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Bribrum    49

Tried to see Uranus tonight in my 200 dob. Gave up and went cluster hunting instead which blew my mind M35 and Pleiades are both stunning

Any tips for viewing Uranus with my dob would be much appreciated though

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David Levi    239
Posted (edited)

I saw Uranus last night with my 200mm reflector as a clear grey disk at 125x magnification.

Before starting if you haven't already got the free planetarium program Stellarium then it would be a good idea to download it onto your computer.

I use Stellarium to locate the planet. Before you start to look for Uranus or any other object for that matter it's a good idea to be familiar with the specific constellation in which you are observing by recognizing the main stars naked eye just looking up at the sky. I try to memorize the position of Uranus from Stellarium in relation to significant stars in the constellation of Pisces and then go to the telescope and locate it in the finderscope before looking through the eyepiece. Uranus is easily visible in my 9 x 50 finderscope and once you know it, there's something different about it even at this magnification compared to stars. I've practiced this routine quite a bit but with new targets I might have to return to Stellarium to revise the location and then go back out to the finderscope until I recognize the object in relation to the surrounding star field.

Perhaps the hardest part is lining up the telescope so that you know which star you are viewing when looking through the finderscope. This is where knowing the shape of the constellation helps as if you are unsure about which star is in view you can swing the telescope about and star hop around the main stars of the constellation. The shape of the constellation should transfer to the movements you make with the telescope. When you can star hop around the constellation while looking in the finderscope then you can locate the correct star from where you can start your search for Uranus.

I hope this helps and good luck with your planet hunt.

Edited by David Levi
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Stu    15,886
13 hours ago, Bribrum said:

Tried to see Uranus tonight in my 200 dob. Gave up and went cluster hunting instead which blew my mind M35 and Pleiades are both stunning

Any tips for viewing Uranus with my dob would be much appreciated though

So, what did you try and why didn't it work?

What sort of finder do you have on your scope? A Telrad and or a RACI (Right Angle, Correct Image) optical finder can really help with the star hopping needed to get yourself in the right place.

I found it fairly recently in binoculars by star hopping from a nearby identifiable star, took me quite a few goes to find the right path but got there, it's all about identifying the field patterns you can see and referencing them against a star atlas. I use SkySafari as I find it easy to adjust the display to show the same magnitude of stars as I am actually seeing which makes life much easier.

Uranus is currently around 3.5 degrees from mag 4.3 Omicron Piscium, so placing that star at around the 10 O'Clock position in a Telrad will place Uranus in the 4 O'Clock position (at 9.30pm). You should then be able to centre it and find in the finder, then the eyepiece.

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billyharris72    354

Totally agree with the above - a RACI finder in particuar is a huge advantage for star hopping, especially if you suffer from light pollution.

For knowing where to look, if I'm really struggling my favoured approach is Cartes Du Ciel. Similar to Stellarium, but you can actually print off the maps and take them to the scope with you.

Billy.

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John    18,692

I agree - I find optical finders the best for finding the planets, or at least centering the suspects before using the main scope to check them out. I can even see Neptune as a star like point with my 6x30 RACI finder.

Cartes du Ciel is my favourite for identifying any planetary moons I might have seen.

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Mr niall    457

Useful advice - I’ve been struggling with finding it too!

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Pete Presland    7,894

You might have seen it, but not recognised it. Once you do find it, it will easier next time. I normally use my 15x70's if I have not observed it for a while and its position has changed significantly. I use Stellarium and finds it position and star hop with my finder scope/2" 40mm eyepiece. Uranus is not particularly stunning at the eyepiece, but its an obvious Solar system object.

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