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brsseb

Unable to get any details on Jupiter with Celestron 114eq

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Ive had some great cloud-free days now and I was hoping to get some views  of Jupiter with my new Celestron 114eq scope. I have the Celestron AstroMaster Accessory Kit as well, and I have tried all the different eyepiece and barlow combinations. But all I end up seeing is Jupitier as a very bright disk, with its smaller moons dotter around it. No trace at all of the details that I am supposed to see, even with this very small beginner telescope (or any powerfull binoculars for that matter). Any tips on what I could be doing wrong? I am trying to view it at a bad time, when its too bright maybe? 

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Your scope should show the main 2 cloud bands fairly easily. After observing for a while you may be able to make out some further fainter cloud bands to the north and south of the main ones. The Great Red Spot might be visible if it's on our side of the planet but it's not always obvious if the seeing conditions are not good.

With your scope you should be able to see these details with 80 - 120x magnification. The scope will need to be cooled down and outside (ie: not viewing through a window etc). You will need to spend time studying the planet to tease out the finder details and the amount of detail will come and go frequently with the best moments only lasting a few seconds usually.

Keep at it - I'm sure you will get more detail in due course.

Edited by John
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Thanks for the reply, John. Yes, I will definitely keep trying. I will try to use the suggested magnification. I got a 15mm and a 6mm, and a barlow. Which combination should I use in order to get within your suggested magnification? Im very new to telescopes, so still not sure how the math for this works.

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I think your scope has an aperture (main mirror diameter) of 114mm and a focal length of 1000mm - is that correct ?

If so, you would use an eyepiece with a focal length of 12.5mm to get 80x of magnification and one of 8.3mm for 120x.

From the eyepieces and barlow you actually have, I would say that the 15mm (67x) on it's own to start with and then add the barlow lens (for 134x) if the view looks nice and clear. The 6mm might be OK if conditions are very good and your eye is getting used to teasing out the detail. The 6mm with the barlow lens will give too much magnification to be useful on anything to be honest with you.

These magnfications are approximate - you don't need to use exactly what I have mentioned, just something around those figures.

 

 

Edited by John
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Your 15mm will give you a magnification of 48x and your 6mm  103x. Both these magnifications should show the equatorial bands, providing the seeing is good.

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Yes, its a 1000mm focal length (39 inches). Thanks, i will keep trying, and stay off the Barlow until I can get at least some detail. 

Might be a silly question, but right now, Jupiter is very close to the full moon. Is the brightness of the full moon going to make observing details on other objects in the sky (like Jupiter) harder? 

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I composed this video of three views of Jupiter to show the effects of seeing. It starts with the seeing ok and shows the image that came from it. The second is poor seeing, and you can see that the finished image is a bit more fuzzy, with detail lost. The last part of the video is when the Jetstream really hates astronomers, and you can see what it did to the image. The sky can look perfectly clear and ideal to view the Moon, or Jupiter, but if the Jetstream winds are churning up the atmosphere, you will be lucky to get fleeting moments of clarity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2a2TRIK3mo

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Very nice video. I hope I can get some of that detail from my scope soon. I got the Nikon T-ring adapter for Barlow, and Im hoping to get some photos and videos with my DSLR (D5300). The main challenge there seem to be able to get the right focus. 

Im thinking of getting this auto-focuser. It should help me fine-tune the focus and avoid the horrible and tiresome shaking that occurs whenever you touch the scope. From my limited search on the web, I should be able to fit it to my Celestron 114eq. 

http://www.amazon.com/Orion-7395-AccuFocus-Electronic-Telescope/dp/B00077261C

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With the 15mm you should be able to see the detail on and off as it passes through the eyepiece. Spend as long at the eyepiece as possible and try and focus soley on the disc of jupiter. It does look very small but im fairly confident you will see the cloud bands and every time you do this you will see more if the conditions are the same. It takes a bit of patience to see detail at first, im on my 4th observation of jupiter now and Id say the image quality has doubled just because my eyes are better trained to the object. Plus keeping the scope steady and tight, focusing well, longer eyepiece time, avoiding looking at bright lights near you. All sorts of things help, my second time was dissapointing but it will improve with time. Good luck.

Adam

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24 minutes ago, aeajr said:

As you focus you will see Jupiter come in and out of focus.  Turn the focuser for the best  you can get but don't be disturbed if it drifts in and out of focus to some degree.  This is due to atmospheric disturbance, not a problem with your scope.   You are looking through miles of a fluid we call air. ;)

Couldnt agree more, it will do this but rather than play with the focus, keep your eye fixed on it, those couple of seconds when it comes clear are memories that live long!

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My advice would be to use the scope as supplied as much as possible to get the best out of it.

I'd probably not accessorise it much, at least initially. If you get a taste for the hobby believe me you will soon want to put those £'s towards a larger aperture scope.

 

 

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1 minute ago, Adamchiv said:

Couldnt agree more, it will do this but rather than play with the focus, keep your eye fixed on it, those couple of seconds when it comes clear are memories that live long!

Thanks. My lack of patience is going to be the main obstacle for me in this hobby. Especially when its cold outside.. :)

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Same like with Saturn, be patient and the more you watch and the more often you watch the more you see.

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Dress warm is the best starting point when observing in winter. a comfortable observing chair is helpful too.

Have you checked collimation of your scope? I had no problem seen the two main bands with in 30x with 120ED last night when the full Moon was close to Jupiter, even though Jupiter was very small in 30x.

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17 hours ago, brsseb said:

Yes, its a 1000mm focal length (39 inches). Thanks, i will keep trying, and stay off the Barlow until I can get at least some detail. 

Might be a silly question, but right now, Jupiter is very close to the full moon. Is the brightness of the full moon going to make observing details on other objects in the sky (like Jupiter) harder? 

Being so close to the moon certainly kept the sky background bright last night, and I also suspect it added to my floater issues by keeping my pupils smaller than normal.

One benefit though is that there is enough light around to keep your cones stimulated so actually I think I was seeing more colour than usual last night. The GRS was certainly very obvious, and a dark orange colour.

Planetary observing has very different requirements to DSOs. For planets you want excellent seeing ie a stable atmosphere, and strangely slightly hazy conditions can help to cut the glare. For DSOs, seeing is less important but excellent transparency and of course dark skies are most important.

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11 hours ago, YKSE said:

Dress warm is the best starting point when observing in winter. a comfortable observing chair is helpful too.

YKSE raises a great point, observing can be very uncomfortable, I found that getting the tripod height right for me was very important. Most will advise to get a chair but if like me you want to stand then a comfy viewing height will increase your viewing time at the eyepiece greatly. Which will in turn increase the detail you see. Take some time inside making the height of the tripod good for you, remembering that you will be moving the optical assembly downward thus raising the eyepiece. Also remember the barlow lense will make it taller. It will make your observing sessions much better, that is if you hadnt considered this issue already. It will never be perfect but the results will really help you spend more time viewing

Adam

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Went out tonight with my brand new Starguider 8mm (with SW 102 500m) v excited about what I would see, but ended up a bit disappointed .  Made out 2 bands and the 4 planets, but there was horrible purple fringing around the planet. I tried the 2 x Barlow but the image was dreadful. Is this inadequacy in the lens or just seeing? 

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Sorry folks didn't intend to high jack Brsseb's thread. I'll move my continuing astronomy challenges elsewhere. 

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I have used the older Celestron 114EQ on a EQ2 mount and seen the Great Red Spot and up to four bands with a 6mm eyepiece (from the eyepiece and filter kit). Your biggest problem with this setup will be the difficulty of observing for an extended period while staying comfortable. You will need to delicately track with the RA knob (if you have polar aligned) while trying to get the best focus - as the telescope shakes all over the place. The low eye relief of the eyepiece is another problem. If you persist and observe patiently you will see more and more detail. Even though the scope is around f8 you should check the collimation as described in the manual. 

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Just came back in from what I consider a good viewing session. Found a small mountain far enough from the city lights and I set up my telescope in a clearing near the top. I managed to see some hints of the bands on Jupiter. Still fuzzy and it took a while for my eyes to really see anything, but It was worth it. It was pretty cold and I had a 10-15 minute walk to reach the top of the mountain, and 15 min or so setup time, which allowed the scope to cool down pretty well. And I spend some time to get my eyes used to the pitch darkness. Had to use the flashlight a few times, which set my vision back for a few minutes. I might get a red flashlight instead. 

The biggest pain is that Im not used to viewing through the eye pieces, and found my eyes watering up every now and then as I struggled to get details on Jupiter. I can feel some fatigue in my eyes as Im writing this , but it guess its just takes practise. Also the scope is to tiny and shakes like crazy everytime you refocus or move anything. Had to place Jupiter just outside the field of view in order for it to appear in the center in time for the shaking to end. And focusing is horrible.  Is there a way to add fine-tuning to the focuser? Like a 1 to 10 step recuder?

Anyways, Im quite happy to have made some progress on my star gazing :). Thanks for all the tips so far. 

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I'm not sure your doing anything wrong, your probably suffering the local seeing conditions and the limitations  of the telescope?

I have  the Celestron 127EQ, similar design, similar issues.........it did not last long for me as I upgraded pretty swiftly!
Same for binoculars, I own 15x70s and only see a bright disk, just not enough magnification to compare with the telescope. 

If you could choose a Moonless night away from the city, so that you can see no man-made lighting, and the seeing conditions are at their best, view Jupiter again. Its during these conditions that you scope should work best. If you feel your not seeing what you want to see, its possibly time to upgrade. I made that decision after my first session, but endured the scope until the new arrival. The Celestron gave  ok images of the Moon, and taught me the basics of setting up the GEM (German Equatorial Mount) but sadly gave no more ( for my use ).

 

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8 hours ago, Charic said:

[..] If you feel your not seeing what you want to see, its possibly time to upgrade. [...]

 

Im trying to hold off on upgrading until I can at least learn to set up the GEQ properly. And to learn more about the hobby and what I can realisticly hope to see without spending too much money. But I am already having dreams about a  8"+ EdgeHD SCT...and I do have a birthday coming up :p

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7 hours ago, brsseb said:

Im trying to hold off on upgrading until I can at least learn to set up the GEQ properly. And to learn more about the hobby and what I can realisticly hope to see without spending too much money. But I am already having wet dreams about a  8"+ EdgeHD SCT...and I do have a birthday coming up :p

Small steps. Too many get disappointed when they have troubles right off. Give yourself time, and patience, to get into your astronomy. You are already making great progress.

Just keep trying out your equipment, changing eyepieces, adjusting focus, trying Barlow's if you have them, and be as patient as you can.

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7 hours ago, brsseb said:

Im trying to hold off on upgrading until I can at least learn to set up the GEQ properly. And to learn more about the hobby and what I can realisticly hope to see without spending too much money. But I am already having wet dreams about a  8"+ EdgeHD SCT...and I do have a birthday coming up :p

I totally get you here. As a complete novice myself managing my expectations is proving a challenge. It would be very easy to keep spending money in the pursuit of the perfect view only to find it's not really any better, or in my case worse. Fair play to you hiking to the top of a hill in blackness!

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22 hours ago, brsseb said:

Im trying to hold off on upgrading until I can at least learn to set up the GEQ properly. And to learn more about the hobby and what I can realisticly hope to see without spending too much money. But I am already having dreams about a  8"+ EdgeHD SCT...and I do have a birthday coming up :p

It's a great idea to get the best out of what you have before upgrading. That way you learn the hard lessons and end up getting much more out of a larger scope. Basics like averted vision and observing planets patiently to draw out the detail learned early on still serve you very well when you upgrade.

To repeat my earlier point though, very dark conditions are not mandatory for successful planetary observing. What you need are a well cooled and collimated scope, good seeing conditions and patience at the eyepiece.

Seeing conditions you can do something about in terms of local turbulence, and just have to be lucky/pick your night with the higher level turbulence such as that caused by the Jetstream.

To get the best local conditions, avoid observing over houses which give off strong convection currents from central heating, likewise avoid observing on concrete or Tarmac if possible which again release their heat for a long time at night. Best to setup on grass, looking over grass or water for as far as possible. Waiting until the early hours of the morning is also often best as the heat has gone out of the land and convection currents are generally at their minimum.

To catch the best high level conditions, check the Jetstream forecasts to see when it has moved away from your location, and observe on as many nights as possible to catch the best times. Even in good nights though, it is worth spending time (1/2 hour to an hour) observing so you have time to get your eye adjusted and your brain has time to start picking out the detail in the moments of excellent seeing. The view will build up in your brain much like the video frames used by planetary imagers to capture the best moments.

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