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let me see planets!!


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I've been bought a Celestron astro fi 130 for my birthday, first telescope, and loving it so far. (I have issues with the aligning, but have managed to see some great images of the moon, and I found Jupiter & Saturn. My question is (and I apologise, I know it's bound to have been asked before somewhere) I have a 10mm & a 25mm lens, I want to see the planets in more detail - I could see a round disc shape of Jupiter, and 3 of it's moons - but I could make out no details of the surface of the planet, with Saturn, I managed to see the disc, and could see the 2 "cup handles" of the rings, but it was very small, and hard to focus on. - I would love to see this in more detail. I've read that I need a 2x barlow lens & possibly some different lenses?.

I'm not sure if the telescope will be going back, the self auto align doesn't work, and aligning to 3 stars failed 5 times before I gave up. (luckily jupiter & saturn were easy to find this morning). but I would like to get some accessories that would work on a replacement as well (keeping the same size 1.25 lens).

what is worth buying that will make these images clearer for me? - the astro fi 130 talks about seeing polar caps and details of the stripes - I saw a shape.

I loved it, and am hooked already, but I know I have loads to learn and am eager to see more.

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One thing to be aware of is from the UK at the moment Jupiter and Saturn are very low down and so seeing is poor so you are not going to see much in the way of detail. They will be better in July / August.

The standard eyepieces that come with the scope are low quality so getting better eyepieces will improve things in general but aren’t going to help much on Jupiter / Saturn at the moment. Just a poor time to look at them. Increasing magnification doesn’t always improve detail. There is an optimum magification. Too much magnification can actualy show less detail as the image darkens as you increase magnification.

The Starguider are good eyepieces that aren’t that expensive but great value for money 

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/search/for/starguider/

The problems with aligning the mount are another thing but I’m sure someone else with this mount will be able to offer advice.

Edited by johninderby
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Short answer is more magnification, so either a 2x barlow or an eyepiece in the 4-6mm range perhaps.

The long answer is, how much are you expecting. I have a 200mm telescope and as for seeing detail to the level of ice caps (must be talking about mars) that is a once in 4-5 years sort of detail for me.

I would say that Saturn will always look small in that scope but on a good night you might be able to split the rings. 

Jupiter, on a good night you might catch 2 or 3 bands on the planet, the great red spot is difficult but possible.

I owned a 130 reflector for a long time and found 200x magnification to be pretty much the worthwhile limit. And this could only be used on rare occasions, very often you will find that zooming out a bit and observing at 150x or 100x although smaller will be so much sharper and brighter, often with more detail.

In your shoes I would get a quality eyepiece around 6mm and a decent barlow lens. You will then have 25mm, 12.5mm, 10mm, 6mm, 5mm and 3mm!

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Hi. I'm fairly new and I've done what you've donE, only with a 12inch dobsonian. You are limited by 3 things. 1 they are wery far away! You will probably only manage venus jupiter and saturN.

2. Supplied eyepieces are usually very basic just to get uyou started. Good ones can Cost a lot of money.

3any given telescope can only magnify so much. On top of that seeing will vary and mostly limit use able magnification anyway.

Due to the British weather you are up against it. You need a dark site and good seeing.... Alternately buy a wilco webcam take off the front and the lenses. Stick it in the eyepiece plug into a laptop and use Sharpcap programme... The magnification will be amazing. You can live stack or save the video and stack later... Look up electronically assisted astronomy. Visual astronomy was a big disappointment to me.. Eaa is the way to see planets galaxy's and nebula in all thier glory... Next there's astrophotography 

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2 hours ago, Squire said:

I'm not sure if the telescope will be going back, the self auto align doesn't work, and aligning to 3 stars failed 5 times before I gave up. (luckily jupiter & saturn were easy to find this morning). but I would like to get some accessories that would work on a replacement as well (keeping the same size 1.25 lens).

What self auto align? I assume you have the Nexstar system. There is a two-star auto align, where after you align on the first star, the mount will swing to near the second alignment star of your choice, where you have to centre the 2nd star and align on it.  The 3-star (3 object) align is no more accurate than the 2 star, but relieves you of the need to know the names of what you are aligning on.  It can fail if one of the stars is not on the prime list of alignment objects (not bright enough).

You should persevere with the Nexstar system.  IMHO it is a bit easier to use than Skywatcher's Synscan.

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Location can be an important factor in what you're able to see, and while the brighter planets shouldn't present too much trouble when it comes to finding and viewing them, once you start to increase the magnification you'll see more of the atmospheric disturbances such as heat rising from roof tops or roads, light pollution, that sort of thing.  If you live in a built-up area, even a small village, it can affect what you can see; choose a position that doesn't have direct line of sight to any lights (even ones inside buildings).  If you're able to safely transport the telescope to a spot well away from streetlights, houses, etc it should help, but try to stay away from the road as if a car comes past the headlights will ruin your night adapted eyes.

I stood at the top of a hill once (admittedly on the grass verge just by the roadside, but it was a very quiet country lane) in quite a chill wind, it provided an excellent view across the valley and I was able to see a comet that was passing at the time (I believe it was the big Panstarrs one from a few years ago).  I may or may not have been able to see it from my back yard due to the buildings and trees.  Getting away from civilisation with a telescope can be difficult but is sometimes well worth the effort.

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Luckily, I currently live in the middle of nowhere, but there is a forest facing my south/south east though, so I drove around it to view Jupiter & Saturn yesterday morning around 3.30am. Similar to you, it was on a pull in on the country lane, slightly elevated. Where I stopped, it is facing the Severn bridge though, but there wasn't much I can do about that. there were no nearby lights. the motorway/bridge is 5 or so miles in the distance.

I really am interested in the visual astronomy, when I moved out here from town/city living, I loved going out in the evenings and seeing all the stars, all my life I'd hardly noticed any. The idea of actually seeing a planet was (and is) amazing to me. I would like to get into the photography side as well, but for now, as much as I can see myself is my immediate goal.

This is the scope that was bought for me as a surprise Bday present - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Celestron-22203-Wireless-Reflecting-Telescope/dp/B01L0EQMZQ/ref=sr_1_1?crid=E1IQVGWCZXB2&dchild=1&keywords=celestron+astro+fi+130&qid=1589530768&sprefix=celestron+astro+fi+130%2Caps%2C160&sr=8-1

It wasn't bought from Amazon, she got it from a specialist. I just did a search for the model to show you.

The selfalign is meant to work by pointing it at 3 random stars using their phone app SkyPortal, it's very similar to SkySafari but also has the controls for the scope in it. you select a star, click align, and do this 2 more times, it's then meant to work out where it was pointing (I assume from the distance between the 3 stars) and then you can select what you want to look at. this failed.
the alternative manual alignment. it's is similar to above, but when you point at a star, you select in the app which star you're looking at. so it was difficult to pick 3 stars I could identify which were visible. when I got to the 3rd star, it said alignment failed.

when it's aligned, the app & scope work together, you're meant to be able to select a point in the app and click "go to" - it also has a lock button in the app to track the object. if I can get it to work, it should be a very easy thing to use.

thank you all for your help

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Keep going with the visual! It's an amazing hobby. One of the best things is the lack of power needed. I see many people people with laptops, cameras, guiding scopes, battery packs and heavy power banks.

All I have is one battery pack the size of a TV remote which last 3-4months just to track the sky.

For the 3 star align at this time of year I would just look at the plough which is virtually overhead. The stars are bright and won't be blocked by anything. You could learn all 7 pretty quickly.

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Hello and welcome to SGL

In my opinion when it comes to planets , then light pollution is not such a factor as DSO.

The main factors in planetary viewing is location of the planets in the sky. To low then you have more atmosphere to cut through. Then the seeing conditions of the sky , good transparency of Sky's are critical to be able to view planets at there best. Then equipment to get the best out of planetary viewing,  you really do need quality optics in both the scope and eyepieces, a scope is only as good as its weakest link. 

Hope this helps 

 

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What Timbandit says is very true. Some of my best planetary views have come when there is still plenty of light in the sky or even through a thin, high layer of cloud.

 

 

 

 

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I guess I'm looking for recommendations of which make lenses to get next - I'd like to get 1 more eyepiece & a barlow lens.

16 hours ago, miguel87 said:

Short answer is more magnification, so either a 2x barlow or an eyepiece in the 4-6mm range perhaps.

In your shoes I would get a quality eyepiece around 6mm and a decent barlow lens. You will then have 25mm, 12.5mm, 10mm, 6mm, 5mm and 3mm!

 

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16 hours ago, johninderby said:

One thing to be aware of is from the UK at the moment Jupiter and Saturn are very low down and so seeing is poor so you are not going to see much in the way of detail. They will be better in July / August.

Trouble is John, they won’t be any higher in July/August, they just transit the meridian in the evening rather than the early hours.

If you can manage to stay up late then around opposition will be best as the seeing is often good in the early hours, and Jupiter is at its highest around 1am at Opposition when it is also largest in the sky. In August it transits earlier but the seeing can take a while to settle after hot days.

Observe it as often as possible, whenever you can is about the best suggestion I think.

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I recently viewed Saturn and Jupiter with my 8" dob, I was able to make out Jupiter's gas rings at lower magnification, though as soon as I tried to bump up magnification the seeing conditions took a toll and visuals deteriorated. I think as everyone else has said, obviously they're quite low in the sky and therefore seeing for them isn't the best and therefore high magnification is going to be affected. Generally I think the trick is to just get a decent eyepiece and just keep going at it, the conditions vary quite a bit from night to night!

I'd agree with John on the BST eyepieces, I've heard a lot of good things about the ES Barlows, but personally haven't used mine enough to give an opinion other than the build quality is very good. 

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My number one interest in astronomy is the planets, my kit is all orientated toward planetary observation. When it comes to viewing planets, it is a skill that needs practicing. The details may not jump out at you now, but if you keep preserving. You will develop the skill. There is a saying " many look, not many observe ". Like any skill it needs to be developed. Only use the maximum magnification that the seeing conditions will support, going above that magnification will be pointless and offer you no more detail. Yes a 2x barlow is a good way to go. Although I prefer dedicated eyepieces to Barlow's, experiment, until you get to know what you like. I've slowly built my collection up over the years. 

The planets are poorly placed at the moment, they are pretty low in the sky, when they get above 30 degrees, things will improve.

The attached picture, is what is possible with an 80mm F15 refractor on Jupiter. Although I made a mistake with the North and South orientation. 

Best Regards

David

 

SketchJupiter80mm.jpg

Edited by Dave1
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Thank you all for the advise, I'm starting with the bst 2x Barlow and I've bought a moon filter as well. That's it for my budget at the moment, and I'm glad I'm not buying cheap tat. 

I'll let you know how I get on 

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