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Prester John

Unrealistic expectations from a noob

26 posts in this topic

Ever see that episode of The Simpsons where Bart gets a telescope, looks up at the sky and sees planets, galexies, Nebulas (plural?) and Alien spacecraft absolutely everywhere? Well i was half expecting to see Aliens my first night out with my Brand New (To Me) 12" Meade lightbridge. Obviously this was not the case lol.

I brought the telescope home on wedsnday, and thursday had clear skies so i was pumped. I was on my balcony, in a big city with plenty of light polution, my back almost right up against my house so half the sky and everything West of me was out of view. A Huge Leafy tree on my right about 20 feet away and 40 feet tall blocking lots of sky including the moon (when it finally decided to show itself lol), and a big tarp hanging from 2 2x4's blocking the street lights (and part of the sky). Nevertheless i was sure id see a ton of cool stuff, just as Bart Simpson did, aimlessly looking at what limited sky was left to me.

Needless to say i saw nothing but stars lol. Every time id lift my head from the eye piece i would have light shining right into my pupil from some direction. I learned that I badly need an eye patch cause keeping one eye closed for long periods of time is surprisingly fatiguing. I also learned that my dobsonian telescope despite having counterweights likes to droop down if i try to look too close to the horizon...(where all the good stuff i could have actually viewed was this night lol)

I did see something odd, an object that could have been mistaken for a star zoomed past my field of view. Took about 2 or 3 seconds to cross out of sight whereas everything else seemed to move extremely slowly. I managed to recapture it and follow for about 4-5 seconds but then i lost it again and could not recover it. Had it been stationary it could easily been mistaken for a star. Any clues? Satelite maybe? Looked too slow to be a comet or shooting star but what do i know.

Looking back on how excited i was to see a ton of wonders i cirtainly feel dumb. The Universe is an impossibly Large place all too easily able to swallow every Galaxy or Nebula in existence and hide it from the untrained eye (especially when looking from a very bright location haha). My expectations were not very realistic and i now know better. I ordered a couple of astronomy books, which i should definitely have done before getting my hopes all out of whack. I'll also be looking into joining my local astronomy club so my son and i can learn from the pros. Hopefully these 2 sources will guide me better. On my next outting ill defenetly drive down to my inlaws cottage where its dark.

I guess it doesn't matter how big your scope is, it's worthless unless you know how to use it. Cheers all.

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Posted (edited)

There are several "unrealistic" expectations.

First is usually that more magnification is better. That 5x barlow+the 5mm eyepiece+CPC 925 giving 2350x just has to be better then a 102+8mm giving 85x. Touble is the 85x will be a lot better. Seems that around 80x is about the most common.

Next comes that the idea that you aim scope at sky and the objects "flow" into your field of view. Sorry, they actually run away and hide. And they are good at hiding, very good. They have had longer then the total evolution of the human race in which to perfect hiding. This is why there is as good a trade in finder scopes as there is in telescopes.

A goto scope does just that it goes to the required object. But it does not generlly get all it's own data, and does not generally align itself. They are not really very advanced. Every one that has a goto knows the sky pretty well - they don't trust the damn goto to actually goto whatever they have requested. So prior to making the request they will know what and where the object is.

Then comes the glowing colours that you will see. Basically they are all grey, except the assorted coloured stars, which are White. Blue-White or Red(ish). Every picture you see is processed, colour is added according to the pleasure centers of whoever is doing the processing. Non are really real. Search for M42 and click on the More Images option. M42 will be displayed in every combination of colours you can imaging, and a few you cannot. They by definition cannot all be "correct" and I doubt that any are 100% correct.

People need to learn a little before they head out. Where is Almaak? Where is Albireo? Where is M13? Learn the basic constellations, find something that tells you how to get from A to B = how to get from Cassiopeia to the Double Cluster. There are 4 items for you to track down and view. :icon_biggrin::icon_biggrin:

Another odd one is that if you have a magnification of say 60x, which gives about a 1 degree view then you are not going to fit a 3 degree object (M31) in your view. This comes up often. I do recall someone looking at M31 in a Mak and their comment was "Underwhelming isn't it?". Fairly accurate.

Another that what comes up about 2 or 3 times a year is "Can I see where the big bang occurred?" No. Strange physics/geometry means not possible, no "point".

If you want a few "easy" objects set Stellarium (F4 button) to Mag 6 for DSO's and pick from what is left displayed, or head to Tha Astronomy League and dig out one of their binocular programs.

Oct-Bin.doc

Edited by ronin
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Quote

They by definition cannot all be "correct" and I doubt that any are 100% correct.

Whilst it is true that you won't see colour with the naked eye, surely the colour produced by a non colour enhanced DSLR has to be a true colour.  Admittedly this is done in long exposure which the eye cannot do.  

I think the most exciting objects to a beginner are Saturn and Jupiter, followed by globular clusters.  

Carole 

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You do need a fairly dark site to be able to see fairly dim photons ..with 12 inches of aperture its well  capable of capturing those dim photons ,you just need to learn where to point and then you will learn how fast the earth rotates to keep it in the eyepiece.. 

1 hour ago, ronin said:

Then comes the glowing colours that you will see. Basically they are all grey, except the assorted coloured stars, which are White. Blue-White or Red(ish). Every picture you see is processed, colour is added according to the pleasure centers of whoever is doing the processing. Non are really real. Search for M42 and click on the More Images option. M42 will be displayed in every combination of colours you can imaging, and a few you cannot. They by definition cannot all be "correct" and I doubt that any are 100% correct.

In some respects you're correct but in others I disagree.. take m42 as a example...yes it looks like a big grey cloud through your eyes but as your eyes cannot see the hydrogen alpha end of the spectrum..if you use a camera with the ir filter removed all is now revealed...its not processed or colour enhanced it's because the camera's sensor is more sensitive than your eyes..also your eyes in a dark sky location only see in black and white..something about cones and stalks ..you use one or the other for daylight/nightime use..

For visual..everything is kind of grey..

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I agree Ronin. I was using a 2" 26mm eyepiece(mostly) and if i understand things it gives 60x magnification with my telescope which is not a goto. Just plain old dobsonian. This hobby is not gonna be as simple a thing as i origionally thought and honestly i am very much looking forward to watching and learning with my children. Cheers all

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"People need to learn a little before they head out. Where is Almaak? Where is Albireo? Where is M13? Learn the basic constellations, find something that tells you how to get from A to B = how to get from Cassiopeia to the Double Cluster. There are 4 items for you to track down and view. :icon_biggrin::icon_biggrin:"

 

ill be looki those up 😀😀, cheers.

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Hello John, welcome to this forum, the best place to guide you along. Best thing, your inititial experience has not put you off!, perseverance will pay dividends in due course.  A 12" telescope is a pretty ambitious aperture for a newcomer.  :icon_biggrin:

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Thank you peter. I was looking at buying a new 8" Orion originally, but price with taxes is right around 650$CAD. Then i found this 12" for sale used at 500$ In my area. No taxes (15% here) no shipping costs so i jumped on it. Its bulky but not overly heavy and it fits in my SUV so no worries their either. And no im not put off at all. 😀😀😀 Cheers

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Posted (edited)

John,

get yourself a copy of "turn left at Orion" (book). It has 200+ pages of all the best night sky objects, directions on how to find them manually and sketches of what to expect to see.

all in a nice ring bound book just made to take outside.

happy hunting,

Alan

p.s. I just got an eye patch and it makes a real improvement. 

Edited by alanjgreen
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9 minutes ago, alanjgreen said:

John,

get yourself a copy of "turn left at Orion" (book). It has 200+ pages of all the best night sky objects, directions on how to find them manually and sketches of what to expect to see.

all in a nice ring bound book just made to take outside.

happy hunting,

Alan

p.s. I just got an eye patch and it makes a real improvement. 

Arrgh, it was between that book and NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe. I went with the latter lol. Ill be ordering Turn left at Orion next for sure :)

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Honestly I would be stunned if anyone coming to astronomy as an adult has had an experience much different to you! What you described is pretty much the exact same thing that happened to me this Christmas with my first grown up scope. The thing I've learned most of all is that everything has a "context" it's only when you learn that context that the stuff you're seeing makes any sense, otherwise to be honest pretty much everything looks likes dots and blobs!

i remember the first time I saw M42 I was like "yep... a grey smudge", M31 was like "yep lots of dots", it was only when I started reading about them that it made any sense! And yes, my goodness Turn Left at Orion was a real game changer, can't recommend it enough. I think one of my posts from a few months ago was along the lines of "what's the point?" But that book does a fab job of adding context to what you're seeing.

Everyone is different but for me the biggest moments have been (and things I would recommend):

Jupiter and Saturn, amazing amazing.

The Pleiades at really low magnification, like a blanket of stars.

Splitting Alcon and Mizar - this was especially cool for me because on a good night you can split them by eye but there's a surprise in store....

Honestly I think that seeing the stuff through the scope is best viewed as a reward for learning about it! But I remember in March I managed to interrupt my sons sleep over to get them to look at Jupiter through my little 70mm scope, and the fact that 5 12 year olds were standing outside in the dark at 11 o'clock patiently waiting for turns at the eyepiece when "fast and furious 7 " was on inside tells you all you need to know about how ace it can be.

your scope looks ace btw, 

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5 hours ago, Prester John said:

I did see something odd, an object that could have been mistaken for a star zoomed past my field of view. Took about 2 or 3 seconds to cross out of sight whereas everything else seemed to move extremely slowly. I managed to recapture it and follow for about 4-5 seconds but then i lost it again and could not recover it. Had it been stationary it could easily been mistaken for a star. Any clues? Satelite maybe? Looked too slow to be a comet or shooting star but what do i know.

That'll be those aliens you were looking for ;)

Seriously though, it'll be a satellite, most objects I look at have a satellite zoom past if I'm on it for more than 10 minutes - there are loads of them up there.

That's a great scope you have there, for a great price (jealous much!), and it'll give you some cracking views if you can get it out of the city :)

I still get plenty of use with mine from my back garden though, but is sounds like I don't have quite as many challenges as you.

I can see some subtle colours in M57 even from my garden, but you have to be comfortable at the scope and settle in for a few minutes; averted vision helps. Try an eye patch, then you can keep both eyes open - you can get them for a couple of dollars.

And welcome to the forum

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Thx for the encouragment and friendly advice folks. Im not one to quit even though i have way too many hobbies already (according to the wife anyway lol). 

 

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There is never too many hobbies:-) your wife should be glad your many hobbies means you have no time left for the ladies, I hope!

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Welcome to the hobby!

As you've already identified, the best possible thing you can do to improve how you get on is to try to get to a dark site. It is so much easier to find things then! The Galaxy M31 for instance will be visible as a small smudge with the naked eye, which will allow you to find it in the scope much more easily.

Get yourself a star atlas like the Sky & Telescope Pocket Star Atlas, and/or an app like Stellarium or SkySafari and that will really help. Finally make sure you align your finderscope accurately, easier to get it basically right by using a distant landmark but then refine it on a bright star, that makes like a lot easier. Also consider getting a TelRad Finder which again helps with pointing that big scope of yours!

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Posted (edited)

We all know how those boxed department-store telescopes mislead peopleinto thinking you see aliens and glowing nebulae everywhere - but you got misleading information from Bart Simpson?? That's a great story to tell when people will ask you for advice on this subject later on - as you'll be in the position to answer them in less time than you may think! You'll see!

There are great things to see and explore - but it's a slower learning-curve than we're prepared for. Well - for many people at least. Glad to see you didn't get exasperated and retreat! You'll surely be delighted at how incredible things will become. And to help you on your way, I'll link you to a free software-program to identify many of those 'slow-moving lights' we often see go past our eyepieces - man-made satellites:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/previsat/

Just read the introductions and keep it updated when needed. I once saw the International Space Station - which I wasn't looking for - go through my eyepiece on a 12" telescope. Nearly knocked me out of my boots! It looked as big as a freight-train!

Enjoy! And feel free with any questions -

Dave

 

Homer-Simpson-Doh.jpg.8b51f004c880819972b8e0a5aeed90d9.jpg

 

 

Edited by Dave In Vermont
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Hi there,

the sky is vast and it is easy to get lost.  Stu is right, you need to align your red dot finder with your telescope field of view. Do it in daylight with a distant object centred in the main telescope field of view, then adjust the red dot finder screw adjusters until it is also centred on the same object. 

I have also fitted a right angled finder scope with an illuminated reticule - if you align it in a similar way in day light, you can use the following sequence to find your way around.

1. Point the red dot finder at a nearby bright star.

2. Look through the finder scope and compare the surrounding star pattern with that shown on a star app like Sky Safari or Stellarium.  I find this easier than a star atlas although Turn Left at Orion is an excellent book for giving you a realistic picture of what to expect to see.

3. Slowly move the scope hopping from each star pattern to the next as identified in your view finder. 

4. When you are close to the object you want to see, switch to your 26mm eyepiece.  Remember, that what you are seeing now through the 26mm eyepiece is upside down.

There is a good video here of fitting a right angled viewfinder to a Lightbridge.  You will need to increase your weights to keep the scope from dipping with the new finder scope attached.

Good Luck! :thumbsup:

John

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I must be the only person not to be disappointed!

I was primed by memories of a 2" (!) reflector when I was a teenager and a planet and the moon that rapidly rushed out of my filed of view.

So I was pretty gobsmacked by being able to see moons of Jupiter and the red spot, the rings of Saturn, the Pleiades and Hyades hanging like jewels in the sky, the infinity of tiny craters on the moon, and seeing the Andromeda galaxy. Sadly I struggle with eyepieces, so decent viewing is largely limited to these 'easy' objects and I am more into imaging.

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Posted (edited)

44 minutes ago, Stub Mandrel said:

I must be the only person not to be disappointed!

 

Nope.

Hesitated for many years before purchasing a smallish telescope (130p Heritage). Before that I was satisfied with binoculars, naked eye observations and Reading astronomy.

I really had low expectations of what I could see through a low priced (or any amateur) telescope, partly due to the enormously distances in Cosmos.

Just like you, I was overwhelmed With views of Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, clusters like Pleiades, Hyades and the Auriga ones. M51 also looked far better than I ever would expect from a small telescope.

Adding an 8" dob  opened the universe a little bit more.

Edited by Pondus
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14 hours ago, Mr niall said:

Honestly I would be stunned if anyone coming to astronomy as an adult has had an experience much different to you

I started off with the planets Jupiter and Saturn ( at around x 100 magnification ) and the results exceeded my expectations , for example , seeing the four Galilean Moons of Jupiter so tack sharp and then seeing the bands of Jupiter when my eye adjusted , then Saturn`s ring system so clear was also a surprise too ... The first " grey fuzzies " ( M10 and M12 in my case ) were also great to see and being able to find them in the first place was also a factor . Finally being able to track down M57 ( after about 20 attempts ! ) also gave a big sense of accomplishment ...

Start big ( Moon , Jupiter , Saturn ) and work your way down was the approach I took , and the approach I would recommend to any fellow newcomer like the OP . 

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Yes i agree, im gonna try to go out to a better, darker site with a general plan. Aimlessly wandering the skies may not be a great plan for a beginner. Cant wait for my astronomy books to start arriving :)

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Posted (edited)

52 minutes ago, Prester John said:

Yes i agree, im gonna try to go out to a better, darker site with a general plan. Aimlessly wandering the skies may not be a great plan for a beginner. Cant wait for my astronomy books to start arriving :)

I found it best to focus on one season at a time , one section of sky at a time , for example , below is the Summer sky , Northern hemisphere , looking South ... Also handy is the constellation pronunciation guide here https://www.space.com/3237-constellation-pronunciation-guide.html

 

capture-20170716-025542.jpg

Edited by Red Dwarfer
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23 hours ago, Prester John said:

Ever see that episode of The Simpsons where Bart gets a telescope, looks up at the sky and sees planets, galexies, Nebulas (plural?) and Alien spacecraft absolutely everywhere?

Just wait for Virgo & Coma Berenices to be up in Spring: just point your scope in the general direction and it's galaxy after galaxy... So many it will be tricky to figure out exactly what ones you saw ;)

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On 15/07/2017 at 14:56, Prester John said:

Looked too slow to be a comet or shooting star but what do i know.

Contrary to what many people think, comets do not shoot across the sky. They move more or less with the stars, much like the planets. 

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12 hours ago, niallk said:

Just wait for Virgo & Coma Berenices to be up in Spring: just point your scope in the general direction and it's galaxy after galaxy... So many it will be tricky to figure out exactly what ones you saw ;)

you need a dark sky for this though - I tried it from my back garden once and just about managed to find one of the messier galaxies. I was expecting to be tripping over them

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