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Dejected


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How many people on here were disappointed to what you can actually see with a telescope ? , admittedly mine is not a top of the range model but I expected to see more than I  did , I had better results using my 30x25 binoculars than I did with my telescope as it is very difficult to actually find & focus on a object never mind observe it!!!

I went outside full of anticipation with my new telescope which I had been brought as a present but I even had difficulty observing a full moon and I soon became disillusioned with my potentially new hobby as was really disappointed to find that what I could see was nothing like the images on this and similar websites but I suppose those were captured through top of the range scopes ,

After that first disappointing effort my first night I did go out a few more nights with no better results so my scope is now gathering dust in my granddaughters bedroom and I have shelved my budding interest in sky - watching after becoming very disillusioned , I wonder if anybody else has had any similar experiences whilst trying to view objects in the night skies??

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Hiya. I expect most us us have felt exactly that, I know I did. Like most things, it does take time, research, practice, etc. What type of scope do you have? Have you read through the 'What can I expect to see?' post here on SGL?

Kev

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Hi Dave. Sorry to hear you are off to a rocky start with your observing. You've come to the right place though. It may help if you tell us what scope you are using and anything else you use. I bet within no time at all you will be outside admiring the night sky.

Many people enter into astronomy because they see high res images taken by professionals with scopes and cameras which can cost a vast amount of money. Not always the case though. Most objects we see through a scope will be 50 shades of grey (excuse the pun) because our eyes cant really detect colour over very long distances such as objects so far away. Colour only comes into images through cameras and processing images on a computer. There are exceptions to this......mainly the planets. We can see colour in those.

Dont feel dejected any longer. You will soon have people here bending over backwards to help you. We all have problems when starting out. I'm going to say that your main problem is most likely a focusing issue.

In the meantime you may if you have not already done so,download a free programme called Stellarium. Its a great way of finding your way around the night sky

www.stellarium.org

Paul

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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I am confident you are not alone in your initial experience.  Many enter into the hobby and expect to see glorious, techni-colour Hubble Space Telescope images in the eyepiece but the reality is quite different.  Visual astronomy can be a very rewarding hobby, but expectations do need to be set at a sensible level.  Long exposure photos of the night-sky, as wonderful as they are, have done more damage to beginner morale than anything else I would suggest.  Part of the magic of visual is knowing that the light that is activating the rods (and occasionally cones) on your retina may have started its journey, hundreds, thousands or even millions of years ago.  In addition, the patient, well practiced astronomer can see far more than a beginner as the techniques of observing are refined with experience.

 

I would highly recommend you don't give up just yet.  First step, tell us more about what scope you are using.  It is possible the scope needs to be collimated to perform at its full potential.  Second step, invest in the book "Turn Left are Orion."  Not only will it help you learn to navigate the sky, but it provides realistic expectations of what you can expect to see.  Third, if you can, attend a local astronomy club meeting and leverage of the members experience.  One thing I find is astronomers are a friendly bunch and very excited by the prospect of bringing in another into the astro-fold.

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Sorry to hear of your disappointment. What scope do you have? One error that is sometimes made is to throw too much magnification at targets (including the moon), which makes them hard to find, and often hard to focus. If you can give some details of the scope we could perhaps give some pointers how best to use it.

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You post has a key sentence which makes me suspect you expected to see (almost) like in the images you've seen on this website.  However these are images that are taken through many hours and processing time. Your eye can in no way get anything similar...  Well, perhaps the REALLY big scopes you can see much more however for us ordinary folk you need to be expecting dim (or very dim) smudges for deep sky objects - there are a few exceptions of course.

As another post mentioned it is very typical of new people to load up too much on the magnification just because the scope came with an eyepiece AND a barlow which effectively doubles or triples the focal length (and thus the magnification) to levels that are just impossible.  This is a common trait by scope manufacturers.

Another major frustration is finding stuff.  Did your scope come with a finder-scope or a red-dot pointer thingy?   It is important whatever to align the finder or whatever to the scope (do this in the daytime on a far off object.

Whatever the scope is take it slowly and perhaps start with actually observing the Moon through different magnifications. Perhaps have a Moon atlas at the side of you to identify the features and terrain of the Moon.  Then move on to other objects  -Jupiter and Saturn for example and take advantage of Mars which is going to be its closest to Earth soon. The view will be small and you need time using the scope and most importantly observing to pick out details in objects.

Good luck and hope you can dust off that scope again to give it another try.

Me?  I certainly wasn't disappointed by my first view in my first scope (an 8" SCT) - I honed in on Messier 11 (An open cluster) and was blown away by the view.  While a lot of objects on the face of it look like indistinguishable smudges time observing them helps further detail can be obtained with patience.   Also a big part of it is the challenge just to see some of these far off objects.  

 

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I agree with the comments above. My first scope was a 3" refractor from group-on for £40 - bought as a present and advertised as a £200 telescope with the ability for 900x plus magnification. First problem was that could never get the finder aligned, so I thought I was lined up with the moon, but all i could see was black. The I put the 3x Barlow in, with a 4mm eyepiece, and now understand that that will never show anything but mush.

once I worked these things through, I got some reasonable views with it, and it sparked up my interest enough to upgrade to a grown-up scope:)

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Wise comments here as ever.  Don't go for high mag initially - you can get a lot out of low power, sharp, wider angle views.  And try easier targets like planets, clusters, double stars, and the Moon (when not too bright).

It is not uncommon to get off to a disappointing start.  My first 'scope was awkward to handle, aim, balance, and adjust.  Only when I exchanged it did the hobby take off for me.  As confidence builds, you can tackle faint and exotic objects like globular clusters and galaxies.

Keep at it, it's worthwhile!

Doug.

 

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I can understand and it mainly it is the fault of Hubble, Space Telescope not Edwin.

All these great big coloured images are posted up all over the place and immaterially that is what people get the idea that they will see. By rights the Orion Nebula should be a huge coloured cloud, depending on which processed Hubble image depends on the colour expected. Somehow it never quite materialiises in a persons mind that the images they look at are all different, some blue, some green, some very nice mauve ones and a few where the colours are "harsher".  It is not all those colours they are all manually added by a large section I suspect that is there to generate impressive images - and they do a good job. Maybe too good.

hubble-orion.jpg This a Hubble processed image.

 

orion-telescope.jpgThis is what most amateur scopes produce.

 

And No there are no prizes for spotting the difference. I have read that with a 14" scope you can just detect some green in M42. I don't have a 14" scope so it tends to be black, white and shades of grey. Never heard of it being a vivid orange.

The GRS, Great Red Spot, well it is big, if you were orbiting Jupiter, and it seems to actually not be very red at this time. So in just about all scopes it turns up a murky orange and not very big. Maybe a minor name change would help, JRS = Jupiters Red Storm. Contrary to populer wishful thinking you are not going to see the Martians dismantling the assorted rovers that we have dumped there.

One thing to remember is that any image you see on the web or a book or a poster simply cannot be what you see. The camera and the eye operate differently. If you look at something for 5 minutes it does not increase the image brightness on the retina, but with a camera it does (more or less).

If you want "realism" then change tactics, go find a list of coloured double stars. They come up well and I guess your granddaughter may enjoy them. Albireo and Almaach always get good responses at events I have been at. Search out red stars, again lists of those and again different but the "expectations" are more realistic. A list of carbon stars will make you work at locating them.

If your granddaughter observes with you sit down and come up with alternatives, sure she will like a few other ideas, likely has a few thoughts herself. Even a simple plain open cluster has interest, you can explain where i is and how the stars are at this time gravitationally bound, how they originated from a dust cloud  but will over time disperse. That I guess will be an aspect/information she will absorb happily.

The other thing is take it easy, plan on a couple of things each time you go out not all the Messier objects in one night. That way you accomplish what you started out to do. I tend to have a list of 5 objects, and the last 2 are sort of optional, also means I can plan those 2 in for another night. Almost none are the big poster objects that people see around.

 

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I think the bigger problem as that they plaster cheap, toy store, telescopes with these kind of pictures and advertise them with the ability to magnify by over 900x with a cheap and nasty eyepiece and a cheap and nasty 3x Barlow.

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I actually had the opposite experience when I started out 35+ years ago with a 60mm refractor on a wobbly tripod. I was amazed at the detail I could see on the Moon, amazed that Saturn looked like it had a gramophone record going around it, amazed that I could see faint markings on Jupiter and Mars, split double stars and even find my 1st ever galaxies, Messier 81 and 82 from which light had travelled for millions of years to come down my little scope.

Back then I didn't have glossy magazines or the interweb but I did have "The Observers Book of Astronomy" to guide me. My views were not as good as the illustrations in that wonderful little book but they were enough to get me hooked.

My advice would be to forget the images you have seen elsewhere and just work at getting your scope to show you something and use low magnifications until you are used to finding things in the sky with it. You might be surprised what your scope can actually do, if you give it another chance :icon_biggrin:

Edited by John
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I  could not agree more John. I had that little book as a kid, and and old pair of bins given to me by an Uncle, and it was a joy just to see a tiny disc rather that a pin prick of light, a patch of light rather than nothing at all, but it gave me too, a yearning to see more, which, 55 years later is as strong now, as then.

 

Edited by Saganite
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It is a great shame that people go out and buy a scope before getting good advice. It is nearly always the case. Then they start wondering and some end up finding this web site, or one similar to this. But I suspect many just give up. Do not be too disheartened, we will help you if possible. Sometimes it is just unfamiliar equipment and simple errors that can easily be sorted out. It may be you are just going about it in the wrong way.  Let us know what you have. One of the best things you can do is to join an astronomy club, they usually are full of well meaning and very helpful members.

Derek

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On 17/05/2016 at 21:05, rockystar said:

I think the bigger problem as that they plaster cheap, toy store, telescopes with these kind of pictures and advertise them with the ability to magnify by over 900x with a cheap and nasty eyepiece and a cheap and nasty 3x Barlow.

My 1st scope was a Celestron 90EQ. I bought it from the main Dealer of Celestron goods here in Ireland. The box for it had all those lovely hubble type images plastered all over it and a promise of  800x magnification. So the problem isnt just with cheap toy store scopes. My scope 9 yrs ago cost about 350 squids...so not cheap.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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On 5/18/2016 at 21:05, rockystar said:

I think the bigger problem as that they plaster cheap, toy store, telescopes with these kind of pictures and advertise them with the ability to magnify by over 900x with a cheap and nasty eyepiece and a cheap and nasty 3x Barlow.

Agreed!  There should be a law against it.  Maybe there is?  Deceptive advertising?  

John

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On 5/18/2016 at 05:58, DirkSteele said:

 Second step, invest in the book "Turn Left are Orion."  Not only will it help you learn to navigate the sky, but it provides realistic expectations of what you can expect to see.

This. I've gone through a lot of astronomy books and NOTHING touches this one in terms of information, realistic visuals, and directions. 

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12 minutes ago, Starwiz said:

Agreed!  There should be a law against it.  Maybe there is?  Deceptive advertising?  

John

I guess the problem is that x800 isn't untrue, just offers unrealistic expectations - which, as far as I'm aware, isn't illegal.

and maybe those images are the same as sticking a picture of a baby on baby food - it doesn't mean they are made from babies.

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"and maybe those images are the same as sticking a picture of a baby on baby food - it doesn't mean they are made from babies."

Haha!!!!!. OK now i'm thinking of an episode of the Big Bang Theory when Sheldon was reading a menu and there was a typo. Instead of it saying "Lobster sauce".......it said "Mobster sauce". He basically went on a 2 minute rant saying: "How do i know its a typo?........maybe the sauce is made with real mobsters".

 
 
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To be disappointing on the moon a telescope really does have to be bad with a captial B, but they do exist.

If you buy the right scope these days they are not very expensive at all and can give great results. They have certainly never been cheaper relative to other prices and earnings.

Olly

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I think that the more time and patience that you put in this pastime, the greater the rewards. Two things money can't buy are dark skies and seeing conditions.

My first scope was a 130 Heritage. I think that my first session was about five hours. I just couldn't get over the excitement of searching and observing things that I never thought it was possible to see. For some months previously I had laid on the grass with the S@N magazine and a red torch, to see where everything was. Even that was amazing to track the rise and fall of constellations and the passage of planets. It's not everyone's cup of tea.

I used to fish , too much, to hear folks moaning about catching nothing and giving it up was very sad. It's about anticipation, skill and bringing back something worthwhile.

Anyone in doubt should find and visit their local astronomy club, where enthusiasm and help are freely given. Under those dark,

clear Skies !

Nick.

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Lots of GREAT advice here as to possible problems,expectations etc, but i notice the OP has not been back to give any details of the scope being used etc.....

Maybe he figured it out and is enjoying the views. I dont think there is a single issue regarding anything astro related that the collective mind of SGL cant solve.

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Yes, great advice, but considering the OP's current feelings and his experiences of the last year, and now that I've read the his earlier thread "despondancy" of 15 July 2015, I'm inclined to advise the OP to find another hobby.

Edited by Ruud
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53 minutes ago, Ruud said:

Yes, great advice, but considering the OP's current feelings and his experiences of the last year, and now that I've read the his earlier thread "despondancy" of 15 July 2015, I'm inclined to advise the OP to find another hobby.

I have not seen that thread before. It does read like the OP has seen some things through his scope and really just doesnt find astronomy very interesting. His expectations were/are set too high. I would not try to discourage him away from astronomy. Lets nurture him instead.........unless he absolutely has no interest. He seems to have a passing interest. Thats enough for us to work on and help him out.

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