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Woolnut

SkyWatcher 150p unable to view Mars..?

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Hey SGL,

So i have just got out my telescope for the first time and was able to locate Mars so thought i would take a look. So i have set up my Skywatcher 150p and am unable to see anything worthwhile... :( All i see is a slightly red looking sphere with absolutely no detail whatsoever... I googled to see what Mars should look like through a telescope and it is nothing like what i can see! Here are the eyepieces i have been using: (all came with the telescope)

10mm

25mm Wide Angle

2x Barlow

So i am able to achieve on my 750mm scope a max of 150x magnification i think (2x Barlow with the 10mm eyepiece), is this not enough to see a clear picture or is there something else wrong with my telescope? According to the seller of the telescope it was ready to go with no need to calibrate so i am a little confused... Any help would be great!

 

Thanks 

Edited by Woolnut
calculation error

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Thats how Mars looks at the moment. It's very small and shows a phase but not much else. I could see some very faint markings on the tiny disk at 250x with my 12" scope earlier this evening.

At and around it's opposition though Mars looks a lot more interesting. It will be more than 3x as large in apparent diameter and it will be much easier to see details on it, even with smaller scopes. Patience is needed though - the next Mars opposition is in July 2018.

Edited by John
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A red looking sphere with no detail is about par for the course for Mars at the minute. If the seeing is poor you won't get any detail. Also if the scope is warm that can ruin the views too

A 10mm ep with 2x barlow gives you an effective 5mm ep, so 150x magnification.

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5 minutes ago, John said:

Thats how Mars looks at the moment. It's very small and shows a phase but not much else. I could see some very faint markings on the tiny disk at 250x with my 12" scope earlier this evening.

At and around it's opposition though Mars looks a lot more interesting. It will be more than 3x as large in apparent diameter and it will be much easier to see details on it, even with smaller scopes. Patience is needed though - the next Mars opposition is in July 2018.

Thanks for the answer John, glad it isn't just me! :) I will leave Mars for now then!

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6 minutes ago, CraigT82 said:

A red looking sphere with no detail is about par for the course for Mars at the minute. If the seeing is poor you won't get any detail. Also if the scope is warm that can ruin the views too

A 10mm ep with 2x barlow gives you an effective 5mm ep, so 150x magnification.

Thanks for the explanation, i will give Mars a little while before i take another proper look :) 

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Mars is difficult at the best of times, but being distant and so low in the sky makes it virtually featureless. You would have more luck with Jupiter, but at the moment that requires an early morning rise.

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Yep at the moment Mars is 240 million km away, at opposition it will be just 59 million km away so will look a lot bigger.

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36 minutes ago, Woolnut said:

 All i see is a slightly red looking sphere with absolutely no detail whatsoever...

That sounds very familiar!

On a REALLY good night, with good transparency AND good seeing, and when Mars is closer, you may just get to see a bit of detail in the form of dark and light patches and streaks.

But well done on finding and observing Mars in it's current state, at least you will know what to look out for next time :)

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It has been over 9 years since I first took a picture of Mars, and my Mrs still remembers it and laughs. She said it looked like a chewed softmint!

 

She had a point :p

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Haha yeah, well judging from my first look at Mars, i won't be coming back for seconds any time soon...! :p

 

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4 hours ago, laudropb said:

Mars is difficult at the best of times, but being distant and so low in the sky makes it virtually featureless. You would have more luck with Jupiter, but at the moment that requires an early morning rise.

Mars is one of those object s that people expect to be detailed and dazzling them. It is a small red disk. Several years back I would drag myself out to drive to work and I wondered what a certain red star was. After 4 days (it was 6 in the morning) I realsied it was Mars. It is also badly placed at present and will I believe not get a great deal better until 2020.

Mars needs high magnification, clear sky's and a great deal of luck. The Luck is the main one.

You will need better eyepieces, I guess the barlow and the 10mm do little in the way of delivering a good experience. For Mars in a year or two or three you will have to consider magnifications up at the 250x to see much. Might get by at 200x but may not. Those magnifications will need better eyepieces then present.

 

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4 minutes ago, ronin said:

Mars is one of those object s that people expect to be detailed and dazzling them. It is a small red disk. Several years back I would drag myself out to drive to work and I wondered what a certain red star was. After 4 days (it was 6 in the morning) I realsied it was Mars. It is also badly placed at present and will I believe not get a great deal better until 2020.

Mars needs high magnification, clear sky's and a great deal of luck. The Luck is the main one.

You will need better eyepieces, I guess the barlow and the 10mm do little in the way of delivering a good experience. For Mars in a year or two or three you will have to consider magnifications up at the 250x to see much. Might get by at 200x but may not. Those magnifications will need better eyepieces then present.

 

I was one of those admittedly! I was only just able to see it and i thought it would be worth a look... Yeah as i progress i will be looking to acquire better eyepieces with higher magnification as the ones i have that came with the scope i am led to believe aren't all that great quality! 

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Many people will tell you to forget Mars, and it's true that it is a tricky little blighter, but for me, under good conditions it can give views which are well worth the effort.

Jupiter gives far more detail, and is far more dynamic of course, but I find there is something amazing about Mars, probably that it shows polar ice caps, frosting, clouds and dark surface markings and looks a little like a red version of the earth.

My best views have been with 4" refractors, but there is no particular reason why any decent and well collimated and cooled scope should not show similar detail at opposition. Save Mars until then and try other, easier targets for now.

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Of the two eyepieces you got with your 'scope, the 25mm is pretty good, but the 10mm less so and should be replaced if you want to get the best out of your equipment. Personally I don't like barlows; a 10mm & 2x barlow will not give you the same viewing quality as a 5mm eyepiece. They're okay if you don't have any other option, but that is all.

As for Mars, I remember years ago being able to see one of the polar icecaps through a 4" newt, so don't give up hope :)

 

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26 minutes ago, BritAngler said:

Of the two eyepieces you got with your 'scope, the 25mm is pretty good, but the 10mm less so and should be replaced if you want to get the best out of your equipment. Personally I don't like barlows; a 10mm & 2x barlow will not give you the same viewing quality as a 5mm eyepiece. They're okay if you don't have any other option, but that is all.

As for Mars, I remember years ago being able to see one of the polar icecaps through a 4" newt, so don't give up hope :)

 

Ah okay,  i have to say when i had the 2x Barlow attached with the 10mm the view seemed somewhat restricted and the quality wasn't the best... It was much better with the 25mm wide angle but the magnification was less. Would you say it is worth getting a 5mm eye piece fairly soon? 

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2 minutes ago, Woolnut said:

Ah okay,  i have to say when i had the 2x Barlow attached with the 10mm the view seemed somewhat restricted and the quality wasn't the best... It was much better with the 25mm wide angle but the magnification was less. Would you say it is worth getting a 5mm eye piece fairly soon? 

A 5mm eyepiece will be giving you 150x magnification which is approaching the limit for your 'scope, personally I would try with a (better) 10mm & barlow first then think about a 5mm :)

PS, the barlow that comes with many 'scopes isn't all that good either :(

HTH :)

 

 

 

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Pictures ala the Hubble Space Telescope wind people up for a disappointment when they first start looking through their new telescopes. But you can be prepared for the truth by any of a number of ways - including a read through this lengthy thread:

And, of course, asking us - as you are! :p

Enjoy!

Dave

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1 minute ago, BritAngler said:

A 5mm eyepiece will be giving you 150x magnification which is approaching the limit for your 'scope, personally I would try with a (better) 10mm & barlow first then think about a 5mm :)

PS, the barlow that comes with many 'scopes isn't all that good either :(

HTH :)

 

 

 

Okay thanks, i will have a look at getting hold of a better 10mm, it's a shame that the eyepieces that ship with the 'scope aren't the best; i imagine many people would pay more for some better quality eyepieces to be bundled into the purchase of the 'scope, especially for the more beginner aimed ones like the 150p!

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I have the same set up as yourself. My first viewings of Mars were not dissimilar to yours. I thought it wasn't worth the effort and didn't return for some time. When next viewing I was lucky enough to pick a good night and saw a polar cap and some faint markings, that got me hooked and I spent a long time viewing trying to tease more detail. 

Whilst waiting for the next opposition there is plenty more good stuff to track down.

Good luck and enjoy.

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I wouldn't rush to get a 'better' eyepiece. Keep using what you have for now and learn the most you can about these and what they can, and can't, do. Then you can make an educated choice regards what would serve your personal needs better - and is possible to do.

Practice, practice, practice - much more valuable than spend, spend, spend.

my 2¢,

Dave

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1 minute ago, Dave In Vermont said:

I wouldn't rush to get a 'better' eyepiece. Keep using what you have for now and learn the most you can about these and what they can, and can't, do. Then you can make an educated choice regards what would serve your personal needs better - and is possible to do.

Practice, practice, practice - much more valuable than spend, spend, spend.

my 2¢,

Dave

Yes i agree, if astronomy is like anything else in life i have tried, practice, practice, practice and practice again will be the way forward! :p (New spikes never made me run any faster or jump any higher ;)).

Thank you for the post you linked, i have had a skim read through and it looks extremely useful, i will definitely revisit when i have some time to sit down and read! Thankfully i wasn't one of those who expected Hubble quality observations through my telescope :)

 

 

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1 hour ago, Woolnut said:

Okay thanks, i will have a look at getting hold of a better 10mm, it's a shame that the eyepieces that ship with the 'scope aren't the best; i imagine many people would pay more for some better quality eyepieces to be bundled into the purchase of the 'scope, especially for the more beginner aimed ones like the 150p!

On the other hand, putting better eyepieces in with the initial purchase will raise the price somewhat and that might take it over the budget for some people, so instead of buying a 150, they'll be limited to a 130 or less. Eyepieces can easily be replaced, but it's not so cheap to replace the entire 'scope.

After I bought the 200P, the first thing I did was replace the 10mm. You don't have to spend silly money on it, I think mine cost about £30. Are there any astro clubs around you? If so, joining one or more would be a good decision :)

 

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8 hours ago, BritAngler said:

On the other hand, putting better eyepieces in with the initial purchase will raise the price somewhat and that might take it over the budget for some people, so instead of buying a 150, they'll be limited to a 130 or less. Eyepieces can easily be replaced, but it's not so cheap to replace the entire 'scope.

After I bought the 200P, the first thing I did was replace the 10mm. You don't have to spend silly money on it, I think mine cost about £30. Are there any astro clubs around you? If so, joining one or more would be a good decision :)

 

Yeah i guess from this perspective it is better to bundle in some basic eyepieces, i hear the 10mm not being too great echoing around the place, so i will look at replacing it eventually, right now though it will do! (Same with the 2x Barlow...)

Well i am in Danbury in Essex (just outside of Chelmsford) so there are two that are within 25/30 miles, i may take a look at joining one of them as long as i can free up an evening! Before i start doing that i also need to get myself a protective storage / travel case for the 'scope, don't really fancy transporting it around without any padding or protection! :p 

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14 hours ago, Woolnut said:

Yeah i guess from this perspective it is better to bundle in some basic eyepieces, i hear the 10mm not being too great echoing around the place, so i will look at replacing it eventually, right now though it will do! (Same with the 2x Barlow...)

Well i am in Danbury in Essex (just outside of Chelmsford) so there are two that are within 25/30 miles, i may take a look at joining one of them as long as i can free up an evening! Before i start doing that i also need to get myself a protective storage / travel case for the 'scope, don't really fancy transporting it around without any padding or protection! :p 

I use a cricket bag for mine, picked one up a couple of years ago for just over £20.

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1 minute ago, Astro Imp said:

I use a cricket bag for mine, picked one up a couple of years ago for just over £20.

That's a good shout... Do you also put the mount in the bag? 

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