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Roger2525

Viewing through the SW 127 MAK

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Hi I'm in desperate need of help! I have just brought a 2nd hand Skywatcher 127 mak. Have checked the collimation and it appears ok, have left the telescope out in the open for an hour and have a nice dew cover for it. 

However I can't get the tracking sorted, the view finder is a nightmare and overhead objects I'm almost on my back, but worse of all I've just had a look at Jupiter which admittedly is low down in the sky but I can't get it to look more than a bright star. I have tried 10,15,25mm lenses and a Barlow but it just appears as a bright dot. When I do increase the size it goes out of focus and you get a circle with the black dot in the centre.

I have read great things about this scope but it's hopeless for dso cos you can't find them and I fear the planets will be hopeless as well given what I've experienced with Jupiter. How on earth do you get planets large enough to see a bit more detail other than a dot of light?

I think I will sell the scope on and just get a good pair of binoculars. Any advice?

 

 

 

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Should get a decent view of Jupiter with the 10mm EP. Does the scope focus OK in the daytime on distant objects? There is loads of inward and outward focus on these kind of scopes, so make sure you got it focused correctly. Hope it is something as simple as that for the image. 

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Adding a Star Diagonal will present the eyepiece at a better angle for overhead viewing.

Here's what you should get with a 10mm eyepiece on your scope:

Capture.thumb.JPG.3e7b7c0e8e76250459a5118544b0abe8.JPG

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I think you are experiencing the symptoms of expectations exceeding reality. Many people when they first look at planets etc through a telescope they expect to see Hubble quality views or, at least with planets, the same sort of detail/size they have seen in photographic images. Others will look through the same telescope and go WOW ! I can see Jupiter's Great Red Spot ! 

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You should get some details on Jupiter without any problems, even with my 90 mm Mak I can see the main bands etc. The other solution was that you may have been looking at a bright star instead of Jupiter, this has caught me out a couple of times.

Alan 

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When you get it close to being in focus, adjust the focuser slowly and by small amounts. It could be that you're adjusting too much either side and going through the "sweet spot" where you should get more detail. Try observing it for a minute or 2 once you think it's in focus, detail may come and go as atmosphere settles.

I first saw Jupiter a few years ago when it was well positioned and could make out main bands easily  with my ST102 (which is not really a planetary scope). However when I tried last weekend, I couldn't get any banding with the same scope and eye pieces. It might just be a bad night for seeing as Jupiter is quite low just now.

I bought a 127 mak specifically for planets.... right in time to realise they're not well positioned (i.e. low in sky from UK) for next few years. Should have done more research! Give it a shot during the day, or on the moon. I've seen some ridiculously sharp and amazing views of the moon with the mak.

Don't give up yet! 

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12 hours ago, Roger2525 said:

Hi I'm in desperate need of help! I have just brought a 2nd hand Skywatcher 127 mak. Have checked the collimation and it appears ok, have left the telescope out in the open for an hour and have a nice dew cover for it. 

However I can't get the tracking sorted, the view finder is a nightmare and overhead objects I'm almost on my back, but worse of all I've just had a look at Jupiter which admittedly is low down in the sky but I can't get it to look more than a bright star. I have tried 10,15,25mm lenses and a Barlow but it just appears as a bright dot. When I do increase the size it goes out of focus and you get a circle with the black dot in the centre.

 

 

 

 

 

Are you sure you was actually looking at Jupiter?  Could you see any of Jupiters moons? This would at least tell you if you have found Jupiter or just a star.

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Many thanks for the responses. I'm sure it was Jupiter as I have an app on my mobile that points objects out. 23.00 low in SE.

I just couldn't get any detail and as I increased the focus I got the circle with black dot. I will try it on the moon and see what come up with. 

Fingers crossed

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Seeing a circle with a black dot in the middle may mean you are miles out of focus. As others have mentioned, try slowly and methodically adjusting the focus, you could easily adjust straight through the right focus point and miss it if you are unfamiliar with it.

Focusing on a distant tree or lamp post in the daylight will make sure you are in the right ball park and you can also work out which way to turn the focus to focus closer or further away to reduce the amount of guessing further.

Once you've got the focus right you should see the moons for sure and the 2 main equatorial bands but if the atmosphere is bad and the planet is low then details may come and go as the air movement constant changes. You may see a featureless blob one minute and then details will materialise by magic..and then disappear again! Even with the best gear giving it time at the eyepiece is necessary on order to catch the good moments of seeing.

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2300 from Leicester puts Jupiter around 7.5 degrees from the horizon -- you'll be looking through an awful lot of likely light-polluted and unseasonably heated-and-cooling atmosphere at that shallow angle. I would expect the view to be horrible. Jupiter only rises above 10 degrees at midnight, reaching its best around 0200-0300.

Even as little as 8x magnification on reasonably decent binoculars should easily show you up to 4 of Jupiter's moons as well (I confirmed this myself around 3am this morning).

Hopefully it's as simple as that, my own Mak 127 gives me much joy.

Cheers, Magnus

Edited by Captain Magenta
corrected altitude from 5 to 7.5

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I think the problem may have been atmospheric conditions and the low altitude.

2 days ago (Wednesday), we had clear skies here, (rare event), and I set up my 127 Mak on its Synscan mount, and my Star Travel 120mm refractor on the Skyprodigy mount. Jupiter made it above the tree line at about 23:30. I have seen, and taken many webcam videos of, Jupiter with the Mak., and I was interested to see it through my, more recently acquired ST120. Neither gave me a clear view; I could not achieve a sharp focus on the 4 moons with either OTA, and Jupiter seemed washed-out, with no real detail. I tried most of my eyepieces, fixed FL and zooms, but nothing seemed to give me a reasonably-sized, clear, view. I put it down to the low altitude and poor atmospheric conditions.

Yesterday (Thursday), after another day of even clearer skies, I decided to have another go, but this time with my 250mm Dobsonian. I did my Brightest Star alignment at about 20:40, with the brightest stars just visible against a clear, blue, background. I had a look at the crescent Moon, and the details were crisp, with just a hint of shimmering - probably the effect of warm air off adjacent roofs. Satisfied all was well, I went indoors for just over an hour, to let the sky get properly dark, and do a bit more observing before I expected to see Jupiter. I emerged to find 100% fog :bangbang: 

Don't you just love the British weather!

UPDATE: - See new entry below

Geoff

Edited by Geoff Lister
Added pointer to update
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7 hours ago, Roger2525 said:

Many thanks for the responses. I'm sure it was Jupiter as I have an app on my mobile that points objects out. 23.00 low in SE.

I just couldn't get any detail and as I increased the focus I got the circle with black dot. I will try it on the moon and see what come up with. 

Fingers crossed

I would try it out in the day time (do not point it anywhere near the sun) look at a distant object and try to focus on that.  You will see how a very small movement of the focuser moves the object in and out of focus i.e. it doesnt take hardly any movement before the object becomes blurry.  This way you will get used to using the focuser and different eyepieces during the daylight.

With regards Jupiter, even with poor seeing conditions, low in the sky etc I would expect you to be able to see the 4 main moons. I can see them in my cheap pair of 10x50 binoculars (i have seen them the last couple of nights through the binos).

So i would suggest a bit of practice with the focuser. 

 

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Update from yesterday's post:-

Last night (Friday 20th), the skies of North Somerset were again clear, and without the fog. I set up my 250mm Dob at about 21:30, had  look at the Moon, and there was less atmospheric ripple. Whilst waiting for Jupiter to rise over the tree line, I had a look at a few Messier objects.

Once Jupiter was visible, about 23:45, I got out the Skymax 127mm Mak., and set it up to view Jupiter. The view was a vast improvement on that achievable 2 nights ago. The 4 moons were crisp points, although there was a slight "wobble" around the edges of the planet. The crispest views were with my 13mm Plossl eyepiece (roughly 110x); but the best useable magnification was with 8mm (roughly 190x). A standard 10mm eyepiece should be fine.

Definitely worth having another go at Jupiter with your "new" 'scope.

Geoff

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The moon would be an ideal target to test the focus. Unmistakeable, and in the sky at a convenient hour, if the clouds stay away. Your mak 127 should be capable of some stunning lunar views.  And if you still can’t get crisp images, then consider that you may have technical woes.  Be warned though, the moon is surprisingly bright without a filter 😲

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19 hours ago, Roger2525 said:

Many thanks for the responses. I'm sure it was Jupiter as I have an app on my mobile that points objects out. 23.00 low in SE.

I just couldn't get any detail and as I increased the focus I got the circle with black dot. I will try it on the moon and see what come up with. 

Fingers crossed

The correct focus is when a star or planet is at its smallest. The focuser is not a zoom, it is simply for setting the correct spacing between the objective of your telescope and the eyepiece. If you adjust the focuser to make the object larger you will lose detail because instead of looking at the object you wish to observe you will be looking at the inside of your telescope. The only way to change the magnification is to change eyepiece (unless you buy a zoom eyepiece). 

With respect to Jupiter the current position means that I would suggest waiting until midnight to view it, although the scope should be outside for some time before this to acclimatise. The four moons will help you achieve the correct focus, I would suggest concentrating on making the moons appear as small as possible and then look to Jupiter. You will need to view it for an extended period, waiting for the moments of best seeing to make out extra details. If possible you should also set up so that you are viewing over vegetation rather than man made structures which release heat long into the night and degrade the image.

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If it's any consolation, the seeing was so bad last night that I couldn't even see the main cloud belts on Jupiter with a 16"!   :eek:

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4 minutes ago, Peter Drew said:

If it's any consolation, the seeing was so bad last night that I couldn't even see the main cloud belts on Jupiter with a 16"!   :eek:

Eeeek, it was wonky with us but that does sound bad! Heat of the day dissipating I guess.

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13 minutes ago, Peter Drew said:

If it's any consolation, the seeing was so bad last night that I couldn't even see the main cloud belts on Jupiter with a 16"!   :eek:

Same here . Just a bright blob. I was hoping for better. 

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I managed to catch Jupiter last night with my mak. It went from being a featureless blob one minute, to having incredible band detail the next. I needed to wait until 1ish to be able to see the best detail. 

Circle with black dot is normal for out of focus mak. Turn the focus knob in the direction that makes the circle smaller and smaller, if it starts to get bigger again, then you've gone too far, so start going the other way.

Are you using one of these apps where you hold your phone/tablet up to the sky and it tells you what you're looking at? I've never had much accuracy with this method.

If what you're looking at goes to a point when you think it's in focus, then it's not Jupiter (it's a star). Jupiter looks like a disc when you're focused on it. Again, as others have mentioned, use the 4 moons to obtain focus (get them as small as possible) then observe Jupiter for a while.

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25 minutes ago, davyludo said:

I needed to wait until 1ish to be able to see the best detail. 

Agreed. I packed in at about 01:15, and the best views were to be had between 01:00 and 01:15. In my area, some of the street lights go off at about midnight, so this may have reduced the background light pollution during the best views.

Geoff

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I had a Mak 127 for a while - they’re great on DSO’s - especially on globular and open clusters. From your description of Jupiter It sounds like you weren’t looking at Jupiter - with a 10mm it is clearly and obviously not a star. You should easily see at least two main bands under almost any conditions. But remember the entire usable focus range on a 127 is about two turns of the focussing knob so there’s no point spinning it wildly around! Either way, brill scope.

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I had a Mak 127 for a while - they’re great on DSO’s - especially on globular and open clusters. From your description of Jupiter It sounds like you weren’t looking at Jupiter - with a 10mm it is clearly and obviously not a star. You should easily see at least two main bands under almost any conditions. But remember the entire usable focus range on a 127 is about two turns of the focussing knob so there’s no point spinning it wildly around! Either way, brill scope.

 

edit - btw having re read your original post it got me wondering - are you using a star diagonal? If you aren’t that might explain the awkward viewing angle - but it also might explain why you can’t see Jupiter properly, you might not have enough focal length without one to reach focus? Just a thought.

Edited by Mr niall
More info

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On ‎21‎/‎04‎/‎2018 at 09:58, Peter Drew said:

If it's any consolation, the seeing was so bad last night that I couldn't even see the main cloud belts on Jupiter with a 16"!   :eek:

You should have got your 4 inch fluorite out Peter  :hello2:

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I always used a clothes peg on the focus knob for my 127 mak. This really helps getting your focus sharp without moving the mount too much. The legs on the standard mount are a bit wobbly.

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On 19/04/2018 at 22:55, Roger2525 said:

Hi I'm in desperate need of help! I have just brought a 2nd hand Skywatcher 127 mak. Have checked the collimation and it appears ok, have left the telescope out in the open for an hour and have a nice dew cover for it. 

However I can't get the tracking sorted, the view finder is a nightmare and overhead objects I'm almost on my back, but worse of all I've just had a look at Jupiter which admittedly is low down in the sky but I can't get it to look more than a bright star. I have tried 10,15,25mm lenses and a Barlow but it just appears as a bright dot. When I do increase the size it goes out of focus and you get a circle with the black dot in the centre.

I have read great things about this scope but it's hopeless for dso cos you can't find them and I fear the planets will be hopeless as well given what I've experienced with Jupiter. How on earth do you get planets large enough to see a bit more detail other than a dot of light?

I think I will sell the scope on and just get a good pair of binoculars. Any advice?

 

 

 

Have you got this issue resolved yet ? 

Did it come with a red dot finder or 6x30 finder ?

l got the same Mak recently and it works like a dream on Jupiter and the Moon .

PS a 40mm eyepiece is a good idea to start off with in this scope 👍

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