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Hi guys,

Had my first shot of using my new to me Skywatcher Skymax 127 Mak on a SynScan AZ GoTo mount. 

In the day light hours I alligned the finder scope but last night was the first clear night I could actually use it as intended. 

Being in North Scotland, the sky never really gets that dark so I do wonder if that was a hinderence. 

 

In daylight I got some nice views of the Moon using the 25mm eye piece but with the 10mm I couldn't get anything in focus. 

 

Later on, just after 10pm I lines up Jupiter and just saw a small dot of light but could just see the 4 moons but no details on Jupiter itself. I tried the 10mm but just saw a slightly larger dot of light but not the moons (too zoomed in/narrow Field of view?) I tried the Barlow with the 25mm eye piece and saw just a dot again so I went back to just the 25mm eye piece and it was nice seeing the moons but disappointing not to see any detail. 

I have a few questions;

What is the limit of my 127mm F1500 Mak? Should I be able to see more?

I struggled getting my eye lined up right in the 25mm eyepiece and very difficult with the 10mm. Is this common for a new person to experience?

Maybe poor viewing due to it not been dark enough?

 

Can anyone you guys and girls offer some tips and words of encouragement as I'm a little disheartened as I expected more, newbie mistake?

What's a good mount for using my smartphone to capture images? 

Here is the best of the moon I got and Jupiter

IMG_20180523_220705.jpg

IMG_20180523_222600.jpg

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Hi.

Your 127mm mak can do 250x, no problem, maybe 300x if it's polished a little better than usual. The impossible focus with the 10mm (150x, pretty high power) might just be air turbulence, check various daytime targets at different distances and heights above the horizon. We could fill pages about turbulence but you'll understand better if you experience it yourself.

Centering the eye is just a matter of practice, but the learning can be sped up like this: move your eye up and down above the eyelens, then left and right, fore and aft. Make the image fall off the edge, look for the limits by going farther than you should. The best positioning will be obvious after that.

Standard dotation eyepieces are ok but not great, after you've exploited them look for better ones, they don't have to be expensive.

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A lot may be due to the atmosphere at the time, and also the 10mm will suffer more if it is poor quality compared to a poor quality 25mm but other than here are some focusing ideas...

 Wwhenyou are focussing try using the moons or a nearby star for focussing if you aren't already, it's easier to tell you are focussed.

Focusing with the 10mm will be more critical than with the 25mmand so may take more time and effort.

On my maksutov I may have to try focussing a few times before I get the right spot, and sometimes when I do get it spot on I won't dare to change anything and just enjoy the views I am getting.

If you can arrange a contraption on your focussing knob to allow finer control that may help, I've heard of big rubber wheels or even clothes pegs being used.

Anothrr thing to look out for is focuser lag - when I focus on a point I notice my scope's focus will keep moving just a bit longer after I stop turning the knob and allowing for this helps.

You can also buy various contraptions for fine focusing but first things first is to try and get the most out of the original set up.

 

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Let me ask you this: was Jupiter rather bright there alongside its moons, perhaps too bright?

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57 minutes ago, Alan64 said:

Let me ask you this: was Jupiter rather bright there alongside its moons, perhaps too bright?

It was my first time observing Jupiter, but I'd say so yes, very bright

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It can be hard work seeing much detail on Jupiter. Even with better eyepieces and an upgraded diagonal for my 127mm Mak, I could just see irregularities in the cloud belts and shadows of moons in transit, and once glimpsed the Great Red Spot.  The quality of the 'seeing' makes a lot of difference.  This year I took an image of Jupiter with the 127mm Mak, which clearly shows the Great Red Spot's colour, shape and size and shows that there is nothing wrong with the scope...

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Are you centering objects in the field of view of the eyepieces?  These stock eyepieces can be quite good exactly on axis, but tend to become blurry fairly quickly toward the field stop (edge).

Did you let the scope acclimate to the surrounding temperature?  That big meniscus corrector up front can take some time to cool (or warm) to the ambient temperature.

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4 hours ago, Cosmic Geoff said:

It can be hard work seeing much detail on Jupiter. Even with better eyepieces and an upgraded diagonal for my 127mm Mak, I could just see irregularities in the cloud belts and shadows of moons in transit, and once glimpsed the Great Red Spot.  The quality of the 'seeing' makes a lot of difference.  This year I took an image of Jupiter with the 127mm Mak, which clearly shows the Great Red Spot's colour, shape and size and shows that there is nothing wrong with the scope...

100% agree - I seen the Great Red Spot’s actual orange colour in my 127 Mak a couple of nights ago as well ... 

The height of Jupiter is an important factor and also the need to use the moons as the first thing to focus on ...

 

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5 hours ago, DeaconFrost said:

It was my first time observing Jupiter, but I'd say so yes, very bright

I had the same problem observing Jupiter, even at higher power; it was simply too bright to see any detail.  This was through my 150mm telescope, a Newtonian.  It's only 25.4mm larger than your own; not a great deal.  

I had had this accessory for many years, and when I popped it in, I could suddenly see most of the details on Jupiter, especially when the seeing steadied...

...and simply by dimming it down a bit...

https://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/antares-variable-polarising-filter-125.html  

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Last night was clear skies! Took the scope outside and levelled it off and plugged the power in and left it for 30 mins to start to cool down. 

 

The moon was stunning! I used the kit 25mm and then 2x Barlow as that appeared to me at least better than the 10mm as it has such a small hole (eye relief?) To look through and I'm a glasses wearer so I couldn't get it to focus well enough. I've attached an image from hand holding my smartphone to the eye piece. Very impressed!

Then, since it was so close I hopped over to Jupiter and dialed in the focus and saw vague pattern in it (dust clouds?) And of course the 4 moons was stunning. Frustrated as I couldn't seem to get a picture of it, I think allignment was the problem but when I got a pin dot of light, the smartphone camera appeared to have less magnification when using the Barlow?

I then tried allignment the AZ GoTo SynScan and while it said allignment successful I had great difficulty knowing 100% what star I was actually looking at!! I have a few augmented star sky apps but they we're not super accurate but when using the finder scope Vs just my eye, the finder scope made more stars visible Vs what just my eye could see. I then gave up as there was not enough stars out to identify any constellations but choosing the moon or Jupiter via handset didn't result in correct location so I must have selected the wrong stars during allignment or entered my location wrong!

I really want to get some better eye pieces and came across these Celestron ones on FLO which seem to have good eye relief and good for glasses wearers? https://www.firstlightoptics.com/celestron-eyepieces/celestron-x-cel-lx-eyepiece.html

But then I saw a better diagonol and Barlow's... Slipper scope!! Mind the pun. 

Also, will an "erecting" eye piece correct the view? Think that's all my newbie questions apart from I need to get a T ring for my canon DSLR and possibly a focus tube thingy to achieve focus?

IMG_20180527_234601-01.jpeg

Edited by DeaconFrost
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1 hour ago, DeaconFrost said:

But then I saw a better diagonol and Barlow's... Slipper scope!! Mind the pun. 

Also, will an "erecting" eye piece correct the view? Think that's all my newbie questions apart from I need to get a T ring for my canon DSLR and possibly a focus tube thingy to achieve focus?

A better diagonal is not a priority.  Changing it for a more expensive one will give a very marginal increase in performance, plus better build quality, longer coating life etc.  There are comparative tests to be found online. I never use a barlow with my Mak - the focal length is plenty long enough without it.

Don't buy an erecting eyepiece (unless you want to use it without a diagonal on terrestrial targets) - with your diagonal the image is already erect. The left-right reversal (from the diagonal) can be annoying (mainly on the moon) but if imaging you can flip it in software. Or buy a RACI prism diagonal, but it has to be the right sort for astro use, not the lower performing 45 deg intended for terrestrial use. Or omit the diagonal when imaging.

You will not need a focus tube extension, as the Mak has a very large focus range (unlike Newtonians and some refractors) and will happily accept the addition of binoviewers, filter wheels, ADCs and the like.

Glasses wearers (like myself) can observe without them provided one does not have astigmatism or other defect that can't be corrected by a twist of the focus knob. That gives you a wider choice of eyepieces (cheaper?). I've found the Celestron Omni Plossls to be adequate in my Mak - not that there is anything wrong with choosing the x-cel LX.

Edited by Cosmic Geoff
eyepieces
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I had the same problem about a year ago, when i got my scope, first time i used it i was inside looking trough an open window, and i pointed the scope at jupiter, i was fascinated by the view of the moons but there was no detail whatsoever on the planet, and i kept going to a higher power eyepiece or using the barlow, and that didn't help, it only got the image dimmer and jupiter was still a white spot, don't make that mistake, it took me a while to realise that higher magnification wouldn't solve the issue. You really need to go out on a night with good seeing conditions (no atmospheric turbulence), properly cool down your scope, and get your eyes adjusted until you start to see the detail, you will learn with time. My first jupiter pictures were done with a smartphone, hooked up on the telescope with an adapter and footage collected in video mode to be able to stack afterwards. Keep in mind all but the last picture were done on a smartphone and the 130mm reflector i talked about earlier. Clear skies!

Jupiter June 2017.PNG

Jupiter July 2017.jpg

Jupiter 5-27-2018.jpg

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Having read the above comments I think the advice is pretty much bang on - but I wouldn’t rush out to buy any new bits just yet if it were me - there’s plenty of mileage to be had out of what you’ve got!

you can easily, easily see the different belts on Jupiter under almost any condition s - yes there is a world of difference between good conditions and bad, but I’ve never not been able to at least pick out the bands - on a good night the GRS is achievable.

Just start with your biggest eyepiece (25mm) and work with that to start - just make your diagonal and eyepiece are clean and check everything for condensation (maks are dew magnets) work very slowly with focus - it’s a very very narrow range. And give your eyes at least 10 mins at the eyepiece as they take time to adjust. You don’t need to buy anything else just yet.

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On Jupiter, this is what I witnessed through my 150mm f/5, and with a variable-polariser integrated...

variable-polariser.jpg.2b06bd7699f7d3d844815dba2912e3d0.jpg

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