA and Dec but I don't bother with my set up most of the time. I wonder if you haven't balanced the scope on the mount. If it's not balanced, it would make the whole set up really awkward to use.

With the eyepieces, the ones supplied with the scope don't do the scope justice imho. The ST102 is a nice scope, the eq1 is just about usable.

When I stared with this lark I thought magnification was the be all and end all and wondered why everyone seemed to be saying otherwise.....with a bit of experience I now understand. Ironically, magnification is most suited to closer targets (planets and the moon). When it comes to deep sky, to some extent, less is more.

Happy viewing

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Thank you Gazabone. Nice to hear someone has the same scope . Have you stuck with the EPs or have you upgraded. Can't quite get my head around why people think a 30 + MM is good. Does that not keep you from getting in close to see detail?. Sorry, the title of this post says it all! I've been reading up on Plossls. Way to go perhaps? Really feeling overwhelmed !!

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This is an excellent eyepeice artice written by a member on here.

http://www.swindonstargazers.com/beginners/eyepieces.htm

My most used eyepeice in all my small telescopes a ST80 and a 130P is my 16mm eyepeice.

I use a 32mm to help locate the area as it gives the lowest magnification and the biggest field of view.

I might use the stock 25mm next but closer look whether a deep space object or the Moon is my 16mm. It is a great balance between magnification and a nice observing image.

If I am looking at the Ring nebula m57 then even the 16mm can be pushing it too high, sometimes you see more with less magnification as the image stays smaller and tighter, rather than over magnified and big soft and blurry.

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Thank you Gazabone. Nice to hear someone has the same scope . Have you stuck with the EPs or have you upgraded. Can't quite get my head around why people think a 30 + MM is good. Does that not keep you from getting in close to see detail?. Sorry, the title of this post says it all! I've been reading up on Plossls. Way to go perhaps? Really feeling overwhelmed !!

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No probs

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Thanks for advice. I've read over it a few times. Still agonising over eyepiece upgrade. In the meantime I have upgraded the finder scope to a SW 9x50 to replace the straight through RDF which was doing my back no favours. As a beginner I hadn't figured on the high magnication and it too is hard to use for something specific. It's like a mini telescope itself! I actually had to put the RDF back on again. If only I could fit both. Anyway I know a little bit more now than what I did when I started! This really is a great place to come for advice.

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I don't know about the EQ1 mount, I suspect it isn't sturdy enough for the optical tube assembly. My 102mm Mak has an EQ2 mount which just about suffices for an 8kg OTA. The 10mm Modified Achromat givaway supplied with most Sky-Watcher scopes is not bad for a 10mm but it will only give you a 50x on your scope (500mm focal length). I don't know what Barlow you are using, FLO sell a very nice and totally useable Celestron 2x shorty for £23: http://www.firstlightoptics.com/celestron-eyepieces/celestron-2x-universal-125-barlow.html

Your scope should easily be capable of 240x magnification and for lunar/planetary observing 150x should be considered a minimum, although you won't need that kind of magnification for everything. I'd suggest a couple of decent Plossls. The Celestron Omni range aren't particularly expensive and are nicely made: http://www.firstlightoptics.com/celestron-eyepieces/celestron-omni-plossl-eyepiece.html

12mm, 15mm Omni Plossls and 2x Omni Barlow

IMG_20151029_181514_zpsnxa4zoqs.jpg

A 9mm Omni Plossl combined with a 2x Barlow would give you a respectable 111x. Although personally, to achieve high planetary magnifications on your rather fast (f/4.9) scope I would purchase a decent 3x Barlow and use a Plossl of around 12 or 13mm focal length to get a comfortable field stop and eye relief. With a refractor with a fast focal ratio like your scope wide field low magnifications should be comparatively easy. I have exactly the opposite problem to you with my slow 102mm Maksutov (f/12.7). High magnification with a small exit pupil are easy but I have to use a 40mm Plossl to drop the magnification down to 32.5x for using a UHC nebula filter. 

High magnifications will probably be hard work on a fast scope like yours and you may find that you have to invest in some good quality (expensive) eyepieces as fast scopes aren't very forgiving. Low power viewing for deep space objects should be very easy in comparison though.

As for an RACI (right angle correct image) finder, I think these are invaluable. I couldn't imagine finding anything without my Orion RACI now. There is a Sky-Watcher equivalent. 

9x50 Orion RACI

Orion%209x50%20RACI_zpsrmasidt4.jpg

I can't recommend one of these enough!

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